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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Two Fantasies

The Wolf in the Attic 

There are going to be plenty of people who love this one, and I have to admit that I loved the writing, at least the way the author frequently created such visual imagery.  It felt, however, as if there were two different books, and the inclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in cameo roles seemed like name-dropping rather than having a genuine connection (yes, yes--fantasy, both pagan and Christian mythology, language of trees--but still...), and the horned god vs the triple goddess (maiden, mother, crone) seemed more confused than clarifying.

The fact is that when I finished, I was asking, "What was the purpose?  What was it all about?"  I kind of liked it.  There were parts I definitely liked, but the puzzle pieces which seem to fit perfectly--were too loose or too tight.  Almost.  Not quite.

For me, The Wolf in the Attic was one of those books that kept my attention, but when I finished, the questions were more important than the content.  The conclusion seemed a bit open-ended, so there may be a sequel.  I liked Anna and Luca, so if there is a follow-up, I might read it and see if I feel differently. 

NetGalley/Rebellion/Solaris

Fantasy.  May 10, 2016.  Print version:  320 pages.


The Queen's Poisoner  (The Kingfountain Series, Bk. 1)

I enjoyed the first two in Wheeler's Whispers from Mirrowen series, but never got around to the third.  

This new series feels different, but in a good way.  An alternate history mixed with fantasy and magic, The Queen's Poisoner follows eight-year-old Owen when he is taken from his home as hostage to the king.  King Severn is an alternate version of Richard III, who has survived his version of Bosworth Field, whose brother (like Richard's) was supposedly drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, whose two nephews' deaths have been laid at his door.  

Oh, the similarities are all over the place--and connect with both Shakespeare's version of Richard and with Josephine Tey's revisionist version.  (Sorry, Will, I'm with Josephine on this as far as the real Richard goes).  

In addition to the alternate history plot, there is a similarity to Robin Hobb's The Assassin's Apprentice, one of my all-time favorite fantasies.  I noted it, but it did not keep me from enjoying this fantasy.  

As I mentioned, I liked the first two books in the Whispers from Mirrowen series, but The Queen's Poisoner seems to flow better and the characters have more punch, more complexity, more vitality.  I'm not really sure how I feel about the alternate history aspect, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first in this series.  

Kindle First choice

Fantasy/Alternate History.   April 1, 2016.  Print version:  336 pages.



12 comments:

  1. I am curious about both of these. More books to add to my wish list! lol

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    1. There is no end to the wish lists!

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  2. You've made me wish I had selected The Queen's Poisoner for my Kindle First choice. I am curious about The Wolf and the Attic, but am sorry to hear you did not enjoy it more. Hopefully there will be a sequel that will provide more answers.

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    1. I can't say that I didn't enjoy The Wolf in the Attic, but it was one of those books that when I finished, I immediately questioned. The Queen's Poisoner was an entertaining fantasy!

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  3. The King's Poisoner sounded so good I had to go and order it.

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  4. The Queen's Poisoner sounds like it has a great premise and characterisations. I'm sorry to hear The Wolf in the Attic wasn't what you expected and I hope the next book will be better!

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    1. I think I must be in the mood for fantasy right now. I pre-ordered the next one in Wheeler's series :)

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  5. These sound fun. That first one has a great title and I like the cover too. Fantasy is one area I really feel lost in so it's great to have good recommendations!

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    1. I love fantasy, and of course, have some favorites: Robin Hobb's The Farseer Trilogy remains a favorite largely because of the characters. I don't know if the Once Upon a Time Challenge is on for this year, but a good fantasy/fairy tale retelling is Intasar Kanani's Thorn!

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  6. Wolf in the Attic sounds like it has potential but just didn't get there. Too bad. I think I will skip that one for now.

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    1. It didn't get there for me, but I loved that Anna initially had all these references to Greek mythology. Over time, the Greek mythology was left behind and the Neopagan mythology and the horned god took over. Something about the plot didn't gel for me and something about the horned god vs the triple goddess struggle bothered me.

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