Sunday Status Update: August 17, 2014

Character update once again on break due to shortage of time…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews KatI continued on with a couple of big fantasy epics this week. I read the most recent installment in Larry Correia’s MONSTER HUNTER series, Monster Hunter Nemesis. This continues to be a smart, well-plotted, and extremely violent saga. Then I read Warrior and Warlord, books two and three of Jennifer Fallon’s WOLFBLADE series. Though I have trouble believing in her world and a few of her characters, this epic political drama is still entertaining.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews KateThis week, I’ve been working on my syllabi for the upcoming semester and doing some gardening, as well as selling books at the bookstore. I have been listening to Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey, part of her ELEMENTAL MASTERS series. I really like it so far and the reader, Kate Reading, is one of my favorites! I’ve also been reading The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim, an important and ground-breaking academic work on fairy-tales. Finally, I’m digging into Brandon Sanderson‘s MISTBORN series at long last.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I’m coming off a graphic novel binge; finished the third volume of Bill Willingham’s FABLES; Storybook Love and the first volume of Unwritten; Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross. This book benefits from a stunning cover, and I like the concept. The story broke down a little bit at the end, but of course, I read it after Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s amazing Locke and Key; Welcome to Lovecraft. That is an impossible act for anyone to follow.

I am also plodding thought Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. Intellectually, I see why people liked this story. I even like it. I just feel like I have to wade through four sentences to get to the one that matters. In this book, some of the humorous stuff, like King Elend’s make-over, are keeping me going. I have the feeling that any reviews I do of these will definitely be the minority report.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Rebecca: I have finally reached the end of Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale (yikes, that was an odd brick of a book) and am about to start prepping for the Christchurch Writer’s Festival that takes place at the end of this month! That means revisiting my favourite Margaret Mahy books: The HauntingThe Tricksters and The Changeover, and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (hopefully I’ll get the chance to interview her when she arrives in New Zealand).

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews SandyFor some obscure reason, during the month of August, I like to take a break from the escapist fare—from the dragons and laser pistols–and read nonfiction and biographies and such. At the moment, I am reading Alan Paul’s excellent oral biography of the Allman Brothers Band, entitled One Way Out, and am enjoying it a tremendous lot. (Even got Jaimoe to sign it for me!) This book is obviously NOT sci-fi or fantasy, although it DOES contain many anecdotes that even the most imaginative of fantasists could never have concocted. For our readers here, I have recently plopped into our hopper a review for a fantasy book of a decidedly more authentic nature, Henry Kuttner’s classic The Ship of Ishtar, which really is, as I put it, “a fantasy for the ages”….

Bill:   This week I finished Ian Cameron Esslemont’s newest MALAZAN book, AssailMargaret Atwood’s latest collection of short stories, The Stone Mattress; and my favorite of this week’s trio:  Section Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel.

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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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  1. Hélène /

    I read The ship of Ishtar by Merritt (Kuttner?). It was one of the first SFF books I read: new world of Fantasy. In my mind, I always associate his books with the paintings of Gustave Moreau: lush and myth.

  2. I like the description ‘wading’ in reference to Sanderson. He is the anti-minimalist, holding. your. hand. every. single. step. of. the. way. just. in. case. you. missed. some. highly. unimportant. nuance. that. can. stretch. the. narrative. just. one. word. more. just. like. this. comment. until. you. are. driven. entirely. insane. insane. insane…

    • It’s easy to tell that he’s been most influenced by Robert Jordan. He’s not a stylist, for sure, and I always feel like getting out my blue pencil when I’m reading him, but I love his magic systems and many of his characters.

  3. April, thank you for the recommendation! I will.

  4. Sandy Ferber /

    Helene, thank you for the correction. That should of course be “The Ship of Ishtar” by Abraham Merritt. Don’t know where the Kuttner came from. My bad, and oopsie, and all that….

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