Yet another attempt to revive the fantasy roundup posts..
Now Reading: Shadowplay by Tad Williams
This is my second attempt to read this book..I put it down around 200 pages into it last time (last fall I believe). Since I couldn't remember much of what I read, I decided to start over from page 1. Like last time, the book still feels a bit plodding and slow...so it doesn't give me that "I really can't wait to read more" feeling, but I know Aidan really liked the last 2 books in the series, so I'm going to do my best to make it through this one to get to the better books. I was reading A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, but that story is so complicated (but good!) that I'm thinking I might have to wait until its complete. Either that or be prepared for re-reads when each now book comes out. I also hope to resume my Malazan read soon-ish. And once we are within 10 months of the release of the final Wheel of Time book, I'll start reading those books. Finally, I go back and forth on whether to only read completed series..I guess that is a debate I'll be having with myself for a long time.
-Get a free digital short story from Juliet E. McKenna, courtesy of Solaris, here.
-InReads is a new social networking reading site. Anyone have any opinions on it? I haven't had time to check it out yet.
-Tor/Forge announces a new digital download initiative. Too many details to list them here, so check the blog post on their site.
-Book Country also launched this week. Robert from FBC has a nice write-up about it.
-Tor/Forge has a contest where you can win 14 mass market paperback books.
-Yet another new book-related site has launched. BookLikes is some sort of book discovery site. Looks interesting, but haven't spent much time there yet. Side note: Visit the booklikes home page, then click mobile apps. Anyone else find it funny that a book-related site would use the phrase "comming soon"?
Overall, this is a superb addition to the series, and I can’t wait to read the final volume when it comes out. Newton continues to improve with each new novel, and his talent for writing atmospheric plots peopled by interesting, fully-realised and often sympathetic characters is near-unrivalled. This is not your standard fantasy novel, but this series is certainly one of the most satisfying I’ve ever read. I’ll be very sad when it’s over.
The magic system in this series is really impressive drawing from this shadow realm and actually using shadows as the magic. There are lots of fantasy books/series that involve shadows, but I'd never seen one that actually uses the shadows for anything from healing to torture and even fighting. What a great concept that's used in a really unique way.
--Only The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy: Shadow's Lure by Jon Sprunk (I think I will finally give this series a go...when I can buy ebook editions of the books)
In a lot of ways, Magyk was pretty standard fantasy fare: the evil dark lord seizing power, the missing royal heir being raised by a poor family, none of this screams originality. Similarly, while younger readers might find the plot twists surprising, older readers should be able to spot Boy 412′s importance to the story from very early on. On the other hand, Sage is clever and inventive enough with the details of her world and her story that her use of fantasy tropes seems more like gently poking fun at the genre’s conventions, rather than slavishly adhering to them. There’s plenty of silly, quirky humor for the younger set, of course, but there’s also some sly snarkiness to a lot of the story that made it an enjoyable read for grownups as well.
--Fyrefly's Book Blog: Magyk by Angie Sage
If you are, like me, a fan of traditional epic fantasy like The Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time, you will definitely enjoy The Unremembered. While this book has a great many flaws, it is certainly a worthy read. It is conventional material with a dark and promising edge. I look forward to its sequel, which I hope will surprise me with twists and turns, leading away from the somewhat obvious tropes and into original territory. While it is far from the best book I’ve read, the many layers of The Unremembered make The Vault of Heaven one of the most promising series I’ve encountered.
--The Ranting Dragon: The Unremembered by Peter Orullian (the quote above is why I still have hopes of liking this book. Also, if you haven't visited this blog before, do it now. The quality of the reviews is excellent.)
I appreciated what Erikson tried to do with this book a bit more on this second read. As with the three previous books, I picked up a lot of stuff I missed during my first pass through this part of the story. I still feel Erikson is building a bit too much in this novel. It is a bridge to the third major story line Erikson will open in Midnight Tides and events that will take place in The Bonehunters and beyond, but it doesn't stand on its own quite as well as the previous books did. That being said, it is still an amazing fantasy novel, once again underlining the enormous scope and ambition of the series. It is not my favourite but even so, it is a treat to fans of the series. And a novel that only gets better the second time around.
For all the books supposed flaws or oddities of construction, I have to admit that I have rarely enjoyed a Forgotten Realms novel more. The book is easily read by anyone unfamiliar with the Realms, is entirely stand-alone (so far) has exceptional characterization and a complex but easily followed plot. It borrows plot devices from Shakespeare while also being full of sword and sorcery pulp action. I highly recommend Samantha Henderson’s Dawnbringer.