The Library Fantastic

Fantasy

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River of Stars 4
by Guy Gavriel Kay
River of Stars

A new novel by Gay Gavriel Kay is something that I (and Elio) always look forward to with eager anticipation. We have been fans of his writing since the Fionavar Tapestry, which remains my favourite work of his (indeed, it may be my favourite fantasy series of all times) even though the later novels undeniably are more polished. There’s something about the rawness of the Fionavar Tapestry that always gets me. Of course, it is also a much more traditional work of fantasy than any of his other later novels (save for Tigana) and I am, first and foremost, a reader of fantasy. At the heart of my…

A Dance with Dragons 5
Part 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire
by George R. R. Martin
A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, has hit shelves around the world and returned fans once more to Westeros, to see what’s become of some of the most vividly realized characters in the fantasy genre. Six years in the making—or eleven, considering that some of the chapters in this novel were written to be published in the pre-split A Feast for Crows—and the question on the minds of many of the critics who’ve reviewed the book for such well-known news outlets such as TIME, the LA Times, the NY Times, and more, seems to have been, “Was it worth the…

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Feast of Souls 4
Part 1 of The Magister Trilogy
by C.S. Friedman
Feast of Souls

I have read appallingly little of late. Somehow, I just slipped out of a very long habit and ended up spending what normally has been reading time on other things. When I finally got around to picking up a book that has been on my to-read list for a long while, I ended up devouring it in a day of rather frantic reading, which showed me just how poorly I had fed my addiction of late. And, of course, it also showed that the book in question was so good that I couldn’t put it down. This was not a surprise, however, since C.S Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy ranks very high on my list of favourite…

A Companion to Wolves 4
by Sarah Monette (with Elizabeth Bear)
A Companion to Wolves

A Companion to Wolves, a collaboration between Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear, is set in a harsh, northern land were men bonded to huge wolves defend their lands and their wolfless kin from great trolls and wyverns. But the wolfbrothers are not well regarded by the wolfless, not the least because the bonding between man and wolf is so close that when the wolves mate, so do the men—with each other. Njall, a jarl’s son, is chosen as tithe to the wolfbrothers, but his father resents him for going and Njall himself is anything but certain about his choice. At first, his sense of honour is what…

The Mirador 4
Part 3 of The Doctrine of Labyrinths
by Sarah Monette
The Mirador

The Mirador picks up two years after the end of The Virtu, which concluded a major story arc for Felix and Mildmay (though not without leaving some interesting threads dangling). But while the two characters were more beset by trouble in the previous two volumes, it is in this volume that it really becomes apparent how damaged they are. In particular, Felix. While he was afflicted by the madness resulting from being used to break the Virtu, it was no surprise to see him going through some difficulties. Here, however, its made clear that his issues go so much deeper and that they won’t simply…

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The Serpent and the Rose 4
Part 1 of The War of the Rose
by Kathleen Bryan (aka Judith Tarr)
The Serpent and the Rose

A thousand years ago, order defeated chaos as the Young God vanquished the Serpent. Though the victor died in the process, the Serpent was imprisoned, and out of the Young God’s followers grew an order of Knights sworn to make sure it remained that way. But now the king of Lys seeks to increase his might by turning to darker powers, and the servants of order have so successfully banished chaos that none of them have any real knowledge of how to fight its growing influence. Only Averil, heir to a duchy not yet under the king’s sway, and Gereint, a fatherless commoner with dangerous talents,…

Ysabel 4
by Guy Gavriel Kay
Ysabel

A new book from Guy Gavriel Kay is always a treat, and a rare one at that, as there’s always quite a few years between them. Given this, one tends to build up fairly high expectations, which isn’t always fair to the book (or the author) as these expectations often end up being heavily based in one’s own preferences as a reader. First impressions of a book are particularly vulnerable to comparisons between what is and what was expected. No wonder, perhaps, that this review has already been tweaked twice. First I reworked it slightly based on some feedback that led me to conclude that I had not…

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