Sunday, August 27, 2023

In which I make another visit to Midkemia: I read Magician: Apprentice for the third time


And I still love it. I think if I were to ever make a list of my favorite fantasy novels, both Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master would be at the top of the list. I will never tire of visiting Pug, Arutha, Tomas, Kulgan, and the rest. I'm not going to review the book here, because I've already written my thoughts on this book before, which you can read here and here.

Suffice to say, I immediately picked up Magician: Master and I'm aiming to finish it before the end of the month. After that, I'll take a break before starting on Silverthorn and finally round it out with A Darkness at Sethanon. I'm going to make a concerted effort this time to continue the series. I didn't last time around because the time jump between ADS and Princes of the Blood was hard to get used to and I think I should have taken a break between the two.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Unlike the stock market, my fantasy reading isn't in a slump


Anyways, here's a list of recent fantasy reads since the last time I posted about it:

The Guns of Avalon by Roger Zelazny: This has to be the oddest, quirkiest series I've ever read. It's like modern fantasy mixed with portal fantasy and like high/epic fantasy.

Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence: I owned this book for many, many years, but didn't read it because I had mixed feelings about The Broken Empire trilogy, of which I had read Prince and King of Thorns years ago. I didn't dislike the two books, but I wasn't exactly fawning over them either.  I decided to finally give it a chance once I had slain the slump and boy, am I glad I did. I enjoyed this book a lot and I'm planning on reading book 2, The Liar's Key next year.

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree: Yes, I hopped on the bandwagon and followed the hype train for this book and you know what? WORTH IT. The book lived up to expectations and I eagerly await the sequel.

Now, do I think that everybody is going to enjoy this novella? No. I don't see every fantasy reader sitting down to read a novella about a female orc warrior who quits the life of an adventurer to open a coffee shop. And that's fine because not everybody is going to enjoy reading the same things.

Storm Front and Fool Moon by Jim Butcher: I decided rather spontaneously to give the Dresden Files another shot and re-read (and in the case of Storm Front, re-re-re-read) the first two books. My plan is to try and read at least two books a month until I'm caught up. I'd prefer three, but I don't see that happening every month.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the year. I've got a couple of books in my reading pile and more that I haven't started yet. The slump is gone and good riddance!

Friday, July 22, 2022

Hopefully Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves will be as good as the trailer makes it look

I like that it's set in the Forgotten Realms. I'm sure there'll be folks who wish it had been Blackmoor, Greyhawk, or Dragonlance. Who knows, maybe one day they'll each get their time to shine.

Also, Sophia Lillis's tiefling druid character Doric? Adorable.

So how do y'all feel about the upcoming D&D movie?

Friday, June 10, 2022

Did you know reading fantasy books is cool? 👀

 I sure as hell hope it is, because I read five of them last month! Yes, that's right, your erstwhile blogger launched a bold attack on his fantasy reading slump in May and read five novels!

But in all seriousness, it was fantastic and I'm so glad that I did. I'm not quite prepared to declare the slump defeated, but I'm definitely getting there.

So, what did I read? I plan on trying to write individual reviews for each one, but here's a rundown:

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks: I started reading this last year, got about 50% through it before the slump struck me down, so I didn't pick it back up until towards the end of April, at which point I blew through it in a matter of days. Will be buying the second book in the series this year, hopefully.

The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe: Same situation as above. I wanted something shorter to read about TBP, so I grabbed my tablet and restarted this from the beginning. I'm a solid fan for the Eddie LaCrosse series.

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne: Found a copy in my favorite used bookstore and seeing how other fantasy readers (especially on booktube) were raving about it, cracked this bad boy open. I'm glad I did and needless to say, I'll be reading The Hunger of the Gods this year.

Green Rider by Kristen Britain: A fun read. Definitely meant to be an establishing book for the series.

A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham: Another booktube influence. Those folks generally don't miss, so their opinions carry some weight with me when I'm deciding what to read. It was an odd book with an interesting culture, so I plan on reading at least the second book in The Long Price Quartet.

So, there you have it. Five books in one month. I've always added to the total for the year by finishing the second book in Roger Zelazny's Amber series, The Guns of Avalon.

Looks like I've got a lot of series on my plate, but I'm not complaining.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Here's the Wheel of Time trailer

Some people will complain about the changes and while I don't like one of them (Rand and Egwene apparently having sex), changes come with the territory. You're never going to get a faithful scene by scene, line by line adaptation because books and visual media are so wholly different from one another that you can never truly transfer the full essence of one to the other.

Just based on the trailer, the WoT show doesn't look bad.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Ten years

Well, holy shit. I can't believe that it's already been a decade since I created this blog, but it's true: August 24, 2011, I started Swords, Dragons, and Nerds because I fell down the fantasy rabbit hole and wanted a blog separate from my "main" one to write about what I was reading and all other things related to the fantasy genre.

And yes, I realize today is the 28th, four days after the anniversary. Ironically, I was aware last month of the date and wanted to get this out on the 24th, but alas, it was not to be. Things happened and I missed it. Oh well.

Here's to ten more years!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

I read fantasy? #fakenews

But wait, it isn't, for I have indeed been reading fantasy fiction! True, it's just one book out of the fifteen books I've read so far this year, but hey, it's a start. So what did I read? A classic.

Yes, the first book in Roger Zelany's classic Chronicles of Amber series. What drove me to read this was two things: First, Daniel Greene included Nine Princes in Amber in a video of books that he wanted to read this year and that planted the seed. While I've read classic fantasy before, NPIA didn't really catch my interest for some reason. Seeing someone include it in their TBR in a YouTube video was evidently enough to do so. The second thing is that my favorite used bookstore happened to have a copy and I felt like it was worth the $2.50 to at least see if it was something I wanted to read. And it was.

So how was it? It was fine. I liked the way Zelany mixed the real world with a wholly fantastical one. I didn't expect it to go where it did in the last part, but I liked that it did. I plan or hope to read the next book in the series, provided I can find a copy.

I do feel like I'm starting to recover from this slump I'm in. I've been reading The Black Prism, which I need to get back to soon. My hope is that I can read at least four or five more fantasy novels before the end of the year. Far from what I've read in the past, but it's something.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Random thought: A Song of Ice and Fire as historical fiction

I can't tell you why this thought first popped into my head because it's been so long that I can't even hope to remember the reason. Nonetheless, it was something that spawned from my noggin like Athena from the head of Zeus and for lack of anything better, I thought I'd share it here.

So yes, reading A Song of Ice and Fire as if it were historical fiction is an odd notion and probably not one that occurred to George R.R. Martin when he conceived the series, but it's something that I don't think is that far-fetched. Historical fiction at it's biggest and grandest is simply the retelling (with liberties) of historical events as told from a mix of historical figures and wholly fictional ones. The stage is which ASoIaF is set is not dissimilar to that. If you were to excise the more fantastical elements like the dragons, white walkers, and magic, then you have a retelling of events that wouldn't be that far removed from what you'd read in a historical fiction novel or novels.

Indeed, you could take it one step further and argue that if the plot of the series were distilled down to just the events that occur, then the entire series could be read as a historical record. Political upheavals, assassinations, and wars of succession are exactly the kind of thing that happened in Europe for centuries, just sans dragons, zombies, and Kitt Harrington's perfect hair. In fact, when I finally get around to re-reading A Game of Thrones and (hopefully) the rest of the series, I'm going to try and do so from the point of view that I'm reading historical fiction.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Obviously, I bought more fantasy books

 Because when you're in a never ending slump, that's the sensible thing to do.

A Goodwill find and an impulse buy.

Found at a used bookstore that I've fallen in love with. I've never been heavy on urban fantasy outside of the like four Dresden Files novels I've read, but I'm willing to give this a try.

Bought this on Google's ebook store for like $.99 and read in fairly quickly. It was good enough to make me want to buy more of Parker's books.

Bought at a new-ish bookstore in town. I've reading it off and on and I'm going to make a concerted effort on this one.

Bought at same store as above. Lemme just quote you the opening:

In the myriadic year of our Lord - the ten thousandth year of the King Undying, the kindly Prince of Death! - Gideon Nav packed her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and she escaped from the House of the Ninth.

I'm hyped to read this one.

Another used bookstore purchase. Thought I'd take a chance on it.

Another new one. I've read it before, but wanted a copy of my own.

Does anything stand out for you? Read any of these before?

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Finished reading: Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey

Or should I say I finished re-reading Arrows of the Queen. Books are always better on the second go around. You remember some things while forgetting enough that it doesn't feel like you're just retreading.

Fun fact: I started writing a review for this novel after I read it for the first time, but never finished it. It was too long, over 7,000 words and was more of a synopsis than a review. Spoilery too.

Oh a whole, Arrows of the Queen still holds up as I remembered it on the first go. The same parts still gave me a lot of the "feels" (as the Internet calls emotions) as they did before.


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