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]: 2005.01


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Shaman’s Crossing: Slow start, builds nicely

Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb

The first thing to say is that while I’m giving Shaman’s Crossing four stars, I’d actually recommend not reading it until you’ve got Forest Mage in hand. It isn’t because Shaman’s Crossing ends on a cliffhanger (it stands fine on its own), but because it’s a very slow set-up to what is to come and I think disappointment in the pace will be assuaged if one can move smoothly from the set-up book to the (I assume) more quickly moving sequel.


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The Innocent Mage: Fairly enjoyable fantasy

The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller

In the UK Orbit is the largest Science Fiction and Fantasy publisher, responsible for bringing readers such authors as Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Orson Scott Card, Laurell K. Hamilton, Tad Williams, J.V. Jones, R. Scott Bakker, etc. In September 2007, Orbit made its US debut thanks to Hachette Book Group USA, and brought with them a diverse blend of fantasy,


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Tunnels: There’s better YA fantasy out there

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams

Tunnels is the first book in a new YA series that has gotten a lot of hype recently. How does it live up to the hype? In mixed fashion.

The book focuses on Will Burrows, son of amateur archaeologist and local museum curator Dr. Burrows. The two go on amateur digs together and a reference is made to a large discovery Dr. Burrows made that was “stolen” by a more famous archaeologist.
We learn all this relatively early and are further introduced to Chester,


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Melusine: The characters are the strong suits here

Melusine by Sarah Monette

Melusine has some definite issues as a first novel. It’s setting doesn’t feel quite fully fleshed out — even if one gives the author the benefit of the doubt and believes things are left unanswered for plot purposes and are “to be revealed later.” If that’s the case, the reader could have done with a bit more revelation early on, especially with regard to the politics which drive so much of the characters’ motivations. Without that background, their actions run the risk of seeming arbitrary just for the sake of plot.


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The Compass Rose: Poorly written romance-fantasy

The Compass Rose by Gail Dayton

I simply could not finish Gail Dayton’s The Compass Rose (and have already donated it to my public library). It begins adequately and has decent world-building, but about halfway in (once the strong-yet-unremarkable protagonist, Kallista, and company start toward the capital city) it sinks into a nauseating quagmire of romantic pseudo-plots and issues. The scenes are poorly paced, and for no apparent reason (other than weak attempts at creating tension), chapters begin and end in the middle of the same scene.


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The Ruins of Gorlan: Felt like an old favorite

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Will, the hero of The Ruins of Gorlan, could probably have been taken in entirety from any number of authors who have written this sort of children’s/YA stuff, but for me it was like I was 13 years old and reading Magician’s Apprentice by Raymond Feist. That is high praise because I read that book over and over until the cover literally fell off and the binding no longer held the pages together. 


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Uglies: Recommended for teens with issues

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies is a futuristic teen adventure book that will keep even adult readers enthralled from the first page.

Tally is ready to be pretty. When you turn sixteen in this futuristic world, you are plucked from school and taken to have the “operation” that turns you from an Ugly into a Pretty. When you’re pretty you can do anything. You get to move to New Pretty Town and party all night long if you choose and Tally can’t wait to join her friends who have already “turned.”

By turn of chance Tally meets Shay.


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Lara: She has no faults

Lara by Bertrice Small

Lara has been sold into slavery by her father. For most young women in the world of Hetar, this is a disaster that brings about nothing but fear and sorrow. For Lara however it is but the very beginning of her adventure.

Half human, half faerie, Lara is stunningly beautiful and willful as well. Her faerie protector guides her in finding her destiny which involves a series of great adventures and great lovers. Finally reaching the Outlands, Lara comes to realize her destiny is to aid the people she finds there in their war against her homeland Hatar.


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Poison Study: Lightweight political fantasy

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Overall, I am impressed with Maria Snyder‘s first novel, Poison Study. It was well written and the main characters are likeable, complex, and engaging. The characters of the “supporting staff” are also well done. The dialogue is realistic and the writing style is pleasant and unpretentious. The pace is quick, there is political intrigue, spying, treachery, fighting, forgiveness, personal growth, and romance (although the single love scene was confusing and a bit corny).

However, the plot was somewhat predictable and there were few surprises.


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Mystic and Rider: A mystified, riderless horse…

Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn

Like a mystified and riderless horse, Sharon Shinn’s fantasy novel Mystic & Rider gallops to the point of fatigue and frustration. This conclusion is especially unfortunate in light of the excellent opening chapter. But buyer beware: the tension and excitement rarely increase from that point, and the last of the 440 pages brings us little closer to some kind of resolution or revelation than the first. Rather, the entire novel is simply a prologue for the rest of the series.

The novel’s plot is perfectly plain.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8298 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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