While fun, THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS was an action packed smorgasbord of a novel, full of random plot arcs and frequently undeveloped characters. It was as if the authors didn’t know what they wanted to write – fantasy, romance, adventure – and tried to smash everything into one book. Though fast paced and never boring, THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS nevertheless suffered for it.
When the days of the Salem witch trials have passed, and you happen to be one of a handful of spell casters who survived, what’s an honest witch to do to eek out a livelihood in Boston? Become a freelance private investigator, otherwise known as a “theiftaker” of course! And when a case comes up that no normal person can solve, much less touch, then a spellcaster is clearly what you need. This is the world of A PLUNDER OF SOULS and there is a lot to like about it.
As thrilling as stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, Dellamonica’s CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA marries our modern world to to it’s exotic, magical alter-ego.
From the titles to the page, the first three books in the Craft Sequence marry numbers with magic. The stories themselves explore different parts of society, but always on the bedrock of a spiritual economy where soul stuff is traded and bartered to power the world. FULL FATHOM FIVE weaves together new and old characters on an island of idols and mysteries, infusing this broken world with a slowly building hope that is impossible to resist.
UNWEPT strives to create an uncanny dreamworld of menace and meaning, but falls far short of its goal. After a gripping opening scene, the story bogs down under Alice in Wonderland levels of incongruity and silliness.
Fans of MISTBORN are going to love Greg van Eekhout’s West Coast take on the magical heist story in CALIFORNIA BONES, with its alternate Los Angeles, quirky ensemble of thieves, and introduction to osteomancy. Though I devoured it with the same gusto that the Hierarch devours the bones of Daniel’s father, the narrative moves very quickly, cramming several books’ worth of story into a single novel. There are so many fascinating aspects of the world van Eekhout’s created that I want more time to get to know its intricacies, and I think the relationships, in particular, suffer for the speed.
Marie Brennan is a wizard at mixing the real world and magic, whether in the past or present. No book better exemplifies her skill than THE TROPIC OF SERPENTS, a facsimile of a historical memoir that effectively adds hints of modernity in it’s structure, character growth, and fast paced adventure.
I always enjoy books that make me think about the basic question of what it means to be human. EXPIRATION DAY is definitely one of those books. Set in a not-so-far future, where most humans can’t have children, we get all the classics: can robots be creative? Can they experience emotion? If they’re creative and emotional, are they not as human as homo sapiens? These are all fascinating questions to ponder, and rather than detract from the story, they add to it, giving a somewhat regular “coming of age” story depth and a completely different angle.
THE INCREMENTALISTS novel is one of those novels I expected to pick up and immediately love. I mean, c’mon, it’s set in Vegas, involves secret societies and is co-written by the amazing Steven Brust.
The beauty of DELIA’S SHADOW starts at the cover for me; haunting, rich, and mysterious. The concept of a haunting in history, pairing paranormal themes with the grace and politeness turn of the century San Francisco was an irresistible lure.