Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan

From Orbit Books:

Hadrian, a warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin, Royce, with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm’s most prized possessions. But it isn’t gold or jewels that the old wizard is after, and if he can just keep them from killing each other, they just might do it.

The Crown Tower is the first volume in a two book series (for ‘duology’ doesn’t seem the right term, given their nature, as explained by Sullivan below) called The Riyira Chronicles, and will be followed shortly afterwards by The Rose and Thorn, the concluding volume. Read More »

Jumpboarding off of a recent article by Justin Landon of Staffer’s Book Review, also titled ‘The 5 Most Influential Books in My Life,’ I’ve compiled a list of the five books, novel or otherwise, that I feel most influenced me, my reading habits, and my life. As with lists of this nature, I’m sure it would be different if I compiled the list tomorrow, and different again if I compiled it a week from now, but, in this bubble of my life, the (unordered) list looks like:

  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

    Jurassic Park

    by Michael Crichton

    I discovered Michael Crichton at a young age. I was nine, and a dinosaur nut. With the impending release of the film adaptation of Jurassic Park, excitement filled me in a way that can only happen to little boys and little girls. Jurassic Park was my life. My parents bought me the book, and I still remember sitting in the theatre, lights dimming, trying desperately to finish it before the movie began. I didn’t, the theatre grew too dark before I was able to turn the final pages, but then I became lost in Spieberg’s vision of the iconic novel. Nine might seem young to get into Crichton’s work (most of my friends were reading the books assigned in school, more inline with our grade level, if reading at all), but, to this day, I don’t think I’ve ever been so enveloped by a novel as I was with Jurassic Park. I went on to re-read the novel several times over the next handful of years. It was the first book that I was absolutely obsessed with and helped introduce me to the world of speculative fiction.

Read More »

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon SandersonWelp, it begins. Jason Denzel, long-time Wheel of Time fan and founder of Dragonmount, the website for Wheel of Time fans, has written a lengthy, and spoiler-free reaction to A Memory of Light, the final volume in Robert Jordan’s long-running, and (for the most part) celebrated series.

An excerpt:

[T]oday, as I read the ending of your magnum opus, I yet again found a piece of you. In those final, beautiful moments, with tears in my eyes, I understood. I saw why you wanted to write the story. I see the point you were trying to make. And I laughed. It may not have been what people expected, but, to quote Stephen King, it was the right ending.

And a glorious one.

[...]

If only you could have seen the specific way in which it turned out. I loved each character’s ending, even if it made me cry. I celebrated victories and gasped at the raw, visceral failures. Rand and Egwene shined the brightest, as I could have only hoped and expected. And there’s that one chapter. Holy smokes, RJ. 50,000 words? Really? Wow.

[...]

Yours is a story for the Ages. Some may criticize or belittle it, but its sheer scope and influence can’t be argued. The final pages may have been written, but it will live on in memory, community, and (let’s face it) franchise tie-ins. There are neither beginnings nor endings, right?

So, RJ, as I finish this letter that you’ll never read, I’m left only with final thanks. Thank you for sharing your vision with me. With all of us. For all the worldwide success and attention this book will bring, it still spoke to me on an intimate, personal level. Thank you for expressing the beauty of your life in these pages. Thank you for giving us what is quite simply the most epic ending to the grandest saga of our time.

I’m going out on a limb here, but it seems like Denzel might’ve enjoyed A Memory of Light, just a little bit. Denzel’s full thoughts, which also double as a touching eulogy for Jordan and his creation, are worth reading, though they’ll likely only make the three-month wait for the novel even more difficult for committed fans.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Tor.com today revealed the cover art, and a synopsis, of one of the most curious novels slated for 2013, Brandon Sanderson’s The Rithmatist. The synopsis, written by Tor Teen’s Susan Chang:

The Rithmatist is an epic fantasy set in an alternate version of our world—a world in which life in the American Isles is threatened by the attacks of mysterious creatures known as Wild Chalklings. Chalklings are two-dimensional drawings that can be infused with life by Rithmatists and it is the job of the Rithmatists to keep the Wild Chalkings at bay.

You may wonder how a two-dimensional drawing could possibly be a threat. Here’s the answer: Wild Chalklings scurry across the ground like scorpions or land piranhas, and bite chunks out of your feet. At which point you fall to the ground and they swarm you. Enough said.

The Rithmatist is about a 14-year-old kid named Joel who wants desperately to be a Rithmatist. But he wasn’t Chosen, so he doesn’t have the ability to bring chalklings or Rithmatic lines to life. All he can do is watch as The Rithmatist students at Armedius Academy learn the mystical art that he would give anything to practice. Then Rithmatist students start disappearing, kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving only trails of blood. Joel’s professor asks him to help investigate—putting Joel and his friend Melody on the trail of a discovery that could change Rithmatics—and their world—forever….

The cover itself is sorta bog-standard YA, thought the steampunk horse is kind of cool. The synopsis, however, sounds like pure Sanderson (which, in the opinion of this blogger, is a very good thing), and I’m as curious to see Sanderson play with alternate history as I’m excited to see him explore and develop yet another new magic system. I also feel like Sanderson’s prose and story structure fit well with a YA audience. Looking good, all around.

Update: The previous cover posted was an early mockup. Thanks to Peter Ahlstrom, Sanderson’s assistant, I’ve posted the final cover.