This was a very good week for new books as I’m very interested in all the books that showed up and one is a definite must read since I already read the first book and loved it.

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

The Black Prism is the first book in the Lightbringer series and will be released in hardcover on August 25. The first three chapters can be read online and there is also going to be a book tour that covers some of the western US as well as Texas and Florida.

I liked the first book in the Night Angel trilogy by Weeks (although not quite enough to read the next two immediately as I haven’t even gotten them to add to the giant to-read pile yet). This one sounds very compelling – the description has me pretty intrigued since just the first paragraph makes me ask so many questions that I would like to know the answers to:

Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.

But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

Lord of the White Hell: Book Two by Ginn Hale

Lord of the White Hell: Book One will be released later this month on August 15, and this second half of the story will be published one month later on September 15. I read book one a couple of weeks ago and loved it (enough that I want to buy the final version since I have the ARC) so I really cannot wait to read the rest of it. The review for part one is in progress now so I can put it up right around the release date.

Kiram fought his family and Cadeleonian bigots to remain in the Sagrada Academy to prove himself as a mechanist and to dispel the deadly shadow curse that threatens to destroy his upperclassman, Javier Tornesal. But when his efforts provoke retaliation, Kiram’s family and home are endangered. Both Kiram and Javier risk everything in a desperate gambit to combat the curse. But they never imagined their battle with come so soon, or that it would be lead by the one person they trust most of all.

Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison

This is a rarity for a review copy – it is is not a book that just came out or is coming out soon. It was originally published in 1952 and this particular edition is 5 years old. It sounds like a delightful fairy tale and sometime when I’m closer to caught up on reviews I’ll have to read it (it shouldn’t take that long to read – it’s fairly short). Oh yes, and the endorsement on the book by Ursula K. Le Guin doesn’t hurt, either.

A young woman is transformed by a magical journey from the dark ages to modern times, from brooding medieval forests to bustling Constantinople. Halla is turned out of her father’s castle by her new stepmother. Her nurse transforms herself into a bear to look after Halla. This is just the first of the wondrous and natural changes in Naomi Mitchison’s magical 1952 novel. Travel Light will appeal to fans of the Harry Potter series and Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, as well as to readers of Ursula K. Leguin and T.H. White.

Elizabeth Bear is giving away two ARCs of The White City on her blog. Simply leave a comment amusing enough to make her want to give it to you and you could get a hold of a copy of this novella, which is being published by Subterranean Press in December. She is accepting entries until August 11.

I’m not going to enter because I think this sounds like a good one to have as a signed limited edition. It’s Elizabeth Bear! And Subterranean Press! And the description makes it sound really, really good:

For centuries, the White City has graced the banks of the Moskva River. But in the early years of a twentieth century not quite analogous to our own, a creature even more ancient than Moscow’s fortress heart has entered its medieval walls.

In the wake of political success and personal loss, the immortal detective Don Sebastien de Ulloa has come to Moscow to choose his path amid the embers of war between England and her American colonies. Accompanied by his court–the forensic sorcerer Lady Abigail Irene and the authoress Phoebe Smith–he seeks nothing but healing and rest.

But Moscow is both jeweled and corrupt, and when you are old there is no place free of ghosts, and Sebastien is far from the most ancient thing in Russia…


July was a slight improvement – four books read! Two of them were actually fairly long so I was happy with that number, especially considering nearly every weekend in July was taken up by new home related things. Now if only I were caught up on reviews…

Books read in July are:

27. The Devil in Green by Mark Chadbourn (Review)
28. Lord of the White Hell: Book One by Ginn Hale
29. Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey
30. The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke

Favorite book read during July: Lord of the White Hell: Book One – which is pretty decent considering I really enjoyed Naamah’s Curse. I’m working on a review of the former now, but it will not be posted until closer to the release date of August 15. I liked it well enough that I added the finished copy to my wish list, though.

So what did you read this month? Anything good?

The Devil In Green
by Mark Chadbourn
368pp (Trade Paperback)
My Rating: 6.5/10
Amazon Rating: 3/5
LibraryThing Rating: 3.94/5
Goodreads Rating: 3.79/5

The Devil In Green is the first book in The Dark Age trilogy by Mark Chadbourn. The Dark Age follows the Age of Misrule trilogy, which tells of the sudden appearance of magic in the world and how it affected humanity. Even though The Devil In Green was just released at the end of May, the middle book (The Queen of Sinister) is already available and the final book in the trilogy (The Hounds of Avalon) is scheduled for publication on July 27 of this year in the US (these books are already out in the UK). There will also be a third trilogy that ties in to the rest of the series.

In the previous trilogy, magic entered the world suddenly and without explanation, disrupting the modern world. People found themselves staring up at strange flying beasts, surrounded by the supernatural and in the midst of a battle of the gods from ancient mythologies. Humanity was forced to adapt to a completely different role in the universe – one in which mere survival was a struggle in a Dark Age where magic, not technology, was the source of power.

In England, the Christian church has responded by joining together several denominations to work together by reinstating a new order of the Knights Templar. Many people have reacted to the appearance of gods by leaving the church and the number of dedicated Christians is dwindling. A man running from his past, Mallory, has decided to travel to Salisbury to become a knight even though he has a rather cynical view toward faith and God. However, he figures it’s a decent job since they’ll take care of food and board and they’ll be willing to take anyone, even someone who doesn’t attempt to hide his disbelief. On the way to the church, Mallory saves a man named Miller from an attack by dangerous creatures. Miller is also on his way to join the Knights Templar, but unlike Mallory he wants to give something back to people and the Christian God he has come to believe in so strongly.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to become suspicious of this new church with its secrecy surrounding the knowledge contained in its library and the mysterious missions the elite knights undertake. As he encounters more supernatural forces, he becomes more unsure of what is happening and his role in events.

From the opening pages, Mark Chadbourn establishes a very dark atmosphere. Magic has entered the world, but unlike in a lot of contemporary fantasy, it didn’t integrate easily with the supernatural and humans occupying the world and learning to live with each other. Rather, the emergence of gods and magical creatures destroyed the modern world, leading to a new dark age. Many urban fantasies I’ve read try to establish a government agency to regulate magic, but The Devil In Green does not go this route; the supernatural is too chaotic for that and anarchy reigns. None of the creatures seem close to human – even if the mythical beings do not all seem malevolent, they have an otherworldliness about them. Remnants form the modern age are strewn here and there, such as the occasional car, but since fuel is no longer easy to obtain, most people travel by walking or horse. The worldwide communication that has become so much a part of everyday life is no more, and people are unsure of what is happening throughout the nation in which they live. This new age feels very bleak and dangerous and not very much like the times we live in at all.

Occasionally I felt like I probably would have gotten more from this novel if I had read the previous trilogy. This is not to say it was difficult to follow what was happening, but I did get the impression that certain parts would have had more relevance had I been familiar with the other books, particularly some references to characters that I guessed had been in the first trilogy (and some research showed that they were in fact in it).

While I found the world very intriguing, there were times that the book seemed to move very slowly and I had some trouble really immersing myself in it. This may have been at least partially due to the fact that I just didn’t have much time while I was reading it and ended up sometimes reading 5 pages at a time whenever I could snatch a few moments, which never makes for the best reading experience. Plus I never found myself all that attached to any of the characters, although I liked them well enough. The contrast between Mallory’s cynicism and Miller’s optimism made for some interesting conversations, and with Mallory’s vast knowledge about everything from history to philosophy it really made me want to know more about his past (and I still do because by the end I still wasn’t sated when it came to details about where his life before traveling to Salisbury to become a knight).

This is not a book I’d recommend to someone easily offended by dissection of Christian beliefs. Although Miller is completely dedicated to his faith, he’s portrayed as someone who does not really understand the way in which the world works. Nor is the church painted in the best light, although there were a few people who seemed both devout and honest. It does seem to have a rather dismal view of organized religion and leadership in general, which is further enhanced by Mallory’s negative response to just about anything:

“You’re obviously an educated man. But don’t confuse the Church with the people who claim to administer God’s Word,” James cautioned. “Humans are fallible.”

“Pardon me for pointing it out, but you seem to have had a fair share of the fallible in your history,” Mallory countered, unmoved. [pp. 33]

The Devil In Green excels at its portrayal of a world in which the presence of magic resulted in destruction leading to a very different way of life. The weaving of Celtic mythology with the history of the Knights Templar into the plot was also well done, although the story did seem to be moving fairly slowly at times. While the main characters were well drawn, they weren’t terribly easy to relate to since both were on one side of an extreme, but they were intriguing personalities.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Where I got my reading copy: I picked it up at the Pyr booth at Book Expo America.

Other Reviews:

Thanks to Joe from Adventures in Reading, I came across this interview with Elizabeth Bear over at She’s one of my favorite authors and I thought this was a great interview covering topics such as her books and what she’s working on, how her background influences her writing, her author inspirations and diversity in speculative fiction. Reading this did make me sad that I still have a couple of books that I haven’t read by her (as well as a few books by her that are missing from my collection).

The Reluctant Mage giveaway is now over. The winner is:

Lisa R.

She’s already written back with her address, so sorry everyone else, but the extra copy of the book has found its new home.

Congratulations, Lisa, and I hope you enjoy the book!