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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Stealing Sorcery (The War of Broken Mirrors, #2)Stealing Sorcery by Andrew Rowe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I personally think that this second book is better than the first. Or at least, I'm now comfortable enough with the main character that I really enjoyed the part mystery, part tournament, part training, part gorgeous magical bloodshed better than before.

I liked the team building, the discovery of skills, the hints of greater things.

In other words, this was a fine and good fantasy that I admire.

Now, while I won't quite rate these two as some of the finest fantasies I've read, I did have a lot of good, clean, fun. And that's what we're looking for with ancient godlike blades and abilities, no?

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Forging Divinity (The War of Broken Mirrors, #1)Forging Divinity by Andrew Rowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This sprightly fantasy has a lot of things going for it. Adventure, of course, but its most telling aspect reminds me the most of D&D. Specifically the Domains aspect of wizardry, only fleshed out, given a very active physical role, and turned into a whole Trickster vs. a god (or at least his followers with their own Domain specialties) kind of adventure.

Was I unhappy with the way it turned out? No, not at all. I do like D&D and while this ISN'T a D&D adventure, it has a lot of things in common with it. This is perfectly fair since I originally got into Andrew Rowe's other writing through his LitRPG that really focused on tweaking skills and leveling up, so to speak, and rounding it out with fun characterizations.

Now, while I won't say this is the end-all of fantasy, it is quite enjoyable and I have no complaints.

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Ring ShoutRing Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Really fun Lovecraftian horror with a massive racism-issue twist. Set a hundred years ago during some of the worst KKK outbreaks in America, the story is filled with Cthulhu-esq white-hooded monstrosities and some hard-hitting action-adventure in this fast-paced novella.

I thought this tale was just about the perfect shape and size, with all its little singing mouths and hate crimes and slashing swords and temptation, temptation, temptation. :)

A perfect little spooktober novella for those who are utterly sick of the racism and hate.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Tender Is the FleshTender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I decided to read this, I thought it was going to be all kinds of good cannibalistic satire and/or a tribute to a Swiftian Modest Proposal crossed with a Sinclair Jungle vibe.

The potential is THERE for it to be scathingly funny, dark, and truly horrific. So I thought to myself... Spooktober!

What did I get? A bureaucratic nightmare. A late-stage capitalist inditement. A dry, overly-formal, industry-heavy *forbidden romance* that was oddly bloodless even for operating a slaughterhouse for human meat.

Could it be that I'm jaded by my horror sensibilities or the sophistication of my dark humor? Because I was merely intellectually horrified and I wasn't overly taken by the characters and my dark humor failed to get roused.

Okay. So it wasn't *meant* to be funny. So therefore it wasn't really a satire. Or if it was a satire, it was too close to home for it to be that darkly funny.

After all, aren't most of us working in veal-fattening pens already? Isn't that the whole point of the Great Resignation?

We're selling our domesticated animals a bit too cheap. And by domesticated animals, I mean us. We're the specified meat product.

What does it say about us that we truly do see ourselves this way?

Or, hell, what does that say about me?

I'm thinking this book is more of a 3.5 rating. Together with the zinger at the end and the basic premise, I would have easily given this a 5 star if it had been a SHORT STORY. But, alas.

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The Mongrel Mage (The Saga of Recluce, #19)The Mongrel Mage by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beltur is quite a lot like all the other MCs in the series. Stolid, balanced, hard-working, kind, and heroic. He might just be cut out of the same old cloth as all the other MCs in the rest of the books, with the exception of time and place.

This MIGHT be a problem for anyone who is wanting a different kind of book from L.E. Modesitt Jr., but frankly, it's L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s style and handling of these precise characters that is so GOOD. Why would I say this? Because most heroes in fiction are not all that balanced or even likable. They're correcting for something that is overwhelmingly evil rather than just being a steady force for change, reacting where one needs to react from a sense of rightness.

These books DO. So while a lot of this series seems to be a lot of the same thing, repeating themes and characters, it's still CATHARTIC and different from the rest of the fantasy genre. It began uniquely, it played to its strengths and kept to its strengths. I have no complaints because I still enjoy it.

For those of you who have joined me on this little trip through the series, you understand. We're not reading it for originality anymore. We're reading it for stability.

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Sunday, October 10, 2021

The Hollow PlacesThe Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just when you thought that your normal life with your quirky conspiracy nutter uncle and his strange museum couldn't get a lot stranger...

Honestly, I thought this was a pretty neat book. Add a little evil Narnia, nasty wicker products, a little adventure, and a lot of evil-ex ennui, and you've got a cool little quirky horror with great characters and a nicely developed case of dendrophobia.

A nice, light addition to my spooktober reading list.

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Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Torch that Ignites the Stars (Arcane Ascension, #3)The Torch that Ignites the Stars by Andrew Rowe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know, when it comes right down to knowing what you want and setting all your sights on it, and that little something has to do with magic systems, rules, developing your magic skills -- or just plain breaking the system -- then none of us of that *special* breed can go wrong with LitRPG books like this.

Hey, the tale is all progression, a little mystery, and a lot of learning. I LIKE this kind of thing. Hell, I love it.

And so I am here to say that Andrew Rowe is kicking some major ass again. Tower climbing, tower defense, and massive amounts of RPG under-current designing. :)

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