King of Thorns is the sequel to Prince of Thorns, telling the story of teenage mercenary turned ruler Jorg Ancrath, in a post-apocalyptic fantasy Europe, and it’s a good example of a concept for a story being better than the story itself.
Fire Watch is a short story, so this will be a short review. I read it as a sort of “proof of concept” before moving onto any of Willis’ other (longer, hugely award-winning) books in the same series. The concept is this: in the middle of the 21st century, time travel has been invented, and historians at Oxford University use it to conduct field research in areas of historical interest. Read the rest of this entry
Let’s just skip straight to the conclusion: Ace of Skulls is my favourite book of the year. I’ve looked back at the lists of books I’ve read in previous years, and it’d be my favourite new book of the last three years (although on reflection I’d change my 2012 list to have Ready Player One above Red Country, and Ready Player One is the closest contender to Ace of Skulls). Read the rest of this entry
MaddAddam is the concluding part of Margaret Atwood’s speculative fiction trilogy that started with Oryx & Crake and continued with The Year of the Flood. Chronologically, Year of the Flood and Oryx & Crake happened vaguely in parallel, but MaddAddam is a direct sequel to Flood, picking up right where Crake and Flood left off. Read the rest of this entry
Dresden Files 14, and I review it with a hint of sadness, because it’s the latest book in the series to date, with the next not due until January 2014 at the earliest. I’m not sure I’ll be able to cope with the withdrawal.
As with recent books in the series, discussion of the plot is kind of a problem, due to the massive amount of spoilers that even setting out the background to the plot would entail.
Suffice to say: fuck me, Cold Days is incredible. Read the rest of this entry
Right, seriously. It’s tough to review the later Dresden Files books, because I want to avoid spoilers. So recently I’ve avoided all but the barest sketches of plot and just focused on writing about things I’ve found interesting in the series. Read the rest of this entry
Holy shit. Where to start. In my last Dresden Files review, I suggested that Turn Coat, the eleventh book in the series may be a decent starting point for people who were interested in the series, but didn’t fancy the slog of getting through 14 books (to date, with a plan of around another ten according to the author!). I take that back. Changes is a phenomenally good fun book, but it builds so intrinsically on the foundations laid in the series to date that not reading the other ten books would be hugely damaging to it. Otherwise it’s like taking a helicopter up to the top of Kilimanjaro to meet a climber: sure, you’ve reached the summit, but reaching the summit isn’t really as satisfying if you didn’t earn it. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve read A Quiet Belief in Angels before. I read it about five or six years ago, and it only a little ashamed to admit that it had me crying like a small child who’d fallen over and hurt his knee at one point. I have a heart made mainly of stone, so a book getting that reaction from me is fairly rare, but since then I’ve also read Candle Moth by RJ Ellory, and that had me crying as well (while we’re getting them out there, the only other book I can think of that made me cry was The Time Traveller’s Wife. Let’s move on shall we?). Read the rest of this entry
At some stage it becomes pointless to write further actual reviews of the Dresden Files series. This is the eleventh book of the series, and at this point in my reviews either you’ll be convinced to read them, or you’ll just skip right on by. You don’t need another review of me saying how much I love the characters or mythology, so instead of just doing a straight review explaining what’s good (almost all of it) and what’s bad (very little) in Turn Coat, I figure I’ll instead concentrate on some stuff that I found interesting. Read the rest of this entry
Small Favor is the tenth book in Dresden Files series. I’ve reviewed the first nine, so I shan’t cover the basics. Things get off to a pretty sharp start here, as Harry is quickly attacked by three Billy Goats Gruff (I’m not even kidding). Following that, Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness, Queen of the Winter Court, and part-owner of Harry’s soul pops up to remind Harry that he still owes her two favours. And she’s calling one in: rescue Chicago’s pre-eminent gangster, Gentleman Johnny Marcone, who has been abducted forces unknown, using magical methods chaotic enough that they almost bring down an entire building to get at Marcone. Read the rest of this entry