Literally: Reviews

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Queen of the Darkness 4
Part 3 of The Black Jewels Trilogy
by Anne Bishop
List Price: $23.00. Best Price: $7.95.
Queen of the Darkness

In the third and final book of the Black Jewels, the struggling factions of the previous two books will finally clash for the final time. Though Jaenelle knows that she is too powerful to unleash her full strength, as it would destroy most of the Blood, she can no longer avoid a confrontation with the two women who have made Terrielle into the twisted perversion of Blood society that it now is: Hekatha, the demon-dead Dark Priestess who once was the wife of Saetan SaDiablo, and Dorothea SaDiablo, the woman who has taken control over all of Terrielle. The pair now seeks to extend their

Heir to the Shadows 4
Part 2 of The Black Jewels Trilogy
by Anne Bishop
List Price: $23.00. Best Price: $7.95.
Heir to the Shadows

In the second book of the Black Jewels, the focus shifts from Terrielle, the twisted, corrupted realm of Light, to Kaeleer, the realm of Shadow. Here the Blood still live—for the most part—according to the protocol that was meant to govern their actions towards each other. Their Queens rule their courts without inspiring fear and without Rings of Obedience, and the males serve and protect. This is the realm in which where Jaenelle now finds herself, to learn to be a Queen and to come into her full power as Witch. But she has a long road ahead over her, as she arrives in Kaeleer gravely

Old Man’s War 3
by John Scalzi
List Price: $12.95. Best Price: $2.17.
Old Man’s War

John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War,  which has made the 2006 Hugos shortlist for Best Novel and garnered Scalzi a place on the Campbell Award shortlist for best new writer, been hailed by readers as reviewers as following in the footsteps of Robert A. Heinlein. This is, as Scalzi admits, entirely the intention. Does he succeed? Perhaps too well.

My copy of The Cat Who Walks Through Walls is very nearly the most-ragged, most-reread book in my collection (only A Game of Thrones and The Lions of Al-Rassan top it). It’s the first half—“the good half” as some call it—that mostly gets me (the second half

Shadow Twin
by George R.R. Martin (with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham)
List Price: $40.00. Best Price: $50.00.

Review forthcoming.

The Ice Dragon
by George R.R. Martin
List Price: $12.95. Best Price: $23.99.

Review forthcoming.

The Art of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire 5
by Brian Wood
List Price: $29.95. Best Price: $25.95.
The Art of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire

Fantasy Flight Games, publishers of the A Game of Thrones CCG and boardgame, have put together a very impressive collection of art and artists in this first and hopefully not last visual companion to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Much of the art comes from the CCG, but they have also reprinted art from other sources, such as Meisha Merlin’s & Subterranean Press’s limited editions of the first three books and the cover art for the regular editions, as well as commissioned quite a few original pieces. The list of artists include names such as John Howe, Charles Vess, John

A Feast for Crows 5
Part 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire
by George R.R. Martin
List Price: $35.00. Best Price: $16.38.
A Feast for Crows

First, an important piece of information to remember about this book is that it does not contain a number of the major point of view characters from earlier novels: Jon Snow, Daenaerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, and Davos Seaworth; these characters will feature in the next novel, A Dance with Dragons. Readers opening this book with the hopes of reading about these characters directly will be disappointed, but there’s no real reason to be disappointed as this novel is a success.

Focusing as it does on events south of the Neck (particularly King’s Landing and the Riverlands) and some

The Golden Key 4
by Melanie Rawn (with Jennifer Roberson & Kate Elliott)
List Price: $8.99. Best Price: $8.00.
The Golden Key

If you are a fan of any one (or all) of the writers involved in this fascinating collaboration, this book is quite simply a must-read, even though it is very different from anything they have produced on their own. And if you’re not a fan, you should probably try it anyhow, because The Golden Key is a truly good and original book, far removed from your standard fantasy. It also features one of the cleverest covers (painted by Michael Whelan) I’ve ever seen.

The setting is a fascinating alternative Europe, the duchy of Tira Virte, where every event of importance is immortalized through a

Gardens of the Moon 4
Part 1 of Malazan Book of the Fallen
by Steven Erikson
List Price: $24.95. Best Price: $24.90.
Gardens of the Moon

A remarkable new entry into the fantasy genre, Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon is the first of ten planned books which will make up his Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Throwing the reader straight into the action, Erikson shows the sensibilities of a trained archaeologist-anthropologist (which he is) in the easy, realistic way in which he builds up geography, culture, history, and politics. Following several different plotlines, sometimes the work is reminiscent of Glen Cook’s fine Black Company series, sometimes reminiscent of Moorcock’s famous Elric stories, and sometimes even reminiscent

Daughter of the Blood 5
Part 1 of The Black Jewels Trilogy
by Anne Bishop
List Price: $23.00. Best Price: $7.95.
Daughter of the Blood

Something has gone terribly wrong in Terrielle, and the Blood who was meant to nurture the Realm is instead ruining it, having become a perversion of their true nature under the rule of Dorothea SaDiablo and her lackeys. Strong Queens who dare oppose her are destroyed by the males who should have been protecting them, but who fear slavery and the Ring of Obedience so much that they go against their strongest instincts. The only hope which remains is that Witch will return, but many of those who should be waiting and hoping for her arrival are instead fearful of it, even to the point of

Kushiel’s Dart 5
Part 1 of Kushiel's Legacy
by Jacqueline Carey
List Price: $25.95. Best Price: $21.55.
Kushiel’s Dart

A well-written, engrossing novel awaits anyone who dares to pick up this new entry into the fantasy genre. Be warned, however, that this is truly an adult novel, with much of the tale centered around the erotic nature of living as a pleasure slave in the politically-unstable realm of Terre d’Ange (Land of Angels). The main character and narrator, Phèdre, is born in a kingdom where everyone is beautiful and no wonder, for they all claim to be descended from angels that rejected Heaven to follow Blessed Elua, the offspring of the martyred Son of God Yeshua and Mother Earth. But Phèdre is

Dreamsongs
by George R.R. Martin
List Price: $30.00. Best Price: $11.38.

Review forthcoming.

This is the same book that was originally called GRRM: A RRetrospective.

Quartet: Four Tales from the Crossroads
by George R.R. Martin
List Price: $15.00. Best Price: $190.15.

Review forthcoming.

Portraits of His Children
by George R.R. Martin
List Price: $18.95. Best Price: $159.49.

Review forthcoming.

Tuf Voyaging 4
by George R.R. Martin
List Price: $30.00. Best Price: $30.00.
Tuf Voyaging

This series of linked stories following the trader and fledgling ecological engineer Haviland Tuf, set in the same universe as Dying of the Light and other stories by the author, is an amusing and decidedly thought-provoking tale. There’s the distinct flavor of Jack Vance, perhaps from his series of novels showing various human cultures in the Alastor culture, because of the many unique and strange cultures encountered in this book. But the focus truly is on Tuf, a huge bald albino both brilliant and eccentric, and the Old Earth seedship he stumbles across and wins control of. With this old