the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘fantasy’ Category

Welcome to a new-ish feature here at Little Red Reviewer, called Five for Friday. The concept is simple – it’s a Friday, and I post a photo of 5 books, and then we chat about them in the comments.

The only things these books have in common are:
– they were on my bookshelf
– I’m interested in your thoughts on them.

have you read any of these? if yes, did you like them? If you’ve not read them, does the cover make you interested in learning more about the book?

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – I have got to be only person left on earth who hasn’t read this book!  My friend lent it to me, and I just finished a manga (Silver Spoon #5!), so the timing is perfect for me to finally read this.


The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord – Hard to believe it’s been five years since this came out.  This is a quiet book that sneaks up on you, I reviewed it here.  Did you like Station Eleven?  You’ll like The Best of All Possible Worlds.  Totally different plots, but they have a similar, hmm… tone is maybe the right word?


Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew – I love everything this woman writes. Gorgeous prose, atmospheric writing, vibrant characters, and did I mention the gorgeous prose?  And can I say no to a retelling of The Snow Queen? no, I can not. Also, have you seen that beautiful cover art?  review is here, if you’re interested.


Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart – Chinese fantasy adventure! This debut  novel won the World Fantasy Award and has become a classic. review here. Have you read the sequels?  are they good?


The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars by Steven Brust – Gosh, I haven’t read this in ages.  I remember a painter and a bunch of artists who share a studio, I remember  fairy tale that is told in tiny bits and pieces. I remember the first time I read this, I thought the painter was telling the fairy tale to his artist friends. Yep, I should really reread this.


I totally did not plan it this way, but a bunch of these books involve mythology and fairy tales!


Have you read any of these?  what did you think of them?

Which of these look interesting to you?

What are some of your favorite fairy tale / mythology retellings?

the-broken-kingdoms-by-nk-jemisinThe Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance trilogy, book 2) by N.K. Jemisin

published 2010

where I got it: purchased new













A quick warning: this review contains unavoidable spoilers for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the first book in the series.


It’s been about a week since I finished reading The Broken Kingdoms, and it’s taken me this long to put into words what I experienced. Put shortly, I loved every word of it, and I know no review I write will come close to doing this book justice.  As I neared the halfway point of the book, I began avoiding picking it up, because I didn’t want to face that moment where I’d have to turn the final page and have it be over forever.  I knew the end was going to be heavy, and I wasn’t wrong.


The Broken Kingdoms picks up about ten years after the events of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.  Sky is now colloquially referred to as Shadow, due to the shadows caused by the huge tree that now dominates the city.  When once only three enslaved gods roamed the palace, now the city is full of godlings who have returned from the realm of the gods, some of them living rather normal lives, while others still aren’t used to be being around mortals.


At the beginning of this second installment, we meet Oree, who moved to the city ten years ago, after her father died. At first blush, this sounds a little familiar – country girl moves to the city, gets very surprised by what she finds there.  And that’s where the similarity ends. Oree isn’t interested in learning about the royal family, and she could care less about the differences between the gods and the mortals for the most part. Her first priority is selling her artwork and paying her rent.


Oree is an artist, and she’s blind. Well, mostly blind. She can’t see me, or you, or her mother, or the house she grew up in.What she can see, is magic, and Shadow is lush with godlings, so she can get around halfway decently most of the time. One night, she finds a dead guy outside her house. It’s a little more complicated than that, and he’s not quite dead. She takes him in, cleans him up, and lets the strange, silent man crash at her place until she figures out what to do with him.  At sunrise he glows with a godling hue, and he seems to be invulnerable to pain and injury. No one knows his name or where he came from, and in an attempt to elicit a reaction from him, she starts calling him Shiny. To his face.


If you’ve read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, you know who Shiny is, and that he’s probably not all that offended by the nickname. But Oree has absolutely no idea who he is, and in all honestly she just wishes he’d stop being such a pain in the ass.

Read the rest of this entry »

I don’t think I can afford to buy any more books until the end of the summer!  Also, reviews have been light recently because I’m up to my eyeballs in epic The Diviner, by Melanie Rawn. ignore it’s hokey cover art, and go read this right now because it is amazing.  Review will show up eventually, I’ve got to finish it first!

but, there’s New Stuff!

SAM_2703A Stranger in Olondria was recommended to me by my friend at the bookseller. The debut novel from Sofia Samatar from Small Beer Press, it never hurts to support new authors and small presses. the cover art? eh, bleh.

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay – after a long discussion with the other half last night about how Kay’s writing has evolved over the years, we decided that even though neither of us were in love with Under Heaven, we should give the pseudo-sequel, River of Stars a try.


New to me stuff! (because I can’t resist a used bookstore!)


Yes, I know the Doctor Who novelizations are kinda hokey. BUT I DON”T CARE I LOVE THEM!

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding – I remember hearing a ton about this when it came out, time to give it a shot.

Kushiel’s Dart by Jaqueline Carey. When 99% of the blogging world is saying this book is a must read, who am I to pass on it?

I only read books like this because it’s the only book I own!


I only read books like this because I secretly want to be a con-artist posing as a sneak thief!


I only read books like this because they are scads of fucking fun!


Welcome one and all to week 3 of our Lies of Locke Lamora read along. Pranks have been pulled, lessons have been learned, and even more horrible things have happened. The Gentlemen Bastards are up to their eyeballs in it, and some fast thinking and faster running may be the only thing that can save them.  They may be richer and cleverer than their usual sort of opponent, but the Grey King and the Falconer are most certainly not their typical thuggish Camorri opponents.

As we’re beyond the halfway point of the book, there will be spoilers. Sorry, there isn’t much I can do about it at this point.  But, if you haven’t already, you should check out Scott Lynch’s livejournal for some behind the scenes goodies, and My Awful Reviews for some other surprise goodies. There. Does that make up for the spoilers? if not, all i got to say to that is Nice Bird, Asshole.

This week’s discussion starters were supplied by Bryce at My Awful Reviews, and cover Chapter 5 through the end of the interlude called the Half Crown war.

1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions of the magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage’s powers?

2. Not a question, but an area for rampant speculation: If you want to take a stab at who you think the Grey King might be, feel free to do it here.

2.5 (since 2 wasn’t really a question) Anyone see the Nazca thing coming? Anyone? Do you think there are more crazy turns like this in store for the book? Would you like to speculate about them here? (yes, yes you would)

3. When Locke says “Nice bird, arsehole,” I lose it. EVERY TIME. And not just because I have the UK version of the book and the word arsehole is funnier than asshole. Have there been any other places in the books so far where you found yourself laughing out loud, or giggling like a crazy person on the subway?

4. By the end of this reading section, have your opinions changed about how clever the Bastards are? Do you still feel like they’re “cleverer than all the rest?” Or have they been decidedly outplayed by the Grey King and his Bondsmage?

5. I imagine that you’ve probably read ahead, since this was a huge cliffhanger of an ending for the “present” storyline, but I’ll ask this anyway: Where do you see the story going from here, now that the Grey King is thought to be dead?

6. What do you think of the characters Scott Lynch has given us so far? Are they believable? Real? Fleshed out? If not, what are they lacking?

7. Now that you’ve seen how clever Chains is about his “apprenticeships,” why do you think he’s doing all of this? Does he have an endgame in sight? Is there a goal he wants them to achieve, or is it something more emotional like revenge?

my answers are after the jump.

Leave your link in the comments so I can visit you and add you to the link list. 🙂

Check out all the other wonderful discussions:
Travels Through Iest
My Awful Reviews
Nashville Book Worm
Rose’s thingamajig
Lynn’s Book Blog
Rememorandum / Logan K Stewart
Scruffy Fiction
Genkinahito’s Blog
The Hugo Endurance Project
Booky Pony
John Ayliff
Numbers Words and Ramblings
Dark Cargo
Just Book Reading
All I Am – a Redhead
Paperless Reading
Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers
Kaitharshayr’s Musings
Beware of the Froggies
A Blog Thinger
Tethyan Books
The Bente way
SF Signal NEW!!
Books without Any Pictures NEW!!

Read the rest of this entry »

* * * *

Edited on MARCH 4th to add:

Did we get lucky or what? we scored some author participation! Best. Treat. EVER.

* * * *

Thanks to everyone who has signed up to participate in our The Lies of Locke Lamora (and then Red Seas Under Red Skies) read along, we are so very happy to have you!  Haven’t signed up yet and want? Piece of cake, just comment on this post that you want to sign up, I’ll make the magic happen.

There are a few surprises in  store (especially if you’ve never rad the books!), and my co-hosts and I are very excited to get started.  In the meantime, ummm,  has everyone got a copy of  Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora? If not, now is the time hit up your local bookstore or library, or Amazon or B&N.  A basic paperback should cost you less than ten bucks.

If you’ve never participated in a “read-along”, here’s a crash course:  Your hosts are  Dark Cargo, @ohthatashley at SF Signal, My Awful Reviews, and yours truly.  I’ve chopped the book up into five digestible sections and we’ll read one section each week, see below for details.  Every Thursday, you’ll get a super secret e-mail from me with that week’s discussion starters. Wait till Saturday to publish your blog post of Locke Lamora discussion awesomeness.  We’ll take about five weeks to finish the first book, take a week off, and then take five to six weeks on the second book.  Easy as pie!

Don’t have a blog or have a blog and don’t feel like committing to a post? No problem!  I’ll be linking to as many discussions as possible, so just blog hop around and comment as you please.

Some of us have original printing hardbacks, some of us have imported editions, and some of us (like me) have super cheapo paperbacks. Because there are a lot of versions floating around  the reading schedule is based on chapter headings, not page numbers. It works out to about 120-140 pages per week.

that said, here’s the reading plan:

Week 1–  Read prologue thru end of Interlude called “Locke Stays for Dinner”. Discussion questions go out on March 8, posts go up on Saturday March 10

Week 2 –  Read Chapter three thru end of Interlude called “The Boy who Cried for a Corpse”, Discussion questions go out on March  15 , posts go up on Saturday March 17.

Week 3 – Read Chapter five thru end of Interlude called “The Half Crown War”.  Discussion questions go out on March  22, posts go up on Saturday March 24.

Week 4 – Read Chapter nine thru Interlude called “Orchids and Assassins”.  Discussion questions go out March 29, posts go up on March 31

Week 5 – Read chapter 14 thru end of the book.  Discussion questions go out April 5th, posts go up April 7th.

Make sense?  toss up some questions in teh comments if you got ’em.


You haven’t read Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora??  the stunning debut that came out of nowhere to turn to fantasy inside out?

it’s okay, I have the cure.  😉

You can join us (and by “us”, I mean these folks: Dark Cargo, My Awful Reviews, @ohthatashley blogging at SF Signal, Dark Cargo Explorer and yours truly) on our Lies of Locke Lamora read along this March!  followed by a read along for Red Seas Under Red Skies in April . . .  all leading up to the third book in the Gentleman Bastard series, The Republic of Thieves, due to hit bookstore shelves later this year.

click here for all the delicious details.

You can sign up by replying to this thread, or click on any of the participating bloggers above and signing up on their threads.

This is truly going to be epic.  If you are a fan of dark fantasy, of adventure, of stories with more imagination and twists and turns than you can count, The Lies of Locke Lamora (review) and Red Seas Under Red Skies (review) are more than worth your time and money.

At the end of February I’ll post more details on chapter breaks and such.  I expect we’ll be doing 120-150 pages per week with discussions hitting each weekend.

Happy Saturday everyone!  do you have snow?  How about annoying Christmas ads on tv?

Let’s get to some fun stuff, shall we?  This week we’re talking about the first section of The Return of The King.  This is the book where it all happens, where everything ends, where all the cards are on the table and the time for bluffing has come to an end. In this first section, we jump back and forth between Merry and Gandalf who are in Minas Tirith,  Pippin who is in Rohan, and Aragorn who is on the way to the land of the Dead. Sounds a little dramatic, no?  Well, yes, and verily.  😉

This weeks questions were provided by Clint over at Geeky Daddy, and they are some good ones!  As always, leave your link in the comments or tweet it to me at @redhead5318 with #LOTRreadalong .

1.With the company that went with Aragorn through the Paths of Death. Would you have volunteered knowing it may be curse and ghosts haunting the paths?

2.What were your thoughts of Merry and Pippin in the preparation to the Battle of Gondor. It seemed that each ruler just thought that each hobbit could not be a contribution to the battle.

3.Did you think that the preparations to the Battle sparked your interest and all or did you find that the flow was bogged down a bit?

4. I thought that it was great that both Eowyn and Merry made it to the Battlefield. Yet against orders of the King and made a huge contributions. What did you think both of them doing this and would you have done this if it was you?

5. What do you think of Denethor’s rash decision to send Faramir to hold Western Osgiliath against the hosts of the Enemy that outnumbered their own greatly?

Check out these other discussions!
Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Geeky Daddy
Lynn’s Book Blog
Polishing Mud Balls
Book Den
Stainless Steel Droppings

Read the rest of this entry »

where we going again?

Welcome to our final discussion on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

Over the last 3 weeks, we met Frodo and watched as he discovered the power of the Ring. We witnessed his fleeing of the shire, how his friends made it clear they would help him and go with him every step the way. The further Frodo got from the home, the more dire his quest began to look.  At Elrond’s council it was decided that the Ring must be destroyed before its creator can find it.  Past Rivendell was the mines of Moria, something deep and dark and dangerous and the loss of Gandalf.  And then to Lothlorien, elven city and home of Galadriel.  But even the safety of Lothlorien must be left behind if the Ring of power is to be destroyed.

This story started out so bright and happy. Happy little hobbits leading happy little lives enjoy happy little birthday parties. Could Frodo have ever imagined his uncle’s magic ring would take him so far? It’s suddenly become much bigger than the shire, much bigger than Hobbits or Dwarves or Men or Elves. Everything is at stake.

It was my job to come up with discussion questions this week and I ended up just sending out “starters”-  thoughts that popped into my head, or parts in the story where I had an emotional reaction.  If you got the e-mail, you can pick and choose what to talk about, that way everyone’s posts are a little different.

other discussions:
Stainless Steel Droppings
Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Geeky Daddy
The Written World
Book Den
Lynn’s Books

We’ll be starting the second book in the series in a week or so, so stay tuned!

For my post, I’d like to talk about the two characters who kept getting my attention: Galadriel and Boromir.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hi Everyone, it’s an autumnal feeling Saturday, which means it’s time for a Lord of the Rings discussion! This weeks discussion covered the middle part of The Fellowship of the Ring. This week’s questions were supplied by Geeky Daddy.

Join in anytime by expressing interesting in the comments of this post, or tweeting myself or Geeky Daddy.

Our story so far: Frodo knows what he has, his friends won’t leave his side, they travel to Rivendell to meet with Elrond. Along the way, they meet a mysterious man named Strider, who tells them that he is a friend of Gandalf.

At Rivendell, it’s decided the only way to stop the power of the ring is to destroy it. The only fires hot enough to melt it are those in which it was forged. The ring-bearer must travel to Mount Doom, behind the eyes of the enemy, to destroy the single ring of power.

And on to the discussion questions!

1. What was your initial thoughts of Strider/Aragorn when Hobbits met up with him in The Prancing Pony? Did you think that he was linked with the Riders?
2.What was the biggest surprised to you during this section of the Fellowship of the Ring?
3.Do you like that Tolkien goes in depth and tells the readers of the history events of the war that is upon the Fellowship?
4. How far do you think you would have lasted if you were Frodo and nearly becoming a Rider?
5. As dangerous quest unfold to become, the other hobbits want to stick by Frodo til the end. Would you sacrifice yourself and stick with Frodo til the end?

Read everyone else’s discussions:
Geeky Daddy
Stainless Steel Droppings
The Written World
All Booked Up
My Rammblings
The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Mithril Wisdom

New discussions:
Lynn’s Book Blog

(leave your link in the comments, or tweet it to me and I’ll add you)

my answers after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

because you’re not busy enough with the R.I.P. challenge, come join Geeky Daddy and me on our read-along of JRR Tolkien’s famous Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Because everyone has different versions, we’ll be referring to the chapter names in each book.  Think 7-9 chapters per week, 3-4 weeks per book,  with discussion questions going out on Thursdays and fun discussions back and forth every Saturday.

Here’s the breakdown for The Fellowship of The Ring:

1st week A long Expected Party thru Fog on the Barrows down (8 chapters), discussion starts on SEPT 10.
2nd week At the sign of the prancing Pony thru The Ring Goes South (7 chapters), Discussion starts on SEPT 17
3rd week  A Journey in the Dark thru The Breaking of the Fellowship (7 chapters), discussion starts on SEPT 24

Stay tuned for reading schedules for the The Two Towers and The Return of the King and later The Children of Hurin.

We hope you’ll join us whether this is your first read of the trilogy or your 10th.  If you’ve already signed up no need to sign up again, although you’re still welcome to post in the comments!  (you’re already signed up if you kept getting annoying e-mails from me last month during our The Hobbit read-along)

Haven’t signed up yet and want to?  it’s easy!  post a reply in the comments in this thread or on Geeky Daddy’s blog, or tweet either one of us and we’ll add you to the mailing list.  It’s going to be a blast, we hope you’ll join us!

hmmm…   as a LOTR virgin, I think I’m gonna go read this Wikipedia article on Middle Earth.

forget Mordor, I’m scared shitless of Shelob.

Follow me on Twitter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,621 other subscribers
Follow the Little Red Reviewer on



FTC Stuff

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.