The Skybreak Spatterlight

On The Road Again
(The Skybreak Spatterlight)

The Skybreak Spatterlight (aka. Cugel’s Saga, Jack Vance, 1983) is the second book in the Cugel duology, and third novel in the The Dying Earth series, once again following the rogue Cugel across fantasy wastelands in a world where the sun threatens to extinguish at any moment. Given the book’s nature as a sequel, spoilers for the previous novel will follow, as well as light spoilers for the opening chapters. Continue reading

The Eyes Of The Overworld

Heroics Are Overrated
(The Eyes of the Overworld)

The Eyes of the Overworld (aka. Cugel the Clever, Jack Vance, 1966) is the second novel in the The Dying Earth series. It follows the (mis)adventures of the rogue Cugel, on his journey across the world back to his home in Almery after banishment by the Laughing Mage, Iucounu, brought upon by Cugel’s attempted burglary of Iucounu’s manse. Charged with retrieving the Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel is flown to distant, unfamiliar lands with only his wits and a magical sustenance-providing amulet to aid him. Continue reading

The Dying Earth

Old Wizards Are Awesome
(The Dying Earth)

The Dying Earth (Jack Vance, 1950) is a novel about, er, the dying Earth. Well, not quite. It’s a high fantasy novel full of magic, wizards, and grimness. The novel is set upon the dying Earth, so called due to a prematurely red sun, which threatens to exhaust and die. In reality, a red sun would mean the sun’s expansion and the heat death of the planet. But let’s not throw science at a novel which features magical teleportation, nine foot tall naked humanoid mounts, and wizards. Continue reading

The Master Magician

She Ain’t No David Blaine (The Master Magician)

The Master Magician (Charlie N. Holmberg, 2015) is the final novel in Holmberg’s The Paper Magician trilogy. In the same vein as its predecessors, The Master Magician tells a tale of Ceony Twill, apprentice paper magician with a secret that would rock the foundations of magic. But will she spill the beans? Or will she take it to her grave, helpfully being dug by vengeful blood magician Saraj? And most importantly, will she pass her magician’s exam and finally be free of the fear that her forbidden relationship with master Emery Thane (total dreamboat) will be discovered? Unmarked spoilers for the prequels, ahoy! Continue reading

Falling Free

Legless in Space (Falling Free)

Falling Free (Lois McMaster Bujold, 1987) is a sci-fi adventure novel set on-board a floating space habitat called, er, the Habitat. Leo Graf, master safety engineer, comes to the Habitat to teach a group of a thousand genetically-modified humans known as “quaddies”, conceived in a uterus replacement machine and born on the Habitat. The quaddies defining characteristic is their lack of legs: In their place, they have another set of arms. Continue reading

The Glass Magician

Once I Had A Love, And It Was A Gas
(The Glass Magician)

The Glass Magician (Charlie N. Holmberg, 2014) is the sequel to Holmberg’s novel The Paper Magician. Again starring Ceony Twill, apprentice Folder, the novel follows the cat-and-mouse chase between Ceony and a pair of powerful, evil magicians that she wronged during the course of the first adventure. As this is a sequel, the gentle reader of this review must prepare themselves: There will be unmarked spoilers for the first novel, The Paper Magician! Continue reading

The Paper Magician

Keep Folding, Folding, Folding
(The Paper Magician)

The Paper Magician (Charlie N. Holmberg, 2014) is a magical fantasy young adult novel set in a Victorian-era world where magic can be taught to those with potential, and each magician is bound to a particular man-made material that they choose. Well, they normally get their own choice of material, but England is suffering a dearth of Folders — paper magicians — and recent magical school graduate Ceony Twill is unfortunate: She is to forgo her goal of becoming a Smelter, and take up paper in the name of Queen and country. What a dreadful business! Continue reading

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl

Maybe The Point and the Mechanical Book Review
(Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl)

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl (2013, David Barnett) is a steampunk fantasy novel set in an alternate Victorian era, covering an intercontinental adventure to uncover the reason behind mysterious monster attacks plaguing England. It has its flaws, but it’s a solid page-turner that you can easily envisage as a big budget blockbuster. I’m also a sucker for airships, which helps a lot. There’s light spoilers incoming, so beware!

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