Review: NORTHERN LIGHTS by Philip Pullman

Book Reviews

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
MASTERPIECE

I don’t give many five star reviews, but NORTHERN LIGHTS is a genuine masterpiece in imagination and storytelling. It’s the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy and tells the story of Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon. When their best friend Roger goes missing, presumed kidnapped by a sinister organisation known as the Gobblers, Lyra and Pan set out to find him and bring him home. Their journey takes them to the far reaches of the north, where witches rule the sky, armoured bears patrol the frozen wastes and where secrets are set to be revealed that will change the world forever. I’m gonna find it difficult to be coherent about how much I adore this book folks, so bear with me while I try to collect my thoughts.

I first read Northern Lights as a kid – it was actually the first proper novel I ever read on my own and (along with The Hobbit) is largely responsible for kickstarting my love of reading. The adventure, the excitement, the sheer imagination and beauty of it opened me up to a world I didn’t know could exist so vividly in my mind. And because of this, I was a bit nervous about reading it again, especially as I re-read Pullman’s Sally Lockhart books earlier this year and was a bit disappointed by them, despite enjoying them as a youngster. My trepidation couldn’t have been more misplaced. This was, and remains, one of my absolute favourite books ever written.

The first thing to mention is that it’s ostensibly a book aimed at children, but Pullman never patronises his audience or dumbs down the very sophisticated themes he deals with in Northern Lights. And honestly, while I loved it as a kid, I actually felt it improved with the re-read. Because Northern Lights deals with some very complex themes, like growing up; discovering who you are and your place in the world; the oppressive nature of institutionalised religion. These themes become more pronounced as the series progresses and it’s wonderful just how much Pullman trusts his young audience to parse them.

What I truly love about this book though is the sheer scale of imagination. You might have read the opening paragraph of this review and thought “What the hell is a daemon?”. Daemons are central to this book and they drive its central narrative. Every human has a daemon, an animal companion who is essentially an extension of themselves, a piece of their soul made physical. The bond between human and daemon is sacred, unbreakable, the very embodiment of a soulmate. The daemons of children can shapeshift, turning into any animal they wish; there’s a wonderful little scene where Lyra and her gang fight with some local ruffians and Pantalaimon transforms into a miniature dragon in a display of belligerent ferocity. As children grow older though, their daemons stop changing shape and ‘settle’ into a permanent form and what a person’s daemon settles as can be a remarkable indication of their character.

This first book spends a lot of time showing us the deep bond that exists between human and daemon and how it’s affected by a mysterious substance called ‘Dust’, while hinting at wider forces at play in the universe that affect children and their daemons as they grow up and become young adults. Always present in the background of Northern Lights is this concept of Dust, with a capital ‘D’. Lyra is fascinated by Dust, as are many other, very powerful people in Lyra’s world and beyond. Lyra’s uncle, the influential Lord Asriel, also travels to the north to conduct experiments into the nature of Dust and its properties. The Christian church of Lyra’s world, a pervasive and powerful organisation known as The Magisterium, is also very interested in Dust and is not pleased with Asriel’s experiments. The forces at play all seem far beyond Lyra, but as she becomes more entangled in this web of power, conspiracy and deceit, she becomes more and more central to the direction of events and, through her actions, has a dramatic effect on how everything unfolds. But that’s largely for the next book. Suffice to say that, with the creation of Dust, Pullman lays the groundwork for a deeply inter-connected and incredibly imaginative storyline that is set in motion here and plays out much more intensely in the rest of the series.

Connected with all this is the breathtaking worldbuilding of this book. It takes place in a secondary world that is similar to our own in many ways, but noticeably different in others. The detail is exquisite, right down to little linguistic idiosyncrasies; instead of electricity, Lyra’s world has anbaric power; instead of paraffin they have naptha lamps; and, in a world so utterly dominated by the Magisterium, there are no scientists, only tightly-controlled experimental theologians. None of this is overtly explained, it’s left to the reader to pick up through context alone and it’s just delightful to read.

The world Lyra inhabits is fantastical and the different people and societies that inhabit it are also a delight; they just burst out of the page and into my imagination with such clarity and vivid detail that despite how fantastical it is, I became so immersed in this world that for long periods of time I felt like I was living in it. The fierce loyalty and kinship of John Faa, Ma Costa and the Gyptians; the detached yet compassionate and responsible attitude of Serafina Pekkala and the witches; the powerful and altogether non-human society of the armoured bears. All of this worldbuilding is delivered with such ease and skill through the eyes and experiences of the characters. I can’t fault it. Not one bit. It’s just magical.

And the characters are just as incredible as any other part of the story. Relationships are a central theme of the book. Romantic love. Platonic love. The pain of separation and the bonds of friendship that span time and distance. All of this is explored, but never explicitly or clumsily hammered out, it’s just a part of the experience of the characters and the journey they undertake.

And finally, I can’t end this review without an explicit mention of my boy Iorek Byrnison who is, without doubt, my favourite character in all of fiction. Iorek is an armoured polar bear, outcast by his society and at a very low point in his life when we first encounter him. He is noble, powerful and, despite the alien and distinctly non-human outlook of the bears, strikes up a powerful friendship with Lyra. Their relationship is wonderful and pure and the love they feel for one another really makes me tear up.

I feel like there’s a million and one more things I could say about this book, but this is already getting on to be one of my longer reviews and honestly, I’d much prefer you go and read this truly magical book instead. The imagination, the worldbuilding, the characters and their relationships with each other, it all comes together so, so perfectly. I just want everyone to experience this world and these characters. If you haven’t read NORTHERN LIGHTS before, please please do, and I hope it’s as much of life-changing experience for you as it was for me.

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Review: SWORD OF DESTINY by Andrzej Sapkowski

Book Reviews

⭐ ⭐
DIDN’T CARE FOR IT

SWORD OF DESTINY is the second collection of short stories in the dark world of The Witcher, Geralt of Rivia. Geralt is a monster hunter, a mutant who slays beasts and demons for coin. This collection follows Geralt as he hunts a dragon, gets hung by his guts from the rafters (metaphorically speaking) by his developing relationship with Yennefer and is humorously outdone by a changeling. There were bits and pieces in it that I enjoyed, but overall I definitely found this book lacking in Va Va Voom, as Thierry Henry might say.

Sword of Destiny is a weird book because, even though it’s the second in the series chronologically, it was actually the first to be published and honestly, the fact I enjoyed THE LAST WISH a bit more is the only reason I’m persevering with these books. But let’s not be a stick in the mud – I’ll start with the stuff I liked. And there was actually a fair bit that I liked.

Geralt and Yennefer’s relationship. Hoo Boy. That right there is some juicy drama and we see it play out in the second story, A Shard of Ice. These are two broken people – people who love each other but are too emotionally damaged to admit it or function together. Watching them trying and failing to overcome their own deeply-felt insecurities and self-loathing in order to open themselves up and commit to each other is both fascinating and upsetting in equal measure.

Dainty Biberveldt. Loved this guy. In the third story, Eternal Flame, Geralt and his pal Dandelion find themselves caught up in a classic sitcom case of mistaken identity when a halfling merchant called Dainty Biberveldt discovers he’s being impersonated by a changeling, who turns out to be an infinitely better merchant than Dainty himself ever was. This is a lighthearted little tale that serves as a bit of light relief following the emotional massacre at the end of A Shard of Ice and was actually my favourite story in the book. Don’t ask me why, but I’m a sucker for detailed discussions of trade goods and mercantile nonsense in fantasy and this story delivered that with some nice humour and the introduction of a great new character in Dainty Biberveldt.

I found the remaining stories somewhat forgettable, with the exception of the final instalment, called Something More. This is where we really see Geralt’s world turn upside down. From what I know of the full length Witcher novels, they centre around Geralt and a young princess called Ciri, as he attempts to ensure she is trained as a witcher herself. Previous short stories in the collection lay the groundwork for their meeting and this is where it all pays off and it was the first time I really had the sense of the world coming to life, with forces on the move that will start to make things interesting. This final story made me hopeful for the novels.

CW: sexual assault

Now I’ll tell you what I really didn’t like, and that’s Sapkowski’s writing of women. Frankly, he’s terrible at it. In the first (very forgettable) story, we’re introduced to two deadly female warriors who, as far as I could see, served no purpose other than to titillate. They’re frequently described wearing skimpy armour and it’s heavily implied they serve not only as bodyguards, but also as lovers to the important man Geralt spends his time actually talking to. Later on in the story, we’re subjected to a pointless scene where Yennefer is sexually assaulted and Dandelion is aroused by the whole thing. I’m not against depictions of sexual assault in fiction by any means, so long as it serves a purpose and is treat with care. Arguably this served the purpose of developing character for Dandelion (using sexual assault as a means of doing so is questionable, but hey ho) given that we see how he reacts to it. This would have been more justifiable if it was to show how much of a piece of shit Dandelion is, but my reading of the situation was just that we’re meant to find his red-blooded male response to seeing a bit of tit quite funny actually. This is one of the many reasons why, despite his reputation as a ‘cheeky chappy’, comic relief type character, I just find Dandelion intensely unlikable.

In another largely forgetable story, A Little Sacrifice, the first paragraph describes a mermaid emerging from the water and, I shit you not, contains this sentence:

“Geralt saw that she had gorgeous, utterly perfect breasts.”

And if that wasn’t enough to convey to you just how great her breasts were, we’re reminded again a little later on, with this gem:

“She still had beautiful breasts.”

Just…what?

Why?

Tear my fucking eyeballs out now.

There’s more stuff like this, but you get the picture. Sapkowski is the archetype male writer of the kind of utter garbage that gets posted on r/menwritingwomen. His many sins in that area, coupled with some plain bad writing that I talked about in my review of The Last Wish (you can read it here) made this a two star book for me. I only hope I’m not proven a fool by giving the novels the benefit of the doubt and continuing with these books.

Don’t make me look a fool Sapkowski!

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Hey! Watcha Readin': 01/12/2019

Updates

Happy weekend booklings, glad to have you back for another weekly update. This is gonna double up as my November wrap-up and December TBR cos I haven’t got as much reading done this week/month as I’d hoped, but I’m a reformed bookworm who’s learning not to stress about the TBR anymore, so I’m not fretting it. Despite it being a lean month quantity-wise, I really enjoyed my reading in November, so let’s dive into it.

Recently Finished: The HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy by Philip Pullman and DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Honestly, I was a bit trepidatious about diving back into this series that I adored so much as a kid because I re-read Pullman’s Sally Lockhart series earlier this year and was a bit disappointed, despite enjoying them as a youngster. So imagine my delight to find that, not only did HIS DARK MATERIALS stand the test of time, but actually improved with the re-read. I feel like I understood the themes a lot more as an adult. Pullman wrote these sophisticated books for children and while I applaud him for not patronising his readers, there’s a limit to how much ten-year-old me understood the statement he was making about the oppressive institutions of organised religion, ya know? So I got a lot more out of it this time round and looking forward to writing up the reviews to share with you all.

I read DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT as part of Jason’s Off The TBR readalong. This is another book I read as a kid and enjoyed, but I didn’t remember much of it. I’m gonna say I was a bit underwhelmed by it this time round. I really enjoyed the first few chapters – they felt like sinking into a warm bath of liquid swords and sorcery. It was very nostalgic and reminded me of being a kid reading about dragons and elves and adventures for the very first time. Unfortunately I started to get a little bored about a third of the way in and it never really managed to pique my interest again. So yeah, disappointed that this one didn’t hold up but hey, not every book is gonna be a smash hit.

December TBR: a veritable Witcher-thon and a bunch of books released by small press Apex Publications

Ok so I’d hoped to read BLOOD OF ELVES and TIME OF CONTEMPT in November, but life happened and I didn’t get round to it. Ideally I wanna get all four of these read before the Netflix series drops. I was a little let down by the first two short story collections so I’m hoping the novels don’t disappoint.

These are three books I’m super excited to read. They’re all published by small press Apex Publications, whose stuff I’m delving into more after I found out they were the original publishers of Tade Thompson’s ROSEWATER, one of my favourite books of 2018. Rosewater is an unconventional book that does weird, experimental things with science fiction and Apex was bold enough to publish it despite its presumable lack of mainstream appeal. Rosewater only achieved any large scale success when it was picked up and reprinted by a major publisher, even though Apex were the ones willing to take the risk and put it out there originally. So yeah, I’m definitely gonna be supporting the small presses more in future. SNOW OVER UTOPIA, PIMP MY AIRSHIP and COIL all sound just as weird, out there and innovative as Rosewater and I can’t wait to read them.

That’s it for this week. Just a heads up, I’m thinking of playing around with the weekly update format cos I feel like I tend to retread a lot of similar ground from week to week, though this could just be because I don’t read enough (lol). I’ve got plenty to be reading this month so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll have a couple reviews coming your way this week, SWORD OF DESTINY from The Witcher series and NORTHERN LIGHTS, the first in the HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy. In the meantime, happy reading bookworms.

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Review: SNOW CRASH by Neal Stephenson

Book Reviews

⭐ ⭐ ⭐
LIKED IT

This crazy cyberpunk romp had me hooked from the get go. The opening chapter is a frenetic, totally bonkers ride-along with a pizza delivery guy in a race against time. This guy turns out to be our main character and he’s employed by a Mafia ‘franchise’ in some dystopian anarcho-capitalist future where nation states have been replaced by criminal syndicates, religious zealots and unregulated corporations.

Snow Crash follows our protagonists, Hiro Protagonist (yep, you read that correctly), a sword-wielding hacker and (now former) pizza delivery driver and Y.T., a fifteen-year-old courier with a kick-ass skateboard and one hell of an attitude, as they team up to save the world from a media mogul with a sinister plan.

First things first, Snow Crash doesn’t take itself super seriously. It’s postmodern and it’s meta and it’s constantly reminding you you’re reading a book. One of the protagonists is literally called ‘Hiro Protagonist for f**k sake. At one point when you’re gearing up to witness a high-octane chase scene, Stephenson straight up tells you ‘What happens next is just a chase scene’.

End chapter.

It’s disorientating and fast-paced and totally over the top at times, but you just have to embrace it. Because none of it should work but Neal Stephenson pulls it off wonderfully. It’s also written in present tense, which adds to the relentless pace of the book. It uproots you from the comfort and safety of so many stories that feel like they’ve already happened. This feels urgent, this is happening now. You’re sitting alongside these characters in real-time and it’s nothing if not a thrill ride.

The plot is a bit disjointed, but honestly I’m not even sure this is a shortcoming in a book that’s so obviously parodying the cyberpunk genre, which is rife with so much disorienting technological, social and cultural displacement. I spent the first third of the story not really knowing what was going on, but it was fine because Stephenson does such an excellent job of introducing the characters and the setting and just the generally bonkers vibe of the world I was watching unfold that I was just happy to strap in for the ride and see where I ended up.

It gets a bit info-dumpy in the middle, which ordinarily would cause me to roll my eyes and sigh through several pages of exposition, but I didn’t care. The exposition is handled pretty well and the info itself is interesting and original enough that it kept my attention.

One criticism I do have is the lack of character development. Everyone at the end of Snow Crash seems pretty much the same as they were at the beginning and the ending itself was a bit abrupt. Again, I wonder if this was a conscious choice that actually serves as part of the narrative parody of the genre.

Because Snow Crash is parody. Not just of the cyberpunk genre as a whole, but of itself as well and Stephenson makes no apologies for it. It’s over the top and cartoonish and I could definitely visualise this as manga or anime. A few minor hitches are easily forgivable in a book this fun.

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Hey! Watcha Readin’: Apex Special

Updates

Happy Sunday booklings! Welcome back for another weekly update. I’m still reading my way through the HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy and continuing with the DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT readalong, so this week I’m gonna shift focus a bit and talk about some books I’m really excited to read from small press Apex Publications.

This post was prompted by Jason Sizemore, the owner of Apex, who tweeted that one of my favourite books of the year was originally published by Apex, but didn’t really garner much attention until it was picked up by a major publisher. That book was ROSEWATER by Tade Thompson (read my glowing review here), a novel I loved for really pushing the boundaries of what modern SFF could look like. This got me looking into some of the other books Apex are putting out and a lot of their stuff sounds just as Out There and boundary-pushing as Rosewater. So here are a few books by Apex that I’m very excited to read.

PIMP MY AIRSHIP by Maurice Broaddus

All the poet called Sleepy wants to do is spit his verses, smoke chiba, and stay off the COP’s radar—all of which becomes impossible once he encounters a professional protester known as (120 Degrees of) Knowledge Allah. They soon find themselves on the wrong side of local authorities and have to elude the powers that be. When young heiress Sophine Jefferson’s father is murdered, the careful life she’d been constructing for herself tumbles around her. She’s quickly drawn into a web of intrigue, politics and airships, joining with Sleepy and Knowledge Allah in a fight for their freedom. Chased from one end of a retro-fitted Indianapolis to the other, they encounter outlaws, the occasional circus, possibly a medium, and more outlaws. They find themselves in a battle much larger than they imagined: a battle for control of the country and the soul of their people.

COIL by Ren Warom

Bone Adams is a legend, the best mortician in the Spires, and a man without modification in a world where body mods define humanity. When a new killer begins leaving bodies stripped of mods but twisted and bent into grotesque pieces of art, City Officer Stark tasks Bone to unravel the clues, few though they may be. As more victims are discovered, Bone and Stark get drawn deeper into a world where pain and personal statement blend and blur, and finally end up hunting for a semi-mythical, man-machine named Burneo deep within the labyrinth of the sewers. But things aren’t what they seem, and while searching for Burneo, Bone and Stark discover a hidden lab full of evidence of horrific abuses of science and experimentation. Meanwhile, the killer is still on the loose, and, as Stark becomes more and more obsessed with the case, Bone is forced to a shattering realisation. Everything is connected, the killings, the gang activity, the labs, and his own past, and unless he can figure out how, he’s not going to survive.

SNOW OVER UTOPIA by Rudolfo A. Serna

In an age of savage science powered by black-mass, and thrown away bio-matter leaked into an underground sea lit by the heart of the great tree, a girl named Eden loses her rare blue eyes. Escaping her fanatical and sadistic slave masters with her eyes in a jar, she runs away with a murderer named Miner. After fleeing for their lives deep within the forest, they are found by the Librarian and his daughter Delilah, and sheltered in their mountain-top sanctuary. But she cannot stop there. If Eden wants to restore her eyes, then she must go on through time and space in a necrotronic stream generated by the living computer program called Witch Mother. While mutantoid priests in underground bunkers monitor transmissions from the great tree, Eden and Miner must face the horrors of the factories and the coliseum run by the Robot Queen in the city of Utopia.

Looking into these less mainstream books has made me much more appreciative of the work small presses like Apex do to bring some of the more experimental and ‘out there’ SFF into the world. I’m looking forward to diving into these books and I’ll be paying much more active attention to the work of small presses in the future!

Do you have any small press recommendations? Let me know what you’re reading this week and make sure to follow the blog to never miss a post!

Review: STEEL CROW SAGA by Paul Krueger

Book Reviews

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
LOVED IT

I’m just gonna say up front that I adored this book and would straight up die for every single one of these characters. There are magical animal companions, LGBTQ folks literally everywhere, shadepacting (you want to know what that is right?) and OMG all of the feels. I actually cried. STEEL CROW SAGA is delightful and emotional, a true masterclass in character relationships and an antidote to the stale, crusty, straight white fantasy that has dominated for so long. It makes me truly hopeful for the future of our wonderful genre.

So what and who is it about?

Tala is a soldier in the army of the newly-liberated Sanbuna Republic. She’s an orphan whose parents were killed by occupying Tomodanese forces and now that the war is over she’s tasked with protecting the man who will lead the country that oppressed her people for so long. Jimuro is heir to the Mountain Throne of Tomoda and since his own mother’s death, also the de facto leader of the country. Xiulan is a Shang princess, albeit an out-of-favour one, designated a distant 28th in line to the throne. An eccentric scholar and officer in Shang’s highest police force, she plans to kidnap Jimuro herself, as a means of securing her father’s favour and ascending to the throne. To this end she recruits Lee, a petty-but-accomplished thief with commitment issues but a buried heart of gold.

The world and setting of STEEL CROW SAGA is rich and detailed and there’s a lot of names, titles and countries to absorb quite early on. This did distract from the narrative a little bit, but honestly I didn’t care; I loved it even and just found myself wide-eyed and absorbed by the magic that was unfolding before my eyes. From the delightfully endearing animal companions many characters bond with through the magic of shadepacting, to the skilfully-delivered and complex political landscape of postcolonial Tomoda, everything about the book just sucked me in.

The world of the book is an Asian-inspired, fantastical pseudo-modern setting, where rudimentary firearms exist alongside electricity and motor cars powered by combustion engines. And while the people of Sanbuna and Shang practise shadepacting, the Tomodanese are renowned for the art of metalpacting, the magical practice of channelling their essence into metal objects like ships and cars and bullets, allowing them to manipulate objects without the need for a power source. It’s this power that enabled them to dominate and colonise the rest of the world for so long before the events of the book. Claysad wrote a great review of STEEL CROW SAGA over on her blog, where she says this about the sheer imagination and level of detail in the world of STEEL CROW SAGA:

One of the biggest ways that these cultures differ is their use of magic. The way Krueger describes these magical systems and the ways the magic looks and feels is magical in and of itself.
The magic of the peoples of Sanbu and Shang is called shade pacting. A shade pact is a magical agreement between a person and an animal wherein each being promises something to the other in return for a piece of their soul. The animal becomes the person’s lifelong companion, living inside them until they are called.
The people of Tomoda find shade pacting to be… problematic, to put it lightly. Their magic is called metal pacting. They are able to manipulate metal in a number of magical ways—like heating it to make it hotter or moving or guiding it through space. The Dahali, meanwhile, manipulate magic more directly, casting hexbolts made of soul energy.
These distinct, unique modes of magic are deeply entwined in their respective cultures and, in universe, have been used in more than one way to colonize and subjugate—but also to revolt and rebel.

You should totally read Claysad’s whole review by the way, it’s about 28x better than this one – click here for more Steel Crow love.

While the world, politics and setting are all fantastic, they serve the much grander purpose of providing the backdrop for the magical relationships of these four wonderful characters to grow and develop. At the beginning of the book Tala, Jimuro, Xiulan and Lee all have long-established and deeply-rooted reasons to hate each other and yet, as the story unfolds, we watch as they come to understand each other and the role they each have to play in making the world a better place. It’s far from plain sailing though. They all make mistakes. They hurt each other. Most of the time are actually working against each other and yet I was still rooting for all of them to succeed. But what this book does so well is show the power of the true desire to make amends and the knowledge that real redemption can never be expected or presumed, but must be worked for and earned through meaningful action.

All in all, this is a book the world needs. A book where LGBTQ folks just are, who exist in the world without having to justify their place in it, who aren’t defined by their trauma and instead are fully-realised characters with hopes and dreams and goals. It’s a book with a nuanced exploration of colonialism, of it’s social impact as well as the psychological effects it imposes on the colonised and coloniser alike. It’s a book that does all this with exceptional depth of character and a portrayal of some beautiful interpersonal relationships that will make you feel some feelings. Please go and read it, you’ll thank me for it 🙂

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Hey! Watcha Readin’: 10/11/19

Updates

Happy Sunday booklings, and thanks for stopping by for another weekly update. It’s been a busy week for me outside of books, so this is the first week Parsecs & Parchment hasn’t featured at least one review. Life can get busy sometimes and it’ll continue to be busy for the next month or so, but on the plus side I will be putting out my review of STEEL CROW SAGA in the next few days and honestly, I loved this book so much I can’t wait to share my feelings about it with you all.

I’m still reading NORTHERN LIGHTS by Philip Pullman, a re-read inspired by the beginning of the His Dark Materials TV series, which I thought was very impressive (Ruth Wilson was born to play Mrs Coulter). NORTHERN LIGHTS begins the tale of Lyra, a young girl whose best friend goes missing. Lyra and her dæmon are determined to find him and their quest leads them to ‘the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies – and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to be spoken about’. It’s a truly remarkable book and begins the magical series that made me fall in love with fantasy.

Unusually for me I’m also reading a second fiction book at the same time. The DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT readalong is in full swing and I’m enjoying the experience so much. While I absolutely adore a lot of modern fantasy (books like STEEL CROW SAGA and THE TETHERED MAGE make me so excited about the direction of the genre) there’s something very comforting and nostalgic about going back to some classic 80’s epic fantasy that is so unapologetically tropey and steeped in that D&D style swords and sorcery adventure.

That’s it for this week, just a quick update as not much to report. Keep an eye out for the STEEL CROW SAGA review in the next few days and, as always, happy reading everyone 🙂

Let me know what you’re reading this week and make sure to follow the blog and never miss a post!