Thursday, February 26, 2009

Warlord (Hyrthun Chronicles: Wolfblade Trilogy: Book 3)



Marla Wolfblade is reeling from the loss of her closest confidant, Elizaar the Fool, who taught her the Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power, and helped shape her into a force in Hythria. But Marla's plans for revenge are disrupted when she discovers she has a dangerous adversary....

On the border, Fardohnya has massed its troops for an invasion, and Marla's eldest son, Damin Wolfblade, heir to the throne of Hythria, finds his ability to fight back is thwarted by tradition, politics, and the foolishness of the High Prince...

Back in Krakandar, Mahkas Damaran awaits news of the battle and has sealed the city against Damin's return. With the city on the brink of starvation, it seems only theft on an unprecedented scale can free Krakandar from Mahkas's madness and tyranny... and destroy Hythria's web of secrets and lies.

*Blurb source*Macmillan
Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view.
( Toggle may not function in email and some feed readers.)



Warlord (Hyrthun Chronicles: Wolfblade Trilogy: Book 3)

| Author: Jennifer Fallon
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 0765348713
| ISBN-13: 9780765348715
| Content: Demons, Mythology, 16+
| Publisher: Tor Fantasy; 1 edition (April 29, 2008)
| Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages
| Cover Illustration: Paul Youll
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars
Amazon
Warlord (Hythrun Chronicles: Wolfblade Trilogy, #3)



♥ Mini Review ♥
Jennifer Fallon does it again as she wraps up the Wolfblade Trilogy in a very satisfying way. There is only one problem, now I want to go back and reread the Demon Child Trilogy! Damin turns out to be everything you could hope for in a hero, Marla unsheathes her claws and gets down and dirty while everything falls nicely in line for the events in the Demon Child Trilogy. As usual, I was blown away.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Saga of Mithgar: The Iron Tower Trilogy: by Dennis L. McKiernan (Series Summary)

Mulluane | 6:00 PM | 3 Comments so far
The Iron Tower Omnibus by Dennis McKiernan

An Epic Fantasy Series Review

By Dennis L. McKiernan

Genre: Epic Fantasy, Heroes, YA 13+
Series: The Saga of Mithgar: Books 1-3
ISBN: 0451458109
Publisher: Roc (December 12, 2000)
Paperback: 672 pages
Books: The Dark Tide - Shadows of Dooom - The Darkest Day

Fantastic Fiction's Blurb of Dark Tide:
Tuck Underbank is a Warrow -- think a hobbit with shoes and "large jewel-like eyes" -- living in the peaceful Boskydells. When an unnaturally cold winter strikes and the evil Modru threatens the world, he and a number of his fellow Thornwalkers go to the High King's aid. But a vast expanse of lightless blizzard called the Dimmendark (sounds bad, doesn't it?) is spreading over the land, and Tuck soon finds that the "dark tide" is going to swamp them all.

Despite the fact that they're tiny and temperamental, the Warrows get included in the military forces. But the High King doesn't have enough warriors to hold off the horde of slobbering monsters who are coming to attack. And the battle goes horribly wrong, separating the friends from one another and possibly dooming them all.
I am going to break with tradition (it is my tradition so I can break it right?) Normally I review each book in a series, and then write the summary but not this time. There are two reasons for this. One, the author never intended for this to be 3 separate books - that was the publisher's idea - the author always intended for it to be read as one continuous story. Two, combined, the entire omnibus totals 672 pages, which is in line with what I am used to reading in a single book anyway. One more important note. This series is readily available in omnibus form but the individual books appear to be out of print. I could not find an excerpt at all and I was fortunate to find a blurb of the first book! The publisher's site is sadly lacking in any information, it lists the omnibus but little else.

This series has spawned alot of controversy over the years; readers either love it because of its close resemblance to Lord of the Rings or hate it for that same reason. I fall in the first category. Yes, it contains just about every high fantasy trope there is and yes, it is basically LoTR minus Gandalf but those are the very reasons why I love it. Besides that, it is virtually impossible for an author to duplicate exactly another's work. No matter who retells a story, they are going to imprint on it their own personality and voice. Which leads me to the third objection to this series, some think it does not resemble LoTR enough! Sigh.

Personally, I love this series. Now even I am aware of some flaws, this is Dennis L. McKiernan's first effort and like most new authors, his writing could stand some improvement, and happily, his later works do. However, as I have done in the past, I am always going to start at the beginning of a series, regardless of how much better succeeding books are (or are not). Not that it is badly written but later works are tighter and more developed, eventually losing most of the LoTR influences and truly becoming a world of its own.

This is one of those series that I consider a "fun" read. After reading so many dark tales lately with deep issues, unique magic systems and blurred lines between good and evil, I was in the mood for some traditional fantasy where the "bad" people are pure evil and the "good" people were shining examples of honor, loyalty, and high moral standards. This series fit the bill. I really loved reading a tale where I knew exactly who was what and knew that good must triumph and evil will be defeated. Another thing that I thoroughly enjoyed was that this series is written in a "storytelling" type style. As I read it, I could easily imagine myself sitting around a fire listening as a talented storyteller or bard related this tale to a group of wide-eyed kids and equally wide-eyed adults. Might not cut it against today's gritty, personal and darkly emotional stories but to me it was a delight. In addition, the ending is both poignant and sweet, wrapping up what can only be described as a classic fantasy tale.

As far as content, this is very readable by young adults. There is war, monsters, death, betrayal, and tragedy with the normal types of violence that go with them but nothing too graphic. It is not aimed at young adults, the characters are late teens at best, right on the cusp of adulthood or full adults, but there is no lovemaking or harsh language, and the violence falls within PG-13 standards. There is a bit of romance too, however the two main couples stay separated by war for the majority of the series.

If you want an alternate to a reread of Lord of the Rings, written by an author who openly admits that this series was patterned, atleast in part, after those works; you cannot go wrong with this series. However, go in with your mind open and read it for itself. It is like and yet unlike Lord of the Rings. In and of itself it is a delightful story but if you compare it too closely, you are going to be disappointed. Personally, it is and will continue to be one of my all time favorites, hopefully, if it is not already, it will someday become one of yours!

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links

Shelfari Rating 3+/5

Librarything Rating 3.19/5

Amazon Rating 3+ out of 5 stars
(59 Customer Reviews)


Similar Reads from Librarything
Or What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: No

Ebook: No

Buy Book: B&N - Powells - Abe Books

Amazon: US Canada UK
Read an Interview with Dennis L. McKiernan From:
Fiction Factor
Other Reviews: (Some with mild spoilers but more plot detail)
SFF World - SF Reader
Author's Web Presence
Website

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chronicles of The Black Company by Glen Cook (Series Summary)

Mulluane | 11:00 PM | 8 Comments so far
Chronicles of the Black Company: Books 1-3 by Glen CookThe Books of the South: Books 3-6 by Glen Cook

Chronicles of the Black Company: Books 1-3Chronicles of the Black Company: Books 1-3 - The Books of the South: Books 3-6

The Return of the Black Company: Books 7 and 8 by Glen CookThe Many Deaths of the Black Company: Books 9 and 10 by Glen Cook

The Return of the Black Company: Books 7 and 8Return of the Black Company: Books 7 and 8 - The Many Deaths of the Black Company: Books 9 and 10Many Deaths of the Black Company: Books 9 and 10

Note: This series of reviews only covers books 1-3. I have included Amazon Affiliate links to all 4 Omnibus editions (10 books in all) for your convenience. Well, that and because I love the covers.

♥ Mini Review ♥
My best description of the Black Company series is unique. Absent are gritty assassins, bold princes, beautiful maidens and hapless orphans who grow up to be powerful mages. Instead, you will find common foot soldiers, feuding wizards (who just do it for fun), paid mercenaries, and lots of war between bad people and worse people. Sound interesting so far? How about a story told from the viewpoint of the company medic who is also the keeper of the history of the Black Company. Croaker is the official Annalist for the company and he relates only the parts of the tale he intends to include in the official history. Still sound interesting? Well read on!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Black Company (Chronicles of The Black Company: Book 1)

Mulluane | 3:00 PM | 3 Comments so far

By Glen Cook



Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself. The hardbitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead.

Until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more.

There must be a way for the Black Company to find her...

*Blurb source* Tor
Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view.
( Toggle may not function in some feed readers.)



The Black Company (Chronicles of The Black Company: Book 1) by Glen Cook

| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Adult, Military
| ISBN-10: 0812521390
| ISBN-13: 9780812521399
| Publisher: Tor Fantasy (March 15, 1992)
| Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
| Cover Art: Keith Berdark
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 4 Stars
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
The Black Company (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #1)


♥ Mini Review ♥
The Black Company is a pleasant change from your typical heroic epic fantasy. This is the story of a band of mercenaries who (in the nature of all mercenaries) is not concerned about the morals of a war, just how much it pays! Croaker who is both doctor and annalist (current keeper of the extensive annals of the Black Company) tells the story. I have to admit, it was fun reading a story as told by the peons and as told by the "bad guys!"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Shadows Linger (Chronicles of The Black Company: Book 2)

Mulluane | 10:50 PM | 3 Comments so far

By Glen Cook



Mercenary soldiers in the service of the Lady, the Black Company stands against the rebels of the White Rose. They are tough men, proud of honoring their contracts. The Lady is evil, but so, too, are those who falsely profess to follow the White Rose, reincarnation of a centuries-dead heroine. Yet now some of the Company have discovered that the mute girl they rescued and sheltered is truly the White Rose reborn. Now there may be a path to the light, even for such as they.

If they can survive it.

*Blurb source*Tor
Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view.
( Toggle may not function in some feed readers.)



Shadows Linger (Chronicles of The Black Company: Book 2) by Glen Cook

| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Adult, Military
| ISBN-10: 0812508424
| ISBN-13: 9780812508420
| Publisher: Tor Fantasy (April 15, 1990)
| Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
| Cover Art: Keith Berdark
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Shadows Linger (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #2)


♥ Mini Review ♥
Croaker continues to add to the Annals of the Black Company in this second book of the first trilogy. My hunch was right. The Black company will be forced to decide if keeping its oaths to the Lady is a good idea; it was what forces them to choose that I was surprised by. (No, I am not telling!) As I think back on what I read in those few 300+ pages, I stand amazed. So much happens, so many things change, the action is so relentless, only I never noticed! It all flowed along that perfectly.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The White Rose (Chronicles of the Black Company: Book 3)

Mulluane | 12:54 PM | 3 Comments so far

By Glen Cook



She is the last hope of good in the war against the evil sorceress known as the Lady. From a secret base on the Plains of Fear, where even the Lady hesitates to go, the Black Company, once in service to the Lady, now fights to bring victory to the White Rose. But now an even greater evil threatens the world. All the great battles that have gone before will seem a skirmishes when the Dominator rises from the grave.

If they can survive it.

*Blurb source*Tor
Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view.
( Toggle may not function in email and some feed readers.)



The White Rose by Glen Cook

| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Adult, Military
| ISBN-10: 0812508440
| ISBN-13: 9780812508444
| Publisher: Tor Fantasy (April 15, 1990)
| Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
| Cover Art: Keith Berdark
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
The White Rose (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #3)



♥ Mini Review ♥
Croaker and his remaining fellows are getting older. The numbers of the Black Company have dwindled. Gone are the days of storming the town or winning battles due to shear numbers. Instead, stealth, sneak attacks, and cooler heads prevail.

Love Epic, High Fantasy? Looking for completed, in print series to read?
Well this blog is what you've been looking for!
Please enter your email address to have our dragons deliver great new reviews straight into your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner
Thanks!