It’s the end of the year and a bunch of genre blogs and websites are doing their unpaid marketing drone bit probably in the hope they’ll get free books and some scraps of attention from publishers or authors. First we have Fantasy Faction’s Top 10 Anticipated Fantasy Books for 2013, a list populated almost entirely by white men from a website catering specifically to neckbeards.
Remember this Liz B review of Theft of Swords? Remember “a chivalrous knight of archaic dimensions”? Yeah, same author, formerly self-published and perpetually redditor Michael J Sullivan. I haven’t read the synopsis and have no idea what this book is about, but going by the cover I’d guess it’s generic as fuck and going by the author’s previous works it is probably about as progressive gender-wise as a Conan story. Verdict: unreadable shit.
What is this shit, a videogame tie-in? Why is the dude to the left shooting at the sky? Anyway, it’s written by a white man and I’m guessing a white man is one of the protagonists (if not the protagonist–which he seems to be going by the plot summary. He’s also in the US army). At a guess this will be neck-deep in racism (but there are token Indian and black men!!!), jingoism, and similar tedium typical of SF by white men. Verdict: burn it.
Their next title is some godawful dreck by Brandon Sanderson, a known homophobic bigot whose one saving grace is that he is less homophobic than Orson Scott Card. I’ve never read Sanderson and don’t intend to, but since he’s finishing Wheel of Time it can be assumed sight unseen that he’s shit and will always write worthless shit. Verdict: worthless shit.
A straight white man who is praised to the sky for some self-righteous response to an obvious bigot posted… five years ago? Seven? Anyway, that’s about his highest point and it’s five-seven years old. Going by his previous input, the book will be entertaining but mindless, not particularly well-written, and will have token “feisty” women (remember that the first book, The Lies of Locke Lamora, contains a fridged woman) thrown in so Lynch can look vaguely feminist next to genre luminaries such as R Scott Bakker, Jim Butcher and GRRM–lofty standards to exceed, no? Verdict: low bars.
Wow, what is this shit, D&D fiction? The height of generic here can only be matched by leather-clad chicks with tramp stamps on urban fantasy covers. The plot summary suggests this is sheer wish-fulfillment Gary Stu garbage of the lowest-common-denominator order. There are dragons in the background! There’s a white man wielding a sword! Holy shit, never seen that before. Verdict: generic excrement.
Back in the days of yore, Liz B (again) reviewed Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns and Lawrence’s editor threw a fit, Lawrence threw a fit, and Lawrence’s fanboys threw a fit. I’m guessing this signifies this book was written and is read by toddlers. For a longer overview of the book–it contains rape queues and assorted super-gritty darkness–take a look here. Jorg, if that’s him on the cover, appears to be wearing a bathrobe this time around and holding up… a crown which a clockface stuck on it? I’m not sure why that is. Maybe Lawrence wants to break into steampunk? Who knows. Anyway it’s probably just as racist, misogynistic and puerile as the first book. Verdict: no excuse to exist.
What the fuck am I seeing? What is that moon? Are they going to burn a witch? What are they even wearing? Anyway, everything already said about Sanderson applies. Verdict: burn in hell.
Orientalist harem fantasy! Cool. You might think this book would have a female protagonist, but of course not–the author is a neckbeard (I can’t recall if he was the one whining about how people will pay for a cup of Starbucks but not his ebooks?). So we have this Gary Stu instead:
Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.
No fear though, there’s a “fierce young woman” in there somewhere, presumably as wonderful a feminist icon as River Tam. Verdict: generic shit but with more orientalism.