Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: "What Remains of Heroes" by David Benem

Though I wasn’t chosen as one of the blogs for Mark Lawrence’s Self Published Fantasy Blog Off, I committed on my own to at least give all 10 finalists a chance, hoping that one of them would blow me away.

My plan is to read the samples available on Amazon for each book. If by the end of that sample, the book has grabbed me, I’ll buy it and keep reading. If not, I’ll pass on it.

Since it was one of the highest rated so far, I opted to start with David Benem’s “What Remains of Heroes,” and it was an excellent choice to begin the journey. Not only did the sample grab me, but I bought the book and mowed through the first third in the same sitting.

Benem gives us three primary characters, all of whom are about to have their lives drastically changed in a world teetering on the brink of a potentially catastrophic war with evil sorcerers known as the Necrists.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Review: "Owl and the City of Angels" by Kristi Charish

It was the odd title of Kristi Charish’s “Owl and the Japanese Circus” that first caught my attention last year when I was browsing for new reads. I picked it up and found a quite enjoyable adventure tale with shades of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider.

The second volume in the series, “Owl and the City of Angels” ($18, Simon & Schuster) due out Oct. 5, is, if anything, more fun.

We start with antiquities thief Owl in Egypt, working on an assignment for her dragon boss, Mr. Kurosawa. Well, sort of. The dragon gave her a choice of artifacts to retrieve for him, but Owl decided she could get both, and make a personal stop along the way, too. Not a good idea.

Things go south when riots break out and the International Archeological Association (IAA) deploys an army of agents to try to capture Owl, ironically, for thefts that she didn’t commit.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Review: "The Liar's Key" by Mark Lawrence

The opening volume of Mark Lawrence’s Red Queen’s War trilogy, “Prince of Fools,” didn’t grab my attention immediately in the way that his debut, “Prince of Thorns” did. I enjoyed it, but wasn’t as engrossed as I had been in his first three books.

Lawrence quashes my doubts about this story, though, in the second volume, “The Liar’s Key” ($26.95, Ace).

Following his reluctant adventures in “Prince of Fools,” Prince Jalan Kendeth has found something of a home among the Norsemen in Trond. He’s running an inn … sort of … and in general being the same ne’er-do-well layabout that he’s always been. A tryst with the local Jarl’s daughter changes that, though, as Jalan is chased out of town and ends up in the last place he wants to be – on a boat again.

He flees with the same man he arrived with, Snorri ver Snagason, who now owns an artifact known as Loki’s Key, which gives him the ability to unlock any door. But it’s not just any door that Snorri wants to unlock. It’s the door to death itself, which he thinks will allow him to bring his family, murdered by the Hardassa, back into the world.