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The Seer King by Chris Bunch, Warner Aspect
Bleak Seasons: Book One of Glittering Stone by Glen Cook, Tor
Einstein's Bridge by John Cramer, Avon
Serpentwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist, Avon
The Memory Cathedral by Jack Dann, Bantam
The Legend of Deathwalker by David Gemmell, Corgi
Cormyr by Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb, TSR
Waking The Moon by Elizabeth Hand, HarperPrism
Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb, Bantam Spectra
The Waterborn by J. Gregory Keyes, Del Rey
Review Links
Shadow Moon by George Lucas and Chris Claremont, Bantam Spectra
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Bantam Spectra
Magnificat by Julian May, Knopf
Dawning of a New Age by Jean Rabe, TSR
The Dragon King R. A. Salvatore, Warner Aspect
Passage to Dawn by R. A. Salvatore, TSR
Exile's Challenge by Angus Wells, Bantam Spectra
City of Bones by Martha Wells, Tor
Rage of a Demon King by Raymond E. Feist
Cormyr
by Ed Greenwood Canadian Author and Jeff Grubb, TSR

[Cover] I freely admit it; I picked this book because the cover caught my attention (nice dragon) and I have a weakness for traditional fantasy. The weighty hardcover also looks good on a shelf (an important point to a obsessed collector). But...

Cormyr surprised me. Besides having great bookshelf appeal, I enjoyed the book immensely. The novel has two entirely different plot lines. One deals with a crisis precipitated by the mysterious poisoning of the King of Cormyr and the realm's top sages, priests and mages can't figure out how to stop it. This leads into a twisted tale of political maneuvering and intrigue. The other plot line is the history of Cormyr. Each pivotal event in Cormyr's past is revealed, starting with the times before humans settled the lands and ending with the current crisis. The result is a compelling tale that alternates between past and present before the two stories merge at the book's end. I'll have go and dig up the other novels by these two authors and see if they are as good.


Dawning of a New Age
by Jean Rabe, TSR

[Cover] This is one stinky book (the nicest word I could find). I'm sure this novel started out when stark, raving panic set in at TSR HQ after reading Dragons of Summer Flame (by Weis and Hickman). Basically, the Dragonlance world was tossed out in that novel. All the magic and gods disappeared and most of the dragons were killed off. "Oh no," cried the TSR editors, "What can we do now?" The resulting committee decided to reinvent the Dragonlance world (complete with geographical changes) where magic was weak and the few dragons were REALLY REALLY big. The result is a book that tries to both set the stage for the next great TSR epic and keep the reader interested...

I'm sorry, I just couldn't buy into it. The book is about average for TSR but all I could see was the plot to keep the Dragonlace saga alive. Even my dogs couldn't stomach this one -- they decided to use the paperback as a chew toy. Apparently, it wasn't that tasty.


Assassin's Quest
by Robin Hobb, Bantam Spectra

[Cover] I've been waiting for this book from the moment I finished Royal Assassin over a year ago. This trilogy continues to amaze and delight me with its subtleties and scope. Assassin's Quest is a long tale but I'm a sucker for big, heavy, well-written fantasy and I had a hard time putting it down, even to sleep.

The storyline picks up immediately after the end of the last novel and rapidly introduces the main plot of Fitz's search for his lost King. There are plot twists, unexpected character changes and all kinds of good stuff to fill in the four or five hundred pages it takes to reach the climax. There is nothing better than a good big novel. I can think of several authors who need to learn to forge a great plot with great characters and a great background as well as Hobb does.

The ending left me unexpectedly unsettled. It is very appropriate but much different than I had anticipated. Its not a typical Hollywood ending nor is it the typical British everybody-dies (anybody ever read Gemmell's Legend?) ending. Its somewhere in between...


Exile's Challenge
by Angus Wells, Bantam Spectra

The second volume of the Exile's Saga, Exile's Challenge continues the story of two separate groups of exiles. One, a collection of indentured criminals (unjustly convicted, of course) and the other, a nomadic nation forced to flee their homeland to escape an invading horde.

Angus Wells continues to tell a strong story but, Angus Wells is definitely British. I found the story dripping with a longing for the days of the Colonial empire. The similarities between the real and novelized empires and the untamed wilderness of Salvation (the novel's America) were too strong for my liking and I suspect that's why I was also struck by how black and white the characters were. The good guys are really good. The bad guys are really bad. You can almost see them wearing white or black cowboy hats...

Don't get me wrong; the novel is a good read and well worth the price. I just expected a bit more complexity from Wells' characters.



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