The more I read and, by extension review, in speculative fiction the less I enjoy the stereo-typical fantasy novels that populated my reading prior to the start of this blog. Maybe it's the weight of my growing awareness of the tropes and archetypes of the genre or the expansion of my reading habits into different arenas of the genre. It takes more and more to impress me, and I keep looking for fresher perspectives, characters, and voices. Which brings me to Luke Scull's debut, The Grim Company. To put it bluntly, there's not a lot new in this first volume in a proposed trilogy. I've seen versions of these characters, this setting, and this plot before and I've seen them many, many times. A well versed reader could easily pick analogues of any of the principles characters without a shred of effort. Readers expecting to have their minds blown by something completely unexpected and ground breaking should probably look elsewhere. But readers looking for an expertly paced tale with well crafted characters that packs a mountain of world building into a mole hill of a novel should definitely not miss this novel. Scull may not blow you away with his originality, but he shows a deft hand at character, pace, dialogue, and world building that one rarely finds in a debut novel. Fans of the grimdark movement and complex characters who run the gamut of morality are in for a treat. If this is Scull's freshman effort, the following volumes should be even better.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
February has been an insane month for me personally. My wife and I have sold one house, bought another and are in the midst of preparing for the move at the end of next week. But I'm still reading. Not as often, or for as long, and it's gotten harder and harder to find the time to write reviews but with Rachel Bach's second Paradox novel, Honor's Knight releasing today I thought I should add my voice to the signal and hopefully get this spectacular sequel some extra sales.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
M.L. Brennan is fast becoming one my favorite interview subjects. Her approach to world building and character is always fascinating and she has a way of explaining concepts that boils things down so well, I always find myself amazed that I didn't see it for myself. On top of all of that she's a class act. a laugh riot, and a real pleasure to work with. With an author some compulsively likable, it's no wonder that her American Vampire series has become one of my favorite new series. In our interview we touch on vampire family dynamics, the mating habits of elves, Vampire Batman and meerkats. I hope you enjoy the conversation half as much as I did.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
With the giants of epic fantasy taking longer and longer between installments, genre aficionados are constantly looking for the next big thing and if the hype is to be believed Brian Staveley's debut The Emperor's Blade may just be it. With a familiar plot structure, characters that are comfortably similar to old fictional friends, and a subtle magical system that begs to be explored in more depth there is certainly plenty to recommend in this first volume. Whether or not the strength of Staveley's story telling can overcome the essential sameness of it all and the few problematic choices in his handling of female characters is the real question.
I've been meaning to interview Myke Cole for a long time. I've been fortunate enough to have him write a guest post during my Spec. Fic 101 series and he took part in an excellent round table that just never managed to find its way to completion, so I was pleased that he agreed to be interviewed about his newest release Breach Zone. We ran the gamut from questions about his process, the genesis of his excellent series, talent versus doing the work, and influences as wide as comics, history and film, This interview turned out to be one my favorites and Myke brings his usual brand of plain talk and straight answers to the table. If you haven't read his work, I can't recommend it highly enough. If you have, then I hope that this interview will shed some light on the story behind the story and the man behind the Britton, Bookbinder, Harlequin, and Scylla.