I received the honor of selecting the Member’s Choice reading selection for July 2012 at the GoodReads Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club. I reviewed the bookshelf of read books for the club (over a hundred since January 2008) and then reviewed my five star rated books. I narrowed the selection down to just three, two of which I’ve read (multiple times) and one I have wanted to read for many months.
The group has only read one other book written by Barbara Hambly, but she is a prolific fantasy author that deserves more attention.
I honed in on The Silent Tower because it remains one of my favorite Hambly novels. Here’s a brief synopsis to tease you:
In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about seeing a murderer disappear into a black, inky portal. The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose—a half-mad mage who understands the nature of these passages between dimensions.
On the other side of the Void is Joanna, a programmer as mild as Caris is deadly. She has spent her life in cubicles, staring into computer terminals, as far from heroism as she can get. But when the power that is crossing between dimensions draws her through the Void, she finds herself battling to save a world she never even knew existed.
Average GoodReads Rating: 3.92 stars (on a five star scale) based on 819 ratings
Availability: Only the ebook edition is currently in production (I found the best price at Kobo for $7.69; not DRM-free).
It shocked me to learn that the SF&F book club had not read any of David Eddings‘ works; not even from his hugely popular Belgariad series. He also happens to be one of the two fantasy authors I can get my husband to read and I give full credit to the voice of Sparhawk.
Sparhawk, Pandion Knight and Queen’s Champion, returned to Elenia after ten years of exile, only to find his young Queen Ehlana trapped in a block of ensorcelled crystal. Only the great sorcery of Sephrenia, ageless instructor of magic, kept her alive — but the spell would only last a year, and it’s cost was tragically high.
Now a Prince Regent ruled Elenia, the puppet of Annias, ambitious Primate of the Church who planned to seize power over all the land.
As Sparhawk and Sephrenia set out to find a cure for Ehlana, Sephrenia revealed that there was only one person in the west who could defeat the evil plots against Ehlana. That person was Sparhawk.
Average GoodReads Rating: 3.83 stars (on a five star scale) based on 8,983 ratings
Availability: A mass market paperback edition is still in production. No ebook edition is available.
And last, but definitely not least, I settled upon a novel I have wanted to read for months, but can never seem to squeeze into my reading queue: Guy Gavriel Kay‘s The Last Light of the Sun.
I’m not sure of the protocol with respect to recommending and leading the discussion of a book that I haven’t actually read yet, but Kay has never disappointed me. In fact, he always inspires me and leaves me awestruck.
From his very first books, the trilogy known as the Fionavar Tapestry, Guy Gavriel Kay was recognized as one of the world’s finest and most innovative writers working with the fantasy tradition. In later works he has taken on, with striking success, an alternative history of Europe, which reached a pinnacle with 2004’s The Last Light of the Sun. Set at the hinge moment of Britain’s Alfred the Great’s enlightened reign (he’s known as Aeldred in Kay’s parallel Europe), Last Light is a drama of cultural clash and change in a world shadowed by the presence of faerie but deeply engaged with human questions of ethics and honour.
Average GoodReads Rating: 3.79 stars (on a five star scale) based on 2,291 ratings
Availability: Several versions are in print, including mass market paperback and trade paperback editions. An ebook edition is also available, but quite pricey at $12.99.
My dilemma remains. I cannot decide which of the above novels to put forth to the group for next month’s Member’s Choice selection. I selfishly lean towards the Kay novel, because I really would rather read something new. But I equally yearn to introduce more readers to either Hambly or Eddings (at least his less well known Elenium series). I have a few days (less than a week) to make up my mind, so I’m soliciting your opinion through this blog post and the poll below. Votes and comments welcome.