Rothfuss, Patrick. The Name of the Wind.

NY: DAW, 2007.

I’ve been hearing good things about this author’s first fantasy novel, the first third of a trilogy, but I was delaying until the whole thing had been published so I wouldn’t have to wait between volumes to see what happens next. But the third volume has been very slow to appear, so I finally gave up and jumped in, and I’m glad I did. It’s an amazing book for any author, but even more so for a first book.

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Gaiman, Neil & Charles Vess. Stardust: Being a Romance Within the Realms of Faerie.

NY: DC Comics, 1997.

Neil is the modern master of the fairy tale, and he writes all kinds, from comic to wistful to thoroughly noir. This one is of the traditional variety, though often with tongue firmly in cheek. Gaiman won a number of awards for this one, and deserved them. Vess won another bunch of awards for the art which greatly enhances nearly every page. He reminds me a little of Arthur Rackham and a lot of Alicia Austin, and that’s praise.

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Windling Terri. Bordertown: A Chronicle of the Borderlands.

NY: Armadillo Press. 1986.

In the mid-’80s, “urban fantasy” was just beginning to be a thing. Instead of Tolkien’s white-haired wizards and ethereal elves, we had punks with silver hair and pointy ears wearing red leather and torn jeans and riding spell-powered motorcycles. Windling and a couple of her friends set up the background for what became an amazing and very influential series of fantasy short stories and a few novels,

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Grossman, Lev. The Magicians.

NY: Viking, 2009.

Quentin Coldwater of Brooklyn is seventeen and a nerd’s nerd, and he’s out with his two closest friends, James and Julia (he’s in love with her but it’s hopeless). It’s a cold, wet September afternoon and the two guys are going to an alumnus interview for Princeton and Quentin knows he’s a shoo-in. (“My GPA is a number higher than most people even realize it is possible for a GPA to be.”) But the old man they’re supposed to meet with is dead, having left them each a manila envelope.

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Harrison, Kim. The Undead Pool.

NY: Harper, 2014.

I don’t ordinarily read vampire and werewolf books, but I read the first one in this hugely popular series a decade ago on a friend’s recommendation and got hooked almost by accident. Now it’s a guilty pleasure — now matter how much the author’s stylistic ineptitude continues to annoy me. I had also heard suggestions that Harrison was on the way to wrapping things up, and the flap copy says this twelfth volume is the “penultimate book,” so I guess that’s going to be it.

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Published in: on 12 August 2014 at 5:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lynch, Scott. The Lies of Locke Lamora.

NY: Bantam, 2006.

Good, edgy fantasy is hard to come by but there have been a number of series appear in the last decade or two that are of very high quality, especially those by Joe Abercrombie and Robin Hobb. Now we can add Scott Lynch to that list.

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Published in: on 10 March 2014 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hobb, Robin. Assassin’s Quest.

NY: Bantan, 1997.

Young FitzChivalry, trained as an assassin, is now on the run from his own death, which was orchestrated by his mentor in order to save him from hanging at the hands of the self-declared King Regal, who insists his older brother, King-in-Waiting Verity, is dead on his quest to the lands beyond the Mountain Kingdom. And it’s mostly all downhill for Our Hero from that point.

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Hobb, Robin. Assassin’s Apprentice.

NY: Bantam, 1995.

It’s always nice to discover a new fantasy series (new to me, anyway) that displays such high quality of plotting, writing, and characterization. I knew “Megan Lindholm” was a pseudonym for an author of contemporary urban fantasy novels, but this is the same author’s nom de plume for fantasy in a medieval setting. Which is to say, she’s no beginner, and her experience shows.

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Published in: on 23 October 2013 at 12:41 pm  Comments (1)  
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Bujold, Lois McMaster. Paladin of Souls.

NY: HarperCollins, 2003.

When last we saw the Dowager Royina Ista of Chalion (who’s actually only about forty), she had regained her sanity, the curse over the royal family (and thus over the country) having been removed by Castillar de Cazaril, who has now become Chancellor to Ista’s daughter, the young Royina Iselle and her husband, Royse Bergon of the kingdom next door.

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Harrison, Kim. A Perfect Blood.

NY: HarperCollins, 2012.

I almost hate to confess to it, but Harrison is another of my “automatic” authors, those few novelists whose new books I buy without even bothering to read the reviews. Vampire/witchcraft romances are very much not my thing, but I read the first volume in this hugely popular series a few years ago almost by accident — and now I’m trapped. (Is that a charm or a curse?)

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