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Comments on Recently Read Fantasy Books


These are the Fantasy books I've read since I started the online reviews. They reflect my opinions only, so take them with a pinch of salt. Recently reviewed books are at the top of the list; older ones are sorted alphabetically by author towards the bottom (other than where I've tended to group books within the same series together.) Fantasy is becoming a really awkward genre to define as can be seen from the large number of novels that cross into horror, science fiction, contemporary thriller areas.

All reviews are copyright by Adam Hough; if you'd like me to expand them for you or quote them for any reason, just ask. Email address is at the bottom. If you read them at all, please also send email; it'd be interesting to know if I'm writing purely for myself!

Reviews as kept relatively short for the sake of brevity; precis are the business of Coles Notes, not reviewers :)

Thought for the page update: There are probably more SF&F novels published a year than you could read in your lifetime.


Alphabetical Index (by Author):

The New Stuff | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

The NEW!New Stuff

Adam (02/07/03): Nothing new has been put up in about two years. I'll get around to reviewing the piles of books finished one of these days! In the meantime, the design has been revamped and a truly horrendous collection of spelling mistakes fixed.

The Slightly Older Stuff

A

Anthony, Piers And Eternity
This failed my readability test. Poor writing, awful characterization and a remarkable lack of story in the first fifty pages. Think cutesy Xanth attached to pseudo-buddhist mythology. It's a mess. Distinctly not recommended.
Anthony, Piers Demons Don't Dream
Well, it's another Xanth book. Wahoo. It is cutesy, it is predictable, but it has lots of puns which are always a bonus. If you like Xanth, you might want to take a look but beyond that there's not much here.

B

Bradshaw, Gillian Hawk of May
The first installment of a further retelling of the Arthurian mythos from the perspective of a traditionally minor character. Quite enjoyable.
Brooks, Terry Witches' Brew
Yet another installment of the Magic Kingdom of Landover series. I don't know why I keep buying them. Don't bother.
Bull, Emma War for the Oaks
Emma Bull receives the dubious distinction of being one of my favourite authors and I'm glad to say that this one doesn't change that position. The book is about the eternal conflict between Faery's Light and Dark courts and how it affects some common mortals caught in the middle. If you like Charles de Lint, this is very much in the same vein. Different style, similar content.

C

Cooper, Louise The King's Demon
Girl with demon twin meets boy with demon twin. Boy loses twin. Girl loses twin. Both live happily ever after. Ok, it's a little more complicated than that, but that's the premise. There's some interesting commentary on the ability of power to corrupt but nothing really outstanding. If you like Louise Cooper and you really would prefer to avoid yet another trilogy, this is a good option.
Cooper, Louise Sacrament of Night
With this book, Louise Cooper is heading into the area of characters who just frustrate with their shortsightedness. The plotline is that the faery world and the real world coincide in a pseudo-medieval land where scientists are amateurs who are scared of the unknown so want to study and then destroy it. Assuming you can stomach small-mindedness of the supporting cast, the book is well written and internally consistent. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

E

Eddings, David and Leigh Belgarath the Sorceror
While it seems the Eddings bandwagon has lost a lot of the initial steam that made it so attractive, there's enough left in this for it to be enjoyable, but with one proviso -- you have to have really liked the original "Belgariad." If you didn't, give this a miss. I *did* enjoy the original though...!
Eddings, David and Leigh Polgara the Sorceress
Having created a world that they're happy with, the Eddings' retread the entire lot from the perspective of another character. They go from (literally) the beginning of time to the end of the Mallorean. While it is interesting to see the saga from another perspective, filling in a few anomalous points, this is truly only for the "Belgariad" completist.
Eddings, David and Leigh The Rivan Codex
Where "Polgara the Sorceress" was a retread, this is the stuff that came before the original series. These are the authors' notes in a published form. To give you an idea, it's a vaguely more entertaining version of Tolkien's "The Silmarillion" (in concept anyway.) For the completist's completist.

F

Feinteuch, David The Still
While his science fiction Horatio Hornblower update took angst and inward uncertainty to new lows (or is that heights?) within an otherwise interesting character, "The Still" drops all of that onto perhaps the most irritating teenager I have ever come across. This book actually flew across the room a number of times after the protagonist performed yet another mind-numbingly stupid action. On the upside, he does mature a bit but you have to read about three quarters of the book before he becomes even vaguely palatable. Full marks to Feintuch for producing a reaction in the reader but there has to be a less irritating way to do it. There's a decent story in here but you truly have to be persistent to get it. It also reads like the first book in a series. Well, maybe book two would be a better place to start.
Feist, Raymond E. Rise of A Merchant Prince
"Rise of A Merchant Prince" is the second in Feist's "Dark Queen" series set in his old world of Midkemia. As usual it's a well polished, highly enjoyable fantasy romp. If you like Feist, you'll love it; if you don't, well, you won't.
Feist, Raymond E. Rage of a Demon King
This is the third in Feist's Serpentwar Saga and is in much the same vein. There's not a lot to add to its description other than to say that this time the war has come to Midkemia to that land's great cost. Definitely an excellent page turner and I am looking forward to the fourth and final book in the series whenever it's released in paperback. Recommended.
Shards of a Broken Crown Feist, Raymond E. Shards of a Broken Crown
Avon Fantasy, 1998 $6.99 CDN 514 pp ISBN: 0-380-7893-9 Reviewed 1999/07/19
The conclusion of the Serpentwar Saga, "Shards" deals with the aftermath of an extremely long and bloody war. It answers the question many other fantasy books leave hanging: after the heroes have won and their world is in ruins, what next? Well, the war isn't quite over yet and there's a large force of enemies still sitting on Kingdom soil, not to mention an expansionist empire to the south. Written with typical Feist panache, the book is responsible for me being bleary eyed while heading into work for a few days. While this would be a fine point to put the entire Midkemia series to sleep, Feist has left some plotlines dangling, just daring a publisher to tug a little. I thus doubt that this will be the final installment. Oh well. It's a good and enjoyable read. Recommended.
Foster, Alan Dean Mad Amos
A western/fantasy crossover. 'Nuff said.

G

Gaiman, Neil Neverwhere
Neil Gaiman is a god. "Neverwhere" is one of the few books I've read that really sucked me in. I don't often classify a book as impossible to put down, but this one really qualifies. Set in the contemporary world where a dark fantastical world crosses over, the story follows the descent of a man into the bowels of a mysterious London. Highly highly recommended.
Gemmell, David Dark Moon
Humans dominate a world formerly populated by three races -- two civilized; one warlike and destructive. In a quest to assure supremacy over other city states, the lord of one releases the destructive forces of the race who now intend to annihilate all humans. At this point enter one incredibly deadly swordsman with a split personality who is mankind's only hope yadda yadda ya. Actually, the book flows well and is most definitely a traditional fantasy. Recommended.
Gemmell, David Dark Prince
This novel is the sequel to the earlier "Lion of Macedon" and follows the battle of Alexander and his guide, Parmenion, against the dark intent of the Chaos spirit within him. Jumping between alternate worlds and playing freely with recorded history, Gemmell has created an intricate and interesting story. Take a look.
Gentle, Mary and Neil Gaiman (ed.) Dark Prince
Yes, it's another shared-world anthology from the UK and as per usual some stories are excellent and some are a little on the dull side. The point of view for this one is from the side of the bad guy. Pick it up from a second hand shop or borrow it.

H

Hambly, Barbara Mother of Winter
"Mother" is a sequel of sorts to Hambly's superb "Darwath Trilogy" and deals with a period after the series while the kingdoms try to recover. However a white mysterious mulch is poisoning the land and anything that comes in contact with it so Gil, Rudy and Ingold have to fix the problem. While the writing is as intriguing as I come to expect from Hambly the plotting is periodically jumbled. Only buy this if you wanted to find out what happened after the Dark was banished.
Hambly, Barbara Icefalcon's Quest
Hambly has done something which is rarely done in an ongoing series. She's promoted a former supporting character to prominence and relegated the others to period appearances. The book itself plays off Hambly's world of Darwath unfolding the slow descent of the world into total chaos and collapse. The story is about the kidnap and return of the prince who just happens to have an ancestral memory and thus is vital to the survival of this few remaining subjects. Recommended.
Hambly, Barbara Travelling with the Dead
A sequel to her earlier "Those Who Hunt the Night", a Victorian Vampire thriller, this one widens the net slightly heading south to Istanbul. It's not (IMHO) as good as the earlier, but still worth picking up despite that.
Sisters of the Night Hambly, Barbara and Martin H. Greenberg (Ed.) Sisters of the Night
Aspect Fantasy, 1995 $8.99 CDN 307 pp ISBN: 0-446-60052-0 Reviewed 1999/07/19
This is an anthology on female vampires. It's somewhat uneven (as such compilations tend to be) including one or two that left me scratching my head. On the other hand, there are some very good entries. Picks would be Dean Wesley Smith's "Tumbling Down the Nighttime" which tries to answer the question about what happens to vampires in love with mortals, and the superbly hilarious "Survival Skills" from Deborah Wheeler about vampires adjusting to life in the late 20th century. The book is almost worth buying for the latter two stories, but if you can find it in a library, that'd be better.
Hamilton, Laurell K. Circus of the Damned
This is the third of the "Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter" series. Yes, it's still pulp, but it's very entertaining if somewhat on the bloody side. The plot line here is that a vampire civil war has just broken out in St. Louis. Take a look, but I'd recommend starting with the first of the series, "Guilty Pleasures."
Hamilton, Laurell K. Bloody Bones
Also on the vampire thriller reading list is "Bloody Bones", the fifth in Laurell K. Hamilton's "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" series. Despite the campy series title, the book is as good as the previous ones which means it fits into the "just another chapter before I sleep" category. Don't pick it up if you need to get up early tomorrow. The premise of this involves a property developer, a graveyard, paedophile vampires and so on. Bloody, weird, but very engrossing.
Hamilton, Laurell K. The Killing Dance
The sixth of the "Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter" series and Hamilton seems to be trying to make her books bloodier and bloodier each time. It's still in the fantasy/contemporary fiction arena but is getting close to crossing over into the horror genre. The premise for this one is that Anita has a price of her head from persons unknown while her acquaintances are having little territorial fights over her. To quote the back blurb: "These days my life is a cross between preternatural soap opera and an action adventure movie; sort of as 'The Casket' meets 'Rambo.'" I enjoyed it as usual, but pick up the first one, "Guilty Pleasures", if you're new to the series.
Hamilton, Laurell K. Burnt Offerings
The seventh in the Anita Blake vampire series, this one seems to be a watermark wherein the humour and smartass attitude of the previous books have been overwhelmed by gore and fetishism. It's still readable but definitely nowhere as entertaining.
Blue Moon Hamilton, Laurell K. Blue Moon
Ace Fantasy, 1998 $8.99 CDN 418 pp ISBN: 0-441-00574-8 Reviewed 1999/07/19
While I doubt that Ms. Hamilton reads my reviews, I'm very pleased to see that the eighth book in the series downs (a little) the gore and, uh, fetishism by moving the entire story well out of Saint Louis into the backwoods of Kentucky. It's still not back to the original feel of "Guilty Pleasures" but at least it's returning to what got me involved in the series. The trademark dark humour is back, if a little subdued (one point of interest is the biologist studying wild trolls in their native habitat!) In this installment, Richard has been accused of a murder and it's up to Anita Blake to get him out and figure out what's really going on. Recommended.
Hamilton, Laurell K. Nightseer
Just to prove that she can write about more than just vampires and gore, Laurell Hamilton's "Nightseer" is a full blown fantasy. It's quite enjoyable.
Geraldine Harris The Seven Citadels
Composed of the individual novels "Prince of the Godborn", "The Children of the Wind", "The Dead Kingdom" and "The Seventh Gate" this is a fairly standard fantasy series. It follows the travails of an errant prince attempting to save his land from disaster by rescuing a foretold saviour. This one managed to sit on my bookshelf for 15 years before I got around to reading it and for all the impression it made it could have sat around for a few more. One person who read this page (YES!) points out that the books were really intended for a younger, more innocent audience. The design of the Unwin edition I had certainly didn't imply that, but I can see the point. Not recommended for those over fourteen or so.
Holt, Tom My Hero
Typical Holt humour. Strong beginning, strong middle, trailed off ending. When it's good, it's excellent. The premise is that of characters developing their own distinct personality and getting away from their author's control. Quite a bit of jumping between fiction and "reality." Watch for a delightful cameo by Hamlet who feels he's been somewhat typecast and wants a change.
Holt, Tom Odds and Gods
Holt is one of those rare breeds -- the genuinely funny fantasy author. Admittedly his fantasy is much more based on religeon, myth and literature than the traditional sword and sorcery format but it is extremely funny. This book is set in an old gods' home. Well, where else would they be when they're no longer worshipped? While the humour is definitely educated British in its style, it ought to translate over to North America just fine. Highly recommended.
Holt, Tom Ye Gods
The premise of an old age home for retired gods is rather entertaining as is the mudaneity of a hero's life while not out adventuring. This isn't Holt's best book but it is quite amusing -- certainly more than the recent Pratchett outings.
Holt, Tom Overtime
This is a slightly confused book in the traditional Holt style. In other words, style seems to be taking precedence over content. It's funny in parts, but as a whole seems to be lacking something. Take a look.
Hood, Ken "Demon Rider" & "Demon Knight"
These two are the successor novels to "Demon Sword." Ken Hood is reputedly a pseudonym for Harry Turtledove but stylistically the books are different enough that you can't tell. In the first of the two, Toby Longdirk, carrier of the Scottish hob, is travelling around a Spain ravaged by the attacks of the demon infested English King. In the second he's organising the assorted city states of Italy against that same King. There are some extremely neat twists in the plot in both books, and the characters do have an authentic feel to them. Beyond that, Hood has performed an excellent task in conjuring up a mediaeval Europe without Christianity that had been conquered by the Mongol horde in generations past. Highly recommended.
Huff, Tanya "Blood Price", "Blood Tail", "Blood Lines & "Blood Pact"
Tanya Huff is a Canadian with a homonym of a surname who writes novels set in Canada so I figured the series would be worth a read. Well, to be honest, it's rather like Laurell Hamilton's books but without the humour and optimism. It's gory and there's not much respite. If you like pure splatterfest horror style books, these ones will fit in your collection nicely. Personally I suspect they'll be heading back out to the secondhand bookstores. A quick precis: "Blood Price" is about an insecure computer geek who summons demons to get girlfriends; "Blood Trail" is about a group of sociable werewolves being hunted down by a fundamentalist Christian, "Blood Lines" is about a mummy (the Egyptian kind) who wants to take over Canada (surely a worthy aim), and "Blood Pact" is about a frustrated university administrator more interested in Frankenstein than much else. All of the books are connected by the heroine, a former Toronto Police officer, and her former partner. And a vampire. I can't really recommend the series, but I did manage to read them all so there's something to the books; I'm just not sure what.

K

Kerr, Katherine Days of Air and Darkness
"Days of Air and Darkness" is the most recent installment in Kerr's pseudo-celtic fare. Quite readable, but it didn't grab me as much as her earlier books.
Kurtz, Katherine and Deborah Turner Harris Death of an Adept
Without trying to give too much away, the title is somewhat misleading. The book is the fourth in Kurtz's "Adept" series which fits into the contemporary fantasy genre. Imagine a world where freemasonry is more than an old boys' club, where magic actually exists, and you have a fairly clear example of the setting. This time around Sir Adam Sinclair is facing his old nemesis again who wants to gain the powers of a demon and decides that the easiest way is to steal it by murder. This addition to the series is hardly a classic but is quite readable.
Kurtz, Katherine Two Crowns for America
I sometimes feel that Kurtz has a real thing for freemasonry and here it is again, although appearing in revolutionary America. The premise is that there is freemasons' masterplan that involves the independence of the British colonies, the revival of the Jacobite crown and few other things. It's long, slow, convoluted and rather anti-British. I really can't recommend it due to the first few reasons while the latter is just icing on the cake.
Kurtz, Katherine and Scott MacMillan Knights of the Blood
Kurtz created this series (currently just the one novel) about Knights Templar who are vampires while Scott MacMillan wrote it. The setting dealing with real and neo-nazis is not terribly engaging and the writing is more horrific due to its clumsiness than its content. Distinctly not recommended.

L

Lint, Charles de Moonheart
"Moonheart" is a slightly unstructured fantasy set in present day Ottawa as well as a few centuries ago and in a reality slightly offset from this one. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing as well as playing follow the protagonists wandering around the city. Take a look.
Lint, Charles de Spiritwalk
The sequel to "Moonheart", it's a continuation of the Ottawa based celtic/Native American fantasy started in the original, sharing the locations and characters. As per usual, very readable, although more a grouping of several novellas rather than a novel.
Lint, Charles de Dreams Underfoot
This is a compilation of short stories about the interaction of ancient myth and the contemporary urban world. A traditional de Lint setup perhaps but the episodic nature of the book and the varied range of subtexts and characters, make for an appealing read.
Lint, Charles de Memory and Dream
One of de Lint's full length novels, "Memory and Dream" is about a young painter who creates magical masterpieces that serve as gateways for spirits from faerie to cross over. This is complicated by a mentor who may or may not be using her gift for his own nefarious purposes. It's a good read and recommended.
Lint, Charles de The Ivory and the Horn
This book is a collection of short stories set in de Lint's imaginary Newford. As per usual the majority of de Lint's characters have been abused by their parents and the trauma seems to force them over into a fairie inhabited netherland. If de Lint weren't such a capable writer the repetitiveness of some of his characterization features would be incredibly annoying. As it is the stories are excellent.
Lint, Charles de Jack of Kinrowan
Jack is infact a compilation of two novels "Jack the Giant Killer" and "Drink Down the Moon." The first deals with the incursion of the Unseelie court (aka bad faeries) into Seelie court (the good faeries) of Kinrowan (which just seems to correspond with Ottawa.) There's a minor crossover with de Lint's "Moonheart"/"Spiritwalk" series also set into Ottawa but this differs in that it's more involved with the European mythos than that of the Canadian First Nations. It's relatively light by de Lint standards in that the human protagonists aren't permanently scarred by events earlier in their lives. This means the reader can enjoy the adventure as it unfolds. Recommended.

M

Moore, Christopher Practical Demonkeeping
This is what happens when you pick up a comic fantasy with an interesting title and a neat cover. It sucks. It's neither terribly funny nor cleverly written. It's a bog standard horror title with a bit of puerile humour thrown in. I'm not sure what the Washington Post's reviewer was reading because "Memorable, amusing, believable characters" does not describe this monstrosity. Pass.
Murphy, Shirley Rousseau Catswold Portal
Somewhat 'lite' fantasy involving shapeshifting cats, a Brothers Grim style fantasy world and switching between that and, ahem, reality. Nice cover art and it's not actually a bad book, but hardly a favourite.

N

Norton, Andre & Susan Shwartz Empire of the Eagle
Long, convoluted mishmash of western history and eastern mysticism. A group of Roman Legionaries survive a battle in the African Desert only to be sold as a curio to an emissary from China and their march across Asia. Not recommended.

P

Pratchett, Terry Interesting Times
Mr. Pratchett's name has now become larger on the cover than the title. This tells you something, and that something is that this book, while amusing as is to be expected from the Discworld series, is not one of his better ones. Well, that may be personal taste, but I was rather disappointed with it. If you're a diehard Pratchett fan, you'll probably like it. Maybe.
Pratchett, Terry Feet of Clay
There's nothing terribly original in Pratchett's latest outing to Ankh-Morpork but that doesn't mean it's not worth reading. It is (honest.) Strangely enough Pratchett actually has a somewhat more serious storyline lying underneath the typical buffoonery and seems to have spent a bit of time plotting this one. The story is that unusual murders are being committed in the city and the city guard has been called in. The book is definitely better than many of his more recent forays so if you've been disappointed recently, take another look.
Pratchett, Terry Maskerade
There's really nothing new here other than a scathing (although quite amusing) attack on opera and its devices. Read it if you like Pratchett, but he's written better stuff.
Pratchett, Terry Hogfather
Pratchett. Discworld. Some funny stuff. Enough said.
Pratchett, Terry Jingo
This book answers the oft (not) asked question -- what happens when Discworld goes to war. It's funny as every other Discworld novel tends to be and passed the "Oh god, not *again*" test. Parts that I particularly enjoyed were the parallel futures and the ridiculously competent Corporal Carrot. Take a look.
Pratchett, Terry Johnny and the Bomb
This juvenile (age group rather than editorial comment) is a sequel to Pratchett's "Just William"-esque "Johnny and the Dead." It involves Johnny and his friends popping back to World War II by mistake and then having to fix up a temporal anomaly. It's quite entertaining and short enough not to become tiresome.

S

Merlin's Bones Saberhagen, Fred Seance for a Vampire
Although I hate to say this, Fred Saberhagen's "Merlin's Bones" is not one I'll be picking up again in a hurry. A convoluted tale wrapped in Arthuriana, it struck me as being an attempt to appeal to a sophisticate audience without the necessary substance behind it. Not recommended.
Saberhagen, Fred Seance for a Vampire
This is a sequel to "The Holmes-Dracula Files" and part of Saberhagen's ongoing Dracula series. While Stoker's infamous bloodsucker does lay a part in the story, Conan Doyle's creation is the centrepiece. The premise of the book is that a Russian vampire has returned to retrieve riches stolen from him while still mortal. Naturally a number of mortals get caught in the middle. If you've been reading the series, this is worth continuing with. If not, start at the beginning!
Salvatore, R.A. "Exile" and "Sojourn"
These are the final two books in the Dark Elf trilogy which in itself is the middle series of the Drizzt do'Urden trilogy of trilogies. It's entertaining but hardly superior fantasy. In "Exile" Drizzt explores the Underdark trying to escape his drow heritage and reclaim (such as it is in an elf) his humanity. In the third book, "Sojourn", Drizzt makes his way to the surface to perform good deeds and kill evil monsters and a seriously misguided hunter. It also "introduces" a few characters from the chronologically later Icewind Dale trilogy. It makes for good aircraft or train reading when there're not a whole lot of other things to do.
Salvatore, R.A. "The Legacy" and "Starless Night"
I don't learn, do I. These compose the first two books in the final (maybe) Drizzt Do'Urden trilogy. Drizzt has unfinished business in the Underdark and Menzoberranzan -- specifically a Spider Queen who would like him and anyone near him dead. For a large extent it feels as if Salvatore has paragraphs mapped to function keys on his computer and then lets his cat dance on them. As TSR styled fantasy goes it's acceptable but I'm not convinced I know how it got on the New York Times bestseller list.
Stein, Kevin The Brothers Majere
High art it's not, but as pulp goes, it's quite tasty. The book is another installment in the TSR Dragonlance world and chronicles an earlier adventure of two of the main protagonists from the previous series.

Weis, Margaret and Tracy Hickman Dragons of Summer Flame
The original "Dragonlance Chronicles" trilogy" was highly readable. The succeeding "Legends" trilogy was also quite entertaining. This goes to the well one too many times and really adds nothing to the franchise. It's dense in size and content. Let your bookshelf feel a bit lighter by not buying this one or its pre-quel. For those who want to know content, the Dark Queen of Krynn (aka Takahasis the Chromatic Dragon) has cloned the Knights of Solamnia into a dark force and wants to take over the world again. As the original heroes are rather long in the tooth their offspring take on the job. Yay. Meanwhile Chaos, the father of the Gods, has escaped and wants to destroy Krynn altogether. I wish he'd succeeded.
Wells, Angus Lords of the Sky
It's a fantasy novel set in a world with memories or dragons, a nasty little caste system involving animals mutated into humanlike slaves and a group of displaced pseudo-Japanese who want to go home, mutilating as they go. A reasonable read.
Wells, Angus Exile's Children
This is the first part of what is clearly a book divided into two sections -- in other words, you'll have to read the second before you get a real ending to the first. In a land populated by what appear to be North American first nations and dwarves, an evil force has arisen that is trying to destroy it all. Naturally with a lot to lose, the 'good guys' spend the majority of their time fretting and fighting amongst themselves allowing the enemy to roll over them as an undefeatable horde. Well, now that I've summarised the majority of the book, I ought to mention that periodically we flip to what appears to be a late Medieval Europe which has just discovered an uninhabited New World (capitals intentional) across the sea and are shipping those that they do not want over there. See the next review...
Wells, Angus Exile's Challenge
And this is the second part. Now that all of our heroes are in the same world, they have to band together to defeat the undefeatable enemy. The books are actually quite entertaining and fairly readable. They're not all that subtle, but the writing isn't clumsy so they make for a good diversion. Take a look.
Wurts, Janny "Curse of the Mistwraith" and "Warhost of Warmark"
Two parts of a sort of trilogy (apparently the second book was so large they had to split it into two -- it's still extremely thick). It's a mixture of traditional fantasy that very periodically skirts science-fiction. Basic plot is that tow half brother are transferred to another world threatened by an amorphous age-old enemy and end up fighting each other. It's rather more complex than that, but it's a start. Personal opinion is that if you get through the first 300 pages or so of the first book, you begin to enjoy it. But it's a certain amount of work. Only really recommended if you're a staunch fantasy or Janny Wurts fan.
Wurts, Janny The Master of the White Storm
I have a lot of respect for Ms. Wurts as she's written some excellent books. This feels like a mildly warmed over fairy tale with cardboard characters, extremely episodic timing and an overall feeling of detachment. Try her earlier "Storm Warden" instead.

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