Aukon's Fantasy Book Corner

 

Renegade's Magic (Book Three of The Soldier Son Trilogy). Written by Robin Hobb. $36.99

Robin Hobbs is the writer behind such trilogies as The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders, and The Tawny Man. And it seems the research I have done with this author shows her be one of the better modern fantasy writers. And that she has a solid fan-based, and her books are well received. The reviews for her books are mostly positive, and do show her as a power house when it come to fantasy writing.

This is the third and final book in Robin Hobb's The Soldier Son Trilogy. The book centres around Nevare Burve a man with unspeakable power and in this book he unleashes it on the people who turn their back on him. As this is the final book in this series, Robin Hobb does a fine job, in allowing the story to come full circle and tying up the loose ends. This is my first Robin Hobb series and have to say I got very much caught up. Especially the twists and turns this series takes you on. This book is good, and you are given more background on the mysterious Speck people. The outcome of this story is fulfilling, and if you have been following this series I don't think you will be disappointed.

All up a good read, that brings the story full circle. Of the series on a whole, great stuff, most certainly will have me looking out for past works of Robin Hobbs to dive head long into. Reviewed by Mike B.

The Serpent Bride. Darkglass Mountain Book One. Written by Sara Douglas. $36.99 RRP

Sara Douglas is in my opinion Australia's most prominent fantasy writer. Sara's first novel was Battle Axe, and was published in 1995, and has since released another impressive 15 novels (including this novel). Sara Douglas is one of those authors who once you start reading her novels who will keep reading until you have read them all.

This book centres around an ancient evil that sets a series of events in place that would allow its freedom to reek it's vengeance once again onto the land. Once I started this novel I was hooked. Sara Douglas paints a vivid picture, and there are sequences in this novel which are not for the faint hearted. And you find that out only a page or two into this story. The characters are dramatic and well written, and the author gives each of the main characters background and life. Great stuff. This story is a page turner and as I said before I was hooked, and just had to keep going till the end. Well paced also.

A very good story that was a privilege to read, and a story once read, had me longing for book two. Reviewed by Mike B.

Dark Alchemy - Magical Tales from the Maters of Modern Fantasy. Edited
by Jack Dann & Gardiner Dozois. $29.99RRP

Jack Dann  & Gardiner Dozois are the editors behind such books as Nanotech, Immortals, Demon!, & Beyond Flesh. This book is released by Bloomsbury, the publishers of the Harry Potter books. So you know you must be in good hands when it comes the quality of work of this book Dark Alchemy. And lets face it any book with new work by Neil Gaiman, is always worth a pick up & read.

This is a collection of short stories by some of the masters of modern fantasy like Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Tad Williams & Orson Scott Card. I believe these stories within this book are new stories, and for that it makes for an interesting read. And with the winter weather on us, quite the good book to pick up, and dive head long into the realm of fantasy, and very much a good way to spend a day inside on a raining day.

Stand out stories for me are Neil Gaiman's kind of creepy in a positive way "The Witch's Headstone", the predictable but bloody funny "A Fowl Tale" by Eoin Colfer, Holly & Iron by Garth Nix, The Stranger's Hand by Tad Williams, Billy & the Wizard by Terry Bisson & Zinder by Tanith Lee.

Like I said a good book for those who like fantasy, and especially through picking up over these coming long winter nights. Reviewed by Mike B.

Sorcerer's Moon (The Boreal Moon Book 3). Written by Julian May.$36.99RRP

This review is based on a verbal review one of my reviewers gave me so please bear with me. This is the third and final book in Julian May's Boreal Moon Saga. The reviewer who read this book did say she had not read the two pervious books - Conqueror's Moon, & Iron Crown Moon, and advised as this is a big book with many characters, and a lot of twists and turns, it is best if you do.

The story centres around King Conrig Ironcrown who only just manages to keep his fragile kingdom from civil war, and devises a plan of marrying his eldest son to a princess that will bring peace to the land trouble is the prince has other plans, and his twin brother makes a deal with the supernatural Beaconfolk, who only see human as pawns and it seems Boreal is about to fall into darkness, and can be only saved by a forgotten secret from the Kings past.

My reviewer said the book was good, and certainly is what the book says on the front cover which is this novel is one of high adventure. She also said the book was full of twists and turns, and the book seems to end well. Reviewed by Pauline B.

Shout for the Dead (The Ascendants of Estorea - Book 2). Written by James Barclay. $36.99RRP

James Barclay came to my attention a few years ago with his very good Raven series. I enjoyed those books especially as they were books of high adventure, and a excellent read. So when this book came, I was looking forward to a good read. And for the most part that is what I got. I have to say I have not read book 1 and was somewhat lost to start
off with, but a few chapters in, and getting an understanding of the characters I was away.

The book centres around the Ascendants, Arducius Gorian, Mirron and Ossacer, who brought  magic into a world which had none. This is the second book in a two book series, and this book takes the story forward ten years. Where the first book I believe centres around the main characters as teenagers, and coming use to their powers, and the politics this would raise, this book the teenagers are now adults, and they each have chosen their sides, and one is close to madness', and sees himself as a god, and now has the power to bring the dead to life, and be part of his army, now the other Ascendants must come together once again to put an end to this darkness.

Like I said once I had a handle on the characters I was away and I have to say, the book was a great read, very dark in places, and brutal in others, especially James Barclay descriptions of the battles he leaves nothing to the imagination, and certainly not for the faint hearted. Another good book from James Barclay, can't wait to see what he will publish next. Reviewed by Mike B.

The Court of the Air. Written by Stephen Hunt. $29.95RRP

British author Stephen Hunt is the author of "The Court of the Air" which is a complex tale of dark deeds, set in a world that is familiar but yet unfamiliar. This is Stephen Hunt's first novel, and is a book that you most certainly sit up and take notice. And if Hunt has more like this to write, then he will be a author to look out for.

The novel is set around two orphans streetwise Molly Templar (think little orphan Annie though a lot harder) who witnesses a murder, and when back at the orphanage she comes from she finds the other orphans murdered and comes to the realization that the murderer was after her. Then there is Oliver Brookes a boy who lead a sheltered life until his only living relative is taken from him, and now is the run for his murder. While on the run the orphan's are on a journey of self - discovering, and both investigating and trying to unlock the mystery of where they came from, and who they truly are.

Great stuff. Stephen Hunt has created a interesting world full of Airships and robots, a world full of good people, and dire villains. I liked this fantastical world that seems to be a Victorian world, but again isn't, a world that you will get caught up in, and characters that you will love and loath. Like I said before great stuff. Reviewed by Mike B.

The Lies of Locke Lamora. Written by Scott Lynch. $27.99RRP

The Lies of Locke Lamora is Scott Lynch’s first novel. This book started off as a work of progress on Scott’s web blog, where he and his work in progress were discovered by Gollancz editor Simon Spanton. The novel has since been sold to Bantam in the US for a very nice six figure sum, and the book rights have been sold in Germany, France, Holland, and Russia. Very cool.

Anyhow this story is centred around Locke Lamora aka the Thorn of Camorr, master swordsman, master thief, robs from the rich to give to the poor, the champion of the down trodden, all round good guy. The trouble is Locke is a thief, and a good one, master swordsman no, and he keeps the money for himself and his band of Gentlemen Bastards. Locke’s legend as grown through word of mouth through the city of Camorr, much to his regret. Locke gets through life through conning people, and his own wits. He can mostly talk himself out of trouble, and into people’s money.  Strife comes the Thorn of Camorr’s way when the mysterious Grey King comes to the city, to over throw its leader criminal mastermind Capa Batsavi. Soon Locke finds himself right in the middle of this private war, and his concern is that he may not be able to talk himself out of this one.

A good first book full of possibilities. Interesting characters, and most certainly Locke Lamora is an intriguing hero or is that anti-hero? I am very interested to see where this series goes. Reviewed by Mike B.

The Demon Child Trilogy. Written by Jennifer Fallon. $24.99 each.

The Demon Child is a trilogy made up of the following books, Medalon, Treason Keep, and Harshini. Jennifer is another of the growing crop of Australian fantasy authors. She lives in Alice Springs, writing full time and moonlighting as a business consultant and also in IT.

The Demon Child is set in a fantasy world occupied mainly by humans living in four kingdoms. Fardohnya and Hythria follow the old gods and the Harshini, a peaceable mystic race that lived in the middle kingdom of Medalon. Medalon lead by the sisterhood, the order that lead thee humans of Medalon to butcher the Harashini, and take over the land. Now days backed by their military arm, the Defenders they enforce the official religion of aestheticism. To the north lies the vast kingdom of Karien, who now worship a demon Xaphista, who is attempting to become the only god.

This series follows thee adventures of R'shiel, daughter of Joyhinia Tenragan, power hungry senior in the sisterhood who only wants supreme power and will do anything to get it, and Tarja, half brother to R'shiel. Together with the aid of a few others, Brak, last of the human-harshini half breeds; Damin Wolfblade, warlord of Krakandar and heir to the kingdom of Hythria; Adrina, Princess of Fardohnya, and oldest child of the king; Palin Jenga, Lord Defender and commander of the Medalon forces. Together they must find the legendary demon child, a half harshini – half human who will be the instrument that will destroy Xaphista once and for all. At the same time they must group their forces and prevent the Kariens form overrunning the entire world. An interesting series with plenty of twists and turns. I enjoyed reading it and will look with interest at her next offerings. Reviewed by Eddie.

Path of Revenge. Written by Russell Kirkpatrick. $TBA

Russell is a Kiwi author. Russell lectures in geography and manages a small map making business. He spent fifteen years building the world of Faltha before writing the Fire of Heaven Trilogy. The Right Hand of God is the third book in the Fire of Heaven Trilogy. Path of Revenge is set in the same world as the Fire of Heaven Trilogy but is set seventy years after the events occurring in the Fires of Heaven.

The story is separated into three parts. The first follows the exploits of Noetos, a fisherman from Bhrudwo, who's family becomes entangled in the clutches of the recruiters, people who recruit talented young people for the service of the undying man, or the Destroyer of Falth, the undying lord of Bhrudwo. When his family is taken by the recruiters he sets off after them in an attempt to rescue his family. However on his journey he discovers a plan by the Neherian, to attack and destroy all settlements along the fisher coast. So now as well as trying to rescue his family Nerhos must also find a way to warn the small fishing villages and towns of the impending threat to them.

The second thread of the story is based around Lenares, a Cosmographer, in the service of Amaqi Empire, far to the south of the great continent that holds both Faltha and Bhrudwo. Newly raised in her craft she is sent with an expedition to explore the newly discovered lands of Bhrudwo, and prepare to conquer them. Lenares who can see a hole in the fabric of the world through her abilities to see everything as a series of numbers, is soon caught up in a fight for survival against not only the hostile forces of the desert but also against the divine powers of the world. The third string to the story is that of Stella, one of the company that retrieved the Jugom Ark. In the war against the destroyer he gave her the curse of immortality. After the war marriage to Leith, made supreme ruler of Faltha gave her protection from the Halite church. But on the death of  Leith, Stella is forced to flee the forces of the church who consider her the destroyer's consort. Faced with hostility and pursuit from the church she decides to head to Bhurdwo and seek some kind of purpose for the remainder of her existence.

All three participants with a few loyal friends unknown to them are heading towards the same place, all being unknowingly manipulated by a mysterious figure. I enjoyed Russel's first books and this one appears to have plenty of action, surprises and twist in it. It could be a very interesting series when it is finished. Reviewed by Eddie.

The Well of Tears. Written by Cecilia Dart-Thorn. $TBA

Cecilia Dart-Thorn is another of the up and coming school of Australian writers. A graduate of Monash University, she started off as a teacher and lecturer, then started a business before becoming a full time writer. Her interests include animal welfare, environmental conservation and digital media.

The Well of Tears is the second part of the four book Crowthistle Chronicles. The story takes up straight after the end of the events in the Iron Tree, which found our young heroine Jewel and her step uncle Eion are fleeing the from the Great Marsh of Slievmordhu, hunted buy the forces of Maolmordha, King of Slievmordhu, who has discovered she is the last descendant of the legendary Sorcerer of Strang, and heir and key to the Dome of Strang, a magically sealed home of legendary magical power and artifacts. Heading for the safety of Kings Winterbourne, capital of the northern kingdom of Narngalis, the two fugitives arrive at an area known as Black Goat, an area prowled by the unseelie wights, who torment and lead humans to their demise. Alone she carries on northwards until she is found and taken in by the weather masters, mage's who's power controls and modifies the worlds weather patterns into beneficial patterns.

Safely in High Darioneth, the home of the weather masters, and with her history known only to the council, she matures into a young women. As she grows up she begins to want to find out about her mysterious ancestor, and decides to undertake a quest to travel to the Dome of Strang and unravel its mysteries. Unknown to her is is secretly followed and guarded by a young weather mage who has fallen in love with her. Together the end up taking on a quest given to her by the legendary ancestor which could change everything they know.
Reviewed by Eddie


Weather Witch
. Written by Cecilia Dart-Thorn. $TBA

Weather Witch is the third part of the four part Crowthistle Chronicles.
It follows the life of Asrathiel daughter of Jewel and her husband Arran Maelstronnar. With her father having left the four kingdoms in search of a means to bring her mother Jewel out of her deathlike sleep, Asrathiel grows up to become potently one of the most powerful weather mage's ever.

Brought up in the peaceful environs of High Darioneth, she is boldly thrust into the political maneuvering of the four kingdoms, with the King of Slievmordhu, Uabhar who is attempting to take over control of all four kingdoms and break the power of the weather mage's.

This is about all I can say about this part of the Crowthistle Chronicles as to write more would be to give too much away about the story plot.
While I enjoyed both The well of Tears and Weather Witch I would suggest you wait until the last part of the chronicles Fallowblade is released and then read all four back to back to get the continuity of the whole Chronicles for the best enjoyment out of reading this series. Reviewed by Eddie.


Druid's Sword
. Written by Sara Douglas. $TBA

Sara Douglas is yet another Australian author, from South Australia but now living in Tasmania. After starting off as a nurse she gained an PhD in Modern English History form the University of Adelaide, and moved to La Trobe University in Bendigo as a senior lecturer in Medieval History. Her first novel Battleaxe was published in 1995, and she has since written the Axis trilogy, The Crucible series, the Wayfarer Redempetion and the current Troy game series of which druid's Sword is the fourth and last installment.

Set in and around London from August 1939 to May 1941 it tells the story of the protagonists of the previous four books and their attempt to destroy the now evil Troy game.

Jack Skelton, once Brutus who started the Troy Game 4000 years ago has returned to London after three hundred years of exile in America. Reunited with both old allies and old adversaries, they must all put thousands of years of both rivalry and friendship behind them to come together and find away to destroy the Troy game, which has become aware and is attempting to take over both the land and Faerie.

Jack must once and for all work out his feelings for Noah, while attempting to determine the enigma that is Noah and Weyland's daughter Grace. With the discovery of a new player in the game, the mysterious White Queen, Jack and his friend, Harry Lord of the Faerie, Noah, Weyland, Silvius his once estranged father, Aridane the original mistress of the Labyrinth, must find away to destroy the Troy game once and for all, and ensure the safety of all the participants.

A fast moving and enthralling book it has enough twists and turns to keep anyone interested. A very enjoyable read.
Reviewed by Eddie.
 

Phantom (Sword of Truth Book 10). Written by Terry Goodkind. $34.99RRP

I guess I have a fondness for the Sword of Truth series as it was a series I discovered all by myself. I also like the series for its characters, especially the main characters and the good guys. Brilliantly written and I find myself caring for these characters. Terry is the master in my opinion.

This book is a cracker, be warned spoilers ahead. Kahlan is still missing, and only Richard remembers her. Kahlan ends up in the hands of Jagang, and as Kahlan does not remember who she is and Jagang will not touch her until she does. Richard searches the land for her, and Nicci makes a decision that will shape the land for better or worse once and for all.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. This book is one heck of a read with enough twist and turns which left me dizzy. As with Terry Goodkind’s previous novels  this was a book I could not put down. I keep turning the pages and reading till there was no more, and at the end of the book I was going can’t wait, because the book ends with “Be sure to look for the next and concluding book in the Sword of Truth series”.  Can’t wait. Reviewed by Mike B.