12 posts

Video Game Review: Game of Thrones

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.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham

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.

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

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

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.

The Big Machine by Victor LaValle

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

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.

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

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).