Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Griffin, Goodman, & Wooding reviewed at SFFWorld

We’ve got three, count ‘em THREE new reviews at SFFWorld for you this week. First up, our new reviewer Bridie Roman gave us a nice review of Alison Goodman’s The Two Pearls of Wisdom (aka Dragoneye: Reborn in the US:

Goodman’s strength in this book is the pace; where some writers would choose to show more of Eon’s training process and lessons, she has chosen to start the story the day before the ceremony in which the next Dragoneye apprentice is picked and this is something that she sticks with throughout the book. A lot of this choice may be due to the fact that Eon is forced to discover a lot of things on his own and so there is no need to show the lesson he attends but the action is always there. There are few moments in the book where there is little going on; the continual action forces you not only to read on but to pay attention. In a lot of books like this you might feel that you are missing out - that it is going too fast, but when I read this I felt that there was a good balance of action with information so it wasn’t a rough ride - it was smooth.

The second is a book that’s been generating quite a buzz on the intarwebs, Chris Woodiing’s
Retribution Falls
which MarkY/Hobbit reviewed:

Retribution Falls is a rip-roaring full blown space-pirate adventure, SF with a touch of Fantasy, driven at a pace that scarcely leaves the reader time to deal with its implausibilities. It is a plot and character driven piece that opposes airships with machine guns, magic with science, betrayal with loyalty.

It’s also one of the best pieces of fun I’ve read in a long while.

The tale is thus: roguish Darian Frey, captain of the Ketty Jay, is down on his luck and looking for easy money to pay his debts. He is forced into a deal which involves him hijacking a cargo for magnate Gallian Thade from the Ace of Skulls. When it all goes badly wrong, Frey is forced to go on the run until he can clear his name, or find and kill the villains that caused Darian to mistakenly murder innocent people. Even if this means going against the might of the Coalition Navy and the Archduke’s personal elite, the Century Knights.

With him go his motley crew. An irregular rag-bag of misplaced individuals, their varied personalities reflect an interesting mix of traits and create much of the tension for the novel. These include the silent but loyal Murthian engineer, Silo; the ship’s cat, Slag; manic outflyer pilot Pinn and paranoid outflyer pilot Harkins; Grayther Crake, an aristocratic Daemonist whose loyalty to the captain is strained at the outset of this novel; the golem Bess, containing a daemon controlled by Crake; Malvery, the alcohol-dependent ship’s doctor, and the newest recruit, navigator Jez, with more to her than you might expect.

Last, and certainly not least, is Kate Griffin’s A Madness of Angels, a very entertaining Urban Fantasy that is a nice melding of what Urban Fantasy is today and what it was in the late 80s/early 90s:

Matthew Swift is a sorcerer who wakes up two years after being murdered, with a need to find his killer. Like many Urban Fantasies of today, Griffin utilizes first person narrative as Swift tells us his story as he experiences it. Early on; however, it becomes clear that Matthew Swift isn’t the only entity telling the reader the story of this novel. References to “we” and/or “us” are in spots that one would expect to see “me” or “I” making the true identity of this revived sorcerer hazy.

On one hand, the story can be seen as essentially a revenge story. Man dies, comes back to life and wants to payback the man who killed him. It’s the backdrop and inventive sense of mundane magic Griffin injects that sets it apart. Not that the magic is boring, but rather that things a non-sorcerer would consider mundane like telephone lines, a Bag Lady, rats, or subways can contain immense amounts of magic. This is what Griffin, by proxy of Swift, calls Urban Magic.

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