Tough Traveling – Princesses

Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin … This weeks theme? PRINCESSES PRINCESSES come in two main kinds: 1. Wimps. 2 Spirited and wilful. Spirited Princesses often disguise themselves as boys and invariably marry commoners of sterling worth. There, that oughta make up for the tough week we just went through. There is no shortage of Princesses in fantasy, think I will just pick a few favorites. I tried to come up with examples of both. But, I want to kick princesses that are wimps, and if possible I choose not to read about them. So, any I have read have been banished to the recesses of my memory, and instead, I think my choices fall string in the…

Waiting on Wednesday – Age of Iron
Waiting On Wednesday / July 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to let us share our excitement for books coming out soon. Wow, I really want to read this book. Like now, today, yesterday. It seems to have all the makings of a book that I will love. Down on his luck mercenary with a war hammer, child and unpredictable, vengeful warrior against a thousands strong army? Excellent. Really can’t wait. Age of Iron by Angus Watson Expected Publication:September 2nd 2014 by Orbit LEGENDS AREN’T BORN. THEY’RE MADE. Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary traveling south to join up with King Zadar’s army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people. First Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar’s most fearsome warriors, who has vowed revenge on the king for her sister’s execution. Now Dug’s on the wrong side of the thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­– and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one small child, and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that’s going to get them all killed . . .

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
2.5 Stars , Reviews / July 29, 2014

The premise of this book is quite intriguing. A boy wakes up, no memories of who is, where he came from much less where he is now. Perplexed by the nature of memory loss that allows him to remember mundane details, but not important things, he has to just go on, and figure out a way to live in the bizarre world he has found himself a part of. Sounds cool. Then you learn a bit about the world he lives in, and it sounds promising. But then you read, and nothing just ever seems quite as exciting as you think it should. So what is this world like that he wakes up in? It seems to consist of pretty much just teenage boys. They have broken themselves into group to perform all the tasks that need to be done to keep their society running. Oh, and everyone here suffers from the same type of memory loss he has. They wake up one day in what they call The Glades, and its like their life starts fresh from that moment. I also expected to be more taken by The Maze or the monsters (Grievers) that roam it, but honestly, I…

Saga #2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
4.5 Stars , Reviews / July 28, 2014

There are some things that just can’t be unseen. And this graphic novel definitely contains some pages that trigger that. Some of us delight at the unexpected, cringe worthy images that make you shiver and squirm in your seat. Make a face between laughing and like you just sucked on a lemon as you double check. Yeah, that image is what you thought it was. You know that type of picture. You look at it a bit longer than you think you should because your brain is still trying to come to terms with the image. You can’t quite decide what your reaction should be. It might be revulsive, but somehow there’s a level of fascination and just enjoyment at the unexpected that keeps you looking at it. Even if it means feeling like you need to go scrub your eyeballs and brain free of the sight. Well, theres a couple of those in here. So if you delight in that, than this book is for you. I also found that it’s easy to miss some of the images on the screens, I would almost (but not quite) forget to check out that detail of the story. It was another great…

Tough Traveling – Practice/Combat Rings

Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin … This weeks theme? PRACTICE/COMBAT RINGS PRACTICE RING OR COMBAT RING is a sanded circle used for sparring and WEAPONS practice… It can be found attached to any school of weaponry, outside mercenaries’ winter quarters, and quite often on the outskirts of aggressive towns.   Hmm… I’m running a little late with this this week. But I have something. Hopefully it’s not nonsense. I have a few I feel like I can picture from reading, but I can’t for the life of me match them with books. I’m hoping when I look at the other lists I will have a couple of A-HA moments 🙂   Green Rider Series by Kristen Britain –…

Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
4.5 Stars , Reviews / July 24, 2014

This is a whirlwind of magic, adventure and self-discovery. Oh yes, and witty acerbic humor. That’s something I may not have stressed enough in my previous reviews of this series. I love the sarcastic humor that is so prevalent through out these books. And where I felt Magician King was lacking, Magician’s Land made up for it (in spades). I honestly think this is probably the strongest of the three books. In this we find Quentin, as usual, trying to find his place in this world (or that world, any world, really). But he has grown up and matured a tremendous amount. He’s still Quentin, but he is no longer defined by his angsty wallowing. He’s finally stood up and realized he has the power to change his freakin attitude, and in turn maybe positively impact how things turn out instead of just assuming its all shit and then waiting for it to happen and saying, yeah, see, everything is shit. I don’t want to dwell on the past, and Quentin’s previous shortcomings in the personality department. I just want to say that his character has grown tremendously. This whole series is a clash of the magically wondrous and imaginative…

Waiting on Wednesday – Horrorstor
Waiting On Wednesday / July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. It’s all about sharing our excitement for books coming out soon.   What?? A creepy IKEA catalog type of book telling a horror story? I can’t even imagine exactly how this works, but I am beyond intrigued and definitely MUST READ!   Horrostor by Grady Hendrix Expected publication: September 23rd 2014 by Quirk Books   Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring wardrobes, shattered Brooka glassware, and vandalized Liripip sofa beds—clearly, someone or something is up to no good. To unravel the mystery, five young employees volunteer for a long dusk-till-dawn shift—and they encounter horrors that defy imagination. Along the way, author Grady Hendrix infuses sly social commentary on the nature of work in the new twenty-first century economy.A traditional haunted house story in a contemporary setting (and full of current fears), Horrorstör comes conveniently packaged in the form of a retail catalog, complete with illustrations of ready-to-assemble furniture and other, more sinister accessories. We promise you’ve never seen anything quite like it!

The House of Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
3 Stars , Reviews / July 22, 2014

The House of Four Winds has the air of a fairy tale.  A fairy tale that features pirates, nonetheless. It’s an interesting setup; the royal family of a struggling land has a dozen daughters. They are each tasked with learning a trade seeing as how their family can’t support them all. The eldest daughter, Clarice, takes up the sword as her trade and on her eighteenth birthday sets out to gain experience, and more importantly sets out in search of adventure! Clarice’s goal is to travel far and wide, earning a name for herself  with duels so she might come back and teach others the sword as a renowned swordmaster. To best achieve this and have the greatest opportunity of success, she decides it would she should travel as a man. So, she sets out as “Clarence” and eventually finds herself aboard a ship, with high hopes and an excited anticipation of adventures to come. For whatever reason, I love stories where a female character is living under the guise of a man for one reason or another. I also love the prospect of them being skilled in an area such the sword. So, I thought this one might be a good fit….

The Magician King by Lev Grossman
3 Stars , Reviews / July 20, 2014

This book had a slightly different feel to it than The Magicians, at least in some ways. It still has the sarcastic edge to it and the irreverent attitudes that made me love The Magicians. Always a good thing. But Quentin does not seem quite so angsty, and seems to have grown quite self-aware of his needless angst. Also, The Magicians was a coming of age story paired with the story of coming into the world of magic. It was a book of growing up, discovery and the pain that is encountered along the way. This book was a story of Quentin’s quest and Julia’s backstory, intermingled. In The Magician King, we meet back up with Quentin, Julia, Eliot and Janet serving as Kings and Queen of Fillory. It’s a rather posh and very magical but to be honest, somewhat boring life. Eventually, I think Quentin realized this, because, well, he’s Quentin, so he can’t be happy. And it gives him a reason to start pursuing something else. Something less boring because we can’t tell a story that’s boring, now can we? So Quentin begins a journey, during which I think he is coping with loss and is probably still trying to find…

The Wraith by Joe Hill
4 Stars , Reviews / July 18, 2014

  This book is so messed up. But, in all the best imaginable ways I think. I went into this with some expectations. I have read NOS4A2 and the thought of getting a backstory that focused on Charlie “Talent” Manx III and Christmasland was quite exciting. I also love Joe Hill’s Locke and Key graphic novels, so, easy to assume, I really expected to enjoy this one as well.   And well I did. But I also have to admit, it was even creepier than I expected. I know Christmasland is creepy as hell. I know Charlie Manx is creepy as hell. But somehow, seeing someone else’s images of them gave this a little extra creep factor than I would have achieved if left to my own devices. That’s why I’m not professional illustrator! I just don’t know that my imagination can do quite as good of job as this. It was definitely interesting getting Charlie Manx and Christmasland’s origin story.  To see Manx before he became what we know him to be in NOS4A2 (a delusional, fanatical sociopath? I don’t know. I’m not a psychiatrist, but something about Manx is crazy and messed up), growing up, getting married, having kids…