I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at FanLit
What’s more fun than hanging out with Owen “Big Z” Pitt, Earl Harbinger, Julie, Milo, Holly, Trip, Mosh Pitt, and Skippy the orc at the MHI compound in rural Alabama? How about MHI meeting up with teams from all over the world at a monster hunter conference in Las Vegas? And how about if that ancient Lovecraftian god that Big Z pissed off three books ago decides to unleash his wrath right about now? And how about if those incompetent federal agents who keep trying to cover up the monster attacks want to make sure that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so they quarantine all those monster hunters in a luxury hotel?
Well, if you’re already a fan of Larry Correia’s MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL series, I’m sure my description above is ‘nuff said for you. I don’t even need to mention guns, explosions, a brawl in a rotating restaurant, shattering windows, explosions, hotel rooms containing extradimensional spaces, guns, gigantic spiders, WWII weapons experiments, a chocolate fountain, mad science, explosions, slot machines, harrowing helicopter rides, Faberge eggs, explosions, guns, dragons and, best of all, Agent Franks.
So if you’ve already enjoyed the first three books, go ahead and get Monster Hunter Legion because this story is just as exciting as the previous ones. Correia widens the plot, further develops the characters, keeps up the fast and furious action, and continues to make us laugh. The whole thing is still a little too violent for me, but at least Monster Hunter Legion is less gory than Monster Hunter Alpha — more guns and explosives, fewer fangs and claws. The ending makes clear that this series isn’t finished yet. I’m looking forward to book five.
If you haven’t read the previous books, Monster Hunter International, Monster Hunter Vendetta, and Monster Hunter Alpha, you should give them a try, especially if you like great characters, cool monsters, black humor, tight plotting, nail-biting tension, and some serious gun porn. I recommend the awesome audio productions being produced by Audible Frontiers and narrated by Oliver Wyman.
Patricia McKillip is a must-read author for any true lover of fantasy literature. With a voice all her own, she imbues her work ??? both the story and the style ??? with beauty, magic, and wonder. Her latest novel, The Bards of Bone Plain, is just as enchanting as I was expecting it to be.
The Bards of Bone Plain combines the arts and sciences (and mysteries) of archeology, music, language, and history, to create a multi-layered story that???s sure to satisfy both sides of your brain. I enjoyed the academic atmosphere and the way that Phelan???s research paper was used as alternating chapters to present Nairn???s story. In the audiobook edition, only these chapters are read by Charlotte Parry so that they are clearly set apart.
The characters are well-done, though there are so many important ones that we don???t get to know them all as well as we???d like to. I especially liked Princess Beatrice, who drives a steam-powered car and is always trying to balance her courtly duties with her dirty hobbies. She hates the social events she???s required to attend, but she knows that if she pushes her mother too far, she???ll be shipped off to the country to live with her sister???s family. Beatrice???s social blunders and her interactions with her family are delightfully humorous.
If you???re familiar with Patricia McKillip, then you know she writes in a somewhat dreamy and fanciful style that, though lyrical and lovely, is occasionally misty and vague. While the plot of The Bards of Bone Plain is fairly straight-forward, McKillip???s romantic style shrouds some aspects of the plot and characters in mysteries that are never completely cleared up. This sense of wonder is part of what makes her stories work so well as fantasy. The Bards of Bone Plain is another McKillip novel that leaves the reader in awe. It???s a gorgeous story that celebrates the power of music, language, and love.
Originally posted at FanLit.
Atticus O’Sullivan, the 2000 year old druid who looks like he’s 22, has just pissed off a bunch of Old Norse gods (for details, read Hammered) and now he must go into hiding. It’s a good time for that because what he really wants to do is spend the next 12 years training his gorgeous and smart apprentice, Granuaile. Fortunately his werewolf lawyer can fix up some new identities, but first he has to fake his own death so the gods will stop hunting him, and then he needs to do a favor for Coyote, the Navajo trickster god.
Of course, this doesn’t go as easily as he hopes. The favor that wily Coyote demands involves befriending an elemental that Atticus doesn’t know, transferring a vein of gold to a Native American reservation, sabotaging a coal mining company, fighting off some scary skinwalkers, and battling some “locusts of unusual size.” And he’s also a little worried about the new vampires who’ve moved into the Phoenix area after his friend Leif was injured in Asgard.
During all the mayhem we learn a little more about Atticus’s past — there’s a lot of it, so Hearne doles it out a little at a time in each novel. Specifically, in Tricked we learn about why he came to the New World, how he killed Bigfoot in the Florida Everglades, and how some of his charms and tattoos work. We also learn more about who Coyote is and where he came from.
Readers will be happy to know that Oberon and Granuaile are back in Tricked. They stayed home during the outing to Asgard in Hammered. Granuaile is looking pretty and acting sassy, and Oberon, everyone’s favorite Irish Wolfhound, plays a prominent role in Tricked and earns a lot of sausage and bacon snacks. Both of these characters provide plenty of comic relief.
I’ve been listening to the audiobook versions of THE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES. Mostly I love Luke Daniels’ narration, though this time I think he went a little overboard with Oberon. A lot of the time he ended up sounding like Scooby Doo. I forgive him.
If you’re new to THE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES, I recommend starting at the beginning with Hounded. This is a great series; it’s got a perfect pace, charming characters, pleasing prose, and just the right amount of humor. At the end of Tricked it feels like a major change is coming as Atticus and Granuaile are finally (we assume) able to settle down to get Granuaile trained. The next novel, Trapped (that’s an ominous title, isn’t it?), takes place 12 years later but there’s a novella called Two Ravens and One Crow which takes place between Tricked and Trapped which fans will not want to miss.