Fafhrd is a huge Northern barbarian with a liking for strong wine and direct action. The Gray Mouser is more subtle, a slight, lightning-quick swordsman with some crude magical knowledge. Together, they adventure all over the place, stealing treasures, killing monsters (plus a whole bunch of normal people) and seeing strange sights. Their travels take them across vast oceans and between worlds, but tend to start or end in Lankhmar, a city of thieves and wonders, and involve various mysterious sorcerers and dancing girls.
The pair featured in short stories published over a fifty-year period starting in 1939. These stories were hugely influential, being referenced by countless later authors and forming part of the inspiration for Dungeons & Dragons (and therefore countless imitators and successors). Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser aren’t amazingly well-known now, but they’re part of the roots of the fantasy genre.
Continue reading “Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser – Fritz Leiber (Review)”
After being brutally murdered by necromancers, Cal returns to consciousness as a dungeon core – a sentient lump of rock with the power to shape its immediate surroundings. Paired with Dani, a will-o’-the-wisp, Cal sets about stocking his dungeon with monsters and traps so that he can consume incautious adventurers and grow his power.
If the above paragraph sounds familiar to you, then thank you for being such a loyal & observant reader, and apologies for basically re-using the opening paragraph from another review. It’s not laziness though – honest – I just want to begin with the point that this book is incredibly similar to Jonathan Smidt’s Bone Dungeon. Plot point by plot point and archetype by archetype, the books follow the exact same pattern.
Continue reading “Dungeon Born – Dakota Krout (Review)”
Everyone has heard of killer bees – a mutant strain of honeybees known for their aggression, killing and attacking humans without provocation. This book, and the film it inspired, are part of the reason for that. In reality, although killer bees are aggressive, they kill only a few people a year.
In The Swarm, two people are dead by page 6. Not content with this initial assault, the bees embark on a campaign of aggression, culminating in their (successful) occupation and pacification of New York. And these aren’t even normal killer bees – they’re a mutation on top of a mutation, with all sorts of new deadly tricks.
Continue reading “The Swarm – Arthur Herzog (Review)”
When the opal miners heard strange tapping sounds in the tunnels, they thought it was a subterranean creature stalking them. They called it the “miners’ mother” and left offerings of blood to keep it away. Now the mines are closed, the offerings neglected and a long-dormant creature stirs hungrily in the dark.
Continue reading “The Cavern – Alister Hodge (Review)”
I picked up this book partly on the recommendation of a friend and partly because I was oddly charmed by all the negative reviews. While overall, reviews of this book are fantastic, there is a constant thread of negative reviews from people who are both astounded and enraged at the very idea that Achilles might have been anything other than a 100% heterosexual all-American hero.
I struggle to picture these reviewers; who are these people with a deep knowledge of Greek mythology, storied pedigrees in literary analysis/classics/history, and no awareness whatsoever of not just any subtext but also the past few millennia of discourse? They are so very, very angry and I would love to meet one.
Continue reading “The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller (Review)”
Lacey is an ex-NASCAR photographer haunted by her memories of a fatal crash. Kip Sellars is a troubled NASCAR driver with a bad reputation and a death wish. The two have almost nothing in common except their mutual contempt, lust, and complimentary backstories (both involving witnessing the brutal death of a loved one in a racing accident).
When they are forced to work together to rehabilitate Sellars’ public image, Lacey and Sellars have no choice but to confront both their traumatic pasts and the undeniable attraction between them.
Continue reading “Dangerous Curves – Larkin Rose (Review)”
The giants are getting smaller. Once, they were titanic near-immortal beings, warriors and philanthropists. Now, each inbred generation is smaller than the last, and as they decline physically, they decline morally as well, becoming more brutish, more cannibalistic, and more obsessed with restoring their diminishing size. They rule swinishly over a half-ruined city where humans are food and servants.
Petit is the youngest and smallest of the giants, shunned by his own race and feared by the humans for his violent outbursts and occasional consumption of human flesh. The book follows his growth to adulthood in a decaying society, navigating the brutal ogre court and his own divided nature.
Continue reading “Petit : The Ogre Gods – Hubert Boulard & Bertrand Gatignol (Review)”