Book Review: West of January by Dave Duncan (Four Stars)

Book Review: West of January by Dave Duncan

(Four Stars)

“Revenge was my choice … and I was crazy again. That helped a lot.”

Incredible world building. What if a world, very similar to ours, was in tidal lock with its sun–almost? First published in 1989, this tale slowly introduces the problem and how various groups try to solve it. Followed plot line makes sense in the end.

“Why, when the gods created friendship, did they leave us mortal?”

Some great turns of the phrase: “Voice thin as a lark’s ankle.” “As innocent as a raw egg.” “Madness hung over the grasslands like the stench of rotting meat.”

“Nothing argues more convincingly than cowardice.”

Unlike his contemporary Robert Jordan, Duncan puts a huge story into a single volume–one which he finished. There’s potential for a separate novel in each chapter, but Jordan stays focused. The result is a challenging, satisfying epic. Instead of creating a never-ending story, Duncan wrote more novels.

“I want … no great dying, the next time the sun comes west of January.”

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Book Review: Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan (Five Stars)

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Book Review: Age of Swords (Legends of the First Empire #2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Five Stars

“Some things are unimaginable right up until you are looking at them, and even then, you might not want to believe. Love is that way, so is death.”

If anything, better than the first book, Age of Myths. Superficially Sullivan is not an epic fantasy writer like Rothfuss or Tolkien, but he weaves an excellent story amid afresh, if derivative world. Part of the fun is his tongue-in-cheek homages to classic fantasy.

“I hated my brothers. Dead for three years and they’re still trying to kill me.”

Satisfying conclusion with appropriate hooks into the next stories. Well done. Leavened with humor. Not so much as the Riyria stores, but enough. Waited for second volume for magic school, hooray! And the training was organic, taking the reader inside Continue reading