The Library Fantastic

Fiction

An Ember in the Ashes 4
by Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes

It has been quite some time since I wrote a proper review for a book rather than just sharing shorter impressions. In part, I have Twitter and Facebook and other forms of social media to blame for that, as such outlets make it very easy to offer some kind of commentary without investing too much energy; a tempting prospect when you’re left with limited such resources for various reasons. However, I can’t deny that a significant factor behind the lack of reviews has been that my reading has been way down compared to what it used to be. I used to order stacks of new books for Christmas, for…

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…

Kushiel’s Mercy 4
Part 6 of Kushiel's Legacy
by Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel’s Mercy

Apparently, I am still starved from my long bout of very little reading, because yesterday another book found itself devoured at a rather alarming pace. Of course, Kushiel’s Mercy is admittedly not the first Jacqueline Carey book that I have finished in a day, and as I was feeling a bit down yesterday it proved an excellent way of drowning my sorrows. In short, it didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of lasting longer than a day.

Picking up almost right on the heels of Kushiel’s Justice, which saw Imriel returning from his quest to slay his Alban wife Dorelei’s killer, Imriel and Sidonie…

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…

Hunter’s Run
by George R.R. Martin (with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham)

Review forthcoming.

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…

Kushiel’s Justice 4
Part 5 of Kushiel's Legacy
by Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel’s Justice

Love as thou wilt. That was the only thing that Blessed Elua asked of his scions. But when politics and the fate of realms enter into the picture that is not always such an easy command to follow.

Against his expectations as well as his wishes, Imriel finds himself in love with Sidonie, his own kin as well as the heir to the throne of Terre d’Ange. Worse, his love is reciprocated, Sidonie’s dislike for him having turned into desire. But even if Queen Ysandre has never blamed Imriel for being the son of traitors, she would never dream of allowing him to wed her daughter. Too many people in…

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The Virtu 4
Part 2 of The Doctrine of Labyrinths
by Sarah Monette
The Virtu

As I noted in the review for Mélusine, The Virtu and it were apparently originally intended as one book rather than two separate volumes. And, as I also noted, this does show. The Virtu picks up pretty might right where Mélusine ended, with Felix’s sanity and his powers restored. Half the journey has been completed, and what remains now for him and Mildmay is to return home to Mélusine so that Felix may attempt to mend the Virtu, broken with his powers but not by him in the first book.

The main problem with The Virtu is that it feels a little too short. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I would…

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