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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fantasy Book Critic’s 2008 Review/2009 Preview — Janny Wurts



I love books that don't simplify problems into black or white—that stretch the imagination, that don't settle for face value, or make a heroic character into a polarized ideal. I also insist on top notch development of the world and magic system, with characters who are rounded, flawed, human, or if non human, ones that ring true in ways that are alien. These two authors did a bang up job.

Breath and Bone” by
Carol Berg (Read the prequel, first)
Karavans” by
Jennifer Roberson (and the sequel, Deepwood)

Science Fiction:

Carolyn Cherryh and Sarah Zettel both have set a high standard, with regard to the mix of alien worlds, alien cultures, and the collision with human values and earth-type political machinations. Both of the following authors walk tall in that same tradition, whether ending a multi-volume series with a bang, or furthering one in progress.

Endgame” by
Kristine Smith (Ending of her Jani Killian series, best to start with book one). A superbly done political intrigue between cultures.

Riders of the Storm” by
Julie E. Czerneda (continuation of her Trade Pact universe series, which has two trilogies, this one in progress). This story takes a nifty stance, where a determined and gifted character, not human in our sense, is leading a whole group of outcasts, and striving to hold their differences together and unravel several mysteries and contentions at the same time.

Strength and Honor” by
R. M. Meluch. Just plain sheer fun space adventure, with an interesting twist braided in with regard to quantum events—the story plunges right in, moves fast, with lively characters who provide a lot of laughs.


The Tenth Gift” by
Jane Johnson. A highly unusual story, skillfully told, about a woman abducted from Cornwall in the 1720s, by Barbary pirates—a historical happening much more common than many people realize. The story has a modern and a historical track, with embroidery a theme tying the two together. It gives some sweet insights between cultures, relevant today, and unlike most split stories, neither half drags the other one down. The climax builds to a delightfully unpredictable ending.

The Silver Pigs” by
Lindsey Davis. A mystery set in Roman times, that also makes an excursion through Britain, delightfully researched, filled with wry humor, and told in a distinctive voice.


Scotland: An Autobiography” by Rosemary Goring. A compilation of historical quotations, surrounding events in Scottish history, all written by contemporaries of the times, from ordinary people to historical figures. This book is like a quilt of vignettes, each one brief and fascinating.


What do I have happening in 2009 — LOTS!!!

HarperCollins, London will be reintroducing nine of my titles back into the North American market, with Curse of the Mistwraith in May, Ships of Merior in June, Warhost of Vastmark in July, and a standalone fantasy, To Ride Hell's Chasm in August. The remaining five titles in the Wars of Light and Shadows series will appear later in the fall.

I will also have a short story appearing in the spoof anthology, “Intelligent Design”, edited by
Denise Little, and published by DAW Books in September.


Janny Wurts is an author of several books including the
Wars of Light and Shadow, The Cycle of Fire trilogy, several stand-alone novels, a short story collection and the internationally bestselling Empire Trilogy that she co-authored with Raymond E. Feist. Beyond writing, Janny's award winning paintings have been showcased in exhibitions of imaginative artwork, among them a commemorative exhibition for NASA's 25th Anniversary; the Art of the Cosmos at Hayden Planetarium in New York; and two exhibits of fantasy art, at both the Delaware Art Museum, and Canton Art Museum. For more information, please visit the author’s Official Website.

NOTE: For more author responses, please visit Fantasy Book Critic's 2008 Review/2009 Preview index



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