Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: John Ottinger (guest)


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The Women of Nell Gwynne’s

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s by Kage Baker

Crack open the pages of The Women of Nell Gwynne’s and you will find action, mystery, and beautiful women. This novella by Kage Baker is everything a SF/F fan wishes the works of Charles Dickens had been.

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s is about an elite brothel in Victorian London. Though these ladies of the night provide pleasure to the notables of the city, that is not the primary reason for their existence;


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Madhouse: Not recommended

Madhouse by Rob Thurman

Madhouse is one of those novels that you think has potential when you look at it, but just doesn’t quite meet your expectations. Rob Thurman’s writing style is easy to read and pleasant on the eyes and mind, but unfortunately, this third book about Cal and Nik Leandros is not well-plotted and suffers from an excess of innuendo.

The story is basic: Cal and Nik run a sort of supernatural detective agency in NYC. Nik is a ninja and Cal is a half monster/half human strong-arm.


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Heaven’s Net is Wide: Historical fantasy set in medieval Japan

Heaven’s Net is Wide by Lian Hearn

Beauty, Grace, Eloquence. These words define the writing of author Lian Hearn. Her Tales of the Otori series of historical fantasy novels are extremely popular worldwide. If you haven’t read the first four installments, Heaven’s Net is Wide is a great place to begin the story.

Because it is a prequel, Hearn has not assumed the reader has much knowledge about the setting or characters. She begins with a hook, describing a confrontation between two members of the Tribe — a family of assassins.


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Honored Enemy & Murder in LaMut

Honored Enemy & Murder in LaMut by Raymond E. Feist, William R. Forstchen & Joel Rosenberg

Raymond E. Feist has always been notable for his willingness to share the world of Midkemia. In all his acknowledgments and dedications, Feist notes that from its very inception the world has been a collaborative effort. His Empire trilogy was a collaboration with Janny Wurts, and the computer game Betrayal at Krondor had to be shared,


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Shadowrealm: Deeply philosophical for S&S

Shadowrealm by Paul S. Kemp

[Abelar] thought of Eldren, of Enden, recalled his father’s words to him — the light is in you — and realized, with perfect clarity, that his father was right.

The light is in you. As a theme for Paul S. Kemp’s Shadowrealm, the final novel in The Twilight War trilogy of Forgotten Realms novels, it might seem rather odd. After all, the story surrounds Erevis Cale, the First Chosen of the thief god Mask. Cale is a shadowman,


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Empress: Bloody, violent, and creative

Empress by Karen Miller

Karen Miller’s novel, Empress is shockingly different from her previous duology, Kingmaker, Kingbreaker. Empress shows us the rise of a barbarian warlord in a culture like the ancient Assyrian or Babylonian empires, with their city states that eventual become powerful nations. The society of Mikak is violent, worshipping a scorpion god who craves bloody ritual sacrifice. The godspeakers are the only people who are able to hear the god. They perform sacrifices and are a police force and a political entity separate from the warlord’s control.


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Bloodheir: No Middle Book Syndrome here

Bloodheir by Brian Ruckley

Often, the second book in a trilogy is accused of something called “Middle Book Syndrome.” The idea is that the second book in most trilogies is mostly filler and very little plot movement really happens. And often it is true. But if anyone accuses Brian Ruckley’s second book in The Godless World trilogy, Bloodheir of suffering from middle book syndrome, I’m afraid I will have to scoff in his face.

Bloodheir moves the story from the personal to the epic.


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Confessor: The Sword of Truth is both widely popular and particularly reviled

Confessor by Terry Goodkind

Confessor is the last book in Terry Goodkind’s epic fantasy/philosophy series The Sword of Truth. When the series began, many readers thought this book would be a great fantasy trilogy, short and sweet. It quickly blossomed into eleven novels, each 500 or more pages in length, and the novella Debt of Bones. Throughout that time, it generated a lot of criticism from fans of speculative fiction and professional critics. Yet each novel has consistently stayed at the top of many bestseller lists,


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Royal Exile: Dry and dull, full of flat characters

Royal Exile by Fiona McIntosh

In Royal Exile, Fiona McIntosh returns to the same world of the Percheron Saga. Though the concept is exactly what makes for good epic fantasy, the writer’s execution does not bear it out. Wooden dialogue, information dumps, and characters indistinguishable from each other make this novel a sad caricature of its potential.

A tribal barbarian warlord by the name of Loethar is rapidly conquering the Set, a federation of kingdoms with a high medieval culture.


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Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe: Just plain fun!

Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe by James Ward

I first encountered James Ward when he wrote the best-selling Pools books for the FORGOTTEN REALMS shared world. When I came across Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe, I just had to pick it up. I didn’t regret the decision.

The story is about young Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe, a sixteen year old boy, late to his magical powers, who must learn to serve his country on a dragonship of the line. Much of the story is reminiscent of the Horatio Hornblower stories by C.S.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8181 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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