the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Melanie Rawn’ Category

The DivinerThe Diviner, by Melanie Rawn

published in 2011

where I got it: purchased new

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Whatever you expect this book to be, or to be about, it isn’t. The blurb on the back is fairly useless, making it sound like an action packed revenge story with some magic. I’ll give it that, it is a revenge story, and there is some magic. But at the core, The Diviner is the story of a family who was nearly destroyed, and instead, irrevocably changed the world.

Long review short, Melanie Rawn’s The Diviner is so full of awesome that I don’t even know where to start talking about it. Complex and sprawling, subtle yet epic, The Diviner offers stunning world building, an elegant magic system, and characters who I swear I just spent an endless summer with.  Doesn’t hurt that Rawn’s writing style is poetic yet purposeful, layered like sheer silks that shift and billow in the breeze, offering momentary glimpses of a larger pattern.

The Diviner is all about the details – details that support other details, that are required to make something else work, yet like a cathedral or a fractal, the complexities blend into the background at first blush.  There’s so much I want to touch on, that trying to review this book is like trying to review Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind. It would be so much easier if this review could just consist of “you have to read this book!” over and over again until I reach 800 words.

Spanning four generations, the pacing of The Diviner is very fast, but the point of the book requires that time pass quickly. When months or years pass between chapters, we’re often given a passage written by a chronicler who has documented what happened. The chroniclers are just one more subtle architectural detail, it’s easy to see they each have their own style but were trained in the same school. This method of showing the passage of time may not work for all readers, but I found it refreshing and enjoyable.

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Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams

published November 2012

where I got it: Received ARC from the publisher

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Epic Fantasy requires the story to be bigger, the dragons be faster, the warriors be stronger, and everything generally be more. And Epic: Legends of Fantasy offers up just that – more mythos,  higher stakes, more of simply everything.

Many of the entries are part of the author’s larger work, taking place in an epic fantasy world that the author has already written hundreds and sometimes thousands of pages about. Randomly, the stories I read first happened to be part of larger works, and at first, the lack of stand alone works bothered me, but I quickly came to appreciate it, and to learn the collection had plenty of stand alone stories as well. An anthology like this is a brilliant method of introducing readers to these larger fantasy worlds created by famous authors such as Robin Hobb, George R R Martin, Michael Moorcock, Melanie Rawn, Tad Williams, and many others, and serves as an excellent introduction to the writings of newer authors  as well.

Some works were fairly new, but others were older than I am. the Moorcock for example was originally written in 1961. A pure classic sword and sorcery, complete with sexualized and helpless female, it might be offensive to today’s readers, but I’m happy Adams included it, as what’s the point of talking about Epic Fantasy if we’re not going to touch on the journey the genre has taken?

Clocking in at over 600 pages, Epic: Legends of Fantasy is itself a bit of a doorstopper.  We eat clunksters like this for breakfast, so I was surprised at how long it took me to plow through it. ahh, but spending 600+ pages in one fantasy world is one thing. Try spending that quantity of pages in over a dozen fantasy worlds. More often than not, my brain needed a little break in between.   This isn’t the kind of anthology to gorge on, this is the kind you savor, over many winter evenings.

Here’s my thoughts a handful of the entries:

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not only was yesterday National Buy a Book Day, but I also had it as a vacation day from work. Which meant hubby and I had plenty of time to make it to two bookstores and the library before realizing that maybe we had indeed picked up enough books to hold us for a little while.  sleeping in + buying tons of books? Sounds like the perfect day to me!

here’s what we got:

Diviner, by Melanie Rawn – looks like an epic fantasy that doesn’t take place in fantasy-Europe. Sign me up!

Fool Moon, by Jim Butcher – hubby really liked the first book, and i’m interested in reading more in this famous serious too.

Embassytown, by China Mieville – one of my favorites is finally in paperback!  I’d hoped Embassytown would take the Hugo for best novel, but alas it wasn’t to be.

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2014 Hugo Awards

I reviewed some Hugo nominated stuff. Click here for the list.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.