A “Bookish” Genie Bottle of Fantasy?

What is this? A genie bottle granting me three “bookish” wishes? Count me in!

I saw something similar to this online and decided to list my three “fantasy bookish” wishes. Below are my wishes, in no order of importance.

 

Number 1: I would have to visit Middle-earth and seek tutelage from the elf Legolas.

J.R.R Tolkien crafted a fantastic elf in Legolas. He has eagle-eye precision when it comes to marksmanship with a bow and his prowess with this ranged weapon is unmatched. My desire to meet and learn from this elf stems from a time during my teenage years, that I spent learning, practicing and hunting with a longbow. I have always had an affinity for archery. Meeting and learning from Legolas would be fantastic. I cannot think of a better fantasy archer to study with. Typically, all of the tabletop role-playing games characters I have played and continue to play, are often chosen with his forte in mind. Twang goes the bowstring!

Number 2: This wish is quite juxtaposed to my previous one, for here I would choose to enter the Forgotten Realms setting to meet (and hopefully survive), that crafty and devious rogue-assassin, Artemis Entreri.

Created by another of my favorite authors, R.A. SalvatoreArtemis Entreri is exactly what I picture as a rogue. Of the numerous heroic characters Salvatore’s mighty pen has graced us with, Artemis Entreri is my favorite. Yes I know he is evil and operates with a horrendous motive along with little regard for anyone other than himself, but bottom line for me is this guy can flat-out fight. Regardless whether his skill is born of hate, anger, greed or time-honored devotion and practice, Entreri is not one to cross blades with. Salvatore’s superb ability to describe a great fight scene with Entreri’s thoughts and motivations in the forefront for readers to digest, make for engaging confrontations that have you ducking for cover. Pointers from Entreri can help anyone hoping to gain skill with a blade. Only if he does not use the wrong point to teach with!

Number 3: My third and final wish would be for Scott Lynch to gamemaster a Burning Wheel game for some of my tabletop gaming friends and I.

Lynch perfectly weaves intrigue and deception like no other. His Gentleman Bastard series showcase some of the finest storytelling of the decade. I devoured all three of the books in the series with a voracious appetite and patiently await the fourth novel to be released. Lynch has a way of hooking you into following from one page to the next, in a hypnotic trance, totally unaware until he decides to expose you to his hidden and crafty agenda. I have no doubt he would run a fun and exciting tabletop game full of challenges blended with character engagement around each twisting turn.

I hope you enjoyed reading my three choices for “fantasy bookish” wishes from a genie. I would love to hear what yours are as well. Thank you for reading.

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Qualities of a “5 Star Review”?

A truly great book holds different meanings for all of us readers. Many times we try to review the books we read. So just exactly what constitutes a “5 Star Review”?  Well, I think the answer to that is as diverse and broad as there are authors, genres, and books to read. Here are a few of my thoughts on the qualities of a “5 Star Review”.

Parts of the book, literally make you pace as you read.

I am guilty of this, though no fault of my own. I find myself so entrenched in certain revelations of a book that as moments heat up, my pulse (and pace), quicken. Due to an author’s manipulation of words to set up powerful scenes and tribulations of key characters ultimately can really draw me into a book, captivating me. A book that unconsciously propels me to do this definitely gets a “5 Star Review” from me.

Favorite examples:

  • The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
    • Rothfuss displays such descriptive and engaging uses of his well-thought magic system in this tremendous book.
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch.
    •  The political intrigue and deviousness found in the world of Locke Lamora is quite entertaining and engaged me throughout his constant engagements.

 

Has one or more chapters that you have to re-read.

I honestly have not found where this occurred too many times throughout the countless books I have read. But when it does, it is powerful and exciting.

Favorite example:

  • Lord of Chaos” by Robert Jordan.
    • The sixth novel, Lord of Chaos,  in Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time, series is one such book. Chapter 55, “Battle of Dumai’s Wells” is just flat-out killer fantasy. Maybe the best single chapter of fantasy I’ve ever read. What makes this particular chapter so outstanding, and saddening at the same time, is for me, Jordan did not have more of these chapters in the series. But man oh man, this chapter had some of his best work in my opinion and his description of the use of his powerful and unique magic system, and those who wield it left me foaming at the mouth for more. The entire build-up leading to that chapter, fully engaged me, creating a memorable read. Devoted as I was to the series, at times I found myself having to “slug it” through the accompanying novels of the story, ultimately progressing in a “hit and miss” manner. Broadly the series is absolutely worth reading, and I would recommend it to new fantasy readers that are looking to invest in a huge tale of original world building and characterization. Regardless, Lord of Chaos get’s a “5 Star Review” from me.

 

Saddens you that the book, but not necessarily the tale is over.

Books that are composed to form a series are some of my absolute favorites since I normally lean more to series myself, opposed to a standalone. Becoming attached to a book so much that you hate to see it end, even if you are relatively certain another one of the series is coming eventually one day, indicates craft mastery by the author.

Favorite example:

  • The Name of The Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss.
    • Personally, I think Patrick Rothfuss has such a unique writing style. I find it difficult to describe just why his manipulation of words, resonates so loud with me. The Name of the Wind will forever live on in my mind as to what great writing can be. I recommended this book to my relatives and in-laws, that enjoy reading, with this pitch. “You don’t even have to really like fantasy to appreciate this book. It has everything you will enjoy reading about. Magic, love, hardships and excitement are all so well structured and present, that you cannot help but like it.” That’s how I felt about it myself. Needless, to say The Name of the Wind received a well-deserved “5 Star Review” from me.

 

The story-telling flows so much, it has to be running out of a faucet.

Authors who possess this gift, get labeled by my mind’s dictionary as “Flow Masters”.

Favorite examples:

  • Curse of the Mistwraith” by Janny Wurts.
    • Such a masterful display of this rare craft, without a doubt receiving a “5 Star Review” from me. Her storytelling mesmerized me, plain and simple. Incredibly her weaving of words, leaves me thinking I possibly just somehow finished the sentence I began five pages ago. This book literally does that to me. Her ability to convey attention to some of the most minute of things, has such a profound impact as a whole, on what is being portrayed and planted in your mind. The description will put you right there, slap in the middle of her world, just where she wants you.
  • Riddle-Master” by Patricia A. McKillip.
    • Another example of this writing magic, the sheer originality of the names of characters and places contained within the rich setting, is unmatched in my opinion and without a doubt, earns a “5 Star Review”. If you have a love of deep and original fantasy writing, I highly recommend getting lost in the entire Riddle-Master trilogy. The world there just feels genuine, as from an old-time, long since forgotten yet happily remembered when the words upon the pages, kindle a spark of imagination deep within you.

 

My hope is that if you took the time to read this post, you would share with me
and others alike, your definition or idea of what a “5 Star Review” means to
you. These are just my feelings on a “5 Star Review” of fantasy, not holy writ or any type of standard. What speaks to me won’t always speak to others. I look forward to reading what you would list of great examples of your system for rating and review those fantasy novels that happen to be some of your favorites and why they stand out in your mind. Thank you for reading.

Tabletop RPG’s and writing.

Really good article I stumbled upon in my gReader feed. Being a huge fan and player of Tabletop RPG’s, many of the games I play in are PbP (play-by-post) and most times I find them more exciting, due to being able to express my character’s actions with text, instead of my voice.  As time goes on, I am leaning to this style of play more and more. Especially with all of my gaming friends scattered across the great wide open, pbp is definitely the way to go in my opinion. Enjoy the article.

How to use tabletop games to become a better writer.

Elric of Melnibone’

The Elric Saga are five novels written by Michael Moorcock in the early 1970’s. These books are classic sword and sorcery to the core. No prolonged sweeping story arcs here. Straight forward fighting , magic and immediate danger to the hero (or anti hero in Elric’s case) . I was very impressed with the punch that is packed in these somewhat shorter novels than what I’m normally used to. These books are precise and to the point. No long chapters of setting up events as Moorcock delves right off into the goods from jump street in book one and doesn’t stop. The whole feel of this story is very dark and can be sad in spots. Dealing with demons, dark magics and sorcery has its price and Elric pays for them dearly as the tale progresses. Yet I do like Elric’s attitude through most of the tale as he does what he has to in order to survive. Not enough can be said about his sentient, evil rune sword, Stormbringer. It is a wicked wicked weapon and I liked the contrast that Moorcock portrayed as Elric has a love/hate relationship with the blade. Any fan of fantasy owes it to themselves to read these great books, as they’re very well written.. \m/ \m/