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Tag: fantasy

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 [...]

Review: Ilona Andrews’s “Magic Breaks”

One can only gush so much about a series before things get ugly, so I’ll try to keep this brief. Magic Breaks is proof that a creative and heartfelt narrative populated with memorable characters can keep evolving in fresh and meaningful ways, long past the point where lesser stories founder. This particular installment of Kate Daniels’s story [...]

Review: Ilona Andrews’s “Magic Rises”

The sixth Kate Daniels book injects much-needed fresh energy into this terrific fantasy series. Instead of sticking around Atlanta as usual, Kate and her “collection of uncanny misfits” voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a rare substance that can help stabilize the development of the Pack’s adolescents (281). In exchange for this substance, [...]