Friday, March 07, 2014

Review Round-up W/E 2014-03-07 - Harris, Hines & Patrick

The last half of that title sounds like a law firm, doesn't it?'s a recap of the week (or so) that was for book reviews/interviews at some of the internet places where you are most likely to find me...

A little over a week ago, we (specifically Mark Yon) interviewed Den Patrick, author of the forthcoming novel, The Boy with the Porcelain Blade:

Has Boy with the Porcelain Blade always been planned as the first in a series? 
Den: Very much so. I wasn’t even sure there would be a second novel at first. As I wrote Porcelain I decided what would happen in book two of The Erebus Sequence, and that it would have a different protagonist. Book three has two female protagonists.

At one point I understand the book was being called The Boy with the Porcelain Ears? Is that true? 
It is. The feeling at my publisher was that ‘Ears’ felt too weird and literary. I’m perfectly fine with people thinking I’m weird. I’m weird for a living, but we didn’t want to chase off fans of traditional fantasy. The novices are given ceramic blades in Landfall, earning steel blades upon their eighteenth birthday, so the title change wasn’t too much of a stretch. Much of the novel is about childhood and coming of age, which is a fragile time where mistakes are made and things get broken.

I reviewed Joanne Harris's wonderful mythpunk novel, The Gospel of Loki for, which tells the Norse mythology from Loki's Humble point of view:

Harris captures the essence of what we as the reader would hope the trickster god would sound like. He is charming and forthcoming (to an extent), and honest in the fact that he admits he is telling this story from his point-of-view as the Humble Narrator. While he seems as if he is coming across honest and genuine, there’s also a sense that Loki isn’t telling the full story.
One thing Harris’s novel brings to light from the classical Norse myths, and an element that has taken a back seat (especially with the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic universe, which features Loki and the Norse pantheon) is that Loki is not the only being whose morality is grey and who is not fully honest. Though not as much of a trickster as Loki, Odin is certainly not completely forthcoming; he hides the truth even if he doesn’t lie. Much of Loki’s story comes across as a long-con to extract revenge upon the Asgardians for disliking him, demeaning him, treating him like a cur, and blaming him for all the bad things which happen over the course of the story. While he may be responsible for some of the things, they blame him with no evidence, just because he is not one of them.

Most recently, Mark Yon, Mark Chitty (the new guy at SFFWorld, but who has been part of the online community for a few years), Nila White and I did a round-table review of Jim Hines's Libriomancer, the launch of his Magic ex Libris series:


Mark Y: For me most of all it was the clear love of books throughout that won me over. Libriomancer is a book that makes you want to pick up other books, or it did me, anyway. Anybody else feel the same way?
Nila W: Hmmm, not really. It seemed more of an action-adventure story for me, rather than a homage to all the books he mentioned. Though I was impressed at how well all the story elements tied together with book history.
MarkC: To be honest, it made me feel like I haven’t read enough books. Hines clearly loves books, and he mentions so many throughout the novel that I kept on thinking that my reading history is woefully inadequate to get all the in-jokes. But it did make me want to expand my reading.
Rob B: Like Jo Walton’s Among Others, Libromancer made me want to read more, especially the books Jim mentioned in the story and more of Jim’s books. In short, I found it to be a great advertisement for the joy of reading the fantastic.

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