Dragons are pretty passé in the fantasy genre, definitely reaching its death knell after that horrendous Eragon movie, but Jack Campbell’s new series, The Pillars of Reality, is definitely turning the tide. Originally released as an Audible exclusive, The Dragons of Dorcastle introduces a world inhabited by two powerful guilds, Mages and Mechanics, and the struggle between its two most promising proteges, Alain and Mari.
I expected to find this story trite and its YA heroes to be cardboard cutouts of angst, but I was seriously hooked on the world and character building Campbell managed. It’s a heavily character driven story where the audience is introduced to the age old conflict between these two guilds through the principle characters and their struggles with each other. Is The Dragons of Dorcastle and the eventual romance between Alain and Mari kind of tropey? Yes. But it does those tropes justice, nailing the whole damaged character angle and slowly developing its forbidden romance. When tropes are done right and the pacing of the story is good, it makes a fun an entertaining read from start to finish.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Tuesday, June 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
Whether it’s Pride and Prejudice or Fifty Shades, we all have our literary guilty pleasures. Mine is urban-fantasy romances, and if you need a reason to stay in this Friday night, then Patricia Briggs is a must. Dead Heat is the fourth installment of the Alpha and Omega series and fuses the awesome combination of headstrong female protagonist and a sneaky girlhood love of horses.
Unlike with Briggs’ flagship Mercy Thompson series, the main couple of Dead Heat are both werewolves, meaning the drama is often driven by subtler, more human relationship issues like with independence and deciding to have children rather than contrived misunderstandings. Dead Heat has a good balance between werewolf ripping action and police-procedural, which makes the mystery involving a child kidnapper who makes his victims into magically enthralled dolls a fast read, interspersed with fun, romantic interludes between main characters Charles and Anna.
Briggs presents an interesting world where werewolves and faeries are technically out to the public but still embroiled in very dangerous secrets, and it’s definitely worth exploring further.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Friday, March 20th, 2015||No Comments »|
Ilona Andrews continues to prove that the draw of an urban-fantasy romance doesn’t die after the characters get together. Magic Breaks, book seven of the Kate Daniels series, raises the stakes in magically charged, post-Shift Atlanta. When her fiancé Curran, otherwise known as the Beast Lord of Atlanta’s shapeshifters, leaves for business, Kate must lead the shapeshifters in an annual meet with the People’s Masters of the Dead, Atlanta’s vampiric scientists. This might have been hard enough if her father, a sorcerer of Biblical proportions, didn’t suddenly decide to make an appearance in her life with the general intent to destroy all that she holds dear.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Tuesday, March 10th, 2015||No Comments »|
Long before STARZ decided to adapt Outlander as a television series, Diana Gabaldon’s novels were hailed as the perfect blend of romance, historical fiction, and science fiction.
The Outlander series follows a 1945 World War II nurse who gets swept back in time to eighteenth-century Scotland and falls in love with a dashing young Scottish Highlander. However, Gabaldon’s series isn’t just a bodice-ripper, it’s actually quite inspiring due to the strong female lead. Claire Randall is a forward-thinking woman who revels in her sexuality, doesn’t allow societal mores to make her act like a damsel in distress, and has agency. She’s also a skilled physician and often fights for her right to help heal the sick despite her husband Jamie worrying that she’ll get sick.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, August 20th, 2014||1 Comment »|
Although Marion Zimmer Bradley is best known for her novel The Mists of Avalon, she has also written other works, such as The Fall of Atlantis. This novel is a wonderful piece of speculative fiction that revolves around two sisters named Domaris and Deoris who are the children of a priest and are in training to be Priestesses themselves. However, their lives are turned upside down when Domaris’s mentor finds a wounded Atlantean prince named Micon who has washed up on their shores.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, May 28th, 2014||No Comments »|
Much like acclaimed fantasy authors George R.R. Martin and Tamora Pierce before her, Alex Liddell ditches the Twlight-esque romance for a butt-kicking, sword-wielding heroine who would make Brienne of Tarth and Eowyn of Rohan proud to include her in the “shieldmaiden’s club.”
The plucky young heroine is Renee de Winter who is a senior cadet in the Academy at Tildor, a country that has just crowned a new king and is full of tension thanks to two warring crime families that are determined to wreak havoc and exploit the new ruler’s inexperience. Although she’s mournful over the fact that she’ll never be as strong as her male classmates, Renee trains 24/7 in order to defeat the naysayers and bullies that would love to see a female warrior fail.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, March 3rd, 2014||No Comments »|