Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations: Book 1)

Mulluane | Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | 8 Comments so far
Crown Conspiracy

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Michael J. Sullivan

Genre: Sword and Sorcery, 13+, Adventure
ISBN: 0980003431
Publisher: Aspirations Media Inc (October 1, 2008)
Paperback: 310 pages
Read a Chapter (PDF)

Author's Blurb:
They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly.

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles until they become unwitting scapegoats in the murder of the king. Sentenced to death, they have only one way out and so begins this epic tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

This book was a pleasant surprise. Great characters, delightful misdirection, good world building, and just the right amount of humor. If I had to describe this book with one word, that word would be fun!

This is the first in a planned six book series titled The Rivria Revelations. Each book will be written, as this one was, as a standalone. You will not need to read previous books to enjoy them. However, let me warn you, if you read this one you will find yourself impatiently waiting on the next. It is that good.

If you follow my reviews, you know that my first love is great characters. I can forgive a lot if the characters come alive for me. I am happy to say that each character in this book has a distinct personality and their own voice. They also develop, which is another bonus. I do not mind if the antagonists remain static but I want to see the protagonists change and grow. I will give you an example. There is one scene in the book that hit me as exceptional. The Crown Prince is examining his feelings regarding becoming a king. He compares his innocent perceptions as a child with the reality of what it actually means to be a ruling monarch. In this one scene, you watch as the Crown Prince leaves his childish dreams behind, faces his future and discovers a greater appreciation for his father. It was beautifully done.

I also felt that the pacing was solid. While the story really did not "grab" me until the third chapter, after that I was hooked. I read the whole thing in two settings! In addition, I thought the descriptions of individual scenes were well done. Michael Sullivan gave just enough detail to fuel my imagination, without going into a lengthy info dump. He handles the world building in a similar manner; you get only as much information as you need and only when it is needed to advance the plot. My favorite source of information came in the form of a cloistered monk who has never seen the outside world. His observations are often hilarious and when he is fed information it feels natural, this poor guy is honestly, and believably, naive.

As far as content, this is very readable for the YA crowd. The violence is not overly graphic, the few instances of sex are implied, and the language is mild. There is magic, but not much of it, instead there is plenty of loyalty, betrayal, intrigue, humor, and conspiracy. This is not a book for romance lovers, but adventure and mystery lovers will be thrilled. The plot twists and turns, then twists again and you will not be sure of "who done it" until close to the end. As I said before, a fun read. I HIGHLY recommend this book to any fantasy lover.

The next book in the series, Avempartha,is due out in April of 2009. I am eagerly looking forward to it!


My Interview with Michael Sullivan
Read an interview with Michael Sullivan
Review at Fantasy Book Critic



Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari Rating 5/5

Librarything Rating 4.67/5

Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars
(18 Customer Reviews)


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations)

Ebook: No

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

Friday, November 28, 2008

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (Review)

Mulluane | Friday, November 28, 2008 | 3 Comments so far
A Fantasy Book Review

Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Epic Fantasy, Standalone
ISBN-10: 0765350378
Publisher: Tor Fantasy (May 30, 2006)
Mass Market Paperback: 656 pages
Sample Chapters
Publisher's Blurb:
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (Review)Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon's new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping -- based on their correspondence -- to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful city named Elantris. The walls of Elantris glowed with a silver light, as did its benevolent residents. The Shaod could strike anyone at any time, turning them into demi-gods with unlimited beauty, life, and power. These newly formed mages used their power to benefit humanity; no one had to be hungry or sick in the country of Arelon. Nevertheless, that was in the past. Now the Sheod creates monsters, zombies who suffer endlessly, never heal, never die except from decapitation or fire. Elantris itself, once the most beautiful capital in the world is now a prison, its walls crumbling, everything covered in thick black slime.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shoutout: New Writing Software

Mulluane | Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | 3 Comments so far
A few years ago I played with the idea of writing fantasy. In my search for information I ran across (and purchased) The Marshall Plan Workbook : Writing Your Novel from Start to Finish By Evan Marshal. It was very helpful but sadly, due of course to no fault of the book, I found that I just didn't have the self-discipline to write.

Anyway, I got a very nice email from Evan Marshal today. It went as follows:

Hi, Evan Marshall here.

I’ve been enjoying your blog. Thank you for recommending my book The Marshall Plan® Workbook. I’m delighted that you’ve found it helpful.

For many years now, writers have been asking me to turn my Marshall Plan® system into software. I’m pleased to say now that I’ve just done that. The downloadable software, The Marshall Plan® for Novel Writing Template Generator, has just been released and is available for download on at www.marshall-plan.com/software.htm. The program completely automates the template-creating process I outlined in The Marshall Plan ® for Novel Writing and The Marshall Plan® Workbook.

Your readers might be interested to know that in order to ensure that the software be as faithful to my system as possible, I learned programming and programmed the software myself. It took me three years, but I am happy to say that initial responses from writers are very positive. For more information, please visit www.marshall-plan.com/software.htm (where there is an overview of how the software works).

Have a great day.

With warmest wishes,

Evan

I was tickled enough to agree to give a shout out about his new product. If you are a writer or an aspiring writer, it might be worth a look! I will also be trying out the software myself so I'll let you know in a few days what I think.

My thanks to Evan Marshal for both the kind words and the personal attention.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

About my blogs

Mulluane | Wednesday, August 13, 2008 | Be the first to comment!
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards:

A few years ago I was searching the web for a new Fantasy series to read. You see at some point in my obsession with reading I had made a decision. I HATED going to the book store, studying the shelves, only to find that one of 3 scenarios was bound to happen. I'd find book 2 or 3 of a series, but, I could not remember if I had book 1 and/or 2, or, if I knew I didn't have them, the store didn't either, or, I had 1, I could buy 2, but it would be another year or more before I could get #3. So, instead I started looking for complete series. Book 1, 2 and 3 (or more) sitting neatly on the shelf. But I digress.... Fast forward to me searching the web for my next undiscovered already complete series. I soon realized that at that time, there was no such resource. Oh I found reviews of great books. Lots and lots of them. Only problem was I had to dig deep to find out if the review belonged to part of a complete set, or an incomplete set. I had to check for titles of books 1, 2 and 3 then see if and when and where they were available. Throwing my hands up in frustration I decided to create my own blog focused on.... you guessed it.... only complete series (or sub-series, some works in their entirety are huge but are broken down into separate trilogies.) And so Dragons, Heroes and Wizards was born. The rest as they say, is history.


Old Bat's Belfry:

This is a companion blog to Dragons, Heroes and Wizards which is my fantasy series book review blog. I keep all my full series reviews over there and reserve this blog for Fantasy related asides and personal stuff.

Here you will find links to stuff I find out there in the SFF world, Memes I've been tagged with, Shoutouts about things I deem worthy of attention and maybe the odd book review that doesn't fit in my fantasy series niche. And of course the infamous author social media table.

Its also a place where I can goof around with all the fun widgets, gadgets and other assorted inane stuff I run across on the web.

Welcome to my world! (Try not to be afraid, it scares even me.)

Contact

There are lots of ways to contact me:

Technorati | Goodreads | E-mail | Librarything | Shelfari | Guestbook | Book Blogs | Squidoo | Networked Blogs Facebook |Twitter | Facebook Fan Page | Pinterest

Friday, August 1, 2008

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Mulluane | Friday, August 01, 2008 | Be the first to comment!
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Monday, January 28, 2008

I Love Your Blog Award

Mulluane | Monday, January 28, 2008 | 2 Comments so far
Tia over at Fantasy Debut nominated Dragons, Heroes and Wizards for the I Love Your Blog award! Well I love hers too so it all works out great! So the rules for this award are as follows:

After receiving the award we must:

1)Add the logo of your award to your blog.
2)Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3)Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4)Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5)Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

Now my review blog was the one actually nominated but I never post anything there but reviews so.....I'm going to follow the rules over here from the personal blog.

So lets see, who will I pass this torch to....

Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews: This was the first book review blog I started following on a regular basis and Dark Wolf is a really great guy. He also features fantasy art on his blog in addition to his reviews.

Pat's Fantasy Hot List: Another blog I follow religiously. Awesome book give aways and great reviews.

The Accidental Bard: Another great site run by really nice folks. A mix of articles, reviews and news with the primary focus on Fantasy

Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin' Book Reviews: Another of my favorites. Great interviews, book give aways and book reviews.

Fantasy Book News & Reviews: This blog has got to have the biggest list of fantasy book reviews on the net. So far he claims to have 791 links to reviews of 404 books (I bet its more!) And writes a good review himself!

Jennifer Fallon's Blog: I'm sure she doesn't get caught up in this sort of blog tag but I have to include her. She is a source of great joy for me and I rarely leave her blog without a big grin plastered on my face. Did I mention that she is one of my favorite authors?

Bookgeeks: I first ran across these guys as fellow members of my favorite forum. Its a cool site with great author interviews and reviews. They did a panel about maps and visual aids not too long ago that I really enjoyed reading.

OK! Thats my list. Now off to inform my victims....umm, awardees!

Premio Dardo Award

Mulluane | Monday, January 28, 2008 | 5 Comments so far


I received this award, much to my delight and surprise, from one of my favorite readers, Christiane, who does absolutely beautiful bead work as you can see on her blog here: Legolas Perlenuniversum. Some of you might be more familiar with her husband EdiFanoB as he frequents alot of the SFF blogs and is one of the best readers to have, one who actually interacts instead of always lurking! (Not that we don't love the lurkers too, but we adore comments.) Anyway, here are the rules (Which she was nice enough to translate from German into English for me.):

The award "Dardos" appreciates the merits - culturally, literary and individually- of every blogger who expresses him/herself on his/her blog.

1. be tickled pink ;)
2. copy an paste the award picture to your blog
3. write down the regulations
4. link the blog who bestowed you the Award
5. and finally nominate 15 blogs for the Award

These are my 15 nominees for the Award:

1. Fantasy Debut
2. Grasping for the Wind
3. The World in a Satin Bag
4. Un:Bound
5. ScifiChick
6. Sci-Fi Songs
7. Fantasy Book Reviews and News
8. Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin' Blog
9. The Book Swede
10. Bookspotcentral
11. Blood of the Muse
12. Random Acts of Mediocrity
13. A Dribble Of Ink
14. Barbara Martin
15. Bitten by Books

Kreativ Blogger Award

Mulluane | Monday, January 28, 2008 | 6 Comments so far

Dark Wolf from the fantastic blog Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews nominated my main blog Dragons, Heroes and Wizards for the Kreativ Blogger Award! Thank you Dark Wolf, I really appreciate it.



Here are the rules and my nominees:

1. Mention the blog that gave it to you.
2. Comment on their blog to let them know you have posted the award.
3. Share 6 values that are important to you.
4. Share 6 things you do not support.
5. Share the love with six other wonderful blogging friends.

6 values important to me:
1. Family
2. Compassion
3. Responsibility
4. Forgiveness
5. Honesty
6. Patience

6 things I do not support:
1. Lying
2. Cheating
3. Selfishness
4. Narrow-mindedness
5. Stealing
6. Greed

6 wonderful blogs and friends:

1. Best Blog for Fantasy Art: The Fantasy Art Blog

2. Best Blog for Lists of Fantasy Reviews: Fantasy Book News & Reviews

3. Best Blog for Original SFF Songs: Sci Fi Songs

4. Best Blog for Themed SFF Reading Lists, Interviews, New Releases: Sci-Fi Fan Letter

5. Best Blog for Young Adult Science Fiction: Young Adult Science Fiction

6. Best New SFF Blog: Unbound!

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