Tag Archives: fantasy

Steampunk, Airships and Etheric Energy: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

2 Oct

A rollicking steampunk yarn replete with quirky characters kicks off this new series by Jim Butcher. As I was reading, I could see this playing on the big screen, albeit with the feel of an old time serial. Swashbuckling airship captains, talking cats, bold women, enormous bugs, crystal powered flight and so much more. As the first book in a series, this book sets up the world, the conflict and the main characters, and left me eager to read the next…
The “naval” battles in the sky are quite well done. I initially started skimming through those sections but then quickly realized that I could follow along and understand the action.
Fun, fast read. Good YA action for both boys & girls, with several strong female characters.



Magical Creatures and Regency Manners: Sorcerer to the Crown

14 Aug

Lovely combination of a magical culture set within Regency England. From stuffy men’s clubs to Malaysian vampires, racism (the two protagonists are people of color), sexism (upper class women are too delicate to handle magic – not!) and politics, this was a fun mash-up of Regency manners with magic. Much like a steam punk world, magic is simply part of the infrastructure, with Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers Society charged with keeping England’s magic flowing. Zacharias, a freed slave, finds unexpected help from Prunella Gentleman, a teacher at a school for girls, with boundless ambition to use her magic.
Some reviewers mention struggling initially with the Regency tone & language – versed as I am in that medium 😉 I did not.
The book is titled #1 so one would assume there will be additional titles in the series. I look forward to reading them!

The “Wool” series by Hugh Howie – Lives Up To the Hype

23 Jul

I recently signed up for Kindle Unlimited and during the free 30 day trial, found myself thinking there wasn’t much in the back catalog titles that seemed to make it worthwhile to pay $10/month. But Amazon knows all, as scary as that is, and presented me with a spotlight on Hugh Howie – famous as a self-published ebook author who got discovered and who is the poster child for that pathway.
I downloaded the 5 part series that makes up the book Wool and instantly understand why Hugh Howie receives so much acclaim. The man can write! The characters are memorable and strong.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic future, where everyone lives in a giant “silo” buried in the ground. We are dropped into this world initially through the character of the Sheriff and then through others. As the richly imagined world comes to life, the action intensifies, turning this into one of those books that you can’t bear to put down.
I’m a total convert – have now downloaded the next two books and can’t wait to dive in.


The Hawley Book of the Dead – the next “All Souls”?

18 Sep

Just by coincidence, I went from reading the third book in Deb Harkness’ All Souls Triology, the Book of Life, to reading this first book in a new four part series.  Very different take, but some interesting similarities – witches, a grimoire, New England…

I found the descriptions very evocative, liked the sense of place and people that was created, and enjoyed the combination of “real” magic with Las Vegas magic. More a mystery than adventure, with the protagonist, Revelation, more of an observer than a participant. I liked the characters of her daughters, and hope that the additional books delve deeper into their personalities and magical powers.

Good read – recommend.


The All Souls Triology Comes to an End

18 Sep

First of all, let me say that I am a huge fan of Deb Harkness and the first two books in the series.  So I was quite excited to read the third book. I plunged in…and found myself wandering and wondering – Who are all these people? What is happening? Why is there so much talking and so little action?  I blamed myself, thinking I should have re-read the first two books so that I could seamlessly pick up the threads (kind of a pun). I persevered, remembering most of the characters, but still felt like I was reading A LOT of talking. The vivid descriptions of place, character and tension that made the first two books such a delight to read are largely gone. What little action there is feels like forced resolution of conflict, over & done in a few pages. No tension builds at all. The antagonist Benjamin has no motivation other than being evil. Diana’s revelation is that she stops being afraid. If each of these three books ends up as separate movies, this one will feel like a let down. It’s like the part in Harry Potter where they just wander around the woods for half the book.

If you are already a fan of the All Souls Trilogy, then of course you’ll want to read this book. Please do and I hope you enjoy it. I love the world that Deb has created, and I want to go back there – but I want more energy, more action, more tension, more substance. Someone suggested a Gallowglass book – yes, please! Write more! Still a fan.Book Of Life

Heart of Stone – Gargoyles as Guardians

1 Feb

Entertaining and clever – really enjoyed the notion of the stone Guardians and the relationship between Ella and Kees. Well-written, good dialogue.  Nice set up for an on-going series. Recommend.

A Corner of White: The Colors of Madeleine Part 1

18 Jul

I’ll admit it, the title of this book intrigued me, largely because my daughter’s name is Madeleine – with the extra “e” so that, plus the description of the fantasy world. But then I started to read, and found it slow going.  And I don’t like going slow. I persevered…and picked the book up multiple times, only to finally give up and walk away. I feel bad…I know people love this author, and maybe a younger reader would enjoy this.  But I never connected with the characters or the plot.  Good luck to others!