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]: 2000.01


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The Sword: Quintessential B-grade sword-n-sorcery

The Sword by Deborah Chester

The Sword is the first of a high-fantasy trilogy and is little more than a prologue for whatever follows. What I mean by that is this: in terms of actual plot development, very little happens here. Each paperback in this trilogy is about 400 pages long (1200 total), so this could easily have been a 2-book saga with little to no impact on its quality.

As for the story itself… There are some books you can read when you’re tired, some you can’t,


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Well of Darkness: Should have left it in the bargain bin

Well of Darkness by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

I bought Well of Darkness in hardcover years ago in the bargain bin. I should have left it there. I have tried starting it three or four times, and I, for the life of me, cannot get past the second chapter. It is totally boring and un-engaging, and I instantly disliked the characters I was reading about. Therefore, I really can’t say much more about the book. I rarely get so turned off so early in a book, and Weis and Hickman have written some pretty entertaining stuff (Dragonlance),


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A Kiss of Shadows: Not my cup of mead

A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton

Laurell K. Hamilton promises a story of modern-day faeries and their complex court intrigue, which in theory is right up my alley, but I didn’t really get into A Kiss of Shadows.

By about page 100, my significant other was laughing because I kept yelling aloud, “Is she going to sleep with HIM, TOO?” The entire plot of the book seems to consist of Merry’s sexual adventures. That would be OK if it were good erotica,


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The Wind Singer: Somewhat uneven but many strong sections

The Wind Singer by William Nicholson

The Wind Singer is a children’s novel and so comes with all the pluses and minuses of that genre. The pace is quick with little room or time for digression or a lot of descriptive detail. The upside is that the book never once bogs down and keeps pulling the reader along. The downside, though how much of a downside will mostly depend on age and expectations, is that characterization suffers a bit and there are a few places where it would have been nice to have gotten a more full picture (both visually and in terms of plot context/background).


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The Meeting of the Waters: How can a swashbuckling Celtic epic be BORING?!?

The Meeting of the Waters by Caiseal Mor

With its gorgeous knotwork cover art and the back-cover blurb about “brave, copper-haired Aoife,” the publishers evidently mean to recommend Caiseal Mor‘s The Meeting of the Waters to readers who’ve read and loved Marillier’s Sevenwaters series, the popular trilogy of Celtic epics featuring strong female protagonists. That’s why I bought this book myself. I expected a similar kind of story, complete with adventure, love, war, and magic. The setting is the time of the Gaelic conquest of Ireland,


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Magic Steps: Not Pierce’s best

Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce

Magic Steps is the first book of the Tamora Pierce quartet entitled The Circle Opens. Featuring the characters of The Circle of Magic quartet, this new series continues their story by exploring how each of the four main characters — just coming to grips with their powers in the previous books — now handle the challenge of becoming teachers themselves. Unfortunately, Pierce has decided that one of the prerequisites of this new experience is that the four protagonists — Sandry,


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The Nameless Day: Major flaws but somehow kept us going

The Nameless Day by Sara Douglass

The Nameless Day is a difficult book to review as there was so much I didn’t like about it. To begin with, the main character is extremely unlikeable, which isn’t an automatic mark against a book, but when the character stays so consistently unlikeable for such a long time, it does get a bit wearying. We see some slight glimpses of a better man here and there more towards the end, but following Thomas Neville through several hundred pages can seem a bit of a chore.


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Medalon: Highly entertaining, even with some absurdities

Medalon by Jennifer Fallon

Jennifer Fallon’s Medalon is the first book in The Demon Child Trilogy, which makes up the larger Hythrun Chronicles. The Sisterhood of Medalon has made it illegal to practice religion (the worship of pagan gods), persecutes all believers of the gods, and has forced the Harshini, a race of long-lived beings who interact with the gods, into hiding. The sisters use a highly trained army of male Defenders to enforce their orders across the country. But,


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Daughter of the Forest: Wonderful

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

In Daughter of the Forest, Juliet Marillier deftly sets the fairy tale “The Six Swans” in dark-ages Ireland; think of the general time period of The Mists of Avalon, when Christian and Pagan, Gael and Briton and Saxon, were fighting and feuding and even sometimes getting along. The tale fits in amazingly well in the setting; the famous fairy tale echoes the Irish legend of Fionnuala and the children of Lir, which predated it.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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