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Flames to Embers {Spring 2016}

Flames to Embers

All the books I request start out as flames in my heart, but for various reasons, some of them burn down to embers and I lose desire or time to read them. I hope that you find something that draws your interest though and feel free to encourage me to give something another try!

Since I decided to make DNF my default option, I’ve obviously been setting more books aside than previously. I decided to revive Flames to Embers – DNF Edition so that you can find out about books I tried but just didn’t work for me for whatever reason. Let me know if they get suddenly better later on!

A Shadow All of Light

A Shadow All of Light

In the province of Tlemia, where human shadows are powerful commodities, an apprentice shadow thief embarks on an extraordinary adventure.
This stylish, episodic fantasy novel, in the mode of classic Jack Vance, follows the exploits of Falco, a young man from the country, who arrives in the port city of Tardocco with the ambition of becoming an apprentice to a master shadow thief. Maestro Astolfo, whose mysterious powers of observation would rival those of Sherlock Holmes, sees Falco’s potential and puts him through a grueling series of physical lessons and intellectual tests.

Falco’s adventures coalesce into one overarching story of con men, monsters, ingenious detection, cats, and pirates. A wry humor leavens this fantastical concoction, and the style is as rich and textured as one would hope for from Chappell, a distinguished poet as well as a World Fantasy Award-winning fantasy writer.

I was excited about the idea of shadows having magic properties and that element is clearly going to be cool. However, the writing style is quite stilted with older and convoluted sentence structure that will be a slog for readers accustomed to modern structure. Cool magic wasn’t enough for me to keep going.

The Inquisition

The Inquisition

More demons, epic battles, and fights to the death: introducing the unmissable next installment in the Summoner Trilogy…

On trial for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must face the Inquisition who will decide his future – the process is gruelling, lead by those who will do anything to see him suffer and haunted by ghosts from the past with clues to Fletcher’s tragic origins.

But Fletcher has little time to dwell on these new revelations when the king announces a deadly challenge to the graduating students at Vocans. One that involves entering Orc territory to complete a risky mission. With loyal demons by their sides, commoners and nobles, dwarves and elves must overcome barriers of class and race and work together to triumph. The reward: a fortune in gold, the safety of an empire and PEACE.

With the entire empire watching, Fletcher has much to prove, but there are those out to get him and it soon becomes clear that there’s a traitor in their midst, trying to thwart the mission and create unrest within the Empire.

With everything stacked against him, Fletcher must use everything in his power to fight his way to victory.

I’m just not feeling this one. The start is pretty slow and predictable and it looks like it’s going to mostly be action without a lot of world-building. I was meh about book one, wanted to give book two a try, but I don’t think this series is for me.

Wizard of the Grove

Wizard of the Grove

In the age of gods–dwarfs, centaurs, and other Elder Races roamed the lands freely, and the race of mortals was created as a mere plaything for Lord Death.

In the age of wizards–the power games of these immortal children of gods went too far, and so the dragons flew to bring wizards down in flames.

In the age of mortals–the Elder Races have withdrawn almost completely from the world of humans. But one wizard still survives, a master of evil bent upon domination. No mere mortal can stand against him, so the Elder Races have chosen to intervene one final time. Their gift is Crystal, the Child of the Grove, the last-born wizard who will ever walk the world. And thus the final battle is about to begin….

Sigh, I really wanted to love this one based on that description. However, the start is reeeeeaaaaally slow with two historical sections telling the story of heroine’s ancestors before even getting to meet the protagonist. The writing style is odd with a lot of grammar decisions that seem like typos to me. Just not going to work out.

Dawn of the Flame Sea

Dawn of the Flame Sea

The first in a new fantasy series from the national bestselling author of the Sons of Destiny novels.

They call themselves the Fae Rii, or Fair Traders. Elfin-like beings capable of wielding sophisticated forms of magic, they travel between universes exploring new worlds and establishing settlements for their people to live peacefully among the locals.

The humans of the White Sands tribe, refugees fleeing from powerful enemies, see the Fae as potential invaders stealing their newfound natural resources. Jintaya, the leader of the Fae travelers, manages to forge an alliance, promising to trade skills and knowledge—magical and otherwise—to build a lasting community.

But the Circle Fire Tribe has no desire to share those rich valleys and ravines with the people they’ve hunted to near extinction—or the supposed deities they worship…

This book clearly has some cool world and magic in store, but the writing is pretty bland and the characters too cliche high fantasy to intrigue me. Doesn’t work for me right now, but if you like Fae and the idea of traveling between worlds, give it a try.

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

A publishing event: Bestselling author Ken Liu selects his award-winning science fiction and fantasy tales for a groundbreaking collection—including a brand-new piece exclusive to this volume.

With his debut novel, The Grace of Kings, taking the literary world by storm, Ken Liu now shares his finest short fiction in The Paper Menagerie. This mesmerizing collection features all of Ken’s award-winning and award-finalist stories, including: “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” (Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards), “Mono No Aware” (Hugo Award winner), “The Waves” (Nebula Award finalist), “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” (Nebula and Sturgeon award finalists), “All the Flavors” (Nebula award finalist), “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” (Nebula Award finalist), and the most awarded story in the genre’s history, “The Paper Menagerie” (The only story to win the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards).

A must-have for every science fiction and fantasy fan, this beautiful book is an anthology to savor.

I really liked The Paper Menagerie, but as I dove into more of these stories, I found myself skipping forward to see what the next one was about more and more. A lot of these stories seem to have a pretty heavy tone without the whimsy of Paper Menagerie. Just not working for me currently.

Children of Earth and Sky

Children of Earth and Sky

The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world…

This book is just not for me. After the first chapter I’ve concluded that the writing style doesn’t appeal to me and it seems like it’s going to be one of those fantasies with very little magic and a lot of detail about a made up world that is actually pretty similar to our historical world.

So those are the books I’ve tried recently that didn’t click! I wanted to make sure that you all were aware of them though since they are definitely not bad books and I think they will appeal to you depending on your preferences. Let me know which ones intrigue you!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. I love the fact that you not only wrote about DNF being the default -as it actually should be- but that you put it into practice as well. I’m really going to try and go along with that mentality more. I have the first book in the Summoner series for review, but I haven’t read it yet. Oops. It’s very interesting to see your thoughts on the DNFs. I really like this post!
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