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Tales from the Gryphon

Blog postings about my fantasy books I am reading

Manoj's hackergotchi
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Thursday 31 January
2008
Link: Across the nightingale floor

Posted early Thursday morning, January 31st, 2008

License: GPL

Across the nightingale floor

I came across this series by Lian Hearn on a trip to DC. It was billed as Shogun meets Lord of the rings, and it certainly started off well. However, it lacks the breadth of either one of the epics it is trying to emulate, though it does succeed in providing an entertaining enough tale.

Manoj

Thursday 31 January
2008
Link: Dragon Avenger

Posted early Thursday morning, January 31st, 2008

License: GPL

Dragon Avenger

The second dragon book from E. E. Knight. Auron's sister Wistala, whom he considered to be less capable, and who, in his opinion, had to be protected, turns out to have not died, and indeed, gone to greater lengths than her brother. This is a better set of books than the vampire Earth set.

Manoj

Thursday 31 January
2008
Link: Dragon Champion

Posted early Thursday morning, January 31st, 2008

License: GPL

Dragon Champion

Given how much I am enjoying the vampire Earth series from E. E. Knight, I thought I would check out the Age of Fire series from the same author. This is deliciously different -- rarely have I read a book about dragons from the perspective of the dragon! This books opens the dilemma of the temptation of the tasty, pesky humanoids, and yet how dangerous it is to eat them with abandon.

Unlike the humans in vampire earth, the dragon protagonist has no trouble forming and developing relationships, and it is a very satisfying journey, after all.

Manoj

Thursday 31 January
2008
Link: Dragon Outcast

Posted early Thursday morning, January 31st, 2008

License: GPL

Dragon Outcast

The last of the dragon books from E. E. Knight. And about the least of the litter: the crippled, outcast bronze -- too insignificant to have been named. And yet, the one to go furthest of the litter. I wish the lives of the litter mates intersected a bit when they were grown -- but they might as well have been on different planets. But I suppose that leaves room for future tales.

Manoj

Thursday 31 January
2008
Link: Grass for his pillow

Posted early Thursday morning, January 31st, 2008

License: GPL

Grass for his pillow

A continuation of the tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn. In this, our hero strikes off for his own, shrugging off the dictates of the others in his life, for the first time acting as an individual. While not nearly as good as it was hyped out to be, it is not a bad tale.

Manoj

Thursday 31 January
2008
Link: Rebel Fay

Posted early Thursday morning, January 31st, 2008

License: GPL

Rebel Fay

The Rebel Fay is the latest installment of the Noble Dead series by Barb & J. C. Hendee, and stands head and shoulder above the Vampire earth stuff I have been recently reading when it comes to character development, plot intricacy, and believable back story.

Written from the view point of a spirit creature, the Fay, currently constrained into the body of a dog, this brings our friends into the lands of the Elves, and we learn a bit more about the rationale for why the Dhampir was created. Can't wait for the next book to come out.

Manoj

Thursday 31 January
2008
Link: The Golden Compass

Posted early Thursday morning, January 31st, 2008

License: GPL

The Golden Compass

Since there has been so much uproar caused by the movie, I decided I would have a look at the trilogy -- though I generally have not been much into Philip Pullman, since I have found his books usually too simplistic and childlike -- which makes sense, I suppose, since they are not really targeted to adults.

It is a pity that I never ran across these when I was still a child, since they are much better written than the Narnia chronicles. I quite think that Lyra is a well drawn character, though she behaves in ways unfathomable to me, but perhaps this is because she is a girl and perhaps it is because I have never seen my daemon.

Manoj

Tuesday 13 November
2007
Link: Deeds of Paksenarrion: III

Posted early Tuesday morning, November 13th, 2007

License: GPL

Deeds of Paksenarrion: III

Oath of Gold rounds up this excellent fantasy series from Elizabeth Moon. It is a pity that she never came back to this character (though she wrote a couple of prequels), despite the fact that the ending paragraph leaves ample room for sequels "... when the call of Gird came, Paksenarrion left for other lands."

This is high fantasy in true Tolkien manner, but faster paced, more gritty, and with characters one could relate to. I am already looking forward to my next re-read of the series.

Manoj

Monday 12 November
2007
Link: Deeds of Paksenarrion: II

Posted early Monday morning, November 12th, 2007

License: GPL

Deeds of Paksenarrion: II

Divided Allegiance is the middle of the trilogy, the one that I hate reading. Not because Ms Moon's book is bad, which it is not, it is still as gripping as the others, and comes closer to the high fantasy of Tolkien -- it is just that I hate what happens to Paks in the book, and the fact that the books ends, leaving her in that state. I guess I am a wimp when it comes to some things that happen to characters I am identifying with. However, it has been so long since I read the series that I have begun to forget the details, so I went through and read it anyway.

This is a transition book: the Deeds of Paksenarrion was about Paksenarrion the line warrior, and the final book is where she becomes the stuff of legends. I usually read the first and last here.

Manoj

Thursday 08 November
2007
Link: Deeds of Paksenarrion

Posted early Thursday morning, November 8th, 2007

License: GPL

Deeds of Paksenarrion

Sheep Farmers Daughter is an old favourite, which I have read lord only knows how many times. Elizabeth Moon has written a gritty, enthralling story of the making of a Paladin. This is the first book of a trilogy, and introduces us to a new universe through the eyes of a young innocent (which is a great device to introduce us to a universe from the viewpoint of someone who is not seeing it through eyes jaundiced by experience).

For me, books have always been an escape from the humdrum mundanity of everyday existence. Putting myself in the shoes of a character in the story is the whole point; and this story excels there: it is very believable. Not many people can tell a tale that comes alive, and Ms Moon is one of them. An ex-marine, much of the detail of the military life of Paks has been drawn from Moon's own military experience. More than just that, the world is richly drawn, and interesting.

I read this book in a hotel room in Chicago, since, as usual, there was nothing really interesting on TV, and I don't "get" the whole bar scene.

Manoj


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