George V. Reilly

Review: Hide Me Among The Graves

Title: Hide Me Among The Graves
Author: Tim Powers
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: William Morrow
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 544
Keywords: fantasy, secret history
Reading period: 2 December, 2015–6 January, 2016

The Rosetti siblings, Christina, Dante (Gabriel), Maria, and William, are haunted by the vampire who was once their uncle, John Polidori. The vampires pos­ses­sive­ly love certain humans and grant those humans great powers of creativity. Christina both loves her uncle and yearns to be free of him. The other humans who receive the attentions of the vampires likewise feel both a forbidden attraction and a horrified repulsion at their own potential damnation.

Tim Powers is known for his “secret histories”, wherein he takes historical continue.

Review: The Magician's Land

Title: The Magician's Land
Author: Lev Grossman
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 416
Keywords: adult fantasy
Reading period: 26–29 December, 2015

[Sequel to The Magician King]

At the beginning of The Magician's Land, Quentin Coldwater is in exile from Fillory. After a brief sojourn of teaching at Brakebills, where he researches an enormously complex spell he found in the Nei­ther­lands, he is fired and Plum, a student, is expelled. A mysterious summons draws them into a magical heist, which goes awry. Meanwhile, Fillory is dying and Eliot, Janet, Josh, and Poppy are trying to save it.

Quentin has matured over the trilogy, emo­tion­al­ly and as a magician, rising to the daunting challenges "He continue.

Review: The Magician King

Title: The Magician King
Author: Lev Grossman
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 400
Keywords: adult fantasy
Reading period: 26–27 December, 2015

[Sequel to The Magicians.]

There are two storylines in The Magician King, the backstory of Julia's training as a hedgewitch and Quentin's quest for the seven golden keys.

Quentin, along with his high school crush, Julia, and his fellow Brake­bill­s' alumni, Eliot and Janet, have ruled Fillory for a few years. Bored with being King, he sets off on a quest, taking Julia with him. Un­ex­pect­ed­ly thrust back to Earth, they des­per­ate­ly strive to return to Fillory, eventually succeeding. Magic is leaching out of the universe as the old gods continue.

Review: The Magicians

Title: The Magicians
Author: Lev Grossman
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 402
Keywords: adult fantasy
Reading period: 20–26 December, 2015

Take a heavy dose of Narnia, add a hefty dollop of Harry Potter, stir in some Bret Easton Ellis and a dash of The Catcher in the Rye, then cook for adults. That glib de­scrip­tion short­changes The Magicians, even though Fillory clearly owes a major debt to Narnia and the preppy Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy somewhat resembles Hogwarts.

Quentin Coldwater is an over­achiev­ing, solitary math nerd from Brooklyn, who thinks he's attending an entrance interview for Princeton but instead gains admittance to Brakebills. Magic turns out to be real, but difficult, continue.

Review: Grace of Kings

Title: Grace of Kings
Author: Ken Liu
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Saga Press
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 614
Keywords: fantasy
Reading period: Oct 1–Dec 2, 2015

Loosely modeled on the rise of the Han dynasty, Ken Liu's fantasy tells us of two men who rise up to challenge the emperor. Kuni Garu, the wily and wise one-time bandit, and Mata Zyndu, the warrior scion of a deposed noble clan, are friends initially but fall out. The gods are at play in the affairs of men and they take pleasure in causing trouble and strife.

I enjoyed the novel, but I disliked the pace at which Liu galloped through events.


Review: Skin Game

Title: Skin Game
Author: Jim Butcher
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Roc
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 600
Keywords: urban fantasy
Reading period: 5–7 May, 2015

Fifteenth book in the Dresden Files series of urban fantasies.

Harry Dresden is Chicago's only pro­fes­sion­al wizard and the Winter Knight to Queen Mab. Mab compels him to team up with one of his old enemies to rob an im­preg­nable vault, a vault that belongs to Hades, lord of the Underworld. Harry distrusts Nicode­mus—right­ful­ly, as Nicodemus turns on him. But Harry can stab backs too.

A solid entry in this long running series. Harry is in­creas­ing­ly careworn but he still cracks wise, en­ter­tain­ing the readers if not his an­tag­o­nists.

Review: Dreams Underfoot

Title: Dreams Underfoot
Author: Charles de Lint
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Tor
Copyright: 1993
Pages: 416
Keywords: fantasy
Reading period: 19–26 April, 2015

A collection of related short stories, all taking place in the city of Newford, which might be a little closer to other worlds than most places.

De Lint writes haunting tales of love and music and wishes being granted at a cost.

Review: Written in Red

Title: Written in Red
Author: Anne Bishop
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Roc
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 512
Keywords: paranormal fantasy
Reading period: 6–7 April, 2015

In a world where the "Other­s"—w­ere­wolves, vampires, elementals, and more—have the upper hand and live in proximity to humans, they have need for some human staff to interact with their neighbors. Meg Corbyn takes the job, but she has a secret. She is a Blood Prophet on the run from those who have controlled her all her life.

Bishop provides an in­ter­est­ing­ly different spin on werewolves and vampires that I found en­ter­tain­ing.

Review: Blood of Tyrants

Title: Blood of Tyrants
Author: Naomi Novik
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Del Rey
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 486
Keywords: alternate history, fantasy
Reading period: 22–24 February, 2015

Eighth and penul­ti­mate book in the Temeraire series, which began with His Majesty's Dragon. It's a delightful take on the Napoleonic wars with in­tel­li­gent dragons.

The book opens with William Laurence awaking ship­wrecked and amnesiac on the shores of Japan, where European foreigners are strictly forbidden. His dragon Temeraire fran­ti­cal­ly seeks him, while the rest of the crew think him dead. After being reunited in Nagasaki, they travel on to the Chinese court in Peking and enlist the help of the emperor's dragons in fighting Napoleon, who continue.

Review: Traitor's Blade

Title: Traitor's Blade
Author: Sebastien de Castell
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 384
Keywords: fantasy
Reading period: late January, 2015

Five years ago, the Greatcoats were the lawgivers of Tristia. And then the good king was deposed by the dukes and the Greatcoats were broken up. Now despised, only a few are left, taking work as caravan guards and sellswords. Falcio, the former First Cantor, finally starts to care again, as he is sucked into the dukes' intrigues.

Traitor's Blade starts out light-hearted and joky, growing darker and more passionate as Falcio opens himself up and re­dis­cov­ers his honor. De Castell is a fine sto­ry­teller and the continue.

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