I didn’t get the chance to read Tome of the Undergates when it was published in April so I recently decided that I’d waited long enough and got to it. Though my expectations weren’t so many, this book delivered with style. This is Sam Sykes’ debut novel as well as the beginning of yet another fantasy series, Aeon’s Gate, one I now have great hopes for. While falling under the (very) hefty books category, Tome of the Undergates’ length is not to fear; as it stands, this is one of the strongest debuts of the year.
I’ve never really been a big horror person, but occasionally, I do take the time to dabble in the genre with one or two books. Apartment 16 is the latest horror novel I tried and I’m damn glad I did! This is Adam Nevill’s second published book, after his debut, Banquet of the Damned, but is the first of his books I read. Without a doubt, Apartment 16 does something right; this is one book you will pick up and not put down until its done. Also, perhaps because of how different to almost everything else I’ve read this year, this novel standouts particularly as one of my best reads of the year up to now.
A week and a half ago I posted a request for fan questions for Nights of Villjamur author Mark Charan Newton. We weren't too sure how this little experiment would go - I'm glad to see it worked out.
Questions were asked, questions were gathered, and they've now been answered.
Thank you to all that joined in to quiz Mr. Newton. I hope his answers satisfy you.
Below you will find all the questions that were asked coupled with their gracious answers from Mr. Newton. Enjoy.
A couple of weeks back, Mr. Lachlan graciously accepted to answer a few questions on the blog.
M.D. Lachlan is a British writer, author of the excellent norse-fantasy novel Wolfsangel (my review here) which was released in May 2010. Wolfsangel is the start to an exciting new series that will span centuries. M.D. Lachlan is also the pen name for comedy writer Mark Barrowclife, under which name he has written, among others, The Elfish Gene and Mr. Wrong.
Below you will find the full Q&A. Enjoy.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. I know what you are all thinking: he’s reviewing a Stephanie Meyer book! A Twilight book! Well actually a novella, to be more precise, but I know, I know. I suppose this would be the moment to confess that I’ve read all the other four Twilight books, and though I didn’t exactly enjoy them (not at all really) I felt the compulsion to read them, if only to be as informed as possible about what is probably the bestselling paranormal series of all time. The other books, especially the first and second, were riddled with flaws, so much so that they were really only shells of books. Then again, I am certainly not Meyer’s target audience, hence why I wasn’t won over like every single teenage girl that ever set eyes on Meyer’s writing. But, having worked my way through the toughest bit, the four main novels, I thought: what the hell, what is novella to me anyways? so I went ahead and read it. While it clearly didn’t work any miracles on my general opinion of the series, I can see how fans of Meyer’s series would appreciate this 180-page return to the world of Twilight.
Shadow’s Son is yet another assassin fantasy novel by debut author Jon Sprunk. But though it’s like has been done before, Shadow's Son remains exciting and engaging. Like the majority of fantasy books published today, this is the first entry in a trilogy that will follow the book’s main character Caim. A plus for this book: it is being almost simultaneously published in the US by Pyr and in the UK by Gollancz, a chance many debut authors do not get. A strong narrative and a lack of over-complexity make Shadow’s Son an entertaining book, if not one without flaws.
City of Ruin is the second novel in Mark Charan Newton’s increasingly excellent Legends of the Red Sun series. Not only did he get this one out only a year after the first in the series, Nights of Villjamur, but Newton also does not relent: he keeps building something better and better. If you doubted that Newton was going to be a name to reckon with in the future of fantasy then I can assure you that City of Ruin dispels any doubt you might have. City of Ruin is a brilliant sequel to an already great first entry, leading me to the certainty that the Legends of the Red Sun will continue to be spectacular.
K.J. Parker is a writer that appears to have a constant presence in the background of the fantasy scene. Parker has been around for a while and occasionally one of their books, generally well publicized, gets released, yet Parker remains elusive. Their website is currently under construction and has been for some time. As you can see from my attempts at keeping references to Parker gender-neutral, we aren’t even sure whether she is a she or he is a he. Their books, though, speak for themselves. I’ve only read two of their's, this one, The Folding Knife, and the previous, The Company, both stand-alone, but I can attest of their quality. Where The Company might have been a bit more of a typical fantasy, The Folding Knife certainly isn’t but it does have its own appeal.
Tor.com has released a new piece in which Peter Lutjen discusses how he went about designing the covers for Dan Well's exceptional John Cleaver Trilogy. Though very little is known about the third book, I Don't Want To Kill You, this post allows us to get a look at its cover as well as some cover outtakes. You'll also get to see outtakes for the other two covers and he obtained the final results for all three.
Yes, you did read the title of this post correctly. In a momentous show of generosity and goodwill Mark Charan Newton will be answering your questions.
If you have been anywhere in the online fantasy community during the past year then I'm sure for you Mark Charan Newton needs no introduction. But if you haven’t, here is what you should know: he’s the brilliant author of Nights of Villjamur and its recently published sequel, City of Ruin. As a debater extraordinaire and deeply involved author, sometimes it seems he can practically be found everywhere in the fantasy blogosphere. He is always the one asking on his blog those questions that inevitably lead to heated discussions or taking part in one conversation or another on twitter. Basically, he's a prime example of the young, modern fantasy writer.
Seeing as it was just released in paperback form, I (and apparently many other bloggers/reviewers) decided that it might be a good time to share my thoughts on the phenomenon that is Mark Charan Newton’s Nights of Villjamur. I have a half-good excuse for not having done so: LEC Book Reviews didn’t exist last June when the novel was first published. Newton’s books are some of the most wildly talked about books in the online fantasy community, due in part to the author’s personal engagement in many of the discussions. A fabulous beginning to Newton’s Legend of the Red Sun Series, this book is a real treat.
Mark Chadbourn is yet another author I haven’t had the opportunity to read before, but when I first heard of The Sword of Albion I set my sights on it being my first Chadbourn book. The Sword of Albion is the start of a new historical fantasy series that centers on an English spy and his misadventures across the Europe. This was a may release from Transworld/Bantam and they bring us a book filled to the brim with riveting action and wonderful prose this promises to be a series to look out for.
For those that have not seen or heard about it yet a relatively lengthy preview of Brandon Sanderson's next book, The Way of Kings, has just been posted over at Tor.com. This is the first entry in a ten volume series named The Stormlight Archive. The preview includes the book's prelude, prologue (really? a prologue and a prelude!?) and the first three chapters. I personally have not experienced it yet but plan to do so, well...now! Those interested should probably do the same. Registration to the site is required, so do not forget to do so. Without further ado, the link: here.
I realize that the blog is named LEC Book Reviews, so some might be left perplexed as to why I’m writing a post about television. Well, even though my main concern is with books, I do spend a considerable amount of time in front of the small screen and felt that I should also share my tastes in that area. Anyways, we’re still talking science fiction and fantasy, so really, who cares? I would like here to talk a bit about my likes and dislikes about SF&F onscreen and how my preferences differ between that and my preference in books. I’ll also try to reason out why that is and give you some examples of shows that I enjoy and some not so much. So scroll or click-through to read on….
Wolfsangel is one of those books that just feels epic, the kind of epic found in legends and myths and less often than you would think in fantasy books. Though a newcomer to the genre, M.D. Lachlan brings with this genre-debut a lot of weight and excitement, which is, of course, always a plus. Woflsangel is the bringing of a historical fantasy series that will span the centuries from the period in this book, Vikings, to WWII. Far from flawless, Wolfsangel is nevertheless a novel that is sure to thrust its author forward in the fantasy genre
If you were unaware, Dan Wells is an American novelist who’s written two books to date, I Am Not a Serial Killer and Mr. Monster (reviews here and here respectively). He’s a sublime writer and his books are just plain awesome.
I’m proud to say that I’ve had the opportunity to trade a few questions and answers with him over the past few days and the interview below is the result of that exchange. I’m also proud to say that he featured one of my questions on his blog, for which you can find a link to in that section at the bottom of the post.
Anyways, scroll down or click through to find the complete interview….
At the beginning of the month I reviewed Before They Are Hanged (review here) and promised to finally get around to finishing up the Joe Abercrombie’s quite amazing First Law Trilogy. Now, with Last Argument of Kings read that’s done, and let me tell you, it was good. If the middle book in trilogies often lags a bit, just as often the third book packs the biggest kick yet; Last Argument of Kings does just that. In this novel, Abercrombie brings it home epically and finishes off his first trilogy with some of the best writing I’ve encountered.