Books shelved under “Fantasy”

451 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Pilgrim

    Pilgrim

    by Sara Douglass

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is a marked improvement over the first book in this trilogy, but that isn’t saying much. Pilgrim is very much Drago’s redemption story, and Sara Douglass is determined that we care for him as a person and a hero. And you know what? I think she might actually succeed. Not because Drago is all that great, but because our choice of other heroes is … not great. Axis and Azhure (well, to be…

  2. Book cover for Battle Ground

    Battle Ground

    by Jim Butcher

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    You should read my review of Peace Talks before you read this review. Also, I don’t know how to talk about this book without spoilers. So if you want a spoiler-free review: Battle Ground is a flawed attempt to give fans of the Dresden Files the climax Butcher thinks they want, but it falls short. There are definitely crowning moments of awesome, low moments, and the thoughtful moments we have come to expect.

    Spoilers from…

  3. Book cover for Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

    Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

    by Bradley P. Beaulieu

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It feels like with fantasy these days I am eternally questing after the next fresh idea. Don’t get me wrong—there is sometimes nothing better than a classic, trope-laden fantasy from the late twentieth century to stir my book loins. But every time I pick up a big, heavy book like Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, I hope deep down in my heart that it will give me something new, that it will stir up not…

  4. Book cover for Storm of Locusts

    Storm of Locusts

    by Rebecca Roanhorse

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Rebecca Roanhorse bottled lightning once, and now she is back to do it again

    Storm of Locusts picks up not too long after Trail of Lightning. Maggie agrees to help the Thirsty Boys apprehend the White Locust, a strange cult leader buying up explosives. The mission goes sideways in a big way, and Maggie picks up the pieces and finds herself responsible for a young woman, Ben, with some clan powers, a chip on…

  5. Book cover for The Water Dancer

    The Water Dancer

    by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is a book by a Black man about slavery in the United States, and I wanted to open this review by boosting the thoughts of Black reviewers—after all, their take on this book is going to be more salient than the opinion of a white woman like me. Unforunately, as I browsed reviews of The Water Dancer on Goodreads, I was dismayed to see that the majority of them are from white people (mostly…

  6. Book cover for The Future Falls

    The Future Falls

    by Tanya Huff

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Time travel. Like Captain Janeway, I hate it. I mean, I love stories about it (hello, I watch Doctor Who every Sunday with one of my besties). But the kinds of paradoxes in The Future Falls are not exactly my cup of tea. If you can look past that, this is another fun fantasy novel that benefits from being mostly set in Calgary, and you don’t see enough of those! If you liked the first…

  7. Book cover for Flight from Nevèryön

    Flight from Nevèryön

    by Samuel R. Delany

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Delany remains one of the authors who most consistently fascinates, educates, and challenges me. His science fiction and fantasy novels are never exactly what they seem—or perhaps are exactly what they seem—and if Dhalgren is perhaps his most widely-known inscrutable work, his Return to Nevèryön series, and particularly Flight from Nevèryön, are the most obviously inscrutable.

    I’m not sure how to summarize this book. I wanted to say that the first two tales are…

  8. Book cover for Peace Talks

    Peace Talks

    by Jim Butcher

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    A podcast I listen to, Read It and Weep, has developed a metaphor for the films it’s watching during its current season. Movies that are mostly pleasant diversions are soda (or pop as I would call it); movies that require a lot more effort to understand and enjoy are coffee (some are in fact very strong coffee). Like all metaphors this one has its limits, yet my mind kept coming back to it…

  9. Book cover for Ashes of the Sun

    Ashes of the Sun

    by Django Wexler

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    One of the reasons Brandon Sanderson took off, I suspect, is that he manages to bring an urban fantasy feel to more high fantasy or epic fantasy settings. In Ashes of the Sun, Django Wexler accomplishes a similar feat. This is a book set in a world incredibly different from our own, a land reminiscent of the epic fantasy books that for a time dominated this genre, yet the pacing and style are much…

  10. Book cover for The Forest

    The Forest: A Tale of Old Magic

    by Julia Blake

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’ve spent a great deal of time these past two years helping a friend revise her PhD. dissertation, which was about the history of sustainability in the Ontario forestry industry. Riveting, right? Anyway, one of the ideas she explores early in her thesis is that European settlers brought with them to the New World various prejudices regarding forests. The forest, in many European folkloric traditions, is a dark and scary place. We see this echoed…

  11. Book cover for Sinner

    Sinner

    by Sara Douglass

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Wait, was it November when I finished the first trilogy?? How is it June already? Wow. Anyway, as promised, I’m back with the first book of the second trilogy set in Sara Douglass’ Tencendor universe. Whereas I am certain I read the first trilogy as a teenager, I’m not sure if I ever read the entire second trilogy. So some of these books might be new to me? They all kind of blurred together. If…

  12. Book cover for Blades of the Old Empire

    Blades of the Old Empire

    by Anna Kashina

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m slowly working my way through my Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry backlog from back when I had a subscription to every book they published. Anna Kashina’s name was familiar: turns out I read a similarly named Shadowblade that also features cool sexy sword-wielding ladies. I’m not saying these books are clones, but yeah … Kashina has a theme here.

    In Blades of the Old Empire, an ancient enemy has returned and has an outsized interest…

  13. Book cover for Stolen Songbird

    Stolen Songbird

    by Danielle L. Jensen

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is one of those books where you kind of like it but also kind of don’t like it, and you're low-key impressed you don’t actively hate it? Yeah, I think that's what this is. Stolen Songbird is a hot mess of paradox: the plot is straightforward but also convoluted; the romance is broken but also kind of believable; the main character is annoying but also grew on me. I liked it enough that I…

  14. Book cover for League of Dragons

    League of Dragons

    by Naomi Novik

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So here we are, over 2 years after I read Blood of Tyrants: the last Temeraire novel!

    It’s times like these I always want to take a deep breath before I dive into writing this review.

    Let’s get the verdict out of the way: League of Dragons is a good conclusion to the series, but it is not without its strange elisions. Naomi Novik proves up to the task of wrapping up her sprawling…

  15. Book cover for The Warrior's Tale

    The Warrior's Tale

    by Allan Cole and Chris Burch

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    And so, dear reader of reviews, my journey into revisiting cheesy ’90s epic fantasy that I may or may not have read as a kid continues. Last year I dipped into The Far Kingdoms to keep myself company with a broken elbow. This year, with a pandemic stalking close, I decided it was time to return to that universe with The Warrior’s Tale. Allan Cole and Chris Burch place Rali Antero in the narrator…

  16. Book cover for Baker Thief

    Baker Thief

    by Claudie Arseneault

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    What's better than a magical mystery? A magical mystery featuring baked goods, you say? Sign me up! Baker Thief is a conventions-busting, inclusive, fun alternate world urban fantasy novel with mysteries and thrills and no small amount of underdogs taking on the corrupt underbelly of corporations.

    It is, in short, a good read.

    Adèle is a detective recently relocated and transferred to a new unit. Shortly after moving in, a masked, purple-haired thief named Claire…

  17. Book cover for The Weaver

    The Weaver

    by Hannah Kindt

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I originally received an eARC from NetGalley, but for reasons that escape me (probably my own incompetence) I forgot to download it. Out of a desire for completionism, I bought a copy of The Weaver so I could read and review it. Although the basic premise is sound and interesting, Heather Kindt’s writing style didn’t work for me. This attempt at a combination of thriller, romance, and fantasy lacks what I enjoy about those three…

  18. Book cover for Master of the World

    Master of the World

    by Edward Willett

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Is this the year of me finally reading sequels closer to the previous book? First I read The Obelisk Gate, and now Master of the World hot on the heels of Worldshaper? Who even am I?

    As usual, spoilers for the first book but not for this one.

    Edward Willett picks up the story where he left off in the first book: Shawna Keys has abandoned the world that she Shaped to the…

  19. Book cover for Worldshaper

    Worldshaper

    by Edward Willett

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As I’ve said before and will say again, one reason I love the library is for book discovery. I had zero idea what I was in for with Worldshaper. In this case, I saw book 2 on the New Books shelf, and fortuitously book 1 was also present in that very same library branch. So I borrowed both on a wing and a prayer, and here we are. Perfectly serviceable portal fantasy for some…

  20. Book cover for Muse of Nightmares

    Muse of Nightmares

    by Laini Taylor

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was reading a very different, unrelated book last night before bed, in which someone says that the key to a good story is usually obsession. Laini Taylor has learned this storytelling lesson well, for her characters are distinguished by their obsessions. From Lazlo’s obsession with Weep or Thyon’s obsession with alchemy in Strange the Dreamer to Skathis’ obsession with power or a new antagonist’s obsession with revenge here in Muse of Nightmares,…

  21. Book cover for The Fifth Season

    The Fifth Season

    by N.K. Jemisin

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I did not enjoy The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but N.K. Jemisin’s brilliant short story collection gave me hope that The Fifth Season might be her novel for me. Indeed it was! I can conclude that it wasn’t Jemisin’s style that bothered me about the previous series, just the world and the premise and the plot, etc.—it just wasn’t a story I was into. In contrast, The Fifth Season tells a very focused story about…

  22. Book cover for Stiletto

    Stiletto

    by Daniel O'Malley

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Last year I read The Rook, and I liked it enough that when I noticed this sequel at the library, I gave it a shot. Did not regret! This is a great example of a sequel that doesn’t disappoint—although, it doesn’t quite deliver exactly what I wanted either. Namely, I was expecting another book that follows Myfanwy Thomas. She’s here in Stiletto, but she isn’t really the central protagonist. For that we have…

  23. Book cover for Maiden, Mother, Crone

    Maiden, Mother, Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes: Kickstarter Edition

    by Gwen Benaway

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I backed this on Kickstarter, but of course, then it sat on my shelf for a bit. Recently Gwen Benaway has been a prominent voice against Toronto Public Library allowing Meghan Murphy to host a talk at one of their branches. In following that news, I decided this was a good time to get to Maiden, Mother, Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes.

    I really wish I could gush about this book and say I…

  24. Book cover for Starman

    Starman

    by Sara Douglass

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It’s time to finish off my re-read of the first trilogy of The Wayfarer Redemption with Starman, the conclusion of Axis’ battle against Gorgrael to fulfil a Prophecy and recreate the land of Tencendor. I seem to have stumbled into a more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts situation here: I want to give this book two stars, but the series as a whole has actually been much more enjoyable than the individual books ever were.

    Spoilers for this book…

  25. Book cover for The Throne of the Five Winds

    The Throne of the Five Winds

    by S.C. Emmett

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It isn’t often that a book wins me over like The Throne of the Five Winds did! I usually know my general sentiment towards a book within the first fifty pages or so. My mood will change for better or worse as the story unfolds, and a 2-star book might make it to 3 or vice versa, and once in a while, a 4- or 5-star book plummets to 1 star because of an unforgivable…

  26. Book cover for Enchanter

    Enchanter

    by Sara Douglass

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Back for round 2 of my review of this classic ’90s fantasy series. In my review of The Wayfarer Redemption I was cheeky but also tried to be serious. I didn’t want to be too hard on Sara Douglass, because after all, the clichés in these books weren’t quite clichés when she was writing. At the same time, it’s hard to call these books great. They‘re good, for a certain entertainment value of…

  27. Book cover for The Wayfarer Redemption

    The Wayfarer Redemption

    by Sara Douglass

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Sara Douglass is one of those fantasy authors whose books I haphazardly read B.G. (before Goodreads), throughout my teens, as I encountered them in the stacks of my local library’s fantasy section. It was good times! As with my ur-fantasy experiences of David Eddings and L.E. Modesitt, Jr., these books almost certainly don’t hold up. Yet when I came across not 1, not 3, but all 6 books of this series at my local used…

  28. Book cover for The Women's War

    The Women's War

    by Jenna Glass

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I grabbed this book off my library’s new books shelf, and I’m glad I did. I’m happy to live in an era where we can have a blurb on the cover of a book that says, “#MeToo and #Resistance through the lens of epic fantasy.” Count me in! The Women’s War posits a world where men control the direction of women’s lives and a woman’s worth is largely determined by the children she has or…

  29. Book cover for How Long 'til Black Future Month?

    How Long 'til Black Future Month?

    by N.K. Jemisin

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It seems like every time I review a short story anthology I always start with a disclaimer about how short stories, and by extension, their anthologies, are not really “for me.” In this case I need to say it because How Long ’Til Black Future Month? is one of those rare exceptions where I … I actually liked pretty much every story in here. Not equally, of course. But there were only one or two…

  30. Book cover for The Dark Net

    The Dark Net

    by Benjamin Percy

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This book is a hot mess. I don’t even really know where to start with it.

    The Dark Net is a horror novel with the basic premise what if demons took over our computers? It’s a mediocre take on the idea that our dependence on networked devices, our proclivity for screen-time, leaves us vulnerable—in this case, to possession, psychic hacking I guess. They do say that the eyes are the windows into the soul, right?

  31. Book cover for Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time

    Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time

    by Hope Nicholson

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    First, huge shout-out to the Oxford comma lurking in this title. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

    Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time is an anthology of queer Indigenous science fiction and fantasy by Indigenous authors. That’s it, and yet it is so much more. I really liked Hope Nicholson’s comment in her foreword about how some stories aren’t meant to be told, or at least, do not need to be shared with just…

  32. Book cover for Shatter the Sky

    Shatter the Sky

    by Rebecca Kim Wells

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the eARC!

    Maren is seventeen years old and ready to strike out on her own. Well, not exactly on her own. She has a girlfriend, aka a heartmate, Kaia, who is the more adventurous of the pair. They are head-over-heels in love for one another—but when an elite group of Aurati, women who do dirty work for the repressive Emperor, show up and abduct Kaia for purposes…

  33. Book cover for The Far Kingdoms

    The Far Kingdoms

    by Allan Cole

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This review will be shorter than usual because I broke my elbow and have one hand in a cast.

    I read this because I remember reading a later book in the series, The Warrior Returns, featuring Amalric's sister, Rali, as the narrator. I don't think I ever read The Far Kingdoms itself, so I decided to go back and give it a try. I don't regret this, but it didn't do much for me…

  34. Book cover for Children of Blood and Bone

    Children of Blood and Bone

    by Tomi Adeyemi

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This review will be shorter than usual because I broke my elbow and have one hand in a cast. For my future self looking back to see what I thought of this book: Janani's review is very detailed and concurs with much of my opinion. And, as ever, Julie's review eloquently explains my dissatisfaction with the romance.

    Children of Blood and Bone is a Nigerian-inspired fantasy novel about two pairs of siblings wrapped up in…

  35. Book cover for The Walls Around Us

    The Walls Around Us

    by Nova Ren Suma

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Life is unfair. It’s even more unfair when you get tangled up with the justice system. One of the things that I’ve had to unlearn over my 29 years as a privileged white dude is my faith in the fairness and equity of the justice system. The Walls Around Us explores the cracks of the justice system from the perspective of youth, particularly young girls of colour. I was nearly tempted to give up on…

  36. Book cover for Shadowblade

    Shadowblade

    by Anna Kashina

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So you want to stage a soft-coup and manipulate the succession, but you have one problem: you need some kind of plausible heir. Fortunately for you, about 17 years ago you encountered a baby at the same time there was a royal massacre, and well, you know, one thing led to another, and you ended up stashing her with some super skilled warrior so she would grow up all big and strong. Also, you read…

  37. Book cover for The Found and the Lost

    The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin

    by Ursula K. Le Guin

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    At least one book’s length, if not a whole library of, encomia of Ursula K. Le Guin has already been written by people far more learned than me. It’s so tempting to take this collection of her novellas and use it as an excuse to praise Le Guin as an author in general. Yet there isn’t much I can hope to add to that conversation. Yet The Found and the Lost, as a collection…

  38. Book cover for The Rhesus Chart

    The Rhesus Chart

    by Charles Stross

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I didn’t realize how much I needed The Rhesus Chart until I started reading it, but almost from page one this was like a comforting cup of tea. See, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately—nothing to do with the quality of my reading material, more just not being in the mood to read and actively finding reasons not to read, which is so unlike me! But The Rhesus Chart is the…

  39. Book cover for Myths and Mortals

    Myths and Mortals

    by Charlie N. Holmberg

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As with the first book, Smoke & Summons, I received a free eARC from NetGalley and publisher 47North. Like the first book, Myths & Mortals feels like original and competent urban fantasy. Charlie N. Holmberg adds more layers to the saga of Sandis Gwenwig, such as it is. However, this book does little to assuage my grumping from the first book. Another cliffhanger ending, and not all that much development of Sandis’ character either.

  40. Book cover for Cracked

    Cracked

    by Eliza Crewe

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The light versus the darkness. Heaven versus Hell. Good vs evil. It’s a timeless story, yet one with so many variations. Cracked is yet another take on this idea. Eliza Crewe tells an intense and urgent story of a hybrid caught between two worlds. Perhaps the most intriguing idea that Crewe brings to the table is the way the main character has to consume souls. Beyond that, there isn’t much here that I haven’t really…

  41. Book cover for Trickster Drift

    Trickster Drift

    by Eden Robinson

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Eden Robinson has done it again. Trickster Drift picks up about a year after Son of a Trickster, and it’s everything I wanted in a sequel and then some. In particular, the book shifts more concretely into urban fantasy territory. Whereas Son of a Trickster was a slow burn towards pulling the veil back on the magical elements of the story, Trickster Drift is fairly upfront about it all. I love it. This kind…

  42. Book cover for Smoke & Summons

    Smoke & Summons

    by Charlie N. Holmberg

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I enjoy reading stories about demonic possession—particularly stuff that departs from the more conventional ones set in our world—and Smoke & Summons approaches possession from a different angle indeed. Charlie Holmberg’s story is about someone who has been victimized and enslaved trying to escape her captor even as she discovers she might be part of a much bigger plot. Set against the backdrop of a somewhat authoritarian and isolationist state, there’s more going on in…

  43. Book cover for Heroine Complex

    Heroine Complex

    by Sarah Kuhn

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was amped for this book from the first I heard about it. Alas, that excitement didn’t long survive contact with the actual pages. Heroine Complex has a lot of interesting ideas, but I just didn’t enjoy Sarah Kuhn’s plotting, characterization, or writing style. In other words, this book didn’t just miss the mark; it didn’t even get on the board.

    Content warning in this book, and discussion in my review, for acemisia.

    Evie Tanaka…

  44. Book cover for Erinsmore

    Erinsmore

    by Julia Blake

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This really hit the spot. I’ve been craving some good, old-fashioned fantasy—the kind of stuff I mainlined as a kid, you know, the high fantasy stuff with dragons and wizards. But I find that when I go back and try to revisit the fantasy from my youth, when I read it with the more critical eyes of a modern feminist adult, there’s just too much problematic stuff in there for me to enjoy it as…

  45. Book cover for Witchmark

    Witchmark

    by C.L. Polk

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Dr. Miles Singer is a military psychiatrist treating veterans of Aeland’s war with Laneer. He himself is hiding from his noble family, who would drag him back to use his magical talents as a mere battery and help prop up their power in Aeland. But when a stranger dies in Miles’ arms and begs Miles to find his killer, Miles’ two worlds collide. Soon there won’t be any secrets … but will the price be…

  46. Book cover for Trail of Lightning

    Trail of Lightning

    by Rebecca Roanhorse

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Sometimes Twitter really, really comes through. I’m thinking, “I would love to read more works by Indigenous writers” and also “I would love to read some more science fiction and fantasy this summer” and the people I follow must have picked up on that because everyone was all, “You have got to read this.” Well, Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning lives up to the hype. It’s an intense, richly presented urban fantasy adventure that leaves…

  47. Book cover for The Boneshaker

    The Boneshaker

    by Kate Milford

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Sometimes we get so caught up in the swells of epic fantasy that it’s nice to take a break and come back down to earth with something a little more folk fantasy. The Boneshaker is set in 1914, in a Missouri town just near a crossroads—and we all know what happens there. Kate Milford, along with some fantastic illustrations by Andrea Offermann, spins us a yarn about a travelling medicine show, deals with the Devil,…

  48. Book cover for The Apocalypse Codex

    The Apocalypse Codex

    by Charles Stross

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Yes, um, hi, it’s been three years since I last read and reviewed a Laundry Files novel. It has been a long time since I bought a Charles Stross book. Don’t worry; I bought this book and the next one, so while I won’t be reading it right away, three years will not go by. I have a lot of catching up to do!

    In The Apocalypse Codex, Bob Howard is back ……

  49. Book cover for Storm Glass

    Storm Glass

    by Jeff Wheeler

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I enjoyed Storm Glass more than I thought I would when I first started. For whatever reason, I’m not aboard the young adult fantasy train right now, which is a shame, because there’s plenty of young adult fantasy I want to read, but I’m hesitant to go into it until I’m in the right mood! Still, I received this from NetGalley in exchange for a review, so a reading and a review it will get!

  50. Book cover for The Rook

    The Rook

    by Daniel O'Malley

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Why did it take me so long to get to this? The Rook is clever urban fantasy, set in England. Superficially similar to Charles Stross’ Laundry Files in setting and tone, it is more focused on the institutions created to deal with the supernatural rather than the supernatural itself. Daniel O’Malley balances a complicated plot quite deftly, and as we rocketed towards the climax, I literally didn’t want to put the book down. There are…