Book Review: The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble’s Braid

Amra Thetys #1 by Michael McClung

I came across this book via a self-published fantasy competition reported on Mark Lawrence’s blog.  At the time, this book was a top contender, and it actually ended up winning.  I’m not surprised.

Great imagination; rich world; excellent prose; interesting characters; all-round good read.  This is a really good book.BookCoverThiefwhoPulled

Now, the lead role in the story is that of a thief – a somewhat popular angle in the modern fantasy genre.  As I go through this review, I will probably (will) end up drawing numerous comparisons to Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series – also about thieves.  To elucidate, Scott Lynch is my favourite current fantasy writer, and he has been for a few years.  So any comparisons drawn should be viewed for what they are – compliments to Michael McClung. Continue reading Book Review: The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble’s Braid

First Shoots

James’s Writing Journey: Part 3

So, I’ve now spent an inordinate amount of time ambling rather randomly through the creation of a world (well, a few years anyway).  As you’ll have read in my first blog, it all started as a story (or at least part of a story), so this perhaps feels a bit strange.  But there are a few reasons for this relative inactivity:

  1. I was younger and out partying somewhat more;
  2. I didn’t have a clue where to start; and
  3. I didn’t share what I was doing very widely, and so didn’t have the encouragement of friends / family.

Continue reading First Shoots

Book Review: Dangerous Women

A Short Story Collection by Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin

On first impressions, you rather get the impression that George R. R. Martin has been enlisted in this venture as at least part marketing tool.  Well, it worked – that’s why I bought it.

And so, what of the flagship story; George Martin’s novella titled TheBook_Cover Princess and the Queen, or the Blacks and the Greens?  Well, let’s just say that it isn’t the highlight of this compendium.  I’m not saying that it isn’t good (definitely not), and it certainly does what it intends to, but it left me a little … frustrated.  It is written in the style of a transcript, and done well in this sense, but we cover such a rapid and intriguing period of history in just eighty pages, that it feels rather distant.  In all honesty, the story relayed could command a lengthy trilogy in its own right, so eighty pages was never going to cut it.  I finished the story wondering if this is what it’s like reading a synopsis, and in some sense that gave me heart; I now know the shape of the story, but that only makes me want to read the full intoxicating version more.  It turns out that the journey is more important than the destination.

Continue reading Book Review: Dangerous Women

Beagle’s Blot Two | Between

These boots aren’t made for walking.  And nor am I.

I’ve only been going a day, and already the bitter taste of defeat has faded to a vague tang; dominated as it is by the overwhelming urge for comfort.  Oh comfort, how I miss thee!  I think I have a blister coming, but I’m loathed to take my shoes off for fear of not getting them back on.  They seem to be bulging in their tight prison today, where yesterday, they were snugly encased in fine soft leather.  That expensive leather is now caked with dust too, which is extremely unlikely to wash out.

But I will soldier on, and in doing so, will report to you, my beloved readership, on my progress and my findings.  And my oh my, what findings!  I am only a day from the lavish comfort of Callij, and already I am overwhelmed by the difference.  It is stark.

Continue reading Beagle’s Blot Two | Between

Let’s Do the News: March 16

As they say on Top Gear – “Let’s do the news.”

So, what have I been up to since the website went live in February?  Well, mostly I’ve been writing the novella Mandestroy; a prequel to Fear’s Union.  I plan to freely release this novella sometime in the summer (I’m not committing!), so it has become a bit of a race to go from blank page to published in a few months.  I’m therefore taking the opportunity to record all my experiences of the process here, where you can also track my progress on my live activity calendar!  More on this later.

But what else have I been up to?  Here’s what:

  • Watching the 6 nations and leading my fantasy 6 nations mini league (again!);
  • Writing about my world-building efforts in the regular writing experience blog;
  • A book review of Megg Jensen’s ‘Hidden‘;
  • I’ve been reading the excellent short story anthology ‘Dangerous Women‘ by Gardner Dozois and George RR Martin;
  • And Beagle completed the second part of his blot around the World of Ku.
Now for more on the upcoming novella.

Continue reading Let’s Do the News: March 16