Review: Prophets by S. Andrew Swann

Prophets by S. Andrew SwannProphets (Apotheosis: Book One)
S. Andrew Swann
DAW, 2009

Prophets marks the first book in a new series from S. Andrew Swann set in the same universe as two of his previous series (Hostile Takeover and Moreau). Set several centuries in the future Prophets begins 200 years after the fall of the human Confederacy (an organizations of human planets and colonies) and where the Roman Catholic Church represents a powerful political force in the expansion of human influence in the galaxy. A rising power, the islamic Eridani Caliphate, is quickly gaining ground on the Church while a third party, represented by the enigmatic Mr. Antonio, manipulates both governments and individuals towards a yet unknown goal. Prophets is a novel that covers all the standard space opera bases and covers them well. Unique and fascinating alien races, genetically engineered humans, sentient AI, political machinations, fascinating human cultures, and mystery are all present and accounted far. This might of made for a fairly generic story but Swann manages to weave a startling complexity and depth into each of those aspects and ties everything together with spiritual and religious themes that are overt but never obnoxious.
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Review: Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker by Brandon SandersonWarbreaker
Brandon Sanderson
Tor, 2009 (also available under Creative Commons for free here)

Warbreaker is a new epic fantasy by Brandon Sanderon, author of the highly entertaining Mistborn series and the man chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Like Sanderson’s pearler novel, Elantris, Warbreaker seems to be designed more or less as a stand alone novel (though potential for future books is there). This is a bit impressive given the modern fantasy market’s penchant for long series. Like the Mistborn series Warbreaker features a complex and fascinating magic system that is wholely original in its conception and extraordinarily crafted in its execution. Sweetening the deal is the fact that alongside the novel magic system Warbreaker has strong characters mired in plots full of action, intrigue, and mystery all enhanced by some of the best dialogue Sanderson has ever written. As mentioned Warbreaker is a self-contained tale but with somewhat open ending that, thanks to Sanderson’s strong writing, leaves you wanting more (though, at least, not needing it). Read on for more impressions….
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