The Fallon Blood by Robert Jordan – Writing as Reagan O’Neal (The Fallon Chronicles, #1)

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fallon-blood

Today is my favorite writers birthday, Robert Jordan was born on this day in 1948. His stories have brought me many hours of wonderful pleasure and vicarious adventure. I devoured The Wheel of Time series, and have read it more than once. And will do so again. The Conan stories are great. So, I didn’t expect anything different with The Fallon Chronicles, even though it’s classified as “historical romance”. By the way this was my first foray into any type of romance novels. The historical part didn’t scare me, but the romance half did. However, my fear was unfounded.

The story follows Michael Fallon, an immigrant from Ireland who comes to America to create a dynasty that rivals all. He does succeed at that, and becomes a prosperous man, pulling himself up by his bootstraps. The story line follows along the path of Fallon beginning in America as an indentured servant. Later, after his service as an indentured servant, he begins his own business as a planter running a huge plantation. Throughout this time he is involved with several women who get him into all sorts of mishaps. Through one of these encounters he brings a illegitimate child into the world. An event that will later give him great heartache.

Also during this time while Mr. Fallon is gaining his freedom, and becoming a man of great means, and setting a course for his life and those of his children. The country that he loves, and allowed him to advance in life is having growing pains. America is at the start of the Revolution, and seeking her independence from Great Britain. Fallon, who has a military background, comes with time one of the leading figures of the Revolution working alongside some of the most well known individuals in the birth of the new nation. This is a story of ambition, passion, and a desire to leave a legacy.

I highly recommend this book. Robert Jordan is a excellent writer.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Series: The Fallon Chronicles

Publication Date: February 1, 1980

Publisher: Ace Books

Genre: Historical Romance

Pov: Third Person

Pages: 381 pages (Hardcover)

Best Lines: N/A

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Original 1980 cover by Ace Books

 

 

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Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

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The second volume of the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson was markedly better than its predecessor. The pace of the book in my opinion went much quicker than the previous volume. However, I still thought that it was much slower than it could have been. I mean there is at least 6oo + pages of not very much going on, but in the last half, the last two or three hundred pages, it is filled with action packed stuff, and the story/plot progresses. It moves so much in fact that I am anxiously waiting for the third installment.

The structure of the book is different from any fantasy series I have read so far. Each book in the series is based mainly one of the main characters. Dealing with their present condition, as well as flashbacks of their past. Throughout the books there are various interludes introducing you to characters that you have never heard of before. In this way it gives the reader a better feel of the world of Roshar outside our main characters. I find structuring the novels in that fashion is a formula that is working.

One of the main characters, Kaladin, was less whiny in this book but still a huge cry baby until the end of the book. At the end he becomes a heroic magic wielding soldier that I was impressed with. In fact several characters shine in this book. There is Shallan who shines fairly bright, Dalinar who I think has shined from the beginning, Adolin is much better to deal with now, especially since the ending of this book. And Renarin, has surprisingly entered the stage as an interesting character.

Lets not forget the Parshendi, they are the enemies, or so it seems so far…but their way of life and culture is really interesting. I am anxious to find out more about them in the upcoming books.

This series has some flaws in my opinion, particular the long stretches of not much going on, but they pay off in the end. But I must say that this series has a lot going for it. I don’t mind waiting on the next volume years to come. Sanderson has created something brilliant here. His writing is simplistic but lively.

Rating: 4.25 of 5 Stars

Series: The Stormlight Archive

Publication Date: March 4, 2014

Publisher: Tor

Genre: Fantasy

Pov: Third Person

Pages: 1310 – Includes glossary (Mass Market Paperback)

Best Lines: “Words are where most change begins”

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Full Cover Art by Michael Whelan

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Full Artwork inside book of Shallan(By Michael Whelan)

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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

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The Way of Kings, is the first installment of a projected ten volume epic fantasy series by Brandon Sanderson. Initially, I thought, after I began reading it…that The Way of Kings was Disneyland sword and sorcery meets Peter Pan spiked with numerous tinkerbells called “spren” sprinting and whirling about. I was part way satisfied and part way disappointed with this book. Perhaps disappointment is to strong a word. The title is awesome. The cover art is awesome. The story line slow. Granted, I understand that this is the start of a massive epic adventure, and certain details must be set up for the whole of the series. But still I anticipated more adventure.

The central character, Kaladin, I was unable to make a deep connection with due to his excessive whining and childish outlook on life. I really hope that his storyline involves over time. Some of the other characters I felt had more promise, but their stories seemed rather dragged out.

The world building is interesting and I would say possibly on the level of Jordans Wheel of Time, possibly, but only time will truly tell.The world of Roshar is a world of irregular weather patterns, and a ecosystem that has had to adapt to these situations. Throughout this world there is a unique magic system related to gems that store energy for weeks after a “highstorm”. A highstorm being a highly fierce storm, most like the beginning of a tornado. Throughout this world there are individuals who can suck up this energy, that is called Stormlight, through the gems, and with it do impossible and amazing feats.

On top of that there is a underlying apocalyptic story that threads through simultaneously. There is much to admire with the beginning of this series, in spite of the flaws I mentioned earlier. And for fantasy readers who are weary of the same ol’ fantasy tropes that have permeated the genre for decades. I don’t think you will have to worry with this series. This is fresh stuff coming from Sanderson that will possibly leave him to be named as one the greatest fantasy authors of all time. This is definitely a series to check out.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Stormlight Archive

Publication Date: August 31, 2010

Publisher: Tor

Genre: Fantasy

Pov: Third Person

Pages: 1258 – includes glossary (Mass Market Paperback)

Best Lines: “The hallmark of insecurity is bravado”

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Full cover art by Michael Whelan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fantasy Art #1 (Conan the Invincible by Robert Jordan -Artist Ron Walotsky)

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I read a lot of fantasy and thoroughly enjoy it. And one of the main things about fantasy, that any lover of the genre will mention, is the art that is associated with it. Some of the greatest modern art in my opinion is on the cover of fantasy novels today.  I love that feeling of reading an excellent fantasy series of epic proportions, and taking small breaks in between readings, and just gazing at the cover and fantasizing with wonder, and reliving the story told. I’m sure you can relate. That is what fantasy is about…THE SENSE OF WONDER AND IMAGINATION. And that is what real art is about. Right?

So I have decided to highlight some of my favorite book covers in fantasy and the artist behind them. Its something that I often don’t see talked about. I hope this will be a regular thing.

My first selection will be Conan the Invincible by Robert Jordan. The artist Ron Walotsky.

ron walotsky

Ron Walotsky was an American illustrator who began his career in Science Fiction/Fantasy. He attended School of Visual Arts in New York City. He was nominated for the Chelsea award on several occasions. In 1987 he won the Frank R. Paul award.

Born: August 21, 1943 (New York)

Died: July 29, 2002 (Ormond, Florida).

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The Hero by George R. R. Martin

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The Hero, a short story, and the first published work of George R. R. Martin was published in the February 1971 issue of Galaxy magazine. You can read the entire story at this link.

The story was much simpler than what I expected, and I found that I did enjoy it. However, the brilliance of his later writings I don’t think  is evident. But that is not to say that the writing is not good. Because I assure you that it is.

The story involves a soldier who is seeking retirement from his military life and hoping to live a more exciting life on Earth. His superior officer however does not want him to retire, and tries to encourage him to re-enlist.But Kagen is adamant that he will not. The officer finally realizes that bluffing, tricks, and encouragement will not convince Kagen to stay on. He finally agrees to his request. But the request is not fulfilled as it is promised, and our Hero is boarded on a ship and eventually killed.

 

 

Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors by Andrew Shaffer (Book Review)

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I read this book for the first time over a year ago. The writing of Andrew Shaffer is easy to read. In fact the entirety of this book is easy to read and fun as well. Throughout its pages you will read short biographies of some of the most famous and controversial literary figures of all time. The subtitle of the book is A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors. And with that being said I believe unfortunately that the book does, or tries, or by accident glorifies and romanticizes the lifestyles of these authors. It is a popular belief among many that genius is somehow connected with unruly behavior and unusual lifestyles, and even destructive lifestyles. A belief I firmly believed to be hogwash. This is my main complaint with this book. Now whether the author intended for this to be focus or not is certainly up to debate. I for one felt that it was a underlying statement throughout.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publication Date:  February 5, 2013

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Genre: N/A

Pov: N/A

Pages: 297 (Paperback)

Best Lines: N/A

 

 

 

 

 

Master and Fool by J.V. Jones (The Book of Words, #3)

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The third installment of The Book of Words series was as I expected not a disappointment. The story continued with our cast of characters with a satisfying conclusion. The writing of J.V. Jones is superb without the fluff. The series is my first read thru of Mrs. Jones work, all due to a quote by my favorite author (Robert Jordan) stating that she was a striking writer. I wholeheartedly agree with his declaration. I am now interested in reading a larger series by her, and seeing where she takes the story lines. She is currently writing a longer series. From my observation with reading this trilogy I believe she could pull it off with great style and wit.

My only complaint with this series, and really it’s not necessarily a bad thing…perhaps to some it would be considered a good thing. But I found while reading this series that the main character, the supposed hero of the story, was rather weak and boring in a sense to me. I didn’t really connect with him. The characterization of him was not what I had expected. However, I did love the other characters, and thought that they were well fleshed out. Even with that slight disappointment (which really isn’t a lot) I truly loved this series, and I will continue to be a fan of J.V. Jones writing. She is totally underrated.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Publication Date: 11-1-1996

Publisher: Warner Books

Genre: Fantasy

Pov: Third Person

Pages: 532 (Mass Market Paperback)

Best Lines: N/A

A Man Betrayed by J.V. Jones (The Book of Words, #2)

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The second installment of The Book of Words trilogy by J.V. Jones is a successful follow up to The Baker’s Boy. The writing of J.V. Jones is just as concise and gripping as it was in the first novel. However, there is not much more that happens compared to where we left off in the previous book. The plot line does advance in regards to the villians. The hero unfortanely is stuck in a relationship with a seductive and deceitful woman, and her “family.” I find Mrs. Jones characterization of her characters sometimes lacking. It is not a bad thing per se…but I feel like I can’t completely connect with them. I find that I like her villians more than the so called hero as of now.

But this is Jones first published series, and there is more than enough to make a person burst with pleasure. I have read enough of Mrs. Jones work that I can safely say that she is one of my favorite writers, and I intend to check out her other series. I think that she is a writer that will only get better with time.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 4/1996

Publiser: Warner Books

Genre: Fantasy

Pov: Third Person

Pages:598 (Mass Market Paperback)

Best Lines: N/A

The Baker’s Boy by J.V. Jones (The Book of Words, #1)

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The Baker’s Boy, (Originally titled “Immortal Longings) written by J.V. Jones is a wonderful read. I first heard about J.V. Jones by reading a blurb by my favorite fantasy author, Robert Jordan. I thought to myself if Robert Jordan recommends her she must be a great writer. I was not disappointed. He stated that she was a “striking writer” and indeed she is.

The story follows some of the familiar fantasy tropes of the past, but each one is delivered in a fresh way. The writing of J.V. Jones is straight to the point with its approach as well as poetic at times. I found her writing to be direct but descriptive.

The story follows about four different individuals: a bakers boy, a young noblewoman, a lord, and a sorcerer. Along with each of these story lines is a backdrop of prophecy and a mysterious book written by a individual called “Marod.” The book is about the said characters struggles, schemes, and travels, with the overarching theme of the prophecy. One of them, or perhaps more than one of them has a major destiny to fulfill.

I found this book to be a pleasant surprise and great fun to read. I particular like the villians in the book. They came off more interesting than the normal cast of characters at times. This book has made me a fan of J.V. Jones. I look forward to her other books.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Publication Date: 6/1995

Publisher: Warner Books

Genre: Fantasy

Pov: Third Person

Pages: 552 (Mass Market Paperback)

Best Lines: “Power is seldom found in those without ambition.”

 

Julia Victoria Jones (a.k.a J.V. Jones)

j.v. jones

Julia Victoria Jones, better know as J.V. Jones is fantasy author who has penned several books.

Born in 1963 in Liverpool, England, a daughter of a pub owner. She has held different career paths over the years besides writing. At the age of 20 she worked for a record company and was involved in the Liverpool music scene of the 80s. Later she moved to San Diego, California and worked at running an export business. She has also done marketing for a software company.

Some of her interest include computer games, music, and history.

She has written one standalone novel, and two fantasy series. One in which she is currently working on.