Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: "Dodger" by Terry Pratchett

In “Dodger” ($17.99, HarperCollins), Terry Pratchett does something that he’s rarely managed. He infuses a non-Discworld book with the same kind of fun and whimsy found in his long-running series.

“Dodger,” an historical novel of sorts, pays tribute to Victorian-era London, as well as one of its most famous authors, Charles Dickens. Dodger is a 17-year-old street kid who makes a living as a tosher, someone who goes into the sewers to try to salvage a living from coins and other items lost down the drains. He also has a knack for having valuable things land in his hands, though he would, of course, never stoop the thievery.

His life changes one stormy night when he comes upon a young girl who jumps out of a coach and flees from a couple of large men. Dodger dives right into the fray, delivering a good whipping to the thugs and saving the girl, who turns out to be much more than the boy ever expected.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Review: "The Emperor's Knife" by Mazarkis Williams

I’ve been meaning to get around to Mazarkis Williams’ “The Emperor’s Knife” ($14.99 Night Shade Books) for a while, but a recent giveaway of the ebook on the publisher’s site gave me a great reason to make it now.

Williams paints a picture of an empire being attacked by magic. Strange patterns begin to appear on the skin of those infected, and eventually that person will be consumed and controlled by the master of the pattern. The emperor Beyon has ordered that all those showing the pattern be put to death. Unfortunately for him, the lines have appeared on his own skin. Thus far, he has hidden them well with the help of his mages, and the pattern has not taken his senses. But a few key figures in the palace know about it, which sets in motions the machinations to remove him from the throne.