Review

Tower of Thorns and Sequel-itis

tower-of-thornsAfter a lifetime of disappointment—from Jurassic Park 2 to the second season of Heroes—I should be prepared for sequels that don’t live up to the original. But instead I choose to inflate my hopes impossibly high and have all my dreams crushed under the brutal boot of reality later on. Example: The new Star Wars is going to be amazing and finally live up to the legacy of the original and bring the magic of the Millennium Falcon to the next generation.

Which brings me to Tower of Thorns, the second book in Juliet Marillier’s Blackthorn & Grim series. I didn’t have Star-Wars-level expectations for it; I was just hoping it would mimic the first book, Dreamer’s Pool, and give me a well-stuck-together medieval fantasy featuring myths and magic and women doing cool stuff (read my review here). Although Tower of Thorns had some of the same basic ingredients—and some really lovely retold fairytales—it was ultimately weighed down by clunky pacing and predictable plotting. (more…)

The Bread We Eat in Dreams: A Mythological Menagerie

The_Bread_We_Eat_in_Dreams_by_Catherynne_M._Valente_Front_Cover_Only_200_302The Bread We Eat in Dreams contains thirty-five of Catherynne Valente’s short stories and novellas, caught out in the wild and arranged neatly for the paying public. From delicate, herbivorous poems to novella-sized megafauna, these creatures display the ecological diversity of the Phylum of the Fantastic and the continued resonance of the Kingdom of Myth. For gentlemen-scientists and enthusiastic students of all things speculative, Valente’s story-menagerie is worth the visit. (more…)