Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Order [book in series=yearoffirstbook.book# (eg 2014.01), stand-alone or one-author collection=3333.pubyear, multi-author anthology=5555.pubyear, SFM/MM=5000, interview=1111]: 1996.02


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River of Blue Fire: A great story that’s just too long

River of Blue Fire by Tad Williams

River of Blue Fire (1998) is the second book in Tad WilliamsOVERLAND quartet. You absolutely must read the first book, City of Golden Shadow, first.

Our group of heroes (Renie, Xabbu, Orlando, Fredericks, Martine, Tb4, Kwan-Le) have entered Otherland and are searching for Paul Jonas at Mr. Sellar’s request. They hope to discover what the Grail Brotherhood is up to and why some kids (including Renie’s little brother Stephen,


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A Clash of Kings: No one will escape

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Renly Baratheon explains, “I have it in me to be a great king, strong yet generous, clever, just, diligent, loyal to my friends and terrible to my enemies, yet capable of forgiveness, patient…” Renly’s only problem, besides arrogance, is that he has no legal claim to the Iron Throne of Westeros — excepting the strength of his army. Luckily for Renly, Westeros’ leaders no longer seem to require any legitimacy beyond the power of their armies and the ruthlessness of their bannermen. Perhaps the laws of the realm were always a whitewash,


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The Neutronium Alchemist: Like a soap opera

The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F. Hamilton

Warning: Contains a few spoilers for the previous book, The Reality Dysfunction.

“Jesus, I can’t believe that’s all there is: life and purgatory. After tens of thousands of years, the universe finally reveals that we have souls, and then we have the glory snatched right back and replaced with terror. There has to be something more, there has to be. He wouldn’t do that to us.”

The Neutronium Alchemist is the second book in Peter F.


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Thunderbird: Ancient shores rediscovered

Thunderbird by Jack McDevitt

When we last left Jack McDevitt’s North Dakota in 1996’s Ancient Shores, the U.S. Government had failed miserably and embarrassingly to wrest control of an alien stargate from the Spirit Lake Sioux, rightful owners of the land on which the alien artifact was found. Thunderbird, a sequel to Ancient Shores, picks up several months after the showdown, which also saw fictional poet Walter Asquith shot dead.

The world of Grand Forks,


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The Seven Songs: Missing the X factor

The Seven Songs by T.A. Barron

“Pursue the Seven Songs in Turn; the Parts Beget the Whole…”

The second book in T.A. Barron’s MERLIN SAGA (preceded by The Lost Years and followed by The Raging Fires) continues young Merlin’s journey toward the powerful wizard of legend. Having noticed that there was very little literature that dealt with Merlin in his formative years, Barron set about writing a “prequel” of sorts to Arthurian legend that explored what Merlin was like as a child.


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Jovah’s Angel: Intelligent character-driven fantasy

Jovah’s Angel by Sharon Shinn

Set about 150 years after Archangel, Jovah’s Angel returns to the world of the Samaria books to find a new set of problems besieging the land. Terribly destructive storms are wracking the land, and the angels, who for hundreds of years have been able to intercede with the god Jovah for protection, can no longer work their magic. When one particularly bad storm hurls the Archangel Delilah to the ground, breaking her wing and leaving her no longer capable of flight,


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The Queen of Attolia: Darker, more psychological

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Eugenides ends The Thief in triumph, but within the first chapter of this sequel, he is back in the prisons of the Queen of Attolia, where he loses his hand to the executioner’s axe, while the Queen looks on impassively. Forced to deal with the rest of his life as the Queen’s Thief of Eddis, with only one hand, he bitterly retreats to his rooms in seclusion, leaving Eddis without his skills just as the peninsula erupts in warfare, from both within and without.


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The Night World 2: Much better than Twilight

THE NIGHT WORLD: Volume 2 by L.J. Smith

“There Is Plenty of Darkness…”

The first omnibus edition of The Night World sets up the basic premise of the Night World, introducing several concepts and characters that pop up again in later books, and are quick, entertaining reads. But it’s not until the fifth story (found in this collection) in the series that things really get moving, and Smith begins to draw on her established history of the Night World, bring back past characters, and begin to set the scene for more epic things to come.


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Heart of Ice: A dark intriguing fairytale

Heart of Ice by Louise Cooper

Louise Cooper’s Dark Enchantment books are a series of reasonably short novels, all stand-alone stories, that cater well to the young teenage girl who likes a blend of romance, mystery, mild horror and fairytale. Though I don’t fit into that age group anymore, the books in the Dark Enchantment series are nice, quick reads, perfect for cold wintry nights by the fire, just complex enough to hold my interest.

In Heart of Ice,


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Windrider: The magic continues

Windrider by Pamela Freeman

Windrider is the second of the Floramonde books, though unlike other books in series, they all can be read on their own or out of order, and indeed when it came to the first book The Willow Tree’s Daughter, the chapters themselves could be read out of sequence thanks to the format which made the book appear more like a collection of short stories rather than a complete novel.

That trend in format does not continue into Windrider,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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