April 2016 - What Fantasy Books Are You Reading?

Ser Pounce

Journeyed there and back again
#1
Almost finished with Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch. Still not sure how I feel about it. I like it well enough but I won't be rushing to read all the sequels.

As for my next book, I'm thinking either The Shadows of What Was Lost by James Islington or The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#2
I finished Blood Song by Anthony Ryan yesterday. It was a fun book. Not a master-piece, but pretty great nonetheless.

Pacing:
This book was extremely fast-paced. Lots of action scenes and a high tempo of subsequent events unfolding throughout the story. The ending of the story was somewhat of a letdown though. Quite anti-climatic in my opinion.

Story:
It your run-of-the-mill fantasy story. In fact, it almost seemed cobbled together from pieces of other fantasy franchises. There's your secretive (semi-) religious Order which seems to be a mix of ASOIAF's Night's Watch and Harry Potter's magic school. There's a coming of age story reminiscent of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and the adventures of Fitz (it even has a Wolf as the companion of the protagonist). There's a war between right and wrong, good and evil, with the common trope that good/right is maybe not so good/right after all, which feels very much like the story in First Law. This is not to say the story isn't fun, because it is. It's engaging and there are some nice twits. Don't expect anything too creative or imaginative though.

World:
Ryan's Raven Shadow series is advertised as 'Epic Fantasy', but the world Ryan created falls short when compared to other fantasy worlds in this genre. Erikson, Martin, Rothfuss, Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan; all have more interesting fantasy worlds to offer. If anything the world Ryan created can best be compared to the one depicted in Abercrombie's First law universe. In my opinion the label 'Epic Fantasy' is a bit of a misnomer. Mind you, the world is pretty interesting. It revolves mostly around the Realm, a consortium of 4 fiefs rules by a central monarch. This kingdom is protected by the Realm Guard and the Six Orders (of which the sixth is the military branch which is the main focus of the story, because the protagonist is part of it). The Realm is reminiscent of a medieval European kingdom. To the south, across a narrow sea strip, two huge empires hold sway. These show parallels with Mediterranean and near Eastern empires, like the Roman and Persian Empires.

Characters:
The main character, Vaelin al Sorna, is very well written and has believable motivations. There are some other who are also interesting, but they all pale in comparison to Vaelin. The story is written from first person perspective and that really worked well in this book. Vaelin deserves a place in the pantheon of fantasy bad-asses right alongside of Logen, Conan and Karsa Orlong.

Conclusion:
I enjoyed this book a lot, although it had some faults. Overall, I'd rate it with a 8/10 (**** GoodReads stars)
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#3
I started on the second book in the Raven's Shadow trilogy right away. It's called Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
Almost finished with Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch. Still not sure how I feel about it. I like it well enough but I won't be rushing to read all the sequels.

As for my next book, I'm thinking either The Shadows of What Was Lost by James Islington or The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes.
The Palace Job is great, The Prophecy Con is good, but I lost interest in The Paladin Caper halfway through and have never finished it. To be fair I think I'd left it too long in between reading the second and third books and couldn't remember enough of the nuances to actually care about the characters.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#5
I think I'm going to read Age of Iron alongside my sci-fi book, The Line War by Neal Asher.
 

Haven

Became a Faceless Man
#6
I finished Blood Song by Anthony Ryan yesterday. It was a fun book. Not a master-piece, but pretty great nonetheless.
Well, unfortunately it is generally agreed that the series goes downhill from here. Not steep downhill, but definitely downhill.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#7
I am reading The Last Mortal Bond on Kindle and The Spider's War in paper (I get more Kindle, aka work, reading time than I seem to get paper reading time these days).
 

Khartun

Journeyed there and back again
#8
Finished up The Last Mortal Bond. I'm going to try out Edward W. Robertson's Breakers series now.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#9
Well, unfortunately it is generally agreed that the series goes downhill from here. Not steep downhill, but definitely downhill.
This makes me a sad . I must say though that I've read the first 50 pages of Tower Lord and until now it's pretty good.
 

Sir Arthur

Journeyed there and back again
#10
This makes me a sad . I must say though that I've read the first 50 pages of Tower Lord and until now it's pretty good.
It doesn't go down hill. It's just different from the first book, and people generally don't handle change well. I enjoyed the entire trilogy. Nothing ground breaking, or mind blowing . Just good military fantasy.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#11
It doesn't go down hill. It's just different from the first book, and people generally don't handle change well. I enjoyed the entire trilogy. Nothing ground breaking, or mind blowing . Just good military fantasy.
That's a relief. Thanks Arthur. The most notable change I've already encountered is the change of POVs. In book 1 we experience everything from Vaelin's perspective and now it seems that there are other POVs as well (everything I've read so far is from Reva's POV).
 

khrm

Listens to The Unbeliever whine about life
#12
I finished Aaron Pogue's Dragonprince Trilogy.
I felt a disconnect between first two and last. I like the plot-line, but its execution is too simple. Also the characters are too simple. Too much magic without enough work on magic system. It gets 7.7 for having Dragons.
If you love Dragons then you might like it.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#13
That's a relief. Thanks Arthur. The most notable change I've already encountered is the change of POVs. In book 1 we experience everything from Vaelin's perspective and now it seems that there are other POVs as well (everything I've read so far is from Reva's POV).
I'm with Arthur on this. This series has flaws like any other (minor in my eyes), but overall my reaction was oh my god what a story Ryan has told.
He definitely has that something that makes a difference between a storyteller and just a writer. I'm super excited for his next book The Waking Fire. Speaking of which both UK and US covers are out and omg dragons!

UK cover
https://anthonystuff.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/thewakingfirefinal.jpg
US cover
https://anthonystuff.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/wakingfire-us-cover.jpg
 

Ser Pounce

Journeyed there and back again
#14
I'm with Arthur on this. This series has flaws like any other (minor in my eyes), but overall my reaction was oh my god what a story Ryan has told.
He definitely has that something that makes a difference between a storyteller and just a writer. I'm super excited for his next book The Waking Fire. Speaking of which both UK and US covers are out and omg dragons!

UK cover
https://anthonystuff.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/thewakingfirefinal.jpg
US cover
https://anthonystuff.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/wakingfire-us-cover.jpg
Yep, Blood Song was my favorite of the three but I liked Tower Lord and Queen of Fire more than most. Enjoyed the different POVs in the latter books. Ryan's new trilogy is also one of my most anticipated new books of the year, thanks for posting the cover art! Have to say, I like the US one over the UK(never thought I'd see the day).
 

Ser Pounce

Journeyed there and back again
#15
The Palace Job is great, The Prophecy Con is good, but I lost interest in The Paladin Caper halfway through and have never finished it. To be fair I think I'd left it too long in between reading the second and third books and couldn't remember enough of the nuances to actually care about the characters.
I thought I remembered a forum member having read these books and liking them - thanks for the feedback, Tom. I have all three already bought and looking forward to what's in store. Seems like a fun read to help get me kick started again. Been really struggling lately.
 

Kalavan

Journeyed there and back again
#17
I've also finished The Last Mortal Bond, in spite of Staveley's indisputable talent a rather lackluster conclusion to a nonetheless extremely interesting series, I'm going to follow his next project as well, as long it is not a follow-up of this trilogy
focused on the confrontion between Valyn and Adare, I definitely had enough of both of them, especially the childish and idiotic latter

Now back to Kearney's Monarchies of God, time for book 3, The Iron Wars
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#18
That's a relief. Thanks Arthur. The most notable change I've already encountered is the change of POVs. In book 1 we experience everything from Vaelin's perspective and now it seems that there are other POVs as well (everything I've read so far is from Reva's POV).
The second book was very good. The different povs ticked some off but I felt it was strong. Third book though.. Most consider very disappointing.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#19
I'm still reading The Ill-Made Knight. I'm enjoying it, but I thought that I should mention for anyone interested in this T. H. White series that this is not a children's book. Not at all. It's very much dealing with adult themes of betrayal, treachery, madness, adultery and many more. Previous book The Witch in the Wood was also not a children's book, so as far as I'm concerned only The Sword in the Stone qualifies for that category.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#20
I'll be starting The Last Mortal Bond next. I've been avoiding the dedicated thread like the plague, but will chip in once I've finished it. Strangely enough I'm not actually massively looking forward to reading it, despite 'generally' liking the first two books. Hey ho ..