Archive for the ‘Ellen Kushner’ Category
something old and something new,
something borrowed and something, umm, not blue.
Here are some recent goodies purchased, borrowed, and otherwise acquired:
oh wait, look! There is something blue!
All blurbs are yanked from Amazon. We’ve got:
The Fall of the Kings by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman – a not quite sequel to Kushner’s Swordspoint (which I adored), The Fall of the Kings takes place in the same world but follows different characters. It promises sword fights, intrigue, strumpets, witty repartee, and probably some damn good drama.:
This stunning follow-up to Ellen Kushner’s cult-classic novel, Swordspoint, is set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue, where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule. Against a rich tapestry of artists and aristocrats, students, strumpets, and spies, a gentleman and a scholar will find themselves playing out an ancient drama destined to explode their society’s smug view of itself–and reveal that sometimes the best price of uncovering history is being forced to repeat it….
Servant of a Dark God, by John Brown – It’s super shiny cuz it’s a library book. I’m about half way through, and so far the plot feels like a traditional fantasy, but with some added complications of racism, religious propaganda and secret societies. There’s some neat magic here, so I’m curious to see how the author wraps it all up:
Young Talen lives in a world where the days of a person’s life can be harvested, bought, and stolen. Only the great Divines, who rule every land, and the human soul-eaters, dark ones who steal days from man and beast, know the secrets of this power.
Now a being of awesome power, whose Mothers once ranched human subjects like cattle, feeding on their souls, has arisen in secret. And her monstrous, murderous pawn, a soul-bound creature created of wood and grass and rock roams the land. A massive and mis-directed hunt for soul-eaters is launched and Talen finds himself a target. Trapped in a web of lies and secrets, Talen must identify his true enemy before the new Mother takes back what is rightfully hers.
Cast in Shadow, by Michelle Sagara – After meeting Ms. Sagara at ConFusion in January, I knew I needed to start her Elantra series, so when I saw this copy at the used bookstore, I grabbed it! Like, I didn’t want to let go of it long enough for the lady at the counter to ring it up! It looks to be some nice and edgy urban fantasy thriller/mystery:
Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowingthat something was after her. Children were being murdered — and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin.…
Since then, she’s learned to read, she’s learned to fight and she’s become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and the immortal Barrani, she’s made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth.
But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging. Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can’t trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers — powers that no other human has. Her task is simple — find the killer, stop the murders…and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies!
The rules for my “best of” post were simple: I had to have read and reviewed the book in 2011, and it couldn’t be a reread (otherwise this list would taken over by Lynch, Powers, Brust, and others).
In no particular order (saving me the impossible task of choosing my utmost favorites), here are my top reads of the last 12 months. I’m surprised so many of them are new-ish books, as that wasn’t really part of the plan. Enjoy the little teaser then click on the title for the full review.
Grey by Jon Armstrong (2007) frantic, insane, completely over the top, hilarious, refreshing, and at times completely sick. This is dystopia like you’ve never read before. This is body modification and mortification, life imitating art to the nth degree, and performance art like you’ve never imagined. This is fashion punk.
The Third Section by Jasper Kent (2011) The third in Kent’s Danilov Quintet, one of the most brilliantly frightening books I have ever read, and brimming with betrayals and violence, seductions and patience, this is the series you’ve been waiting for if you prefer your vampire fiction to be more Bram Stoker than sparkly.
Swordspoint, by Ellen Kushner
published in 2003
where I got it: library
Quite often I’ll run into a review where someone finds a book “effortless”. I never really knew what that meant, until now. Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint, a story that is both a typical fantasy and as far from typical as one can get is a book that doesn’t feel like a book. I don’t know how else to explain it. I would pick Swordspoint up planning to only read for a half hour or so, the next thing I knew two hours had gone by and I was half finished with it, to my dismay leaving less and less of it remaining for me to enjoy. Even in the scenes where death is quite completely on the line, where Richard is fighting for his life or for Alec’s, when Alec is desperately trying to slowly kill himself through drink, drugs or stupidity, the story feels light, readable, addictive: absolutely effortless. With a plotline that’s easy to get into, and brimming with all my favorite guilty pleasures: swordplay, banter, revenge, and sensuality, Swordspoint is truly unforgettable.