Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Magic City: Recent Spells
Holly Black, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Charles De Lint, and Carrie Vaughn
Diamond Book Distributors
Pub Date: May 7 2014
Reviewing a short story collection always seems like a difficult thing to do for me. There are always the stories you loved and the stories you hated. I’m not entirely sure if that is purely personal taste or perhaps a problem derived from wrongly held expectations. In this case, I have to admit I’m at somewhat of a loss. I loved some of the stories I read, but others… I have less flattering things to say about them. There isn’t a single story here written by someone who isn’t a professional. There aren’t any first time writers here and some of them, have had long careers with many awards to their ability. So when I make this list please realize that I’m doing it based on my opinion of the story and nothing else.
My Absolute Favorites:
Wallamelon- Nisi Shawl
In the Stacks- Scott Lynch
The Arcane Art of Misdirection- Carrie Vaughn
The Thief of Precious Things- A.C.Wise
The Land of Heart’s Desire- Holly Black
Curses- Jim Butcher
Kabu Kabu- Nnedi Okorafor
The rest my friends were not as good. Some were just too predictable, so seemed to stretch the theme of the anthology simply too much. Finally others, were stories I’d read before just with different characters and different places. That is the main problem with Urban Fantasy in general, not that all of these stories were urban fantasy. But the ones that were, were VERY TYPICAL. I was most impressed by the stories by Carrie Vaughn and Nnedi Okorafor who seemed to understand the conventions and purposely refused to give in to them. But the other stories were of the highest calibur and I would say that for those seven stories I would buy the entire anthology. As I said before, it is very hard to review anthologies and I will certainly do so again with some trepidation and thought.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Orbit (May 6, 2014)
I finished reading Crimson Campaign quite a few days ago, at around this time of night(11pm-12am). I put the review off as usual until the next day. I don’t usually write reviews the moment I finish the book. Normally because I usually finish reading pretty late at night. But this book took me a few days to mull over. Not because I didn’t like it, no I freakin loved it. But I was having a hard time putting my thoughts about the book into words. Until today, when I basically forced myself to do so.
Crimson Campaign is the second book in the Powder Mage Trilogy and it is definitely the dark middle chapter that most book 2s in a trilogy are. This was not wholly unexpected and I did welcome some of the events that happened over the course of the book. Some of the stuff with both Taniel and Tamas seemed a bit much but hey, dark middle chapter people. I also would have loved it if the author distanced himself from his second tier boring characters. Adamat and Nila, I was really hoping one would caught a bullet, arrow, or sorcery at some point. But I guess they are here to stay. I guess I’m being unfair to Nila as her story is picking up. But Adamat needs to die, really, I’m sorry his POV is SO incredibly off the pace from the rest of the book and has been ever since book 1 that I really wished he would have been ended in the last volume.
Other than that, I was very happy with the book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who even liked the first book. But if you haven’t read the first book, go pick that up first. Because there is NO WAY you are getting into this book or even making through to the end without reading the first book. With all the wonderful work Brian McClellan has done with this series I cannot wait for next book in the series. This last book was definitely one of my favorite books of all time and this series is certainly shaping up to be wonderful. I guess the student has surpassed the master, Mr. Sanderson.