Year: 2009

Iorich by Steven Brust – Book Review

Iorich will be released in a few days (January 5), and it is with utmost certainty that I suggest you go buy it if you are a fan of Steven Brust and his Vlad Taltos novels.  If you are unfamiliar with the Vlad series, I would say that you need to go research that inadequacy in your fantasy reading.  Each one of the books is a bit self-contained, as Vlad will sometimes refer to something in the past, but during his narration tell the reader that he is going to jump over that part right now as it is not crucial to what he is currently involved in.  What I am not so certain about is my ability to explain why I enjoyed this novel, because I did enjoy it.  When I stop to think about Brust, it is a a grand complicated puzzle of great writing, great characters, and a story I did not think I would actually enjoy when I read the back of the book.  That is why I am always impressed with Brust; he makes me like things I do not think I would ever be interested in.

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Fire Raiser by Melanie Rawn | Book Review

Fire RaiserHolly McClure is a witch, something that won’t be a surprise to readers of the first volume of this series.  She isn’t a particularly powerful witch, in the big scheme of things, which is a very novel approach in fantasy fiction.  In many contemporary fantasies, a witch who doesn’t seem able to cast any spells is usually either untrained or hasn’t yet figured out what she can actually do.  That isn’t Holly’s problem at all.  She has a particular talent, which is making spells permanent with a drop of her blood.  This means she isn’t worthless, in fact, much is made in this book about how valuble her magic is, but she can’t actually cast any spells. Rawn’s system of magic is interesting, with each witch having a particular affinity for some kind of physical item, such as wood, or gemstones, or cloth.  The witches can then work magic based around that affinity, something that makes sense and makes it much better for the reader to interpret how, exactly, the magic works in Rawn’s world.

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