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.

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