Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Grim Company by Luke Scull

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.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Honor's Knight by Rachel Bach

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

Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire

Midnight Blue-Light Special is the fourth book of Seanan McGuire's I've read. The second installment of the InCryptid series, shares many of the elements that made Discount Armageddon so enjoyable, but suffers from some problematic issues with narrative voice and plot tension that hampered my enjoyment. McGuire is a prolific writer, putting out an impressive number of titles in a relatively short length of time, so it's no surprise that not every offering will be as strong as the last. Feed released under the pseudonym Mira Grant remains one of my favorite discoveries of the last few years, and I will certainly tune in for the rest of the Newsflesh trilogy, but I'm not so sure I'll be showing up for the further adventures of Verity Price.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Interview with M.L. Brennan: Iron Night and Beyond

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.