Since more and more people seem to be discovering this blog of mine, I've decided to write a list of last year's book reviews. That seems to be the main reason why people lurk around here. . .;-)




- Children of Amarid (David B. Coe)
- The Outlanders (David B. Coe)
- Eagle-Sage (David B. Coe)


- Shadowmarch (Tad Williams)
- Ship of Magic (Robin Hobb)
- Mad Ship (Robin Hobb)
- Ship of Destiny (Robin Hobb)


- The Runes of the Earth (Stephen R. Donaldson)
- The Silences of Home (Caitlin Sweet)
- Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)


- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Matthew Stover)
- The Confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- The System of the World (Neal Stephenson)


- The Darkness that Comes Before (R. Scott Bakker)
- The Warrior-Prophet (R. Scott Bakker)
- Fool's Errand (Robin Hobb)
- Golden Fool (Robin Hobb)


- Fool's Fate (Robin Hobb)
- It's Only Temporary (Eric Shapiro)
- In the King's Service (Katherine Kurtz)
- The Curse of Chalion (Lois McMaster Bujold)
- Paladin of Souls (Lois McMaster Bujold)


- The Years of Rice and Salt (Kim Stanley Robinson)
- Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)


- The Golden Compass (Philip Pullman)
- The Subtle Knife (Philip Pullman)
- The Amber Spyglass (Philip Pullman)
- Dune: The Butlerian Jihad (Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson)


- Dune: The Machine Crusade (Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson)
- Dune: The Battle of Corrin (Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson)
- Shaman's Crossing (Robin Hobb)


- One Palestine, Complete (Tom Segev)
- Anansi Boys (Neil Gaiman)
- Knife of Dreams (Robert Jordan)
- Legacies (L. E. Modesitt, jr.)
- Bloodline of the Holy Grail (Laurence Gardner)


- Darknesses (L. E. Modesitt, jr.)
- Scepters (L. E. Modesitt, jr.)
- Thud! (Terry Pratchett)
- Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Carrie Vaughn)


- The Thousandfold Thought (R. Scott Bakker)
- The Radioactive redhead (John Zakour and Lawrence Ganem)
- Giants of the Frost (Kim Wilkins)
- Elantris (Brandon Sanderson)
- Lord of Snow and Shadows (Sarah Ash)



- Prisoner of the Ironsea Tower (Sarah Ash)
- Children of the Serpent Gate (Sarah Ash)
- The Amber Wizard (David Forbes)


- Gardens of the Moon (Steven Erikson)
- The Rule of Four (Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason)
- Talon of the Silver Hawk (Raymond E. Feist)
- Deadhouse Gates (Steven Erikson)
- King of Foxes (Raymond E. Feist)


- His Majesty's Dragon / Temeraire (Naomi Novik)
- Memories of Ice (Steven Erikson)
- In the Eye of Heaven (David Keck)


- Exile's Return (Raymond E. Feist)
- House of Chains (Steven Erikson)
- Throne of Jade (Naomi Novik)


- City of Saints and Madmen (Jeff Vandermeer)
- Midnight Tides (Steven Erikson)
- Black Powder War (Naomi Novik)
- The Lies of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch)


- Vellum (Hal Duncan)
- Zodiac (Neal Stephenson)
- Kitty goes to Washington (Carrie Vaughn)

Going too far???

I wasn't going to respond to any of this, but this thing has reached proportions that I can't really ignore.

I have no desire to say much on the subject, as pertinent arguments have already been flying all over the internet concerning this story. If you are a fantasy fan and have any sort of presence on fantasy-related message boards, you must certainly have heard of this.

If not, here is the review which started the controversy. To make a long story short, the reviewer in question did not care much for Scott Lynch's debut. As it turns out, the hype surrounding the release of The Lies of Locke Lamora raised her expectations to such a level that it made it well nigh impossible for her to get into the tale. For some unfathomable reason, that reviewer picked up Lynch's debut hoping that it was the second coming of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

In my own review of The Lies of Locke Lamora, I warned people to not believe the hype. Just enjoy the book for what it is -- a terrific and entertaining caper. Scott Lynch is not the new Robert Jordan or George R. R. Martin. He's not the second coming of J. R. R. Tolkien. He's the first Scott Lynch. Period. And that should be good enough for everyone!

That the reviewer hated the book, I have no problem with. Enjoying a book is a very subjective experience, and we are all looking for different things when we sit down to read a new novel. On his LiveJournal, Scott himself explains how a classic like Dune is loved and despised in equal measures among scifi fans. So the fact that this woman never could get into the story doesn't mean much.

When she claimed that reviewers who had immensely enjoyed it had probably been bribed by the publishers, however, she went too far. The fantasy/scifi community, although globe-spanning with the internet, is a relatively small world in and of itself. And reviewers with little or no integrity could not last very long. I have a lot of respect for Jay Tomio, Rob Bedford, and a number of other reviewers. And some fans hold me in the same regard. There is no way readers would respect and trust reviewers like us if we tried to forcefeed them crap. So that woman's groundless claims are ridiculous.

As for bribes, other than ARCs and finished copies and interviews, I have never received anything else from a publisher. When I visited my contact at the Random House building in NYC a couple of weeks ago, he offered me coffee. An offer which I immediately declined, showing him the sort of moral fibre I'm made of! Bribes!?! This ain't Hollywood, babe! I, for one, would never attempt to fool those men and women who read my blog every week, looking for something good to read. If I don't like a book, that's the way it is. I won't go out of my way to mud-sling an author and his or her work. But I will not, under any circumstances, tell my readers that something's great if it's not. Accordingly, I'm persuaded that the other reviewers I have come to rely on share my view on this. We might not always agree (heck, Jay and I can't even agree on why we liked the same book!), but their opinion counts when the time comes for me to read something new.

As one can expect when a bomb like this explodes, it generated a lot of responses. Those interested in reading some of them can look here. The funny thing about this little mess is that this woman made such ludicrous claims to encourage people not to buy Lynch's book. But this controversy has reach such proportions that readers who had no desire to pick up The Lies of Locke Lamora will now do so. Just to see what the dispute is all about.

So Scott -- if you are reading this -- when you get that royalty cheque and you're shopping for that new convertible, remember to send her a thank-you note, perhaps even a signed copy of the novel!;-) And why not a copy of Terry Goodkind's Faith of the Fallen, just for good measure. That way, she could see what real crap is all about!

P. S. If any of you guys are receiving bribes for your reviews, could you please let me know where to apply to become part of this program!?! Wouldn't want to miss out on this!;-)

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (June 27th)

In hardcover:

Aaron Allston's Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Betrayal is down five positions, finishing its third week on the charts at number 22. For more info: Canada, USA, Europe

Jacqueline Carey's newest, Kushiel's Scion, debuts at number 28. For more info: Canada, USA, Europe

Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child is down five spots, ending its fourth week on the NYT list at number 32. For more info: Canada, USA, Europe

Nothing to report in paperback. . .

New L. E. Modesitt, jr. interview

As was the case with R. Scott Bakker, I helped the good folks at get an exclusive Q&A with L. E. Modesitt, jr. If you're interesting in seeing how things turned out, check it out here.

I still believe that Modesitt remains one of fantasy's best kept secrets!:-)

Kitty Goes to Washington

You may or may not remember, but I was pleasantly surprised when I read Carrie Vaughn's Kitty and the Midnight Hour last fall. Althoug habitually not a big fan of the horror/dark urban fantasy sub-genres, I found that book extremely entertaining.

Hence, it was with evident eagerness that I sat down to read its sequel, Kitty Goes to Washington. Could the author succeed in capturing my imagination the second time around? The answer is a resounding yes, and then some! The fact that I went through this novel in less than 3 days is a clear indication of my appreciation.

This sequel begins right where its predecessor ended. Kitty Norville, late-night radio host and werewolf, has been forced to leave town following the events recounted in Kitty and the Midnight Hour. Taking her show on the road, the Midnight Hour now airs in a different city every week. The ratings are through the roof and all is well until Kitty is summoned to Washington, D. C., to testify at a Senate hearing pertaining to the paranormal. Considered by many as an "authority" regarding lycantrophes and vampires , her presence is requested at hearings regarding the Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology. But Kitty will soon realize that things in D. C. are not what they seem.

As she did in the first book, Vaughn brilliantly weaves vampires and werewolves and other creatures into our every day life. It never feels as though the author is pushing the envelope. Everything appears to fit seamlessly, which, to some degree, is quite a feat in and of itself.

Carrie Vaughn showed a talent for good characterizations in Kitty and the Midnight Hour. In this sequel she raises the bar even higher. She continues to build on Kitty's character, especially in regards to the emotional toll she has been forced to endure following what occurred in the first book. Definite character growth gives Kitty even more depth, which makes it easy for readers to relate to her. Incidentally, her uncanny ability to find trouble everywhere makes her even more endearing! Where its predecessor had few characters, Kitty Goes to Washington introduces us to a cast of disparate and interesting men and women. One only has to think about Dr. Paul Flemming, Alette, Senator Duke, just to name a few.

The pace is again crisp, making this novel a page-turning adventure. The narrative flows incredibly well. Told in the first person, once more it's Kitty's POV throughout. At times dark and at times funny, Carrie Vaughn's wit and sense of humor create an enjoyable balance between the lighter and more intense moments. This second novel allows the author to flesh out her storylines a little more, demonstrating in the process that she has more than a few surprises up her sleeve. What might appear at face value as a rather simple story seems to hide a lot more depth than we are led to believe. In addition, some touching scenes give another dimension to this tale.

A wonderfully entertaining read. Hopefully, reviews like this will pique your curiosity, and more and more people will give Kitty a shot. If you're looking for an exciting read, look no further! And those clamoring for strong female characters should give these books a try. I'm persuaded that the narrative will suck you into Kitty's universe.

There is a new Kitty novel in the works, scheduled for spring 2007. And I can't wait to discover what happens next!

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this book: Canada, USA, Europe

New interview with R. Scott Bakker

Hi guys!

Once again, I acted as the "go-between" to get an interview with Scott. That website is one of the largest French fantasy community on the internet, so I'm always happy when I can help them get gigs like this one.

This link will take you to the French translation of the Q&A. But if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you'll find a link to the English version. As always, reading R. Scott Bakker's answers is always interesting.



I'm one of those readers who believes that Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle was absolutely brilliant. As such, it comes as no surprise that I purchased every other book the guy wrote prior to Quicksilver.

I was leaving for a week in NYC, and an eco-thriller like Zodiac appeared to be just what the doctor ordered. You can usually tell how great my vacations are by the amount of reading I get done. The more I read, the crappier my vacation is. This time around, I barely made it past page 100. And the only reason I made it that far is because our American Airlines plane had a data-downloading glitch which prevented us from flying off. So I was forced to spend that hour-long delay reading. While in the Big Apple I must have read all of one chapter on the rooftop terrace of my hostel. And the rest I read while our plane was being inspected due to a "suspect" odor emanating from the cockpit. Wasted, with a maximum of three hours of sleep in me from my last night in NYC, I could have done without the delay. Mercifully, for the first time in my life I was seated next to a gorgeous and interesting young lady on the way home. Too bad the flight lasted less than an hour!;-)

In Zodiac, Neal Stephenson does what he does best. First of all, his witty narrative is a joy in and of itself. This author's sense of humor is such that I would likely read a cook book, if he ever decided to write one.

One of the aspects of Stephenson's writing which makes him a genius in my book is his uncanny ability to take notions that are intrinsically complicated, and to make them into something simple enough for his readers to understand. This time, he "educates" us about various chemicals and PCBs.

Neal Stephenson is also a master when it comes to characterization. He's probably the only writer out there who could make an environmentalist like Sangamon Taylor such a likeable character.

This is not your typical "save the whales" Greenpeace kind of crap. Zodiac is a fast-paced and entertaining read. Certainly not as grand as his latest works, I nevertheless encourage you all to pick up a copy of this novel. Indeed, Zodiac makes for a perfect summer vacation read.

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about it: Canada, USA, Europe

Robert Jordan price guide

Hi there!

If you have ever wondered how much that first printing of The Dragon Reborn in hardcover is worth, this collector specialist came up with a very interesting price guide. As was the case with my GRRM books, I didn't know that my RJ novels were worth that much.

Check out William's blog from time to time, as there are often good articles to be found there. You can find the price guide here.

Scott Lynch Website

Hi guys!

I just realized that Scott Lynch's website is now up and running. For anyone interested in The Lies of Locke Lamora, you can read the prologue. It will give you a taste of what the novel is all about. There is a bunch of other related stuff as well.

Check it out:

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (June 20th)

In hardcover:

Aaron Allston's new Star Wars novel, Betrayal, is down 7 positions, finishing its second week on the NYT list at number 17. For more info about it: Canada, USA, Europe

Charlaine Harris' Definitely Dead is making quite a comeback, up 16 spots to end its sixth week on the bestseller list at number 18. For more info about it: Canada, USA, Europe

Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child is up five positions, finishing its third week on the prestigious list at number 27. For more info about it: Canada, USA, Europe

Nothing to report in paperback. . .

Caitlin Sweet contest winners

Hi guys!

The names of the two lucky winners have been drawn. Which means that both of them will now receive Sweet's A Telling of Stars and The Silences of Home. I wish to thank both Caitlin and Penguin Books Canada for supporting this contest.

The winners are:

Andrea Lau, from Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Charles Nelson, from Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Thank you to all the participants, and stay tuned for more contests!;-)

Interview with Scott Lynch

Hi guys!

As most of you know by now, Scott Lynch's debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, has been making a lot of noise for quite some time now. As a matter of fact, no fantasy debut has been this hyped since Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule was released in 1994. The novel has been out for a few weeks in the UK, and thus far just about every review is quite positive. Indeed, if the buzz surrounding the release of this book has not piqued your curiosity, nothing on this earth will! For more info on The Lies of Locke Lamora: Canada, USA, Europe

I know I've been promising you guys this Q&A for quite some time now, but life -- as usual -- got in the way. Both Scott and I agreed that it would be better to do the interview following my reading of the novel. I forwarded my questions to him the day after I finished The Lies of Locke Lamora. The problem was that Scott then flew to London to embark on his UK promo tour. And then, while Scott was flying back home to the USA, I left on a week-long vacation to NYC. So as you can see, our timing pretty much sucked!

Without further ado, here it is! I'm certain most of you will enjoy it. I was pleasantly surprised by Scott's candor. If you read his livejournal, you know that Scott is not the most politically correct human being on the face of this earth. Which means that our interview is in the same vein as the ones I did with Steven Erikson and R. Scott Bakker. Enjoy!;-)

- For readers not yet familiar with you, without giving too much away, can you give us a taste of the story that is THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA?

The easiest way to blurb it is to say that it's a fantasy crime novel; the story of a pack of con artists in an age when con artistry as we understand it has yet to become generally known. It's also a fairly bloody revenge tale, set in a fantasy society that is much more Renaissance/Elizabethan than Ye Olde Middle Ages.

- What do you feel is your strength as a writer/storyteller?

Oooh, this could get hubristic. I like to think that I know how to plot, and how to craft a satisfying narrative structure. I like to think that I know how to learn from past mistakes, and listen to my editors when they're right. I also like to think that I'm doing my damnedest to avoid everything that annoys and frustrates me when reading works that I've otherwise enjoyed.

- I know that you are a big fan of the fantasy genre. Were there any perceived conventions you wanted to twist or break when you set out to write THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA and the upcoming volumes of THE GENTLEMEN BASTARDS?

I want to see if I can't beat the presumed Curse of the Big Fat Long Series, dammit. There's this sense of trepidation among quite a few readers -- in some cases outright loathing -- for the very idea of sequences of fantasy books. As though they've been bitten in the past and don't want to get bitten again, you know? Sure, there's some really aggravating crap out there on the shelves, but there's also a lot of great stuff, and I want to turn in a series that works from start to finish, without padding, without slowing down, without meandering. I think I have more than enough story for seven volumes, here... I'm in the position of having to keep stuff out rather than stretching it to cover long, empty pauses. Nobody in these books is going to wander around in the hills for a hundred pages to kill time. Nobody is going to waste half a novel slowly discussing the plot of the previous one. I fancy that I crack the whip on the plot much too hard for that sort of thing.

- Characters often take on a life of their own. Which of your characters did you find the most unpredictable to write about?

The Gray King, by all means. You can't just have the antagonist sitting around waiting for the protagonist to show up at his or her appointments... the rest of the cast has to be in motion at all times, too. And I'm a big believer in competent, effective antagonists, so in some ways that made writing the gray bastard highly unpredictable.

- Speaking of characters, Locke Lamora is quite something. In a recent interview, you mentioned Raymond E. Feist as an inspiration. Is Locke in any way an homage to the popular Jimmy the Hand?

Now that I think about it, very probably. One of the things I greatly enjoy about Feist's Midkemia work is the way that time keeps moving inexorably forward... generation after generation passes, characters age, some go on to glory and some die in misery or obscurity. Jimmy's rise from a capable street thief to a court super numerary to the ultra-devious de facto ruler of half a kingdom is a great story arc...Locke's going to move on in years as my series develops, and face that same sort of transition to a position of extreme responsibility for people other than himself and his close friends. So I wouldn't say homage per se, but Feist's work will always be a beloved cornerstone of my own fantasy reading, and its influence will no doubt creep in all over the place...

- As an avid reader of the genre, you know what's out there. What sets your novel apart from the rest of the pack? Why should jaded readers spend their hard-earned money on THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA instead of picking up, let's say, PHANTOM, Terry Goodkind's newest?

Hmmm. Must bite tongue. Must bite tongue. If you want a specific contrast in this instance, how about the fact that I don't view my novels primarily as a vehicle for beating my readers over their heads with my politics and philosophy? Just a thought.

There's ultimately nothing devastatingly original about my work, but if you're in the mood for an adventurous, bloody, twisty sort of read minus most of the prime cliches in the current fantasy environment -- it might just be your thing. There is no prophecy, no Chosen One, no magic sword(s), no mysterious wizard advisor who pops in and out to move the plot, no Dark Lord on his Dark Throne. No absolutist vision of good and evil as tangible black and white qualities. Just human beings making decisions, unguided by plot-convenient magic or deities or what have you.

And tormented by a very, very cruel author.

- You mentioned that it was important for you to write "fun" novels. I found THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA to be quite refreshing in that regard. Are you trying to set yourself and your work apart from those dark and gritty fantasy epics that are now the norm?

Oh, I don't mind dark and gritty one little bit. I just like to vary the reader's emotional experience. I like my books to be beautiful and cruel, exhilarating and harrowing by turns. I find that makes it all the more effective when you do start, say, dropping axes on characters, or making their situations grimmer. Dark and gritty *can*be fun; just look at Matt Stover, Michael Moorcock, George R.R. Martin, Mary Gentle, Joe Ambercrombie, Alan Campbell...

- The advance praise and the critics have created a very positive buzz surrounding the release of THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. How happy are you about that? Are you afraid that this might raise readers' expectations too high?

Well, of course that's always a danger... but would I prefer a lukewarm early response instead? Oh, god no... there's really nothing I can do about it if someone fixates on this book as a messianic event and then gets upset that it doesn't cure cancer, you know? I can only hope for each reader to be fair to the book, but each reader also needs something different from a book, and will react differently to it. If hype helps get the book into as many hands as possible, at least there's that, isn't there? In that respect, yay hype!

- Given the choice, would you take a New York Times bestseller, or a World Fantasy Award? Why, exactly?

Ouch. I can't have both, said the author, grinning madly? I love the WFA statuettes, those little busts of H.P. Lovecraft... I think they're just about the coolest award out there. And the list of WFA-winning novels (I'm trying to read them all as we speak) is such a lovely, subject- and genre-spanning collection of great work, it'd be heavenly to have a book of mine join that company. But I also want to make a career of this, to have a steady readership for many decades, to have happy editors and publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. So if I had to choose just one, I'd say put me on that NYT list. Pretty please.

- Honestly, do you believe that the fantasy genre will ever come to be recognized as veritable literature? Truth be told, in my opinion there has never been this many good books/series as we have right now, and yet there is still very little respect (not to say none) associated with the genre.

Well, you can't really escape the condescension. Sturgeon's Law,"Ninety percent of everything is crap," applies to everything. But as several people have observed, "literary fiction" tends to be judged by its glowing ten percent while genre fiction tends to be judged by its crappy ninety. There are an awful lot of gilded turds taking up shelfspace in the "Fiction and Literature" shelves of the big book chains, and as anyone with half a functioning brain knows, quite a few sparkling gems tucked away next to the gaming tie-in boxed sets.

I generally shun worry about this, because ultimately it isn't thecontemporary critical establishment that gets to choose which bodies of work will have a posterity and which will fade into the mists of time. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves. Great literature chooses itself, and survives across the decades and centuries, regardless of what was said or done at the time of its writing. Do you honestly think, if given the chance, that the greatest critics and academics of the 19th century would have chosen to exalt Dickens, Austen, Conan Doyle, Twain, Poe, etc. above everything else they had on their shelves at the time? Those of us alive today don'tget to choose what will be remembered and cherished in the early twenty-second century. We pays our money and we takes our chances, you know?

Besides, as my editor said to me on my recent trip over to the UK, you know, so many "literary" writers and promoters would kill to have access to the support network that genre fiction enjoys-- the specialty stores, the eager readers and fans, the websites, theconventions, and so forth. Each time the "pity us, some know-nothing jerks in the literary world don't like genre" subject comes up, it might help to remember what a vibrant, involved, and invitingcommunity we have by comparison.

- THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA is the living proof that the internet can provide a lot of exposure for a book. Do you feel that most publishers don't yet understand the full potential of this tool, in terms of exploiting the wealth of fantasy-related websites, message boards, and blogs?

I honestly don't know what to say about "most publishers..." Baen Books has been going great guns for several years now with a variety of forward-thinking technological promotions. Quite a few major publishers have hungry, adventurous editors willing to buy good work right off the web, including mine. Their publicity departments supply advance reader copies and press information to dozens, if not hundreds, of web-based reviewers, along with books for contests and so forth. My honest impression is that most of them are doing the very best they can to use any tools available to get out the word about their books.

- Was a Venice-like locale always meant to be the environment in which the story would take place, or did a pseudo Venetian mercantile empire backdrop just turned out to be what you needed to carry the story along?

Originally, briefly, my conception of Locke's world was so much more boring... just another pseudo-medieval sort of place. But once I moved his society forward a few centuries, and decided that I wanted a more Italian/Mediterranean sort of fantasy setting, Venice seemed an obvious inspiration. There's so much lovely, goofy stuff in its history that people would cry, "Oh, bullshit!" on if I tried to put it into a fantasy novel, heh. It was the atmosphere I needed, and the environment I needed for all the elements (economic, social,costuming, etc.) that I envisioned.

- Your debut's tale takes place in the city of Camorr. Will you be exploring the other corners of your universe in the upcoming instalments of THE GENTLEMEN BASTARDS?

Yes. Each of the first four books in the sequence is sort of devoted to the exploration of a new major city in Locke's world. Camorr inBook I, Tal Verrar in Book II, Karthain in Book III, and Emberlain in Book IV. After that, pretty much everywhere on the continent is caughtup in what's going on and some old haunts will be revisited.

- Although I relish the thought of seeing one of your novels hit the shelves every 8 months, is it possible to maintain such a pace and retain the same quality with each additional volume without going insane? I know there is a lot of pressure on you, but I'm wondering if it's humanly possible for you to maintain such a schedule.

You and me both, Pat. But in all honesty... this is my job. It's what I have to do, not just to keep a roof over my head, but to keep from going mad, you know? I have a fairly demanding, directorial sort of stance toward my work. I don't stare into space for five years per book, twiddling my thumbs and waiting for some kindly muse to deliver a finished manuscript. And, for the next book at least, the gap will be a full year, as the powers that be have decided to give TLOLL some breathing room in which to be the "only child" of the family, and hopefully build up some momentum. ;)

- Many people believe that you're one of the voices which will shape the future of the fantasy genre in the next few years. How daunting can such claims be to a new author on the verge of releasing his first novel?

Ahhh, yessssss. Excellent! Phase one is the acquisition of minions. Phase two is the construction of my secret underwater base. Phase three is the conquest of the eastern seaboard!

Nah, seriously, people will say what they say. Someone's always conjuring portents and trends and movements, some real and some totally imaginary. It's my work that will do the deciding... either it'll do well for itself, and people will buy it and read it and it'll become generally known, or it'll sink, and I'll be an embarrassing footnote in, say, future biographies of John Scalzi. I can't refute or guarantee any "influence" I might have by babbling about it, I can only write. I can't let it daunt me at all. Sure is flattering, though. I'll take kind words any day over indifference or scorn; I'm not daunted, I'm extremely grateful.

- What can readers expect from the forthcoming sequel, RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES?

More evil sea creatures. I'm afraid that there just isn't much happy, cuddly, friendly wildlife in Locke's world. It's all out to kill us.

Other than that, well... it's got a couple major new plot elements, those being high-stakes gambling and piracy. Locke and Jean are staging one of their usual extremely complicated con games, and are once again interrupted in mid-scheme and forced to undertake an even more desperate and suicidal venture, masquerading as hardened pirates. As Jean puts it at one point, "All we know about ships is getting on, getting seasick, and getting off." Wacky hijinks ensue, especially once we get to the real pirates. I love them dearly; they were originally meant to be more of a background cast but they just sort of completely took the place over once they were onstage. Like, um, pirates.

- In the long run, what will differentiate THE GENTLEMEN BASTARDS from the other popular fantasy series on the market?

Well, as I said, I hope that this will be a series that clips along at a good pace for its entire length... a series that feels of a piece, right and proper, neither too long nor too short. I should also say, by way of warning, that this story is not necessarily a happy one. The heart of the story is Locke's attempt to break free from his criminal origins and lifestyle, and his ultimate failure to do so. Not exactly light, fluffy, feel-good stuff. But with that said, hopefully it'll be exhilarating, moving, and satisfying. Ask me again in seven or eight years when all the goods are on the shelves.

-Thanks again for accepting to do the interview. I wish you continued success with your writing career, and best of luck for the release of THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA.

Thanks to you as well, Patrick.



New Brandon Sanderson contest

Hey there!

Brandon Sanderson made a name for himself in the fantasy genre with last year's release of his debut, Elantris. His second novel, Mistborn, will be hitting the shelves of bookstores nationwide next month. And the good people at Tor Books have accepted to supply five lucky winners with a copy!:-)

For more info on Mistborn: Canada, USA, Europe

The rules are the same as usual. First off, you need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) the header "MISTBORN." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy. I know, it's the second email address change in a little while. But Gryphonwood was undergoing some alterations, so it couldn't be helped. Henceforth, this will be the address to use for all the contests.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

Carrie Vaughn contest winners

Hello again!

Here are the five lucky winners who'll receive copies of both Kitty and the Midnight Hour and Kitty goes to Washington. Many thanks to Warner Books for their support.

The winners are:

John D. Sill, from Round Lake, Illinois, USA (Jaxom 1974 on

Joe Sherry, from Bloomington, Minnesota, USA

Anna Marie Catoir, fromCovington, Louisiana, USA

Josh Able, from McArthur, California, USA (Werewolfv2 everywhere!)

Ed Sinkovits, fromWinnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

If I remember correctly, there are three repeat winners in this group. See, it's important to register to these contests, because you never know when your name will be drawn out of the hat!;-)

For more info about Kitty: Canada, USA, Europe

Thanks for participating and stay tuned for more!:-)

Paul Kearney contest winners

Hey there!

These five lucky people will each receive a brand new copy of Kearney's This Forsaken Earth. Many thanks to the good people at Transworld for doing this.

Here are the winners:

Thomas Devos from Brussels, Belgium (Danyah on

Kevin Neuhaus, from Mannheim, Germany

Michal Jakuszewski, from Lodz, Poland (Bastard of Godsgrace on

Elio García, from Nödinge, Sweden (the infamous Ran from and our first repeat winner, if I'm not mistaken!)

Teppo Salminen, from Turku, Finland

For more info on This Forsaken Earth: Canada, USA, Europe

Robin Hobb contest winner

Hi there!

The name of the lucky winner has been drawn! She has the good fortune of winning a signed copy of the UK hardback edition of Shaman's Crossing, as well as autographed book plates of Forest Mage! Now is that a cool prize or what!?! Many thanks again to Voyager Books for supporting this great contest.

Here is the winner:

Laure de Laroche, from Paris, France

Thanks to all the participants!

For more information on Forest Mage: Canada, USA, Europe

I'm back!

After a week spent in NYC, I finally returned home today. So you can expect a few updates in the near future. But not tonight, however. I'm totally beat. Went to bed at 4:00am last night, and needed to get up at 7:30am in order to get ready for my shuttle. Of course, going to bed at that hour -- hammered, it goes without saying -- means that my brain is far from functioning at full capacity at the moment.

But I should get at it tomorrow. . . There are a few contests to wrap up, after all. . .


Gee, where to begin. . ?

I have rarely been this impressed by a novel, let alone a debut. Vellum certainly ranks among the best books of the year -- of any year.

With Vellum, Hal Duncan immediately established himself as one of the most gifted authors out there. With amazing aplomb, this novel takes speculative fiction into uncharted waters. Ambitious, innovative, unique, Vellum is a truly rewarding read. Duncan's talent and imagination defy description. With this debut, Duncan pushes the boundaries of what is considered speculative fiction even further. And in so doing, he defies every label.

The worldbuilding is nothing short of brilliant. The Vellum is an eternal realm of multiple realities where angels and demons -- the Covenant versus the Sovereigns -- wage a devastating war across time, space, history and mythology. The diversity of realms, realities and locales is fascinating, as is the arresting imagery of each age and place.

The protagonists are a handful of people who want nothing to do with this all-encompassing conflict. Yet both factions attempt to force them to choose a side, for neutrality is not an option. Vellum is not written in linear fashion, which means the readers have to work to make sense of the disparate storylines. But the book more or less teaches you how to read its content. Hence, one grows less disoriented as the story moves along forward and backward through the different epochs and dimensions. Nevertheless, it remains a challenging read.

And for those of you who enjoy "deep" works of fiction, Vellum is permeated by political and social advocacy regarding the concept of war, gay rights, the influence of religion, the conflict in the Middle East, and so much more. All of which adds yet another layer to a work which stands out in the current market like a shining beacon.

Let me make myself clear: Buy this book!;-) If you'll let it, Vellum will mesmerize you. Duncan's fertile imagination will take you on an unbelievable journey that will keep you begging for more. And the author's impeccable prose and witty and ironic writing style makes Vellum a "top notch" read. Do yourself a favor and read this novel. You won't be disappointed.

As for me, I can't wait to read the sequel, Ink. With such multilayered plotlines, this is the sort of tale one can read again and again, always realizing that there is a panoply of things that slipped past your attention in previous readings. Yes, it is that impressive!

The final verdict: 9/10

For more information about Vellum: Canada, USA, Europe

VELLUM contest winner

Hi guys!

I just wanted to let you know that the name of the lucky winner of a signed copy of Hal Duncan's Vellum has been drawn! Many thanks to Del Rey Books for supporting this contest. For more info about this fantastic novel: Canada, USA, Europe

The winner is:

Ed Sinkovits, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Thanks to all the participants!

Stay tuned for more!;-)

New York City, here I come!;-)

Hi guys!

I'll be flying to NYC next Monday for a well-deserved vacation. I'll be staying in the Big Apple for a week. It seems crazy to think that, after visiting 25 different countries, this will be my first time in New York City.

Needless to say, I have a lot of things planned. If we can swing it, I'll be meeting with people from major publishers. It would be nice to finally put a face to a name! So perhaps I'll return home with a number of scoops for you guys!

Don't know what my schedule will be, since I have a lot on my plate. But if some of you are from NYC and would like to share a beer or two with Yours Truly, feel free to let me know and we'll see if we can make it happen!



This week's New York Times Bestsellers (June 6th)

In hardcover:

Charlaine Harris' Definitely Dead is down ten spots, finishing its fourth week at number 22 on the bestseller list. For more info about it: Canada, USA, Europe

Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child debuts at number 26. For more info about it: Canada, USA, Europe

Nothing to report in paperback. . .

Another Jacqueline Carey interview

Hi guys!

Yes, with just a few days before the release of Carey's Kushiel's Scion, here is yet another Q&A with the author: interview

The interview begins in French. But scroll down a bit, and you'll find the English version!

Scott Lynch contest winner!

Hi guys!

Just wanted to let you know that the name of the big winner has been drawn! And that lucky person will receive a hardcover copy of Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora at the end of the month. Once again, many thanks to Bantam Spectra for supporting this contest.

The winner is:

Trevor Thome (RodeoRanch on, from Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.

By the way, my Q&A with Scott Lynch will be posted by the end of the month. Scott began to answer the questions, but he had to leave for his UK promo tour. So expect the interview in the near future.:-)

Another George R. R. Martin interview!

Hi guys! has a new interview with GRRM! Check it out here. This excellent website also runs contest similar to mine. Check them out, if you haven't already. They have a signed copy of Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora, as well as the exact same Robin Hobb contest which I'm currently running. Register there as well, and you have even more chances to win big!;-)

I also have a GRRM goody for you fans out there! One of the runner-up prizes was returned to me in the mail. Apparently, the winner did not give me the correct mailing address. Which means that I presently have a UK first edition hardback of A Feast for Crows, autographed by the big man himself, on my hands! And I'm not paying for postage a second time around.

Which, in the end, means that one of you lucky readers that hang around these parts will get your hands on it!;-) You have to be from the Montreal area and be willing to come pick it up, or be from anywhere else on the face of the earth and be willing to pay for postage. That's about it! To make things a little more interesting, I ask you to write me a little something, telling me why it should be you. Send that email at fantasyhotlist@(no-spam) Be sure to remove the no spam thingy. The person who comes up with the best reason gets the signed GRRM novel!

Good luck!

You want these!?! They're yours!

Hi guys!

I'm preparing a box of books I'm donating to a local library. And I've got three here that I'm sure would please some of you!;-) If you're in the Montreal area and willing to come pick them up, or if you're willing to pay for postage, these books could be yours. Just get in touch with me using the contest email address. I'll process the requests on a first come / first served basis. But do it fast, or these novels will be donated by Wednesday.

- Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon (mint condition): I received an extra copy

- Raymond E. Feist's Flight of the Nighthawks (hardcover in mint condition): I received an extra copy

- Lois McMaster Bujold's The Hallowed Hunt (Advance Reading Copy)


Win free copies of Caitlin Sweet's A TELLING OF STARS and THE SILENCES OF HOME

Holy crap! Another contest!!!

Last month, Larry and I posted an interview with Caitlin Sweet, hoping to introduce the author and her work to a broader base of fantasy fans. And now, Penguin Books Canada have accepted to support a contest in which a couple of winners will get their hands on Sweet's two published novels, A Telling of Stars and The Silences of Home.

So if that Q&A intrigued you, now is your chance to win her books! If you scroll down, you'll see that we have a number of other ongoing contests with prizes by authors such as Robin Hobb, Scott Lynch, Carrie Vaughn and Hal Duncan. While you're at it, why not register for all of them!?!;-) Everybody likes free stuff, after all!

The rules are the same as usual. First off, you need to send an email at fantasyhotlist@(no-spam) with the header "SWEET." With Gryphonwood on the verge of undergoing some changes, this is now the new email address for the contests. Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy. Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB. It's nice to recognize some of the winners.

Good luck!

Ian Cameron Esslemont: Bonus Material

Hi there!

Well, here is the follow-up interview with Esslemont. And yes, he does answer the GRRM question!:-) I hope you enjoy this Q&A as much as the first one!

Many thanks to Cameron for taking the time to do this a second time around, and to Steven Erikson for helping me put it together in the first place.


Hi Patrick!

Once again: Many thanks to interested Malaz readers and fantasy genre fans in general for your submitted questions!

1- Getting published has been a veritable uphill battle for both Steven and yourself. How rewarding is it to finally get that "big" book deal with Transworld? How sweet is it to have the opportunity to have your own Malazan novels published alongside Steven's, from the same publisher?

“Big”? Well, professionally and personally definitely big, yes. Not so big financially. (Steve’s contract, now that was big!). To me it’s so amazing that I frankly can’t believe it yet. And probably won’t until I see it. As to being at Transworld; it really wasn’t an issue in that it wouldn’t have made sense to be anywhere else (in terms of the big publishing houses). Still, it’s a big leap for me and for Transworld. One of the individuals involved in the negotiations said that he had to pick himself up off the floor when they made the offer – this whole deal was not a sure thing.

2- In the same vein, how much of an influence do you think Steven had in Transworld's decision? I'm sure he was championing your works with unflagging enthusiasm.

Steve’s support has been the really amazing thing out of all of this. He never gave up on seeing Malaz in print (and wouldn’t let me give up on my half either). As to his influence, well, I’m sure he has some influence there at Transworld, but really, being a hard-nose kind of a guy I have to think it was the sales numbers that had the influence -- both Steve’s and those from Knives to date. And for that the thanks to go you readers who dared to take the chance on an unknown, and to be welcoming as well. You made it possible.

3- Now that NIGHT OF KNIVES will be a mass market release, will you be doing a rewrite of the novel, making it some sort of "author's preferred edition?"

Oh man, I’m up to my neck in Return and you’re asking for a rewrite of Knives? Eventually, perhaps, I would be happy to turn to that project, but right now let me finish Return. Overall, I have to say that I’m actually quite happy with the way Knives turned out. Very little structural editing was done on the MS. For a first novel that’s something.

4- Regarding RETURN OF THE CRIMSON GUARD, what's the current progress report on the book? In the last interview, you mentioned that you were rewriting it from the ground up, which seems to imply that you are a long way from completion. And yet, one of Steven's comments seemed to imply that you were progressing nicely.

I am currently revising it “from the ground up” and it’s progressing. I have less than a year now to deliver to Transworld and the clock is ticking. Steve had warned me about the pressure and I’m starting to feel it already. And it’s hard to hit the keyboard when it all still feels so unreal – good thing I enjoy writing in the stuff so damn much.

5- NIGHT OF KNIVES was not a full-length novel. It's been said that RETURN OF THE CRIMSON GUARD would be much longer. As things stand right now, how long do you figure the book will be? It's been said that it would potentially be as long as Steven's Malazan volumes. Is that so?

Not a full-length novel? Whoa. Look back on your notes from Intro Lit100. As a sharp eye on the Malaz forum noted: it’s a novel if it’s over 40 – 50 thousand words. Anything less is a novella. Return will be much longer, closer to Gardens length, I think. Anyway, all this talk about length makes me uncomfortable. I’d prefer to discuss quality of story over sheer mass.

6- Now that you have signed with Transworld, I'm convinced that you have a timetable, no matter how tentative is turns out to be. With that in mind, when can readers expect RETURN OF THE CRIMSON GUARD to be released?

Transworld would be the real source for any information on release dates. I presume ’07 for Knives and ‘08 for Return but don’t quote me on it. As for after that, how well Return does will then determine where things go. If the sales numbers are good then Transworld ought to make the offer for further Malaz novels.

7- That book deal probably lifted a huge weight from your shoulders. You mentioned in the past that you did not wish to reveal too much about the forthcoming Malazan books, because you were uncertain if you'd have the opportunity to write them and get them published. Now that both NIGHT OF KNIVES and RETURN OF THE CRIMSON GUARD will indeed be published for certain, which story arc would you like to tackle next?

Funny how getting what you wish for actually adds a huge weight to your shoulders! I believe I talked about the titles in the first section of this Q&A, but the next work Steve and I projected for my sequence would be about the Malazan campaign in the Korel subcontinent and would pick up after Return.

8- In our last interview, you said that you believed we had already seen Fisher Kel Tath in one of Steven's books. Which character did you think he was?

I believe I was thinking back to the many times Steve and I had talked through full arc, the various characters, the events. I remember Fisher very vividly from those sessions – that was my comment about how it was all so real to me (and Steve too, I think) that the entire sequence actually feels as if it’s already written and in print. At least we have heard from Fisher, in the epigrams.

9- You claimed that your last Malazan novel would act as a sort of epilogue to Steven's tenth volume in THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN. In our previous interview, it was revealed that you felt you might even have to split it in two different project: one to compliment Steven's last book, and another which would be the epilogue. Now that you are both under contract with Transworld, will there be any attempt to make those projects coincide for a final Malazan climax down the line?

If Steve and I can work out the details on a closer integration then it might be possible. My instincts are that simply the sheer number of stories involved would mean that neither of us could do justice to all in any one novel. After that the final “epilogue” would always still stand on its own as originally worked out.

10- Your not knowing the true title of George R. R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series has irked a vast number of his fans, and so did singling him out in one of your answers in the last interview. The consensus among Martin's fans is that you can't possibly have read the series and make such claims. Just to put the matter to rest, have you read the series, and if so what do you think about it?

Thank you for the chance to respond to this flame-up. Firstly, have I read Martin’s series? Yes, with great pleasure -- overall. That I “singled him out” (so to speak) by actually mentioning him simply demonstrates that I think he is worth mentioning. That I think he’s worth mentioning should indicate a lot about my regard for him as a writer, overall, in the genre – someone whose contribution is significant enough that it cannot be ignored. In my opinion he is an excellent writer, one of the most talented in the genre, and as an avid reader of fantasy I welcome that. However (here it comes), the Latin saying is: “There is no disputing matters of taste.” Of course there are elements of his series, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, that are not to my taste. This should be true for any reader of any series or author. I raised one of those elements (chivalric panoply and conventions) previously as an example. I may have been too peremptory and if so I apologize for that.

11- When asked about the characters you had both created, Steven replied, «Let's see. I could be wrong here and there. Cam was Whiskeyjack, Hedge, Trotts, Coll, Murillio, Turban Orr, Simtal, Vorcan, Draconus, Osserc, the Emperor, Dassem Ultor, Rhulad, Fear, Trull (different names for those three), Envy, Baruk, the Seguleh, Kallor, Prince K'azz, Cowl, all of the Crimson Guard with exceptions noted below, Leoman of the Flails, possibly Kalam, the Crippled God, the Queen of Dreams (second time round), and a number of others whom none of you have met yet.»

Perusing this list, one realizes that you are behind a number of characters that play/have played a very important role in the series thus far. I know you have said that you and Steven leave the door open to let the other use the characters as you guys see fit. Having said that, as the creator of Whiskeyjack, the Emperor, Dassem Ultor, Envy, etc, were there any instances in which Steven used one of your characters in a way that surprised you? Or made you smile and realize that even you could not have done it better?

His characterizations and treatments almost always surprise and make me smile and know I could not have done it better. He has told me that when he was doing Whiskeyjack he was striving to do him as I did him and that may be true, but I tell you, he, and Lady Envy, and others really came alive in his hands. In the bigger picture, neither of us would want to see Malaz divided up into his or mine – I believe the sum of it is so much more than our separate contributions. What I suspect in regards to the above list is that he was simply trying to reassure Malaz readers that our creative work really is collaborative and shared. Take Malaz Island itself, Steve created it, but I set my entire first work in it. We share it.

12- Are you an avid reader of the fantasy genre? If so, which authors make you shake your head in admiration?

I remain an avid fan and reader of the genre, but lately I have to say that I’ve been reading much less than I used to. I just simply read much less now than I used to, period. There isn’t the time anymore. So, I pick and choose much more selectively than before. I have read George R. R. Martin, as I confess above. I read Paul Kearney, Iain M. Banks (hey, as far as I’m concerned, it’s fantasy), Gene Wolfe, and Neal Stephenson (Oh, and I also read that SE guy). Each of these authors provide moments that make me shake my head in wonder. Right now, to feed Return, I’m reading outside the genre (but not that far if you think about it – which is part of the point) Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down, which was amazing and chilling (and that Steve had turned me on to) and I’m rereading Michael Herr’s Dispatches.

Win a free copy of Hal Duncan's VELLUM

***Attention: The email address used for the contests has changed***

Yep! Another one!;-)

I had not planned for this contest, but I'm pleased that it came through. The nice folks at Del Rey have accepted to hook up one lucky winner with a signed copy of Hal Duncan's Vellum. I'm currently reading the novel, and so far it's wickedly unreal!

The rules are the same as usual. First off, you need to send an email at fantasyhotlist@(no-spam) with the header "VELLUM." With Gryphonwood on the verge of undergoing some changes, this is now the new email address for the contests. Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy. Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB. It's nice to recognize some of the winners.

Good luck!

New Paul Kearney contest

Hey there!

The good people at Transworld were nice enough to support yet another one of my contests!:-) This time around, they will supply 5 copies of Paul Kearney's second volume in the Sea Beggars sequence, This Forsaken Earth. And the only thing you have to do to win is to register by following the following steps.

The George R. R. Martin and Jacqueline Carey interviews brought a lot of newcomers to this blog, and many of them seem to think that this is all too easy. No, there is no trick question to answer or any other catch. I'm simply too lazy to come up with stuff like that!;-) You just register and you're automatically in! Nothing more, nothing less.

The rules are the same as usual. First off, you need to send an email at fantasyhotlist@(no-spam) with the header "EARTH." With Gryphonwood on the verge of undergoing some changes, this is now the new email address for the contests. Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy. Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB. It's nice to recognize some of the winners.

While you're at it, why not register for the Carrie Vaughn contest for a chance to win both Kitty and the Midnight Hour and Kitty goes to Washington? Sex, vampires, werewolves, bounty hunters -- it's quite a party! Just follow the same rules, but with a "KITTY" header for your email.

Good luck to all the participants!