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Craig Daniels (Boston, MA)

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The Lair of Bones
The Lair of Bones
by David Farland
Edition: Hardcover
39 used & new from CDN$ 1.93

3.0 out of 5 stars A far cry from the previous books, Oct. 27 2003
This review is from: The Lair of Bones (Hardcover)
This book provides an ending (seemingly) to the Runelord saga in a very concise and short book. It would appear to me as though the author had created a fantastic land with multiple storylines of varying complexities and just simply grew bored of it and wanted to give it an end. The story lines of all the main characters are ended with minimum of fanfare. The good guys win; the bad guy(s) are defeated in a minimum of pages(the reaver queen and raj ahten) and that is about it. I think I would classify this book as a let down. I think the author had a lot of good ideas (the runelords, endowments, the history of the land) and just really let that whole thing go to a waste. I am not saying there should have been more books in the series (overall I think the series took 10 real days for completion) but I think that a lot of storylines should have been fleshed out a bit and completed.
The book ends somewhat suddenly and doesn't realy set the reader up in regards to later books in the series. There are some storylines that could be continued, but since they weren't well constructed in this book, I am not so sure I would go and read them. (spoiler) the last 10 pages of the book take place over a few months time (a longer stretch of time than teh entire three books took up)...
I think this book could have been great, the only reason I gave it the three stars instead of 2 or 1 was because the previous three books were good, and I wanted to see how the series ended. David Farland: you can do better!

Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of 'The Wheel of Time'
Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of 'The Wheel of Time'
by Robert Jordan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 39.99
83 used & new from CDN$ 3.34

1.0 out of 5 stars I am going to save all of you the trouble, Feb. 4 2003
You can read the rest of the reviews about how bad this book is, and they are all correct. This book is horrible, even though I am a huge supporter of Jordan and his writing, I think this book is such a poor reflection of his writing that he should be embarrassed to put his name on this cover.
But enough of that. If you don't want to know what happens in the book: please don't read any further. I am going to do what everyone else who wrote a review should have done and saved me my time and money in reading this book. I am going to summarize what happens in the 700 pages of this book, so that you the reader can go directly to book 11 when it comes out (hoping that there is action in that one).
Here goes:
Mat doesn't do anything. The dice roll in his head a few times, he swears a few times, and he gets to know Tuon (daughter of the nine moons) a bit better.
Egwene doesn't do much. She gets impatient with being called the Amyrlin, tries to unite the white tower, and gets kidnapped in the last 20 pages of the book.
Rand doesn't do much. He hears lews therin talk a bunch, his side hurts still, and he the book ends with him trying to form an aliance with the seanchean.
Perrin smells how people are feeling, gets pissy that he can't get to his wife, and in the end decides to strike a truce with the seanchean to defeat the shaido.
Faile doesn't do anything important.
Elayne doesn't do anything important.
And that is all there is to that.
Sorry to ruin it if you read, but I did warn you. So stay tuned, hopefully the next book will be incredible and make up for the last 2 poor excuses of books from this once incredible author.

Requiem for the Sun
Requiem for the Sun
by Elizabeth Haydon
Edition: Hardcover
34 used & new from CDN$ 1.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Stunning, Oct. 28 2002
This review is from: Requiem for the Sun (Hardcover)
I thought it couldn't be done. I am slightly jaded right now from the writings of the other attempts at fantasy writing in the genre and have been mostly displeased with ongoing fantasy novels (with the one exception being robin hobb's series) until I came across requiem for the sun, the 4th book in the Rhapsody series.
That is a slight misnomer though, this isn't really the 4th book, but really the first book in a second trilogy in my mind, and I think that this is the perfect course of action to pursue for fantasy writers of our modern time. Indeed the most notable fantasy author decided to only use a trilogy (Tolkein), so I wonder why modern fantasy authors today feel they can overstep and do better when clearly their writings suffer after hte 5th book, the 6th book, the 7th book, ad nauseum.
Anyway, I don't want to complain about fantasy writing in general, but instead I want to herald the newest offering from one of the best fantasy authors on the market today. I think that this book was as superbly written as the preceeding three, and deepens and explores the wondrous land that Haydon had begun to create in the Rhapsody trilogy. The characters gain new depth, and new characters are introduced and are built just as solidly as those that existed for three books before. I can't find a flaw with the land Haydon has created, I can't find a flaw with the characters she has created, and I think the magical construct is awesome as well. In all I can't wait for her 5h book, and I hope that it continues to deepen and explore this phenomenal landscape Haydon has created.
5 stars well deserved.

The Fifth Sorceress: Volume I of The Chronicles of Blood and Stone
The Fifth Sorceress: Volume I of The Chronicles of Blood and Stone
by Robert Newcomb
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from CDN$ 4.06

3.0 out of 5 stars Hints of Greatness, Oct. 28 2002
Okay, I have read a few of the reviews about this book, and I am going to try and put them all together to paint a more complete picture of this book.
I read this book last night, and although impressed wouldn't be the word I would use, there was certainly something to his writing that drew me in. I have read a lot of good fantasy and a lot of bad fantasy, and this is far from the worst I have read; and I really feel with a little work and maturity on the part of the author, this could be part of the better fantasy out there.
I will qualify my opinion and say that I have read Goodkind, Jordan, Hobb, Feist, Haydon, Modessit, and many other notable fantasy authors. The main appeal to these books wasthe scope and grandeaur of worlds they created. Hobbs Buckeep comes alive during the reading, Haydons characters are so well developed they could be living next door to you, the vastness of Jordans world (politics, war, intrigue, history) are unmatchable, and on and on for each of these authors.
The main thing that I think Newcomb succeeded at was his creation of a unique fantasy "idea". Not often do authors these days come out with something new on the age old fantasy spin. (I personally think the last one was David Farlands Runelord idea with which I am really impressed); and I think that Newcomb should be congratulated for that. The idea of magic in his book was intersting, and kept me entertained, as well as the created of a dark history (as so many authors before him have used for effect: Jordan, Goodkind, Hobb, Feist, etc.)
Having said that, and complimenting Newcomb on these few promising story threads, i think he does need to do some work to make this book similar in caliber to the authors I have mentioned before. The plot falls short, sure, it is is entertaining and fast moving, but needs more substance and depth to it. (think politics)
The characters are abominable. (Although an interesting thing to note would be the almost complete role reversal from Jordans simpering males and femdom culture) The women are not developed well at all, and I immediately didn't agree with his description of "male and female, light and dark"; you can't do that; you will lose all of the women as your audience. The wizards are the same as they are in any book, stodgey, old, and know it alls. (I would like to see something different at some point). The main character (Tristan) develops through th book, and I don't have a lot of issue with that.
So in summation, I think this book was an enjoyable read. Certainly not the best book I read, butI really feel there are a lot of things the author can do to make the next books better. Hopefully by the 10th or 11th book (as most modern fantasy authors are won't to do) his writing will have gotten better.

The Lion's Game
The Lion's Game
by Nelson DeMille
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
56 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical but grounded, Jan. 24 2002
I have read nelson demille for years; and had previously thought I had read everything good by him. Like most authors, i felt he suffered from some type of disease of only being able to write 3-5 good books before the writing inevitably goes down hill. It was into this section that I had classified demille, I read generals daughter, rivers of babylon, charm school among others, and really didn't enjoy anything else by him I tried.
Then this summer after not reading a demille book for years i picked up plum island, and 5 hours later I put it down with a smile on my face and hoping and wishing that he would continue the story of hte character he began: John Corey.
He did, and so that is why I am going to talk about lions game. John Corey is back, from LI and his convalescense and is ready to start business as usual. He meets a new woman who surprisingly is a match for his chauvanism and egotism, and of course we are re-introduced to the spooks that John loves so much: Ted Nash and George Foster.
Anyway, read the book if you want to know about it. . .the reason for this review is to sing the praises of Demille in writing this book.
This book was whimsical and funny, every other line was an off-color joke, or some type of inner comment made by john corey and they all had me laughing either on the inside or outloud. Genuinely this book could be considered a comedy if it wasn't for the seriousness of the plot lines. This style of writing is a fine line to walk: there are terrible things that the books main enemy do, and any humor stemming from this could be taken as macabre and distasteful, but Nelson pulls it off admirable and creates one of the best reads I have had the please of experienceing in a while.
I say it again as i said after plum island, I can't wait for a new book with John Corey in it; and I can't wait to see where and with who he will end up with in whatever new book comes out.

Fool's Errand: Book One of The Tawny Man
Fool's Errand: Book One of The Tawny Man
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from CDN$ 3.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Robin has done it again: fitz is not dead, Jan. 9 2002
I read the description for this book before it came out, and I couldn't think of any other story involving fitz or nighteyes that could eclipse their last adventures in the Farseer trilogy.
I was wrong.
This book picks up 15 years in the future when Fitz (or Tom Badgerlock as he is called in this story) is 35 years old and feeling every year of it. The book starts with Tom complacently tending his farm/cottage in the woods far apart from human civilization and still recovering from the hardships the farseer line (chade specifically) had placed on him in the last series.
A series of visits alters Tom's simple life and he is flung back into the thick of things in a very different buckeep where he is charged in finding the missing Price Dutiful and (again) saving the world from disaster.
Sounds pretty commmon from that explanation, but this book is anything but. Even though this land was thoroughly explored in the previous two trilogies Robin Hobb has managed to add yet more depth and breadth to her land while somewhat bridging the gap between the Farseer and the Liveship traders trilogies. The fool reappears and again plays a central role, but the most amazing character aspect of this novel is fitz himself.
One of the reasons I praised Robin for her last series was the believability and real world harsh situations her characters were forced into, as well as their subsequent growth and maturing throughout the series. I was very surprised with how well Hobb managed the aging of fitz, although in my mind I will probably always think of him as the brash and unrestrained 20 year old I first came to know, Hobb has handled his transition into the middle years in incredible style. You can almost see the age in Fitz's character, and while his old heart and stamina sometimes shine through, at no point through the story did I mistake this fitz for the old one.
The characters have assumed a more mature stance, and I think that this is probably Hobb's strongest writing ability: the skill to create believable and loveable characters, and have them grow and still have them be great characters in their maturity.
This book deserves 5 stars certainly, and I await any more books that Ms. Hobb will write far more than many other authors in the fantasy world.

The Pillars of Creation
The Pillars of Creation
by Terry Goodkind
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.61
75 used & new from CDN$ 0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not his best, Nov. 21 2001
I have anxiously been awaiting this book to hit the shelves, and I can't tell you how many times I have reread Faith of the Fallen in preparation for Pillars of Creation coming out. Faith of the fallen is one of those rare books that really stand out amongst it's peers, but in reality has no peers due to the incredible rhetoric and imaginative writing of Terry Goodkind. But I am not reviewing that book.
I fell in love with the Sword of Truth series from the start. I had been reading Jordans book feverishly until they started to become boring, and dependably dull. His series started to flag (I feel) by the 6th-7th book and it has been downhill ever since. Goodkind to me took some of the same ideas as Jordan in writing a series, but I feel as though he learned from Jordan, and didn't make the same tired mistakes. Goodking constantly kept his characters moving, growing, the plot shifting, and new wonders appeared in every book. It is for this that I have revered the series up until the last book.
This new book by Goodkind is a good book. I will give him that. He is a very proficient writing, and has used the land he created almost in a selfish way I feel to explore ideas beyond the regular scope of his novels. I will explain.
The book is about children of Darken Rahl that were saved from summarily being killed at birth as Rahl's are wont to do. These children by the storys beginning have grown to adulthood, and have been on the run from the ruthless minions of house Rahl their entire life. Though the lifelines of these children start out simply and independant, their stories quickly link up, and crisscross each other until the end of the novel.
Their adventures with the Imperial Army, and within the land of D'Hara is sprinkled with excellent writing, yet my gripe with the story is that the main protagonist: Richard Rahl and his associates are not written about until page 450.
Yes you heard correctly: the main characters of this series, Richard, Kahlan, Cara, who have fueled all of the plot thus far were not written about until the book was 4/5ths done.
I respect this from Goodkind, as he probably wanted to use alternative characters to explore the world he had created, and see it from a different point of view, but I feel as though he should have written more about Kahlan and Richard, just to allow them to grow that much more in this book.
So that is my gripe with this book. It was a well written book, but I wish that Goodkind had written a little more about the characters I have grown to admire greatly. Incidentally Richard does learn one more Wizards Rule, and the streak is kept alive as we are now up to 7 rules of "living life as wizards do".
Good book, well written, the characters were interesting, if not who I really wanted to read about. But in the process I was able to learn a little more of the mystique of the land and some of its inherent magic, and that is always a positive thing. So I would call reading this book overall a very enjoyable experience, if slightly unexpected.

A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Three
A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Three
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.83
32 used & new from CDN$ 27.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Finally: Something Old that really is New, Jan. 8 2001
The fantasy background of Knights/Dragons/Kings/Queens/Castles/Swords, etc has been a story for the ages. So many books have been written with these romantic ideas in mind, so many that this type of writing has become somewhat of a cliche to me. I have read extensively in the fantasy and sci/fi genre, and it is very rare that you find a fantasy setting that doesn't include at least 3 of the above elements.
Because of this repetitiveness it is very tough for an book/series to break out of the mold and stand above the rest.
Very tough, but not impossible. George RR. Martin has proven this in his last book in this magnificent series.
Every book that comes out in this series is a promise from Martin, a promise that everything you are thinking will happen in the book will not happen; and there is no way to predict what the final page will say in the book. The characters in these books grow; characters that you are familiar with for the last 3 books (it was overwhelming in the first book to be introduced to so many characters, but it pays off in the next 2 books) change and mature in inexplicable ways that you never would have dreamed possible from reading the first book.
I would like to applaud martin on so many levels here, I don't even know where to start. .to try:
The multiple plots he has created do not in any way take away from each other, but add a certain flavor/spice to the book that I have not found in any other books that use this style of split writing. I can't wait to read the other characters in the book, not once did I flip ahead to that characters next chapter, because by the time the chapter was over about 1 character and I had started another chapter with another character I was engrossed in the new characters trials and tribulations.
The characters have grown. So often it is a big problem that characters in a series of however many books long do not grow. From the start of this series the characters have started dynamically changing and growing, and it is a pleasure to see where they will finally end up.
I could go on and on, but I won't. Read this book yourself, and you will be rewarded. It is very possible that the characters you hate will die/ or live and become characters you like, and you won't be dissapointed at all as to where the book ends up.
Read this entire series again and again.

Faith of the Fallen
Faith of the Fallen
by Terry Goodkind
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.67
67 used & new from CDN$ 2.25

5.0 out of 5 stars A Jewel of Modern Literature, Sept. 3 2000
This review is from: Faith of the Fallen (Hardcover)
"Where other authors appear to be building towers, Goodkind looks to be building a pyramid." - Piers Anthony. No one else could have put better to words what Goodkind is doing with the most recent book in the unprecedented Sword of Truth series. I read this book in awe of the mastery goodkind has over creating characters and settings 5 books ago, and yet each time a new book comes out the scenery is as refreshing as when I first took the series up. The characters grow in each book, and through their growth lessons are learned by the characters and by the readers.
What most impressed me about this book was the rhetoric and soul searching that the character Richard did to finally find his place in life, and finally find his meaning of existence. With such passages as:
"Reason is a choice. Wishes and whims are not facts, nor are they a means to discovering them. Reason is our only way to grasping reality--Its our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking, to reject reason, but we are nto free to avoid the penalty of the abyss we refuse to see."
This passage foretells the lesson learned in this book, many times I was thinking to myself the similarities between this book and 1984 by Orwell. Goodking does not just tell an incredible fantasy story, he teaches the reader something in the bargain.
This book was phenominal, and the best in the series. Whichever depth you choose to read this book to you will enjoy it. I hope that literary scholars note this book, and see it for more than just a simple fantasy yarn; this book should be awarded the highest accolades the literary world could offer.

The Best Laid Plans
The Best Laid Plans
by Sidney Sheldon
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.86
71 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to par, Aug. 16 2000
I read the hardcover of this book and was thinking to myself when Sheldon had started to write 6th grade books. The writing was a dobule spaced 12 font or something like that, I could have fit the entire book into one half it's length with proper type setting.
I mention this, because I think it was a ruse by the publisher to try and make this book more imrpessive than it really was. This book didn't have very good character development, and the plot twists were contrived; it seemed as though Sheldon wrote this book under duress, and didn't really care how it turned out so long as there was a final product.
I have read many of Sheldons books, and have enjoyed most if not all of them, I am really surprised at this book falling below the level of excellence that his other books have established.
This book is signature Sheldon with the plot twisting and exciting plot and setting, but is a pale shadow of some of his better work.
Read another one of Sheldons older works before you judge him from just this book, I feel that his earlier work is far better.

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