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Fantasy Book Reviews

Book Review

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

In short, this is a story set in a fantasy version of European renaissance including trade, religion and politics. You can draw parallels between different countries and religions in the book to real world versions of the same. 

But simply describing a book in this way is somewhat lazy and misses the author’s intention. 

The story is grounded in and inspired by real world history and culture, which gives colour to the story, so places and people seem familiar to the re...

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review written by Karen Fishwick on Sunday 10th December 2017
Book Review

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium by Paul Kidby

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium by Paul Kidby

Paul Kidby was Pratchett's artist of choice and once described his lively, colourful illustrations as:

The closest anyone's got to how I see the characters

He's been drawing Discworld for over fifteen years, including the superbly illustrated Last Hero, not to mention The Art of Discworld and Terry Pratchett's Discworld Colouring Book. Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium collects the finest of his discworld illustrations, including 40 pieces tha...

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review written by Ant on Friday 8th December 2017
Book Review

And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten White

This book, by Kiersten White, is a gender flipped historically based story of the early life of Vlad the Impaler or in this case, Lada  Dracul.

White takes the bones of the historical accounts and layers it with a rich imaginings of characters and quirks, to give the reader some insight into a belivable character that could have inspired the stories that followed. 

The gender flip is imbedded from the start, the character has all the nuances of a little girl, with many o...

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review written by Karen Fishwick on Thursday 7th December 2017
Book Review

Case of the Bedevilled Poet: A Sherlock Holmes Enigma by Simon Clark

Case of the Bedevilled Poet: A Sherlock Holmes Enigma by Simon Clark

Newcon Press’ second novella series continues with Simon Clark’s story, set in the middle of the London Blitz. The title gives away the nature of what we are to expect – a Sherlock Holmes story, occurring in the twilight years of Baker Street’s favourite detective.

During the 1940s, Jack Crofton, a poet and screenwriter is struggling to survive and make a life amidst the ruins of the city around him. He has a good friend in Bill Tulley and has found a girl he likes, an actre...

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review written by Allen Stroud on Thursday 23rd November 2017
Book Review

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

The best thing about Amanda Foody’s debut lies in the title itself. Her ‘Burning City’ is an immersive, sensory experience that rivets from the very first page. The smoke from her traveling circus wafts off the page, the dirt and ash from the trodden ground almost tangible on the tongue. The ‘freaks’ that adorn the main stage of her Gomorrah Festival are so gaudy and rich that no space is left in the imagination for error. It’s an engulfing and curious experience.

But a ...

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review written by Alice Wybrew on Monday 20th November 2017
Book Review

Cottingley by Alison Littlewood

Cottingley by Alison Littlewood

My second review of the Newcon Press Novella series released in Autumn 2017. This is a set of four stories. The Wind by Jay Caselberg, Cottingley by Alison Littlewood, Body in the Woods by Sarah Lotz and Case of the Bedeviled Poet A Sherlock Holmes Enigma, by Simon Clark.

Cottingley by Alison Littlewood picks up a tangential thread from the famous fairy mystery surrounding photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths that became known as the Cottingley Faeries. Littlewoo...

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review written by Allen Stroud on Monday 13th November 2017
Book Review

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

I'd like to start this review by saying that Richard Kadrey doesn't get the visibility he deserves, not by a long shot. I only discovered him myself by seeing other authors discussing how wonderful his work is.

They aren't wrong.

Sandman Slim - real name James Stark - has just spent the lat eleven years in Hell only to arrive in modern day Los Angeles. He's one of the only people on the planet who has been to Hell and back without actually dying and has pi...

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review written by Ant on Wednesday 27th September 2017
Book Review

A Song for No Man's Land by Andy Remic

A Song for No Man's Land by Andy Remic

I've been reading Remic's stories for a number of years now. His Clockwork Vampire Series is heroic fantasy at it's very best. 

What I didn't realise though was how much he has grown as an author since, that is until I discovered A Song for No Mans Land on Amazon.

I've always been a fan of world war media, partly as a result of studying it at school. A Song for No Mans Land is set in the first World War and follows Robert Jones who signed up with a v...

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review written by Ant on Friday 15th September 2017
Book Review

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

As a science fiction fan it has to be said that we are becoming increasingly lucky. Film and TV companies seem to have finally grasped that the genre is a gold mine for stories, and that when done right, these stories can attract a big audience.

American Gods is one of the more recent stories to become a colourful, imaginative and clever TV series. It's not before time either, the book being released some 16 years ago.

The Folio Society have created a superb version ...

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review written by Ant on Friday 11th August 2017
Book Review

The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories by HP Lovecraft

The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories by HP Lovecraft

To many, HP Lovecraft is seen as the father of modern horror and The Call of Cthulhu is undoubtedly his most famous work. Like many artists Lovecraft wasn't appreciated during his lifetime and his work only achieved success and literary recognition after his death. Collectively these weird tales (and others) have had a lasting influence on 20th century horror literature while also influencing popular culture and film to this day. 

Thankfully The Folio Society have created a b...

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review written by Ant on Friday 28th July 2017
Book Review

London Falling by Paul Cornell

London Falling by Paul Cornell

London Falling is the first in Paul Cornell's Shadow Police series. For those who don't know, Paul Cornell is an award winning author who writes across a variety of media and one of only two people to have been Hugo nominated for prose, TV and comics. He's also written a number of Doctor Who stories including the Tenth Doctor two-parter "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood" which was nominated for a Hugo award in 2008. 

London Falling begins with Detective James Qui...

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review written by Ant on Monday 17th July 2017
Book Review

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory hasn't even been released at the time of writing and it's already been picked up by Paramount TV. It's the authors first foray into literary speculative fiction and follows the Amazing Telemachus Family.

Back in the 1970's they acheived widespread fame for their magic and mind reading talents. Their fame however ended one night on live television as magic seemed to fail them. The story begins twenty years later as teenager Matty, grandso...

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review written by Ant on Monday 19th June 2017

Find the latest Fantasy book reviews here. Fantasy as a genre can be very difficult to define but is usually said to encompass stories set in an alternative reality based on imagined fantastical elements like magic or the supernatural. This is the defining difference between science fiction and fantasy, science fiction deals with elements that are theoretically possible while fantasy deals with the improbable or impossible.

Fantasy can be most commonly associated with sword and sorcery stories however the genre can include contemporary (Harry Potter) and humorous (Tom Holt) tales. Fantasy, science fiction and horror can occasionally overlap and generally the term used to describe these novels is speculative fiction.

Fantasy fiction can trace it's roots all the way back to ancient mythology, especially Homer's Odyssey which was written in the 9th century BC. Homer's Odyssey chronicles the fictional adventures of a hero returning to Ithaca after the capture of Troy. The earliest surviving English text of fantasy origins is the poem Beowulf which dates back to 700 AD.

The most recognisable to modern audiences is perhaps the Legends of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. These stories have been told many times from Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur (around 1485 AD) to T. H. White's The Once and Future King (1958), Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon (1982) and Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle (1987).

The series that could be said to bring fantasy into the mainstream has to be Terry Brooks Sword of Shannara series, written in 1977 it was one of the first modern fantasy books to become a new york times best seller. Since then this has been repeated by David Eddings, Robert Jordan, Terry Good Kind and Terry Pratchett.

Here you can find fantasy book reviews from the big name authors to the self published and independant, it's the story that's always the star here.

Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources
- Albert Einstein

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