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Search tags: Holly-Black
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review 2017-05-02 19:46
The Urban Fantasy Anthology / edited by Peter S. Beagle & Joe R. Lansdale
The Urban Fantasy Anthology - Holly Black,Peter S. Beagle,Patricia Briggs,Kelley Armstrong,Norman Partridge,Neil Gaiman,Al Sarrantonio,Steven R. Boyett,Emma Bull,Jeffrey Ford,Bruce McAllister,Suzy McKee Charnas,Thomas M. Disch,Joe R. Lansdale,Susan Palwick,Tim Powers,Francesca Lia Blo

Star-studded and comprehensive, this imaginative anthology brings a myriad of modern fantasy voices under one roof. Previously difficult for readers to discover in its new modes, urban fantasy is represented here in all three of its distinct styles—playful new mythologies, sexy paranormal romances, and gritty urban noir. Whether they feature tattooed demon-hunters, angst-ridden vampires, supernatural gumshoes, or pixelated pixies, these authors—including Patricia Briggs, Neil Gaiman, and Charles de Lint—mash-up traditional fare with pop culture, creating iconic characters, conflicted moralities, and complex settings. The result is starkly original fiction that has broad-based appeal and is immensely entertaining.

 

An interesting collection of short fiction. For those who think that urban fantasy consists only of paranormal romance, this volume will surprise you. The Mythic fiction and Noir Fantasy sections may be just what you’ve been wanting. At least one of the stories reminded me strongly in atmosphere of Stephen King’s novel The Stand.

I was particularly enamoured of the Patricia Briggs story, Seeing Eye, which fills in some backstory in the Alpha & Omega series, namely the story of the blind witch Moira and her werewolf companion. The volume was a worthwhile read for me with just this one story.

I also found Susan Palwick’s “Gestella” to be a haunting story, well worth the read.

A nice selection of stories to read “in the cracks” between other books.

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review 2017-04-16 13:28
Lucifer, Volume 2: Father Lucifer - Holl... Lucifer, Volume 2: Father Lucifer - Holly Black,Lee Garbett

A continuity heavy deep dive into the politics of Hell. Your enjoyment may depend on your knowledge of backstory.

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text 2017-02-17 16:19
To pick up at the library on the way home....
Agent of Change - Sharon Lee,Steve Miller
The Conjoined: A Novel - Jen Sookfong Lee
Fire Touched - Patricia Briggs
Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man - David Fisher,William Shatner
Skinwalker - Faith Hunter
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 3 - Holly Black,Peter S. Beagle,Stephen Baxter,Stephen King,Hannu Rajaniemi,Jeff VanderMeer,Meghan McCarron,Ted Kosmatka,Rachel Swirsky,Ken Scholes,Richard Bowes,Ted Chiang,Robert Reed,Elizabeth Bear,Kij Johnson,Paolo Bacigalupi,M. Rickert,Margo Lanagan,Maure
Spider's Bite - Jennifer Estep
The Fall of the House of Wilde: Oscar Wilde and His Family - Emer O'Sullivan
Seven Skeletons: The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human Fossils - Lydia V. Pyne

I will undoubtedly have plenty to read this weekend!  And it is a long weekend, Monday being Family Day here in Alberta.

 

Happy Friday everyone and enjoy the weekend.

 

Wanda

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review 2017-01-11 02:15
Book 3 in the series continues to mesmerize me
The Bronze Key (Magisterium, Book 3) - Holly Black,Cassandra Clare

 

The story continues at an awards ceremony for the heroes from The Copper Gauntlet (book 2). The ceremony is hit by tragedy and the students are in danger when they return to the Magisterium (magic school). There is a spy at the school, and time is running out to discover who it is. The students discover that magic is only as good (or bad) as the person who wields it.

 

I don't want to give anything away. This remarkable series continues to surprise and enthrall me. The characters, the setting, the story are all fantastic. There are many similarities to stories like Harry Potter, but enough differences to really set it apart. I had an idea who the spy was, but I wasn't sure until the end.

 

I highly recommend this series to readers in grades 4 and up who enjoy fantasy and magic.

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review 2017-01-04 14:09
The Darkest Part of the Forest
The Darkest Part of the Forest - Holly Black

This was great fun! I loved the way Black plays with some of the more common tropes in YA.

To begin with, this is a standalone. That almost never happens in YA anymore and I appreciate that it's a whole story even though I do love the world building. Then it's also about faeries. I'm not one for faeries most of the time, but something had made me put this book on my wish list at the library and it was the first audiobook I had come to on the day I downloaded it to my app. I just figured past-me had decided it was going to be interesting and went with it. The audiobook is narrated by Lauren Fortgang.
 
The story predominantly surrounds Hazel and Ben and their decisions, but these characters don't exactly follow gender role while not residing completely on the opposing sides of the spectrum when it comes to their genders either. To be more specific, Hazel isn't girly, but she's still feminine and Ben is neither macho nor effeminate. Ben is also gay, which makes his standing in the middle of what is expected for a male character all the better for me. While I do understand that there are effeminate gay men, I feel like fiction would have you believe that it is the only way to be gay sometimes. Maybe it's just tv and movies, though since First Kisses and Other Misfortunes by Kimberly Karalius had the same dynamic with the gay characters being not strictly effeminate.
 
 Having Ben as a gay character, also allows Black to another fun thing. She combines some of the brother-sister struggles with some struggles that are typically reserved for sisters, like having a crush on or having romantic associations with the same boy. I don't know how true to life that is, but they tend to lean more on confused boys who aren't sure if they are also gay and those who aren't ready to be out right at the beginning. Ben is sure of himself, others are not, and this creates confusion and tension for our siblings as sometimes both have feelings for the boy. I hope that wasn't confusing but I don't want to give away any big reveals either.
 
I truly enjoyed reading a book about a brother and sister who actually like each other too. They aren't besties and definitely have their own separate personalities and preferences in life but they look out for each other. They care about each other. And they mess it up sometimes too but never getting so angsty and dramatic that it seems more like someone's ridiculous version of what teenagers are like. Families are complicated and this book does a great job with a brother-sister dynamic. There is some teenage drama but it's not all angst and ridiculousness like some books may want people to believe all teens are like. They're capable of assessing dangerous situations and making some adult decisions and dealing with consequences. They do have reason and accountability and are not completely ruled by hormones, just partially, sometimes.  They are gaining experience to deal with situations better but aren't complete idiots in the mean time.
 
There are other great things in the book, but I feel like those would spoil it. Suffice it to say that while many typically YA behaviors/tropes are present, I didn't feel like they were rooted in the same places that I've grown tired of them, like villain motivations. Everything is just similar enough to be familiar but then changed ever so slightly that I wasn't sure until it happened. The book's sole claim to diversity is the LGBT characters. I felt like it dealt well with the LGBT aspect of those characters, but I am completely aware that I could be wrong due to the fact that I am not LGBT nor do I know many people who are. If you disagree, share it and I can amend. I'd hate for misinformation to set people up for disappointment. Until then, great book! I loved what she did to all the characters and taking them outside my expectations!
 
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