R.F. Kuang, The Poppy War, Harper Voyager, 2018.
The Poppy War is the first volume in a trilogy of fantasy novels. I was immediately drawn to this world and the main character, but the second part of the book wasn't what I expected.
Saad Z. Hossain, Djinn City, The Unnamed Press, 2017.
I will start straight up with a warning I wish someone had given me: this is the first volume in a fantasy series and it ends on a cliffhanger. Nonetheless, I'm reviewing it because Djinn City was a compelling read, with a rich and detailed world building.
Jen Williams, The Winnowing Flame, Headline.
I do not review incomplete series. I do not read incomplete series. And then, the Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards happened.
To give you a more precise picture: since 2017, I had seen a lot of my Twitter correspondents being enthused about The Ninth Rain and I was not so quietly bidding my time. So when The Ninth Rain ended up on our shortlist, I was both relieved I could finally read it and also quite annoyed.
Yes, annoyed. Because now I have to wait for a year before knowing what will happen to those fantastic characters!
JY Yang, The Tensorate series,
The Tensorate series comprises so far two fantasy novellas. I finished reading them, unsure whether I'd review them or not, but on balance, I think what were to me the weakest points were very subjective whereas I felt that the strong points weren't. Will you agree with me? That is the question.
Robin Hobb, Fitz and the Fool,
I started reading the Farseer trilogy in 2000. Over the years, and after the completion of the Tawny Man trilogy, Fitz and the Fool became "old friends", the kind we readers have when we often re-read books, old friends we like, sometimes dislike, but always come back to.
When this new trilogy began being published, I waited. Three years until it was completed at which moment I started on it, read it all in six days and ended in tears.
In order that there wouldn't be any spoilers (except for one thing happening in the Tawny Man trilogy), this review deals mainly in feelings and impressions: it may feel a bit frustrating at how vague it is. But better vague than spoilerish.
Jen Williams, The Copper Cat trilogy,
Epic and heroic fantasy trilogies are my best frenemies. When I pick up a new one I always long to find back that sweeping sensation I felt the first time I read Lord of the Rings but I usually end up casually throwing the book above my shrugging shoulders: "Been there, done that, read it to death a thousand times". Having read Diana Wynne Jones' Tough Guide to Fantasyland (with accompanying novels of Derkholm) doesn't help either.
So, by the end of the fifth chapter of the Copper Promise, I was eyeing it pretty dubiously wondering if I should really need going any further. But read on, dear reader, because my adventure with the Copper Promise has a happy ending that includes a happy me...
Art by Joshua Mays.
"Science-fiction is a white "menochrome": it's a genre written by white men for white men and in which characters are white men."
Erm... No, really, no.
So here are ten novels, chosen subjectively and by chronological order, that will get you on your way to discover that there are much more than just these ten novels and that scifi and fantasy is a genre as diverse as our planet's population...
Juliet McKenna, The Tales of Einarinn.
Paradox: even though some of my favourites writers and series are fantasy, I prefer scifi. Most of the time, to me, fantasy is just piling up cliché upon cliché. But when Charlie Stross invited Juliet McKenna to write for his blog, precisely against those clichés (1), I thought that her books deserved my attention. And I was right...
Illustration by TravisTheGeek.
There was the GamerGate, then the ridiculous drama that the Hugo were. 2015 really contributed to make everyone think that science-fiction was a conservative genre, not to mention sexist, fascist, racist and homophobic, despite the history of the genre itself.
So here is a short collection of SFF novels that could all pass the Bechdel test. This list comprises only ten books (and it was bleeding hard to keep it to only ten books!) with completely personal choices and by chronological order...
Kristine Kathryn Rusch, The Fey, WMG Publishing.
If you like heroic fantasy with political shenanigans, then this series is for you...
Greg Keyes, The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone,
The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone is a series in four volumes taking place in a universe where used to reign the Skasloi, strange beings with amazing powers who held humans in slavery. 2300 years after their rebellion, humans are now the only masters of a planet divided in small kingdoms and the political tensions are rife.
But some supernatural forces are awakening and an ancient prophecy says that these forces herald the fall of humanity...
All reviews are spoiler free unless explicitly stated otherwise.
I only review stories I have liked even if my opinion may be nuanced. It doesn't apply for the "Novels published before 1978" series of blog posts.
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