Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Round-Up: Peter V. Brett, Myke Cole, and Me at SFFWorld

A couple of new reviews over the past couple of weeks at SFFWorld, and the reviews happen to be of books by writers who are best friends.

On the day the book was released, I posted my review of Peter V. Brett’s The Skull Throne, the fourth installment of his Demon Cycle series, which I’ve been enjoying a great deal. This is his strongest novel yet:

 Links to SFFWorld Review

We see why The Skull Throne is titled as such; Jardir’s seeming death leaves the Throne of Krasia quite empty with many people vying to keep it warm in his absence, chief among those are his many children. Here we see the land of Everam’s Bounty, which is what the Krasian’s have renamed the land they’ve conquered and is their base of operations in the Greenlands. Although Jardir’s relatives may be the players vying for the throne, the returning Inevara and Abban are the puppet masters pulling the strings. Chief among the players are Asome and Jayan, two of Jardir’s sons; both of whom are headstrong and in the case of Jayan, to a fatalistic and nearly cartoonish degree. In fact, I’d even say that Jayan is a more dangerously immature than a certain young royal of King’s Landing. Jayan takes no advice and sees nearly every action as a slight to him and he responds to even the most minor slight with the equivalent of Scorched Earth Policy.
Another character who continues to grab my attention is Abban, the handicapped advisor to Jardir and Inevera. What he lacks in physical prowess, he more than compensates for in mental craftiness. Although I might not want to associate with such a character in real life, as a character he is a delight to read. Though the easy comparison is to Tyrion, I found much more in common with Mocker from Glen Cook’s Dread Empire series or Kruppe from Erikson & Esslemont’s Malazan novels.

Most recently (earlier this week), I posted my review of Myke Cole’s Gemini Cell, set in his Shadow OPS milieu but not connected to the original three books by anything other than the same world. Like Peter’s book above, Gemini Cell is Myke’s best published book:

 Links to SFFWorld review

… this is the perfect entry point for new readers. In it, Myke introduces readers to Jim Schweitzer, a Navy SEAL, husband, and father. Like many soldiers/operators, he is torn between his military life and his family life. His wife Sarah is an artist and her career is beginning to flourish. As the novel starts, Sarah is having a major exhibition of her work and unfortunately, Jim is called away in the middle of the exhibition by the Navy for an emergency mission.
Gemini Cell is rewarding for both new readers interested in sampling Myke’s novels and readers who have followed the exploits of the Supernatural Operations Corps through the first three Shadow OPS novels. A glimpse into the early days is a fascinating thing as the military is barely understanding the magic they are trying to exploit as part of its toolset. New readers can see things at the foundation of the milieu while readers like myself can see that beginning and realize how relatively far the military has come in exploiting magic.

Also last week, I was interviewed by Nila White, one of the moderators of SFFWorld and the editor of the SFFWorld anthologies. We've been doing a series of interviews with forum members and behind-the-scenes folks and my turn was last week.

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