Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: John Hulet


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A Deadly Education: Fantastic originality

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

I honestly had a very hard time with the beginning of Naomi Novik’s newest novel, A Deadly Education (2020). But based on my experience with her prior work, I kept going and though I don’t think this novel nears the strength of ones like Spinning Silver or Uprooted, I was happy I did.

El (short for Galadriel) Higgins is a student at the Scholomance,


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Fairhaven Rising: Boring

Fairhaven Rising by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

I’ve read every book that L.E. Modesitt, Jr. has written in the SAGA OF RECLUCE. I have thrilled to watch different characters go through the refiner’s fire of youth and grow into interesting adults. There have been sorrows and joys along the way, and I often felt like I was reading the same book over and over with different character names, different trades they were pursuing, but mostly the same pattern and the same themes. Men are naturally power-hungry and bad.


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Quantum Shadows: Unpleasant

Quantum Shadows by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

What would life be like if you were living through a seemingly never-ending series of holocaust-style planetary collapses? Corvyn is a cynic. He questions everything and tries to hold himself above the mundane ideals that normal people struggle with. He’s been there, done that, is powerful enough in the world order that exists to resist almost anyone, but he refuses to take a leadership role himself.

In Quantum Shadows (2020) we follow Corvyn as he attempts to track down an apparent attempt to seize power by entities unknown.


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Fortress Frontier: A captivating adventure

Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole

It’s amazing how a main character can spoil a book. Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier is the second book in the SHADOW OPS series by Myke Cole. I didn’t like the first book, Control Point, very well because I loathed Oscar Britton, the main character. He offended my pride as a soldier. Yet I decided to try the second book and this time I have to give Myke Cole some real credit for giving me a reason not to hate his SHADOW OPS series….


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Traitor’s Blade: Full of adventure and derring-do

Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

Traitor’s Blade is the first installment in Sebastien de Castell’s GREATCOATS series and is an interesting blend of genres — like The Three Musketeers with classic fantasy. At the core it is about a young man whose heart is broken and who has found meaning in defending ideals that are greater than himself.

An oft-used, but nonetheless compelling storyline in fantasy is the abuse of power by the nobility. Whether it’s something as simple as overtaxing and overworking the lower classes or some of the more heinous examples where the Nobles rape,


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The Valley of Shadows: Doesn’t hold up to the rest of the series

The Valley of Shadows by John Ringo & Mike Massa

My experience with authors who write in another author’s world has been mixed. On the good side you have the work that Janny Wurts did with Raymond Feist in the EMPIRE CYCLE. On the less impressive side you have The Valley of Shadows (2018). This is the fifth installment in the BLACK TIDE RISING series and takes a tangential track describing what happens with Tom Smith, the corporate security guru,


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Destiny’s Conflict: Overflowing with vistas both grand and horrifying

Destiny’s Conflict by Janny Wurts

The wait for each installment in Janny Wurts’ THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW series can be pretty long and grueling. Wurts is a Mastercraftsman and the amount of labor she puts into telling her story is evident in the finished product. She never fails to find the perfect (and often uncommon) adjective to paint a vivid and precise picture of what is happening in her story. Each of Wurts’ meticulously-crafted novels is absolutely worth the wait!

Please note that Destiny’s Conflict is the tenth book in the WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW series (the second book of Arc IV: SWORD OF THE CANON).


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Dark Fantasy Meets Real-Life Disease: What I Learned from Cancer about Writing, and Vice Versa

Today, we welcome Tom Doyle, the author of a contemporary fantasy trilogy from Tor Books. In the first book, American Craftsmen, two modern magician-soldiers fight their way through the legacies of Poe and Hawthorne as they attempt to destroy an undying evil — and not kill each other first. In the sequel, The Left-Hand Way, the craftsmen are hunters and hunted in a global race to save humanity from a new occult threat out of America’s past. The final book of the trilogy, War and Craft,


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Treachery’s Tools: Satisfying for a fan of the series

Treachery’s Tools by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

It’s always a surprise when a fantasy novel can carry real meaning in depicting modern issues. Things like pride, avarice and jealousy that can be pervasive in certain segments of the social structure of a modern world can be so powerfully demonstrated when people use swords and magic to actually kill each. L.E. Modesitt Jr.’s Treachery’s Tools was able to provoke those comparisons for me.

When last we left Alastar he had successfully stood off a revolt by High Holders against the Rex of Solidar and the attempted obliteration of the Imager’s Collegium.


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Last First Snow: Tense and gripping

Last First Snow by Max Gladstone

I will admit upfront that it took me quite a while to get through Last First Snow (2015), the fourth book in Max Gladstone’s CRAFT SEQUENCE, which would seem weird considering how much I enjoyed the other books in the series. At this point, I am just very glad that I did read it. Gladstone may have taken a while to capture my interest, but by the end of the story, I was reminded why I like his work so much.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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