Review: The Curse Of Chalion By Lois McMaster Bujold


A reluctant hero finds himself thrust into the role of saviour, to protect the royal heir to the throne from a sinister curse.


Book CoverThe Curse Of Chalion
(World Of The Five Gods, Book 1)

Lois McMaster Bujold

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 448 Pages
Date: 11th April 2006 (First Published 2000)

ISBN-10: 0061134244
ISBN-13: 978-0061134241

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Lois McMaster Bujold is an author whose name is perhaps synonymous with science fiction. However, no reader could have any genuine concerns when a writer of her calibre chooses to step somewhat out of her comfort zone to write a high fantasy novel. Bujold is, after all, one of the most acclaimed and decorated genre authors ever, with four Hugo Awards for best novel to her name; equalling Robert Heinlein’s record. That being the case, it should come as no surprise to learn that The Curse Of Chalion is a splendid novel, coming as it does, from a writer with such a pedigree.

There are numerous examples of novels with intriguing premises that fall down, either on account of poor execution, or just plain weak writing. Rest assured, The Curse Of Chalion is not one of those books. Bujold’s capabilities as a writer ensure that not only does the story hold together from beginning to end, her story is also riveting, thanks in no small part to her exceptional prose; which is all the more impressive given that the book is by no means a fast paced, action packed swashbuckler. Though it does, somehow, possess the page turning quality that might be expected of a novel that is those things. Undoubtedly the result of Bujold being one of those rare writers who can make the most mundane of situations insanely engrossing, when printed on a page.

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Review: Shades Of Milk And Honey By Mary Robinette Kowal


A derivative tale of an unappreciated spinster who unexpectedly finds love with someone who can appreciate her magical talents.


Book CoverShades Of Milk And Honey
(Glamourist Histories, Book 1)

Mary Robinette Kowal

Genre: Alternate History, Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Corsair
Format: Paperback, 272 Pages
Date: 3rd October 2013 (First Published 2010)

ISBN-10: 1472102495
ISBN-13: 978-1472102492

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Some authors, whether knowingly or unknowingly, wear their influences on their sleeves. It is often possible to read the work of any given writer then accurately deduce who and what has influenced the story. Anybody who reads Mary Robinette Kowal’s novel, Shades Of Milk And Honey, the first book of the Glamourist Histories series, won’t need to guess the who and the what that provided the inspiration for her writing. She unabashedly embraces her fondness for Regency era literature in general, and her love of Jane Austen in particular. In fact, if you strip away the book’s fantasy element, Shades Of Milk And Honey could very well have been authored by Austen herself.

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Review: Temeraire By Naomi Novik


A stoic naval officer embarks upon a swashbuckling journey of duty, honour, loyalty, and above all else friendship.


Book CoverTemeraire
(Temeraire, Book 1)

Naomi Novik

Genre: Alternate History, Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
Date: 16th June 2011 (First Published 2006)

ISBN-10: 0007451423
ISBN-13: 978-0007451425

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Imagine, if you will, that you are a writer with an interest in a particular period of European history; the Napoleonic Wars, for example. You know that you would like to write a story about, and set during this period. But you have no interest in writing historical fiction. Instead you want to create an alternate history take of this time but want to avoid producing a conventional “what if?” story which simply changes the outcome of one or more specific events. You decide that you will write something much more to your liking by incorporating elements from a genre you do have an interest in writing; High Fantasy. What are the chances that your idea to make this alternate history tale a little more fantastical, amounts to: “just add dragons”? Not very likely. Yet this is essentially what author, Naomi Novik, has done with her début novel, Temeraire. (Also known as His Majesty’s Dragon.)

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Review: The Fallen Blade By Jon Courtenay Grimwood


An alternate history tale that promises so much, but delivers so little.


Book CoverThe Fallen Blade
(The Assassini Trilogy, Book 1)

Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 432 Pages
Date: 5th April 2012 (First Published 2011)

ISBN-10: 1841498467
ISBN-13: 978-1841498461

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Having picked up the book on a whim, knowing next to nothing about its premise, ergo having no expectations going in, there is a part of me that feels almost guilty for being disappointed with The Fallen Blade. So much so that I read it twice hoping that a second reading would dispose me to viewing the book more favourably; it didn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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Review: Tigana By Guy Gavriel Kay


A long gestating rebellion crosses moral lines to liberate a land and preserve the history and identity of its people.


Book CoverTigana

Guy Gavriel Kay

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Paperback, 816 Pages
Date: 3rd February 2011

ISBN-10: 0007342047
ISBN-13: 978-0007342044

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

It would be easy for me to tell you that Guy Gavriel Kay’s most famous work, Tigana, is about a disparate group of people coming together to bring an end to twenty years of occupation of their homeland. But that would be a very shallow description of this tale. Scratch beneath the surface, you will find that Tigana is fundamentally a story about identity and history. An examination of the extremes that victors in war can go to in their efforts to re-write or completely destroy the identity and history of a conquered people. A book that will undoubtedly cause you to ask yourself to what lengths can you justifiably go to in order to preserve your identity and history from aggressors who seek to eliminate it.

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Quotable: Across The Nightingale Floor, “The Less People Think…”


Another quote from the first book of Lian Hearn’s Tales Of The Otori.


Book Cover _ Book Cover _ Book Cover _ Book Cover

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“The less people think of you, the more they will reveal to you or in your presence.”

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Review: The Lions Of Al-Rassan By Guy Gavriel Kay


Drawing its inspiration from real world historical events, this is a must read tale for lovers of historical fantasy.


Book CoverThe Lions Of Al-Rassan

Guy Gavriel Kay

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Paperback, 656 Pages
Date: 15th March 2012 (First Published 1995)

ISBN-10: 0007342063
ISBN-13: 978-0007342068

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Originally published in 1995, The Lions Of Al-Rassan, by Canadian author Guy Gavriel Kay, is a tale of political intrigue, alliances of convenience, shifting allegiances, and unlikely friendships in a land, fractured by bitter religious divisions, on the brink of a seismic historical change. Though set in a fictional world, the novel is essentially a fantasy re-telling of real world historical events.

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The Spotlight: The Lions Of Al-Rassan By Guy Gavriel Kay


Published almost twenty years ago, it’s long past time for me to check this book out; maybe for you, too.


Book CoverThe Lions Of Al-Rassan by Canadian author Guy Gavriel Kay is a book that has been recommended to me on a number of occasions, by several different people, so it has been on my to read list for a while now. I recently got hold of a copy, though it’s likely to be a few weeks before I actually get around to reading it.

For the benefit of those readers who, like me, have not read this book yet, here is a brief summary of the appeal of the book, and hopefully why it may also be a title that will be of interest to you.

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