Book Review: The Dragonbone Chair

The Dragonbone Chair
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Book 1
By Tad Williams

In the land of Osten Ard, a young scullion named Simon becomes apprenticed to Morgenes, the doctor at the high king’s castle. King John dies, leaving his son Elias the throne, who brings with him to the castle a fallen priest, Pryrates.

When the king’s brother, Prince Josua, goes missing, suspicion rests on Elias, but there is no proof. One afternoon, Simon accidently discovers a hidden door, behind which lies the secret dungeon where Josua has been imprisoned by Pryrates.

Simon helps the prince escape, but the act makes him a fugitive and plunges him into the center of a growing rebellion against the high king. Jealous of his brother and blinded by his hatred, Elias strikes a deal with an ancient enemy of mankind, the dreaded Storm King Ineluki, and receives an ancient powerful sword, Sorrow.

While fleeing to Naglimund to rejoin Prince Josua, Simon is soon joined by a troll, Binabik, and Miriamele, the high king’s daughter, in disguise. The new friends race to reach Naglimund while the world begins falling apart around them.

I really enjoyed this series the first time I read the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, but I enjoyed this book even more the second time. Complex and interesting, this book is a must-read for any lover of fantasy.

This review originally appeared 29 December 2012 on fantasyreviewer.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/book-review-the-dragonbone-chair/

e-Book Sale!

Starting tomorrow (March 2, 2014), two of my e-books, Windows to the Soul and Myths of the World, will be on sale for 50% off. This offer is only available directly from my online store at Artistic Imposter Design or from Smashwords.

Product Links:

  • Windows to the Soul
    Windows to the Soul (Smashwords edition)
    “A collection of original poetry, composed by K. Bradley Washburn between 1996 and 2006. The seventy-five poems in this volume are actually part of a larger unpublished work titled ‘Tapestry,’ and consist of love poetry, religious ballads, and random musings.”
  • Myths of the World
    “Every civilization, no matter how old, has a body of traditional stories which define its culture heritage. Many of these myths and legends have a direct effect on customs and religious traditions within societies. Comprised of articles originally published on mythsoftheworld.blogspot.com, this volume provides a small sample of some of the myths, legends, and folklore from cultures across the world.”

This offer ends on Saturday, March 8, 2014, and does not apply to the print edition of Windows to the Soul.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/e-book-sale/

Book Review: Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines

Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines
By W. Ramsey Smith

Originally published around 1932, Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines claims to be a collection of campfire tales and oral traditions of the aboriginal people of Australia. This is mostly true. About a fifth of the book is devoted to tribal customs rather than legends, but this section of the book feels much longer.

The myths and legends contained in this book seem to cover a wide range of Australian beliefs from the creation of the world to hero tales set in the not too distant past. The author has collected a large variety of these tales, providing an interesting and seemingly well-rounded look at Australian oral traditions.

The tales themselves are well-written, but the style of the entire book can be a little tedious. While it was an interesting and fairly easy read, it also failed to hold my attention when distractions cropped up and it took me a couple of weeks to finish. If you can find some time to read without distractions, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Australian mythology and legends.

This review originally appeared 23 February 2013 on fantasyreviewer.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/book-review-myths-and-legends-of-the-australian-aborigines/

Book Review: Wyandot folk-lore

Wyandot folk-lore
By William Elsey Connelley

Wyandot folk-lore is a study of the Wyandot culture and folk tales. It was published in the late 1800s and the copy I read was a republication by the Library of Congress, created from a scan of the book. The quality of the scan is about what one would expect from a quick scan job. The pages on the right are not aligned with the pages on the left, but no pages were missing and everything was readable.

The book itself was rather interesting. If you are looking for a book about the myths and legends of the Wyandot people, this book is NOT it. The last twenty or so pages are Wyandot folk tales, but I was not all that impressed with the quality. I have read most of the tales before in better written versions.

That being said, if you are looking for a book on the politics and structure of the ancient Wyandot nation, this may be the book for you. I learned quite a bit I didn’t know before about the Wyandots, which was interesting to me because a family legend places an ancestor of mine in the Wyandot tribe.

The quality of writing wasn’t the greatest and the author seemed to have an over-inflated sense of his own importance. If you can look past that, this book is a fairly interesting and worthwhile read.

This review originally appeared 16 February 2013 on fantasyreviewer.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/book-review-wyandot-folk-lore/

New Online Store at Artistic Imposter Design

Those who have visited my other web site, Artistic Imposter Design, in the past week may have noticed a little something new – my online store.

While working with ebooks over the last couple of months, I discovered an extension for WordPress that creates an online store. Products can be either digital or physical, and all payments go through PayPal, so I don’t have to deal with credit cards or money transfers.

Since I’m just starting my online store, there are only a few products available. Right now, I’m only offering downloadable products – my ebooks and my fonts – but eventually I would like to expand into printed versions of some of my artwork.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/new-online-store-at-artistic-imposter-design/

Book Review: The Library of Greek Mythology

The Library of Greek Mythology
By Apollodorus
Translated by Robin Hard

The Library is a summary of Greek Mythology. In ancient times it was attributed to Apollodorus of Athens, who lived in the second century BCE, but it contains references to works written centuries after his death.

The Library contains a brief history of the creation of the world, the rise of the Greek gods, and the stories surrounding the main mythic heroes, divided by family. As a volume containing the myths of the Greeks, I found it an invaluable reference guide, but that really is all it is: a guide. Those who have a deep interest in mythology will undoubtably find the Library indispensable, but those looking for more meat in their myths should check out Bulfinch’s Mythology or Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

This is the only translation of the Library I have read, so I can’t really speak to the quality. I didn’t have any complaints. I thought the notes were especially helpful in some parts, but unnecessary in others, and I wish they were footnotes rather then endnotes. Maybe I’m just lazy and hate flipping pages while I read. All in all, I felt this was a decent edition and was fascinated by the way the various myths fit together.

This review originally appeared 26 January 2013 on fantasyreviewer.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/book-review-the-library-of-greek-mythology/

Short Story Review: “New Spring”

“New Spring”
The Wheel of Time series
By Robert Jordan
Collected in Legends
Edited by Robert Silverberg

“New Spring” is a prequel story to Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. Lan, crown prince to the dead kingdom Malkier, travels through the Borderlands, on a journey to defeat the terrible Blight which ravished his homeland.

Meanwhile, Moiraine, a renegade Aes Sedai, travels in the same direction as Lan, searching for a prophesied male who can wield the power of the Aes Sedai without succombing to madness. The two must join forces to save the child from the clutches of the Black Ajah.

I really enjoyed this story, although there were a lot of unfamiliar terms. The plot was intricate and well-written, and it was easy to care about what happened to the characters. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys good fantasy.

This review originally appeared 22 December 2012 on fantasyreviewer.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/short-story-review-new-spring/

Short Story Review: “The Wood Boy”

“The Wood Boy”
The Riftwar Saga series
By Raymond E. Feist
Collected in Legends
Edited by Robert Silverberg

While war rocks the planet of Midkemia, a young boy wanders into a camp of soldiers pulling a sled laden with two bodies. He introduces himself as Dirk, and tells the story of a Tsurani invasion at the estate of Lord Paul of White Hill. Lord Paul orders his servants to make no resistance to the invaders, and at first everything seems to run smoothly.

After several months of Tsurani occupation, the servants at Lord Paul’s estates begin to get uneasy. The best food and shelter goes to the Tsurani, and even Lord Paul’s daughter is heard to complain. One night, Dirk is awakened by a strange sound, like a muffled cry. Just as he is beginning to fall back asleep, he is attacked in the dark. He falls from the hay door of the barn and is knocked unconscious by a body landing on top of him.

When Dirk awakens, he discovers the entire human population has been murdered in their sleep. Evading the Tsurani soldiers, he sets off after the murderer.

I have not read any books from the Riftwar Saga before now, but based on this story it seems to be a sort of cross between Science Fiction and Fantasy. I really enjoyed “The Wood Boy” and would recommend this story to fans of both fantasy and action adventure science fiction.

This review originally appeared 15 December 2012 on fantasyreviewer.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/short-story-review-the-wood-boy/

Short Story Review: “Runner of Pern”

“Runner of Pern”
Pern series
By Anne McCaffrey
Collected in Legends
Edited by Robert Silverberg

“Runner of Pern” follows a young girl named Tenna as she runs in the steps of her ancestors as a courier on the planet Pern. While running a message from one settlement to another, she is accidently forced off the track and into a poisonous sticklebush.

Despite the accident, Tenna reaches her destination in good time. She spends several days recovering from her wounds; meanwhile, the local girls at the runners’ station help her plot revenge on the boy who caused her accident.

I first became acquainted with Pern a few years ago, but I was unable to make it through the second book in the series. I found the books boring and virtually unreadable. That said, I really enjoyed this story, and I am considering giving the series another shot.

This review originally appeared 8 December 2012 on fantasyreviewer.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/short-story-review-runner-of-pern/

Short Story Review: “The Burning Man”

“The Burning Man”
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series
By Tad Williams
Collected in Legends
Edited by Robert Silverberg

Told from the point-of-view of Breda, stepdaughter to Sulis, the Heron King of Erkynland, “The Burning Man” takes place several hundred years before the events of Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy. An old woman, Breda reminisces about her experiences growing up in the old Sithi keep and the night she saw a member of the ancient race.

When Sulis the Apostate is exiled from Nabban, he travels to Erkynland to live among the Lake People. Marrying the widowed daughter of the former Great Thane of the Lake People, Sulis begins rebuilding a nearby ruined Sithi keep and moves his new family to the old fortress.

After the untimely death of his wife leaves him with a young stepdaughter and a broken heart, Sulis begins withdrawing from the company of his friends and servants. Several years later, he imprisons a witch from a nearby forest and forces her to help him contact the ancient Sithi to ask them an important question.

I really enjoyed “The Burning Man,” although the style of the story was drastically different from the novels in the series. This story was actually the reason I bought the Legends anthology, and I wasn’t disappointed. I would recommend this story, as well as the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, to anyone who enjoys an intricate and well-written fantasy story.

This review originally appeared 24 November 2012 on fantasyreviewer.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/short-story-review-the-burning-man/