The Voice from the Edge Volume 3: Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes

The Voice from the Edge Volume 3: Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes by Harlan Ellison & Robert Bloch

This is the third collection of Harlan Ellison’s short stories which he has narrated himself. Each of these Voice from the Edge audiobooks is quite excellent. I can’t say that I like every story — some of them are just too gross for me — but I can say that Ellison is a great storyteller and that there’s no better way to read his stories than to listen to him read them to you.

This collection contains:

“Between Heaven and Hell” — (first published in 1994 in Mind Fields: The Art of Jacek Yerka, the Fiction of Harlan Ellison) This is a very short piece (3 minutes) in which Ellison juxtaposes the wonderful and ... Read More

Tunnels of Blood: A high-stress scary story

Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan

Warning: This is the third book in the CIRQUE DU FREAK series, so this review will contain spoilers for the previous books. You don’t have to read the previous books because author Darren Shan gives a short but sufficient recap, but starting at the beginning would be ideal.

Mr. Crepsley is the only full vampire that Darren had ever met until Gavner Purl, Vampire General, shows up at the Cirque du Freak. After Purl meets with Mr. Crepsley, Darren is told that he and his mentor will be taking a little break from the freak show and going to live in a city while Crepsley takes care of some business there. Darren is allowed to bring his friend Evra the snake-boy.

At first the city is fun and Darren even meets a girl who becomes his first girlfriend. But then things start going badly, as they always do. Darren and Evra see a news report which says that corpses have been showing up ... Read More

Always Forever: Worthy finale

Always Forever by Mark Chadbourn

Always Forever is the third novel in the AGE OF MISRULE trilogy by Mark Chadbourn, and at the start of this final installment, things definitely aren't looking up. As Darkest Hour ends, the five Brothers and Sisters of Dragons are scattered and broken, and the dark god Balor is loose in the land again. If the five heroes can't somehow stop Balor by the festival of Samhain, when he comes into his full powers, it may spell the end of humanity.

In one sense, Always Forever is a direct continuation of the first two novels in the series, World's End and Darkest Hour. The Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, aided by True Thomas the Rhymer, travel across England, with occasional forays into the Otherworld of myth and legend. They meet people, figh... Read More

Nightchild: Best book in the trilogy

Nightchild by James Barclay

Nightchild is officially the third book in the CHRONICLES OF THE RAVEN trilogy by British fantasy author James Barclay, but it feels like a completely separate novel from Dawnthief and Nightchild, which were so strongly connected that they could have been published as one long story, with book 2 picking up right where book 1 left off. Nightchild, by contrast, starts 5 years after the end of the previous book, and while it continues some of the plot lines from the first two books, it feels like the start of a brand new story.

At the start of Nightchild, the mercenaries collectively known as the Raven have moved in separate directions after having saved Balaia from the Wesmen and invading dragons from other dimensions. Hirad Coldheart is busy p... Read More

A Sword from Red Ice: J.V. Jones is a great story-teller

A Sword from Red Ice by J.V. Jones

This series hooked me with the first one, A Cavern of Black Ice, and I've since read all of J.V. Jones' books. Sure there are better writers out there, but as far as good story-telling goes, Jones is up there with the best of them.

Sword of Shadows reads like a tale told by the village story-teller or a traveling minstrel earning his next room and board. To me, that's the way a fantasy story should be written, like it's a story you'd expect to hear while waiting out a storm in cozy hearth-warmed pub or told to a group of warriors-hunters gathered around a camp-fire deep in a primeval forest. JVJ writes just enough description to give you a solid image and feel of the people and places of this world without bogging down the story with too much detail. (Unfortunately description has seemed to become a forgotten art in a lot of the... Read More

Squire: Ends on a note of both hope and foreboding

Squire by Tamora Pierce

Keladry of Mindelin (or "Kel" as she's better known) has finally completed her page training, passed her exams and conquered the ongoing bullying that's plagued her since she first signed up to become a Lady Knight. Now that she is a squire, she's eager to begin her duties under a knight of the realm — and is shocked and awed when Raoul of Goldenlake offers to take her on. Anyone who has read the Song of the Lioness quartet knows how much of a legend he is in Tortall. Soon the two are a close knit-team, as Kel accompanies him to bandit-raided villages and centaur populated lands. Soon she's learning through experience, with the grim realities of living rough and dispensing justice to criminals becoming an everyday occurrence — and there's still the same old prejudice against a female squire.

As the book progresses, Kel comes up against man... Read More

Memories of Ice: This is one of those stories that hooked me

Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson

I sometimes find myself lost in this story's complexity. I think I'm getting the general idea that the gods of this world have a more direct relationship with the mortals than what we're used to, and that the tale here really started hundreds of thousands of years ago. Also, sometimes when it seems like I've missed something, it eventually comes together, more or less.

I also get very frustrated over the lack of visual descriptions. That may be only my own personal pet-peeve, because I have this complaint for a lot of today's fantasy writers. It's just bothersome to me when I'm trying to enter a fantasy world and the creator doesn't always paint a good picture of its creatures or the characters. I'm infuriated when I surrender to the fact that I'm just going to have to go with my best idea of what something looks like, and then a description comes pages after it has been introduced and I find that... Read More