Tagged: fantasy fiction

Fantasy Castle

Flights of Fantasy 2017 Reading Challenge Wrap-up

The Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge motivated me to read some books that had been on my TBR list for many years, and it also enabled me to re-read some of my favorites. Fantasy was my first favorite genre, but I haven’t read a lot of it lately because it seems to have lost its magic, as I wrote about several weeks ago. In fact, all of the fantasy I read this year was written before 1993. My year in fantasy fiction began with a fantastically original series...

The Worm Ouroboros detail

Classics Club Book #14: The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison

Abase thee and serve me, worm of the pit. Else will I by and by summon out of ancient night intelligences and dominations mightier far than thou, and they shall serve my ends, and thee shall they chain with chains of quenchless fire and drag thee from torment to torment through the deep. The Worm Ouroboros might be called world-building fantasy in the tradition of The Lord of the Rings but for two details: it was published 22 years before Tolkien’s trilogy, and it is much darker. In fact, though Tolkien himself...

Tolkien Books on Shelf

What Happened to the Magic? On Modern Fantasy Literature

Lory over at Emerald City Book Review has a wonderfully thought-provoking post about the her relationship with the fantasy genre. I began to leave a comment there but it ended up growing too long for a simple comment, so I offer my thoughts here. Here is how Lory began: When I was growing up, I almost exclusively read fantasy. C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, L. Frank Baum, Lewis Carroll, Ursula LeGuin, Madeleine L’Engle, E. Nesbit were the writers I read again and again, devouring every one of their books....

Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen

Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen

One of the things I love most about reading on a Kindle is rediscovering books and authors I haven’t read in a long, long time. As I come across bargain books from my youth through ebook discount services like BookBub and Early Bird Books, I purchase them and put them on my ever-growing To-Be-Read list. That’s how I ended up re-reading one of my favorite books from the past, Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen. Empire of the East blends science fiction and fantasy in post-apocalyptic America.The story has...

The Balrog - Ted Naismith (detail)

The Ring Goes South by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is not so much a review as a progress report. After a fantastic start to my 2017 Reading Challenges, things have slowed down quite a bit. I’m still keeping up with the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Readalong, however, and according to Goodreads I’m still seven books ahead of my overall schedule for the year. I’ve just finished The Ring Goes South, part two of The Fellowship of the Ring in the Millennium edition. I have to say that I’m really enjoying reading The Lord of the Rings in these smaller...

The Sapphire Rose Banner

The Sapphire Rose by David Eddings

The Sapphire Rose is the final book in the David Eddings fantasy trilogy The Elenium, and overall it provides a satisfactory conclusion. There were even a few twists I wasn’t expecting. Rather than summarize the book and give away some of the events of the earlier two books, I will simply say that The Sapphire Rose continues to tell the story of Sparhawk’s quest to save his queen from death, while at the same time trying to prevent the evil god Azash from getting loose and wreaking havoc on the...

The Ruby Knight, detail

The Ruby Knight by David Eddings

The Ruby Knight is the second book in The Elenium by David Eddings, and it improves slightly on its predecessor, The Diamond Throne.  Sparhawk and his companions continue their quest to save Queen Ehlana from the poison that is slowly killing both her and the knights whose life forces are keeping her alive. The story is a little more focused than the first book, and the light-hearted humor doesn’t seem as forced. Eddings has never had a problem creating likable characters, and his ensemble from The Diamond Throne really come into their...

Diamond Throne

The Diamond Throne by David Eddings

I’ve had David Eddings’ three-book series The Elenium on my bookshelf since about 1995, and for one reason or another have never gotten around to reading it. So when I was putting together a list of books for my 2017 Reading Challenges, I decided it was time to finally knock it off my To Be Read list. The series is comprised of The Diamond Throne (1989), The Ruby Knight (1991), and The Sapphire Rose (1992). After finishing The Diamond Throne, I’m a bit disappointed. Not that it was bad, but it wasn’t as...

Unexpected Party

Cooperating with Grace: The Luck of Bilbo Baggins

“Just let any one say I chose the wrong man or the wrong house, and you can stop at thirteen and have all the bad luck you like, or go back to digging coal.” When Gandalf tells the dwarves in The Hobbit that he has chosen Bilbo Baggins as their lucky number, Tolkien has introduced his readers to one of the most important themes of all of his works. This theme that begins with the story of Bilbo Baggins comes to full fruition in The Lord of the...

Rivendell, detail by J.R.R. Tolkien

At the Last Homely House The Hobbit Becomes a Classic

I’ve just finished chapter four of The Hobbit, “Over Hill and Under Hill,” for Brona’s Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Readalong, and for me this is where the story really begins to pick up (Minor spoilers of the first four chapters ahead). I especially love the book’s opening opening chapter, in which the story feels like a tale told by a grandfather to his grandchildren, with its authorial intrusions: …what is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits needs some description nowadays… Gandalf! If you had heard only a quarter of what...

The Hobbit - Ballantine Silver Jubilee Edition

There and Back Again – Rereading The Hobbit

Today is the first day of Brona’s Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Readalong, and I’m happy to be rereading The Hobbit during the month of February. As I’ve written elsewhere, The Hobbit has been a part of my life since my early teens, and I’ve always enjoyed revisiting The Shire and accompanying Bilbo on his adventures. A wonderful gift of Providence has me rereading The Hobbit at the age of 50, precisely the age of Bilbo Baggins when his adventures begin. Bringing a Walking Stick Like many, I used to think of The...

The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart

“You Peking weaklings call these things flies?” he yelled. “Back in Soochow we have flies so big that we clip their wings, hitch them to plows, and use them for oxen!” It would be hard to find a more original fantasy series than The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart. Set in “an ancient China that never was,” the series is a delicious concoction of Chinese mythology, detective fiction, epic fantasy quests, and ghost stories, sprinkled with generous helpings of ribald humor and...

Conan Ace Paperback Covers

Classics Club Book #5: Conan – The Definitive Collection by Robert E. Howard

I first read the stories of Conan the Barbarian over thirty years ago, in the Lancer/Ace paperback versions that included stories by his creator Robert E. Howard as well as new tales by Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp. The Lancer/Ace editions presented the Conan stories in the order of the fictional barbarian’s life, and traced his progress from thief to king. For my Classics Challenge, I wanted to read only the original stories by Howard, and in the order they were first published, so I chose...

The Prestige by Christopher Priest

The Prestige by Christopher Priest

The performer is of course not a sorcerer at all, but an actor who plays the part of a sorcerer and who wishes the audience to believe, if only temporarily, that he is in contact with darker powers. The audience, meantime, knows that what they are seeing is not true sorcery, but they suppress the knowledge and acquiesce to the selfsame wish as the performer’s. The greater the performer’s skill at maintaining the illusion, the better at this deceptive sorcery he is judged to be. — The Prestige,...

The Crown Conspiracy

The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan

I picked up The Crown Conspiracy on the Kindle for ninety-nine cents because I was looking for a fun, light-hearted fantasy novel. I was not disappointed. I would describe it as a lighter Fahfrd and the Grey Mouser, more akin to books by David Eddings, Terry Brooks, or Katherine Kurtz. You know the kind I mean, stories where the characters talk like us but wear period costumes and use magic. I know that some fantasy readers turn their noses up at such novels, but sometimes I just want...