What’s been going on lately?

A new review of Cranky Ladies of History from Matthew Davis at GoodreadsThis book covers a wide variety of periods, genres and voices, but one thing that remains consistent is the level of quality … This was my first Fablecroft book, but on the strength of this collection, it sure won’t be the last.

Thanks Matthew, that warms the cockles of this editor’s heart!

Cute little review of Dirk Flinthart’s Striking Fire by Rivqa, also at GoodreadsA fine collection with some unexpected (for me) gems…

Catching up on several Goodreads reviews of Tansy Rayner Roberts’s Pratchett’s Women essay collection that I somehow managed to miss!

  1. Mike said: “I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in non-ranty feminist perspectives and fantasy fiction
  2. Amanda said: “Tansy’s honest, soul-searching, and massively enthusiastic take on how female characters are portrayed in the Discworld universe is an excellent read.”
  3. Octavia Cade said: “this works as an entertaining introduction It’s got that nice chatty blog vibe to it.”
  4. Cindy said: “[it] made me want to reread a whole bunch of the Pratchett books again!”

Thanks so much for taking the time to review our books!

Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: THE MASTERHARPER OF PERN

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – The Masterharper of Pern

M: *rubs hands together* I’ve been looking forward to this one since we decided to do this readthrough. And going through all the other books has only heightened my anticipation.

Robinton is one of the longest running Pern characters, and this fills in an incredible number of gaps about his history. Not only that, but this is the only book in the series which concentrates around one person’s story. There’s very little headhopping, no scenes with Robinton not present, and the book shines because of it. This is the meatiest book in the series, and it’s a read of pure satisfaction. Even if his personal life was filled with tragedy.

24870T: I remember when I bought this book! It was on my only international trip ever, and I read it on a plane and it was (and remains) one of my very favourites in the series (partly because of sense-memory, probably!). And my gosh, it’s hard to believe it’s nearly 20 years old!

M: Petiron was a huge surprise in this book. In the Harper Hall trilogy, he comes off as someone who really loves Menolly, and this sort of old man who, despite being a type A stickler, is all right. Now we find out that Petiron, who is Robinton’s father, is a great musician, and a terrible human being. He’s incredibly selfish, and everything in his life revolves around him. I know there’s a huge push for us to see how badly he treats Rob as a baby – doesn’t care about him, pushes him away and ignores him, sees him as competition for his wife’s attention – but I think what really drives home the point is how he treats his wife. She’s his favorite, most precious toy. Virtually all of his decisions revolves around how he can dress her up and show off his prized possession. Getting denied results in sulks and tantrums. About the only redeeming quality to him personally is he will fuss over her if she’s sick. but even then, it’s like his toy has to be brought back to pretty.

T: I found this FASCINATING. Did her death really change him so much? Did he regret his behaviour towards Robinton his whole life, and try to redeem himself in Menolly? Although even then, really, he didn’t actually come into the “modern” world, because he never told the Masterharper that Menolly was a girl. So he changed a bit, but not heaps?

M: The flipside of this is getting to watch the Masterharper grow from childhood prodigy. I’d never really thought about that, but looking back again at things said in other books, it’s clear part of his deep connection with Menolly stems from almost identical pasts – neglect is still abuse, and being a sensitive, prodigal child leaves its own mark in any situation.

T: And he’s so very gifted, which makes it even more sad that Petiron only saw him as a rival for his mother Merelan’s attention. Not even jealousy of his talent (although Merelan clearly did worry that would also be an issue) but literally that Robinton competed for her time.

M: It also clears up why Sebell got picked as Masterharper rather than Menolly, which rather piqued me in previous books.

T: It never bothered me, actually, because Sebell was always presented as older and more, hmm, well-rounded, I guess, in the Harper craft. Menolly has insane talent, but without the full grounding the entire Harper world. But yes, nice to have some explicit explanation of why.

M: Biggest surprise still for me was seeing how much Robinton spoke with dragons. I’d gotten the impression he’d not had many spoken interactions with them in previous books, and re-reading this made me wonder if that was a misunderstanding on my part, inconsistency, or a deliberate misconstrue.

T: It’s really interesting when a person who you know as an older character, with a lot of responsibility from the first moment we meet him, is revealed to us from childhood. It would be a great exercise to have a new reader START with the Masterharper book and read in internal chronology, to see their different responses to characters.

M: And speaking of inconsistency – what the heck was with the big change in the Charter and handling upstart Holders? Reading Dragonseye back to back with this made me feel like I’d lost something. The Charter clearly makes provisions for Holders committing atrocities. Wouldn’t there have been enough between the escapees and not allowing people to learn the Charter? I thought the last book laid out clearly that’s a violation of the people’s rights? Gah!

T: I thought that was cleverly done! The way I read it was the loss of knowledge was accelerating (due to plagues, deterioration of records and the like), so fewer people actually knew and followed the Charter. Maybe that was just my interpretation though…

And it wouldn’t be a Pern book without sobbing – I was beside myself when Robinton walked the tables as a journeyman (even just glancing at the page again now brought tears prickling!).

Previously, in the Great Pern Reread of 2015:

Dragonflight

Dragonquest

The Harper Hall trilogy (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums)

The White Dragon

Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern / Nerilka’s Story

Dragonsdawn

The Renegades of Pern

All the Weyrs of Pern

The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall

The Dolphins of Pern

The Chronicles of Pern: Red Star Rising

More lovely reviews!

Rapunzel CoverIn Aurealis #90, reviewer Rebecca McEwen says The Rebirth of Rapunzel is: “…an immersive and engaging examination of the significance of a woman who, in the end, saves herself.”

And on episode #142 of Galactic Suburbia, Alex says some very nice things about the book (after announcing the winners of the giveaway) – take a listen!

BoneChimeCoverDraftIn a gorgeous recent review of Joanne Anderton’s The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, J. Ashleigh Smith over at Goodreads says the collection is: “… alive with gnarled, unusual stories, with weird, memorable worlds, every one rendered in spare, vivid prose.”

ITH CoverAlso at Goodreads, Rivqa says that the anthology Insert Title Here is: “A very strong, very dark anthology featuring some wonderfully unique voices.”

Reviews for The Rebirth of Rapunzel

We’re chuffed to see reviews already rolling through for Kate Forsyth’s non-fiction collection The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythical Biography of the Maiden in the Tower.

Rapunzel Cover

First cab off the rank, Ashleigh Meikle says the book is: a well-written, intelligent collection of non-fiction writing exploring the evolution of the tale of Rapunzel … Kate’s distinctive writing style shines through, making reading this offering as enjoyable as her novels, and is an engaging read for anyone interested in the subject matter.

A brief one at The Quirky Library, in which the reader notes: It was a very enlightening piece that helped me understand the themes of the Rapunzel tale and why it has continued to play a large part in our fairytale history, its feminist retellings and also Forsyth’s research process.

Alexandra Pierce gave us an in-depth reading of the book, saying (among other things):  Forsyth has made her research very readable … This isn’t academic-lite; it’s academic-approachable. 

Cait Coker at The Future Fire decrees the book: a fascinating and readable collection, and if the material at times overlaps and repeats, the originality of the vast remainder is utterly absorbing. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in fairy tales, genre, or honestly, just writing.

At Goodreads, reader Liesa shared a wonderful review of the book, calling it “utterly compelling”.

You can get your own copy of The Rebirth of Rapunzel from the FableCroft shop page, your preferred retailer, or via Amazon. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to review our books! 

Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: RED STAR RISING (or) DRAGONSEYE

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – The Chronicles of Pern: Red Star Rising

T: This was the first time in the reread I felt like I was reading a book for the first time. It’s NOT the first time I’ve read it, of course, but I had so little recollection of the events of the story it was like coming to it fresh. I think that was partly because all of the characters are new, so there was no context for the story outside of Pern itself?

M: I felt the same! The rest of the series really focuses around two different time periods, right around First Fall and ‘current’ era. I really enjoyed seeing the societal changes (and what’d remained the same).

It made me wonder if Anne had had more time if she’d have kept filling in the timeline, or kept with only forward stories.

T: I imagine that would probably have happened, yes. Although there would have been no objections from me if she’d had a brilliant idea for a story about the “next generation” after Jaxom, Lessa, F’lar, Menolly, Piemur etc, either!

McCaffrey_dragonseyeM: Another fun aspect in this book is how there’s more mentions of what happened pre-Pern. There wasn’t a lot in Dragonsdawn, like you’d expect. In particular, there’s a conversation between the what will someday be Harpers regarding professors and instructors only being respected on Earth after allowed use classroom discipline and stunners. It’s one of the only predictive future bits we ever hear about old Earth in her books, and I found it oddly fascinating given the escalating violence concerns in schools now. Perhaps she’ll have the right of it. Continue reading “Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: RED STAR RISING (or) DRAGONSEYE”

Some new reviews

A couple of new snippet reviews around the ridges:

Over on Amazon, reader Ladi8ug loved The Aware, saying: This was a fantastic read! Lots of twists and turns and just a few easy to see plots to make you feel like you know what’s going on, then you are back to wondering what will happen next. I rarely give 5 stars, but this book deserved it.

havenstar6highqualityAnd still on Glenda Larke, Goodreads reviewer Siavahda wrote a wonderfully detailed review of Havenstar which ends with: …this has gone straight onto my favourites shelf, and is going to get recced to everyone I know. 

At Goodreads, reader Liz gave Cranky Ladies of History five stars and said: Thoroughly enjoyed it! Many of the stories had me looking for more information on these fascinating women. A great introduction to women in history.

We missed this lovely review of Pratchett’s Women on Amazon, courtesy of reader Syntia, when it written earlier this year: …not afraid to point out and analyze glaring problems with portrayal of female characters…

And this great line from a review of Guardian by Jo Anderton on Goodreads: …included many really visceral moments that I loved…

As always, thank you to all the wonderful readers who take the time to rate and review our books on Amazon, Goodreads and other forums – we appreciate each and every one!

News and reviews

Editor Tehani is in very excellent company in the SF Mind Meld asking the question “The books that made us love science fiction and fantasy” (and is super excited to be part of her first Mind Meld!).

ITH CoverStephanie Gunn reviewed Insert Title Here for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015 (not all the contributors are women, or Australian, but we appreciate her including it!). Stephanie says she “loved the darkness of this anthology … and all of the stories were worthwhile reading” and “…this is an extremely strong collection.  The stories are varied, and I suspect that most readers will find at least one or two which speaks to them.  Highly recommended.” Cheers Stephanie!

 

Ju at The Conversationalist comprehensively reviewed Cranky Ladies of History and notes: This book is both a pleasure to read, and gives you some small insight into the historical significance of several women, mostly those who are forgotten by modern history. It’s not that the book is educational exactly, but it does make you want to learn more, to study these women and their lives.

Speaking of Cranky Ladies, we currently have a Goodreads giveaway open internationally for two copies! Even if you already have one, they make excellent gifts, and Christmas is coming…

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Cranky Ladies of History by Tehani Wessely

Cranky Ladies of History

by Tehani Wessely

Giveaway ends November 15, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/154926

A different Stephanie reviewed Phantazein a while ago, over at the No Award blog, noting that it “expands beyond Western fairytales” and is a “fun read”. Thanks Steph!

Delighted to see stories from Phantazein in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Recommended Reading list, including Faith Mudge’s “Twelve” and Suzanne J Willis’s “Rag and Bone Heart”. Several other Aussies and plenty of great company on that list too!

Focus2014CoverSMAngela Slatter is interviewing the contributors to Focus 2014 over at her blog. Check them out here.

Alex Pierce includes some FableCroft news in her latest Aurora Australis column at Tor.com.