Author Bradley P. Beaulieu is one of my favourite writers in recent years, thanks to his 2012 debut The Winds of Khalakovo from Night Shade Publishing. It was a pretty good year for the publisher, and we got lots of great debuts at the time, not the least of which was this incredible Russian-esque fantasy from Brad, which told an epic struggle between several noble families navigating the politics of the land. It was a very refreshing read for someone like me who grew up reading the more traditional fantasy settings, and Brad’s style in particular was one of the selling points as well. I have yet to read the third and final novel in the trilogy but after having just read Brad’s latest, I certainly itch to read more of his work, so soon perhaps.
Twelve Kings In Sharakhai is the first novel in Brad’s new series, The Song of The Shattered Sands. It is a very different novel in almost all sorts of ways, and that distinction certainly helps in the enjoyment of the book, though that is by no means the only thing. The setting is far grander this time, I think, for it deals with the past having an effect on the present and what that can mean to the future. The sins of old come to bite back, and it is up to a young girl named Çedamihn to challenge the authority of the Twelve Kings and have her vengeance on those who have wronged her and her family.
A few days ago I did my best of 2014 list for the comics I read in the second half of 2014. And back in July of 2014, I did the first “best comics of 2014” post. The reason I mention that is because of the changes I’ve made for this list. While previously I used to do it so that I put up my top 6 comics, in July’14 I did a top 12 on account of the increased number of comics I was reading at the time. And that same holds true for this list as well since I’ve gone up on the number yet again, and this list has the top 20 and then 20 honourable mentions.
More comics, yay!
So, with the books of the second half of 2014 already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite monthly comics of the same period. The next post will be a list of the top graphic novels I read in all of 2014.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
In 2012, Angry Robot Books launched its Young Adult fiction imprint Strange Chemistry. One of the very first titles to be released under the new imprint was Cassandra R. Clarke’s debut novel The Assassin’s Curse. This was one of the very first YA titles I’d read at the time, and it was kind of an eye-opener since that was also a time when I was experimenting with some different genres and YA just happened to be something that I found attractive. The Assassin’s Curse didn’t exactly wow me unfortunately, but it proved to be a good experience nonetheless.
This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.
Last month Zenescope began a new phase in its flagship Grimm Fairy Tales series with the launch of issue #101 which started a new arc, set a year after the events of Grimm Fairy Tales #100. The new arc brought together Sela Mathers and Shang as they tried to rebuild the Realm Knights, the team of heroes given charge to defend the Realms. Characters like Violet Liddle, Ali, Wulf, Sela’s daughter Skylar and Hailey are the ones chosen to form the new team, and the issue last month got off to a fantastic start indeed. I loved both the story and the issue, and wanted more since.
This week’s Grimm Fairy Tales #102 continues the story of Ali and the Genie that was freed from the magical lamp that Ali brought with him to Arcane Acre, the residence of the Realm Knights-in-training. While last month’s issue was scene-setting and character introduction, this week’s issue is all about telling a story about the relationships between the characters and unveiling the history of one of the new characters and also creating a bond between the young warriors. Pat Shand and Andrea Meloni do some great work once again, setting a strong positive tone for this new arc.
Recently Zenescope wrapped up its great Realms Fall arc, which was itself a part of the greater Age of Darkness arc that ran across the majority of Zenescope’s titles. This arc saw all the mystical realms fall before the power of the Dark Horde and its leaders, the Dark Queen and the Dark One. Many of the heroes are either dead or missing in the wake of this event, and as the larger story continues on in the Realm War mini-series, Zenescope is already moving forward with the Grimmverse in its flagship Grimm Fairy Tales title, which has been the bedrock of the Grimmverse for uncounted years now.
In Grimm Fairy Tales #101, the clock has moved forward a year from the events of the landmark Grimm Fairy Tales #100, and writer Pat Shand takes us quickly into the new, changed world. Sela Mathers, the former Guardian of the Nexus, is still a constant, as is her mentor Shang, and together they are rebuilding the Realm Knights. New students have been brought in, a new generation of heroes who will go on to serve the Realms, and the issue is a really fun trip through the process. And artist Andrea Meloni delivers some great artwork all through the issue, packed with tons of action as it is.
As most people who follow my reviews know, I rarely do negative reviews. Part of it is my experience with doing negative reviews, and another is that I consider myself to be somewhat easy to impress (more on all that here). Another part is that I do negative reviews when I feel strongly about the work in question. If a book, for me, is bad, then that means that I consider it to be pretty terrible. Especially when I have some high expectations of it. One such novel was The Emperor’s Knife, the 2011 debut by Mazarkis Williams. Now, I read the novel way back early in the year and this review is somewhat from memory, so if I get details wrong, I do apologize.