Jul

18

Win a copy of Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

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Half a King is Job Abercrombie’s latest book. He’s know for gritty and gore with lovable characters that you love to hate, but can’t. If you’ve read his books you know what I’m talking about, Glokta…Nicomo!

Thanks to Harper Collins NZ we have 5 copies of Half a King to give out to NZ Residents.

However, we at Bestfantasybooks.com know that we have readers from all around the world. So, we will giveaway one copy to North America or a $20 Amazon voucher to buy it if you from anywhere else in the world!

Simply follow the instructions below and fill out the form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Jul

15

Review: Unwept – Book One of The Nightbirds by Tracy and Laura Hickman

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I have read Tracy and Laura Hickman’s epic fantasy series “The Bronze Canticle.” I know Tracy Hickman has written a lot of Dragonlance books, and both of the Hickmans have been involved in tabletop game design. This book was something of a departure from that theme. However, I was impressed with the book overall and now I know that the Hickmans have some range, that they can branch out into something a little different and do a good job.

This *is* fantasy, perhaps with a touch of horror or suspense and a little bit of a mystery rolled in. At first, you’re reading along and you’re wondering how well-known fantasy authors would convince a big fantasy publisher to put out this particular book. It just seems like a different kind of book. But stick with it, I promise “Unwept” makes sense for Tor!

I can’t say too much about the plot without giving away the story, so I’ll just set it up. “Unwept” is set during the time of World War I, although Gamin  (a coastal town in the Northeastern US) seems strangely isolated from events in the outside world. Ellis, our POV character, awakens on a train, not knowing who she is or how she got there. Because the world of Unwept ends up being so unusual, an amnesiac protagonist is a good choice. Ellis has to learn everything about this world along with us. She’s in the dark about a lot and so are we. People have to explain things to her because she legitimately doesn’t know. However, people are hesitant to tell her too much at once. The way information is handed out never feels like infodumping because it’s only a little at a time.

Ellis is led to believe there’s been an accident of some sort that made her forget her past and she’s come to Gamin to recover. Neither the surroundings nor the people are familiar to her. She will be staying at the home of her cousin Jenny although neither Jenny’s nor Ellis’s parents are around. Another relative, an uncle, meets Ellis at the train station. He’s a doctor and he’ll be overseeing her recovery. We also meet another prominent character, Merrick, in the scene at the train station. He’s got a bit of a controlling streak and Ellis doesn’t trust him from the beginning. Other characters include a number of other young people who spend (all of) their time socializing. None of the young people seem to have jobs — many of them seem to be independently wealthy. There are other odd things about the town, as well. You don’t notice everything at once. However, when Ellis asks a question, you realize, yeah, that is kind of weird, and you wonder what’s going on. The more things that seem off, the stranger the town of Gamin is, and the greater the sense of unease that builds up.

There are numerous elements that I think will be important in future books, and I’m eager to find out how they relate. The following information is mostly speculation and I have no idea if/how these things will relate to the ultimate resolution of the series. I’m only mentioning these elements because they stood out to me — one or more of them could totally be a red herring! I think a good groundwork was being laid in this book for addressing certain elements later, including moths, a lighthouse, shipwrecks, painting, babies/children, and music. (Seems like a lot, but I promise everything works together.)

I like the slow buildup of unease a lot; it makes you fear for Ellis and the other residents of Gamin. I find Ellis to be sympathetic. She doesn’t want to cause a problem but she knows she needs to look out for herself, and she does stand up to people towards the end of the book. It’s understandable that she lacks confidence early on — after all, she only knows what other people have told her. Other characters are not as fleshed out, but this is a third-person limited narrative and we’re almost exclusively in Ellis’s head.

If you want to get the most out of this book, pay careful attention to the characters’ language and use of words. There are some little clues, especially towards the end, that you won’t want to miss. In general, the writing does its job without breaking immersion.

Overall, a lot of elements of this book were done very well. If you hate cliffhangers, you may want to wait until the rest of the series is out (thankfully, Tracy and Laura Hickman write books at a decent pace, unlike some other authors in this genre — I wouldn’t expect it to be but another 2-3 years before the series is finished).

 

 

Review written by Sneaky Burrito



Jul

7

Best New Release Fantasy Books Coming Up July/August 2014

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July and August are some of the sweetest months this year for some big hitting fantasy releases, especially in the sequel department. This month has some outstanding fantasy releases and August looks to be one of the best months this YEAR in terms of fantasy greatness.

 

JULY RELEASES

 

Tower Lord (Raven’s Shadow, #2) by Anthony Ryan - July 1st

For many, this one is probably the most-looked forward fantasy release of this year. People are calling  The Blood Song, Ryan’s first in the series, a ‘warrior’ version of The Name of the Wind. For the most part, I agree. If you are looking for a coming of age, full of action, swords, magic, romance, heartbreak, and plenty of angst, then give The Blood Song a read. And of course you are going to want to read the sequel Tower Lord which is now out and which readers are widely saying is a fantastic sequel!

 

The Shadow Throne (Book 2 of The Shadow Campaign)  by Django Walker  - July 1

Continuing on after the fantastic The Thousand Names, one of my favorite fantasy releases of 2013, The Shadow Throne looks to continue that strong effort. This is one of the examples of a new subgenre of fantasy that merges colonialism and gunpowder, called Flintlock Fantasy or Gunpowder Fantasy (a modern twist on Steampunk). Together with Brian McClellan’s The Powder Mage series (of which book 2 in the series was released a couple months ago — read our review), this is one of the best examples of that new genre.

I’m not quite done with it, but from my reading so far, it’s every bit as good as the first book, though set in an urban location this time, not a desert. More political intrigue than the last book, which you may or may not like. If you want vicious action, intrigue, mystery, magic, strong characters, and an interesting setting, you should be reading this series!

 

Half a King (Shattered Sea) by Joe Abercrombie  - July 15

Joe Abercrombie is BACK, this time with a brand new series not related to his First Law universe. Ostensibly a YA series, but with that heavy touch of Abercrombie sarcasm and wit bound into it, this is a book you have to read this month.  I’m especially excited to read something new from him. Fans of that gritty, dry style of George Martin, Mark Lawrence, Steven Erikson, Glen Cook, Richard Morgan, etc, you are going to want to pick this one up.

 

=AUGUST RELEASES=

 

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb - Aug 12

Hobb returns AGAIN to the Farseer world. You think poor Fitz would deserve some earned peace of mind after what Hobb has put the poor guy through for the first trilogy and the sequel trilogy. The man deserves his retirement, dammit! But it’s not to be so. I personally am kind of against the idea of ANOTHER trilogy with Fritz, but early reviews seem to be very very good, saying it’s some of the best stuff she’s written since Liveship Traders, though the pacing is slow (which may or may not be a bad thing.

 

Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman – August 5

One of my favorite fantasy series and a highly under-appreciated one. This outstanding trilogy comes to an end with Magician End. I like to call ‘The Magicians’ series kind of like a grown up Harry Potter, on downers. It’s got elements of Harry Potter, Alice and Wonderland, the Name of the Wind, the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe but deeply tinged with an adult perspective. This is the book I want to read most this year

 

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3) by Brent Weeks – Aug 26th

I wasn’t so much a fan of Weeks first trilogy, The Night Angel, which I thought was pretty rough around the edges and too over-the-top with a hero and new magical power just around the corner of every single page. But his new trilogy, Lightbringer, is the real deal. It only keeps getting better too, with his first book, The Black Prism, only so so but with one of the best sequels I’ve read with the second book The Blinding Knife (which blew my socks off). Definitely read this series if you like coming of age, all out action, unique magic, politicking and epic fantasy. Fans of coming-of-age heroic fantasy in the vein of David Gemmell and Peter V Brett (the first book, not the other poor sequels dammit) will enjoy this series. Just don’t give up after the first book, book 2 dramatically improves things.

 

The Widow’s House (The Dagger and the Coin #4) by Daniel Abraham – August 5

The Dagger and the Coin is a series that you either love or you hate, there is very little in between. Those who ‘get it’ really get it, and those who don’t, just don’t. Depending on which side you are on, you are going to want to pick BOOK 5 up in his critically claimed epic fantasy next month. I’m still working my way through his last one, Tyrant’s Law, which is getting pretty interesting. On a whole, if you are a reader who like as LOT of politicking, strong characterizations, grayish characters with more emphasis on political maneuvering than straight out action and magic, then you’ll like this series. If you are expecting The Wheel of Time with a Rand al Thor character blasting away dark friends with powerful bouts of magic every other page, this is not a series for you. Those with patience who like a SLOW but steady build up over BOOKS will enjoy.

 

If I’ve missed any big upcoming releases for this month or next month, leave them in the comments and I will add them to the list!