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Alma Alexander

book review Alma Alexander fantasy authorAlma Alexander (born 1963) also writes under her real name: Alma A. Hromic. Alma is a scientist by education (MSc in Molecular Biology) and a duchess by historical accident. She was born on the banks of an ancient river in a country which no longer exists, grew up in Africa, went to school in a castle in Wales, and has lived in several countries on four continents. She currently lives among the evergreens in the Pacific northwest. You can learn more about her at Alma Alexander’s website and in Bill’s interview with her.


Bill Chats with Alma Alexander

Recently I had a chance to chat with Alma Alexander, author of the young adult epic WORLDWEAVERS. Please find synopses, cover art, and my reviews of Alma Alexander's WORLDWEAVERS novels here. Alma Alexander's website is here.

How much of a “plotter” are you before you start — do you have detailed outlines of where you are going, a general sense of conclusion? Have you ever found any of your characters “getting away from you,” in the sense that they end up involved in ways you hadn’t anticipated?

I'm a seat-of-the-pantser and I often find out... Read More

WorldWeavers: Gift of the Unmage & Spellspam

Gifts of the Unmage & Spellspam by Alma Alexander

Despite some rough spots, Alma Alexander’s Worldweavers series is an intriguing new entry in YA fantasy. At least based on the first two books in the series: Gift of the Unmage and Spellspam. The series is set in a world roughly akin and contemporaneous with our own, save that people can use magic and there are other “polities” such as dwarves, Alphiri and the Faele. Into this world a little over a decade ago is born with lots of fanfare and media coverage, Thea — the seventh child of a pair of seventh children — and from her are expected great things. Unfortunately, she seems to be completely bereft of magical ability and we enter Gift of the Unmage as she is given one last chance before her parents... Read More

Cybermage: Is it over?

Cybermage by Alma Alexander

Cybermage is Alma Alexander’s third book in the Worldweavers series and one that can satisfyingly close this particular series though I hesitate to ever use the word “concluding” with any fantasy trilogy as authors (or nervous publishers/agents) are wont to reopen allegedly “done” series.

Cybermage picks up just a little while after book two ended and while this book can stand on its own, with an independent storyline, it will make much more sense and be all the richer for having read the previous two (Gift of the Unmage and Spellspam), especially as there’s a larger story arc that runs through the entire trilogy — one that’s layered over each book’s own unique plot.

The first two books, as mentioned in m... Read More

Random: Far beyond the ordinary YA fantasy

Random by Alma Alexander

There's a group of Young Adult authors — I'm thinking of Robin McKinley, Juliet Marillier, Justine Larbalestier, and a few others — who write the kind of books that snooty adults who look down on YA in Internet articles have clearly never read. These are books that don't get made into popular movies, because most of what happens is internal to the characters.

This kind of YA has depth and resonance and significance. It shines a light on the path for young people (young women, in particular) who are looking for courage and a place in the world. It's been some time since I was young, and I've never been a woman, but I'm glad that young women have writers like these in their cor... Read More

The Second Star: Strong first half marred by final third

The Second Star by Alma Alexander

At one point while reading Alma Alexander’s The Second Star, I wrote a marginalia note hoping the book wasn’t going to go where I feared it might. Some chapters later, it turned out that was indeed our destination, and I have to confess I was sorely disappointed. That said, Alexander’s novel has an excellent, compelling premise and a quite strong first two-thirds, and I think the vast majority of readers will enjoy the book to that point. After that, one’s mileage will vary.

Two centuries ago, humanity sent out its first interstellar starship, the Parada, propelled by an experimental drive. When all communication was lost, the six crewmembers were assumed dead and that failure kept humanity safely close to home for hundreds of years, until recently, when a second at... Read More

Val Hall: The Even Years: An intriguing premise

Val Hall: The Even Years by Alma Alexander

Val Hall: The Even Years (2020), by Alma Alexander, is a series of linked stories set in a sort of retirement home for gifted or powered people (though only to a certain limited degree). Each story follows a single individual who relates their story to another character, usually sending us back in time to their first usage of their power. As is typical with collections, the stories vary in quality and effect, but Alexander does a nice job with the intriguing premise, offering up several quite moving moments, and the whole work left me looking forward to its follow-up, Val Hall: The Odd Years.

Following a prologue that explains where the idea for Val Hall came from, the collection presents eight stories — the final one a “bonus” story from the... Read More

Great Bookstores: Village Books in Bellingham, WA

Alma Alexander wrote in to tell us about Village Books in Fairhaven, Bellingham, Washington:

"It's a big and wonderful indie bookstore which has a lot of cool stuff, comfy armchairs scattered around the place for laid-back browsing, and lots of author events scheduled in their reading gallery.

This photo is one of me at one of my own readings there -- I've had at least four over the last couple of years.

Chuck and Dee Robinson, the owners, are great book lovers, and friends of mine."

Here's a Video Tour of Village Books:

And here's their SFF Section:

If you live in the area, be sure to join Village Books for their Steampunk Masquerade this Thursday evening from 5:00 to ... Read More

More speculative fiction from Alma Alexander

Changer of Days — (2001) Publisher: The life Anghara knows has ended; everyone she loved is dead or doomed. And now she must flee far from her home or die at the hands of her half-brother Sif. A defenseless child is adrift in an unfamiliar world, pursued by the minions of a false king whose brutality knows no bounds. But Anghara has a great destiny that reaches beyond the borders of the troubled realm she must one day rule — and a miraculous gift to be awakened in secret and fortified in a distant desert land at once beautiful, mysterious, and perilous: an awesome and frightening power called Sight.
Alma Alexander Changer of Days The Hidden QueenAlma Alexander Changer of Days The Hidden Queen

The Secrets of Jin-Shei — (2004) Publisher: The epic story of a sisterhood where blood relations are nothing compared to the unbreakable bond of the secret sisters — the bond of Jin-Shei.

book review Alma Alexander The Secrets of JinShei The Ember of Heavenbook review Alma Alexander The Secrets of JinShei The Ember of Heaven

Alma Alexander Triads — (2011-2013) Publisher: Grown-up fairy tales, aimed at the reader who would weep over Oscar Wilde’s breathless stories of magic and cruelty and sacrifice and the transcendent thing that is half grief and half joy. Alma Alexander acknowledges her debt to the dark and twisted fairy tales of Wilde, and also to the drama and pathos of Hans Christian Andersen’s work. “I learned from Hans Christian Andersen to trust passion, however tragic, rather than a rote happily-ever-after ending tacked on just because ‘it’s a fairy tale’,” Alexander says. “It’s ALWAYS a happy ending for some, and not for others. In my stories there is seldom a Happily Ever After. “I like my stories as I like my chocolate – dark, and a little bittersweet.”

fantasy book reviews Alma Alexander Triads Once Upon a Fairy Talefantasy book reviews Alma Alexander Triads Cat Talesfantasy book reviews Alma Alexander Triads Cat Tales, Hauntedfantasy book reviews Alma Alexander Triads Cat Tales, Weight of Worldsfantasy book reviews Alma Alexander Triads Out of This Worldfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews 2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens — (2011) Publisher: Choices at the End of the World On the eve of the end of the world, 20 December 2012, five friends meet in Spanish Gardens, the cafe where they had celebrated their college graduation 20 years before. Over Irish coffees, they reminisce – and reveal long-held and disturbing secrets. Each friend in turn is given a curious set of instructions by an enigmatic bartender named Ariel: “Your life is filled with crossroads and you are free to choose one road or another at any time. Stepping through this door takes away all choices except two — the choice to live a different life, or return to this one….” Each in turn passes through the portal and are faced with new lives and challenges. Their decisions show a new life — or something far worse. Ar the end of the world, it’s a chance for redemption, or a chance to learn something about themselves. International bestselling author, Alma Alexander, mixes a world or possibilities and paths. What if you could change the past — go right instead of left, fall in love with a different person, change careers or families, or even change your sex. 2012 Midnight at Spanish Gardens brings those choices to life.