GIVEAWAY

Click Here To Win a Copy of “The Empty Ones” by Robert Brockway!!!
Enter HERE

Blog Archive

View My Stats
Monday, August 4, 2014

Mini-Reviews: “American Craftsmen” by Tom Doyle, “Full Fathom Five” by Max Gladstone” & “Shattered” by Kevin Hearne (Reviewed by Casey Blair)

Order “American CraftsmenHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE

American Craftsmen by Tom Doyle is the first of a new series (or so I assume, given the epilogue) and is set in modern America, but with a layer of alternate magical history on top of it. The book reads like a thriller and is very action-packed, similar in pacing to Larry Correia’s Hard Magic. I could have stood some breaks in action, honestly, with more time to flesh out the implications of everything going on (because there is a lot going on), but that's more a matter of preference: if you want constant action, American Craftsmen has it in spades.

As you might expect from the title, this book deals with a lot of issues in what it means to be American, duty, loyalty, and service, and how none of those are tied to religion or ethnicity. I loved that we got an ethnically Iranian female character who is not only not portrayed as a villain, but is totally indispensable and saves our two lead soldiers' bacon many times over. I think Doyle balanced the different cultural perspectives well, and he really took advantage of their point of views. There are characters with some very narrow or strict worldviews that are appropriate given their history and shape how they interact with the world, but none of them are straw men as they all have different beliefs, and the text never feels didactic. Also, the author avoids some very easy-to-fall-into traps and manages some complex issues as the plot rockets along at breakneck speed.

Order “Full Fathom FiveHERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read FBC’s Reviews of “Three Parts Dead” & “Two Serpents Rise

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Max Gladstone's secondary world urban fantasy series. In the third and latest installment, Full Fathom Five, the author has once again nailed the setting as fundamentally integral to the story. For instance, the tropical island of Kavekana has a rich history and traditions of its own but thrives on tourism, building corporate-managed idols for wary clients.

Full Fathom Five starts off with a bang, but then it takes a while before I understood protagonist Kai's personal stake in the plot. I love what Max does with the relationships in this book, both between people and gods and in romantic relationships and responsibility to congregations, how the nature of those relationships and boundaries can change without or, of necessity, breaking. This book has a fantastic cast of women and non-white characters, including a few from Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise who play pivotal roles in the new novel. Full Fathom Five can be read as a stand-alone, so if you're new to the series feel free to jump in here.

Order “ShatteredHERE
Read FBC’s Reviews of “Hounded”, “Hexed”, “Hammered”, “Tricked”, “Trapped” & “Hunted
Read FBC’s Interviews with Kevin Hearne HERE + HERE

Shattered is the seventh and latest installment in Kevin Hearne's urban fantasy series, The Iron Druid Chronicles, and in my opinion it's much stronger than the last couple of volumes. The prose did feel a little clunky in the beginning, but the plot makes a lot more sense and actually feels like we're back on track in terms of overall arc, rather than just laying groundwork for later books. The biggest point of irritation for me is that Kevin has essentially ret-conned earlier god deaths, which robs them of emotional impact and makes them feel like plot devices rather than events that actually matter, so we'll have to see how that plays out. But with the addition of Atticus' archdruid to the cast we get a new perspective on the world, and Granuaile gets to go off on her own druidic adventures. We spend time with both new and familiar pantheons, and through it all Hearne threads some very complex issues that I think were handled very well.

1 comments:

Heather Grove said...

After reading these reviews I'm very disappointed to find that my library doesn't have Max Gladstone's books available.

Follow by Email

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Of Sand & Malice” by Bradley Beaulieu!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Summerlong” by Peter S. Beagle!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Spellbreaker” by Blake Charlton!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Obelisk Gate” by N.K. Jemisin!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Poisoned Blade” by Kate Elliott!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Tome of Arbor” by M.R. Mathias!!!
Order HERE