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review 2017-12-09 19:01
A step above most fantasy
The Bone Sword - Walter Rhein

I'm a big Walter Rhein fan, having read and reviewed his autobiographical Reckless Traveler (highly recommended story of his South American travels), and his fiction Reader of Acheron (also highly recommended, this one being more of dystopian, urban fantasy focused on a culture in which reading is prohibited). Actually, the sequel to The Reader of Acheron is slated for a 2018 release and I was anxious to read more Rhein. So, I grabbed The Bone Sword to tie me over.

 

The Bone Sword is classic fantasy with a coming of age story of a brother and sister (Noah and Jasmine). Their savior is the outcast warrior: Malik. This tale is simpler with less philosophical undertones than the Reader or Reckless Traveler. The "bad guys" are undeniably evil (Father Ivory in particular, though one may argue he was 50%crazy). The "good guys" are the young children with brewing, magical potential, and their fellow oppressed villagers. The only "gray" character is Malik, but despite his ability to murder and fight, he is closely aligned with the good guys and brings hope to the battle of Miscony.

 

The first chapter I feared was going to be cliche or overly simplistic, but Rhein quickly introduced meaningful backstory and context. A few chapters in, and I became genuinely attached to the main party. Rhein sprinkles in several very memorable scenes to ramp up the drama. A slight over reliance on rapid healing dampens several stunning sequences that had taken my breath away.

 

The Bone Sword is a step above a lot of fantasy. It is only #1 of a promised cycle, which is great news. For now, I eagerly await "Acheron #2/The Slaves of Erafor #2" which should emerged soon.

 

View all my reviews

Source: www.selindberg.com/2017/12/the-bone-sword-review-by-se.html
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review 2017-11-22 12:19
UNRELIABLE FIRST-PERSON NARRATIVE: “MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD” BY K. J. PARKER
Mightier than the Sword - Vincent Chong,K.J. Parker

It’s an interesting debate about SF being written by mainstream writers, and whether it is still SF. Most of the early examples are female writers who coupled SF and feminism. Atwood, LeGuin, Lessing, Octavia Butler (who also brought in race topics, of course). Whether you see them as SF or mainstream really depends which editions of their books you pick up. And it really doesn’t matter either way, they were (and are) just good. When it becomes embarrassing is when mainstream writers start playing with SF tropes but don’t have the skill to carry it off well. At the moment I’m reminded of that point in the eighties when mainstream white pop acts started rapping – embarrassing to say the least. You can tell when an artist has a real grasp on the tradition they are working in. You don’t expect classical musicians to be able to play rhythm and blues without at least listening to John Lee Hooker for a while, yet mainstream writers go stumbling into the depths of Hard SF territory without apparently reading any of what has come before. Fair enough if they can do it, but if Cormac McCarthy and Winterson are any guide it seems that they can’t. What’s “rebellious” about conforming to current expectations and ideology? Stereotypes and political correctness are two sides of the same coin, treating characters as statements or representatives and not as individuals.

Quite apart from believing there is space for pure entertainment, I also do not believe that interesting, challenging work usually comes about as a result of a writer sitting down and consciously thinking “OK, I’m going to tackle this important topic”. Writing is more often a process of exploration and discovery, with a lot of unconscious input. As a provision, I would also suggest that the expectation that writers must “treat characters as statements or representatives and not as individuals”, reliable narrators or not, is also a presumption and taste of our own particular time, place, and culture.

Why “must” this be so?

 

If you’re into SF-done-right, read on.

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review 2017-11-05 02:50
great writing with an amazing plot...I highly recommend!!
The Bird and the Sword - Amy Harmon

Holy enchantments, I've been ensnared and I never want to be set free again. This book is pure Magic wrapped in vivid and intricately poignant prose. These prose are things of absolute wonder might I add. They are not too flowery as to trigger an allergic reaction (like a migraine or spasms that lead to throwing the book at the wall repeatedly) or drab enough to be used as a sleeping aide. What they ARE are incandescent literary weavings that transported me(fully immersed and wholey invested) to a completely original world of amazement and helped my imagination SOOOAAARRR (don't fault me, I had to say it). This hauntingly beautiful, character driven tale is so much like the lore of old that I was bewitched...bewitched I tell you!! You know the ones...those fairytales filled with Gallantry and Honor...Betrayal and Horror...Abilities and Redemption...Beauty in various forms (especially those in hard to reach places) and all the delicious Naivete turned Triumph a dreamer such as myself can tolerate on an empty stomach (no, Halloween candy does not count!)! This yarn was expertly spun and revolved primarily around Lark (our Teller/Commander). The characters were fantastic! Even the secondary and tertiary ones felt so real I could just about taste their desperation and fear amongst their deviously wicked machinations. Boojohni was a perfect supporting character and Tiras..oh my word King Tiras... how you have beguiled and won me over wholeheartedly! I won't gush on and on BUT I will say that this wrapped up so neatly that it felt like a stand alone. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that but I am certainly curious to see what's next.

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text 2017-10-17 15:23
Help!
The Sword in the Grotto - Angie Sage,Jimmy Pickering
The Case of the Haunted History Museum (Museum Mysteries) - Steve Brezenoff,Lisa K. Weber
The Tail of Emily Windsnap - Liz Kessler,Sarah Gibb

I have a 9 year old who is reading through everything! At school they us the AR point system to track their reading. We have not even finished a quarter of the school year and she's at 82 points. To put that in perspective, most of the other students in her class will achieve that number by the end of the year. I want her to be challenged but I also don't want her reading books with content that's over her head. I linked to some of the books she's read recently and loved. 

 

Help me find more books for my 9 year old! Currently she's working her way through anything by Beverly Clearly. I'm trying to direct her towards SuperFudge or other Judy Blume books with little success. Piggle Wiggle and Pippi Longstocking are also on my radar. She really likes books in a series. I'm pretty sure she has read and owns just about every American Girl book ever written. 

 

I have no idea what to do with her. While I have always loved to read, I wasn't the reader she is when I was 9. I just didn't have access to books the way she does. 

 

Thanks! 

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review 2017-10-08 13:45
My Review of Stoneweaver - A Clash of Sword and Stone
A Clash of Sword and Stone -- Prequel to the The Stoneweaver Saga (Volume 1) - Cabe Valion

Stoneweaver - A Clash of Sword and Stone by Cabe Valion is the first book in a new epic fantasy series, The Dread Magic Saga. De Mauriac is sent by Nenevah to retrieve an asset, a Stoneweaver.

 

This tale is a promising start to a new epic fantasy. The concept is very interesting; a new take on magical abilities that I had not read before. The characters are well fleshed out, and the story is well written. It has imaginative world building. My only complaint is that it is too short! I'm interested in seeing where this story takes me. Looking forward to the next installment.

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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