Stories in Rogues – “Provenance” by David W. Ball

I enjoyed David W. Ball’s introduction more than I did this story. I got the impression that this story was going to be rich with details, maybe in a historical-narrative style, and thoroughly researched. Indeed, this tale about an old art dealer is exactly all of those things.  Read the rest of this post …

Stories in Rogues – “Tawny Petticoats” by Michael Swanwick

Lots and lots of zombies, really? I remember wondering if this was going to be a gory zombie tale, something more dramatic, like The Walking Dead, or something else entirely etc … turns out it’s an elaborate con-job set in an absurdly surreal dystopic future New Orleans. Very shortly into this one, I had to get over the fact that the leads partner is a anthropomorphic dog. A dogman, if you will.  Read the rest of this post …

Stories in Rogues – “Bent Twig” by Joe R. Lansdale

If I haven’t mentioned this yet, I’m listening to the audio book Rogues. There is a different reader for each story, and if you don’t have much experience with audio books, let me tell you this: the reader can break the book, or elevate it to heights even beyond your own imagination. It’s a really incredible way to consume books (I still thoroughly enjoy holding a physical book though, don’t get me wrong). So after the impressive titles for Lansdale, and the brief description of the story to come, I was excited to read about this rescue tale set in modern-day Texas.  Read the rest of this post …

Stories in Rogues – “The Inn of the Seven Blessings” by Matt Hughes

I’d not heard of Matt Hughes before, but his list of accolades and titles was supremely impressive. So, I dove into this tale rather excited.

This medieval fantasy story starts with a thief recovering an interesting object. This object leads him on a quick quest, naturally, and there is a weird little payoff at the end, but overall, I strongly disliked this story. There wasn’t a great sense of voice, and the word choices just felt off. It read very stiff and I found myself tuning out through most of it.

I finished it, of course–because I want to finish them all–but the payoff at the end felt cheap and not worth it. Granted, I didn’t see it coming … but that’s because … well, I’ll just let you find out (if you can make it there).

I think you’re fine to skip this one. Sorry, Hughes!

Stories in Rogues – “What Do You Do?” by Gillian Flynn

Each story in Rogues is prefaced by an exhaustive detailing of the authors’ body of work and accolades, and given that George R. R. Martin is one of the editors, I guess this makes perfect sense–because it kind of reads like each author is a character in Westeros, being introduced by Martin’s exhaustive historical-narrative style, and they each get a list of impressive-sounding titles.

So, anyway, when “What Do You Do?” was introduced as a piece by Gillian Flynn, the writer of “Gone Girl”, I immediately got excited. I didn’t read Gone Girl (I know, I know …) but I did watch and thoroughly enjoyed the movie (come on, you know you liked it too). One thing I was looking forward to in Rogues was being exposed to new writers, new experiences, ideas, and different genres. And Flynn did not disappoint! Read the rest of this post …

Stories in Rogues – “Tough Times all Over” by Joe Abercrombie

So I’m reading Rogues and want to leave a little bit of my thoughts about each story here. Then, maybe put together a “go no-go” list, if people with limited time only want to read the gems. The first story in the anthology is called “Tough Times all Over” by Joe Abercrombie.

Let’s get this out of the way first: Abercrombie’s inclusion in this anthology might be the single biggest driving factor in me picking this one up. So, needless to say, I was pretty hyped to read his story and was thrilled to find it first in the line up! Read the rest of this post …

The Shattered Sea – A Review (no spoilers).

Driving down to the beautiful Bonita Springs, for a short family vacation, I finished Half a War; book three of Joe Abercrombie’s latest trilogy. As some of you may have gathered by now, this guy has become my favorite fantasy author–beating, or at least standing toe-to-toe with fantasy giants (Weis/Hickman, Martin, Brooks, Rothfuss, etc …). Read the rest of this post …

Finished reading the six-book First Law series and it reminds me of a time long gone

Just completed a six-book series, and it has reminded me of a time that I wasn’t sure could ever be reborn in quite that meaningful of a way.

I remember reading the Dragonlance Chronicles, then Dragonlance Legends, and being completely immersed, enamored, and thoroughly nostalgic throughout the series. Characters made legend in the early books, then those legends solidifying their place in history in the following books. Every death. Every surprise appearance. Every bit of character creation, leading to those pivotal choices. Those sacrifices.

Those betrayals …

But it has happened again. Perhaps the great oak borne from seeds of inspiration, I’m not sure, but Joe Abercrombie has done it. His debut as a Fantasy author was the First Law Trilogy, immediately followed by three stand-alone novels–but it’s wrong to think of them as stand-alone novels. They are very much linear extensions of the first trilogy, meant to be read in order, and are extremely good. Read the rest of this post …

Just finished the First Law series by Joe Abercrombie and it’s an instant classic.

I had no expectations. No personal recommendations (actually, this is debatable. A dear friend of mine may have also recommended this without knowing that I had already spotted it while researching my next read–we may never know!–but that is beside the point). Almost at pure chance, I picked up “The Blade Itself”. Right out of the gates, shortly after Logen Ninefingers mutters the word “shit”, I thought to myself, “what the hell am I reading?” Then I finished the trilogy of books and thought, “that was one of the best fantasy trilogies I’ve ever read.” Read the rest of this post …