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Wings of Fire Anthology Review: The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin *spoilers*

Wings of Fire

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Dragons: Fearsome fire-breathing foes, scaled adversaries, legendary lizards, ancient hoarders of priceless treasures, serpentine sages with the ages’ wisdom, and winged weapons of war…

Wings of Fire brings you all these dragons, and more, seen clearly through the eyes of many of today’s most popular authors, including Peter S. Beagle, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K Le Guin, Dean R Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, and many others.

Edited by Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Eclipse) and Marianne S. Jablon, Wings of Fire collects the best short stories about dragons. From writhing wyrms to snakelike devourers of heroes; from East to West and everywhere in between, Wings of Fire is sure to please dragon lovers everywhere.

GRRM is…an incredible writer. He manages to jam a lot of things and a lot of emotion into few words (when he wants to).

GRRM also seems to be a big fan of rape. I’m NOT saying that he has/wants to/dreams of raping someone personally…but he damn sure seems to be unable walk away from any opportunity to rape someone in prose. *rolls eyes* And that shit makes me upset. I don’t want to hear any BS about “realistic” either – these are GRRM’s authorial decisions and nothing more.

So. “The Ice Dragon” is the story of Adara and her family. Adara was born during a very cold winter and her mother died in child birth. Adara was “full of winter” – she could be outside and barely feel the cold, unlike her siblings. Adara was not just physically cold, she was emotional cold as well. She didn’t smile, didn’t cry and rarely showed emotion. Adara could play with ice lizards when others could not – the body heat that other people created would melt and kill the ice lizards. Adara also had an Ice Dragon. Made from ice with the breath of pure winter, Adara’s ice dragon would come to her in the winter…extending each winter year after year.
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Wings of Fire Anthology Review: Stable of Dragons by Peter S. Beagle

Wings of Fire

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Dragons: Fearsome fire-breathing foes, scaled adversaries, legendary lizards, ancient hoarders of priceless treasures, serpentine sages with the ages’ wisdom, and winged weapons of war…

Wings of Fire brings you all these dragons, and more, seen clearly through the eyes of many of today’s most popular authors, including Peter Beagle, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Mercedes Lackey, Ursula K Le Guin, Dean R Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, and many others.

Edited by Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Eclipse) and Marianne S. Jablon, Wings of Fire collects the best short stories about dragons. From writhing wyrms to snakelike devourers of heroes; from East to West and everywhere in between, Wings of Fire is sure to please dragon lovers everywhere.

I’ve been working my way through a Romance anthology, Hot Alpha SEALs, and I was starting to get burned out. Too many “meh” novellas in a row. I decided to try to mix it up a bit and start on a different (Fantasy/Sci-Fi) anthology: Wings of Fire. I’ve had this book on hold for quite some time now so this is a good time to start. I have pretty decent hopes for the entire anthology – this is the second anthology I’ve bought that has been edited by Jonathan Straham (the first was Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery with Lou Anders).

The first story in Wings of Fire that I’ve read is “Stable of Dragons” by Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn). “Stable of Dragons” is a poem. A very interesting and yet exceedingly odd poem. Only a few pages long with slightly unusual formatting, “Stable of Dragons” tells of a man who owns a barn full of dragons. There’s a twist to the poem that I don’t want to spoil but it totally surprised me and thus required a higher rating than the 3-3.5 stars I had originally planned to give.

Review: Alta (Dragon Jousters #2) by Mercedes Lackey *Spoilers*

Alta

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National best-selling fantasy legend, Mercedes Lackey created a vivid, dynamic fusion of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms of ancient Egypt with the most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.
In the second novel in Mercedes Lackey’s richly-conceived Dragon Jousters series, the dragonrider Vetch escapes to Alta, the subjugated land of his birth. There, he hopes to teach his people to raise and train dragons-and build an army that will liberate his homeland.

NOTE: This review will contain spoilers for the first book in this series, Joust. If you haven’t read Joust, please do not read this review unless you are ok with spoilers.

This one is cute. I enjoy this book but not as much as Joust.

Alta continues the story of the serf Vetch from Joust. In Alta, Vetch is no longer known as the serf “Vetch.” He is “Kiron, son of Kiron,” a displaced but well-born son of Alta and a dragon rider. Kiron arrives in Alta, gets settled and becomes a jouster-in-training almost immediately. He is also given lessons: reading, writing, philosophy and history. Throughout the book the reader can see Kiron’s change from unlettered serf to educated noble by the way he speaks and carries himself. I felt Lackey did a good job showing Kiron’s maturation.

Kiron has achieved his goal: he is no longer a serf – he is a free Altan and dragon rider. But in Alta all is not what he expected: there’s something rotten at the core of Alta and Kiron seems to get into the midst of things very quickly.
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2014 Book Purchases: April

I always start the draft for these monthly book purchase updates at the beginning of the month. It gives me a chance to look back over the previous month and encourage myself to do better.

I already feel that I’ve spent too much money on books this month – Sad, aren’t I? 🙂

I’m going to have to try harder. But I’m nervous about April because it is my birth month. I always find a way to indulge myself in April…

01-May-2014 Update: Yaaaay! I managed not to go over my $20 budget!!! 😀

Wind-Gone-MadBook: Wind Gone Mad
Author: L. Ron Hubbard
Cost: $2.99
Format: Paperback
Date Purchased: 02-Apr-2014
Notes: Shits & Giggles, plus that cover! O_o

 

 

The Phoenix EndangeredBook: The Phoenix Endangered (The Enduring Flame #2)
Author: Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory
Cost: $4.50
Format: Hardback
Date Purchased: 02-Apr-2014
Notes: Second in a series
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Review: Dealing with Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1) by Patricia C. Wrede

Dealing with Dragons

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Meet Princess Cimorene – a princess who refuses to be proper. She is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart…
And bored.
So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon. And not just any dragon, but Kazul – one of the most powerful and dangerous dragons around. Of course, Cimorene has a way of hooking up with dangerous characters, and soon she’s coping with a witch, a jinn, a death-dealing talking bird, a stone prince and some very oily wizards.
If this princess ran away to finds some excitement, it looks like she’s found plenty!

 

 

This was adorable! I quite enjoyed every minute of this read – and I’ve been a very fussy reader lately.

Cimorene is curious about everything – except those things deemed appropriate for princesses. After being told by her parents she was going to be married off to someone she didn’t want to marry, Cimorene runs away and volunteers to serve a dragon.

One of the things I adored about Dealing with Dragons is that Cimorene gets to be quickly known for her common sense and clear thinking. This is definitely a book I could see giving to a young girl to read! Cimorene isn’t “too good” to do anything, her problem is that everyone wants her to do nothing. Princesses are pretty and ornamental but they don’t learn Latin or magic or sword fighting – everything that Cimorene finds interesting.

Instead of being content with her lot in life, Princess Cimorene takes action. She becomes the servant of a dragon, Kazul, and then proceeds to make herself very comfortable. Kazul expects Cimorene to cook, clean and serve. She also expects Cimorene to know enough (or learn!) to be a Librarian and she trusts Cimorene in her treasure room.

I love that this book explores and embraces being different and experimenting with new and different things until finding what makes you happy.

This was a fun but quick read. It’s much more MG than YA but I loved every second of it. It’s not a book I can see myself re-reading but I would like a copy in my library for future young readers.

Review: Joust (Dragon Jousters #1) by Mercedes Lackey

Joust

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For the first time ever, national best-selling legend Mercedes Lackey draws from her extensive knowlege of animals—and her professional background as an avian expert—to create something truly special…

The most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.

It is a richly conceived, fully realized vision, inspired by the culture of ancient Egypt, the legends of Atlantis-and the science of animal behavior and biology. This is how dragons would live, breed, hatch, hunt, and bond.

The first book in this thrilling new series introduces readers to a young slave who dreams of becoming a Jouster-one of the few warriors who can actually ride a flying dragon. And so, in secret, he begins to raise his own dragon.

Joust, the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s Dragon Jousters series, is a wonderfully rich re-imagining of ancient Egypt. The story follows a young serf, Vetch, as he slowly gains agency.

Vetch is an Altan serf. He became a serf when Alta lost a major war with their neighbor Tia. Vetch’s father was murdered and the rest of the family were turned into serfs and bound to the land they once owned.

As a serf – which are considered less than slaves – Vetch was severely mistreated. He was beaten, starved and overworked by his master. During one of the many miserable days in which Vetch lived this spirit-breaking life, Dragon Jouster Ari happens to see him. Ari – noticing that Vetch was being mistreated – decides to take him and make Vetch his dragon boy. Dragon boys live in a complex with their dragons, Jousters and support staff. Dragon boys were not mistreated, overworked and they were fed well and regularly. For Vetch, starved as he was, it was like he’d almost reached Heaven.
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Scandal by Amanda Quick

scandal quick

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With her reputation forever tarnished by a youthful indiscretion, lovely Emily Faringdon is resigned to a life of spinsterhood, until she embarks on an unusual correspondence and finds herself falling head over heels in love. Sensitive, intelligent, and high-minded, her noble pen pal seems to embody everything Emily has ever dreamed of in a man. But Simon Augustus Traherne, the mysterious Earl of Blade, is not at all what he seems.

Driven by dark, smoldering passions and a tragic secret buried deep within his soul, Blade has all of London cowering at his feet, but not Emily…never Emily. For even as she surrenders to his seductive charms, she knows the real reason for his amorous suit. And she knows that she must reach the heart of this golden-eyed dragon before the avenging demons of their entwined pasts destroy the only love she has ever known…

scandal quick 2

Please note: This review is still in progress.

I’ve had a bad 2013 so far, health-wise.

For me, at least, it’s been very bad. I’ve lost a lot of interest in my hobbies. Medication has had me staring at walls like a zombie.

I read this book for the first time years and years ago. Never able to find it again, no matter how hard I looked.
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Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison (Elder Races, #1)

dragon bound

Half-human and half-Wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the Wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful—and passionate—of the Elder Races.

As the most feared and respected of the Wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they’ve ignited in each other.

Pia knows she must repay Dragos for her trespass, but refuses to become his slave—although she cannot deny wanting him, body and soul.

Pia is a young half-wyr (were) who had been trained by her deceased mother to always stay aloof from others and to run and hide. Due to a combination of loneliness and slacking off on her mother’s teachings, Pia made the mistake of telling an ex-boyfriend of some of her abilities – that no door is locked to her. The ex-boyfriend later blackmailed her into stealing something from Dragos Cuelebre – the only known dragon in the world as well as the richest, most powerful and ruthless businessman and wyr alive. Dragos immediately goes on a search for his thief, not knowing that she would turn his life upside down.
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Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines

goblin quest

Jig is a scrawny little nearsighted goblin-a runt even among his puny species. Captured by a party of adventurers searching for a magical artifact, and forced to guide them, Jig encounters every peril ever faced on a fantasy quest.

I first heard about Jim C. Hines via a mention the Dear Author blog. Jim Hines created a hilarious poem based off of the song Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot. I laughed so hard when reading his poem Baby Got Books that I had to chase down his blog.

I learned that Jim Hines wrote comedic fantasy in the same vein as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Another Fine Myth. Delighted, I poked around his back list to locate a good starting place. I decided to start with Goblin Quest and I’m so happy I did.

I’ve been in a bit of a reading funk this year. There’s not been much that has caught my attention. But this? This was wonderful! I had so much fun while still getting every single bit of a typical fantasy adventure. !!!

I loved Jig. He’s a great character. It was funny to read the point of view from someone who is normally considered “the bad guy.” Instead of being the bad guy, Jig is a totally awesome good guy. He helps others, he loves and cares, he’s smart and canny.

I’m currently waiting for the rest of this series to arrive. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for Jig the Goblin Hero.

Song of the Beast by Carol Berg

song of the beast

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From Carol Berg, acclaimed author of the Rai-Kirah series, comes the epic story of Aidan MacAllister, a musician beloved by the gods, whose voice and harp could transform the souls of men…

This review will be tweaked.

Aidan: the most talented bard of his generation, beloved of gods, follower of dragons and cousin to the king, is imprisoned and tortured for 17 years.

Why? Aidan is clueless.

This book follows Aidan as he struggles to live after 17 years of torture and abuse. It also focuses on Aidan’s journey to learn why he was imprisoned.

I didn’t expect to like this book. When I read the blurb I thought, “Sounds sad, not for me.” (I’m a wussy. No dark and gritty for me) The only reason I read this one was because it was the Fantasy Aficionados book of the month pick. As a Mod…I’m sorta supposed to participate. 😉

After jumping through hoops galore to borrow this book from my library…I still put off reading it for a day or two. Finally, I sat down one day to thumb through it…and I looked up several hours later. Finished.

Carol Berg is a wonderful storyteller. The way she crafts her words are something to stand up and notice.

I was right…this is a sad story. Aidan is a ruined wreck of a body when he gets out of prison. His triumphs – for the most part – are far and very small. The story itself is rather bittersweet…and there’s some major betrayal going on. And that’s what makes Berg so powerful an author: I HATE everything I just mentioned in a book! Seriously, I am very much a wussy reader who hates sad stories. But I could not put this book down. I doubt that I’ll reread the entire book but I did reread a few sections and the end already (thus the 5 stars).

I’m not going to lie – I cried like a baby reading this book. This book is heart breaking but the ending is full of…the beginning of healing, of hope reborn. I don’t know…it just touched me. A lot.

SPOILER BELOW!!  Highlight text with cursor to read.

The way that Narim stalked and set up Aidan throughout his life was simply disgusting to me. Someone should done the world a favor and stuck a knife in his back.