epic fantasy

Once Upon a Time VIII: snowstorm, what snowstorm?


Rejoice, magically and fantastically-inclined folk! It has come to my attention that Once Upon a Time Challenge has begun. It is hosted by Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings to celebrate the beginning of spring and this year it lasts from March 21st to June 21st.

This is my first time participating, and I am going to use it wisely to read some really good fantasy or mythology. Or maybe I’ll just get some beer and sit reading sagas for three months. Or maybe I will finally read Little, Big (which currently holds the Longest On TBR Pile title at my house).

There are several participation tiers to suit a variety of tastes. I am going to take a somewhat easy route and do Quest the First.


This means I’ll be reading at least 5 books that fit somewhere within Once Upon a Time categories. Here are some contenders at the moment (subject to change by the management):

1. Fox Woman by Kij Johnson

2. Way of Kings and Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

3. Talus and the Frozen King by Graham Edwards

4. Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

5. Little, Big by John Crowley (oh, why do I even try)

Basically, I am using this challenge as an excuse to read some good fantasy. I’ve been leaning rather science-fictionally lately, but I think my brain would enjoy reading some stuff with swords and spells that makes the peoples fall down!


Blurbs: tiny reviews of some books read in July

This is where I try to cram several reviews in one post. They are all very brief — a sentence or two, just enough to fit on a shelf talker in a bookstore (see what I did there?).

Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow, Book 1) by Anthony Ryan. Available only as an e-book for now, although it is coming in paper format, probably next year. Epic fantasy, complete with swords. Ignore some typos and missing commas (and, to be honest, the most generic title in fantasy) and just enjoy a good story. Really great if you are looking for a Song of Ice and Fire fix. 4.5 out of 5.

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

I don’t actually read urban fantasy much. I like a couple of series, like Dresden Files and Toby Daye, and that’s about it. This one is a little candy of a book, urban fantasy + steampunk, with your usual mix of vampires and werewolves, but also goblins and ‘halvies’. If you like Gail Carriger’s books, you will probably enjoy this one. 3.5 out of 5.

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Young Arab-Indian hacker in a Middle Eastern security state, a book that may be the key to a whole new level of information technology, and some really nice women characters. Cyberpunk with jinns? Who cares what the genre is, it’s well-written, absorbing, and most definitely not like anything you’ve read in the past few years. 4 out of 5.

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

The last, but not the least. What if you could step sideways into another Earth, and then another, and then another? The Long Earth is the infinite number of parallel worlds, similar and different, all out there for your exploring (or exploiting) enjoyment. This is obviously a setup for a larger series, so do not expect things to wrap up nicely.  4 out of 5.