SEVEN PRINCES

Grisly fantasy debut and first of a trilogy from Fultz.

Immortal necromancer Elhathym appears, seemingly from nowhere, to claim the throne of Yaskatha. When proud King Trimesqua refuses to yield, Elhathym invokes a legion of the dead and slaughters everyone in the palace save for young Prince D'zan and his bodyguard, Olthacus. The pair journey to New Udurum to seek help from King Vod, a giant and sorcerer. But, tormented by guilt over an evil deed in his past, Vod has disappeared, leaving the kingdom to his wife, Queen Shaira, his sons Fangodrel, Tadarus and Vireon, and daughter Sharadza. Elhathym, it emerges meanwhile, has formed an alliance with another ancient evil sorcerer, Empress Ianthe of Khyrei. Olthacus is slain by assassins sent by Ianthe, but Tadarus and Vireon side with D'zan, while Fangodrel develops a taste for blood-magic and joins the evil allies. Rounding out the seven will be Tyro and Lyrilan of Uurz and Andoses of Shar Dni. Sharadza runs off to learn sorcery and find some magical help. Non-stop action at a blistering pace, decorated with piles of corpses, spurting blood, ghastly tortures, mayhem, monsters and assorted butchery, not to mention the requisite heroics—you get the picture. Fultz sustains it for hundreds of pages, which is a feat in itself. Inevitably, though, it ends up numbing rather than horrifying. Vigorous and vibrant, with no claim to any serious purpose—a computer game that somehow shook out as words.

 

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18786-2

Page Count: 600

Publisher: Orbit/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Fantasy fans will love this fast-paced adventure, with its complex magic system, thoughtful hero and bold heroine.

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC

From the Shades of Magic series , Vol. 1

A fast-paced fantasy adventure that takes readers into a series of interconnected worlds ruled by magic—or the lack of it.

Long ago, the doors between worlds were open, and anyone with magic could travel from one to the next. Now the doors are closed, and only a chosen few have the power to travel between Grey London, a world without magic, Red London, a world suffused with it, and White London, a world where magic is scarce, coveted and jealously guarded. As for Black London, the city consumed, no one would be so foolish as to risk a trip—not even Kell. Officially, he’s a royal messenger, carrying letters among the rulers of the three Londons. Unofficially, he’s a smuggler who collects artifacts from other worlds. It’s that habit that leads him to accept a dangerous relic, something that shouldn’t exist. And it’s when a wanted Grey London thief named Lila steals the artifact that the real trouble starts—for both of them. Schwab (Vicious, 2013, etc.) creates a memorable world—actually, three memorable worlds—and even more memorable characters. Lila in particular is a winningly unconventional heroine who, as she declares, would “rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” The brisk plot makes this a page-turner that confronts darkness but is never overwhelmed by it.

Fantasy fans will love this fast-paced adventure, with its complex magic system, thoughtful hero and bold heroine.

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7645-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

A BLIGHT OF BLACKWINGS

Book 2 of Hearne's latest fantasy trilogy, The Seven Kennings (A Plague of Giants, 2017), set in a multiracial world thrust into turmoil by an invasion of peculiar giants.

In this world, most races have their own particular magical endowment, or “kenning,” though there are downsides to trying to gain the magic (an excellent chance of being killed instead) and using it (rapid aging and death). Most recently discovered is the sixth kenning, whose beneficiaries can talk to and command animals. The story canters along, although with multiple first-person narrators, it's confusing at times. Some characters are familiar, others are new, most of them with their own problems to solve, all somehow caught up in the grand design. To escape her overbearing father and the unreasoning violence his kind represents, fire-giant Olet Kanek leads her followers into the far north, hoping to found a new city where the races and kennings can peacefully coexist. Joining Olet are young Abhinava Khose, discoverer of the sixth kenning, and, later, Koesha Gansu (kenning: air), captain of an all-female crew shipwrecked by deep-sea monsters. Elsewhere, Hanima, who commands hive insects, struggles to free her city from the iron grip of wealthy, callous merchant monarchists. Other threads focus on the Bone Giants, relentless invaders seeking the still-unknown seventh kenning, whose confidence that this can defeat the other six is deeply disturbing. Under Hearne's light touch, these elements mesh perfectly, presenting an inventive, eye-filling panorama; satisfying (and, where appropriate, well-resolved) plotlines; and tensions between the races and their kennings to supply much of the drama.

A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-345-54857-3

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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