The Game of Thrones HBO series buzz continues to build, with a new poster, a new artisans video and an interactive audio experience all hitting this week. Reviews of The Heroes and The Runestaff, and interviews with Mark Charan Newton, Michael Stackpole, Peter V. Brett and Cherie Priest. Stephen King announces a new Dark Tower book to come next year, and fantasy as a genre is continuing to grow.
A few good reviews this week, including Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb, but the real story is the number of quality interviews crossing this week. Patrick Rothfuss, Tracy Hickman, Brandon Sanderson, James Barclay, N.K. Jemisin and Peter V. Brett all offer their wisdom to the fantasy blogosphere this week. The cover for Tchaikovsky’s 7th novel in the Shadows of the Apt series, Heirs of the Blade was released this week, and its gorgeous. News on The Dark Tower movie, Moorcock’s Elric series, and the Frank Frazetta feud. A trailer for the forthcoming The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie dropped this week, check it out below.
Lots of tv and film news this week, with a few new Game of Thrones HBO series videos appearing, and Stephen King talking about The Dark Tower film and tv series. In addition, a fairly large-scale buzz surrounded Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, as he concluded his tour for the novel. The Game of Thrones trailers look amazing, and I’m really pleased with the casting. Its going to be awesome. Wrap up this week with a new episode of The Guild. See you next week fantasy blogospherians!
Holy schnikes! Where to begin this week? How about reviews of books by Tad Williams, Mark Chadbourn, Mark Charan Newton, Paul Hoffman, and Jo Graham? Or maybe interviews with R.A. Salvatore, Guy Gavriel Kay and Naomi Novik? Not to your liking? Try The Way of Kings tour schedule, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower becoming a film trilogy and a tv series and the babes of Dragon*Con on for size. Still not happy? Will a new trailer for Towers of Midnight please you? No? Ok, then check out The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, answer the question of what hobbits, robots and yahoos have in common, and check out The Guild: Season 4, Episode 8. Thirsty for more? Well, you’ll have to look elsewhere, I’m spent.
Brandon Sanderson is making the rounds, with The Way of Kings slated for release in August. He’s interviewed at The Dragon Page, Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist and Tor.com over the past few weeks, and The Way of Kings sounds like its going to be a great one. Also reviewed this week is Swords & Dark Magic, an anthology in the classic sword & sorcery genre featuring tales by newer authors like Steven Erickson, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, and many others you’ll recognize. We’ve found reviews of books by Jim Butcher, Tad Williams, Scott Lynch, Stephen King, and Guy Gavriel Kay among other reviews that hit the fantasy blogosphere recently. Wrapping up this week don’t miss the cover art that was recently released for Scott Lynch’s forthcoming The Republic of Thieves; its a beautiful cover for what is likely to be an equally beautiful novel.
When it rains it pours, and this week we bypass any book reviews for updates from Patrick Rothfuss and George R.R. Martin on their next books, A Wise Man’s Fear and A Dance with Dragons. Big events seem to come in threes, and in a week where we get updates from two of fantasy fiction’s heavy hitters, we also get wind that Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series is to be adapted by Ron Howard as a movie trilogy. There’s other stuff going on, but honestly, these three items take the cake for probably the week, the month, and up until this point, the year. So I’ll stop now, go check ’em out!
We’ve got reviews of Mistborn, The Name of the Wind, and Leviathan this week, along with a great post over at SF Signal that features a great summary of quality sword & sorcery novels. GRRM fans should get ready to have scenes with Dani in the new A Game of Thrones HBO series shine as its rumored that they’re breathing life into the dothraki by creating a language to be used on the show. We’ve also found a few great author blog posts this week, from both Pat Rothfuss and Guy Gavriel Kay. And finally, check out the cool box set of art inspired by Stephen King novels.
Do we have some golden eggs this week? I think so! Its Easter, and we’ve found reviews of books by Brandon Sanderson, Guy Gavriel Kay, Daniel Abraham and more. Also, check out an interview with George R.R. Martin and Daniel Abraham, and get GRRM’s most recent update on the 2011 Song of Ice & Fire calendar. Those calendars are so hard to find! I ordered my 2009 one on Amazon.com, only to receive an e-mail from Amazon three months into the year that they gave up trying to fill stock. Happy Easter!
Check out a Thanksgiving-sized helping of fantasy book reviews this week, including a pair on The Magicians by Lev Grossman, Pat’s review of The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb, and reviews of books by David Anthony Durham, Terry Brooks, and more.
We’ve also got news on The Dark Tower film project, Choose Your Own Adventure books make it to Kindle publication, and I give my take on the worst ending in fantasy books over at Grasping for the Wind.
If there’s one thing I try to do here at FantasyBookNews.com when I review books, it is to give an honest assessment of books, without being swayed too heavily by who the author is, how famous the series may be, or any other outside influences. A novelist as big as Stephen King is hard to ignore, and treat in this manner. I mean, the guy’s written countless novels that have made the extremely difficult trip from page to screen, and had actors the caliber of Jack Nicholson bring some of his characters to life. This is my first Stephen King novel. I’ve never really dipped to deep into the horror genre, but The Gunslinger is supposed to be King’s adventure into the fantasy genre. He makes numerous mentions of Tolkien, hobbits, and the other fantasy genre novelists that followed Tolkien’s lead in the introduction to The Gunslinger. I should also mention that I’m currently listening to King’s On Writing audiobook, which is a fantastic read for any aspiring writer. In it, King details all aspects of writing, in particular his personal style of of not really planning the plot of his books prior to writing them. I can’t say that I didn’t have this thought in mind while I was reading The Gunslinger.
While King set out to write an epic fantasy, he decided he’d leave the elves, dragons and hobbits to the countless other authors who have attempted to recreate the experience that was Tolkien’s original classic. The setting for The Gunslinger is that of a western adventure. It has a quest feel to it, and you can’t help but notice the similarity with “The Dark Tower” to Tolkien’s tower of Sauron. The Gunslinger is a great character, well developed, with a very raw edge to him. King’s other characters in this novel are very well fleshed out, although we don’t get to see much of the Man in Black as I would have liked. The settings are quality, with a mixture of desert scenes and almost surreal experiences that the Gunslinger goes through. Its an interesting landscape, as while the tangible elements, like surroundings, buildings, and characters all seem to suggest early 1900’s western, it appears as if the novel actually takes place in a regressed future.
The story follows the current timeline of the Gunslinger, interspersed with flashback scenes of the Gunslinger’s childhood and coming of age. While both stories keep the pages turning, I don’t feel they had enough that eventually intertwined them. I would have like more from Roland’s past to have potentially adverse affects on his future, or other creative use of the flashback story line.
All things said, I can honestly say that I was tremendously underwhelmed by The Gunslinger. I’ve read the comics by Marvel, and I really believe this novel reads better as a comic or graphic novel than a book. It may have to do with the fact that The Gunslinger is actually five short stories originally written for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the ’70s. It may have had to do with the fact that I was studying King’s writing methods simultaneously, and was overcritical of the plot and where I felt the book was actually going. That said, I think I’ll definitely be back to see where King actually takes this series. It is a seven book series, with the first four being published with an average of five years between each, and the last three being published over the span of two years. I may just be curious to see if King went on a Kerouac-esque writing binge to finish the final three novels.
I think King could have taken this character and accomplished a lot more with him over the course of The Gunslinger, but I’m definitely interested in seeing where The Gunslinger eventually ends up. I’ll do my homework and keep everyone posted.