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A lovely fantasy twinset May 28, 2008

Posted by taryn in best books ever, fantasy.
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What do you call two books in a series? A twinset? Musings aside, this is another great offering from Orbit, one of my favourite sf&f publishers. A fast-paced classic fantasy tale, this is one of my must-reads.

The Innocent Mage

The Awakened Mage

Asher is a strapping young fisherman living in a small fishing village of Lur. He heads to the big city to make a bit of cash to buy his own boat and look after his Da. He scores an excellent job liaising between the races and advising the young and magic-less (and disabled) Prince Gar.

Lur is ruled by the Doranen, an arrogant and magical elf like race. They escaped to Lur from the evil tyrant Morg and now a magical barrier is all that protects them. Asher is an Olken, one of the original inhabitants of Lur. They are banned from using Doranen magic, on penalty of death, but rumous abound of their own ‘earth’ magic, forced underground. Asher of course has loads of this new magic, is the prophesised one and is pulled this way and that as Morg tries to break the barrier and underground Olken magickers try to use him.

The characters are fascinating and flawed (kudos to another strong female character) and the world itself is very entertaining. Love the magic scenes, the weatherworking (love a bit of blood in magic). The world Miller has built is very cool and easy to get absorbed in.

The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage are called the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker series. I read these back in October 2007 and have also passed them over to my 14 year old sister who loved them. Albeit she found the ending not quite to her liking and a bit depressing.

Read an extract of The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage.

The Innocent Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker 1), Karen Miller, Orbit, April 2007.
The Awakened Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker 2), Karen Miller, Orbit, September 2007.

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disappointing, but hobb nonetheless March 16, 2008

Posted by taryn in fantasy.
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I bought this book, mostly to see the end of the trilogy. I love Robin Hobb, the Farseers and tRenegade’s Magic by Robin Hobbhe Liveship traders trilogy are two of my favourite fantasy series of all time.

*Aside – The cover art of this series and all of Hobb’s books are fantastic.*

This series has been essentially about a clash of cultures – the western style Gernians vs the American Indian style Specks. The Gernians are pushing trade routes and “civilisation” into the forests, unknowingly killing the Speck’s ancestor trees. The Specks’ magic takes hold of Gernian Nevare, and drives him to betray his people.

If you have read any of the other books in this series, it continues along the same track, Nevare/Soldier Son is thrust along a course he doesn’t want, he hates himself and for most of the book is a hostage in his own body.

The forest scenes and descriptions are lovely, very visual and inspiring, they make me want to get ‘back to nature’. They definitely bring that spark and serenity of the forest to life.

All in all, I found this series disappointing. (As do the majority of Amazon reviewers). It is depressing with hardly a glimmer of light. Well written with great characters, magic and awesome forests, but the main character just doesn’t inspire and brings the whole series down.

I have to agree with Eyeris, the ending is a big fat ‘what the? THAT was all the magic wanted!’. It is so convenient, all wrapped up withn a few pages, the ruthless magic that had all but destroyed Nevare’s life wanted something so small. Sigh.

Anyway, it has made me go back to the Farseer trilogy. I love it. Soldier Son just doesn’t compare.

Renegade’s Magic (Soldier’s Son Book 3), Voyager, Jul 2007.

Jennifer Fallon – The Demon Child Trilogy February 7, 2008

Posted by taryn in best books ever, fantasy, good covers.
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Medalon by Jennifer FallonJennifer Fallon is another one of those authors, who I’ve heard of but yet to sample. Over Christmas I got seriously stuck in to her first trilogy:- Medalon, Treason’s Keep and Harshini. If you’re looking for some quality medieval magical fantasy then this is it! And don’t just trust me, Medalon was nominated for the Aurealis Award.

Medalon is a world where four countries live very different lives. Medalon is ruled by the Sisters of the Blade, female atheists who abhor religious ‘pagans’. They have spent years purging their country of paganism and a race called the Harshini. To the north there is Karien, a country of religious fanatics. To the south and south west smaller pagan fiefdoms. The gods are at war and so are their followers. There is a prophecy of a Demon Child who will be half Harshini and who will kill a God.

Treason’s Keep by Jennifer FallonJennifer Fallon is a great writer and storyteller, her characters have depth and irrationalities – they change their minds and they create animated and sparring relationships with each other. There is magic and atheism in her world, gods who behave like stubborn children, politics and strong female characters. The books kept me awake and I just had to get to the end.

Book 2 suprises with some fantastic new characters and subplots. Book 3 is a satisfying conclusion and keeps the tension running high.

Looking forward to diving into a few more Fallon books. Luckily for me she has got a few more books up her sleeve. Hooray!

Harshini by Jennifer Fallon
Her blog is great reading as well, check it out. I particularly enjoyed these entries: Must Love Dogs and ‘The great debate of our time’. She also tips for aspiring writers, movie reviews, author’s notes and all sorts of extras about the world she created.

Will definitely be reading more Fallon

These covers are the best and I think for the latest UK edition.