Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
I am a big fan of historically-influenced fantasy, and Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favorite writers in the genre. His world-building is complex and nuanced, his writing style poetic and heartbreaking.
I've read almost all of Kay’s published work and his classic story Tigana still remains near the top of the list. My full book review of it came out today at Bewildering Stories and is available to read here.
This is a world that feels real from page one, full of war, music and redemption. Every time I pick the story up, I can't put it down until I've reached the last page.
If you haven't read any of Kay's work, I'd suggest moving this book to the top of the to-read pile. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Illusion by Paula Volsky
Once in a while, I like to return to my old favorites in the science fiction and fantasy genres - it's like having a good chat with a friend whom you haven't seen since your school days. Illusion by Paula Volsky is one of those books well worth rereading, in my opinion. It's a complex genre retelling of a fantastical French Revolution, complete with magic and mechanical creatures.
The writing is superbly detailed, and the story will keep you on the edge of your seat. The main character, Eliste, is one of the Exalted, which are the ruling class in Vonahr. When the peasantry revolt, the ruling class are cast down, and Eliste must struggle to survive in a suddenly hostile city intent on sending her to the executioner.
My full review of the book came out at Bewildering Stories today, so please feel free to check it out here. I hope you enjoy reading (or rereading) Illusion as much as I do, even if it's my two millionth time doing so!
I've enjoyed comics for a long time, although I definitely wouldn't call myself an expert in them. In fact, my 8-year-old daughter probably knows more about the current climate of comics than I do! But I do enjoy the art form, and I have a lot of respect for the talented writers and artists who put each issue together.
Recently, I started chatting online with Omar Spahi, founder of OSSM Comics and the writer of the popular series Xenoglyphs. I read the first volume and enjoyed immersing myself in the alternate world of the series. I was also blown away by the fantastic art of P.J. Catacutan.
The basic storyline of the series is that there are nine Xenoglyphs, magical stones that are give their bearers a variety of elemental powers. Steven James and his best friend Dom Jenkins pair up with a number of other Separators, those who protect the stones, in order to stop Anubis, the master of evil, from collecting all of them and becoming all-powerful.
So far, 18 issues have been written, with 12 remaining to be made. A Kickstarter campaign to fund the remaining 12 issues has a little less than 3 weeks left to finish funding, and they're over halfway to their goal, with some pretty cool rewards for backers.
If you'd like to know more about this series, watch my blog for an upcoming interview in a few weeks with the founder of OSSM Comics, Omar Spahi. Until then, I hope you enjoy reading Xenoglyphs!
Sharp Edge by Marianne Delacourt
I’m not always the biggest fan of starting in the middle of a series; I usually like to go on the ride with the character from the very beginning of their journey. But I had no problem adjusting to Tara Sharp’s world of combating crime with her psychic powers, living the high life, and trying to juggle a bevy of men in Marianne Delacourt's Book Four of the series, Sharp Edge.
For my full review of the book, check it out here at Bewildering Stories.
Overall, the book is a fun, light read, perfect for when you have a free afternoon and perhaps a mimosa or two waiting. Tara Sharp is a likeable and flawed character who is struggling to figure out her personal life as much as she is struggling to solve crimes. Even if, like me, you’re not starting out with Book One, I hope you enjoy the ride.
Mithila Review is a beautiful journal that celebrates international speculative fiction. Printed quarterly, it's based in Asia, and it has quickly gained a reputation as a leading voice in Asian science fiction and fantasy. It has been noticed by such publications as Wired, Strange Horizons and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, including one of its published poems being nominated for a Rhysling Award.
This latest issue of Mithila features women of color in science fiction, so it's definitely a great issue to check out. While you can subscribe, it's also free to read online.
I am thrilled to have a book review included in Issue # 9 of Mithila Review. I reviewed Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal. This one was near and dear to me, as I have been a lifelong fan of Ms. Butler and it was wonderful to read how many others have been touched by her work and continue to be to this day.
So please check out this wonderful magazine, read my review of a work honoring Ms. Butler if you feel so inclined, and take a look at Luminescent Threads, a truly inspiring book.
Although I've been reading this genre all my life, it wasn't until recently that I heard the term "science fantasy," which is the mashup of science fiction and fantasy. So think magic and machines, unicorns and space ships. It can be a lot of fun to cross the boundary that separates the two, since I feel that science and magic should, actually, be similar. Just like science follows rules, magic should have rules, too. I'm not a big fan of: "And then there was magic, so it solved everything!" Nope. Not for me.
But I digress. If you want to take a look at a fun new science fantasy mashup, turn to Skin by K.A. Krake. Although it's the fourth book in the series, I didn't feel like I was deprived by jumping right in. You can read a full review of it here at Bewildering Stories. I hope you enjoy reading Ms. Krake's impressive world building as much as I did.
One element of fiction that I enjoy is the nonfiction aspect of it. What I mean by this is that I always like to learn something new, something factual from the real world. For example, I love to read about a profession I’m not familiar with or a location I’ve never heard of or been to or, just generally, a way of life that is different from mine.
It was with this thought in mind that I picked up Cindy O’Quinn’s book Dark Cloud on Naked Creek. It explores the world of Appalachian folklore and the "Cunnin' Folk," and while it is speculative fiction, it had a lot of interesting details about a way of life that is unique.
If you'd like to know more about the book, please check out the review published in Bewildering Stories today. You can read the review here. Hope you enjoy it!
I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the first issue of Occult Detective Quarterly, edited by Sam Gafford and John Linwood Grant. It's a great magazine, and I would recommend it - a full review is available at TOUGH blogazine.
Oblivion's Forge by Simon Williams
I haven't read any of Simon Williams' novels before, so when I was asked to review Oblivion's Forge, I was happy to do so. It's been a while since I read any fantasy, and it's always been my first love when it comes to genres.
I enjoyed the complexity of the plot and characters, as well as the slowly drawn-out mystery of the story. This is the first book of the Aona series, and I look forward to reading the rest. If you'd like to hear more about the novel, there is a full review posted at Bewildering Stories magazine. I hope you enjoy reading it!
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
Ever since I ran out of Terry Pratchett books, I've been looking for a new humor writer with that particular twisted look at life that can make me laugh. I found it in Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel. I love Christmas, but sometimes it can have a little too much saccharine gooeyness, especially near the end. This book is the proverbial cold, soft slap of anti-reality that will make you see the holidays in a whole new light.
The full review of the book can be read at Bewildering Stories magazine, located over here. I'm always thrilled to discover a new humor writer with a number of publications. I can't wait to get my hands on more of Moore's books!
I read a lot - depending on my writing schedule, I can usually read about a book a day. Some of the books are fantastic and I would love to recommend to everyone - some, not so much. Either way, I thought I would share a few thoughts on what I'm reading at the moment.