high fantasy

The Witcher | Sword of Destiny

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I am so happy they’re doing new releases of The Witcher for us. I will, of course, forever be grateful to Dagon, for that very first publishing, and Eridanas, for the whole Witcher series that we got before the first game ever came out, and many other great books they published while they still lived. But I am thankful to Alma Littera too, for the covers are wonderful, and the shape of the book is great (it’s narrow and tall, with beautiful separations between chapters)

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Categories: Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neven Iliev – Morningwood: Everybody Loves Large Chests | Vol. 1

36469357If a funny book gets noticed, the funny book gets taken and read without waiting in the TBR line. I do like me a good comedy. And I am a gamer, so “Morningwood: Everybody Loves Large Chests” by Neven Iliev (ASIN B076NSQ6JT; 252p; Goodreads) was just a must-have and must-read-now book. I regret nothing!

It all began rather simply. A hero was raiding a low level dungeon on his own, expecting some not too dangerous monsters to help him level up. Then he could at last move on to bigger places, where loot and treasures were automatically better. His wish almost came true when, finally truly lost, he noticed a low level treasure chest at the end of the corridor. Hey, it may not be a monster he wished for, but treasure chest is a treasure chest, and he wasn’t big enough level yet to pass one when found. The chest waited patiently as hero came closer. And as the man finally bent over to open the lid – chest ate him whole. For the treasure chest wasn’t really a treasure chest. It was a mimic in whose nature it was to look like one, that’s all.

After mimic has sated the immediate hunter, it was ready to slump back down and await another traveler. Yet, an undefined thought spread in it’s brainless little head: his surroundings were suspicious, what with all the blood and discarded gear, and might scare off potential food. This logical decision to tidy up has sent the snowball rolling, levels gained, abilities unlocked, decisions more complex than going after food getting made, and even a very beautiful summoned companion mimic could, at the very least, eat up while bored.

The book was very amusing. At first one can’t even expect this is not a story of a hero on a stupid quest, but rather of a little low level mob. It is also very well written and funny, even with all the random gore there and here. Definitely a 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Fantasy, Books: Funny!, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

C.S. Pacat – The Summer Palace | Captive Prince 3.5

33230173The beauty of C.S. Pacat‘s books is something to savor. Yet I swallowed “The Summer Palace” (Captive Prince 3.5; ISBN13 9780987622303; 30p.; Goodreads) in one night, not something my exhausted mind allows often these days.

The story is set after the third book, so make sure you’ve read them before heading into this one. After the gruesome battle with the regent and those loyal to him, or yet, opposing Damianos as rightful heir of Akielos, both him and Laurent took to their own kingdoms. To mend, secure their positions, and maybe set some order. Yet before doing so they agreed: when all of this is over, they will meet in an Akielon summer palace for a breath. And today is the day for that.

Laurent stood there, waiting, in Akielon garbs, his yellow hair now longer, watching the road for any signs of King Damianos and his entourage. But Damian took a shortcut, in a hurry to see his friend, his lover, and surprised both Laurent, and the scarce skeleton staff in the palace. He was in too much hurry to see him again, to talk, to rest. And discuss things, for there’s certainly still plenty of water under the bridge to sort out. Not the least or last question being what customs they’ll follow in their new palace on the border of their countries.

This was a beautiful recap of what happened, and an even more beautiful ending to it all. Also, I was right, the more Laurent trusted being safe in his surroundings, in people around, the less clothes happened. Theory confirmed, 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Diversity: C.S. Pacat – Green but for a Season | Captive Prince Short Stories 2.5

31814812Most of you don’t even know that I recently re-read the Captive Prince trilogy. Well, I did, and then I remembered there’s short stories I didn’t yet get to! “Green but for a Season” by C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince Short Stories 2.5; ISBN B01LB1H41E; 24p.; Goodreads) is the first one, held between the second and third books, and concentrates on Laurent’s captain, Jord.

Jord is a lowborn nobody with a well honed fighting skill. It was because of this skill that prince Auguste has noticed him back in the day, and took him into the ranks. Later, as Auguste fell in the battlefield, and red regent flags covered up the blue ones of the prince, soldiers and guards either took up the red, or were put away. Lowborns were the least wanted. So here he was, trying to make due for years. Up until prince Laurent grew a little, and realized what game his uncle was playing. Seeing the dangers, he decided to form his own Prince’s Guard, with gold starburst on blue, not red, and for that he wanted only the best of the best. And his brother surely knew who the best were. So, again, here he was, Jord, trying to make due, as Laurent called upon him, promised him this will be even harder than it was with Auguste, and asking if he’ll take up arms for him, the way he did for his brother. Jord didn’t need to be asked twice.

Today Jord is a captain, proud to serve prince Laurent, who proved true to his word. The boy protected them, and in return, they were ready to kill and die protecting him. Still, a captain’s rank to a nobody seemed a dream beyond wildest of hopes. Especially in a situation where an actual high-born nobleman was present. A nobleman who was forced to serve the prince, as the youngest son, with least prospects, other than a good betting chip, in case Regent gets fooled. And maybe, just maybe Laurent knew it before Jord did.

This was a very fine read, shining light on many things at last. 5 out of 5, not even a half point less.

Categories: 5-5, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewelling – Shards of Time | Nightrunner 7

+shardsoftimeDammit! “Shards of Time” by Lynn Flewelling (Nightrunner 7; ISBN 0345522311; 409p.; Goodreads) is the last book in Nightrunner series, so it ended, I’m done, dammit. And this one was so interesting too, with all the prophesies coming to a close. I just kinda already missed Beka, due to her being indisposed in a good way. But all the rest was great!

Due to all they’ve done, Alec and Seregil get a thanks in lands and titles. They gladly accept the land with the manor, fully intending to make it a perfect little dignified clanhouse for the former fae slaves, who can then make a living on their own, using what these two can provide. But that isn’t the only perk of the land. Sadly, the other one is far less pleasant. Back in the day something terrible has happened here, leaving the place haunted by ghosts, disturbed, and unhappy with the new excavations happening in sight.

Long ago this land was ravaged by a powerful dyrmagnos, a worshiper of one god, Seriamaius, the Dead God. It fed on human lives, and was so powerful, that it took insane magic, and death of two greatest wizards to seal the being away. Now in death they guard that what they could not kill. But greedy humans are taking things from excavation sites. They break, they chip away, they ruin the seals… And so the darkness slowly seeps into their time, into their world. Deaths begin.

This was a wonderful, strong, and yet simple, homely, very natural end of an adventure. I truly loved how imperfect and human everyone was. How life went on, and changed. How there were actions, and consequences. I can give it a 5 out of 5, and a 4 out of 5 for whole series, due to a couple of weaker books. This was a beautiful story.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Laini Taylor – Strange the Dreamer [1]

28449207I asked for a recommendation and have received “Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer 1; ISBN 0316341681; 536p.; Goodreads). Must say, has been a hot minute since I’ve read such a colossal book. I think the last one was the gruesome Fifth Season, which I also recommend. But this one was lighter to bear, with almost constant sense of sunshine, likely due to lighter people, personalities within.

A great war has taken place in the city ruled by ruthless gods. People rebelled, climbed their tower, and slain everyone they found bearing the blue skin of godspawn. But gods are not easy to slay. They fought back as best they could, and took vengeance in death too. First they took their sky, shielding it with the massive wings of their home. Then they left humans dreading, haunted by nightmares for as long as they sleep under the winged dome. They’re too worried to move, for it would mean that even in death the gods have taken victory on their lives. And finally, they took the very name of the place, leaving it known across the world only as Weep, a name that leaves ones lips bitter with ash and salt.

Lazlo Strange is an orphan, taken by monks off the streets, almost grey with sickness. They nursed him back, and soon, as the boy grew, got to calling him Strange The Dreamer, due to the nature of work he took. For, you see, Lazlo is mostly interested in stories. Especially those of Weep, a place he believes to be more than a fairy tale. He goes as far as dig up old recipes of purchases, just to prove this or that mediocre thing to be real. No one takes him seriously, of course, and people are far more interested in his knowledge on alchemy, than some fairy tale land. Up until the day delegates from Weep march into his city, kindly asking for volunteers who could bring new knowledge into their devastated lands. Lazlo can’t even dare dreaming they might need a tale teller…

This book feels huge. And it’s not as dark as some high fantasy books get. If you like the genre, I can’t recommend this one enough. In the mean time, I give it 5 out of 5, and await the next one eagerly.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Lynn Flewelling – Casket of Souls [6]

10184855Yep. The last Lynn Flewelling book in Nightrunner series wasn’t the best (but it was pretty good anyway), therefore this one, “Casket of Souls” (Nightrunner 6; ISBN 0345522303; 476p.; Goodreads) is far better. Yes, the titles are very spoiler-filled, and author doesn’t care to keep any suspense whatsoever, but the characters are easy to like, and I will miss them dearly when the adventures are over.

People of Rhimenee, in hardships brought by war time, get struck down with a mysterious plague they call Sleeping Death. People, mostly just poorest of the poor, fall into a sleep-like coma, and stay so until death of starvation or thirst claims them. No one knows where it came from, what’s causing it, or even if it’s contagious. Not many even care to make a fuss about it, ask these questions out loud, until important people start falling ill too.

In the meantime there’s a new theater trope in the city, and everyone seems to love them. Alec and Seregil make sure to get into the fan crowd as part of it too, if only for the sake to have actors, with whom people often talk very openly, and who hear a lot of things too, on their side. Yet both of our beloved characters harbor healthy distance due to suspicion. After all, they got here just barely before plague started, and they did admit they had to run from their previous home.

You can likely guess that the story is very predictable. From the title, to the newcomers, to the author inserting actual chapters of the evil guys doing evil deeds as if she’s letting us in on a secret. But the adventures are usually fun, and characters – pleasant, so I really can’t give it any less than 4 out of 5. Lovely ending too!

Categories: 4-5, Books: Fantasy, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday: Diversity | C.S. Pacat

DKxQjzJVAAAae2IC.S. Pacat, after finishing her Captive Prince trilogy, which I love very much, as you might know by now, was fairly quiet. But recently we were finally told why. She is working intently on a comic of fencing school. I must admit right away, I’m not the greatest fan of comics/manga. I’ve read a few that I loved to bits, and I’m sure that out there there are more that I would love, if I just found them. But in general, it is not my cup of tea. Still, due to my love for this author, I will absolutely look into it, and will let you know how’s what.

In the meantime, I leave you with a video of my friend from [P.S. I Love that Book], where I now officially write blog entries too, under the name of Nosferatu. She explains why she loved the Captive Prince book too, and maybe her opinion, being less biased than mine, will help you decide to pick it up too. I’m really happy that she touched the sore subjects too, and explained her views on them.

 

Categories: Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewelling – The White Road [5]

6290240Here goes another Nightrunner book by Lynn Flewelling. Honestly, I don’t know why the books are called that way, when there’s far more, far greater things happening in them, and nightrunning is a rare occasion. But I digress, as I often do, let’s instead talk about “The White Road” (Nightrunner 5; ISBN 055359009X; 385p.; Goodreads), for this, sadly, is the less interesting book, again. Can’t be helped, the previous one was pretty great.

Sebrahn, a homonculus child, created out of Alec’s blood, was considered a failure by his maker. Alchemist was prepared to chop the kid up in pieces if it failed it’s primal purpose of healing, for that’s what the client, one of the Aurenfae clan leaders, has requested for. Yet here he is, more unique than any other homonculus ever made. More useful, and far more dangerous than any before him too. But before his maker could figure all that out, Seregil and Alec made a run for it, grabbing Sebrahn with them, and killing the alchemist. By doing so, tho, they condemned themselves to be hunted once more.

The dying clan leader, at the very least, wants the books back, and is willing to take any measures necessary to get them. If he could possibly get Sebrahn too, it’d be even better, for one can never know how much time one has left. But that’s by far not the greatest of dangers Alec and Seregil are about to meet. The magic that created Sebrahn belongs to Alec’s people, and they want it back. These secretive, secluded people, ruthless with their rules, and unbelievable with their magic.

The book was a bit unpleasant to read. While we were assured that homunculus is more a dragon that looks like a humanoid, everyone around Alec treats it like it is a child, especially Alec himself. So when they start pondering whether to give the kid to whoever promises not to kill it, how difficult it is with him, etc., it just strikes all the wrong cords for me. And in general – there was oh so much traveling, walking, riding. I’ll give this book 3 out of 5, but I do expect the next one to be better, as tradition sorta demands now.

Categories: 3-5, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Diversity: Censoring

[1]; [2]

I speak of V.E. Schwab‘s Shades of Magic often, and with pleasure, for they’re truly among my very top favorite books of all times. But not all the reasons to talk about it are good.

Russian editions of Shades of Magic were censored. Queer part of the plot was redacted out, without author’s permission or knowledge. Which leads author to consider canceling the whole contract.

I don’t much follow the love lines in stories, for they’re mostly the same regurgitated things. Not in this case. Here there was no “no, you have betrayed me, I never want to see you again!” thing. Instead two adults sat down, spoke it out, considered it, and all things weighted – decided where to go on from there. The only thing that they could’ve had any issue with is of course the fact, that both these characters were men.

The story is not about queers. The story is not about homosexual love. The story is not even about love. It’s about magic, human nature, wishes, adventures, and so on. So in a world full of magic, rising dead, and portals to other worlds – here, apparently, can be no gays.

“Oh, that’d be too much!” – Said a man on his unicorn.

For next Friday I have you a very nice queer-plot book thus. Because love is love.

Categories: Fantasy Books, Friday: Diversity, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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