Phule’s Paradise: Silly but fun

Phule’s Paradise by Robert Asprin

Phule’s Paradise is the second book in Robert Asprin‘s screwball comedy series called PHULE’S COMPANY. These are being released in audiobook format by Tantor Audio with excellent narration by Noah Michael Levine. You’ll want to read the first book, Phule’s Company, before picking up Phule’s Paradise.

In Phule’s Company, we met Willard Phule, a mega-billionaire who, as a punishment, was assigned to captain the Space Legion’s company of “losers and misfits” that was guarding a swamp on a backwater planet. (Don’t ask why a mega-billionaire would want to spend his time doing this job — it makes no sen... Read More

Elven Star: Second verse; same as the first

Elven Star by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

Elven Star, second novel in THE DEATHGATE CYCLE, is almost exactly the same as book one, save that the progression of the plot’s quality is inverted. That sounds confusing, I’m sure, but I will explain. In case the reader didn't look at my review of Dragon Wing, my thoughts were more or less as follows: fun YA premise, good world-building, somewhat simplistic characters, and it all came crashing down into rushed nonsense right at the end. Elven Star has the same fun YA premise, similarly decent world-building, and even more simplistic characters. The only difference is that it starts as rushed nonsense and evens out to something more focused and enjoyable right at the end. All in all, I can't say that there's been much qualitat... Read More

King of the Dead: It’s more about the journey than the destination

King of the Dead by R.A. MacAvoy

This review will contain a few spoilers for R.A. MacAvoy’s previous book, Lens of the World. You’ll want to read that book before beginning King of the Dead.

King of the Dead is the second story in R.A. MacAvoy’s LENS OF THE WORLD trilogy about Nazhuret, a man who is writing his life story for his friend, the king. When we met Nazhuret at the beginning of Lens of the World, he was an ugly orphan who had been raised in a government military academy. Upon reaching his majority, he left and became an apprentice to Powl, a man who is much more than the lens grinder he pretends to be. Powl thoroughly educated Nazhuret in a multitude of subjects and disciplines. Only toward the end of that first book do we realize why Powl took an interest in an ugly orphan — he recognized Nazh... Read More

Exile: Cheesy fun

Exile by R.A. Salvatore

Exile, the second novel in THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT series, is a sequel to the first book, Homeland, in the same way that The Two Towers is a “sequel” to Fellowship of the Ring: technically you can call them separate stories, but when you come right down to it they work more strongly as one complete narrative. Exile picks up where Homeland left off to tie up the plot threads left dangling at the end of the first novel. Homeland and Exile essentially form the “Menzoberranzan duology” of THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT. Their ties are very close, and to be honest there’s not much to say about the second one that I haven’t already said about the first one. Still, Exile has a few separate strengths and failings independent of Homeland, and it affords me the opportunity to go a bit more in-... Read More

The Great Hunt: Another fun installment

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

Here's another really fun installment of The Wheel of Time. Like The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt kept me thoroughly entertained. Everything I said in the review above goes for this book, too. It's fast-paced and full of plot. I think this is the best book in the series.

We get to meet some excellent secondary heroes and villains in The Great Hunt — Egeanin and the Seanchan from across the sea who use captured and chained women with power to fight for them, and ship captain Bayle Doman, for example.

Also, in The Great Hunt, we start to get an inkling of just how well Robert Jordan has built his world and planned this series. There are aspects of the poetry, mythology, history, and stories of this world that we ha... Read More

The Door in the Tree: Nothing overly special

The Door in the Tree by William Corlett

This is the second book in The Magician's House Quartet and sees the three children of the previous novel (The Steps Up The Chimney) return to their uncle Jack's Golden House, where the year before they had meet a time-traveling wizard called Stephen Tyler, befriended a number of wild animals and mastered the magical art of sharing their bodies, and helped deliver their uncle's girlfriend's baby when the wizard's assistant Morden had attempted to sabotage the birth.

The children William, Mary and the youngest Alice are delighted to be back during the short spring break, eager to begin living more of the magic, but are slightly disconcerted to find that nothing out of the ordinary occurs. Just as William begins to doubt the reality of the magic of however, Alice once more joins minds with the dog Spot, ... Read More

Lasher: Almost surpasses Lestat as Rice’s most intriguing character

Lasher by Anne Rice

As part of Anne Rice's The Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy, this installment comes after The Witching Hour in which we were introduced to three major concepts: a secret organisation called the Talamasca (best described as a supernatural FBI), a powerful family of witches known as the Mayfairs, and a strange spirit called Lasher that has haunted generations of Mayfairs, and been investigated by the Talamasca for centuries.

In the previous novel Rowan Mayfair, the latest matriarch of the Mayfair clan, rediscovered her roots and returned to her ancestral home in New Orleans. Marrying Michael Curry (who by strange coincidence has connections to both her and her circumstances), and learning about her heritage (which was documented diligently by the Talamasca), she eventually met the spirit Lasher and devi... Read More

The Bloody Crown of Conan: Nobody can touch R.E.H

The Bloody Crown of Conan by Robert E. Howard

Nobody can touch Robert E. Howard when he was at the top-of-his-game. The three stories in The Bloody Crown of Conan are not only some of his best, they are some of his best Conan stories and Conan was his greatest creation. Howard was the father of Sword & Sorcery and next only to J.R.R. Tolkien in being the largest influence of fantasy today. His stories have stark imagery that’s nothing short of amazing. The action moves at break-neck speed, and despite that they were written as pure adventure “pulps,” there’s harsh reality that lying just beneath the surface.

In "The People of the Black Circle", a princess and her kingdom are the target of an elite group of evil sorcerers, the Black Circle. Onl... Read More