Age of Legend, by Michael J. Sullivan
Book Review / April 17, 2019

Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan My rating: 5 of 5 stars “Time had sneaked in and stolen her recklessness.” Michael J. Sullivan has done it again: He has written a book that doesn’t need to hide behind any other work in contemporary fantasy. His latest masterpiece, Age of Legend, the Kickstarter of which I had the honour to participate in, begins after the Battle of Grandford at the end of the previous book, Age of War. This makes “Age of Legend” the fourth book in Michael’s “The Legends of the First Empire” series which I whole-heartedly recommend to, well, actually anyone who reads. (In fact, my wife isn’t really into fantasy but thoroughly enjoyed Michael’s Riyria books.) I already wrote it in the review for the previous book but this latest instalment solidifies this feeling: More and more, “Legends” turns into Michael’s magnum opus. The Riyria books, which are fairly different from Legends, are undoubtedly great but the narrative depth of Legends is absolutely remarkable. Michael gets pretty much everything right and this starts even before the actual book with his “Author’s Note”: “Now, there are a few things in this second half that I’ve done differently than…

The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides
Book Review / April 13, 2019

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides My rating: 2 of 5 stars “I didn’t know it then, but it was too late—I had internalized my father, introjected him, buried him deep in my unconscious. No matter how far I ran, I carried him with me wherever I went. I was pursued by an infernal, relentless chorus of furies, all with his voice—shrieking that I was worthless, shameful, a failure.” but “It’s not hopeless. You’re not a boy at the mercy of your father anymore.” It all started out so well: The narrator, Theo Faber, is a psychotherapist who goes out of his way to help Alicia, the “Silent Patient”. Alicia has been put into a psychiatric hospital after her husband was murdered with her standing next to him, the weapon at her feet. She refuses to (or can’t) speak at all. Theo himself is damaged as well by an overbearing father who has always made him feel insufficient, worthless and a failure (cf. opening quotation). He feels like he’s pretty much the only person on earth who can help Alicia find her voice – metaphorically and literally – and so he sets out to help her. The setting I described…

The Bones She Buried, by Lisa Regan
Book Review / April 9, 2019

The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan My rating: 4 of 5 stars “A completely gripping, heart-stopping crime thriller” Nah, it’s not, just joking. This is just an annoying trend (lately?) to add such marketing bullshit to the title of any books feared not to sell otherwise – or so it seems. “The Bones She Buried” is, of course, neither completely gripping nor, fortunately, heart-stopping. It’s pretty much a bog-standard police procedural featuring Josie Quinn, a thirty-something (I guess?) police detective in Pennsylvania (which doesn’t matter at all because the setting is usually completely generic), who is investigating for the fifth time now with the usual staff who, so far, “covered cases so shocking and high-profile, they’d made national news.” And, of course, Josie will eventually “[unravel] a scandal so massive and so complex that it’s still sending shockwaves through not just the region but the entire nation.” And it all starts with the murder of someone close to her. Honestly, all that thickly-applied pathos is not even necessary: Sure, Lisa Regan (whose surname I tend to “prominently” misspell) will never become a new Hemingway or Shakespeare. That’s just fine, though, because the “absolutely unputdownable” “crime thrillers” she writes as…

The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon
Book Review / April 7, 2019

The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon My rating: 3 of 5 stars “Margret,” he said, “you are my child. I forgave you all your sins on the first day of your life.” This book has been lauded for a lot of things – supporting feminism, its share of LGBT characters, its absolutely gorgeous cover and I’m sure it would heal the Draconic plague as well were the latter real. The problem is, though: This book is way too long. The entire first third of the book basically consists only of (court) politics and scheming. There is no real storyline to follow yet; it’s basically all just building up slowly to the real story which is all the more sad as behind all the convoluted, long-winded, stilted writing hides a decent (albeit not very original) story: After a thousand years of imprisonment by our heroes’ ancestors, the “Nameless One” – a dragon – is going to return and wreak havoc all over the world. Few people know this secret and even fewer are prepared and willing to actually do something about it. Tané, a young lowly-born orphan, wants to become a dragon rider of “the East’s” sea guard…