The Telling by Ursula K. Le Guin is a part of her Hainish Cycle, a collection of science fiction stories that do not need to be read in any particular order (at least from what I’ve heard). I was pleasantly surprised since all I had read by Le Guin were the first three Earthsea books, and while I liked them well enough, I wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed by them. However, The Telling has definitely made me want to pick up more of the books in the Hainish Cycle.

Sutty is an Observer living on a world that wants so badly to be modern that they have banned the past. Owning and reading books, using certain expressions when speaking, and being different from what is acceptable will get people sent to reconditioning camps. Sutty is sent to a backwoods town to learn about the people there, who do keep the old ways through their idealistic religion known as The Telling. Knowledge is encouraged in this little society, where people tell stories and keep to the old ways.

The story is short but elegantly written and Le Guin manages to say more in 231 pages than many authors do in books 3 times the length. I was not sure if I would like something that short because I really like character-driven stories and that many pages is not normally enough to delve into the development of a character. This was not a character-driven story, but it was very thoughtfully done and gives a lot to think about on issues such as religion, understanding people outside of societal norms, capitalism, and throwing away knowledge.

It is also refreshing that Le Guin writes a more unique story than a lot of American authors writing in science fiction and fantasy today. The main character is an Asian female who was in a relationship with somebody of the same sex, and the cultures in the book have a strong Eastern influence. I had to keep reminding myself that Eastern religions were very different, because I had a very hard time at first seeing The Telling as an actual religion instead of just a communal way of life. It is supposed to be an ideal, but it is so far from what I’ve known as religion that I couldn’t see it as fitting into the definition of “religion” at first.

The Telling is a compelling and thought provoking book that is unique compared to a lot of what is out there. It was not an action packed story with excellent character development, but it was a book that I came away from feeling like it had given me a lot to think about.



Unforunately, I haven’t had that much time lately and am a little behind. I’ve still been reading when I can, though – right after The Name of the Wind, I read The Telling by Ursula K. Le Guin and now I am reading The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, the first book in the Wraeththu trilogy by Storm Constantine. I’ll have to get a review of The Telling up here soon.

Wraeththu was highly recommended by a friend and thus far it is quite compelling.

If you haven’t heard by now, The Name of the Wind is the much-hyped fantasy debut by Patrick Rothfuss and Day One of a trilogy called The Kingkiller Chronicle. I heard so much about this book that I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, but it certainly did.

The book covers the first day of a three-day long story as related by the main character Kvothe to Chronicler. Kvothe grew up in a troupe of travelling actors and musicians, which allows him to meet an Arcanist who piques his interest in studying at the University. When he is older, Kvothe is accepted at the University, where he excels at his studies yet manages to get into enough mischief to upset some of his professors and make his life rather difficult.

The story is exceptionally engaging and well-written – after suffering through so many badly written debut novels, I found it very hard to believe that this was Rothfuss’s first novel. Honestly, it was better written than a lot of novels, regardless of whether or not the author has had a lot of practice. The words just flowed off the page and Rothfuss did an excellent job of giving detail without overwhelming readers with too much.

The character of Kvothe is rather well done. For a while, I was afraid he was going to turn out to be one of those perfect characters that annoyed me since he was so exceptionally brilliant. However, he still had some flaws (such as recklessness and failure to think before speaking/acting) and since he had to work at least somewhat to gain what knowledge he did have, it was believable. He may have picked things up fast, but you do hear about people who are like that sometimes.

Another high point of this novel were some of the humorous conversations between Kvothe and his friends. It wasn’t overdone, but it was certainly necessary once in a while since our story was not always happy (and hearing them talk about their professors reminded me of a few of mine).

I also really enjoyed how fantasy was parodied in this book. Once in a while, it would seem to be heading toward some sort of cliche, and then things would turn out differently than I had expected.

There really is not much bad I can say about this book. The only problem I had with it was that there were a couple of points where the story seemed to be moving a little slowly, but neither of those times lasted for very long.

The hints in the book to what’s coming up in the next book certainly piqued my interest, and I can’t wait for the second part of the trilogy to come out!


I just wanted to correct the dates I had earlier for the third Sword of Shadows book by J.V. Jones. She recently said on her journal that A Sword from Red Ice will be out in both the U.S. and the UK this October.

I realized that when I made the list of forthcoming books the other day, I forgot about a couple of books that are out in Canada and the UK that I’ve really been looking forward to seeing here in the U.S. since I’ve heard good things about both. It still makes me wish I were British sometimes – they even got Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb first when it came out and she’s an American author.

Winterbirth, #1 The Godless World by Brian Ruckley

Amazon US (available September 10)
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

The Blade Itself, #1 The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

Amazon US (available September 30 – although some copies are available through other sellers now)
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

Here are some fantasy/scifi books that are fairly new or forthcoming this year. This is based only on what I’ve seen available on Amazon since I have no special insider knowledge about what is coming out, but Amazon is usually fairly reliable. Looking at this list makes me wish I were British, they get all the good books first!

New Books

Midnight Tides, #5 Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

Note: This is new to the U.S. only, since we get these books later than everyone else. I’m hoping we’ll be caught up soon, though, since I noticed we’re getting the 6th book The Bonehunters in September of this year.

Flesh and Spirit, #1 The Lighthouse Duet by Carol Berg

Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

Brasyl by Ian McDonald

Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

Reaper’s Gale, #7 Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

Amazon Canada (available June 26)
Amazon UK


Night of Knives: A Novel of the Malazan Empire by Ian Cameron Esslemont

Amazon Canada (available July 24)
Amazon UK (available June 4)

Black Man/Thirteen (U.S. title) by Richard Morgan

Amazon US (available June 26)
Amazon Canada (available July 1)
Amazon UK (available July 21)

Red Seas Under Red Skies, #2 Gentleman Bastards by Scott Lynch

Amazon US (available July 31)
Amazon Canada (available August 1)
Amazon UK (available June 21)

The Hanging Mountains, #3 Book of the Cataclysm by Sean Williams

Amazon US (available June 5, although seems to be in stock)
Amazon Canada (available July 10)
Amazon UK
(available June 5, although seems to be in stock)

Renegade’s Magic, #2 Soldier Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb

Amazon UK (available July 2)

Kushiel’s Justice, #5 Kushiel’s Legacy by Jacqueline Carey

Amazon US (available June 14)
Amazon Canada (available June 14)
Amazon UK (available June 14)

The Well of Ascension, #2 Mistborn by Brian Sanderson

Amazon US (available August 21)
Amazon Canada (available August 21)
Amazon UK (available August 21)

The Dreaming Void, #1 Void trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton

Amazon US (available March 25, 2008)
Amazon Canada (available August 3)
Amazon UK (available August 3)

Spook Country by William Gibson

Amazon US (available August 7)
Amazon Canada (available August 7)
Amazon UK (available August 2)

Making Money, Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Amazon US (available October 1)
Amazon Canada (available October 2)
Amazon UK (available September 24)

Empire of Ivory, #4 Temeraire by Naomi Novik

Amazon US
(available September 25)
Amazon Canada (available September 25)
Amazon UK (available November 25)

A Sword from Red Ice, #3 Sword of Shadows by J.V. Jones

Amazon UK (available October)

The Bonehunters, #6 Malazan Book of the Fallen

Amazon US (available September 18)
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

Scarlet, #2 King Raven trilogy by Stephen Lawhead

Amazon US (available September 4)
Amazon Canada (available September 4)
Amazon UK (available August 23)

Confessor, Chainfire Trilogy Part 3, #11 Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

Amazon US (available November 13)
Amazon Canada (available November 13)
Amazon UK (available November 19)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, #7 Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Amazon US (available July 21)
Amazon Canada (available July 21)
Amazon UK (available July 21)