Fantasy Classics: Kushiel’s Dart (by Jacqueline Carey)

Darcy and Winters

Continuing on with my reviews of classics of fantasy literature, I’m turning my attention to the Kushiel series of books by Jacqueline Carey. The books, which were published throughout the 2000s and 2010s, have a (well-earned) reputation for managing to really do something new and exciting within the genre of epic fantasy. Combining elements of historical fiction, epic fantasy, and erotica, the series of books explores various issues related to politics, power, and desire.

Young woman Phédre is marked by a red mote in her eye known as Kushiel’s Dart, a sign that she is blessed (or cursed) to feel pain as pleasure. Sold into a form of indentured servitude by her impoverished parents, she eventually enters the sevice of the noble Delaunay, she quickly becomes adept in the art of politics and the bedchamber. Betrayed by the clever and cruel noblewoman Melisande, Phedre finds herself among the barbarian Skaldi…

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Book Review: “The Fall of Shannara: The Stiehl Assassin” (by Terry Brooks)

Darcy and Winters

Note: Some plot spoilers like ahead!

When it comes to the giants of fantasy, Terry Brooks is right up there with the greats. His book The Sword of Shannara, as well as the sprawling series that it spawned, helped nudge fantasy into the realm of financially viable genre rather than an idle curiosity. Now, 40-odd years later, we are coming to the chronological end of the Shannara saga, and the Four Lands stand on the precipice of catastrophe. The Skaar have invaded and are engaged in a tense standoff with the powerful Federation. However, new Ard Rhys Drisker Arc has a plan to (hopefully) avert the all-out war that seems inevitable, but to see it to completion he must enlist the aid of the Kaynin siblings, the boy Shea Ohmsford, the warrior Dar Leah, and the Elven prince Brecon Elessedil. Even then, his efforts might yet be thwarted by the…

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Book Review: “A Brightness Long Ago” (by Guy Gavriel Kay)

Another review from my alter-ego.

Darcy and Winters

I’ve been a big fan of Guy Gavriel Kay’s for a long time now. He has such a command of language, and his books always manage to pierce the heart with their beauty and their engagement with the deeper, philosophical questions.

A Brightness Long Ago, set in the same world as several of his other books (The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Last Light of the Sun, Sailing for Sarantium and Lord of Emperors, Children of Earth and Sky), is a true gem, a pleasure to read from beginning to end. It is, in many ways, a prequel to 2016’s Children of Earth and Sky, and some of the characters make repeat appearances.

It is set in Batiara, a country splintered into dozens of squabbling city-states, most of which employ large groups of mercenaries to conduct proxy wars with one another. Into this nest of vipers fall several characters, two…

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Reading Tad Williams: “Empire of Grass”

A little something my alter-ego wrote about the newest book from Tad Williams.

Darcy and Winters

Warning: Some spoilers for the novel follow.

It’s finally here!

That was my first thought upon hearing that the second installment of his new trilogy, entitled “The Last King of Osten Ard” was soon to be published. I’d loved The Witchwood Crown so much, and I’d become very impatient of the release of the continuation of the story. It takes a truly great author to take a well-established (and well-loved) fantasy world and do something new and exciting (and even, sometimes, devastating) with it, and I don’t think that anyone but Tad Williams could really pull it off. Luckily for us, there’s still a lot of the old magic in the splendid kingdoms of Osten Ard.

Empire of Grass finds our various characters scattered to the many corners in Osten Ard. Morgan struggles along in Aldheorte, Simon and Miriamele try to keep their fragmenting kingdom together, Tiamak discovers new and…

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Reading History: “Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen” (by Alison Weir)

If Anne Boleyn has gone done in history as one of England's most notorious, and thus documented, queens, her successor Jane Seymour has done the opposite. She hovers in the background of Henry's reign, remembered largely for her success in bearing Henry the son that he had long desired. Alison Weir's new book, Jane Seymour: The … Continue reading Reading History: “Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen” (by Alison Weir)