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Newsletter #77 March May, 2007

Short Recommendations
by Don Blyly

        The publisher calls The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss ($24.95, April, 2007 release) “the most brilliant first fantasy novel I have read in over 30 years” and compares it to George R. R. Martin, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, among others. I agree that it is brilliant, but Martin, Goodkind, and Jordan are so grim. This book has flashes of clever humor that reminds me more of David Eddings and Steven Brust.
        The Waystone Inn is located in a small village far from any major cities. The man who recently opened the Waystone Inn goes by the name of Kote, but he has had many other names, and he has powerful enemies who would come hunting him if he used his original name. He has a helper who most people believe is a hired man, and everybody believes is human, but they are wrong on both counts. Evil is moving into the area, which Kote fights because he has a long history of fighting evil, while the local folk would have no idea how to survive a fight with the evil things.
        When Chronicler, the most famous historian of the era, comes to the Waystone Inn, he figures out Kote’s true identity and convinces him to let Chronicler record his version of his life story. Interspersed with the events around the Waystone Inn, we learn of his history up to about the age of 20, long before he became the most powerful magician in the world. I’m eagerly awaiting the next fat installment of the story.
        We’ve been trying to set up a signing in April, but no confirmation arrived in time to get into the newsletter–watch our website for information if we do get something set up.

        For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison ($21.95, March 2007 release) is the fifth in the series about witch and bounty hunter Rachel Morgan, who went into business with a witch and a pixie in the Cincinnati area. While this is the best so far, it is vital to read the series in order: Dead Witch Walking ($7.99), The Good, the Bad, and the Undead ($7.99), Every Which Way But Dead ($7.99), and A Fistful of Charms ($7.99).
        After some sex is out of the way (more than in previous books, but still far less than in recent Laurell K. Hamilton books), the plot begins. Almost every important character from the first four books is mentioned, either on stage or off stage, almost every loose end from the previous books is brought up, and lots of things are resolved after some surprising twists, though some characters won’t be around for the next book. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Rachel makes an arrest at a wedding.
        Kim Harrison will be signing at Uncle Hugo’s on Saturday, March 31, starting at 2 pm.

        White Night by Jim Butcher ($23.95, due early April) is the eighth novel of the Dresden Files, the adventures of Harry Dresden, wizard turned private investigator in modern Chicago. Substantial character development takes place in each book, so it’s best to read the books in order: Storm Front ($7.99), Fool Moon ($7.99), Summer Knight ($7.99), Death Masks ($7.99), Blood Rites ($7.99), Death Beat ($7.99), and Proven Guilty ($7.99).
        The worldwide war between the wizards’ White Council and the vampire Red Court that has been going on for several books continues to be costly, with the White Council trying to find and train new wizard recruits, but Harry continues to believe there is a traitor on the White Council. Since the White Council sort of drafted Harry to be a Warden, he’s had less time to work as a private eye. Harry now has an apprentice, with the understanding that if the apprentice screws up, the White Council will kill both the apprentice and Harry. But when Harry receives a call from Lt. Murphy asking him to unofficially come to the scene of an apparent suicide, he finds a witch has been murdered in a way to make it look like suicide. He soon finds that there is a serial killer of witches, making all the murders look like suicide, and than many other witches have mysteriously disappeared. The more Harry digs into things, the more complex the situation becomes. In the end, there is a truly spectacular battle among Harry, the really bad guys, some almost as bad guys, and some not quite so bad guys. It’s interesting to watch the novels in the series become more complex and more satisfying with each volume.
        Jim Butcher will be signing at Uncle Hugo’s on Monday, April 9.
        Although the new Dresden Files TV series on the Sci-Fi Channel is better than at least 90% of what’s on TV, the books are far better. I can understand why they changed Bob, the ghost in the skull, to look like he does on TV. But Bob in the books is a real Character, a lecher who Harry bribes with romance novels, while Bob on TV is talking wallpaper with no personality. And I have no idea why they changed Harry’s Blue Beetle, an old Volkswagen that is so mechanically simple that Harry’s magic doesn’t mess it up very often, into a Jeep. I’m glued to the TV set every Sunday night to catch the next episode, but look forward much more to the next novel.



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