A few years ago I took an online creative writing course (you can tell, can’t you?). Naturally discussion often turned to books, and at one point someone, on hearing about my love of fantasy, exclaimed, “But then you must have read Stephen Donaldson!”
There was an awkward silence, broken only by the chirping of crickets. (Well, not really. This conversation happened in an online chat forum, and I only saw the message likely hours after it had been posted, but isn’t it just awkward if someone assumes, nay, insists that you’re familiar with something…and you aren’t?)
Never heard of him, was my reply. Oh, the other person came back. You should. You’ll enjoy him.
A Knight of the Word, the second instalment or Terry Brooks‘s Word and Void trilogy, takes place several years after the events of Running With the Demon. Nest Freemark is now in college. Her grandfather has recently passed away and she’s thinking of leaving Hopewell, and the park and Pick along with it for good. She hasn’t used her magic in years and is not even sure that she still has it, especially since Wraith, her mysterious protector, also seems to have disappeared.
Then she is visited by a tatterdemalion, a messenger of the Word. John Ross, the Knight of the Word who had helped her defeat her father years ago, is in trouble. He has forsaken his calling as a Knight of the Word, and the servants of the Void are trying to turn him and his magic to their ends. He is already being subverted by a demon and it may already be too late. Nest must go to Seattle and confront him, give him one more chance to take up the black staff again. Should she fail, his life will be forfeit, and possibly hers as well.
To round off Official Doctor Who week, before we face off against the Daleks (won’t they ever be exterminated?) with the new Doctor tonight, I bring you a review. The wife and I have lately taken to listening audio books while on the road, which is more fun than I would have thought. Apparently listening to books can be almost as good as reading them.
The Stone Rose begins with Mickey showing Rose and the Doctor a two-thousand year old statue in a museum of a Roman goddess that looks exactly like Rose. Naturally Rose and the Doctor hop into the TARDIS (this was before Mickey started travelling with them) and set off for Ancient Rome where the Doctor gets caught up in the search for a missing boy and Rose gets an early start on her modelling career, but gets a bit more than she bargained for.
Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit and a talent for finding lost things. But when a little old lady turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheque, she’s forced to take on her least favourite kind of job – missing persons.
Being hired by reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum where the criminal underclass and their animal companions live in the shadow of hell’s undertow.
Instead, it catapults Zinzi deeper into the maw of a city twisted by crime and magic, where she’ll be forced to confront the dark secrets of former lives, including her own. – Book description on cover
One cannot mention the great names in fantasy fiction without including in the list Ursula K. Le Guin, and in particular her Earthsea novels. I had long been on the lookout for her novels when earlier this year I discovered this omnibus of the first four Earthsea books in a second-hand shop. I read A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan back-to-back and decided I’d do a joint review of the two.