the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Joe Abercrombie’ Category

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This is part Two of my EpicConFusion posts. Click accordingly to read parts ONE, THREE and FOUR

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Ahh, the panels.

This was where I needed one of those time spinner things Hermione has, because at times I had to choose between three different panels that I wanted to go to.  There were that many, and there was that many hours straight of good programming.  I have this undiagnosed blood sugar issue thingy, and it means I shouldn’t go hours upon hours without eating.  When given the choice between going to yet another panel and eating, I chose wisely: I went to the panel (and then started shaking).  They were scheduled to be 50 minutes long, which included  Q&A time, so everyone would have 10 minutes to eat and potty break inbetween. The way it really worked was most panels went over, the next group would have to kick the previous group out, and people were late to their next panel.  Surprisingly, that turned into a win-win for nearly everyone.  I have no idea when the authors got to eat or go to the bathroom.

Highlights of the panels I attended include (and sorry for the horribly blurry photos):
Worldbuilding 101, moderated by Cat Rambo, with Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett and Brent Weeks – there was discussion of how to introduce the reader to your world, and how much information to give and when. Infodumping is the classic no-no, and the authors seemed to agree that it was best to give the reader less that you think they need to know. . . so they are interested in always wanting to learn more instead of feeling like they are getting inundated with information.  Building the world through characterization, because if you’ve got good characters, you can overcome just about anything.

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I have returned from EpicConfusion!

And it was incredible.  I was in geek heaven. Everyone’s first con experience should be like this.  There were authors hanging around, authors doing organized and well planned panels, authors autographing stuff (not just books!), and plenty of cosplay, humorous music (Rocky Horror Muppet Show!) and every flavor of crazy and fun.  I met so many wonderful folks, authors, artists, other.  Rothfuss was incredibly friendly, Lynch was gracious, Elizabeth Bear said I had pretty hair, Abercrombie may not be aware how irresistible that “British rogue” thing is to American women, Ahmed wins for nicest guy and best hair, Kameron Hurley is insanely interesting, Myke Cole gave me a hug anyways, and Peter Brett let me interrupt his dinner to talk about a panel he’d just done (btw, don’t interrupt peeps who are trying to eat. It was a total asshole thing I did), and Jim Hines is even more hilarious and friendly than I expected, even when he was completely exhausted and I was bugging him. When people found out it was my first con, they told me I picked a good one. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, and I was not disappointed.

I’ve so much to tell. . . .  and so many blurry photos to post (wait, what? my camera has a low-light setting? Why didn’t someone tell me that before!).   To keep you from having to slog through stuff you might not be interested in, there will be a post on fun/funny author interaction (that’s gonna be this one, by the way), panels, cosplay and of course, Scott Lynch gets a post all to himself.

I was that girl who faux pas’ed my way through my first con by hijacking conversations and bothering people and talking to anyone and everyone who looked interesting (including the goth cross dresser) and now I’m gonna be that girl who gives WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION. read at your own risk, and don’t say I didn’t warn you!

There will be a giveaway for peeps who survive all of these ridiculous posts.

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Guess who at ComicCon?

Eh,  I finished one book this morning and am about a third of the way through another one.  No reviews even close to be being ready to post, let alone even started.  And I got a busy crazy blog-on-fire week coming up (more on that later, I promise).

Here’s some delicious link soup for you. Tastes like Epic.

Wanna join our read-along for Lord of the Rings? starts this coming week, one book per month till we finish. Sign up here.

Awesome article on Jeff Vandermeer’s Ambergris series, focusing on City of Saints and Madmen.

Neat article/video on blood & guts CGI in HBO’s Game of Thrones (no fake blood was harmed in the making of this show).

Love fest for Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series. Tastes like blood and guts. . .

My buddy Jim got me hooked on Mercury Men, a noirish SF alien invasion 7 minutes per episode webshow on Hulu. Go check it out.

Patrick Rothfuss answers your questions at SDCC.

and Patrick Rothfuss’s epic blog post about being epic at SDCC

Vote for your favorite SFF titles on NPR’s top 100 SFF book list. Everyone gets 10 votes, so make ’em count!

Just so you know, this is a super long post with a funny at the end.  Not unlike an epic quest. . . .

I describe this website as offering Science Fiction & Fantasy reviews.  But going through my list of reviews, I’m seeing far more fantasy than science.  Maybe I should just describe it as a fantasy review site?  Or a gateway to fantasy review site?

When I was a kid, I was an adamant SF fan. Much of my youth was spent building spaceships out of legos and watching PBS shows about astronomy.  I craved scientific explanations for everything.  I wanted to know how everything worked

While my friends were reading Lloyd Alexander, I was reading Interstellar Pig.  As they moved onto Tolkien and Raymond Feist and Katherine Kurtz, I moved onto David Brin and Robert Heinlein and Frank Herbert.

To me, Fantasy was wizards with long beards, royals who went on quests where their soldiers and magical armor protected them, and elves and dwarves who spent the first half of the conversation telling you their lineages, and embarassingly rediculous cover art. really nothing else. I had no understanding that “high fantasy” was only the tip of the iceberg of the genre.  My limited experiences with high fantasy let me know quickly that I didn’t care for it.

And then I started reading manga, a form famous for mixing genres. Cyborg mechas using laser guns against a castle and fighting flesh and blood dragons that guarded hoards of treasure? no problem. Kids who get wisked away from their regular life to fight demons and spirits and collect magical shards? piece of cake.  Vampires, martians, aliens, dragons, time travel, often in the same series. And it worked, like magic.

Wait, wasn’t this, um, fantasy?  It sure was fantastical, and it sure wasn’t hard scifi. Read the rest of this entry »

Behold!  LRR’s end of year listy thing!  (Yay peer pressure!)

Favorite book of 2010: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes.  Words can not describe how much I loved this book. It turned me into a blabbering fangirl.

Favorite newly discovered author of 2010Joe Abercrombie.  Okay, so his First Law trilogy was published before 2010, but I read, no, I devoured this trilogy during the second half of 2010.  this is the uncut good shit.

Best twist in a SF/F novel:  Mark Hodder’s Springheeled Jack. If you’ve read it you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t read it,  you still have a few days of vacation left, so what are you waiting for?

Favorite newly discovered character is a  Big ole tie between:  Joe Abercrombie’s Sand dan Glotka, Lauren Beukes’ Zinzi December, and Mike Resnick’s Doc Holliday. Me, have a weakness for tragic characters? no way!

Favorite graphic novel Rising Stars by J. Michael Strazcynski.  It’s not new, but it was new to me.

Favorite Manga:  Nana, by Ai Yazawa.  I love Shojo.  Who knew?

Book most looking forward to in 2011: Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss

what were your favorites for 2011?

If you haven’t already, take a gander at my reviews for the previous books in this series, The Blade Itself, and Before They Are Hanged. Or don’t, and this can be one of the most confusing blog posts you’ll read all week!

Like the previous books in the series, Last Argument of Kings knocked my head off, in a good way. Abercrombie continues to do what he’s best at – taking your favorite fantasy tropes and bashing the living hell out of them. As this is the last book in the trilogy and I don’t want to wreck anything, I’m going to keep this vague.

Remember my complaint that Before They are Hanged suffered from “inbetweenness”, that quintiscential quality known to many middle books in trilogies? Lots of travelling, lots of relationship building, lots of quests of sorts, lots of set up for things to come.

And it was a big set up, but not at all for what I thought it was. Abercrombie takes the art of misdirection to entirely new levels, leading the reader to believe one plot line or the other is where our attention to should be, when what we should really be paying attention to has been staring us in the face all the time.

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This is the second book in Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law series. Click here to read my review of the first book in the series, The Blade Itself.

Before they are Hanged has a whole ton of totally awesome, and a teensy bit of not as awesome. As a middle book in a series, it most definitely suffers from “ inbetweenness”. It’s not a beginning, and there aren’t any endings. There’s a lot of travelling, a lot of thoughts on “what’s really going on”, some wild and frightening reveals, and all the characterization some readers felt they didn’t get in the first book, now that all the world building is out of the way. Incidentally, I also learned my limits for how much violence I like in a novel. Not only is knowing your violence limit a good thing to know, I’ve now come to end of the “teensy bit of not as awesome”. The balance of Before They are Hanged isn’t awesome, it’s epically and totally awesome.

Before They Are Hanged picks up immediately after The Blade Itself ends, with our characters being sent in all sorts of different directions: Major West heading North to help fend off the Northmen, Glokta being sent south to Dagoska, and Bayaz heading West to the end of the world. Sure, the novel suffers from a major case of inbetweenness, but it’s still in my top 10 books I’ve read this year. And fledgling fantasy writers take note: as much as you hate editors and insist your 900 page novel is perfect the way it is, this is how it’s done. This is how you cram 1200 pages of awesomesauce into less than 600 pages.

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I’ve been hearing wonderful things about Joe Abercrombie for a while now. And when I finally got a copy of the first book of his First Law series, The Blade Itself, I’ll admit, the blurb on the back did nothing for me. It looked like an ordinary fantasy flick, the warrior, the wizard, the torturer, the swordsman, the quest. Ehhh. . . really? Hasn’t that kind of story been done before? Like a hundred times?

Three days of rabid reading later, if there is one word that should unequivocally never, ever be used to describe The Blade Itself, that word would be ordinary. This is the type of book that spoils you, the kind of book that makes nearly everything else on your bookshelf look mediocre, the kind of thing that could forever wreck “ordinary” fantasy for you. This is the kind of fantasy that I LIKE. Characters? I typed (and then edited out) pages upon pages of their awesomeness. Worldbuilding? even better than the characters. Mythology? Oh how I loves me some mythology, and the mythology that Abercrombie gives us just a taste of is better than the characters and the worldbuilding put together.  I would never in a million years describe The Blade Itself as a comedy, but it’s really got some laugh out loud moments as well.  Put blunty, this is some epic shit.

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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.