Winterbirth is the first book in The Godless World trilogy, which has gained popularity recently with the release of the third novel in the series, Fall of Thanes. I was hoping for a dark romp through a medieval world, as Winterbirth has received high praise from both traditional publications and blog reviewers like myself. Unfortunately for me, Winterbirth didn’t deliver.
I’ve discussed the importance of characterization here on Fantasy Book News numerous times, and what stands out most about Winterbirth is its lack of memorable characters. There are a few characters we follow in Winterbirth, adding variety without being overwhelming. Unfortunately I found it difficult to stay interested in any of them for very long. When the characters in a fantasy novel start to blend in with generic characters from other fantasy novels, it makes getting into a novel very difficult indeed.
Winterbirth does offer a look into the lives of men at war, travelling and fighting for their families back home, and Ruckley is very adept with description, and painting a vivid image of life on the road. The other overarching plotline follows one of the main characters, Orisian, on a long voyage, my favorite part taking place during a trip through snow-capped mountains. This was probably the only part of the novel I felt immersed in, and went into that wonderful mode where a novel takes you away to another place. It was great while it lasted, unfortunately for Ruckley, it wasn’t a very large part of the novel.
I have heard that the subsequent novels in this series are good, so I can hope that the characterization and overall quality improves from here on out, but getting through Winterbirth was a tough job for me.
George R.R. Martin reviews flood the blogosphere this week, with reviews of books 2-5 in A Song of Ice and Fire crossing your internets. Shadowplay, Prince of Thorns and Perfect Shadow are also reviewed, and we round out the week with a bases-loaded interview pack: GRRM, 2 (yep, two!) interviews with Felicia Day, and a chat with Jim Butcher. Righteous!
If you’re lucky enough to be inside with air conditioning right now, you’ll likely have more time than usual to browse the interwebs. Luckily, the fantasy blogosphere is chock full of goodies this week, with reviews of books by Tad Williams, Mark Charan Newton and Glen Cook, and interviews with Mark Lawrence, Ellen Kushner and David Anthony Durham. A few big fantasy film happenings: Harry Potter concludes and io9 looks at potential fantasy series to replace it, and The Dark Tower gets cancelled. Bring on the Dragonlance feature film!!
In case you haven’t been watching our Amazon’s top 5 fantasy books over the past few months, USA Today has summarized nicely: Record sales for George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons. It shows, as A Dance with Dragons is being reviewed in more mainstream publications, and the author himself is popping up to discuss the novel all over the interwebs. If you squint enough, you may be able to see the reviews of books by Ari Marmell, N.K. Jemisin, Steven Erikson and Brent Weeks amid the Dance maelstrom. Tack on a pair of interviews with Lev Grossman and Tracy Hickman, and I’d say this week will leave you with a belly full of fantasy.
A Dance with Dragons, Kindle version, moves into first place this week, and the 4-book boxed set swaps places with A Clash of Kings, but George R.R. Martin retains his iron grip on the top 5 fantasy books on Amazon.com.
A Dance with Dragons teeters on the brink of release, and the fantasy blogosphere is flooding with reviews now that the embargo on reviews is lifted. Also this week, we found reviews of books by authors Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Adrian Tchaikovsky and R. Scott Bakker, as well as an interview with Lev Grossman. Some cool fantasy art appeared this week as well, with the cover for the Game of Thrones dropping, and a really cool new map of Westeros. Photos from The Hobbit movie are starting to cross the blogosphere as well. Enough to get excited about yet?
Is this real, or am I just dreaming? It still seems a bit unreal, but A Dance with Dragons is set to drop in t-minus two days, and the anticipation has propelled the Kindle version to second place, right under its twin brother, Mr. Hardcover. Martin continues to dominate the top 5, leading me to believe this year might be the fall of urban fantasy. Minimally, 2011 has already seen urban fantasy yield the first 6 months to fantasy; we’ll see if Martin continues his dominance for the second half of the year.