The Ankh-Morpork Archives volume 1 by Terry Pratchett

I just devoured this book, having never read the Discworld Diaries it’s based on. The artwork is fantastic, the details of the various guilds, people, and personalities is top-notch, and the size of the book (fairly large) makes it all the easier to enjoy the contents.

I subtracted on star for some script-like fonts especially at the beginning which were difficult to read. Yes, I should use my reading glasses, but any book large enough to take out a terrier should be easy for me to read without glasses, too.

All in all, an excellent Hogswatch gift, and I look forward to the 2nd volume.

Paladin’s Hope by T. Kingfisher

Paladin’s Hope was a wonderful romp of romance and body count. And monsters, the worst of which is as usual a human being. And a forensic pathologist from before they were forensic pathologist. And special powers and gods and of course the Temple of the White Rat.

I look forward to the next.

Ablution: A new short story on Abyss & Apex

Tonight, I stare into the fog and think of the men I prepared for war today, feeling nothing for their deaths. The young ones spoke only of glory of battle. The old ones saw no glory in killing, just duty. They all believe in a better life, a vision that I no longer share. I strapped both kinds of men on their steeds, buckled the leather harnesses that made the knights one with my dragons. I wished them honor, but saved my prayers for the dragons.

In the April 2021 issue of Abyss & Apex you will find Ablution, a short story I wrote a few years ago and finally found a home.

Shadows of the Dark Crystal by J. M. Lee

Shadows of the Dark Crystal is the first of a series of books set in the Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance universe. It might be worth noting that while I’ve seen the original Dark Crystal movie probably a dozen times, I’ve not yet seen the new series.

The story centers around Naia, a young Sog Gelfling woman who isn’t quite old enough to be considered an adult, but certainly is ready to make her way into the world. She’s got a twin brother named Gurjin who works at the Crystal Castle…. until word arrives on the back of a Gelfling soldier that Gurjin has committed treason against the Skeksis who guard the crystal.

Naia rapidly learns that to defend her brother she must make her way across Thra, the land of the Crystal to the All-Maudra to stand trial in his stead. The journey takes a rapid turn for the worse when she, her father, and the soldier, discover that the creatures of Thra have turned dark and violent for reasons that seem to lead back to the crystal roots that permeate the world.

As in all good coming-of-age stories, things continue to go downhill from there.

If you were a kid when The Dark Crystal came out, there’s a few things to recognize about this book before reading. It’s classed as a Young Adult book (ages 12-17 on Amazon’s scale) but I’d definitely put it at the low end of that scale based on the simplicity of the reading level and the generally-slower pace of the book. This story simultaneously relies on building tension throughout while not scaring the pants off its intended audience, and so can feel a bit slow at the beginning and/or a bit rushed at the end.

It’s also written as the first book of a prequel set to a story we already know — a story that’s going very badly for the Gelflings at the beginning of the movie. In other words, if you’re looking for a series with a happy ending, or heck, even a pick-me-up, this book is probably not where you want to look. Once again, it’s important to remember this is a Young Adult book and speaking as someone who was once a Young Adult that read almost every Young Adult in the local Waldenbooks, angst and disaster is a craving at that age. So, yeah, might not be your thing (even if you are a YA) but typical of the genre.

Overall it’s a good enough book that I’m getting the sequels… and seriously considering watching the series, which is a big deal for someone who has trouble sitting still in front of a TV.