Monday, July 31, 2023

I have started and finished The Foundling: And Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

I have started and finished The Foundling: And Other Tales of Prydain, the companion book to Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain.

Long has it been since I finished The Chronicles of Prydain, so when there is no time to start anything major between homework and a Southern vacation I thought it the perfect time to pluck this final harp-string. And a lovely tune it gave for, brief though it was, it twas good to again walk the lands of Prydain and hear the tales of Dallben, Coll, good old Doli, and the history of a certain sword.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Official Book Review: The Gathering Storm, Book One of David Doersch's Chronicles of the Raven

I just finished The Gathering Storm, Book One of David Doersch's Chronicles of the Raven and, as the author requested, now give it an Official Book Review.

We all have hobbies we are passionate about, and two of mine are reading/writing Fantasy and studying the lore, myths, and Druidic mysteries of the ancient Celts. Yet interestingly those passions have seldom if ever blended, meaning that I have no true experience reading Celtic Fantasy.

But there is a first time for everything, so my first sojourn into this sub-genre of the Fantastic is the island-continent of Daffyd, from the highland villages of the Green Mount to the cold lakes and cities of the Kingdom of Lachland. Distant lands that hold at least two things in common, their fierce independence and an invasion by the savage yet unquestionably cunning Barbárs hordes and their sadistic Angor blood-shaman allies. Yet this is no straightforward tale of good versus evil, or, if it is, then it is as much against the evil hiding in plain sight and under the white mantle of nobility as it is against blood mad barbarians. For as the tale marches forward so too do complex plots, plans within plans, emerge as varying enemies with different agendas join in alliance against the highland and Lachlanders. Thus too do three parallel stories take shape: one of the highlanders Corvus Corax, called the Raven, along with his sons and longtime friend Yazid; one of the wastrel Princess Darienne, Queen Isador, and Captain Zach of the Lanchland; and a third of the Aslene mystics Mama Warad and her three votaries from the distant deserts of the Silken Emperor whose mission carries the fates of all.

A very readable book, emotional, fast-paced and with some of the most finally executed battle scenes I have ever read, what makes David Doersch's Chronicles of the Raven stick out is his attention to detail. Each character, even the secondary and bellow ones, is well-rounded and each culture distinct and based upon real-world ones. Being knowledgeable of the old lore myself, as well as a Black Belt in Northern Longfist style Kung Fu, I can say with full confidence that Doersch captures the spiritual essence of the Celtic lands, and I especially appreciated Aslene martial arts and mysticism whose forms remind me of my own Kung Fu training.

The battle cry goes out as swords are drawn… "Protect the Tor!"

(P.S. If you, dear reader, are an author/publisher and reading this review makes you want to ask me for a review too then PLEASE read my Contact Me? page.)

Thursday, July 20, 2023

My father and I just finished Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake

My father and I just finished Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake. 

Dad had read this book long enough ago that he forgot most everything save deeply enjoying it, but he also suggested it because we had just finished McKillip's The Changeling Sea – which reminded him in ways he could not fully recall of this one. Well, we soon found out because while the two are deeply different the resemblances are uncanny. A parent lost to the power of the sea, shattering the family left behind. A mysterious sea-woman whose legend is tied to those who dwell on the shore. A girl drowning in grief who has to learn swim through it and live, not by rejecting the sea but by embracing it, herself, and those she loves again. By finding the words to express the language of the heart which, like this book, is no less vast or deep than the blue sea. Those are the similarities. You want a difference? Well, this one was intense enough to nearly give me heart burn on more than one occasion. Rarely do books leak into my dreams in even the smallest manner, but Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake has that honor now.

Fare ye well, Hazel & Peach & Evie & Lemon & Claire & Jules & Kiko. The Rose Maid lives and they and they all lived happily ever after!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The Wheel of Time Season 2 - Official Trailer

"The Great Hunt of the Horn rides forth, rides to seek the Horn of Valere that will summon the heroes of the Ages back from the grave to battle for the Light..."
"Let whosoever sounds me think not of glory, but only of salvation."

Monday, July 17, 2023

Graceling book trailer

So, for a class I am taking I was assigned to create a book trailer for that week's assigned book. As good fortune would have it, that book was Graceling by Kristin Cashore, one of my favorite Fantasies, so making a trailer for it was a pleasure and I thought I would share it.


Monday, July 10, 2023

George R. R. Martin is having a rough time with The Winds of Winter because he accidentally killed an important character

So apparently George R. R. Martin is having a rough time with The Winds of Winter because he accidentally killed an important Game of Thrones character. As he put it in an interview, "I’m having all kinds of trouble...You ever killed somebody off that you later realized you knew you needed?"

Had I been the interviewer, I might have answered, "Well, Mr. Martin, no, and even as a Fantasy writer myself I have trouble imaging how you quite managed to pull that off. Then again, if you insist in killing off characters to the point that Westeros and slaughterhouses have a lot in common then yes, I suppose I can see how you accidentally butchered a cow-- I mean character whom you intended to keep. Valar morghulis, as they say. For myself and other non-Grimdark authors, we try not to kill off many characters in general, much less one we even vaguely suspect we might need in the future."

Sunday, July 2, 2023

My father and I have once again finished The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip.

My father and I have once again finished The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip.

It is an enchantment out of the sea. A lullaby born upon the tides. A siren's song luring readers to an island humble fishing village where a pale-and-tangled-haired girl who scrubs floors and walks barefoot finds herself in the midst of a grand mystery born of love and anger out of the depths. A fairy tale of a dark-haired prince who hears the call of the sea, a kingdom beneath the waves, a sea-dragon wearing a golden chain, and a wizard who smells of brine. McKillip books always sit on the same shelf as Tolkien's, but this one is truly like a lullaby – the ebb and flow of the lyrical text seeping into you so that one must concentrate harder on the story itself lest one fall under a foggy enchantment and lose one's head. For those seeking a book capturing all the fey majesty and mystery of the sea, look no further.

Farewell and lots of love to Peri, Prince Kir, Aidon, mage Lyo, Mare, Carey, Enin, the King, and the sea-woman.

“It’s an odd thing, happiness. Some people take happiness from gold. Or black pearls. And some of us, far more fortunate, take their happiness from periwinkles.” – Patricia A. McKillip

“Love and anger are like land and sea: They meet at many different places.” – Patricia A. McKillip

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Mythological Fantasy

It occurred to me recently that I forgot a Fantasy sub-genre in my Types of Fantasy page. So without further ado:

Mythological Fantasy: An incredibly popular sub-genre with two versions that hug Contemporary and Historical Fantasy respectively, Mythological Fantasy typically features the gods and heroes of our own World Mythology or have HEAVY mytho-historical elements. I say two versions because the settings of books of this sub-genre are either the ancient world or the modern one, an example of the former (sometimes called Celtic or Arthurian Fantasy) being The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley as it takes place in the court of King Arthur, and the latter being the world-renowned Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan in which the Greek Gods interact with the modern world. My own experience with this genre is limited since I prefer completely made-up world, yet those of this type I have read I count among my favorites, these being The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott and The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper.

Other examples of this sub-genre include The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh (Korean myths), The Children of the Lamp by P. B. Kerr (Arabian myths), and The Sea of Trolls trilogy by Nancy Farmer (Celtic and Norse myths).