The Palace of Love: Three of Vance’s best supporting characters

The Palace of Love by Jack Vance

Two down and three to go… In order to exact revenge on Viole Falushe, the third Demon Prince, Kirth Gersen must first discover who Mr. Falushe is, and then find and infiltrate his famous Palace of Love.

The actual plot, while just as brisk and fun as usual, isn't the most entertaining aspect of The Palace of Love. This volume is particularly charming because of Jack Vance's exquisite characters — three in particular:

Vogel Filschner was rejected by the prettiest girl in school when he was a pimply 14-year old geek. His retaliation feels just like what school psychologists are warning us about these days. He's a fascinating villain!
Navarath is a washed-up poet who lives on a houseboat. We're not sure if he's a genius, a fake, crazy, or just drunk. Whatever he is, he's amusing and Vance has lots of fun with Navarath, giving him an eccentric art... Read More

The Castle of Llyr: Put The Chronicles of Prydain on your child’s book shelf

The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Alexander's five-part The Chronicles of Prydain is essential reading for anyone, regardless of age, gender or reading preferences. Although they are classed as both fantasy and children's literature, these books can be enjoyed by everyone, not just for its fantastical elements and the broad good vs. evil conflict, but for their gentle humour, loveable characters and vindication of humanity over, not just fantasy-evil, but the more base qualities of greed, ignorance, spite and pride. At their core, the books are a coming-of-age story for our protagonist Taran, as he journeys from boy to man in troubled times, acquiring wisdom, humility, kindness and responsibility as he goes. The best part is that this process is gradual, but not stagnant. In each book, Taran has grown, and yet there's always more to learn on the path to becoming a man. Read More