Home Reviews Interviews News Contact

Helen Lowe’s The Heir of Night was a book full of potential. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to it. The Heir of Night is a perfect example of mediocrity - and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Simply put, it is not a novel to challenge genre conventions or go against the stereotypes, but not everyone wants their chosen read to forge it’s own new and original path through the literary landscape, sometimes an enthusiastic retelling of familiar tropes is enough for a book to be ‘good.’ The Heir of Night, sadly, doesn’t even offer that. Those looking for a cosy ‘same-old’ fantasy might find their fit with Lowe’s first adult novel, but I, for one, was left on my appetite.

The Company Man is the unsettling second novel from Mr. Shivers author Robert Jackson Bennett. This is a book which, like its predecessor, Though it lacks some of the polish of Mr. Shiver, The Company Man draws the readers in just as capably. If you take the chance to crack open The Company Man, Bennett will trap you in his world, in his story and he will toy with you, with your emotions, and chances are you’ll relish it - Bennett has that talent. This is no perfect book, but its ability to tell a satisfyingly eerie and mysterious tale, in a way that will keep you hooked, is undeniable.

Graphic novels/comics have never been something I’ve really been into. Correction: english-language graphic novels and comics. Because in fact, being a native French speaker, I grew up reading a fair amount of the French variety of comics, bandes dessinées. These are typically resemble more graphic novels in that there will not be monthly issues like for comics, but each tome will feature a self-contained story or a self-contained part of a story. This is just to say that of late I’ve felt the desire to rekindle my love for bandes dessinées and get acquainted with graphic novels. Not knowing much about these things and not wanting to spend too much time researching the ‘best’ place to start, I decided to jump write in and so I purchased copies of Kick-Ass and the first volume of The Walking Dead for the simple reason that I’d seen the movie adaptation of one and TV adaptation of the other, liked them both, and thought it might be interesting to discover the source material. So below you’ll find my short reviews for each. This is my first attempt at reviews of this kind, but I hope to do more in the future.

It was with great anticipation that I cracked open Mark Hodder’s The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man. Indeed, Hodder’s debut, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (review here) was, for me, the debut novel of 2010. A sprightly mix of steampunk, mystery and tim-travel, the first Burton & Swinburne adventure held all the ingredients to for the very best of reading experiences, and under Hodder’s deft hand, these elements were able to come together to do just that. Adorned with cover art just as beautiful, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man equates and even surpasses its predecessor in all respects. This second time around, Hodder graciously delivers a wild and raucous mystery tale aptly supported by a continuously intriguing world and eternally devious and captivating characters.

In the long wait before I finally held his debut novel, The Winds of Khalakovo, I had already come into contact with Bradley P. Beaulieu. He quickly came across as a very interesting man to talk to, and when I suggested we run an interview with for the blog he eagerly accepted. The exchange of emails that ensued eventually developed to be what I consider to be the best interview I've run to date on LBR. Bradley's answers were both thoughtful and enlightening. If you weren't planning on reading his novel (official release April) then I recommend you scroll down to the 'Buy The Winds of Khalakovo' down below and purchase it now - my review should explain why. I greatly enjoyed creating this so I hope you likewise enjoy reading the results!

The first thing that crossed my mind once I held The Wise Man’s Fear in my hands and the handicapping fanboy-giddiness had passed was ‘here it is, finally, this spring’s most anticipated release.’ Even before cracking open the first page, there’s a sense of satisfaction from holding an object of desire such as Rothfuss’ sophomore effort. Unlike many, The Name of the Wind didn’t completely blow me away, at least not in the way many other critics would say it did them. I felt there was much potential in Rothfuss’ debut, but its slow start and Kvothe’s long journey bogged the narrative down too much in the beginning for me to be wholly satisfied. The Wise Man’s Fear, though, deals with most if not all of these faults and the result is a writer at the top of his game and a book that succeeds in all respects. In short, a long wait that was entirely justified and rewarding for a novel that will surely shine brightly for years to come.

Immediately upon first seeing it’s cover art, The Winds of Khalakovo became one of the books I was most excited about. My decision wasn’t solely based on cover art loving shallowness - Bradley P. Beaulieu’s debut also had quite the intriguing premise. 450 pages of windships, elemental spirits, vivid landscapes and absorbing characters later, I can’t say my excitement was misplaced. Beaulieu delivers an impressive first novel. It’s far from perfect, indeed it suffers from a few typical debut issues, but on the whole it is able to offer and enjoyable fantasy reading experience, one that issues a story not set wholly in the familiar but with hints of it amongst overwhelming originality.

It's the beginning of a new month again! February was not a bad month for reading despite the disappointing Demi-Monde: Winter (which I will eventually talk about in more detail) or Cherie Priest's somewhat lackluster Boneshaker. The coming month, though, is looking far stronger with at least two of my most anticipated novels being published as well as two more I am choosing to review this month. So please be aware that not all the books listed below will be published in March, I am simply including them because I have picked them to be reviewed on LBR this month.