Friday, December 25, 2009

Wit'ch Fire by James Clemens

Posted by Simcha 3:37 AM, under | 7 comments

I recently noticed Wit’ch Fire, by James Clemens, is listed as one of the top fantasy books on Amazon and I recognized this title as one that’s been sitting on my bookshelf for a while, but which I have never been inclined to read. But after perusing all the positive Amazon reviews on the book, I thought it would be worthwhile to give it a try.

As the magic of Chi slowly drains out of the land of Alasea, leaving the people defenseless against their enemies, three mages come together in a desperate effort to ensure that someday the magic will be returned to Alasea and the people saved. The mages intend to create the book prophesied in the visions, through a magical ceremony, but something goes horribly wrong and all three mages disappear, leaving behind their guardian Er’ril, who suspects that their attempt was a dismal a failure.

Five centuries later, thirteen year old Elena is picking apples in her family’s orchard, when a severe stomach cramp causes her to fall out of the tree. Picking herself up from the ground, Elena discovers that she has begun menstruating and strangely enough, her hand is now a bright red which won’t rub off. Frightened, Elena runs home to her family who are exultant at her new status as a woman, though they have no answer for the strange color of her hand.

Late that night, Elena is woken up by strange sounds from outside. Looking out of her window, she sees two menacing strangers approaching her house. She runs to warn her parents, but it is too late. The strangers attack Elena’s family and Elena and her brother, Joach, are forced to flee into the woods to escape their predators.

But when the siblings make their way to town, where they expect to find refuge, they discover instead that the towns people have all been turned against them, and it’s only the sudden aid of a stranger that gets Elena and Joach out alive.

Soon Elena finds herself allied with an unusual group of travelers, including two shapshifters, an elf, an ogre and a wood nymph, each of whom has their own personal quest to fulfill but whose paths bring them together in order to find the answers they seek.

I thought
Witch Fire was an OK book, but not much more then that. The whole story takes place within just a few days and the pace of the book felt rushed to me, with one character after another being thrown into the mix but none of them being fully fleshed out. Elena and her brother were the only characters that were really three dimensional but once more characters were added, they both kind of faded into the background.

I also didn’t really understand what the magic system was here. It seems that those with a red hand are capable of certain powers, but what those powers are and how they work, was never clarified. Also Clemens use of common words with the addition of an apostrophe, such as wit'ch or magick, was rather irritating.

On the plus side, the book was well written and there were some interesting villains and creative magical creatures. I also appreciated the unexpected twist at the end. But the lack of character development left me rather unimpressed with the book and uninterested in following it up with the sequel.

I did actually take a brief look at a review of the sequel,
Wit’ch Storm, in which the reviewer mentioned that she felt the second book was better then the first, especially in regard to the character development. So perhaps I will give the sequel a chance at some point but I'm not in any particular rush at this time to do so.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Favorite Fictional Character: Hawkeye Pierce

Posted by Simcha 6:05 PM, under | 4 comments

Favorite Fictional Character
Hosted by Ryan at Wordsmithonia

This week's favorite fictional character is Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, from one my favorite TV shows, M.A.S.H.

MASH is TV shows from the 1970s that humorously portrays a field medical unit in Korea during the Korean war. I had discovered this show about ten years ago when I joined a gym and MASH was playing on the TV the first couple of times that I went. I soon got hooked onto the show and ended up going to the gym sometimes twice a day just to catch MASH, which was on in the morning and the evening. I was in really good shape that summer!

Hawkeye is one of my favorite TV characters, with his irreverent and sarcastic humor and creative pranks that would often shake up life at the army camp and help relieve the stress and trauma of war. Despite his decidedly unprofessional and unmilitary behavior, flashes of Hawkeye's strong conciseness and sense of humanity are often revealed, portrayed very skillfully by Alan Alda.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Brandon Sanderson at Goodreads

Posted by Simcha 6:02 PM, under | No comments

I just saw that next month Brandon Sanderson will be participating in a discussion of his book, Warbreaker, at the Goodreads Fantasy Bookclub. Since Warbreaker is one my favorite books from this past year, I'll definitely be showing up for the chance to discuss the book with the author himself.

Brandon has also put up on his website a short story that he wrote, Defending Elysium, which he considers his best short story and which also won the UPC Science Fiction Award. You can check it out here.

And if you are interested in finding out what Brandon Sanderson's favorite books from 2009 were, then take a look at his guest post at the The Book Smugglers.

And that's all the Brandon Sanderson news for today...

Posted by Simcha 4:58 PM, under | 2 comments

It's Tuesday...Where are You?
Hosted by An Adventure in Reading

I've actually been doing a lot of traveling today. I started off in Swindon where Thursday Next (Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde) was attempting to put together a croquet team for the upcoming Superhoop championship, so that the world wouldn't be destroyed in a couple of weeks, while at the same time avoiding the deadly assassin on her trail, the Windowmaker (the name is due to an error at the printers, when the flyers were made. And if you know what's best for you, don't mention it.) who happens to also be married to Thursday's good friend, Spike (but Spike doesn't know and thinks that his wife Cindy is really a librarian).

After a falling piano temporarily solved this problem, I went over to Texas Hill Country where Keira Kelly (Matters of the Blood by Maria Lima) seems to have come into some powers involving necromancy and visions of the future, while also having to deal with her needy human cousin, Marty. Unfortunately, I got tired of Keira's company pretty quickly and so I went over to check up on Caterina and Mick in Philadelphia (Sins of the Flesh by Caridad Pineiro)to see how they were progressing in finding out what exactly had been done to Caterina to cause her blood to turn green and her skin to camouflage. While Mick had managed to sneak into the lab and steal some of the medication that Caterina seems to require due to the experiments done on her, the injections just make her feverish which is causing Mick to get worried. I think I'll follow Mick and Caterina around for a bit now- especially as things between the two of them are beginning to heat up...

You Belong With Me: Jacob Black Remix

Posted by Simcha 4:48 PM, under | 1 comment

I just had to repost this video that I came across at the blog, A Book Lover's Diary. It's really funny and definitely worth watching, whether you're a Twilight fan or not.

Although I enjoyed reading Twilight I just couldn't get through the movie, but now I'm curious to give New Moon a try.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dead in the Family update and sample chapter

Posted by Simcha 4:05 PM, under | 1 comment

Yesterday I noticed on SciFiGuy's blog the cover art for Charlaine Harris's upcoming Sookie Stackhouse book, Dead in the Family. Excited that information is finally available about the next book in the series, I headed over to Harris's site to see what other information might be provided. Unfortunately, Dead in the Family won't be released until May but a sneak peek of the first chapter of the book is available on the website.

Although I was terribly disappointed with the last book in the series,
Dead and Gone, I'm still looking forward to reading Dead in the Family, in the hopes that it will be as good as the earlier books in the series and make up for the horribleness of the last one. I still think that having Sookie tortured was completely inappropriate and the torture scene itself was lame and unconvincing, but from the sample chapter that I read it does appear that Harris will have Sookie dealing with the after-affects of the ordeal in the upcoming book. I just hope she does it in a believable manner. I'm also not excited about the fact that Sookie and Eric are now officially together. The sexual tension between them was a large attraction of the earlier books and I can't see this being maintained once they are a couple.

But since I really loved all the other eight books in the series, I'm willing to keep an open mind about Dead in the Family, and I look forward to it's release, though in a somewhat cautions manner.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

International Giveaways

Posted by Simcha 7:57 PM, under | 5 comments

Here are a few international giveaways that caught my eye recently:

Ann Aguirre is offering readers a chance to win a copy of her Hell's Fire proofs. To enter, tell her what you liked best about Blue Diablo, the first book in the series. This contest is really only for those who have read Blue Diablo and it ends Dec. 22st

The Book Resort is giving away a $75 Visa gift card to one VERY lucky winner. Contest ends Dec. 21st

at Alone in The Holy Land is giving away a copy of
Russell Kirkpatrick's Across the Face of the World. Contest ends Dec. 25th

Ramblings of a Bibliophile is giving away a copy of Bonshaker, by Cherie Priest, an interesting looking steampunk novel. Contest ends Jan. 1st

Dark Faerie Tales is giving away a copy of Deadtown by Nancy Holzner. To enter you must be a follower of the blog and leave a comment saying which animal you would shape shift into if you had a choice. Contest ends Tuesday, January 5th

Books at Midnight is celebrating her 200 followers by offering one international follower the book of their choice, under $15, from the Book Depository. Contest ends Jan. 15th

Books, Movies, Review Oh my! is giving away a copy of The Maze Runner by James Dashner. To enter you have to be a follower and extra points are given for promoting the contest.

For a list of more book giveaways visit Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings


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