Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The New Must Read Fantasy that is not Martin or Rothfuss

I recently finished the new Patrick Rothfuss, A Wise Man's Fear (which was a great read, even after a 4 year wait), and I realized that I still felt like I needed another great fantasy fix.  Easier said than done. There are so many books in the fantasy section. So many new ones, old ones and obscure ones that you could just trip over, which is what I did with The Winds of Khalakovo.  I was shelving away in the fantasy section when I noticed a sizable pile of copies of one book.  I know I did not order that title, it had to be an event (yes, he is coming on April 23rd at 2pm) that I did not know about, and a fantasy one at that! The publisher for the book was Night Shade books, which published the Hugo and Nebula award winning book The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, a huge plus.  I was intrigued to say the least.

I grabbed a copy to read and was instantly hooked.

The world is incredible: ships that fly, elemental spirits, blight, famine, and characters that try to get their lives right, but are so very flawed. This is not a book where the author creates the world as the story goes along, rather he immerses the reader into a fully realized world, and it is breathtaking.  There are the 'Landed', represented by the Nine Dukes and their type of magic that harnesses the elemental winds to fly their ships between the islands, the Aramahn, who wander the world, never settling down but also practice a different type of elemental magic, and then there is the Maharrat a fanatical group looking to stir up unrest.  Beaulieu weaves these different cultures together to give the reader a unique, complex world to experience.  It is a world that is unraveling, with blight and disease, and political uncertainty.
Nikandr is the Prince of Khalakovo, diseased and doomed to a painful, wasting death, yet betrothed to Atiana.  The Nine Dukes of the land come together to celebrate the political alliances that the marriage will cement together, when an elemental kills the Grand Duke. Nikandr has to protect a small Aramahn boy, who is thought to have summoned the elemental. Somehow this boy might just be the key to that Nikandr has been searching for, to keep Khalakovo and the Grand Duchy out of civil war.

That is all I will tell you about the plot; just know that Beaulieu has amazing twists and turns to spin you around his world. So, if you have finished the new Rothfuss, and you are eagerly anticipating George R.R. Martin's July 12th release of A Dance with Dragons, you owe it yourself to come check out The Winds of Khalakovo and Bradley Beaulieu at Boswell Book Company on Saturday, April 23rd at 2pm.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

the pale footnote king

"the dead can't edit"1

Interested in reading David Foster Wallace's2 newest novel, The Pale King?3 Consider first catching up on his earlier works4.

1I started reading this with mixed feelings. On the one hand, Wallace never finished it, so it's likely not the book he envisioned. BUT IT'S DAVID FOSTER WALLACE!! The result, as with my reading experience, is mixed. When it's good, it's very good. When it's not, it's just unpolished. Read it for the good parts (they're great) and recognize that the dead can't edit.
-Conrad1a, bookseller at Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, WI1b.

2Wallace (February 21, 1962 - September 12, 2008) was an American author of novels, essays, and short stories, and a professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California2a.

3An unfinished novel being published by Little, Brown and Company on April 15, 2011.3a

4The Broom of the System, Infinite Jest, Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion: Stories, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Everything and More, Consider the Lobster, and This is Water.

1aConrad Silverberg is a leftist, orthodox atheist who is married with children and who likes The Beatles, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and Neil Young, among other musicians.1a-I He has read everything written by David Foster Wallace.1a-II
1bMilwaukee, Wisconsin (nicknames include 'Brew City' or 'Cream City') is located on the Western shores of Lake Michigan, some miles north of Chicago1b-I, Illinois.
2aSource: http://www.wikipedia.org
3aTax Day

1a-ISource: Facebook profile
1a-IIWell, okay, not everything - not his philosophy or science books.
1b-IPopularly known as the 'Windy City'