This is not your average Fantasy novel: At Amberleaf Fair contains no Chosen One and no Dark Lord, no swords and only very little sorcery, no battles are waged and no duels fought, no heroes show up and no villains, in fact there is barely any conflict at all, it takes place in a peaceful world among mostly happy people and there is far and wide no sign of that staple of fantasy novel structuring, the travelogue. In short, this brief novel is about both as un-Epic and as un-Grimdark as it gets and reads more like a cozy mystery (except there is no murder either) than a Fantasy novel.
I was aware that Eric Ambler was an author of thrillers, but somehow I totally missed that he wrote spy novels. As it turns out, he not only did but it even was him and not, as I’d always assumed, John le Carré who first injected literary ambitions into the genre, and all later authors then built on his efforts.
The Liberated Bride is the first book by Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua which I have read. It is very…. mundane? (if that is right word) in the way it follows the everyday life of Yochanan Rivlin, a middle-aged Orientalist professor in Israel over a period of time in great, sometimes maybe even excessive detail and mostly retains a very matter-of-fact tone. (more…)
Not too long ago, I was writing about a book co-written by Elizabeth Bear and bemoaning the lack of pirates therein. Now, just two months later, I am writing about her most recent novel, and you know what? It not only has pirates in it, but they’re space pirates! To paraphrase Goethe, some days one feels seriously tempted to believe that there may exist a benevolent God after all.(more…)
Patrick Gale is quite a well-known author in the UK, but, as far as I can tell, appears to be mostly unknown outside of Britain. Going by Notes from an Exhibition – the first of his novels I have read – I am certain why this would be the case: While there certainly is a good amount of Britishness to the novel, it is not to a greater degree or more offensively than in, say, the Harry Potter novels – and those blatantly had no issues with being popular outside of the UK.
I have been a fan of Rachel Aaron pretty much from the first page of her first book, The Spirit Thief. With Last Dragon Standing, she has released her thirteenth novel and finished her third series, and she is still going as strong as ever. It is the fifth volume in her Heartstriker series, detailing the adventures of Julius, the Nice Dragon and Marci, his human mage. It has been quite a ride since the first novel appeared in 2014, and the conclusion this final instalment offers is nothing if not triumphant. I’ll try to avoid spoilers for Last Dragon Standing, but there will be (very slight ones) for the previous volumes of the series.