Reading ‘The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe’ To My Daughter

I would call it quarantine reading but we would have done it anyways. Having finished The Hobbit, an intro to Narnia seemed the next, logical step.

Now, she did not like The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe half so much as The Hobbit, but that’s fair. Lewis, as a fantasist, is not half so good as Tolkien.

But I have come to deeply appreciate Lewis, overall, in recent years, and I was glad to introduce my daughter to him. We have put Prince Caspian on hold at the library, but what I really want to read to her is The Horse and His Boy, which, as a child, I might have read even more times than Wardrobe. It is, so far as I can tell, not highly respected, but I found it to be a lovely and beautiful self contained adventure.

Blood Of Elves

This was on my ‘wishlist’ for a while after reading about this Polish fantasy series. Only later did I learn it was the inspiration for The Witcher video games (which are exactly the kind of game I like to play but which I will probably never play at this point in my life).

I bought this after visiting a Barnes & Noble. I hadn’t planned on getting anything, but one of the staff was so nice and patient with my daughter, helping her with some arts and crafts materials they had set out, that I wanted to reward the store’s bottom line a little, so I bought this for myself and a couple of books for the little one.

Now, I will admit that I had already watched the Netflix series when I started this book. Even though this is the first of Sapowski’s Witcher books, it actually takes place after the events of the series, so there were no serious spoilers, in that regard.

Enjoyable and fun. It is fashionable now to compare fantasy always in terms of Game of Thrones, so I’ll bite. More fun and with a more manageable, but without as much of that special thing that elevated Martin’s still incomplete epic.

And I don’t see anything uniquely Polish about that mythology. Now, I don’t know Polish folk traditions, so I would have expected to find somethings I didn’t recognize, but didn’t really. What I did see where many tropes from Dungeons & Dragons.

It felt… I don’t want to say unfocused. Perhaps… leisureful? Full of leisure. A point to which he was aiming, without necessarily being in a hurry to reach it. The ending was more than a little ambiguous and clearly the story isn’t nearly done.

Also, Blood of Elves is not really a very good title for it. Sure, the topic of those words came up and I can see how they could be even more relevant for a future book, but for this one… no.

Krondor The Assassins

Don’t mean to keep harping on this, but like its predecessor, there really should be a colon in the title.

I liked the more urban intrigue of this one, but it missed out by not having one of the main characters of the earlier one. This one has one roguish character named Squire James, aka Jimmy the Hand. But it missed his former companion, the roguish and rakish Locklear. Basically, the other protagonists just didn’t hold my attention.

But, it came with a third book and I imagine I will read that one too. Hopefully Locklear comes back.

Reading ‘The Hobbit’ To My Little One

My mother read The Hobbit when I was seven (I think). A chapter a night, before bed. As soon as she was done, I took it and read it to myself. This began my lifelong love affair with the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (allow me to make a pitch for his wonderful, whimsical, non-Middle Earth story, Farmer Giles of Ham).

So it was one of the great joys of fatherhood when, after a few false starts, my daughter was finally ready for me to read The Hobbit to her before bed.

Because she naturally tended to drift off, some parts were lost on her, but things stayed with her. The deaths of Fili and Kili were hard for her and she still hopes that they will come back.

But anyway… I’m reading a new book to her. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

The Tattered Banner

I read this before. Or most of it. I can’t remember when, but it must have been long enough to go that plenty was surprise to me, though not the broad strokes.

A young man is preternaturally talented with the sword. Or supernaturally talented. This fantasy world is mostly magic free after similarly talented swordsmen (whose talent was nearly or perhaps actively magical) rose against wizards.

The hero is reasonably charming, but a little vague in his depiction. The story is of the young man being guided into accidentally setting in place conditions for a coup, after which he must flee the are and the book ends. I gather there are sequels.

‘TekLab’ By William Shatner (But Not Really)

This third Tek novel combines cyberpunk neo-noir with kitchen sink melodrama and denouement that’s so bats–t crazy that words fail me, but it does involved star crossed teenage lovers, a vengeful android in the shape of his creator’s dead brother, and a drug trade funded terrorist organization devoted to placing England under the presumably benevolent rule of King Arthur II. And I guess they decided to end the novel without talking about how the hero slept with his girlfriend’s friend (who also built the homicidal android), so I guess that means she never finds out and monogamy is overrated in the future.


I have to say, despite all the conditional praise I am inclined to heap upon TekLords, it ends with the most ridiculous deus ex machina since Russia made Trump president of the United States. The hero, handsome, yet weather beaten Jake Cardigan, launches an attack on the cartel’s headquarters but fails to find the cure to the plague afflicting. Don’t worry says his private investigator partner, Sid Gomez, I found everything we need in that room over there.

That being said, it is surprisingly good. I would actually classify it as being almost lighthearted cyberpunk wrapped around a detective novel (it’s too breezy to be noir).

I have learned that the actual ghostwriter was Ron Goulart (I wasn’t sure when I read TekWar, who I have never read under his own name. I’m a little sad to know for almost certain that William Shatner didn’t write it, but that should in no way detract from his overall awesomeness nor from the absolute fact that he was the greatest Star Trek captain. Only children don’t understand this.

My praise of TekLords brings to mind what I said recently about the high standards I have for literary fiction. This paperback throwaway is not half as good as Essex Serpent, but they are not competing on the same playing field and are, perhaps, entirely different sports (one is tennis and the other professional wrestling?). But is this the right attitude to have?

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