The Dying Earth: Ludicrous and sublimely intelligent

The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

The Dying Earth is the first of Jack Vance’s Tales of the Dying Earth and contains six somewhat overlapping stories all set in the future when the sun is red and dim, much technology has been lost, and most of humanity has died out. Our planet is so unrecognizable that it might as well be another world, and evil has been "distilled" so that it's concentrated in Earth's remaining inhabitants.

But it's easy to forget that a failing planet is the setting for the Dying Earth stories, for they are neither depressing nor bleak, and they're not really about the doom of the Earth. These stories are whimsical and weird and they focus more on the strange people who remain and the strange things they do. Magicians, wizards, witches, beauti... Read More

The Battle of the Labyrinth: Filled with monsters, traps, secrets and danger

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Just as every Harry Potter book began with the requisite tormenting of the Dursley family, every Percy Jackson book begins with the destruction of a school, a trend that continues in the fourth book starring the young demi-god son of Poseidon. Unless you're familiar with the three previous books, you'll probably find yourself lost with what's going on here. About to celebrate his fifteenth birthday party, Percy is still up to his neck in problems, ranging from his mother's new boyfriend to the Greek monsters that keep trying to kill him. Luckily he has his friends to help him out: the satyr Grover, who is on a quest for the missing god Pan, his half-brother Tyson, a Cyclops, and Annabeth, the daughter of Athena — except lately Annabeth has been acting a little strangely...... Read More

The Mirror of Her Dreams: Different, but disappointing

The Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen R. Donaldson

The Mirror of Her Dreams is a low fantasy that chronicles the "translation" of the beautiful but insipid Terisa Morgan into the besieged realm of Mordant by way of "Imagery," sorcery that brings things out of mirrors. In this case, a clumsy apprentice, Gerarden, enters a mirror in Mordant in hope of finding the "champion" that the mirror depicts. Instead, he finds himself in Teresa's sterile New York penthouse and, thinking that she may instead be Mordant's savior, persuades her to return with him. A maelstrom of court intrigue arises on Terisa's appearance in Orison, the sprawling castle-capital of Mordant (reminiscent of the castle in Peake's Gormenghast saga); and of course, someone (or multiple someones) desire the newcomer's death. ... Read More