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Book Review

Dead Man's Steel

Luke Scull

Dead Man's Steel by Luke Scull

Dead Man's Steel is the third and final volume in the Grim Company Series by Luke Scull. We reviewed the first book in the series - The Grim Company - back in 2013 and remarked that it was one of the best fantasy books of the year.

Last year the Sword in the North, the second in the series managed to build on the first book and was a worthy follow-up. This time around we've even managed to get one of our quotes on the front of this book - not something that happens very ofte...

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Review written by Ant on Friday 23rd December 2016
Book Review

The Hanging Tree

Ben Aaronovitch

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

The Hanging Tree is the sixth novel in the Rivers of London series. For those who have yet to experience these wonderful books imagine an Urban Fantasy with police procedural elements, warmly written with a disarming humour and celebrating the many hidden rivers that wonder through London (with exception to the last book Foxglove Summer which ventured into the countryside).

The police procedural elements are superb, feeling as close to real police work as you can possibly imagine. I...

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Review written by Ant on Wednesday 21st December 2016
Book Review

Small Favour

Jim Butcher

Small Favour by Jim Butcher

No one's tried to Kill Harry in almost a year and the worst problem he has faced in that time is trying to get stains removed from carpets caused by his bungling apprentice.

Anyone who knows Harry knows that this is too good to last.

The person to put such a spanner in the wizards life is Mab, Queen of the Winter Court and someone who Harry is indebted to.

Mab decides its time to pay up, unfortunately doing so puts him between a nightmarish foe and a deadly a...

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Review written by Ant on Monday 5th December 2016
Book Review

Exile

Martin Owton

Exile by Martin Owton

Book one of a proposed fantasy two-parter, Exile introduces us to a patch-work world of territories ruled over by the High King from his sacred city.

The earldom of Darien is betrayed and overrun. Its exiles scatter throughout the land, determined to reclaim their ancestral rights. Aron son of Eamon, an academy trained blade master finds a place for himself in the court of Nandor and, when an expedition is launched to rescue the Earl’s son from the neighbouring duchy of Sarazan, h...

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Review written by Allen Stroud on Wednesday 26th October 2016
Book Review

A City Dreaming

Daniel Polansky

A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky

Daniel Polansky is the author of the wonderful Low Town fantasy series, which shows how great a story-teller he is. A City Dreaming stretches these talents and more.

The book follows the life of M, a magically gifted drifter with a loose grip on morality and a quick, sharp tongue. He does his best to avoid the politics of New York city however when you personally know the two opposing Queens who threaten to turn the Big Apple into a crumble, trouble is hard to avoid. If M is going t...

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Review written by Ant on Monday 24th October 2016
Book Review

White Night

Jim Butcher

White Night by Jim Butcher

White Knight marks the ninth book in Jim Butchers urban fantasy series featuring Chicago's first and only Wizard P.I. Regular visitors to SFBook may be aware that we are (slowly) reviewing the series.

Those who haven't read any of the Dresden Files would be better starting at the beginning with Storm Front, or at least one of the earlier books.

A string of suicides rings alarm bells with Chicago's finest and Harry is brought in to see if there is any magical co...

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Review written by Ant on Monday 17th October 2016
Book Review

Marked to Die: A Tribute to Mark Samuels

Justin Isis

Marked to Die: A Tribute to Mark Samuels by Justin Isis

First of all: don't worry. Mark Samuels - the well known British horror writer- is alive and well ( although, maybe, crossing his fingers). It's not common to dedicate a new short story anthology to celebrate a living author ( whose career, hopefully, will last for many, many years to come) but that's the way it is . Editor Justin Isis has assembled a massive volume featuring eighteen tales , plus a coda, penned by a group of fellow writers active in the field of dark fantasy and/...

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Review written by Mario Guslandi on Friday 14th October 2016
Book Review

Sharp Ends

Joe Abercrombie

Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie

There is much to like about Joe Abercrombie, particularly when he returns to his darker writing, as published by Gollancz. One of the founders of the ‘grimdark’ movement, Abercrombie’s gritty brand of fantasy delivers real consequences and hard bitten characters in all the different adventures he has written in the world of the First Law.

Sharp Ends is a collection of short stories set in this ongoing fiction. Some of these have been previously published elsewhere, but the boo...

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Review written by Allen Stroud on Thursday 13th October 2016
Book Review

The Bastard Wonderland

Lee Harrison

The Bastard Wonderland by Lee Harrison

The Bastard Wonderland is something of a suprise. The debut of Lee Harrison, it describes a complex alternative world where a war wages between the North and the South. It's this tiresome war that is thrust upon northern lad Warboys and his father as they are strong-armed into a foolhardy campaign.

The technology level of Wonderland is around the start of the 19th century, with Steam and Factories and Airships. There is a distinct 19th century Northern England feel, gritty and g...

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Review written by Ant on Monday 10th October 2016
Book Review

Infernal

Mark De Jager

Infernal by Mark De Jager

Stratus wakes up in a field with no idea who he is. All he knows is that his name is Stratus and he doesn't seem to be human. He quickly learns that he possesses an in-human strength, natural gift in magic and an insatiable hunger. Well that and the fact that there seems to be a raging beast inside his mind.

Infernal is a book that you shouldn't judge by it's cover - which I don't feel reflects the size of ferocity of the protagonist al all. The cover features a hunc...

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Review written by Ant on Friday 23rd September 2016
Book Review

Touch of Iron

Timandra Whitecastle

Touch of Iron by Timandra Whitecastle

Touch of Iron is not, as the Amazon blurb suggests, a tale of an epic quest of a Prince for a magic sword, although there is a Prince and he is on a quest for a magic sword.  Neither is it is a story about Fae, as evoked by the title in the trend of supernatural fantasy.  It is instead, the story of a girl called Noraya, who is running from a marriage she does not want and a village where she has never been accepted and who now turn against her. 

All Noraya wants is to be with he...

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Review written by Karen Fishwick on Friday 16th September 2016
Book Review

First Magyc

Nicole Dragonbeck

First Magyc by Nicole Dragonbeck

First Magyc, by Nicole Dragonbeck, the first book in the Guardians of the Path series is essentially a Young Adult portal fantasy where a girl, Ria, gets drawn into a magical land and it turns out she might be the subject of an ancient prophecy where only she can save the magic.  While the premise of the book is not entirely original and the spelling of the title a little pretentious, the tale is nevertheless entertaining. 

The fantasy land itself has some original and compelling ...

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Review written by Karen Fishwick on Wednesday 14th September 2016

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.

A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
- Mark Twain

Book of the month

Defender by GX Todd
Defender by GX Todd
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