And now for the next round. This group is all fantasy, and it runs the gamut from sort-of religious fantasy, to dragons and urban fantasy.
First, I’ll go ahead and admit it: I read Brisingr, by Christopher Paolini. I have heard/read a lot of the criticism directed at the guy, and I feel sorry for him. Honestly, I think a lot of it is sour grapes on the part of his critics. I mean, I certainly didn’t write a best-selling novel when I was fifteen, a book which then spawned a movie and two sequels already. I don’t believe in dogging on other writers. Do I wish I had already published three popular novels and had one of them made into a movie? Yes, obviously. Does that make me want to go around spouting off about how much better a writer I am than Christopher Paolini? Uh, no. (Okay, climbing down off my soapbox now. Sorry for the detour.)
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll talk about Brisingr. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it was far from the worst. It had none of the pseudo Star Wars and Lord of the Rings trappings of Eragon (And yes, I do remember being annoyed by those things when I read that book.) The writing seemed much stronger than that first book, stronger even than Eldest. It took me a while to get into it, but then, I’m not much for battles and wars, so I think that’s why my interest lagged a bit, but it had a lot of action and some pretty good revelations that I, at least, didn’t see coming. I would recommend it.
Legend of the Firefish, by George Bryan Polivka, was a little different from most fantasy books I’ve read. It was set in a fantasy world, yet the Christian theology (with Jesus as the Son of God, dying on the cross) was intact, and was a motivating force. The MC was a believer who stowed away aboard a notorious pirate ship, determined to learn the secret behind catching and killing the Firefish (huge sea monsters). In doing so, he left all he loved behind and open to the whims of a dangerous swordswoman bent on revenge. This is the first of the Trophy Chase trilogy, and I fully intend to read the others, as I enjoyed this one.
Next up is Storm Born, by Richelle Mead. I’ve read Ms. Mead before and been impressed, and this was no exception. It’s about Eugenie, a shaman who banishes spirits and fey from the mortal world. I’m intrigued by anything to do with the fey, so I was sold immediately. Then Eugenie becomes the subject of a powerful prophecy, and the target of demons and other fey with ambitions (or delusions of grandeur). I couldn’t put this one down, and I liked Eugenie (not to mention Kiyo and Dorian) a lot. Can’t wait to read the next one in this series.
Last up is Wicked and Curse, both by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie. These are about Holly Cather, who is suddenly orphaned and has to live with an aunt she never knew about. It turns out that her family were powerful witches, and their perennial enemies are still out to get them, leaving Holly and her family in peril, while Holly is strangely attracted to the son of the rival family. These stories had a good premise, but I found the writing a little uneven in places. Certain dramatic, important events were pretty much skipped over, and the next sentence would start off weeks, or even months, later.