Category Archives: Reviews

Game of Thrones: Season 3!

Game-of-Thrones-WallpaperSeason 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones kicked off awesomely, if you ask me! A Storm of Swords, book 3 of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, is without a doubt one of my favorite books of all time, regardless of genre. It goes without saying then that I was almost uncomfortably feverish anticipating the season 3 premier. I wasn’t sure how the show would deal with various ideas and plot threads, but if episode 1 was any indicator, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are making some savvy decisions.

Normally, Dustin Luke Nelson, Justin Daugherty, and I will be doing roundtable-like recaps (or some kind of feature) after each episode over on the Sundog Lit. blog, but I was too excited not to get started right away!

To begin with, starting with last week’s premier, I’m glad the producers and FX teams aren’t wasting time/effort on Tyrion’s nose. It sounds like a minor detail, but the littlest Lannister lost his nose at the Battle of Blackwater in the books (as well as sustaining even more aesthetic damage) and I wasn’t sure how the show would or could pull it off believably. I read somewhere recently that, for all intents and purposes, Peter Dinklage is the face of the show and the face must have a nose! His wicked scar is good enough for me.

I was also really wondering how the show would address Ser Barristan Selmy’s character and when they revealed him. In the books, he is introduced in Astapor as Arstan Whitebeard (book 2?), a servant of Strong Belwas, and only later is he identified as Ser Barristan. The suspension of disbelief is easier in the books, but it wouldn’t have made any sense at all for Ser Barristan’s true identity to go unnoticed, especially by Jorah Mormont.

Speaking of Strong Belwas, he’s noticeably absent from the show in season 3, which is a shame because I really like him in the books! He’s not scheduled to appear in the show this season (at least according to the chatter on the interwebbings), so it’s probably safe to assume he’ll remain MIA for the HBO series. This isn’t entirely surprising given how many characters populate Martin’s books — the number is kind of staggering.

Meera and Jojen Reed of Graywater — very notably absent in season 2, in my opinion — made their appearance in last night’s second episode of season 3, which is good because I honestly have no idea how Bran’s story arc could advance without them.

One thing that the show is acing as far as I’m concerned (that we were given hints of toward the end of season 2) is Margery Tyrell’s character. In the books, her cunning is evident from the time the idea is proposed of her marrying Joffrey. Like the Lannisters, she’s a highborn, and it’s crystal clear she’s got a mind for how the game of thrones is played! In fact, Lady Margery always seems to be just a step ahead of Cersei’s conniving, and you get a few inklings of this right away in the season 3’s premier.

Things are heating up!

Advertisements

Read This: xTx’s ‘Billie the Bull’

billie-the-bullLooking for something killer to read? Do you like your books short and punchy? Do you have a pulse? If you answered yes to any of these, odds are you will like Billie the Bull by xTx, now available from MudLuscious Press imprint, Nephew.

I reviewed the book over at Sundog Lit:

Rarely does a book capture what it means to be perfect—or as close to perfect as possible—simply because there are so many variables at play. It doesn’t necessarily matter whether or not the book is long or short, whether it is an epic or a chapbook. Length is all but arbitrary in this context because it takes an incredible amount of skill to hold it all together, to give the reader the impression the book might actually burst at the spine, or that the words might careen off the pages like a train derailed. It’s this sense of imminent catastrophe that ignites a glowing ember to raging inferno, which then stokes the fires in the boiler that propels the work forward…

Hit the jump above to read more. Needless to say, I loved it!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Gene Wolfe’s Shadow & Claw: A Review

It’s no secret that I love me some Game of Thrones on HBO and A Song of Ice and Fire literature. There’s a sort of dead space right now with no new episodes of the show and the release of the 6th book still off in the indeterminate future somewhere. For many of us, this space needs to be filled, and as such, I’ve bravely taken it upon myself to venture out into the wilds of Powell’s Books‘ high-literary sci-fi/fantasy section to see just what the heck else is out there!

I should mention right away that I’m actually giving volumes 1 & 2 of Gene Wolfe’s 1980s The Book of the New Sun (Shadow & Claw) a 4.5 star rating — there were only a few small (but somewhat significant) details that kept me from giving this book 5 stars . . .

. . . Wolfe keeps his story fresh by using terms that jar the reader in their alien appearance to describe everyday things — especially the names of the flora and fauna — though never so much that it alienates the reader. Smilodons and other creatures that have or may have at one time lived on the reader’s own Earth inhabit Wolfe’s universe. He takes special care in keeping the reader guessing at which parts of his narrative might actually even be factual historic (Earth) record, though he weaves it into his plotting that it’s almost indistinguishable from his imagination.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. It adds to the narrative’s mystique and builds the intricate story, and that’s what’s most important. . . .

Check out the rest of my review over at InDigest Magazine!!

* * *

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

I reviewed Viriconium on Goodreads

I felt compelled to write a review of the 3 novellas that make up most of the Viriconium omnibus (the last quarter of the book is comprised of collected short stories centered on the city of Viriconium). I posted it over on Goodreads!!

(The cover to the right is the one I wish Bantam used for the American release.)

In these stories–like the ailing artist, Audsley King, in Viriconium‘s third novella–Harrison is painting with words, beautiful water colors and rich oils. For a world as bleak and unforgiving as the one that converges upon Viriconium (a city like no other. a story without end…), the lyrical descriptions are truly beautiful and masterfully crafted. I’m beyond question at a loss for how impressed I am with this book so far!. . .

His words are so many things simultaneously: sad, hypnotic, haunting, hilarious, sage, prescient. He’s clearly a master of his craft and he keeps his blade (his pen), honed and sharp. Viriconium has been labeled science-fiction, fantasy, even steampunk; but I’d argue at best it’s all of them, but more accurately, it’s its own, singular work. It demands and dares readers to pick it up, challenges them to find the nuances woven within its tapestry. . . .

Needless to say, I really liked this book!

Click here to read the rest!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Hi there! Remember me?! | 06.30.12

To say it’s been a while would be a complete understatement! Life gets busy even when you wish it’d slow down. . . .

I don’t have a lot of new writing news, though I did land a sweet gig managing most of the visible web content for The Lit Pub, and I got to review Matt Bell’s truly excellent novel(la) Cataclysm Baby for [PANK] Magazine recently as well. If you haven’t read this book (or anything else written by Matt Bell) you should totally do so, ASAP!

HBO’s Game of Thrones just wrapped up its second season and it was honestly just as fantastic as its debut! Our crack reviews “team” (i.e. Dustin Luke Nelson and I) at InDigest Mag compiled a list of our likes and dislikes about the show’s deviations from the book. I was actually pretty happy with what we came up with when all was said and done!

Speaking of Game of Thrones, I recently finished reading book 5 of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, A Dance with Dragons, and it was simply epic — almost as good as book 3, A Storm of Swords (just ignore the middling Amazon reviews; trust me). Now the only real problem is waiting for G.R.R.M. to finish writing book 6. . . .

Though, problematically, finishing all five of the “Song of Ice and Fire” books in such quick succession has left a significant, nigh gaping sci-fi/fantasy-tinged hole in my reading life; a hole I’d forgotten existed since reading Tolkien in high school; a hole I’ve been trying desperately to fill for the past month. So like most anything I do, if I’m going to do it right (i.e. “all out”), I research the hell out of it and then hit the bookstore.

Here are some of my latest acquisitions:

I sort of went “no holds barred” on this venture. We’ve got series, standalone books, sci-fi, steampunk, fantasy, and everything in between. Lord of Light was recommended to me by my “go to” man with a plan, David Atkinson. As soon as he started describing it to me[1], I didn’t need any further coaxing — I was definitely sold. Acacia by David Anthony Durham[2] actually got some really great praise from George R.R. Martin, himself, which was good enough for me.

And American Gods was written by Neil Gaiman, which in and of itself should be fairly self-explanatory.

Moving down the stack is The Difference Engine,[3] a book by two more authors who probably need no introduction: William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. I highly recommend the 20th Anniversary Edition with a great intro by Cory Doctorow and some really interesting commentary at the end from the authors. Sandwiched in the middle of the four books that are part of their own series is Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic, called by many readers and critics alike “the best Russian sci-fi novel ever written” (and also spawned the STALKER movie(s) and video games).

See? I told you I did some research.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

David Atkinson Reviews Shenanigans!

David S. Atkinson posted a truly wonderful review of Shenanigans! on Goodreads.com. I am humbled by his kind words!

I’ve heard that by the time Bukowski was really into the swing of things as a writer he had stopped reading much of anything because he did not feel that most of what he came across had life. It felt dead and, as such, was worthless. I can’t really say for sure because I didn’t know old Buk’, but I believe he would have felt very differently about the writing in Shenanigans! If there was ever writing with life, Shenanigans! is it.

In some cases, I mean this quite literally. The writing in “Contemptibly, A Hair” blasts out of the page with more energy than a hyperactive toddler on meth, though with much more pleasurable results. It dances, it spins, it screams. In short, it is the language equivalent of class ten rapids.

Read more HERE:

Tagged , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: