Bujold's PALADIN OF SOULS at Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.co.uk is listing PALADIN OF SOULS, the sequel to Lois McMaser Bujold's THE CURSE OF CHALION, for release on October 20, 2003, in the U.K. I wonder if there'll be simultaneous publication in the U.S.? I know many of you hang out on various Bujold-related forums...what's the answer on U.S. publication? Is the title the same?
Lois McMaster Bujold has won the Hugo award four times, and the Nebula award twice. This is her second epic fantasy and the sequel to Curse of Chalion. The Golden General's curse has been lifted from the royal family and Cazaril can now rest easy and enjoy his new life with his bride Betriz. However, life for Ista, the Dowager Royina has not improved. With the death of her mother, the Provincara, and with her surviving child Iselle now ruling Chalion from the Capital Cardegross, she is left without purpose. Her brother's family still think she's mad and aim to keep her locked up safely to avoid embarrasment, but she craves freedom and escape and begins to plan how this may become reality.
S.D. Tower's THE ASSASSINS OF TAMURIN <-- Check it out at Amazon.
THE ASSASSINS OF TAMURIN, by S.D. Tower, is a fantasy novel set in a world much inspired--if I remember a class I took years ago correctly--by historical China. It's the story of one girl's rise from a life of poverty, and her transition to a life of self-determination. It was an interesting and readable book, although it didn't engage me as powerfully as I'd expected.[...]
Half the book is Lale growing up. The rest is Lale being sent out in the world as the Despotana's agent, embarking on a career, being asked to seduce a charismatic leader with aspirations of reunifying and ruling the Empire, and dealing with the ramifications of falling for him.
Although this sounds like it should be really exciting story, it never quite reached the highs and lows I'd expected. The worldbuilding was my favorite part, but, surprisingly, the heroine was probably my least favorite element. She wasn't quite charismatic or empathetic enough to have me rooting for her. Still, I'd definitely try S.D. Tower (apparently a pseudonym for a writing team who've previously written espionage novels under another name) again. And, for you series-haters, this seems like a stand-alone novel.--Preeti [more...]
--- New cover; click to see larger version at Amazon.com
Old cover ---
I was browsing Amazon.com when I noticed that Laurell K. Hamilton's next Anita Blake novel, CERULEAN SINS, has a new cover. The stiletto-heeled shoe and tattooed ankle seem more evocative and provocative than the orchid (or iris?) with the silver spider. Which do you prefer?
Updated Publishing Info on L.J. Smith's STRANGE FATE
A letter from L.J. Smith--hopefully authentic--indicates that she's "hoping to deliver Strange Fate to my publishers sometime in Spring 2003. Of course, it will then take a little time for the book to be put in print."
About time! Has there ever been a crueler torture for readers than getting to read nine books of a series in short order and then be left hanging for *years* for the climactic tenth novel? If you can think of worse reader tortures, leave a comment to this entry. [more about Book 1 in the Night World series, SECRET VAMPIRE...]
I read LIRAEL first even thought it's the second book in the series and really enjoyed it even though it ends with a cliff-hanger (I hate cliff-hangers). Then I went back and read SABRIEL and I have to agree with Margaret and Preeti -- it wasn't particularly interesting. Margaret said it best:
I think that the reason the book didn't particularly grab me was that there was very little emotional involvement between any of the characters and thus I was not emotionally involved.
Lirael is one of the Clayr, a group of women who have the sight. All girls usually undergo a change between 9-12 and gain the gift of fore-sight. Lirael still hasn't changed by the age of 14 and is devastated and feels apart. She comes to the attention of the head Clayr and is given the job of librarian. Being a librarian is a dangerous job (thought this was really cool). The library is *huge*, with many long corridors and locked, spelled rooms containg all kinds of magic books. Librarians are given swords in case something escapes from the books and out of the magic rooms. Lirael loves being a librarian and unbeknownst to anyone manages to teach herself magic, fight magic creatures, and create a fascinating friend.
Sameth, is the son of Sabriel and Touchstone. He is the Abhorsen in waiting, but is terrified of death after an encounter with a necromancer. He's afraid to tell anyone of his crippling fear and feels completely inadequate.
Sameth and Lirael end up meeting as they try to figure out what power is causing problems and unrest in the west. There's a terrific surprise towards the end of the book when Lirael's destiny becomes apparent.
Sarah A. Hoyt's ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT <-- Check it out at Amazon.
This is the first in a series about Shakespeare. And yes, it's fantasy, so he does encounter the fairy world that he portrays in Midsummer Night's Dream. [...]
The story is about the young and newly married Will Shakespeare, who comes home from a day as a petty schoolmaster (who walks two hours each way to work) to find his new wife and baby daughter missing. [...]
The fairy king has stolen his wife as a nursemaid -- and future queen -- for his own daughter. However, the king's youngest brother and the rightful heir encounters Will, and decides to entangle him in his own plots. Quicksilver (youngest son of Oberon and Titania) believes that his brother somehow murdered their parents and usurped the throne. Quicksilver also has this habit of turning into a lady; it is in this guise that he pursues Will.
And so it begins.
There is a very strong thread through the story of Will's relationship with his wife. Though Hoyt says that some interpret their relationship in a much more negative way, she sees no evidence to convince her that it was so. Thus, there is a very strong bond between Will and Nan. Though let's just say I think I found his inspiration for The Taming of the Shrew.
There's even a young lady at the fairy court who pines after Quicksilver; the latter has already met -- and influenced the life of -- another young human named Kit Marlowe, and does exhibit some mild concern as to what affect he might have on young Will.
Most definitely recommended, and I'm looking forward to the next book (which I have ) and the short story I discovered.--Lori [more...]
Kathleen Dexter's FIFTH LIFE OF THE CATWOMAN <-- Check it out at Amazon.
This is not my usual style of book. I usually go for the fast-moving action-packed ones, but, while this was slower paced, it was very intriguing and amusing. I was never bored and recommend FIFTH LIFE OF THE CATWOMAN highly. The story has a paranormal element but also makes you think....once again, something I don't look for in a book. ;-) Makes me think of Oprah, actually, but put that aside. It was wonderful.
Kat, the heroine, has isolated herself from humanity. It's her fifth life and she wants nothing to do with people. She was murdered for being different and thought a witch in previous ones. And with her natural multicolored hair, she'd stand out. She has found a mirage to live in that has a house that she shares with 50 cats. She is able to communicate with cats and much of their thoughts, which I found very amusing.
Kat's refuge is discovered and visited by a stranger who is strangely familiar. She finally recognizes him as her bother in her first life from about 400 years ago. He slowly works through her defenses and encourages her to try to join the world again and to teach. Kat actually went to college and is a history teacher. He dares her to teach the new generation to be better that the past.
This book encompasses glimpses from Kat's past life and how she became what she was, her amazing way of teaching, and a slow but believable love story. This was such a change of pace for me but I truly loved it. The amusing cat thoughts, the paranormal element, the way she changed her student's lives for the better and was changed herself, and the characters made this a very satisfying read. And there was a surprising thought that I had at the end from one of the cats...but I really can't tell you anymore. You'll have to read it yourself.--Linda [more...]
Nina Kiriki Hoffman's A FISTFUL OF SKY <-- Check it out at Amazon.
I just finished A FISTFUL OF SKY by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. Loved it, definite recommend. This may be the best fantasy I have read this year and ranks up with my favorite of her's, THE THREAD THAT BINDS THE BONES.
The book is about Gypsum LaZelle, who has been born into a family of magic users. In her family, the children normally come into their gifts at the age of 12 to 16. It worked this way for her brothers and sisters, but not for Gypsum who has resigned herself to being the non-magical one of the bunch.
One Gypsum is 20, this changes. She finally goes through transition and comes into her gift - a gift nobody expected and Gypsum is not sure having her gift is better than not being gifted.
The book has a romance near the end, but the most important relationships in the book are Gypsum's relationships with the people in her family. She has been powerless for a long time among people who have power and are sometimes careless even with those they love. Gypsum's new gift forces her to reevalutate herself and how she has been treated and how she will in turn treat other, but it also forces her family to reevaluate some of their assumptions.
The vivid descriptions and the depth of the characters make A FISTFUL OF SKY riviting reading. I recommend it to everyone, but especially think that those among us that like YA fiction should read this novel. It is a coming of age novel of the best kind.
This goes on my keeper shelf.--Shelley
By the most amazing coincidence, I read A FISTFUL OF SKY by Hoffman this weekend too and enjoyed it. Shelley did a great job summarizing it but I don't think it's really an SFR -- it contained the sweet beginnings of one. Hoffman did a great job capturing the frustrating, exciting, inexperienced beginnings of relationship. All the tentative moves. Are we on a date? Who pays? etc.
My only quibble with the book was that it felt a bit unfinished. I had *so* many questions at the end. Hope they're addressed in her next book.--Edith [more...]