Saturday, 31 October 2009
Friday, 30 October 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
There are several contradictions paining the novel as well - our protagonist has fallen in love with the slave liberator from afar. Fair enough - they're cloistered, and she's about to be rescued. But he is under the impression that she is a young girl, and for him to suddenly turn around - in internal monologue - and confess to have loved him from the first call is simply a mistake, and repeated as it is, you're forced to wonder about the editing - mistakes profligate. However, although the deux-ex-machina finale is to be avoided, Lisle must be lauded for one aspect: her heroine suffers for her actions. The new Hawkspar Eyes certainly isn't an "author's darling"
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Otherwise, I'm looking at SFF Chat - another new blog, well worthy of attention. If you're interested, you can find it - here.
See you tomorrow!
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Comic fantasy is admittedly a difficult genre to carry off well. Plenty have failed. Some, like Joe Abercrombie, have carried the trick with remarkable flair - and it's only a pity that Glass Dragons, by Sean McMullen, can't be numbered amongst them. Our two protagonists - a Laurel and Hardy-esque pair - are one trick ponies. Wallas is fat. Andry is thin. Wallas is aristocratic and crass. Andry is lowborn and noble. Wallas has luck with women. Andry doesn't - but later they turn round and love him anyway. *Cough* Excuse me? Just how long ago was it that they wouldn't speak to him? Ah, yes. Two minutes. Wallas, a Master of Royal Music accused of assassination (despite the steadily proliferating evidence to the contrary), flees the Emperor's palace to a nearby tavern, there meeting Andry, surviving a night's carousing though the waterfront - and then accompanying him the next day. Meanwhile, an etheric device is being constructed: the Dragonwall - and it's only a matter of time before one of the involved sorcerers realise that the entire capability of Dragonwall is available to anyone. It's a thin premise, and as Andry and Wallas stumble from slapstick into misjudged love, it only becomes less believable. They're torn from political conflict to etheric machinery in laughably little time - whereupon nobody mentions the previous events. Granted, there are moments of genuine humour - dialogue is amusingly plotted, fast-paced, and hilarious - but insipid, generic characterisation and reused reactions - women to Andry and Wallas, for example - quickly become repetitive. I'm sorry I couldn't like it on reread - but it's a world that works on first try, and it's worth a look for fans of the genre. Otherwise, Glass Dragons won't be making my recommendations.
Monday, 12 October 2009
Check them out!
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Erikson's intensely moral, poignant tale will enthrall, an epic of breathtaking proportions. It's evident that the reader doesn't - and shouldn't - understand Erikson's world, a collaborative composition between Erikson himself and Ian C. Esslemont. The term convergence is definitely appropriate, here, as Erikson is seen tying the threads from the preceding novels together into a tapestry that is altogether unexpected; still, he possesses smalls. Albeit minor ones - even sappers have a tendency to launch into philosophical discussion of war, rather than its practicalities. Worldbuilding, however, aided by Erikson's archaeological propensities, is deep, and the numerous texts glimpsed throughout the book provide enthralling, if flawed, glimpses of Erikson's future vistas.
Find it here: UK US
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
1. Memories of Ice, Steven Erikson
2. Reaper's Gale, Steven Erikson
3. The Quiet War, Paul McAuley
4. Glass Dragons, Sean McMullen
5.(Belated Review!) Toll the Hounds, Steven Erikson
6. You choose!
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
In Moscow, it's not only humans who walk the streets. It's an open premise, indeed. In Night Watch, these are Others, bearing allegiance to Light or Dark - but these are far from the absolutes you'll see in other works. For when an Other first enters the Twilight, that shadowy half-world that only the truly inhuman can enter, his mood - his feelings - force a choice: the Light, or the Dark. The distinction, after all, is far from close cut, as we'll see. But the Others now owe allegiance to a third force, too - a Treaty, between Light and Dark, to prevent the wars of the past. To prevent unrestrained Light and Dark. Now, for every act of "Good", there must be one of "Evil" - and who can enforce this against potential lawbreakers - with magical abilities beyond comprehension? The answer is, or are, the Watches. Night (Light), and Day (Dark), each watches and regulates the Others of the opposite allegiance, constantly in conflict. And playing a role in this conflict, our protagonist, Anton Gorodetsky. An Other of average talent serving in the Night Watch, Gorodetsky's boss, Gesar, has pushed him away from his role as the head programmer for the Watch - because Gesar wants Gorodetsky, there's a rogue vampire on the loose, an Other of incredible power, and a curse that threatens to destroy the city with its victim. But not all plots belong to the Dark.
And that, though complex, is only story one - of three. For, at its heart, belying the excitement and the urban flair, is an intensely moral conflict - of what is justifiable, what is necessary. Of inherent qualities, and those earned. And... Well, you'll see. But Night Watch is an unforgettable story, with a not-always-sympathetic protagonist in Anton Gorodetsky - a rare trope -, and Light and Dark where the former's plots are just as deadly as the latter's. To Anton Gorodetsky, our unwilling protagonist, they're more so.