The Black Company, Glen Cook

The Black Company was first published in 1984. This is 12 years before A Game of Thrones is first released and 15 years before Gardens of the Moon. It is six years before The Eye of the World starts The Wheel of Time saga. If you told me that Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, and…

The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden

The biggest issue I had with The Bear and the Nightingale is that the titular Bear is not identified until halfway through, and the Nightingale does not make an appearance until the final fourth of the book. Does that make this a poorly titled novel? No. The title is inviting and intriguing. My complaint is…

Naomi, Junichiro Tanazaki

“Naomi, Naomi — I don’t know how many times the name was repeated between us. It was the appetizer that accompanied our sake. We relished its smooth sound, licked it with our saliva, and raised it to our lips, as though it were a delicacy even tastier than beef.” It is almost impossible in modern…

Spiderlight, Adrian Tchaikovsky

Back in the 90s – I say, dating myself – there were multiple novel series set in different Dungeons and Dragons campaign worlds; mostly Dragonlance and The Forgotten Realms. These included some gems like Salvatore’s Drizzt series and the Dragonlance narrative itself. These two sagas were fantasy comfort food that one didn’t have to think…

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

The title of a book can be a powerful indicator of its success. I think the title of The Goblin Emperor is apt enough, it is a book about an emperor who is half-goblin, but it is not one that would have caught my eye. When I heard people raving about how good it was,…

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

If I ever wished to write a thriller, something that yanked on a reader’s nerves page after page, I would try to emulate Margaret Atwood and The Handmaid’s Tale. I have never read anything so pregnant with tension. Every single scene is ripe with it in a way that can be exhausting. Many writers would not…

Runaway Horses – Yukio Mishima

It is rare to find in an author someone so married to the beliefs that they write about; particularly when it comes to fiction. Good writers can pen from any angle, get into the heads of both villains and heroes. While we may get an authorial viewpoint sneaking in from time to time, it is…

Memories of Ice – Steven Erikson

Fifteen days and 784 pages later, with some of the tiniest font I have seen, I finished what is probably one of the finest fantasy novels I have ever read. Third in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Memories of Ice is considered by many fans of the series to be the finest of them….

The Summer Dragon, Todd Lockwood

Why do I love dragons? Is it their impossibility? Even with hollow bones, something that large carousing through the air with nothing but muscle power is pretty unbelievable. Is it their ferocity? I do also love bears and sharks (at a distance). Is it their mythical nature? I tend to be drawn towards those creatures…

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

I was trying to think about when post-apocalyptic literature began. I don’t know that there is any, that I am aware of, pre-cold war, nuclear-fallout stuff. Maybe some early zombie movies? This dearth of post-apocalypse media is odd given that humanity has dealt with large-scale disease before. How did no one think to write a…

Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett

The story of Commonwealth is simply the tale of two interwoven families; a narrative common to many of us even if every clan is unique. But somehow Ann Patchett manages to spark interest in familial history in a way that your mother and grandmother have always failed to do. I love inter-generational literature. Int-Lit. I…

To Ride Hell’s Chasm, by Janny Wurts

Hell’s Chasm terrifies me, and it does so because Janny Wurts’ talent for writing about a harrowing flight through some of nature’s most unforgiving terrain is second to no one. I didn’t even really understand the title of the book until the lead characters come to the titular Chasm itself, and then I could think…