Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Trip to the Market 9/24/07

After just a few of these trip to the market posts I'm sure it's become quite obvious I buy more books than I can possibly sit and read right now. Someday I hope to get to them all but I know that's probably not possible until I'm independently wealthy and can retire. (This is not likely to happen soon considering my current age and line of work). At worst I hope someday my collection will be part of the library's collection so even if I don't read them all someday someone will. So what was added this week?

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Destiny by Paul B Thompson and Tanya C. Cook
Voyage of Jerle Shannara Boxed Set by Terry Brooks

So why these three (5)?

Assassin's Apprentice because I meant to buy it two weeks ago.
Jerle Shannara because I own two Brooks novels so I might as well own all of them.
Destiny just to keep my collection current.

You can see from the above statements that I'm an unrepentant collector of stuff. It can can be a bit obsessive but once I have one part of a set of things, assuming I enjoy them, I want the complete set. I think it all started with baseball cards when I was a kid but it has grown into other things as I've gotten older. Now before you start to worry about me, I'm not crazy pack rat guy who has no clean floor space and an entire room dedicated to newspapers and pocket lint. In fact I'd wager my house is as neat as any house inhabited by a two year old boy can be. Besides fantasy novels I also have a growing collection of toy soldiers, specifically medieval knights. Perhaps if you ask nice I'll show you all some pictures some day. Well until next installment of "This Week in Impulse Buying"


(I promise honey we can buy groceries next week)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Review: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

Warning this is not your father's fantasy novel.

In "The Blade Itself" Joe Abercrombie has created a cast of characters so flawed that it's hardly possible to like them. And yet you'll love them. A crippled torturer, an arrogant nobleman , and a runaway slave whose only thought is vengeance, are just a sampling of what you'll get. The setting is as gritty and violent as the characters and that's saying something.

A word of advice for future readers. Before you pick this book up make sure you find a clear a weekend when you will have time to read in large chunks. The book moves very fast and has a lot of points of view and can be a little tough to follow if read in very small chunks. Well that and you won't want to stop reading once you get rolling so find a quiet spot and enjoy.

The end of the story while climactic definitely comes too soon. I'd really have liked some of the threads to have been woven just a little longer before stopping, but that might just be jealousy for having to wait for the next installment.

Great characters, good setting, some good (and some spectacular) fight scenes, fast paced and sarcastically funny. I recommend it highly.

Rating: 8.8/10

You can find out more about Joe Abercrombie and his First Law Trilogy at his website.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Shopping List 9/23/07 - 9/29/07

Here's this weeks list of SFF books and audiobooks as taken from Barnes & Noble's coming soon list.

Making Money Terry Pratchett / Compact Disc / HarperCollins Publishers / September 25, 2007

Lyra's Oxford Philip Pullman / Paperback / Random House Children's Books / September 25, 2007

Making Money Terry Pratchett / Paperback / HarperCollins Publishers / September 25, 2007

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Gregory Maguire / Mass Market Paperback / HarperCollins Publishers / September 25, 2007

The Horror in the Museum H. P. Lovecraft / Paperback / Random House Publishing Group / September 25, 2007

Blood Engines T. A. Pratt / Mass Market Paperback / Bantam Books / September 25, 2007

The Diamond Isle: Book Three of The Dreamtime Stan Nicholls / Mass Market Paperback / HarperCollins Publishers / September 25, 2007

Beowulf Caitlin Kiernan / Mass Market Paperback / HarperCollins Publishers / September 25, 2007

Metal Swarm Kevin J. Anderson / Compact Disc / Brilliance Audio / September 28, 2007

Metal Swarm Kevin J. Anderson / Compact Disc / Brilliance Audio / September 28, 2007

Incredible Aberration? Robert E. Bonson / Paperback / Xlibris Corporation / September 28, 2007

Incredible Aberration? Robert E. Bonson / Hardcover / Xlibris Corporation / September 28, 2007

Predator: Flesh and Blood Michael Friedman / Paperback / Dark Horse Comics / September 28, 2007

Metal Swarm, Vol. 2 Kevin J. Anderson / MP3 on CD / Brilliance Audio / September 28, 2007

Richard Matheson Companion Richard Matheson / Hardcover / Gauntlet, Incorporated PA / September 28, 2007

Wysard Carolyn Kephart / Paperback / Cambrian House / September 28, 2007

Strange Candy Laurell K. Hamilton / Compact Disc / Brilliance Audio / September 28, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Del Ray to publish "Heroes" Novel

Del Ray books announced "officially" yesterday it plans to release a novel based on the hit television show Heroes. This old news to those who were at ComicCon in San Diego but here is an excerpt from Del Ray's press release.

NEW YORK, NY - September 18, 2007 - Del Rey, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, announced plans to publish a novel based on NBC's Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominated Heroes. HEROES: SAVING CHARLIE (Del Rey Hardcover; $23.95; on sale December 26, 2007) by Aury Wallington will be an original novel based on the characters Hiro Nakamura (Emmy and Golden Globe Award-nominated Masi Oka) and Charlie (Jayma Mays), created by executive producer/creator Tim Kring. It is developed through a licensing agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group.

"One of the more memorable relationships in Season One was Hiro's first love, the waitress Charlie. We were as smitten as Hiro by that story and seized the chance to tell the full adventure of Hiro's six months in the past. Aury Wallington was hand picked by the writers of the show for her brilliant voice for these characters. The novel is a welcome addition to the Heroes family," said Tim Kring, creator-executive producer, "Heroes."

The novel--written with the full cooperation and consultation of the show's creators--will tell the story of Japanese office worker Hiro, who, through the use of his ability to pierce the space-time continuum and manipulate time, bravely catapults himself into the past to save Charlie, a small-town Texas waitress with an extraordinary memory, from being brutally murdered by super-powered serial killer Sylar (Zachary Quinto). Fans of the television series were given only a brief glimpse into Hiro and Charlie's relationship as it grew into love over six time-changing months, but their history is told here with the depth and insight that only a novel will allow."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Trip to the Market 9/17/07

I made the mistake of carrying more cash than usual to my local Barnes and Nobles. The proverbial hole was burned through my pocket and I left with quite a number more books than I had planned. I suspect if my wife ever reads this she'll not be as happy as I am with my purchases. So tonight's additions to the library.

The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The Elves of Cintra by Terry Brooks
His Majesty's Dragons by Naomi Novik
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
Sinner by Sara Douglass
Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey

I'm listening to Sword of Shannara in my car right now so that was an obvious add and since Elves of Cintra was just released I figure it was a good time to pick it up as well. I've wanted to read Naomi Novik's Temeraire series for a while so I picked it up in a paperback boxed set. Sinner and Banewreaker I know nothing about really but they we're hardcover books that seemed to fit the genre and were only $2 in a super bargain bin. You'll notice I completely forgot to pick up the Robin Hobb book I wanted from last week. Oh well there is always next Monday.

Robert Jordan 1948-2007

I'm sad to report that esteemed author Robert Jordan passed away yesterday after an extended illness. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.
Additional details can be found on his blog. Be forewarned that his server is having trouble handling all the traffic today as one would expect.

The Last Battle has been fought, rest easy now. You were a dragon amongst men.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shopping List - 9/16/07 - 9/22/07

Another feature I'd like to bring you is a list of what's hitting stores each week. It will probably not be an exhaustive list but I'll do my best to hit the highlights. I thought of doing a "What's Hot" list as well but Pat's Fantasy Hotlist does a great job of that already so why duplicate. So what can you spend your money on this week.

Natural Ordermage (Recluce Series #14) L. E. Modesitt, Jr. / Hardcover / Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC / September 18, 2007

Making Money Terry Pratchett / Hardcover / HarperCollins Publishers / September 18, 2007

Tales of H. P. Lovecraft H. P. Lovecraft / Paperback / HarperCollins Publishers / September 18, 2007

Axis Robert Charles Wilson / Hardcover / Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC / September 18, 2007

The Cymry Ring Michael Allen Dymmoch / Paperback / Thomson Gale / September 19, 2007

Seven Songs of Merlin T. A. Barron / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 2007

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 20, 2007

Mirror of Merlin T. A. Barron / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 20, 2007

Lost Years of Merlin T. A. Barron / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 20, 2007

Fires of Merlin T. A. Barron / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 20, 2007

Wings of Merlin T. A. Barron / Hardcover / Penguin Young Readers Group / September 20, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Jack Vance Tribute Anthology Announced

George R.R. Martin announced on his news site that he will editing a new Jack Vance tribute anthology alongside co-editor Gardner Dozois. The anthology titled Songs of the Dying Earth will be published by Tor Books. In addition to Tor's mass-market release Subterranean Press will be producing not one but two limited edition runs for collectors.

Quoting GRRM

"We've assembled an all-star lineup of contributors for the book, we think. Songs of the Dying Earth will feature original stories from Dan Simmons, Robert Silverberg, Michael Moorcock, Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Hand, John C. Wright, Glen Cook, Jeff Vandermeer, Neil Gaiman, Paula Volsky, Tad Williams, Howard Waldrop, Michael Shea, Mike Resnick, and a host of other terrific writers and hardcore Jack Vance junkies, some of whom offered us their firstborn children for the chance to be a part of this project. And yes, I plan on doing a story for the book myself (after I finish A Dance With Dragons). Jack Vance and his representatives have been so kind as to give us permission to use Jack's characters as well, so longtime fans can expect to appearances from Cugel the Clever, Chun the Unavoidable, T'sain and T'sais, and other favorites."

Comment Contest

I wanted to get some contests going so you all had a chance to win some small prizes. Mostly books and the such. So todays contest is the simplest of all. The first person to post a comment to this post wins. Good Luck.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Review - Dragonvarld Trilogy by Margaret Weis

Set in a world known as Dragonvarld, well that's what the dragons call it, the trilogy follows the lives of both humans and dragons as they fight for survival and dominance.

Setting: In the stories we only see a small portion of the whole of Dragonvarld. The story takes place primarily in three nations of a presumably larger world. As is the case with most short trilogies the world itself is not fully fleshed out. It is not a world building series and it doesn't need to be. One trend in fantasy has been huge world building epics involves thousands of pages of text and decades of time to create. I still find books in the 300-400 page range to be just as enjoyable. In fact *gasp* I even enjoy short stories and novellas. We see enough of the world to make the story work and that's all that is needed. Some parts of the of the setting I found a bit too modern, or too real for a good fantasy setting. The religion of the human nation comes to mind.

Characters: The main characters were well developed in my mind though many were not particularly likable. There is an attempt at moral ambiguity in a lot of the characters, but it seemed to miss the mark in some cases. I found myself not liking a lot of characters in the story and at least one I kept hoping would somehow get killed off.

Plot: The story itself I found pretty enjoyable. It moved at a good pace , and was not so overly complicated that I thought I was missing stuff by listening to it in small sessions in the car as opposed to longer stretches which I generally do when reading a novel. There were at least a few times when I sat in my car for a few extra minutes because I really wanted to know how a scene ended.

Other: This is not necessarily a book for younger readers. There is a certain amount of sexuality involved and at least one rape. While none of it is overly gratuitous and some is essential to the plot it is something that may make some readers (or their parents) uncomfortable. The ending also seems as though it may leave itself open to a sequel (almost demands one). I'll try and ask Margaret Weis and see what she says about follow ups.

Overall: Overall I generally enjoyed the story. I would recommend it to others, especially those who I already know enjoy the genre. That said it is not for everyone and there are others I would recommend before this one.

Rating: 7.2/10

My Review System

Since this is my first review here let me layout my rating system. I use a standard 1-10 scale. Anything 9 or above is something I consider a must read for fans of the genre. A 7 or 8 generally means I thought the books lacked a few things or could have done some things better but that I still enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others. A 5 or a 6 generally means I found the book to be just "OK". It was enjoyable in parts but there were some things about the book that either failed to draw me in or I found severely lacking. Like the numbers imply it's a 50-50 book. A for or 5 is something I'd recommend to hardcore fans but not for those who don't read a lot of of SFF. Lower than a 5 is basically a book I found so uninteresting and and so lacking that I had trouble finishing it.

Just as there are very few books that will get above a 9 from me. There are even fewer that will get less than 5. Some of that has to do with my being a fan of the genre that I'll find enough redeeming qualities to finish it. Or that I have enough respect for the craft of writing that I appreciate the authors attempts flawed as they may as been. Some of it has to do with limited time and budgets. Unless I can get to a point where I am reading advanced copies from the publisher the books I will read and review are books that have positive reviews from others. I'm not a masochist or independently wealthy. Like almost all readers I spend my time and money on those books I have expectations of enjoying. That said let's review some books.

Books on CD.

Sometimes I find it hard to fit in time to read all the books I want to. In fact with job, wife, child, and a zillion hobbies I've found it impossible to keep up with even half the books I want to read. Thankfully more and more books are being released as unabridged audiobooks. It is important to me at least to have unabridged versions to listen to. I'm sure the abridged or dramatized versions are good too but I want to hear every word of the book to judge it on it's original writing not on the interpretation of an editor.

I've found my public library a great source for titles and they have the added bonus of being free. The only downsides of the library is the short time frame in which you have to listen. Usually 2 weeks to a month depending on their lending and renewal policies. For shorter series or stand alone novels I tend to borrow from the library. But for longer and especially on going long series, (yeah I'm looking at you "A Song of Ice and Fire") I like to own the set on CD. The one thing both the "Wheel of Time" series and "A Song of Ice and Fire" taught me is that I will want to reread them prior to the newest title being released and that I will not have time to read 5,000-11,000 pages of novels more than once. So owning these longer titles on CD has always helped me. I can continue to read new novels while catching up on a reread in the car. has been great in this regard. by buying a membership I was able to use my credits and their member discount to get some $60-$80 retail audiobooks for $22 bucks.

Next post will be a review of the books I just finished listening to. Margret Weis' Dragonvald trilogy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trip to the market 9/10/07

I play Scrabble once a week at a local bookstore and nearly everytime I'm there I end up leaving with a book or three. I'll update what books were added to my collection each week .

This week, I went a little overboard and picked up three different titles from authors who have been highly recommended to me but I have yet to read.

1) The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
2) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
3) Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

Of course I realized when I got home I should have bought Assassin's Apprentice first. Well I'm pretty sure you can guess what I'll be putting in my basket next week. Now which book to read first I'm inclined towards The Blade Itself but who knows. Another good poll question I should really set one up.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What's in a name?

So why did I call this blog Fantasy Library Online?

The answer is two-fold. The first is Id like to create a repository of fantasy information here. An online "reference library" for all things Fantasy (and Science Fiction). But I have a larger goal, a dream if you will. I want to start an actual library specifically for Fantasy and Science fiction related material for both public and academic consumption. In my vision there is a library within a library, a public library of materials that are lendable inside an academic library of materials (rare books, draft manuscripts, etc..) that may only be viewed inside the library. I also have some ideas on where I'd like it to be located and a university I'd like it to be related to but that is all in the future.

You'll notice I added advertising to the site. This was not an easy decision as I don't care much for advertising on blogs but for the physical library to have any chance of becoming a reality some sort of revenue will need to be generated. My pledge is to put 100% of any money generated through this site into the founding of a Fantasy and Science fiction library. The very first funds will be used for legal fees to get the Library set up as a non-profit organization. After that we'll be able to accept donations of money and books towards building the Library and the library collection. Pretty ambitious for this humble blog, eh? Well nothing great ever happens unless people dream big. That said if you wish to donate money or books to the project email me. Also if you are a business lawyer and wish to donate some time to help us get the paperwork filed with the government that would be great too.

Here's hoping big dreams come true.

And they're off...

Since I attended a horse race for the first time this week the title seemed appropriate.

Let me start off by giving you some thoughts on what I want to do here.

I'm a fan of Fantasy literature. I read my first fantasy novel at age 8 (the Hobbit) and have never looked back. I wonder how many others from the pre-Harry Potter generations were first introduced to fantasy by Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. I expect it is a pretty high percentage. (I smell a future poll question).

As I mentioned I am a lover of Fantasy literature and Science Fiction as well though I favor swords, knights and dragons over laser cannons, time travellers and aliens. Over the next days, months, and years I hope to share a little of my passion with you as well. I will try my best to make this space as active as possible though I also don't want to get in the (bad) habit of posting just for postings sake. If I have reviews or news to share I'll post. If nothing more exciting than I woke up, went to work, and came home happens, I'll spare you the eye strain of reading it.

Let me also say up front I am a reader not a writer. My grammar and spelling are far from perfect though I try to make things readable. Despite 25 years at a keyboard I never learned to properly type and so my typing tends to lag way behind my thoughts leading to errors. One you'll see frequently I'm sure is with homophones. While I fully understand the differences between their, they're and there I will assuredly type the wrong one. My mind knows what it wants but the lagging fingers sometimes just type the first one they think of. So please bear with me. (I also like to misuse and abuse parenthesis, accept my flaws and love me for them).

Since I have a lot of initial things I want to say this will likely be a rare multi-post day.

Let's enjoy this journey together and hope it leads to something wonderful in the end.

Einroy (no I won't sign all my posts, yes I will continue to use the afore mentioned parenthesis)