Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Book of Dust Vol 1: La Belle Sauvage

YYYYYEEEEESSSSS! AT LAST!! AT LONG LAST!!!😍

The Book of Dust was like a myth, like a fabled mist-shrouded castle one endless walks towards yet never reaches nor even sees clearly. For over a decade nearly all we heard was that Philip Pullman was "working on it," this message updated/rephrased every few years or so. We heard that he hoped for it to come out in 2016, yet the year passed without a word.
That it is here, much less in trilogy form, is truly surreal.


Oh, to see Lyra and Pantalaimon again!!

Friday, October 13, 2017

My father and I just finished The Cracks in the Kingdom

My father and I just finished The Cracks in the Kingdom, book #2 of The Colors of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty.

I hate memory magic. I hate malcontent anti-royal kidnappers and murders. I hate nonsensical similes. Still, despite having to deal with all three relative abundance with the odd color attack thrown in, I am ready and waiting and eager to start book #3 tomorrow.
Just a half-completed rescue mission relating to inter-dimensional rifts to finish. Oh, and a strange romance complicated by that aforementioned memory magic.

Friday, October 6, 2017

How many miles to Babylon?

Nursery rhymes. The first tidbits of old lore and Fairyland we learn as children, often from Mother Goose. Everything from "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep", "Doctor Foster", "Humpty Dumpty", "Jack and Jill", "Little Boy Blue", "London Bridge Is Falling Down", "Mary Had a Little Lamb ", "Old King Cole", "Ring a Ring o' Roses", "Rock-a-bye Baby", "There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe", and "Three Blind Mice".
Yet there are some nursery rhymes filled with a more primal, deep power, invoking a sense of mystery. Include one that appears in the novel Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones (who of course uses it in an unforgettable scene that sticks out even by her top-tier standards) as well as in Neil Gaiman's Stardust. Indeed, while my father and I have read countless books together, from the best of Fantasy to other such masterworks as Tolstoy's War and Peace and Shakespeare's Hamlet, we still remember that night from Deep Secret. We still judge the time Jones took us to Babylon as one of our collective literary high points. If I ever write a Tale of Faerie, I swear that I shall use them myself.

How many miles to Babylon?
Three score miles and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
Yes, and back again.
If you feet are speedy and light
You can get there by candlelight.


Where is the road to Babylon?
Right beside your door.
Can I walk that way whenever I want?
No, three times and no more.
If you mark the road and measure it right
You can go there by candlelight.


What shall I take to Babylon?
A handful of salt and grain,
Water, some wool for warmth on the way,
And a candle to make the road plain.
If you carry these things and use them right
You can be there by candlelight.


How do I go to Babylon?
Outside of here and there.
Am I crossing a bridge or climbing a hill?
Yes, both before you're there.
If you follow outside of day and night
You can be there by candlelight.


How hard is the road to Babylon?
As hard as grief or greed.
What do I ask for when I get there?
Only for what you need.
If you travel in need and travel light,
you can get there by candlelight.


How long is the way to Babylon?
Three score years and ten.
Many have gone to Babylon
But few come back again.
If your feet are nimble and light,
You can be back by candlelight.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Many Worlds of Diana Wynne Jones

 Truth is the fire that fetches thunder - Diana Wynne Jones

Mistress of the Multiverse and Lady of Endless Surprises – whom I put second only to J.R.R. Tolkien himself. I know this sounds absurd, but the wit, skill, and pure genius of Jones can even go beyond Tolkien and J.K. Rowling at times. She has written countless books, mostly one-volume works which I believes accounts for her lack of fame in this Golden Age of Fantasy Series, and each one is literally and totally different from anything else you will ever read – including other Jones books! The ability to surprise is her signature and she will tear down literary arrogance like hurricane winds will leaves. I once judged myself wise enough in the ways of Fantasy to be able to see through basically any trick. Well, Jones first shredded the banner of my pride, then reduced it to mere threads, then a thread, then just a banner-less pole, and now (after reading her Dalemark Quartet) nothing! The pole is gone, leaving just an empty field where my pride once stood! Believe me, read all her books and by the end you will be able to pick up on other Fantasy author's tricks and subterfuges via instinct alone. 

Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman
Take Patricia A. McKillip, for instance. She plays many plot-tricks and had my father and I read she before Jones she would have gotten us every time. As it stood though, with our Jones-training we anticipated her several times; her along with Jones' dear friend and quasi-protégé Neil Gaiman. Ever read the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling? Well, Diana Wynne Jones came first and much of Rowling's writing style and plot-tricks bears an uncanny similarity to Jones' work. Frankly, I have always deemed it criminal that Rowling not acknowledge Jones' influence on her. Believe me, journey through the Many Worlds of Diana Wynne Jones and you will see and meet things you never even dreamed of. I still cannot fathom how any one mind can not only think outside the box but, by all appearances, exist beyond it as well. Well, this has certainly morphed into a long rant...I guess I had better get back on task. Again, I recommend Jones in general and as a matter of course, but her very best (more or less) are: Hexwood, Deep Secret, the Dalemark Quartet, Archer’s Goon, The Time of the Ghost, Fire and Hemlock, A Tale of Time City, and The Homeward Bounders. (See my Bookshelf for the rest, or check here)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Just started reading Death's Law

"Bard, come forth; face me."

Not a title to induce confidence, much less in the final book of a series, but I just started reading Death's Law - book #3 of the Tales of the Bard series by that master of myth named Michael Scott.
It is time for Paedur the Bard, Champion of the Old Faith, to return to the icy and savage Northlands. It is time to end the New Religion.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Just finished reading Demon's Law

"Bard, come forth; face me.

Just finished reading Demon's Law, book #2 of the Tales of the Bard series by that master of myth named Michael Scott. 
One God of Death replaced and another killed is definitely not something one expects to read about, only slightly below the margin of predicting the resurrection of a fabled warrior dressed in ice-serpent armor. On that note, it was a pleasure meeting you Katani of the Katan.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

My father and I just finished A Corner of White

My father and I just finished A Corner of White, book #1 of The Colors of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty.

How can one describe a book unlike anything one has ever read? Like this, I suppose... In a Kingdom where seasons cycle daily or weekly depending, where Colors (like the normal kind but renegade) attack or enliven people depending on where it is in the spectrum, and where Butterfly Children help crops grow if you let them out on time, dark secrets are hidden behind wondrous yet seemingly simple and grounded eccentricity.

You saw the truth, Madeleine of the World, and I hope you are willing to help the Kingdom of Cello. Elliot Baranski and a certain royal need help. Ah, the joy and danger of rescue missions!