Tag Archives For: fantasy

22 Apr, 2015

A Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

/ posted in: Reading A Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
on March 4th 2014
Pages: 448
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Length: 14:13
Series: The Others #2
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Also in this series: Written in Red, Marked in Flesh

Return to New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s “phenomenal” (Urban Fantasy Investigations) world of the Others—where supernatural entities and humans struggle to co-exist, and one woman has begun to change all the rules…After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more. The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat. As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

Goodreads

I loved listening to the audiobook of Written in Red so I immediately started listening to A Murder of Crows.  The world building in this series is amazing!  When humans started to expand from their origin points around the Mediterranean, they met the Terra Indigene – shapeshifters who are the dominant species on the planet.  The Terra Indigene control all the resources of the planet but allow humans to build some cities and use some materials in exchange for technology.  The alliance is very fragile though and now humans are starting to push for more.

Two drugs have appeared.  Gone Over Wolf causes increased aggression and Feel Good causes passivity to the point of not defending yourself if attacked.  Both drugs have been used in attacks against the Terra Indigene.

Meg is a prophet and the visions are coming more often.  She isn’t the only one.  The other blood prophets around the continent are seeing visions of blood and destruction.  War is coming.


The first book in the series was very insular.  It happened in the small community that Meg found herself in.  This book looks at the bigger picture.  At first that was a bit distressing.  I liked the insular story and wanted to know what was going on there.  But, seeing how Meg’s escape from the institution where blood prophets were kept caused ripples that are affecting the whole world was interesting.

We meet the Intuits, a subset of humans who have strong reactions when something bad is about to happen.  We learn how blood prophets are bred and controlled.  We see how the Humans First and Last movement is growing and how some people are taking it to violent extremes.

The Lakeside Courtyard now has a few trusted humans besides Meg working with them.  These people are now being attacked by other humans for being traitors to their kind.  At the same time Terra Indigene leaders from other areas are starting to come to Lakeside just to see how it is possible to deal with humans on an everyday basis.  Maybe there is hope for understanding after all.


I love this series so much that I had to force myself not to get the next book immediately.  There are only three out right now and I want to space them out a bit.  It isn’t fair to the audiobook I’m listening to now because I’m mad at it for not being this series!

About Anne Bishop

“New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop is the winner of the RT Book Reviews 2013 Career Achievement Award in Sci-Fi/Fantasy. She is also the winner of the William L. Crawford Memorial Fantasy Award for the Black Jewels Trilogy. Her most recent novel is Vision in Silver, the third book in Anne’s urban fantasy series set in a re-imagined Earth. When she’s not communing with the Others, Anne enjoys gardening, reading, and music. ” from her website

19 Feb, 2015

The Waters Rising by Sherri S. Tepper

/ posted in: Reading The Waters Rising by Sherri S. Tepper The Waters Rising by Sheri S. Tepper
on August 31st 2010
Pages: 512
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Goodreads

 

A princess is dying from a mysterious illness.  A young soul carrier has been found to take her soul from Norland to her homeland across the sea.  But first the child must do a favor for the princess and retrieve a package that she has hidden.  She is told that her highest priority is to get herself and the contents of the package back across the sea to the land of Tingawa that the princess came from.

Neighboring kingdoms are controlled by an evil family who have been trained as killers by a mysterious Old Dark Man.  They have an absolute hatred of Tingawans.  They will stop at nothing to make sure the soul carrier doesn’t make it to her ship alive.

Meanwhile the waters are rising.  Eventually they will swamp all the land on Earth.  Already villages have had to move to higher ground.  While the people of Norland try to adapt to the changing landscape, the leaders of Tingawa and the Sea King have decided to plan for the eventual demise of the Earth.


This book is actually telling two different stories.  The first is the story of the evil family and why they are trying to kill the Tingawans.  That wasn’t that interesting to me.  It covered the first part of the book and did drag.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I love this author and that there is a sequel to this book now that I want to read I’d have stopped.

The second story is the plan for survival when there is no more land.  This story I was interested in.  I think this is the story that continues into the sequel.  When the book got to this part it started to really move quickly for me.

I’m looking forward to reading Fish Tails to see what happens.

**I just looked it up on Goodreads to get that link and there are characters in there from a series that I have but that I haven’t read yet.  Crap.  It looks like she is tying together her entire lifetime of books into one big finale.  Now I have read the others to properly appreciate it! **

 

15 Jan, 2015

Fudoki by Kaj Johnson

/ posted in: Reading

In twelfth century Japan, an elderly princess is dying.  She will be moving to a convent because it is improper to die in the palace. She and her favorite companion are packing up her rooms and disposing of her belongings in preparation.

She has stacks of empty notebooks.  She picks one up and starts to write a story.

There is a colony of cats living in a courtyard.  That is their fudoki – their common ground and common story that makes them family.  When a fire destroys the area, only one young cat is left.  She panics during the fire and runs to safety but can’t find her way back in the damaged city.  Distraught, she starts to walk along a road with no goal in mind.  Without her fudoki what is her purpose?

A spirit of the road, a kami, finds her and changes her into a woman.  As she continues her journey, anything she needs from supplies to servants, magically is provided.  But even though she appears to be human, she is a cat at heart with a cat’s understanding of the world.  Humans and all their emotions are a mystery to her.

The book continues intertwining the princess’ story with the story of the cat turned mercenary warrior.

The princess has been sequestered for most of her life in the palace but she and her attendants have never lacked for male company.  She reminisces about her lovers, especially a man who may have been a traitor.  She recalls the time she was supposed to marry a young boy.  The world of royal women in this time in Japan comes to life.

I loved the ending of this book.  It was a bit unexpected but fits the personalities of the women perfectly.

16 Dec, 2014

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

/ posted in: Reading

This book is a combination of Victorian manners and high fantasy.  This is the first memoir of Lady Trent who is acknowledged as the leading expert on dragons.

She first got interested in them as a child but it was not acceptable for ladies.  She married a man who wasn’t ashamed to have an intellectual wife but even he wasn’t sure when she wanted to have them join an expedition to study dragons.

When they reach the remote village to set up their research station, their host is missing and the local dragon population has turned unexpectedly aggressive.

What is wrong with the dragons?  Why are they attacking humans all of a sudden?

This is the beginning of a series.  It was a cute mash up of genres.  I’m looking forward to reading more.

I loved this quote from page 189. It sounds like something I would say.

“I have long been accused of having no motherly instinct.  As near as I can tell, this instinct consists of attempting to wrap anyone below the age of eighteen in swaddling bands, so that they never learn anything about the world and its dangers.  I fail to see the use of this, especially from the point of view of species survival; but I do confess that one this occasion I may have let my intellectual excitement distract me from the peril of allowing a ten-year-old boy to wave a loaded rifle about.”

 

30 Sep, 2014

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

/ posted in: Reading

My Soul to Keep (African Immortals, #1)My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fantasy

Jessica thinks that her husband David is perfect. He is caring and strong and smart. He’s written the definitive textbook on Jazz and he teaches Spanish for fun. He’s amazingly accomplished for a man as young as he is.

But David is hiding something. He isn’t young. He was born in Ethiopia 500 years ago. He’s part of a group of men who were made immortal in a secret ceremony and he’ll do anything to keep it a secret, including murder.

This book drug for me a bit in the middle but then picked up towards the end when Jessica finds out about David. 

Jessica ends up having a very different view on immortality than David does. This book is the first of a series and I think I’ll read the next one to see how the conflict between them plays out.

Linking up to R(eaders) I(mbibing) P(eril).

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18 Sep, 2014

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

/ posted in: Reading

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Throne of the Crescent Moon (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, #1)Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Fantasy

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, “the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” is tired. He’s been fighting supernatural evil all his life and he doesn’t see any way to retire. He has an apprentice who is a fierce fighter but he doesn’t have Adoulla’s magical skills. His former partners are all out of the business so someone has to stick around to fight. Then the one true love of his life, who he lost because of his inability to step away from the job, contacts him because her niece was murdered by monsters.

I really liked the premise of this book. I liked the idea of a main protagonist who is old and broken down but who is all that is left. I liked the other characters too. There is a fighter who is devoted to his religion but is starting to see that there may be more grey areas in life than he likes. There is a girl who can take the shape of a lion. There is a powerful magician who ages with every spell he casts and his wife who makes potions.

I found this book on a list of fantasy books that take place in a non-European setting. The world is fantasy Arabic with deserts and ancient cities.

With so much to like about this book, I was disappointed that the story never became a page turner for me. There is a lot that is really good here but somehow it never came together into a tight story. However, I read the synopsis of the next book in the series and it sounds good too so maybe I should give it a try…

03 Aug, 2014

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

/ posted in: Reading

Who Fears DeathWho Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantasy

In a post-apocalyptic future in sub-Saharan Africa, the Nuru are waging war against the Okeke.  The Nurus believe in using rape as a weapon.  They know that raped Okeke women will be shunned by their families and that any children born will be Ewu.  Ewu children are identifiable by their skin color.  It is believed that children conceived in violence will be violent themselves so Ewu are kept outside civilized society. 

After a powerful Nuru sorcerer rapes an Okeke woman, she flees to the desert where she gives birth to a girl who she names Onyesonwu.  It means Who Fears Death.  Onyesonwu grows to be a powerful sorcerer herself but will her society reject the possibility of a savior who is twice an outcast – both Ewu and a woman?

I first heard about this book on a Book Riot list of fantasy books that weren’t set in a pseudo-European setting.  It is a powerful story that stayed with me because of the way it handles systemic misogyny.  From the opening scenes of women being attacked deliberately as a strategy to destabilize a population to the way all women in the book were kept in their very circumscribed place, the book shows example after example of why the rights of women are so important.  I was reading this book during the time that the #womenagainstfeminism discussion was happening on Twitter.  I just wanted to put this book in the hands of people who think that feminism is irrelevant now to show why women need rights.  The bleakness of a society that tells girls that genital mutilation is a special rite that will bring honor to their families when they don’t even know what is being done to them stayed with me long after the book was finished.  It was for driving the lesson home yet again that I gave this a 5 star rating.  I only give that to books that stay with me deeply and that I want to put in people’s hands tell them that they have to read it.

Other reviewers have complained that even though this is an adult book because of the themes, it is structured like a YA novel.  The protagonists are around 20 at the time of the main action.  There is a journey with friends to save the day.  There is a love triangle with some of the characters.  That didn’t bother me.

I wish there had been more world building.  You don’t know what happened to change the world from the world we live in.  It is never discussed.  The story could seem to be taking place in the past most of the time but then a high tech thing is mentioned in passing.  It is a little jarring.

I enjoyed some characters that I hadn’t seen before in fantasy books.  I particularly liked the tribe that lives inside the eye of a sandstorm that their sorcerer controls.  I want a whole book about them.

Don’t let the darkness of the subject scare you off.  (When I tried to get this from the library I couldn’t find it.  I had to ask and then that person had to ask.  There was a whispered conversation between librarians.  “She wants a book called Who Fears Death?”  They both tried to look at me out of the corner of their eyes to see what kind of a freak I was.  The fact that the card catalog page labeled it “Genocide – fiction” probably didn’t help.)  If you like fantasy or magical realism, you will enjoy this book.

26 Apr, 2014

Hammered

/ posted in: Reading

Hammered (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #3)Hammered by Kevin Hearne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fantasy – Book 3 of the Iron Druid Chronicles

Atticus, the last living Druid, has made some deals and promises in the past to other magical creatures and now the time has come to pay up. 

Promise number 1 was made to a very powerful witch.  He promised to go to Asgard, the land of the Norse gods, and steal a magical apple.  No problem.  All he has to do is sneak up the World Tree while avoiding a gigantic squirrel, sneak past all the gods, steal an apple, and get back.  What could go wrong?

Promise number 2 was made to his vampire lawyer.  He promised to help him kill Thor.  Oh well, as long as he’s going to Asgard anyway he could call it recon for a second trip to kill Thor.

Atticus knows that as soon as the other gods realize that he is able to move between the planes of existence into their realms that they are going to team up to kill him.  It is probably time for him to finish up his life in Arizona and go back into hiding.  But word as gotten out about what he is planning and despite some friendly advice from both The Morrigan and Jesus (who can’t resist multiplying some fish just to mess with people), he gave his word and he has to go through with it.  They assemble a team of a vampire, a werewolf, a Russian thunder god, a Finnish magician, and a Chinese sage to take on Thor.

This series has a lot of elements that I like.  There is the mythology of multiple pantheons of gods trying to stay out of each other’s way.  There are all kinds of magical creatures.  There is a talking dog – really, what else do you need?  There is action and very cool earth magic.  It is hilarious.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.  My only complaint is that this are really quick reads so I get through them too quickly.  Like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels, I may have to move to listening to these on audio so I don’t go through them too quickly.

 

 

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