On My Shelves: Academ’s Fury

The second book in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher begins with a prologue: the terrifying and alien Wax Forest has turned dead, with no trace of the spider-like Keepers and other creatures that had dwelt within the resin-coated nightmare-scape. The young Marat, Kitai, who Tavi had first competed against and then cooperated with in the Wax Forest to earn the respect and cooperation of the Marat chief Doroga, has also found something else disturbing: tracks leading out of the ruined Forest, and, along those tracks, Tavi's lost backpack. [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Furies of Calderon

The story goes that Jim Butcher – author of the Dresden Files series – was told that one couldn't write a good story based on "lame" ideas. Butcher responded that he could do so with any two lame ideas of the challenger's choosing. The challenger responded with "Lost Roman Legion", and "Pokemon". The result was the Codex Alera series, with the first volume being Furies of Calderon. Speaking purely from the geeky point of view of "how well did he do with those two lame ideas", I have to say… middling. As a combination of "Lost Roman [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Curse of Immortality

I have previously reviewed Jeff Getzin's dark fantasy novel Prince of Bryanae on this site. While Prince rode as close to the dark edge as I'm generally willing to read, that novel is not the only venture into the world of Bryanae that Jeff has provided. I'm going to review all of the stories, but right now I want to review the latest of them. The story is told – as is thus far always the case – from the point of view of a woman who will cross paths with the frenetically cheerful swashbuckler D'Arbignal. Prince of Bryanae takes place in the [ Continue reading... ]

On Writing: The Problem of Series, OR Why Isn’t This As AWESOME As The Last One?

It's happened to all of us: we find the first book in a new series and it's awesome – it's filled to bursting with cool imagery and characters and concepts, and we race through the book and then come to the end, saying "what? But I want MORE!". And then we get the sequel, and that's … a good book. I mean, maybe it's a really good book. But somehow there seems to be something missing, it's just not quite the slam-bang awesome you remember from the first book. But hey, authors can have off days, right, and this was still pretty good. So you [ Continue reading... ]

Princess Holy Aura: Chapter 33

In this final snippet, Procelli found he had been suckered... -----     Chapter 33.      Silvertail felt a cold, cold smile crossing his tiny face as he saw the Mirrortaint stagger back in disbelief. "But . . . how . . ." Seika's face was radiant with understanding. "It was you, not Cordelia's father! But he sensed the distress—" Silvertail locked gazes with Procelli, and he could see fear in the defiant Mirrortaint's eyes. "I merely allowed myself to remember the day I gave my daughter to this fate . . . and let my fear [ Continue reading... ]

Princess Holy Aura: Chapter 32

Things seemed to have taken a turn for the worse, and they were bad enough already...   Chapter 32.      Even as that happened, Procelli loomed somehow larger, though his physical form changed not a bit. "Another wish granted," he said with a slasher smile, turning to Holy Aura. She could see Cordy, now in her father's embrace, but her face showed only the shock and anguish and confusion of the impossible; even a father's presence could only do so much. "You . . . obscene . . . thing," she choked out, unable to even form a proper [ Continue reading... ]

Princess Holy Aura: Chapter 31

The tyrpiglynt was out and apparently so was their secret... -----     Chapter 31.      "Holly? Seika?" Tierra said after a few frozen moments. "Fuck," Seika said succinctly in the powerful soprano of Radiance Blaze. "But, that's the way the meme rolls, right?" Holly found she'd covered her face with one of Holy Aura's hands. "Yes. Yes, of course it is." Is Tierra going to be one of the Maidens? Or one of those ordinary characters that happens to learn the secret? If it was the latter, whether Tierra survived the [ Continue reading... ]

Princess Holy Aura: Chapter 30

The tyrpiglynt was now on the loose... -----   Chapter 30.      Silvertail felt the fur rising on his back even before his more conscious senses recognized the surge in power from within the building that the girls had run into. Oh, no, Lemuria's Memory, no . . . It was the merest flicker of motion, a motion only eyes like his own could have seen, but he knew instantly that the worst scenario was now upon them. A Mirrortaint was now free, and in a crowd . . . a crowd whose emotions and lifeforce would not only feed it, but mask [ Continue reading... ]

Princess Holy Aura: Chapter 29

They'd figured out who they needed to talk to... -----   Chapter 29.      Holly shivered a little, then pulled her coat tighter. "Jeez, I'd forgotten how cold it gets sitting in the bleachers." "Did you forget how boring this is?" Seika muttered to her, barely audible over the cheers and other shouts as Whitney High's White Lions contested with Columbia's Blue Devils. "You don't know anything about football, do you? This is a pretty good game." Seika gave her a scandalized look. "You call yourself a geek and you like football? [ Continue reading... ]

Princess Holy Aura: Chapter 28

Silvertail now knew what they were up against... -----   Chapter 28.      "A . . . tyrpiglynt?" Holly repeated. The word sounded somehow creepy in and of itself. "What is that, exactly?" "A Reflecter of Desire," Silvertail said wearily. "Also called a Mirrortaint. A being from far Outside, so far that it has a difficult time manifesting in our ordinary world and can do so—to begin with, at least—only as a projection that echoes an existing projection in this one. A reflection, in short, which is a projection of the features of the [ Continue reading... ]