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Benjamin Tate

book review joshua palmatierBenjamin Tate is a penname of fantasy author Joshua Palmatier. He was born in North-Central Pennsylvania and is currently a mathematics professor living near Endicott, NY, teaching at a local college. He began writing seriously in graduate school, using his fantasy world as an escape from the stress. In addition to writing epic fantasy, he teaches spin classes at the local gym, collects crackle glass, and has a roof garden threatening to take over the roof. His goals in life are to travel Europe, sail the Mediterranean, visit Australia, and preside over a small kingdom from a castle on a hill while occasionally bombarding the villagers below with catapult fire. Learn more at Benjamin Tate’s website.

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Well of Sorrows: Unfolds slowly yet engrossingly

Well of Sorrows by Benjamin Tate

One’s enjoyment of Well of Sorrows, by Benjamin Tate (pen name of Joshua Palmatier) will depend greatly on two issues: one’s patience for slowly developing stories and the amount of “fantasy” one is looking for in a fantasy novel. But by all means, give this book a try. It turned out to be one of my top ten fantasy reads of 2010. It can, however, go on my “Why do I start reading compelling series before they are completed; will I never learn?” list.

The story’s opening setting is Portstown, a “New World” colony still riven by old “Family” feuds from the mother kingdom across the ocean. In short order, things fall apart and after a quickly quelled riot (starkly, realistically violent and well-handled), the out-of-favor Families end up on a for... Read More

Leaves of Flame: Does what any good second book should

Leaves of Flame by Benjamin Tate

Leaves of Flame is the follow-up to Well of Sorrows by Benjamin Tate (pen name of Joshua Palmatier) and while it isn’t quite as good as its predecessor, since Well of Sorrows was one of my favorite reads last year, that’s a pretty high bar to meet. The sequel has more issues in terms of pacing and organization, but still remains a good novel and its latter third or so is especially strong. And it certainly avoids the dreaded “bridge book” syndrome.

The sequel picks up decades after the events of Well of Sorrows, though we’re still with our main character from book one — Colin — thanks to the time-related magic he employs, making him relatively ageless physically. And, thanks to the fact tha... Read More