Tag Archives: fantasy

Book Giveaway: Laughter at the Academy

Courtesy of Subterranean Press, I have a copy of Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 28. I’ll draw a name on June 29, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

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Continue reading Book Giveaway: Laughter at the Academy

Book Giveaway: Black Harvest

Courtesy of Pyr, I have a copy of Black Harvest by M. C. Planck for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 28. I’ll draw a name on June 29, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Black Harvest

Author Guest Post: M.C. Planck’ Dave Duncan Tribute

M.C. Planck joins SciFiChick.com today in honor of his latest release, Black Harvest (out tomorrow), and to offer a tribute to author Dave Duncan.

AN UNDER-APPRECIATED AUTHOR

Dave Duncan recently passed away, at the ripe old age of 85 and just days after he’d finished his last manuscript. This was a loss to the SF&F literary world, and also to me personally. Dave gave me a very nice quote for my first novel, The Kassa Gambit, after having declined to give me a quote on an early version of my fantasy epic Sword of the Bright Lady. He had complained that Sword of the Bright Lady was much too slow, and of course, as a veteran and talented author, he was completely correct. I cut out a third of the novel and promptly sold the series to Pyr. His one sentence of advice was worth more than gold to an unknown and beginning writer who had emailed him out of the blue, and yet still less cherished than his praise.

So I’d like to spend this space talking about my favourite books of his and why you should read them even though you’ve probably never heard of them. I think they deserve a lot more exposure than they’ve received, and I think you’ll like them if you give them a try.

Hero!

This SF novel exhibits Duncan’s fantastic talent for convention-wrecking at its best. He takes every standard trope of “young hero saves the world from space invaders” stories and flips them so hard they shatter. I can’t even describe the plot without spoiling it a dozen times (except to say I borrowed a few parts for The Kassa Gambit – it’s okay, Dave had so much going on in this book no one will even notice). Along the way he creates a completely believable futuristic society, hard-science beam weapons, intensely sympathetic characters, and powerful moral dilemmas.

Reaver Road & The Hunter’s Haunt

These two short fantasy novels are framed by Omar, trader of tales, perhaps a god or perhaps just a wandering orator, sticking his nose into terribly interesting situations. They also almost made me give up writing, as Dave’s command of voice is so accomplished that I worried I could never reach such a bar. The Hunter’s Haunt alternates chapters as stories told by different characters, and each one is distinct and compelling. It’s one thing to get a line of dialogue right and sell a scene; Dave does it for whole chapters at a time, for half a dozen different voices, while carrying off a plot so tight it’s water-proof.

The Seventh Sword

A story about a modern engineer who goes to a fantasy world at the behest of a god and winds up changing the world at sword-point. This is literally the plot of Sword of the Bright Lady, and yet Dave’s book couldn’t be more different than mine (and everyone else who has written this genre). For one thing, he put his engineer on the other side – against the guys making gunpowder. It is also a world with distinct ranks – a common feature of fantasy games though very rare in fantasy novels – and yet again completely different than how I handled it. I will always be amazed that we could both write a fantasy series whose plot and most unique feature could be described in exactly the same words and yet create such totally different stories. But I suspect a lot of authors feel the same way, especially after reading Hero!

A Man of his Word & A Handful of Men

Stable-boy falls in love with princess. A story we’ve all heard before, but again Dave sets it in a world that looks like a fantasy game but feels like a real place, with characters that are living people instead of archetypes. The best thing about this series is there are eight thick book’s worth, so you don’t have to come up for air for a good long time. The magic system is also unique, fascinating, and deeper than expected.

The King’s Blades & The King’s Daggers

These are a series of short fantasy novels set in the same world. Again Dave has taken a classic trope – knights sworn to serve their king – and turned it over to discover the often horrifying moving parts underneath, like flipping a shiny beetle on its back only to be faced with a multitude of hairy clawed legs. I think The King’s Daggers stories are supposed to be YA, but Dave was simply incapable of writing without addressing adult responsibilities and concerns. My nephews loved them anyway.

Dave wrote sixty novels before the end (doubly impressive considering he only started when he was 50). These are my favourites; I hope you find some of your own.
__________________________________________________________

About the Author:
M.C. Planck is the author of the science fiction novel The Kassa Gambit, and the World of Prime fantasy series of novels.

After a nearly-transient childhood, Mike hitchhiked across the country and ran out of money in Arizona. So he stayed there for thirty years, raising dogs, getting a degree in philosophy, and founding a scientific instrument company. Having read virtually everything by the old masters of SF&F, he decided he was ready to write. A decade later, he was actually ready and relieved to find that writing novels is easier than writing software, as a single punctuation error won’t cause your audience to explode and die. When he ran out of dogs, he moved to Australia to raise his daughter with kangaroos.

Book Giveaway: War of the Bastards

Courtesy of Disney Hyperion, I have a copy of War of the Bastards by Andrew Shvarts for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 28. I’ll draw a name on June 29, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

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Continue reading Book Giveaway: War of the Bastards

Received in May

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received last month for review and/or giveaways:

DVD/Blu Rays:
Batman 4K Blu Ray
Batman Returns 4K Blu Ray
Batman Forever 4K Blu Ray
Batman & Robin 4K Blu Ray

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox

Ace:
Cry Pilot by Joel Dane

Daw:
How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason
Master of the World by Edward Willett

Del Rey:
The Nobody People by Bob Proehl
The Princess Beard by Kevin Hearne
The Soul of Power by Callie Bates
Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher
Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed

Disney Hyperion / Freeform:
First Day of Groot! by Brendan Deneen
City of Beasts by Corrie Wang
The Camelot Code: Geeks and the Holy Grail by Mari Mancusi
SleepWakers: Sam Saves the Night by Shari Simpson
Spider-Man: Far From Home: Peter and Ned’s Ultimate Travel Journal by Preeti Chhibber
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer
10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
War of the Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Escape from the Isle of the Lost by Melissa De la Cruz
Serafina and the Seven Stars by Robert Beatty

First Second:
Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Gallery Books:
Star Trek: The Original Series: The Captain’s Oath by Christopher L. Bennett

Macmillan Teen / Feiwel and Friends / FSG / Roaring Brook Press / Imprint:
Beyond the Black Door by A. M. Strickland
All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney
The Liars of Mariposa Island by Jennifer Mathieu
The Chosen by Taran Matharu

Pyr:
Black Harvest by M. C. Planck

Simon and Schuster / Skybound / Atria:
Across the Void by S. K. Vaughn

Simon and Schuster Children’s / Aladdin / Simon Pulse:
Titans by Kate O’Hearn
Containment by Caryn Lix

Subterranean Press:
Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight by Aliette de Bodard
Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire
Reading Backwards by John Crowley

TCK Publishing:
The Channeler: A Future Forewarned: The Continuum Series, Book 1 by Jenna Ryan

Tor:
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
A Chain Across the Dawn by Drew Williams
Made Things by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma
The Killing Light by Myke Cole
Starship Repo by Patrick S. Tomlinson

Tor Teen:
Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

Box Review: Teeblox – May 2019

TeeBlox

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*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Continue reading Box Review: Teeblox – May 2019

Book Giveaway: Magic for Liars

Courtesy of Tor, I have a copy of Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 14. I’ll draw a name on June 15, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Magic for Liars

Fantasy Book Review: Spark

Spark by Sarah Beth Durst

Synopsis:
Storm beasts and their guardians create perfect weather every day, and Mina longs for a storm beast of her own. But when the gentle girl bonds with a lightning beast—a creature of fire and chaos—everyone’s certain it’s a mistake. Everyone but Mina and the beast himself, Pixit. Quickly enrolled in lightning school, Mina struggles to master a guardian’s skills, and she discovers that her country’s weather comes at a devastating cost—a cost powerful people wish to hide. Mina’s never been the type to speak out, but someone has to tell the truth, and, with Pixit’s help, she resolves to find a way to be heard.

Review:
Mina is a quiet and polite girl. So when she hatches a lightening beast, even her parent’s think it’s a mistake. But Mina has already formed a deep bond with Pixit, and is determined to succeed despite everyone’s doubts. But while training, Mina and Pixit learn a devastating secret. And despite her nature, Mina must speak out to make things right.

Spark is a heartwarming, standalone fantasy novel for all ages. I’ll read anything by Sarah Beth Durst, but this is definitely one of my favorites. The dragon-like “beasts” were like the dragons in the book Eragon, as they communicate telepathically with their bonded human. I’m sure several fantasy series have this take, but I don’t typically read quite as much fantasy involving dragons. The human characters are engaging and believable. And the story is exciting, suspenseful, and dramatic. I didn’t really grasp the idea behind the lightning beasts and how their humans worked in tandem, but it didn’t affect my reading experience. I highly recommend this sweet and inspiring, middle reader novel.