No I haven’t forgotten about my LiveJournal, it’s still my preferred place to peruse the minds of peers. I just haven’t had time lately to blog. For those new, to the inner workings of what we’ll generously refer to as "my brain" the Anti Slush Reports are books that have been published that I actually like.
The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke
If the name didn’t clue you in, this is a Big Fat Fantasy of the intrigue, subterfuge and sabotage variety. There aren’t any countless marauding hordes, just some peculiar and very restricted magic, politics with a kinship to Byzantium, and a society who’s stratified system is unraveling. I love the way the magic is very low key, and is a fulcrum for turning the story, but hardly the only one. Like most BFF’s, the character list is a double handful. The handoffs of POV changes are done well, and the characters feel distinct. The setups for each part of the story are drawn well enough so that sometimes we have more information than the POV character and other less.
His Majesty’s Dragon – Naomi Novik
Captain Will Laurence finds himself drafted into the Aerial corps of England’s military, and it’s not the most respected part of the service. Gentlemen are rare, decorum a mask worn for company, and the fate of England in the claws of leathery dragons and their teams. I like the way a dragon’s crew is constructed. It makes them more like the early flying fortresses than simply a Pern variant. The Captain of a given dragon has other officers, and both ground and air crew who report to him. Set during the time of Napoleon and Nelson, the language use is another strong point, it’s not the mind numbing old English that some writers would inflict on the world, and it’s certainly not modern middle American. Fun book, interesting quirks.
Flesh and Fire – Laura Anne Gilman
Ok, I admit it. I’m a sucker for anything containing alcohol. As it happens, I suspect I would have liked this if magic were the off shoot of tea blends and not wine. Jerzy is a young slave who’s done the one thing all slaves dread. He’s drawn the direct, focused attention of his owner. The owner in question is a well off winemaker who’s held his own fields for years. Jerzy finds himself drawn into his owners schemes, and eventually sent to investigate on the owners behalf. On top of the alcohol inclusion, Laura Anne Gilman has created a unique fantasy world with well drawn characters and a magic system that is part and parcel of the world history.
The Red Wolf Conspiracy – Robert V.S. Redick
I almost always run the other way when I see books with the “C” word on the cover, I’m glad I didn’t this time. Redick has made sailing adventures cool again. We get to ride on board the greatest ship on the sea the Chathrand, and see her passengers and crew execute their plans and each other. Pazel is a tarboy who’s home was overrun by the empire he now works in, Diadrelu is the leader of a small clan trying to get back to its homeland, Thasha is the strong willed daughter of a famous admiral, and these three are who we see much of the novel through. Like other BFF’s there is more going on than can be contained in a single book and I look forward to seeing what’s next.