Category: Fantasy

Oct 20 2020

Shadows Of The Short Days by Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson

Imagine Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus crossed with Doris Lessing’s The Good Terrorist, filtered through a China Mieville sensibility of industrial magic set firmly in the history and myths of Iceland. That’s what you’re getting in Shadows Of The Short Days, Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson’s wildly inventive, deeply thoughtful debut novel, which he translated himself from its …

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Oct 19 2020

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

One of the things I was most impressed by in this first novel of Rebecca Roanhorse’s new epic fantasy series is how effortless it all feels. She’s created a brand new universe using the indigenous cultures of the Americas as its basis, and there isn’t a single moment of self-conscious telling instead of showing. It’s …

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Oct 09 2020

The Dragon Warrior (The Dragon Warrior #1) by Katie Zhao

Oh, wow, a book that updates Chinese mythology for young Western readers! You know, I’ll admit that I don’t know much about Chinese deities beyond Kwan Yin, aspects of Buddha and what I remember from absorbing various tales of the Monkey God via TV and comics (as well as the usual prominent holiday-related mythologies) so …

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Sep 24 2020

Swords and Deviltry by Fritz Leiber

Swords and Deviltry by Fritz Leiber

It’s sometimes funny what sticks with a reader. I first encountered Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Fritz Leiber’s famed sword and sorcery duo and the protagonists of Swords and Deviltry, on the order of 40 years ago, and I remember very clearly that I started with the second volume: Swords Against Death. If I were …

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Sep 19 2020

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The Last Unicorn

The magic is still there, in The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. More than half a century after its publication, it’s still lodged partly in a timeless yet post-WWII America and partly in places whose times and locations are much more suspect, nearly pure mythical settings of village and unhappy kingdom and enchanted castle, …

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Sep 02 2020

The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #2) by Seth Dickinson

On the one hand, this sequel to The Traitor Baru Cormorant isn’t quite as filthy with forensic accounting as its predecessor in the series was, but it’s still one of those intellectually challenging fantasy novels that I know won’t be for everybody, more’s the pity. Our heroine, the titular monster after her villainous role in …

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Aug 29 2020

Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus

Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus

I read Buffalo Soldier back in May when I was recovering from acute appendicitis, and it did exactly what I needed: took me far away, into imaginary lands where people had thrilling adventures full of reversals and narrow escapes. The circumstances of my reading mean that I have not retained details as well as I …

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Aug 27 2020

Black Wings Beating (Skybound #1) by Alex London

I’m really starting to question whether I should accept Netgalley invites for YA Fantasy from now on. The murder mysteries they’ve invited me to read have all been solid but too much of the YA has been middling to terrible. And yes, that includes Alex London’s Black Wings Beating, which at least has the advantages …

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Aug 21 2020

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

I feel kinda bad about shitting on this book, in large part because so many people seemed to lurve it while I spent most of my time going “for real?” while I was reading it. Because, while the concept was interesting and I know Sabaa Tahir means well — ngl, I was genuinely moved to …

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Aug 02 2020

By Force Alone by Lavie Tidhar

By Force Alone

What if Arthur, like Uther, was an ambitious thug and the knights of the Round Table were a collection of weirdos and ruffians who say “fuck” a lot? That’s more or less the premise of Lavie Tidhar’s By Force Alone, and although I finished the book relatively quickly during my recent vacation in the Eifel, …

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