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California Literary Review » Fantasy California Literary Review

Video Game Review: Game of Thrones

by
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Adam Robert
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Thomas

June 17th, 2012

So, does this Game of Thrones manage to live up to the promise of its source material? Or does it end up as horrible as the Hound’s face? The answer is a thunderously hesitant, “It’s pretty good,” but with more caveats than Walder Frey has heirs.

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Mark
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Fitzgerald

January 2nd, 2012

Magic is all around us, if only we’d pay attention more—if only we’d dream. Maybe then we’d sense its dark secret is really light, a bonfire of belief beyond understanding, but real. The kind of magic—or is it love?—that slays dragons and rescues princesses and lives happily ever after in the imagination of children.

Book Review: Gauntlgrym: Neverwinter, Book 1 by R. A. Salvatore

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Ryan
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Van Cleave

October 18th, 2010

One thing is clear: Salvatore is moving Drizzt ahead toward a new point in his life. He’s darker, more brooding, and full of a latent rage that threatens to explode at any time. This isn’t the same paladin-like Drizzt of previous books–he’s been damaged. Badly.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham

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Ryan
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Van Cleave

January 21st, 2010

But without a doubt, it’s the series that he began seven years ago, Fables, that has captured the imaginations of so many readers. The premise of this story is clear and simple—familiar characters from fairy tales and folklore escape after an army of creatures led by the mysterious Adversary has come to conquer their home worlds. Where do all these exiled creatures go? New York City, of course.

The Ghost King: Transitions III by R. A. Salvatore

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Ryan
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Van Cleave

December 22nd, 2009

A fast-paced, heartrending book, The Ghost King is a must-read for any fans of the Drizzt Do’Urden stories and a welcome read for general fantasy enthusiasts. While The Pirate King has a tighter plot and better action scenes, it’s this book that people will long remember.

Flesh and Fire: Book One of the Vineart War by Laura Anne Gilman

by
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Ryan
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Van Cleave

December 3rd, 2009

The first clue that Gilman is not going to zing this story along with Tom Clancy speed is that her Prelude has a pre-Prelude—never a good sign if you’re in the mood for a fast-read airplane book, which so many fantasies are. But the Vin World is rich with vattage and vine, mustus and maturation, such that even non-oenophiles cannot help but feel immersed in a unique world full of a strange richness and beauty.

The Child Thief by Brom

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Katherine
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Tomlinson

October 26th, 2009

There are moments of genuine mystery and magic, scenes where we are bedazzled and terrified simultaneously. The walk through the mist, crunching on the bones of those who strayed from the path has a Tolkienian resonance. The bloody battles that Peter leads in the real world echo those in the enchanted world. And the myth of the Horned One, who is Peter’s father, overshadows everything. For Peter is an immortal wild child who may look mostly human but who is decidedly something … other.

Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks by Ethan Gilsdorf

by
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Ryan
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Van Cleave

September 17th, 2009

The Otherkin Resource Center (ORC) exists for people who don’t believe they are human. Elves, vampires, and unicorns are among the most popular non-human races that they claim to be.

The Big Machine by Victor LaValle

by
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Katherine
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Tomlinson

September 3rd, 2009

The Big Machine is what urban fantasy looks like when it’s grown up and the writer isn’t relying on paranormal clichés to flesh out an epic tale of good versus evil. Not that you can pigeon-hole this novel—it’s a dizzying slipstream mashup of genres and memes and tropes and legends wrapped around a cross-cultural love story. This is a story that has depth, richness; a heart and a soul. Above all, it has a soul.

The Stranger by Max Frei

by
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Ed
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Voves

July 16th, 2009

The Stranger is a translation of the first of a wildly popular series of novels from Russia. By turns serious and screwball, it combines sly, sometimes campy, humor with a yearning for personal insight and a good day’s sleep. The Stranger is an episodic quest set in a parallel universe, in which a Sherlock Holmes-Dr. Watson duo combat malign magicians and search for the perfect restaurant.

The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff

by
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Ryan
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Van Cleave

July 1st, 2009

Readers who know Tanya Huff from her Blood, Smoke, and The Keeper’s Chronicles books (or even the Blood Ties show on Lifetime) will find this stand-alone modern urban fantasy right in line with what they’ve come to expect from her. For those of us not so familiar with Huff’s work, a warning: This is not your usual fantasy fare. Not in the least.

Turn Coat: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

by
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Ryan
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Van Cleave

May 14th, 2009

Turn Coat is the 11th installment in the story of Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard private investigator. Jim Butcher has often said he has enough ideas to take the series well into the twenties, though he’s smart enough to provide an “in” for every book such that new readers can join up at anytime without starting at the beginning (or watching the interesting but short-lived Sci-Fi Channel Series The Dresden Files).

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