Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Heroes - Joe Abercrombie's Next Book

I haven't read Abercrombie's Best Served Cold yet however I greatly enjoyed his The First Law trilogy. And the Best Served Cold has been on my list, patiently waiting for its turn to be read.

A few days ago Joe Abercrombie talked about his next book, The Heroes, on his blog:

Both because the action centres around a ring of standing stones called the Heroes, and because it's about heroism and that (meant semi-ironically, of course). It mostly takes place over the course of three days, and is the story of a single battle for control of the North. Think Lord of the Rings meets A Bridge Too Far, with a sprinkling of Band of Brothers and Generation Kill. It's about war, you get me? Principally it follows the (mis)adventures of six assorted persons on both sides and different levels of command, whose paths intersect during the course of the battle in various fateful, horrible, wonderful, surprisingly violent, surprisingly unviolent, and hilarious ways. With the Northmen: a veteran losing his nerve who just wants to keep his crew alive, an ex-Prince determined to claw his way back to power by any means necessary, a young lad determined to win a place in the songs for himself. With the Union: A depressive swordsman who used to be the king's bodyguard, a profiteering standard-bearer, and the venomously ambitious daughter of the Marshal in command. But of course a fair few familiar faces show up on both sides...

It sounds like another exciting book but unfortunately we won't be able to read it until February 2011 it seems.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Free Reading: The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke

Glenda Larke is an Australian fantasy author. She is currently living in Malaysia where she writes fantasy and, very importantly, she works on the conservation of rainforest avifauna.

Her new book, The Last Stormload is available online in its entirety.
Here's the blurb:

The Cloudmaster and his stormlords command wealth and power. But can they save themselves from a rogue rainlord?

Terelle is on the run when an old man with the ability to paint pictures on water employs her as his apprentice -- and paints her portrait. She thinks she is safe, until she discovers his floating artworks can fix an immutable future for those portrayed in them. She has become a prisoner of her own painted future.

The Cloudmaster and his stormlords keep the land alive with their power over water and rain. However, the current Cloudmaster is dying and has no stormlord heir because all the promising young men and women have died in troubling circumstances.

An expedition mounted to scour the countryside for a potential stormlord locates a young village lad called Shale. Kidnapped and imprisoned, Shale finds himself a tool in a struggle between the warring factions of the land -- because whoever commands a stormlord, commands the water of a nation ...

Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS 600) Review

I just came across this excellent video review of the new Sony PRS 600 (Sony Reader Touch Edition). It's a 10-minute video that highlights the new reader's features nicely.

I especially like the way that the dictionary lookup works. Sony are definitely pushing the e-reader in the right direction. Let's hope they'll keep up the good work. These are exciting times.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sony Reader 300 Hands-On Review

It's very exciting to see the electronic reader market is growing fast. Recently, Sony announced 3 new models: Sony Reader PRS-300, PRS-600 and the very new 7"-wide wireless (3G) model. Those models are respectively called Pocket Edition, Touch Edition and Daily Edition and they have 5", 6" and 7" screens.

DrMoze posted a very good hands-on review on the PRS-300 on the mobileread forums.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Seven Essential Fantasy Reads

Last week, The New Yorker published an article called Seven Essential Fantasy Reads. It contains a list of 7 books recommended for "a beginning fantasy reader ready to graduate to more serious (but not too serious) fare":
  • The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams
  • Anything (but particularly Tigana) by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind
  • Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  • The Scions Of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Gardens Of The Moon by Steven Erikson
I like the list above however I have a few points to make:

Currently, I'm halfway through Gardens of the Moon and I believe that it would scare anyone new to the genre. So I would replace Gardens Of The Moon with George R. R. Martin's outstanding A Game Of Thrones.

Kay and Hobb are my favorite authors and Tigana is one of my all time favorites. However it is a long book. I have the impression that one of his shorter books, such as The Lions Of Al-Rassan, would be more appropriate.

My third and last point is about The Name Of The Wind. I absolutely loved the book however I would really hesitate in writing down Rothfuss' name instead of Joe Abercrombie's. I read The Name Of The Wind and Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy back to back. Even though their stories and their styles are different, for me, it certainly would not be easy to pick one over the other. Therefore, I would add another book to the list above: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie.

By the way, Aidan Moher wrote an excellent blog entry about this list where he highlights some pretty valid points.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Review: Crescent by Phil Rossi

Title: Crescent
Author: Phil Rossi
Genre: Sci-Fi / Horror
Publisher: Dragon Moon Press
Publishing Date: June, 2009
Paperback: 320 pages


Crescent is an eerie space station floating beyond the frontier of conquered safe space. This is where Gerald Evans, a talented salvage pilot arrives to find himself tangled in the webs of horror, love, corruption and mystery.

Don't Judge A Book By It But...

I'm not really impressed by the cover art. I think it is disappointing at the least. In my mind, it doesn't make justice to the quality of the writing and what the book promises.


"The angel of death wore no black robes. Instead, he was a blaze of violet and agony."

Oh! I love it!

I had been looking for a good sci-fi horror book for a while. Even though I usually read fantasy, every now and then it's nice to switch genre to see what else is out there. But I usually do a research about what I read and I always have an idea about the author and the book when I pick up a book. Well... It wasn't so for Crescent. I hadn't heard about the book before and when I saw that Dragon Moon Press were graciously giving away an electronic copy of the book, I decided to read a couple of pages. It immediately got at the top of my to-read pile. Then I couldn't put it down and I read it all in a few days.

I thoroughly enjoyed Crescent. In his book, Rossi tells a growingly dark story. He conveys the darkness of the setting very well and the gloomy space station Crescent comes alive in your mind as you turn the pages. The gritty characters and Rossi's fluent and rigorous writing style meet with enough mystery, sci-fi and horror to give the reader a great story. Add this some corruption and love: you have a most captivating book.

I loved the first half of the story and I could feel my expectations building up with ever page turn. However, I was a little disappointed as the culmination of the story didn't satisfy me completely. I must admit that this is a bit of my own doing as I let my expectations and imagination run loose while I was reading Crescent. For lack of a better word, I thought there were cliché moments in the story and some corners cut short, which scored a few negative points in my mind. Fortunately this didn't apply to the ending because I was pleasantly surprised by it.

What I expressed in the previous paragraph didn't spoil the story for me. All in all, I greatly enjoyed Crescent. I can recommend it wholeheartedly for sci-fi/horror lovers.

Rating: 8/10


"How many days, she couldn't count. Time was becoming a mere footnote on the rapidly shuffling pages of her existence."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rumor: The Wise Man's Fear Will Probably Be Delayed Again

I, for one, have been waiting for Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear since I read his brilliant The Name Of The Wind. Unfortunately, rumor has it that it's going to be delayed and that this information comes from Betsy Wollheim, President and Publisher at Daw Books, Inc. Wollheim would wait for the book to be perfect before it's published, which looks like it's going to be towards the end of 2010.

Whatever happens, please don't turn this into another delayed book/author bashing! Please!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Guy Gavriel Kay's New Book: Under Heaven

Guy Gavriel Kay! One of my favorite authors! He recently announced that his new novel was drafted and that it was scheduled for Spring 2010. We now have more information about Under Heaven.

Its world is inspired by the 8th century Chinese Tang Dynasty. I'm not a huge fan of far eastern settings but I'll trust Kay in doing an excellent job, as usual. Here's the synopsis:

In the novel, Shen Tai is the son of a general who led the forces of imperial Kitai in the empire's last great war against its western enemies, twenty years before. Forty thousand men, on both sides, were slain by a remote mountain lake. General Shen Gao himself has died recently, having spoken to his son in later years about his sadness in the matter of this terrible battle.

To honour his father's memory, Tai spends two years in official mourning alone at the battle site by the blue waters of Kuala Nor. Each day he digs graves in hard ground to bury the bones of the dead. At night he can hear the ghosts moan and stir, terrifying voices of anger and lament. Sometimes he realizes that a given voice has ceased its crying, and he knows that is one he has laid to rest.

The dead by the lake are equally Kitan and their Taguran foes; there is no way to tell the bones apart, and he buries them all with honour.

It is during a routine supply visit led by a Taguran officer who has reluctantly come to befriend him that Tai learns that others, much more powerful, have taken note of his vigil. The White Jade Princess Cheng-wan, 17th daughter of the Emperor of Kitai, presents him with two hundred and fifty Sardian horses. They are being given in royal recognition of his courage and piety, and the honour he has done the dead.

You gave a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You gave him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor.

Tai is in deep waters. He needs to get himself back to court and his own emperor, alive. Riding the first of the Sardian horses, and bringing news of the rest, he starts east towards the glittering, dangerous capital of Kitai, and the Ta-Ming Palace - and gathers his wits for a return from solitude by a mountain lake to his own forever-altered life.