A while back I was sent a review copy (Disclosure: At no cost to myself.) of The Settlers of Catan by Rebecca Gable (translated into English by Lee Chadeayne). To be honest, this review should have gone up already, but for some reason I thought it was coming out next week. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know how I got that idea. My apologies to the kind folks at Wunderkind PR.
The book is based on an ingenious strategy board game called, duh, The Settlers of Catan created by Klaus Teuber. The game sets itself apart from other strategy board games by encouraging cooperation. Winning isn’t achieved by defeating the other players, but by working with them to grow your settlement.
A raid on the coastal village of Elasund, followed by a particularly harsh winter, pushes the Elasunders to face some hard facts. Their village can’t support them all. The rocky fields and its poor soil can’t supply enough grain, nor the sea enough fish to feed them year round. If they face another winter as hard as this one, many will not survive. After seeking the wisdom of their gods, they decide to search for a new home. Continue reading →
Epic fantasy, as a genre, usually runs either hot or cold for me. I would devour everything fantasy that came my way for decades until I hit, in my opinion, the bottom of the barrel, and ended up with a run of spectacularly bad epic fantasy.
So, in turn, I avoided picking up fantasy for many, many years, until I ended up reviewing Patricia Briggs’ reissue if her first book, Masques, here on FanaticSpace. That book reminded me how much I loved the genre, and it was time to give fantasy, in particular epic fantasy, another chance.
Wunderkind PR sent me an advance reader copy (at no cost to me, full disclosure) of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. I enjoyed his movie Fanboys, and started to read it as soon as possible. I’m very happy they sent it to me, RP1 is a book full of nerdy goodness.
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
Sailing to Sarantium is book one of The Sarantine Mosaic by Guy Gavriel Kay. I posted a review of the second book, Lord of Emperors, because I was too impatient to wait until I could get my hands on the first in the series. Because of my lack of patience, a virtue which seems to be in contunualy short supply, the review of Lord of Emperors wasn’t very informative. Without reading the first book, I wasn’t sure which of the many details I wanted to talk about might be spoilers. I hate spoilers and err’d on the side of caution.
Now that I’ve read the first book, I spent cash money to buy it, I think I can talk a bit more freely about why I like these books.
From the cover…
Caius Crispus, known as Crispin, is a master mosaicist, creating beautiful art with colored stones and glass. Still grieving the loss of his family, he lives only for his craft – until an imperial summons draws him east to the fabled city. Bearing with him a queen’s secret mission and seductive promise, and a talisman from an alchemist, Crispin crosses a land of pagan ritual and mortal danger, confronting legends and dark magic.
Once in Sarantium, with its taverns and gilded sanctuaries, chariot races and palaces, intrigues and violence, Crispin must find his own source of power in order to survive. He finds it, unexpectedly, high on the scaffolding of his own greatest creation.
I was very excited when I received the email wondering if I was interested in receiving an early copy of Wolfsbane, the sequel to Patricia Briggs’ fantasy novel Masques. I was entertained reading the first book, and I really hoped to get a chance to read the sequel after finishing the first. Slipping back into the high fantasy world that Patricia Briggs created so long ago was so easy and I didn’t have anything to be worried about that distance between when she wrote the first to the second.
( 2xKnight’s note: I received this book from the publisher at no cost to myself)
After reading Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay I couldn’t wait to read Lord of Emperors, even though it was the second book in a series. I really don’t like to start a series in the middle, but I just couldn’t wait until I could get to a book store to find the first one. Going against that nagging little voice in my head, I dove in. Continue reading →