I’ve read a lot of fantasy. It is my favourite genre. This will be no surprise to anyone. It is also a genre that is filled with some pretty terrible books: formulaic, bland and boring. I love it, though, because it is a treasure trove of rich and rewarding stories. You simply need to sort the good from the bad. Some of the very best fantasy writers spurn the formula and create something new. I’m going to talk about one such author today. Glen Cook, and his Chronicles of the Black Company.Read More »
Dawn of Wonder is the first book in a fantasy series by Jonathan Renshaw called The Wakening. The book follows Aedan, a precocious but damaged boy, in a coming of age story amidst a backdrop of strange events, political threats and turmoil.
It’s notable to mention that Dawn of Wonder is a self-published work. That is nothing new, but Dawn of Wonder belongs to a qualitative batch of polished and compelling books that have emerged in the past few years without the initial backing of a publisher. This is really exciting, as good stories deserve to be told, with or without the approval and support of a traditional publishing house.Read More »
The post-apocalyptic novel, since 1978, has lived in the shadow of a titan – Stephen King’s The Stand. Benjamin Percy’s The Dead Lands is the first book that I’ve truly felt had temerity to pick up the gauntlet. I’ve been waiting for a book like this. It is a reinterpretation of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition in a post-apocalyptic United States, a United States that has been decimated by an epidemic and twisted by radiation. The land is crippled, broken and mutated. Creatures have evolved and changed. Hairless wolves, giant spiders and other nightmares stalk the boundaries of human settlements. Humanity cowers inside their walls. It is a compelling premise, and Percy packs an incredibly ambitious work of imagination into just under 400 pages.Read More »
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher began publication with Storm Front, the first novel in the series, in April 2000 through Roc Books. As of today there are 15 novels published, with Skin Game being the most recent and the upcoming novel Peace Talks TBD. When I thought about making a new style of post, a spotlight, the Dresden Files sprung immediately and irresistibly to mind as the best possible way to inaugurate it. So while I’m finishing the book I’m going to review next, I’m going to talk instead about one of my all-time favourite series of novels.
The Dresden Files follow the titular lead, Harry Dresden. He is a Wizard. He is a private investigator. He is a black sheep. He flouts secrecy, thumbs his nose at the conservative and secretive hegemony of the White Council of Wizards, and you can find him in the Chicago phonebook under W for Wizard. Harry is an antiauthoritarian in the eyes of the White Council, a thorn in their side, a potentially deadly foe. But he is also a new Wizard for a new age. He not only wields mysterious and arcane powers, he also doesn’t mind revolvers.Read More »
Coming off the elegant and hopeful beauty of Station Eleven, this next book was a shock to the system. I really could not have picked something more different to follow with, but it was worth it.
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy is the darkest and most disturbing book I’ve read in recent memory. I went into this familiar with other McCarthy books like The Road and No Country for Old Men, but it still managed to shock and unsettle me. Blood Meridian is a world populated with people that are desperate, violent, and dangerous and utterly without mercy. It is a Western, and by that I mean it is set in the borderlands of the Old West, but comparisons and parallels end there. This book is a chilling account of practices and actions during this period, a descent into the dark unexplored regions of brutality and blood that choked people attempting to subsist there.Read More »
Paolo Bacigalupi is a mystery to me. He is a writer that I don’t really know anything about. One thing I do know about him is that he wrote a book called The Windup Girl. I also know that I absolutely loved it. So when I saw The Water Knife it became an instant buy for me. The only question I had at the time was whether it would live up to my lofty expectations following The Windup Girl.Read More »