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Tag: fantasy

Review: Ilona Andrews’s “Blood Heir”

Ilona Andrews’s Blood Heir is a continuation/spin-off of the marvelous Kate Daniels series. These novels take place in a fantastical version of mid-21st-century Atlanta where a metaphysical “Shift” has brought magic back into the world after centuries of dormancy. This book picks up eight years after Kate’s tale comes to a close, with a new protagonist: Julie [...]

Review: Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife”

I had a wonderful time losing myself in the pages of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. This clever and enthralling story swept me away in exactly the fashion one hopes a good romance will do. Niffenegger’s bonafide page-turner contains many excellent qualities: an elegant and well-executed conceit, deft characterization, and captivating writing. When it comes [...]

Review: Philip Pullman’s “The Secret Commonwealth”

As a huge fan of Philip Pullman, I take no pleasure in reporting that The Secret Commonwealth is a massive disappointment. This novel, which begins every bit the worthy successor to Pullman’s marvelous His Dark Materials trilogy, slowly and tragically dissolves into a narrative so desultory and dull that it may as well not exist. Or it’s brilliant in [...]

Review: Robin Hobb’s “Ship of Magic”

Robin Hobb’s Ship of Magic is an ambitious work of fantasy that doesn’t deliver on the promise of its good ideas. The novel takes place on “The Cursed Shores,” a colorful coastal landscape where swashbuckling and supernatural forces collide. Hobb’s crisp description and imagery bring The Cursed Shores to life, inviting the reader on a journey that [...]

Review: Ilona Andrews’s “Iron and Magic”

After falling in love with the Kate Daniels series back in 2016, I was excited to learn that Ilona Andrews had released the first installment of a spin-off trilogy set in the same world. And while Iron and Magic is a fun visit to one of my favorite fantasy destinations, it doesn’t pack the same punch as [...]

Review: Philip Pullman’s “La Belle Sauvage”

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is a unique and rightly-cherished accomplishment of narrative imagination. Given my deep fondness and respect for that work, I was both excited and nervous to hear that Pullman was returning to that world for a second trilogy. It can be dangerous to mess with a good thing, but more of a good [...]

Review: Tom Toner’s “The Promise of the Child”

Tom Toner contacted me in search of an honest review of this book, and when I agreed to give it a shot, his publisher sent me two hard copies (one for me and another for a friend). Given Toner’s enthusiasm and generosity, I truly wish I had enjoyed his book more than I did. Despite some [...]

Review: Patrick Rothfuss’s “The Name of the Wind”

After myriad recommendations from trusted sources, I had high expectations for Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind. But now that I have finally reached the end of this torturous novel, I can safely say it has been a long time since I loathed a book this much. In my view, The Name of the Wind is an [...]

Review: Ilona Andrews’s “Magic Binds”

Ilona Andrews’s Magic Binds is the perfect predecessor to the book Kate Daniels fans have been waiting for since the beginning. It’s also a terrific ride in its own right. Just like all the others, Magic Binds retains the core cast of characters and conflicts Kate Daniels fans love, while also breaking new ground. In this book, Kate’s [...]

Review: Ilona Andrews’s “Magic Shifts”

It’s understandable that the eighth book in a fantasy series might come off a bit stale. Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series is one of the best I’ve come across, but Magic Shifts is far from its best installment. Fortunately, what constitutes a slump for this story could be the peak of many lesser narratives, so there [...]