Tag Archives: magic

Blood Price by Tanya Huff

One of my podcasts, the now-defunct Dragon Page Cover to Cover, interviewed the author, which got me interested in Huff’s books. The library only had Smoke and Shadows, which I enjoyed, so I picked this book up when I had a gift card to spend.

Published: 1991

Genre: urban fantasy

Length: 272 pages

Setting: Toronto, present day Continue reading

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Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings

It’s the second book in the Belgariad series, but I read it so quickly after the first book mainly because it gets me a Q in my Title Reading the Alphabet Challenge. Now I don’t have to scour the library shelves for Q books!

Published: 1982

Genre: sword and sorcery fantasy

Length: 326 pages

Setting: Arednia, Tolnedra, and Nyissa, immediately following the events of Pawn of Prophecy Continue reading

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The Penelope Qingdom by Aidan Moher

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: December, 2016 in Mothership Zeta

Genre: fantasy

Setting: Prince George, Canada, 1980s

Summary: Penelope Qing and her family move in next door to Ivan and his moms. They’re the same age, 11, and meet when Ivan’s moms introduce themselves. Penelope takes Ivan down into her basement to show him the Penelope Kingdom – a fantastical medieval world made of various dolls, action figures, household items, and buildings. The amazing thing is it comes to life in Penelope’s presence. We even get excerpts from a history book from the kingdom sprinkled throughout the story. Ivan and Penelope play down there for years, although at the end of middle school he becomes more interested in kissing Penelope than playing. However, when Penelope’s family moves right before high school, he’s willing to set up a colony in his basement.

Final thoughts: This was a delightful story. Penelope and Ivan have an imaginary world they’ve put together in Penelope’s basement that is real, at least when Penelope is there. Luckily, they both enjoyed playing in the world, although Ivan started growing out of it before Penelope did. There was an impressive progress of time, since several years pass in the story. We get just enough detail to know time is passing, but not so much to make it boring. At the end, it looks like Ivan and Penelope will just be memories to each other. However, online gaming is just starting, so it’s possible they will connect in a MUD instead of just fading away.

Title comes from: Penelope was King of her fantasy world, so it was called Penelope’s Kingdom. Her name was Penelope Qing (pronounced King), so Ivan made it a play on her name – Penelope’s Qingdom.

 

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Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

A friend let me borrow this book. It’s the first book in The Belgariad series that was his favorite when he was Mr. Curiosity’s age. I’ve never read it, but it showed up on a list of classic series from the 1980s, so I decided to read it after Mr. Curiosity.

Published: 1982 (which is why it’s on a 1980s list)

Genre: sword and sorcery fantasy

Length: 262 pages

Setting: mostly Algoria in a medieval-type setting Continue reading

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The Three Dancers of Gizari by Tamara Vardomskaya

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: February 2016 in Beneath Ceaseless Skies where you can read or listen to the story for free

Genre: fantasy

Setting: it felt like a Middle Eastern country, with airplanes and taxis, but no cell phones Continue reading

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Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

I read this book on vacation. While on vacation, I typically just bring my Kindle to read from. I managed to get an electronic version of all the Discworld novels before we left on vacation. They are perfect vacation reading – amusing, not too long, well written, and I don’t have to worry about “will this be any good”? This is the third book written in the Discworld series and the first of the Witches subseries.

Published: 1987

Genre: fantasy

Length: 228 pages

Setting: Discworld, mostly the Ramtop Mountains and the city of Ankh-Morpork Continue reading

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Water, Birch and Blood by Sarah Norja

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: July 2016 in Strange Horizons (you can either read or listen to the story for free at that website)

Genre: magical realism

Setting: Norway

Summary: Our narrator, Elna, is taking her wife and son to her family cabin on the side of a lake. While there, she is reminded of the summer spent there when she was 11. Everyone remembers her having a fever for several days, but in reality she traveled through the lake to the bear-queen’s world to save it from the troll-king. Her memories were altered, but it all comes back.

Final thoughts: A nothing special story. I liked the setting, mainly because it wasn’t American, but it wasn’t critical to the storyline. Elna does have to make the choice to go back to the bear-queen’s magical world or stay in her own and find the bits of magic there. In the end, she makes the responsible choice and stays with her family, even though she’s tempted by her memories.

Title comes from: Water, birch, and blood were the ingredients needed to open a gateway to get to the bear-queen’s world.

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