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Blog Posts from April 2021 (8)

April 2021 in Review

30 Apr, 2021


April 2021

21 works reviewed. 10 by women (48%), 10 by men (48%), 1 by a non-binary author (5%), and 8 works by POC (38%)

Year to Date

85 works reviewed. 47.5 by women (56%), 35.5 by men (42%), 1 by a non-binary author (1%), 1 by an author whose gender is unknown (1%) and 35 works by POC (41%)

Grand Total to Date

1833 works reviewed. 1030 by women (56%), 765 by men (42%), 22 by
non-binary authors (1%), 16 by gender unknown (1%), 514.75 by POC (28%)

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Books Received, April 17 — April 23

24 Apr, 2021

1 comment

Who will take up the mantle and slay the evil in the Frozen North, saving all from death and destruction? Not Kell Kressia, he’s done his part… 

Kell Kressia is a legend, a celebrity, a hero. Aged just seventeen he set out on an epic quest with a band of wizened fighters to slay the Ice Lich and save the world, but only he returned victorious. The Lich was dead, the ice receded and the Five Kingdoms were safe. 

Ten years have passed Kell lives a quiet farmer’s life, while stories about his heroism are told in every tavern across the length and breadth of the land. But now a new terror has arisen in the north. Beyond the frozen circle, north of the Frostrunner clans, something has taken up residence in the Lich’s abandoned castle. And the ice is beginning to creep south once more. 

For the second time, Kell is called upon to take up his famous sword, Slayer, and battle the forces of darkness. But he has a terrible secret that nobody knows. He’s not a hero — he was just lucky. Everyone puts their faith in Kell the Legend, but he’s a coward who has no intention of risking his life for anyone… **

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Seven years ago today

22 Apr, 2021


Having decided it would be a lark to review worthy books reprinted after being out of print, I posted to my Livejournal the first Rediscovery review. Various events transpired, and what was supposed to be a hobby turned into an occupation. Once James Nicoll Reviews came along some months later, that review was the first review on this site. 

What review was that? I am so happy you asked.

The Steerswoman (Steerswoman, book 1) by Rosemary Kirstein

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Books Received, April 10 — April 16

17 Apr, 2021


In When the Goddess Wakes , the final book of the Ring-Sworn trilogy, Howard Andrew Jones returns to the five realms of the Dendressi to conclude his heroic, adventure-filled epic fantasy trilogy. 

The Naor hordes have been driven from the walls, but the Dendressi forces are scattered and fragmented, and their gravest threat lies before them. For their queen has slain the ruling council and fled with the magical artifacts known as the hearthstones, and she is only a few days from turning them to her mad ends. 

The Altenerai corps has suffered grievous casualties, and Elenai’s hearthstone and her source of sorcerous power has been shattered. She and her friends have no choice but to join with the most unlikely of allies. 

Their goal: to find the queen’s hiding place and somehow stop her before she wakes the goddess who will destroy them all… 

Praised for his ability to write modern epic fantasy that engrosses and entertains, Howard Andrews Jones delivers a finale to his trilogy that reveals the dark secrets and resolves the mysteries and conflicts introduced in the first two books of this series.

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My Ten Most Recent Roleplaying Games 1: 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons

12 Apr, 2021


Inspired by Aaron de Orive's 2020 First Ten RPGs, a brief account of the roleplaying games [RPGs] I have played most recently, beginning with the most recent and working backwards1. Number one, the Windows of roleplaying games: 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons.

As previously established, I only played AD&D once; I thought the mechanics were silly. I did play 3rd edition briefly (still not my thing), and an entire campaign of 4th (although arguably, whatever 4th was, it was not D&D). I've played two and three quarter 5th edition campaigns.

The current version is a decent updating of the venerable RPG, retaining enough of the core elements of the original game--character classes, for example--while vastly improving the mechanics and presentation of Gygax and Arneson's idiosyncratic, sometimes slapdash creation. There are enough crunchy bits for people who like crunchy bits to fiddle with, but it's also playable2. There are enough supplements for to beggar the wealthy buying them all, but the core rule books are sufficient for creative DMs to run their own home-made campaigns. It's also more inclusive than Gygax's version.

After three campaigns, I think I have a decent feel for the system, which of course means the Waterloo Gamers will no doubt be moving on to something else.

I have no idea why comments are off for this or how to turn them on. You are welcome to comment over on Dreamwidth until this gets sorted.

1: Unlike last year's effort, this will be a weekly, not daily, project.

2: Many early roleplaying games were strangely unaware of the utility of playability.

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Books Received, March 27 — April 2

3 Apr, 2021


Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in Ryka Aoki’s Light From Uncommon Stars, a defiantly joyful adventure set in California’s San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six. When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate. But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found. 

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