Fans of signed speculative fiction books may want to check out The Signed Page, which has signed copies of Richard K. Morgan’s Thirteen and Black Man and Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Justice available for pre-order. There are also signed copies of Martin’s A Feast for Crows currently in stock (I wish I’d known about this page when Storm of Swords came out – how I would love a signed first edition copy of that.) It’s a page worth checking out once in a while anyway if you’re into signed books. I got my fiance to pre-order me a personalized copy of Midnight Tides by Erikson, which I can’t wait to get!

They’re also going to have copies of Robin Hobb’s Renegade’s Magic available for pre-order soon. I might get that one, too, since I have a signed copy of Forest Mage (and Golden Fool, for that matter).


I had been looking forward to reading Altered Carbon, the debut by Scottish author Richard K. Morgan and the first book in his Takeshi Kovacs trilogy, for some time since I had read stellar reviews of it. I loved the Robot mysteries by Asimov (at least the last three, the first one was all right but not nearly as good as the later ones) and the way he intertwined science fiction with detective stories, so I had high hopes for this book which also was a sci fi detective story.

Takeshi Kovacs, a former Envoy from Harlan’s World, is sent to Earth by a powerful man named Laurens Bancroft to solve the mystery of Bancroft’s death. Yes, you read that right – death is not usually permanent at this time (about 500 years in the future) since a person’s memories and consciousness are stored in a cortical stack which could be downloaded to a new body. If the stack is destroyed, this would result in R.D. – real death. Bancroft’s memory of events leading up to his death did not get downloaded with him and he cannot believe he would kill himself, especially when he knows such an act would not accomplish anything since it was not permanent. Takeshi does not have much choice in the matter and gets caught up in a lot of skirmishes and intrigue in the process of discovering what happened.

The world in the story was fascinating to me. The results of living in a world where people could be around for hundreds of years in specialized bodies was interesting to me. I loved the little things in the story that told of the difficulty of meeting somebody you knew yet did not know when they were resleeved (the process of being downloaded into a new body – the bodies were called sleeves) – or when somebody new was sleeved into the body belonging to someone you used to know.

Unfortunately, I found the world Morgan created to be far more interesting than the actual story he was telling. It was a very action-packed story, but too action-packed for my taste since it was mostly action without much in the way of character development. It was very “male” – lots of sex, violence, and swearing. I wouldn’t recommend reading it if you’re offended by any of those since it wasn’t glossed over, but was quite graphic at times.

I might read the next two books in the series, Broken Angels and Woken Furies, since I’m curious about what happens, and Woken Furies is supposed to be about the part of the story I’d be more interested in – Kovacs’s past on Harlan’s World. I won’t be in any hurry to read them, though. I would probably give Altered Carbon a 5/10 for the story, but since I found the world really interesting, I’ll rate it a little higher…


It kind of reminded me of the David Farland’s Runelords series in that the story and writing weren’t particularly wonderful, but the world made it worth reading, although I liked the Runelords books better (even though the writing was worse).

Woken Furies has been out in the UK for some time, but according to Amazon, it won’t be out in the U.S. until the end of this month (May 29). That seems kind of odd since Morgan’s new book, Thirteen, is coming out in the U.S. on June 27th. (Thirteen is the U.S. title – it’s called Black Man in the U.K., but I guess that wasn’t a politically correct enough title for the U.S.) I’ve heard mixed reviews of Thirteen/Black Man – some people say it’s one of the scifi books of 2007, but I’ve also heard it’s too preachy for some people.

I finally got around to reading The Lies of Locke Lamora after hearing a lot of good things about this debut novel by Scott Lynch. At first, I was afraid it wasn’t going to live up to all the good things I had heard about it since I found it a little hard to get into in the beginning, but I ended up absolutely loving this book.

This is definitely not a book to read if you are looking to read something thought-provoking and insightful. However, it is something to read if you are looking for something entertaining. It’s a very dialogue heavy book, and a lot of the dialogue is clever and witty. Toward the beginning of the book, I thought it seemed like the dialogue was a bit forced and the author was trying too hard to make it seem clever, but it got better as the book went on.

One thing that some may find annoying is that the entire book switches back and forth between the past and the present. It isn’t confusing since the past parts are referred to as interludes (with the exception of the prologue, which goes between the past and further past without as much warning as to when it’s changed times). After the prologue, it smoothed out and I ended up enjoying the brief looks into the past.

The characters are wonderful. If you’re tired of goody-two-shoes characters who can do no wrong, this might be the book for you. The main character Locke Lamora is a priest of the Benefactor, a god of thievery, and a master of disguise. He and his friends in the priesthood are con men who make schemes to take some money of the hands of the rich noblemen in the city of Camorr, which seems to be modeled after an Italian city. Locke isn’t really an evil character, but he’s certainly not good either. If you’re familiar with D&D alignments, I’d call him some sort of neutral (but definitely not lawful neutral). Also, he’s actually a fantasy book main character who is not good at fighting at all – he’s much better at using his brain. (And, just to be clear, he’s not a mage of any sort either – just a clever rogue.)

I could not put this book down, and I thought it was a fairly unique fantasy book. It did have it’s flaws early on and it’s not what I’d call a masterpiece of literature, but I had so much fun with it and found it different enough from normal fantasy literature that I have to give it a pretty good score. It was the most entertaining book I’d read in quite a while.


The Lies of Locke Lamora is the first book in The Gentleman Bastards series (but don’t worry, there is no cliffhanger ending and the book is a complete story by itself). The next book in the series Red Seas Under Red Skies will be available on July 31 of this year. I can’t wait – it’s on my Amazon wish list already!

I’m a little behind on my reviewing lately (three books) so I’m going to combine the two Discworld books I just read into one review. The last review on Discworld pretty much said in general what they are like anyway.

Night Watch was a Vimes book, and it was probably one of the better Discworld books (but then, Vimes is one of my favorite Discworld characters). In this book, Vimes is chasing a criminal and both he and the criminal get taken to the time of a revolution that occurred in the past when Vimes was just starting out in the Watch. The criminal kills Vimes’s mentor when he arrives so now it’s left to Vimes to teach himself everything he knows. It was hilarious and it was fun to see some of the characters as their younger selves.


Monstrous Regiment had brief appearances by Vimes and William de Worde from The Truth, but the main character was a young woman from Borogravia named Polly who has not appeared in any of the previous Discworld books. The Borogravians follow the teachings of a rather unreasonable god by the name of Nuggan, whose teachings state that women should not dress like a man. In order to find her brother during a time of war, Polly disguises herself as a man by cutting her hair and using a pair of socks to make herself look more “manly” and joins the army. This is more serious than most of the Discworld books and doesn’t have as many lines that make you crack up as most of them do, but I loved the themes of gender and religion (and don’t get me wrong, it is still funny and very enjoyable).


I looked up whether or not there was a date for the next Discworld book on Amazon yesterday, and it says the next book Making Money will be available on October 1, 2007. I believe I read in an interview with Pratchett that this book includes the characters from Going Postal and they do something similar for the banking system as they did for the postal system in that book.


Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay, was the first novel by the author I have read. I was fortunate enough to win a copy from Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, which has a lot of book giveaway contests. This will definitely not be the last of Kay’s novels I read; I almost picked up Tigana the other day but opted to buy a copy of Patrick Rothfuss’s debut novel The Name of the Wind without the Fabio cover instead while I had the chance.

Ysabel is supposed to have ties to Kay’s earlier work, The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy. Apparently, a lot of events the character’s mention without really filling in the details of what happened occurred in these books. I’m sure it helps to have read The Fionavar Tapestry before reading Ysabel, but I don’t think it’s necessary to read them first. I didn’t feel lost reading the book because of not having read The Fionavar Tapestry, although I was curious about the parts of the backstory that were referred to without being explained.

From what I understand, the writing style of Ysabel is very different from Kay’s other work. It was not what I had expected after reading about his beautiful prose. Ysabel is very simply written and reads like a young adult novel, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it fits since the main character is a 15 year old boy, and although it is not written in first person, the only character’s thoughts who are revealed to us are his thoughts.

This is also different in that it is contemporary fantasy, meaning it takes place in the present (and that was entirely in the present – it wasn’t one of those books where somebody from the modern world gets taken to some sort of fantasy world). I haven’t read much contemporary fantasy, so I found it kind of amusing to read references to Starbucks and google and iPods in a fantasy book.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot of this book since it was one of those books where you didn’t want to put down the book because you wanted to find out what happens next and I don’t want to take that fun away from anybody. So I’ll just say a little about the beginning of the story.

Fifteen year old Ned Marriner is on a trip to Aix-en-Provence in France with his father, a well-known photographer working in the area. Ned explores the Saint-Saveur Cathedral while they are there for a photo shoot, and meets a geeky American exchange student around his age named Kate who knows a lot about the history of the area. While they are in the cathedral, a man comes up through the grate saying that “he” wasn’t there and that “he” enjoyed playing games. Ned and Kate think the man has left, but Ned finds he can sense the man’s presence and tells him to come out. The mysterious man does come out and informs them that they have “blundered into the corner of a very old story” and that they should leave it alone. Of course, they just become further entangled in the events of the story and the competition between a Roman and a Celt.

The characters are all unique and interesting, but I wouldn’t consider it a character-driven book. You don’t really get into any of the character’s heads other than Ned’s and it’s not one of those books where I was sad about leaving the characters behind or felt like there was really deep characterization. It was a page-turner, though, and wanting to find out what happens kept me reading. I also liked the little tidbits about the history of the area, and the details about the area were probably pretty exact since Kay actually wrote the book while staying near Aix-en-Provence.

I’d give it 8/10, and I would definitely read it again sometime.

After reading Hyperion, I decided it was time to read something lighter, so I picked up Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett. At this point, I’ve read most of the Discworld series, but there are a few of them I haven’t yet read and this one was next in publication order.

Thief of Time is definitely an enjoyable, humorous story. Other than Death and Susan and a couple of brief appearances by Nanny Ogg, it does not contain any of the usual Discworld characters but it does introduce several new ones. Somebody could pick up this book without having read any of the other Discworld books and still enjoy it, although it might be helpful to know some about Susan’s past just to see where she is coming from in the story (but that certainly is not necessary for reading this book).

In Thief of Time, a woman known as Lady LeJean visits a young clockmaker named Jeremy and gives him supplies (including an Igor) for building the world’s first truly accurate clock. Jeremy, who is very obsessed with time and clocks, is intrigued by this idea and begins work on the clock not knowing that it will cause time to stop once it has been completed.

Meanwhile, a sweeper/monk of the order of the Monks of History named Lu-Tze is training a new apprentice, Lobsang, who has a natural talent. Lu-Tze learns all about Lobsang’s mysterious abilities while Lobsang learns all about Rule 1 (“Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man”). Lu-Tze and Lobsang find out about the imminent destruction of the Discworld and travel to Ankh-Morpork to try to stop it.

Death begins preparing for the upcoming Apocalypse. He first tries to get his grand daughter Susan involved in trying to stop the end of the world, then rides off to attempt to gather the other 3 horsemen of the Apocalypse, which turns out to be harder than he thought – Pestilence is too frightened, Famine is too arrogant, and War is too hen-pecked by Mrs. War.

This was not my favorite Discworld book, but it certainly wasn’t my least favorite either. (I tend to like the Watch books, Death books, and Small Gods – a great stand alone Discworld book – the best and the Witch books the least.)

Thief of Time is a fun book you can read pretty quickly, but while it could be considered light reading, it still contains deeper meaning. I’ve never seen anybody able to write humorous, non-verbose books that are still very philosophical like Pratchett does. He must be a genius to have that talent.

I would definitely read this book again.