Review: The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer

The Tainted City by Courtney Shafer
The Tainted City by Courtney Shafer

The Tainted City (The Shattered Sigil #2)
Courtney Schafer
Night Shade, 2012


Courtney Schafer’s debut novel The Whitefire Crossing was one of the pleasant surprises of 2011. A character driven fantasy tale in an original setting it ending with a satisfying conclusion that left our heroes alive but not necessarily in the best of circumstances. Fast forward to 2012’s release of The Tainted City and we return to see the climber Dev forced to work in the mines of Alathia to pay off his crimes for participating in Kiran’s blood magic. Kiran, his magic is bound by the Alathian Council, struggles through his own captivity doing his level best to try and convince his captors that he is truly a changed man. However, Kiran’s master Ruslan is not so easily thwarted and the warded country of Alathia finds its wards under attack by vast magical forces. It isn’t long before Dev and Kiran are reunited and press ganged into aiding an Alathian mission to Ninavel tasked with uncovering the nature and source of these magical attack.

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Review: The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams

The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams

The Dirty Streets of Heaven
Tad Williams
DAW, 2012

Angels are not a subject in many fantasy novels I come across. They are rarely a presence in your traditional epic or quest fantasies and don’t frequently make the jump from the YA market to the adult market. As a side bar and somewhat oddly there are not one but two different Fallen series for the YA market starring angels one by Thomas E. Sniegowski (whose crime solving angel Remy Chandler has his own adult series) and the more recent series by Lauren Kate. Angels in fantasy fiction, particularly in the adult market, are almost always relegated to the urban fantasy area with Neil Gaiman (Murder Mysteries and Good Omens), Jim Butcher (if a bit tangentially), and the aforementioned Sniegowski, being some of the few to have penned angel-centric tales with a more contemporary feel. Now, Tad Williams (Otherworld; Shadowmarch; Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn) has penned and urban fantasy book starring an angel (actually more than one) named Bobby Dollar in The Dirty Streets of Heaven.

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Review: Every Day and David Levithan

Every Day by David Levithan
Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day
David Levithan
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012

Every Day by David Levithan is “what if” story that is a fantasy of sorts that doesn’t bend to the tropes of that genre. The premise is simple: what if you had no body. You are still a distinct individual with feelings, memories, and a personality but every day you wake up in someone else’s body. For A, this isn’t mere speculation it is his existence. Each morning A wakes up in a new body. It might be male or female, it could be any ethnicity, it could be any sexual orientation, it might have any number of problems but it is always relatively close to A own age and it is never the same body twice. This has been A’s existence since he was an infant and he has learned through many hard years to not form lasting relationships with anyone around him. He sticks to that philosophy until he meets Rhiannon and suddenly his hard earned experience doesn’t matter and he finds himself drawn to Rhiannon no matter whose body he is.

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Review: This Book is Full of Spiders Seriously Dude Don’t Read It by David Wong

Apparently I wrote this but never posted it here. The format is a bit different that usual since I wrote this for work. If you haven’t already check out the awesome trailer for This Book is Full of Spiders followed by atypically brief review.

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Review: John Dies at the End (the movie)

John Dies at the End

In case you haven’t heard John Dies at the End is a movie now. This is a good thing since it lets me talk about John Dies at the End for a third time. Based on the book of the same that reviewed here, and mentioned here John Dies at the End is a low-budget project help brought to fruition by legendary horror director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba-ho-tep) and the enthusiasm of Paul Giamatti. There are only two directors I can think of who could stay true to the anythings-goes batshit insanity of JDatE and Coscarelli is one of those names, and Phantasm remains one of the best horror/fantasy flicks of any era (James Gunn is the other name I’m thinking of).

JDatE, for those too lazy to google, or click on one of the links above, is a wacked out send up to crazy and wonderful horror films of the 80s. A delightful and frenetic mashup of horror, fantasy, science fiction that revels in its own insanity to such a degree that when you’re a finished reading the novel your very mind is altered by the experience. If it wasn’t apparent let me say so now: I’m a fan. JDatE, both film and book, defies the expectations of genre and format to be its own thing. It is a novel born on the internet and film that both understands and revels in its own madness.

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