Kingshold, D.P. Woolliscraft

Kingshold is a difficult book for me to review. On paper, this book has everything I might want from a political fantasy – it’s tinged with humor and features some common but welcome fantasy tropes. The cover is some of the most beautiful fantasy artwork I have ever seen, and were I to see this…

Blackwood Mauraders, KS Villoso

“You don’t argue with a name like “Lucky” if you were lucky to be alive.” Thus starts KS Villoso’s Blackwood Marauders, and in doing so introduces us to its main character, one Luc “Lucky” apn Jak, a young man so likable from the start that even had I not enjoyed the story and other characters of Blackwood,…

The Gutter Prayer, Gareth Hanrahan

The Gutter Prayer. It sounds dark, and messy, and brimming with meaning. It sounds like the last whisper of the dying before darkness shrouds the eye. As far as evocative titles go, this is one of the best, and the gorgeous cover, the kind that catches the eye and demands to be gazed upon, only…

Aching God, Mike Shel

The tendency to pigeonhole Aching God as a simple Dungeons and Dragons adventure is tempting (not that such efforts should be cast aside because many a good story has come from the table-top). Shel’s debut has all the trappings of a role-playing game: there is a band of adventurers, each with a different skill set; there are monsters to slay…

The Hod King, Josiah Bancroft

How does a fantasy book reviewer critique a work that he unabashedly loves? Do I try to make up bad things about Josiah Bancroft’s newest Book of Babel? Do I scour it for the tiniest typo and the smallest grammatical error simply so I don’t come off as an advertisement for Orbit Books? I mean, I guess…

Orconomics, J. Zachary Pike

Satirical fantasy has never been my sub-genre. I like Terry Pratchett (no way I’m getting through this review without mentioning Pratchett, so might as well get it out of the way), but not in the devotional way of many of fantasy connoisseurs. I get it.  There’s no denying the clever writing and imaginative world-building, but for whatever reason…

The Boy Who Walked Too Far, Dom Watson

Note – This review originally appeared at Fantasy Book Critic as part of the SPFBO contest of 2018.  Defining fantasy, as a genre of literature, is one of the trickiest things in this industry. There are so many sub-genres now, as well as decriers of genre who insist that everything should simply be called literature,…

Blackwing, Ed MacDonald

Blackwing feels like the love-child of The Black Company and Dark Souls, but potentially grimmer than either (an impressive feat). On paper, this is my dream combination. The Black Company is one of the best anti-hero fantasies ever written, and Dark Souls is likely the best fantasy video game series ever made. This should make…

Traitor’s Blade, Sebastien de Castell

To my great shame, I have never read The Three Musketeers. I have seen and loved multiple movie versions, despite the poor quality of said adaptations (except for “The Man in the Iron Mask,” which is dope). The myth of Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and little baby brother d’Artagnan is one I hold close. I will…

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,…

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…