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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

PALADIN OF SOULS -- Nothing not to love

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I highly recommend PALADIN OF SOULS! I can honestly say the hardcover price is worth every cent. There wasn't anything I didn't love about this book.

PoS does start out slow, but even then, Lois McMaster Bujold's writing, especially in the building of characters, is so good that I never felt bored. I loved the originality of the plot and the real neat plot twist. I came to know and care for so many of the characters besides the main ones. And I definitely loved the romance!

I didn't have the reaction to Ista that Edith did. I think I liked Ista even more than the usual heroine because she's depicted as being closer to my age (40s), which isn't done very often in books. I really enjoyed Ista's more mature outlook during her coming of age journey, when the finds what she's made of. And it's great that an older heroine can still find love when she least expects it or even thinks of it. :-)

Like Edith, I too had forgotten most of CURSE OF CHALION. Thankfully, I can second her report on the good job done by Bujold on filling in details in PoS. Also, I had no problem with the number of Gods in the story, which could be because I grew up reading Eddings and the like. In fact, I found Bujold's handling of the God situation interesting, i.e., showing us the less than stellar side of being God-touched.--Linda

Posted by Preeti [Link]

Monday, September 29, 2003

A Loss
This site grew out of years of conversations between 15 or so friends that share a love of RomSF and books in general. Recently, we lost one of our own, Marjorie. Even though she was a quiet one, she will be missed.

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Thursday, September 18, 2003

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Here's my quickie, spoiler-free review of Bujold's latest, PALADIN OF SOULS, which begins approximately three years after THE CURSE OF CHALION (CoC).

The main character is Ista, the queen mother. Her mother, the Provincara, has just died, and she feels very hemmed in, imprisoned; everyone still thinks she is mad, and she's rarely left alone. She hits upon the idea of making a pilgrimage to visit holy places as a way to escape this stifling environment. Taking a female courier as her lady-in-waiting, and accompanied by a very small band of soldiers and a priest, she begins her journey. On the road they are attacked by a band of enemy soldiers but Ista is rescued by an incredibly handsome, virile soldier. Unfortunately, all is not as it seems, and the adventures and plot twists begin. The slow beginning was more than made up for by the action-packed last two-thirds of the story.

On the positive side, this is written the way a sequel should be. I read CoC when it first came out and remembered very little. Fortunately, it wasn't necessary. PALADIN OF SOULS is almost a stand-alone book; I think enjoyment of it would be enhanced by reading CoC first, but it isn't necessary.

Also, I'm happy to say there is a definite romance in the book. I liked the hero very much, although I didn't quite see why someone so personable was still unattached at his age (approx. thirty five years old?). Bujold does a good job in believably changing the heroine from a rather wimpy, sheltered, inactive woman into someone who takes charge of her life. I really liked many of the secondary characters, especially Liss, the courier/lady-in-waiting, and the soldier Foix.


Posted by Preeti @ 01:13 PM ET [Link]

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

New Asaro Covers
Artist Stephanie Pui-Mun Law has done two upcoming book covers and they're gorgeous!

<-- Preorder at Amazon
CHARMED DESTINIES - A collection of 3 fantasy-romance novellas by Mercedes Lackey, Rachel Lee, and Catherine Asaro, coming out in November from Silhouette.

CHARMED SPHERE - A fantasy-romance by Asaro, coming out in February 2004 from Luna.
Preorder at Amazon -->

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Sunday, September 7, 2003

Wen Spencer Wins Campbell

Congratulations go to Wen Spencer, winner of the 2003 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Previous winners of the award include Melissa Scott, Kristine Smith, Nalo Hopkinson, Mary Doria Russell, R. A. MacAvoy, Stephen R. Donaldson and Orson Scott Card.

Posted by rebekah [Link]

Wednesday, September 3, 2003


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This is the second book in the Otori series and it typifies why I hate, truly HATE, reading trilogies in dribs. It was a huge struggle to remember who the secondary characters were and it didn't help that one Japanese name sounds much like another. There's an index of characters at the beginning of the book and I wasted quite a bit of time referring to it a lot at first. I seriously considered waiting till the third book came out, but I read the end and it seemed happy so I plodded on.

In this book the heroine Kaede goes home and finds that war and typhoon have caused much destruction. The people are desperately poor, hungry, and unhappy. Her only salvation is a powerful, creepy neighboring lord who is very interested in her. He collects objects of beauty and Kaede is not only beautiful, she's mysterious. He finds her fascinating and she walks a fine line as she encourages his interest to pry money out of him while keeping him at bay.

Meanwhile, the hero Takeo joins the secretive, brutal Tribe. He must learn obedience, discipline, and must burnish his skills as a fighter and assassin. It's not a happy life. He knows that if he leaves the Tribe, they won't rest till they kill him. Does he have the strength and skills to leave? Can he live as a hunted man for the rest of his life?

My recommendation is to wait till all three books come out before reading them. They're definitely worth reading but to read them one at a time, months apart, ruins the magic and continuity. That's a darn shame since the story is interesting and well told. Hearn also does a great job world-building and creating interesting secondary characters.--Edith

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I also read COYOTE COWGIRL by Kim Antieu. I'd recommend it, but only mildly. Something about the author's voice struck a wrong chord with me. I also realize now I'm not much of a fan of magical realism. Didn't care much for Hoffman's PRACTICAL MAGIC. I thought Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS and William Sanders' BALLAD OF BILLY BADASS were interesting, but not particularly wonderful. The woo-woo parts of these books didn't convince me. They felt artificial and tacked on.--Edith


Posted by Preeti [Link]

Doranna Durgin, romance author
Did you guys read the romance anthology FEMME FATALE? Doranna Durgin's is the first of three connected stories about female spies (thinks Alias or Charlie's Angels, I guess, except there isn't much silliness.) I honestly thought Durgin's story succeeded admirably as a romance, i.e., she "gets" it. The hero and heroine's conflict was too diametrically opposed to be truly convincing (i.e., she's too "creative", he plays too much by the rules) but no matter, I still liked the story. No fantasy or paranormal elements, however.

Virginia Kantra, who's a pretty good romance writer, wrote the third story. Some woman I've never heard of wrote the second story. I didn't read that one.

[Durgin's fantasy DUN LADY'S JESS]

Posted by Preeti [Link]


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