Category Archives: non-earth

Book Review: Fall of Angels by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

TOR
592 pp.

I recently re-read Fall of Angels, the sixth book in Modesitt’s Recluce series. The first time I read it was not long after it first came out. Though Fall of Angels is the sixth book in the series, it actually takes place hundreds of years in the past, when the angels of legend fell. The angels in this case are the mostly female crew of a military starship from another universe that suddenly find themselves in a completely different universe with half of their tech not working or working in ways that are not according to their original design. Luckily they find themselves orbiting a world that is just barely inhabitable for them. (They are cold-adapted humanoids. The planet is mostly too warm for them.) They crash land in an uninhabited area that is close enough to their requirements and attempt to settle. Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, L.E. Modesitt Jr., non-earth, Review: Book

Book Review: Phoenix Rising by Ryk E. Spoor

Baen
387 pp.

Phoenix Rising has the same bright, slightly goofy feel of an extremely *shonen anime. I may or may not mean that in a good way. The world building is mostly “dashes of Tolkien, squibs of that really awesome roleplaying game the writer was in.” This is a book of bits and pieces that don’t always come together but manages to be fairly entertaining once you embrace the goofy shonen ridiculousness. Continue reading

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Filed under anomaly/nexus, fantasy, non-earth, Review: Book, Ryk E. Spoor

Book Review: Wicked Bronze Ambition by Glen Cook

ROC
485 pp.

In Wicked Bronze Ambition, Garret’s matrimonial plans are derailed by his in-laws. They need his help to uncover the “Operators” of a secret tournament that pits the children of the sorcerer families of TunFaire against each other in mortal combat. The prize is the accumulated power of the kids who were killed during the game, but no one wants to play. (Unfortunately, there is no way to opt out of the game once the Operators decide you’re going to be a contestant.) Garret’s job is to keep the game from being initiated, but it might already be too late.

While I liked the book, I had a few problems with the general set up and plot, spoilery reasons to be specific. (That is to say, you are probably going to want to skip the next paragraph or so.) Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, Glen Cook, non-earth, Review: Book

Book Review: The Collegium Chronicles: Bastion by Mercedes Lackey

DAW
342 pp.

In Bastion, Mags does not get much time to recover from the events of Redoubt before he has to head out again. His experience with his captors has left him with a number of confused memories, new combat skills and only the slightest inkling of whom his captors were. (They are apparently some kind of secret clan of ninjas, from a desert country very far away.) Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, Mercedes Lackey, non-earth, Review: Book

Book Review: Antiagon Fire by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

TOR
460 pp.

In Antiagon Fire, Quaeryt backs up his wife Vaelora when they are sent on a diplomatic mission to Khel. They also attempt to meet with Bovarian High Holders who don’t show much interest in cooperating with the regime change. The Bovarian High Holders flee to Antiago, which refuses to repatriate them and shows clear signs of being antagonistic to Bhayar’s plans of conquest. (As you do when you’re an independent country that would like to stay that way.) This of course forces Quaeryt to head into Antiago where he runs into Antiago’s imagers. Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, L.E. Modesitt Jr., non-earth, political intrigue, Review: Book

Reading: Godstalk, by P.C. Hodgell, Part Three

galleryphoto_872_lgsmallThough Godstalk is generally believed by fans to be the best book in the series, it does have some flaws. The biggest being the sudden shifts in pov at certain points. Very few fans will point this out however, though they tend to be more critical of later books. (I did not actually spot many of the problems until after I had read the book a few times.)

Even with taking the flaws into account, Godstalk’s is one of my favorite novels because of the rich prose, surreal background and the engaging main character. Jame is curious as a cat, and we soon learn that piquing that curiosity results in the “cat” deciding to play with what interests her. In this particular chapter, Jame will become very personally interested in Tai-tastigon’s god infestation, thanks to an encounter with a priest. Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, Godstalk, non-earth, P.C. Hodgell, Reading

Book Review: Imager’s Battalion by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Tor
509 pp.

In Imager’s Battalion, Quaeryt continues to further his goals in between leading imagers in battle against Bovaria and playing military chaplain. Since a part of his goal is to find ways to make imaging useful (which it is not, given that very little is known about the ability), the war gives him plenty of opportunity to do science. He also makes a few discoveries about a previous civilization that used imagers more extensively than his society, and learns more folklore related to Pharsi “lost ones.” He does not however discover why the locals are so superstitious about “black rabbits.” (As an aside, every time someone mentioned a black rabbit I’d fill in with “of Inlé,” for which I blame Watership Down.) Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, L.E. Modesitt Jr., non-earth, Review: Book

Book Review: The Siren Depths by Martha Wells

Night Shade Books
265 pp.

In The Siren Depths family drama gets mixed with interpersonal drama when Moon discovers that he has living relatives. Living relatives who are attempting to reclaim him. Due to some communication failures, Moon decides he’s being shipped off to his newfound relatives because he is a failure as a consort. (The communication failure basically boils down to Moon actually being very young and poorly socialized due to the entire “grew up almost entirely alone and is kind of traumatized by it” thing. The poor guy has epic abandonment and trust issues.) The situation becomes even more complicated due to the Fell who have shown up in order to cause trouble, as only terrifying nomadic predators with bad touch tendencies can. Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, Martha Wells, non-earth, Review: Book

Book Review: The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells

Night Shade Books
331 pp.

In The Serpent Sea, Moon and the other Rakshura of the Indigo Cloud Court travel to their ancestral territory to rebuild their colony. When they reach the mountain-sized tree that had been the former court, they encounter a number of problems. The first problem is that their tree is dying because someone has stolen the magical “seed” that maintained it. The second problem is that Indigo Cloud has a long-simmering feud with one of their ancestral neighbors, the Emerald Twilight Court. (The feud has to do with an Indigo queen who decided to abscond with one of Emerald Twilight’s consorts.) Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, Martha Wells, non-earth, Review: Book

Book Review: Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

TOR
334 pp.

Range of Ghosts has some fascinating world building wrapped up in an intriguing plot full of adventure and politics. The novel is set along “the Celadon Highway” a kind of analog to the historical Silk Road that linked most of Asia together with much of Europe in trade during the 12th and 13th centuries. An especially interesting aspect of the world building is that each empire or polity in Range of Ghosts has its own sky with radically different astronomical features. (As an example, the sky in Re Temur’s homeland has about a hundred tiny moons that each represents one of the male heirs of the Khagan, or “khan of khans.”) Continue reading

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Filed under Elizabeth Bear, fantasy, non-earth, Review: Book

Book Review: Protector, by C.J. Cherryh

DAW
384 pp.

Protector is a direct continuation from where Intruder left off. As such, it is a tangled mess of the continued “Shadow Guild” arc plus some additional crises. Tabini and Damiri relationship has become extremely strained as a consequence of the events of the previous book, yet despite the continuing familial and political strife, Cajeiri finally gets permission for his human friends to visit him. This visit turns out to have some serious political ramifications, due in part to the atevi political climate and also due to increased tensions between Mospheirans, the ship, and the refugees from Reunion station. Continue reading

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Filed under C.J. Cherryh, distant future, non-earth, political intrigue, Review: Book, science fiction

Book Review: Emilie & the Hollow World, by Martha Wells

STRANGE CHEMISTRY
301 pp.

Martha Wells is one of my favorite writers. I enjoy her characters and worldbuilding, which tends toward fantasy of the magic-fueled technology variety. (There is really not enough of this kind of fantasy out there.) You will get airships, adventure and sorcery, and enjoy every minute of it. Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, Martha Wells, non-earth, Review: Book, steam punk, young adult

Book Review: Heir of Autumn by Giles Carwyn and Todd Fahnestock

EOS
466 pp.

Heir of Autumn is the first book of a fantasy series. This not only the first book in the series, but also the first book written by these authors. First novels always seem to be at least a little awkward. The writer or writers haven’t quite hit the tone they were aiming for, the prose or dialog might be a little stiff, the pacing might be off. Even if the writer has previously been published, the first novel is often immediately recognizable as a first novel. It is sometimes difficult for me to like a first book for these reasons, and I think that might be part of the reason I did not like this particular book.  Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, Giles Carwyn, non-earth, Review: Book, Todd Fahnestock

Book Review: Sword-Bound by Jennifer Roberson

DAW

343 pp.

The blurb for Sword-Bound is basically a complete synopsis of the entire series to date. I am not sure why, but I wonder if I should have taken it for a warning that this book is not much different from the rest of the series except Tiger is older now and a little more crotchety. (Don’t get me wrong, the crotchety is kind of adorable, since I’m not the one who has to deal with it, but still.) Sword-Bound is something of a mid-life crisis road trip novel. Continue reading

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Filed under fantasy, gender wars, Jennifer Roberson, non-earth, Review: Book

Book Review: The Heretic, by Tony Daniel and David Drake

BAEN
317 pp.

The Heretic is the latest in the long-running General series by David Drake and one of several writers.  (The original series was co-written with S.M. Stirling. The first book in the latter series was co-written with Stirling, but Drake has switched co-writers since them.) I do not recommend the original series unless you are completely acclimated to Stirling’s early work, which was heavy on the “I have to show you how grotty and violent the world is with graphic eroticized sexual violence.”) Continue reading

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Filed under apocalyptic, David Drake, distant future, non-earth, science fiction, Tony Daniel