Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

Harry Dresden is the only wizard in the Chicago phone book and consults for the police department on those so-called unusual’ cases. But there’s no love lost between Harry and the White Council of Wizards, who find him brash and undisciplined. Yet now the vampire wars have thinned the ranks of wizards, the White Council needs Harry, like it or not. He’s drafted as a Warden, and assigned to look into rumours of black magic in the Windy City. And, if that isn’t enough, another problem arrives for Harry in the form of the tattooed and pierced daughter of an old friend, all grown-up and already in trouble. Her boyfriend was the only one in the room when an old man was attacked, but in spite of this, he insists he didn’t do it. What looks like a supernatural assault straight out of a horror film turns out to be well, something quite close to that, as Harry discovers that malevolent entities that feed on fear are loose in Chicago. All in a day’s work for a wizard, his faithful dog, and a talking skull named Bob. Continue reading “Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher”

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Reasonable rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment. Harry Dresden is the best and technically the ‘only’ at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they come to him for answers. For the ‘everyday’ world is actually full of strange and magical things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a – well, whatever. The first six Dresden files novels will be published over three months – a great introduction to Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard who manages to get into some seriously tricky situations. Continue reading “Storm Front by Jim Butcher”

Firefly Rain by Richard Dansky

When Jacob left home for a new life, he pretty much forgot all about Maryfield, North Carolina. But Maryfield never forgot him. Or forgave him.

After a failed business venture in Boston, Jacob Logan comes back to the small Southern town of his childhood and takes up residence in the isolated house he grew up in. Here, the air is still. The nights are black. And his parents are buried close by. It should feel like home—but something is terribly wrong.

Jacob loses all his belongings in a highway accident. His car is stolen from his driveway, yet he never hears a sound. The townspeople seem guarded and suspicious. And Carl, the property caretaker with so many secrets, is unnervingly accommodating. Then there are the fireflies that light the night skies . . . and die as they come near Jacob’s home. If it weren’t for the creaking sounds after dark, or the feeling that he is being watched, Jacob would feel so alone. He shouldn’t worry. He’s not.

And whatever’s with him isn’t going to let him leave home ever again. Continue reading “Firefly Rain by Richard Dansky”

Dragonfly Falling by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

Two young companions, Totho and Salma, arrive at Tark to spy on the menacing Wasp army, but are there mistakenly apprehended as enemy agents. By the time they are freed, the city is already under siege. Over in the imperial capital the young emperor, Alvdan, is becoming captivated by a remarkable slave, the vampiric Uctebri, who claims he knows of magic that can grant eternal life. In Collegium, meanwhile, Stenwold is still trying to persuade the city magnates to take seriously the Wasp Empire’s imminent threat to their survival. In a colourful drama involving mass warfare and personal combat, a small group of heroes must stand up against what seems like an unstoppable force. This volume continues the story that so brilliantly unfolded in Empire in Black and Gold – and the action is still non-stop. Continue reading “Dragonfly Falling by Adrian Tchaikovsky”

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Reviewed by Daniel Burton

I long for the days before the Last Desolation.

The age before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. A time when there was still magic in the world and honor in the hearts of men.

The world became ours, and we lost it. Nothing, it appears, is more challenging to the souls of men than victory itself.

Or was that victory an illusion all along? Did our enemies realize that the harder they fought, the stronger we resisted? Perhaps they saw that the heat and the hammer only make for a better grade of sword. But ignore the steel long enough, and it will eventually rust away.

There are four whom we watch. The first is the surgeon, forced to put aside healing to become a soldier in the most brutal war of our time. The second is the assassin, a murderer who weeps as he kills. The third is the liar, a young woman who wears a scholar’s mantle over the heart of a thief. The last is the highprince, a warlord whose eyes have opened to the past as his thirst for battle wanes.

The world can change. Surgebinding and Shardwielding can return; the magics of ancient days can become ours again. These four people are key. Continue reading “The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson”

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

‘I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me’

So begins the tale of Kvothe – currently known as Kote, the unassuming innkeepter – from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, through his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe the notorious magician, the accomplished thief, the masterful musician, the dragon-slayer, the legend-hunter, the lover, the thief and the infamous assassin. The Name of the Wind is fantasy at its very best, and an astounding must-read title. Continue reading “The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss”

The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and other Unnatural Attractions by Robert Rankin

Reviewed by Andy Venn

A decade after the events portrayed by Mr H G Wells in “ The War of the Worlds” we again meet the Martians. Professor Cagliostro Coffin and his able assistant, George Fox, travel the country with their travelling show, the main attraction of which is a Martian preserved in formaldehyde.

Word reaches them of the Japanese Devilfish girl, and the Professor decides that if he can obtain it it will give his show a boost. Things haven’t been going too well, it seems that maybe the age of the travelling show is coming to an end. The Professor and George set out to track down this unnatural attraction and add it to the show. Continue reading “The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and other Unnatural Attractions by Robert Rankin”