Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Some Books in the Mail

Here's another couple in the mail from the nice people at Tor. I mentioned last week that I'm copying (somewhat) The Speculative Scotsman's form in rating each book as his review priority.

Note: All blurbs from Goodreads unless otherwise specified.

Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time Book 13)
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson [US] [UK]

3 out of 5
(There's a few in between I haven't read yet)
The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight.

The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age.

Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way—at long last—to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever.

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways—the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn—have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost.
Songs of the Dying Earth
Edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois [US] [UK]

3 out of 5
(Looks cool, but never read Vance)
Today, in order to honor the magnificent career of Jack Vance, one unparalleled in achievement and impact, GEORGE R.R. MARTIN and GARDNER DOZOIS, with the full cooperation of Jack Vance, his family, and his agents, suggest a Jack Vance tribute anthology called Songs of the Dying Earth, to encourage the best of today's fantasy writers to return to the unique and evocative milieu of The Dying Earth, from which they and so many others have drawn so much inspiration, to create their own brand-new adventures in the world of Jack Vance s greatest novel.

Half a century ago, Jack Vance created the world of the Dying Earth, and fantasy has never been the same. Now, for the first time ever, Jack has agreed to open this bizarre and darkly beautiful world to other fantasists, to play in as their very own. To say that other fantasy writers are excited by this prospect is a gross understatement; one has told us that he'd crawl through broken glass for the chance to write for the anthology, another that he'd gladly give up his right arm for the privilege that's the kind of regard in which Jack Vance and The Dying Earth are held by generations of his peers.
Passion Play
by Beth Bernobich [US] [UK]

4 out of 5
The daughter of one of Melnek’s more prominent merchants, Ilse Zhalina has lived most of her life surrounded by the trappings of wealth and privilege. She has wanted for nothing and many would consider her lot a most happy one. But there are dark secrets even in the best of families and Isle and the women in her family have learned that to be beautiful and silent is the best way to survive.

However, when Ilse fianlly meets the colleague of her father’s selected to marry her, she realizes that this man would lock in her a gilded cage. In her soul, she knows he is far crueler and more deadly than her father could ever be.

Ilse chooses to run from this life. Her choice will have devastating consequences and she will never be the same.

But she will meet Raul Kosenmark, a man of mystery who is the master of one of the land’s most notorious pleasure houses…and who is, as Ilse discovers, a puppetmaster of a different sort altogether. Together they will embark on a journey that will reshape their world.

Lush fantasy. Wild magic. Political intrigue and the games of seduction and treachery to gain control of a kingdom. PASSION PLAY is all of these and more. It is the journey of a woman who must conquer her passions in order to win all that she desires.


  1. It may be worth picking up a bit of Vance before attacking the massive Dying Earth collection. Gollancz have a Masterworks collection that has his stuff & you can get the flavor of his work within a few pages, honestly...

    Be interested to see what you think! I'm an admirer without being a fan, if that makes sense.

  2. I couldn't resist reading a couple stories and the first two were just amazing. I think now it's time for a break for the real thing. Thanks.

    Haha, I like that. I think I'll use that in the future. :D

  3. I really need to pull my finger out and read the Wheel of Time series at some point. Vance sounds pretty cool, though it does look pretty hefty.

  4. Looks like a few hefty reads there. ;) Great picks. Hope your having a great week.

  5. Right with you there, Bryce - would love to read Songs of the Dying Earth, but without Tales of the Dying Earth to ground my appreciation of the short stories, I'm going to have to get a little homework done before I rattle through that beauty.

    Also: it's hardly stealing, using the numbers. Sure enough I wasn't the first! :)


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