Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott

We’ve got a couple of new reviews at SFFWorld, which happen to be of the same boo. Mark and I both read and reviewed Cold Magic, the first in Kate Elliott’s Spiritwalker trilogy.

First up is Mark’s review:

After an initial setting up of the characters and their world, things change with rather undue haste. As a coming-of-age novel we find events suddenly alter. As Cat nears her twentieth birthday (her coming of age date), she is summarily married (in a matter of minutes!) as part of an ancient blood pact agreement to Andevai, a member of the Four Moons House, one of a group of Mage Houses who seem to run things.


As you might expect from her previous novels, Kate writes an increasingly engrossing tale with strong (if a little caricaturist) characters and great settings. There’s action and romance, built on solid plot foundations. It’s like a nice warm bath after vigorous exercise on a cold day – you know what to expect, the tale follows logical paths and there are not too many nasty shocks lurking around the corner. Consequently the pages turn nicely.

Now here's part of my review::

Set in a world similar to our own during the 19th Century, magic is real and conflicts with science in many ways, while the world is experiencing something of an ice age. The history of the world is different as well; Rome held its power far longer than in our world and Carthaginian Empire ruled under women, Europe is more fractured with nation-states comprising the majority of the diversity. The magic is infused in this alternate Europe by – Cold Mages – the descendents of Druids Africans who left the Dark Continent for Europe many years previous to the events of the novel. Britain, as a result of the cold temperatures, is locked with North America which is populated by Trolls who ally themselves with the humans who oppose those in power.

One of my primary issues with the novel was the limitations naturally inherit with a first-person novel. That is, the entirety of the story is told through the protagonist’s eyes and voice. At times, this seemed a rather limiting factor in the story Elliott was trying to tell. Cat, for a number of consecutive scenes it seemed, found herself either in the shadows where an plot-important discussion was being held, or she happened to be just outside the door of where another equally important interaction between supporting characters was being held.

In addition, Mark and Pat (he of the Fantasy Hotlist) interviewed Jasper Kent. Guess at Pat’s questions and guess at Mark’s question.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Books in the Mail (W/E 09/25/2010)

Out of the Dark by David Weber (I read and loved the short story from Warriors which was expanded into this novel); Farlander by Col Buchanan; Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes; Twilight Forever Rising by Lena Medyan; Vortex (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, Book 6) by Troy Denning; and Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

MEME | Finish the Thought With a Title

Courtesy of The Mad Hatter...

Complete the following sentences with book titles that you have read this year. Put the author of the book in parenthesis.

I am: The Stuff of Legend (Mike Raicht, Brian Smith & Charles Paul Wilson III)
I will never be: By Heresies Distressed (David Weber)
I fear: Neverland(Douglas Clegg)
My best friend is: The Dragon Reborn (Robert Jordan)
What’s the weather like? Cold Magic (Kate Elliott)
Best Advice: No Doors, No Windows (Joe Schreiber)
I’ve never been to: Elegy Beach (Steven R. Boyett)
Favorite form of transport: Jump Gate Twist (Mark L. Van Name)
I’ll never fit in at: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (N.K. Jemisin)
How I’d like to die: With the Old Breed (E.B. Sledge)
You and your friends are: Warriors (edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozios)
Thought for the day: Bitter Seeds (Ian Tregillis)
Your soul’s present condition: Earth Ascendant (Sean Williams)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Books in the Mail (W/E 09/18/2010)

Above are the books I received from Black Library this week: Blood Pact (Gaunt's Ghosts) by Dan Abnett; Zombie Slayer (Felix & Gotrex) by Nathan Long; Ciaphus Cain: Hero of the Imperium by Nathan Long; and Sabbat Worlds (Warhammer 40K anthology) edited by Dan Abnett

Silent Army by James Knapp; Double Cross by Carolyn Crane; Memories of Envy by Barb Hendee; The House on Dunrow Street by Galen Backett; Bones of Empire by William C. Dietz; Book of the Living Dead edited by John Richard Stephens; The Force Unleashed IIby Sean Williams; and Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks.

After a hectic weekend of running around, going to a wedding and finishing my second 5K on Sunday (in 3.5 minutes less than my previous 5K), I think this picture of my now 40+ pound puppy sums up how I feel:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Books in the Mail (2010-09-11)

Masques by Patricia Briggs; Treason's Shore by Sherwood Smith; Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit by Mercedes Lackey; The Magickers Chronicles: Volume Two by Emily Drake; The Exile (GN) by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen; Dracula by Braham Stroker; Dracula: The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoke; and The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder.

Guess which of these books I'm most likely to read, in the comments.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Jump Gate Twist Mark L. Van Name @ SSF Book Review

I hadn’t realized until just now, but my latest Sacramento Book Review /San Francisco Book Review was posted a couple of weeks ago. The book I reviewed is Jump Gate Twist, which is an omnibus of the first two novels in the Jon and Lobo series by Mark L. Van Name.

I really enjoyed this book, and the novels/stories contained within, a great deal. A fine example of entertaining, engaging adventure SF on a wide galactic canvas, mixed with slight hints of Space Opera & Military SF. I’ll be following this series as long as Van Name is writing it.

Go check out my review.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Books in the Mail (W/E 09/04/2010)

The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten by Harrison Geillor; How to Live in a Science Fictional World by Charles Yu; The Living Dead 2 edited by John Joseph Adams; Zendegi by Greg Egan; Esperanza by Trish J. MacGregor; and Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay (TPB reissue, not pictured, to go along with the TPB reissue of Kay's Sailing to Sarantium as a matching set for The Sarantine Mosaic).