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An exploration of Fantasy and Science Fiction Worlds in literature and multimedia entertainment
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Readers are raving about The Emerald Atlas!

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April 2011 - Hey Strange Landers, complete a survey about which books you're most excited about and you'll be entered to win a collection of 2011 titles! For more info, click HERE.

Readers are raving about The Emerald Atlas!

"...a great story is all in the telling, and in The Emerald Atlas the telling is superb." - The Wall Street Journal

Reviews from Random Buzzers

"...The Emerald Atlas was an amazing adventure...full of twists and turns making it hard to
stop reading. I can't wait for the next book in the series!" - mwchristine

"I loved The Emerald Atlas! It's full of great adventure, surprising plot twists, and the
perfect amount of sarcastic humor. The characters are artfully crafted..." - masquerade1

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The Emerald Atlas cover

buy now

The Emerald Atlas
by John Stephens

Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being mysteriously protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about. Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of magic and mayhem. And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history.

Start reading at emeraldatlas.com.

Watch videos and connect with fans on Facebook!

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Rotters cover

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Rotters
by Daniel Kraus

Joey Crouch is a normal sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom and trying hard to avoid the daily humiliations of high school. When Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident, he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known—a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. Joey's life takes a turn to the macabre and exhilarating.

Daniel Kraus' masterful plotting and unforgettable characters make Rotters a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality.

Read an excerpt | Watch the trailer

Check out Daniel Kraus's website.

Follow the discussion on Random Buzzers!

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Faerie Winter cover

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Faerie Winter
by Janni Lee Simner

The long-awaited sequel to Janni Lee Simner's breathtaking fantasy debut, Bones of Faerie.

Born in the wake of the war between humanity and Faerie, Liza lived in a world where green things never slept, where trees sought to root in living flesh and bone. But now the forests have fallen silent. Even the evergreens' branches are bare. Winter crops won't grow, and the threat of starvation looms. And deep in the forest a dark, malevolent will is at work. To face it, Liza will have to find within herself something more powerful than magic alone.

Read a excerpt.

Ask Janni Lee Simner a question and join her forum April 25-29 on Random Buzzers!

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Flip cover

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Flip
by Martyn Bedford

Fourteen-year-old Alex goes to bed one December night only to wake up in June in the wrong bedroom of an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country. Six months have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table are total strangers, and when he looks in the mirror, another boy's face stares back at him—a boy named Flip.

Unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life, he may be trapped forever inside a body that belongs to someone else. Questions of identity, the will to survive, and what you're willing to sacrifice to be alive make this extraordinary book impossible to put down.

Read an excerpt.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crystal Gorge - The Dreamers Book 3 by David and Leigh Eddings


Crystal Gorge (The Dreamers, #3)Crystal Gorge by David Eddings

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Well, honestly I haven't read the Malloreon and the Belgariad series,
yet somebody strongly recommended David & Leigh Eddings' books for me to study, as I am a fantasy author myself.

From the Dreamers series, I learned how to "control" so many characters as per their role in the story.

Yet, in Crystal Gorge, as well as other series, "gods" and "dreams" are involved, things are quite revealed and foretold. The most exciting part is, of course the details and backgrounds of the characters that made them likable and the "tactics" the armies used, using the resources of the land so brilliantly so they can win battles with minimal casualties.

And well, as spoiler goes, none of the key characters has been "killed" yet this time, and how the final victory factor was discovered and available - though still, brilliantly executed, using the elemental pattern of: 1. Earth (+Fire), 2. Water, 3. Fire (+Wind), and later, 4. Wind (+Ice). The pattern, as well as the targets of attack, though predictable are simply brilliant.

One thing, though, for me, it's always so sickening when "gods" are involved - although it's all logical and necessary as a decisive factor. I mean, as the characters said, "What use are the outlanders if a single person (through the dreamers) can win this war?" - and the reasons are (yet again) brilliantly explained in the story.

Overall, it's really fascinating, and maybe I'll read more of David Edding's works next time.

Favourite characters:
1. Keselo - for his brilliance and use of his knowledge
2. Rabbit - his expertise is more of the technical side, yet he's a funny bunny
3. Ekial - New favourite, especially for his prowess and speed as a cavalry commander
4. Longbow - Grim determination and a brilliant tactician. He's actually the "leading role", right?
5. Eleria - Kiss kiss, hug, hug!
6. Veltan - He tends to do his job well, but on occasions tends to avoid responsibilities
7. Dahlaine - A bit of absent-minded, probably because of ooooolld age. Sleepyhead, in exact
8. Zelana - beautiful, gorgeous, loving, absolutely stunning

Characters I'd like to punch in the face:
1. Ara - a mysterious, "treasured one". She seems to control everything from the background.
2. Omago - what a lucky chap, right, "Father"?
3. Trenicia - a bit of a blockhead, maybe but it's probably because of lack of technology.
4. Sorgan - a sarcastic, yet cooperative chap
5. Ox - the most powerful human of the lot
6. Aracia - I can't help but feel sorry for her
7. Lillabeth, Ashad, Yaltar - all they have to do, is dream... dream, dream, dream...
8. Balacenia, Enalla, Vash & Dakas - the "Big Me"s really added up to the mountainous pile of names...



View all my reviews

Sunday, April 17, 2011

3.3.17.3. Fight Another Day - Part 4

Spider Knight by ~Stuki on DeviantArt

Meanwhile, things aren’t going well on the ground. No matter how hard the soldiers fight, no matter how many bombs, cannonballs and arrows are shot, no matter how much blood has spilt, the Sylvania-Gremion army finally breach into the three gates, flooding into the mount city.

However, another layer of defense awaits them inside: the famous Borgian arbalests, the defensive iron-armored chariots standing in rows, blocking the whole road like walls. The mindless undead charges to break them apart and soon, mounds of their bodies pile up inside the gate. The napalm bows inside the arbalests shoot spikes and arrows ceaselessly. The enemies can’t seem to find a way to break this barrier until the mountain trolls show up. These powerful allies of the Gremion orcs have rock-solid hides which are impregnable and explosive-proof – all over except on the top of their heads where the membranes are the thinnest – their weak points.

Still, the trolls are extremely hard to kill. Even when one of them lifts an arbalest twice its size and twice its weight, the archers and dwarf bombers just run away before the troll hurls the war machine, crashing into another, breaking both of them apart. The troll shouts in satisfaction upon that feat, and a dwarf bomber throws a bomb right into his mouth.

‘KA-BOOM!’

The bomb explodes, destroying the troll from inside to pieces.

This new development bothers Sir Heinrich Ratzinger very much. He is still dueling with the Demonic General Nöac in the city road. His two hands holding a zweihänder can’t win against his opponent’s six hands, so is his technique to his opponent’s hell-forged moves (though in fact he’s Adler’s teacher).

Oh no, now the arbalests are being destroyed too. Damn, I can’t win against this brute, and the army can’t win against this horde. I must proceed with Plan B, now!

Nöac’s skill, A Thousand Spikes of Hell multiple lance thrusts doesn’t give this veteran warror room to escape. Sir Heinrich Tries to retaliate with the five concentrated slashes of Fingers of the Blade – a rather desperate move – and his opponent intensifies his attacks instead, adding more scratches and beatings to that battered body of that seasoned old warrior.

Oh, no! I’m done for. I didn’t even have a chance to unleash all the moves I taught Adler on him! I hope the other knights will carry out Plan B without waiting for my command. Forget discipline! Somebody please, just do it!

Blow by blow come on and on, until Nöac decides to stop playing around and launches his next move: Soulstealer Drill with his lance drilling in super-speed towards Heinrich – to pierce the foe’s armor and turn him into mincemeat. Heinrich parries it with his great sword and gets pushed back, but the blow comes again harder and stronger, and no evading it.

The Borgian Knight’s doom is one inch away...

CLANK!

Something hits the lance and diverts the blow off-target, right in front of Heinrich’s face. The razor-sharp force from the drilling leaves minor scratches on the Commander’s face and thigh, otherwise he’s okay. It surprises him greatly, and then he sighs in relief.

Enraged, the spider-legged demon looks left and right, side and back, swearing, ‘That spoilsport is going to regret that!’

‘Looking for me? I’m up here, idiot.’

Nöac looks up to find the elf archer, Lavennia Iris on top of a building with her bow and arrow, ready to take another shot. He just laughs, answering, ‘Who’s more idiotic than an idiot? A dead idiot – like you are going to be.’

Iris taunts him back, ‘And you’ll be dead before you know you’re an idiot. Taste this!’

Iris shots another arrow. Strange, the shot is somewhat weaker than before, so the target evades it with ease. Apparently, that shot is just a diversion, and Iris uses that time to pump up her aura and summons...

‘An Eshmyria Aschi!’

The Wind Fairy Spirit, Eshmyria instantly comes between the two combatants. The armies in battle avoid coming near that area and keep on battling with their equals. It’s two against one now, and that doesn’t scare the Black Prince even a bit.

And now, Sir Heinrich sneaks out from that area and is no longer Nöac’s target. Well, he is much weakened anyway, and finishing him will be just like scratching Nöac’s own back. For the first time, Heinrich is glad being underestimated.

But that doesn’t mean he can rest and relax. He must carry out one thing, that is, the ‘Plan B’. Heinrich rushes to a tower in the center of the city near the mount, and climbs up. Shots from enemy catapults and wyvern riders carved big holes on the wall, yet it didn’t make the tower fall down. And that’s the reason I chose this tower as the command center to launch Plan B.

As he reaches the top of the tower, Heinrich finds an officer and a soldier there, shivering in terror. They don’t dare to go near the window. Two giant bats’ carcasses lay on the corner. The two Borgians get startled and point their swords at Heinrich, and when they recognize their Commander, they salute him.

Heinrich exclaims, ‘Thank Vadis you two are alive.’

The officer answers, ‘Well, Sir, we’re here, but we will be goners any moment now. The enemies have breached the gates and are swarming into the city.’

‘How many of them are in the city, and the spread?’

‘They are all over the city now, Sir, and I reckon fifty thousand are already in.’

‘Fifty thousand? That’s good enough. We carry out Plan B: Burning Freidle now. Are all flammables in position?’

‘Yes, Sir. All our reserve oil, straw and gunpowder are in place. The task force are also in positions, well-hidden. All are ready, waiting for your signal.’

Heinrich takes a moment to look outside the window and see the Borgians doing hit-and-runs, luring as many enemies as possible into the city while the defenders make their escape. And then, taking a deep breath, Heinrich commands,

‘Signal them to burn the city, now.’

The two soldiers immediately lit the fuses connected into flare cannons standing neatly behind the windows. The flares shoot out from the window and explode in the air like fireworks, signaling all to go with their tasks.

The Plan B is go!

The next moment, oil and gunpowder are lit. Fire and explosions erupt all over the city. Before the enemies realize it, they are already trapped in the blazing inferno, along with the Borgian soldiers who doesn’t have a chance to escape through the north gate, tunnels or bunkers.

Still fighting the Demonic General, Iris leaps from one burning house to another to evade Nöac’s attacks and seek the best chance to escape. Alas, the spider-legged enemy moves more freely over buildings and fire, giving himself a better chance to hit the elf. Right on, when the Carrion Lance comes straight to Iris’ back, someone kicks the lance sideways and lands another kick on Nöac’s belly.

It’s Eshmyria! She looks exhausted because she let Iris run away and got beaten while fighting the Demonic General alone. But now, with her remaining strength she puts Iris otu of harm’s way. Thankful, the elf dashes off even faster. Her goal is to reach the city wall or find the Airship Aurora, whichever comes first.

She moves on to the left and still doesn’t find either, except now the Black Prince is pursuing behind her again. Just then, Iris hears a voice,

‘Hey, Iris! We are to your right! Come aboard, quick!’

She just knows it: She has never been too happy on hearing Carol’s voice before. Now her rival is coming to the rescue. Well, no time to think about the past. She turns right and dashes as fast as she can, with the man-spider on her back and fire all around.

Iris runs and runs. There it is: the airship. Suddenly, her leg stumbles into something, and she falls all the way – crashing into the road. The fall doesn’t hurt Iris much, being agile and quick on foot. The next thing she sees is the Demonic General coming to her in high speed through the fire, thrusting with the skill Soulstealer Drill towards the groggy elf. Iris tries to get up but she can’t move fast...

No, I can’t end up dead here... Not here, not this way. Please, Vadis, Mother Enia, anybody...

A hand grabs Iris, taking her away from harm’s way.

...save me.

The lance misses its target. When Iris realizes it, she is already ten feet above the ground. Color comes back onto her face.

I’m saved! But who…

She looks up and sees her savior – Eshmyria! The wind fairy looks extremely exhausted now. Her whole appearance is blurring. She should’ve disappeared upon losing aura contact with her summoner. But this time she pushes herself over her limit – on her own will.

Thank you, Eshmyria…

Eshmyria answers, I’m your soul partner, master of the Wind Orb. With extra strength from Enia, I must ensure your safety. Look, the airship is near. Now I have to toss you aboard – I can’t hold on much longer. Are you ready?

Iris puts a Levitation spell on herself and answers, I’m ready. Shoot away, my love.

With the last drops of her strength, Eshmyria tosses Iris towards the Aurora and dissolves back into her realm. Lighter than air now, the elf flies, darting into the airship freely through the rain of arrows and winged monsters flying by. Iris even steps on a wyvern’s neck and propels herself straight into the airship deck. Carolyn comes running and finds her fellow Paladin lying on the floor, exhausted.

‘Iris! Oh, thank Vadis you made it here.’

‘Yes,’ says Iris feebly. ‘Thanks to Mother Enia’s help through Eshmyria. It seems she wants me to fight another day too.’

‘Oh, yes, that reminds me. I got to tell Captain Quazar we’ve fetched you, and we’ll withdraw to Arcadia in full speed! See you later, my friend!’

Saying that, Carolyn dashes off to the bridge, leaving Iris alone with her thoughts.

Many have fought to the death

For us to fight another day

The Dark is weakening, but still strong

Our numbers can’t overcome the throng

Many have sacrificed their hope

For us to keep hope alive

It’s not the end, the final frontier

We’ll be back and make Dark disappear!

==oOo==

Meanwhile, the Borgian Knight, Sir Heinrich Ratzinger stands on top of the tower, looking around the city in flames and the palace on the mountain top, still untouched by the devouring flames. His face shows a smile with tears on his eyes. Sadness and relief, rage and fulfillment all merge in one.

My job here is done, and our sacrifice is complete. I sure wish I can go down to the bunker now, but the flame has reached the topmost floor. My two comrades are dead…

There is no escape for me now. Oh Vadis the Merciful, please take care of my wife, Augusta and my two children, Hans and Greta. I also pray for the safety of the royal family, my comrades, the two kind Paladins and the dwarves who helped us.

Oh, blowing wind, please send my word to them that I love them all, and please tell my fellow dragon riders that I’m sorry to denounce their ways after my dragon was gone. Also for my dragon, my best friend, the best partner I’ve ever had, Schwarzkrieg, I’ll be rejoining you soon.

‘Perhaps it’s sooner than you think.’

Heinrich is startled on hearing that voice. Before he can do anything, a lance penetrates his armor, drilling all the way so its tip comes out from his chest. He turns his head and sees Nöac.

‘Yes,’ says the Black Prince. ‘Take a good look at me, Nöac, the one who sends you to hell. You’ve ruined my army and my plans, yet the Dark gets this city. You deliberately burned this city and killed a lot, but mark my words: We will hunt them down to the last man, and all will tremble before the Dark Overlord’s Heir for eons to come!’

Heinrich forces a smile, ‘That’s what YOU think. From the way I see it, it’s OUR plan that worked. The Light Side will be united and they shall strike you back and strike you so hard the Dark Side will run and hide in the underworld and rot forevermore!’ He stabs the roof with his great sword.

‘Humph, the way to the future is set, but you won’t be around to see it. So, I’ll give you a favor, a taste of the Light Side’s future: a painful, grueling death!’

Saying that, the Demonic General takes his lance off from Heinrich’s torso. The heroic Knight still stands there, holding on to his great sword. With his last breath, he mutters,

‘Gloria… Vadis…’

And departs to meet his maker.



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Thursday, April 07, 2011

FireHeart Mythology and Fantasy Quiz - The Second Helping!

(Update per blog post date included)
TAKE THIS QUIZ (Optional Link)



Goodreads Quiz


FireHeart's Mythology Quiz


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8 times


10 questions



Great, so you've taken the first quiz in Facebook? This time we made the second batch fantasy & mythology quiz based on popular works and novels in Goodreads.com!
Just take it and enjoy the ride. No penalty for failing, no reward for perfect score but you'll sure get your fantasy brain loaded to the max!

Come forth, fantasy lovers! Fulfill your destiny in this ultimate quiz!
- BJ Vadis the Pilgrim

---------

Hoho, fancy a sneak peek? Well, here goes!

Question 1:
The following races are derivated from Genie, except...
Marid
Djinn
Efreet
Ifrit

Question 2:
"Aegis" is...
Zeus' Sword
Perseus' Shield
Athena's Spear
Achilles' Greaves

Question 3:
Which Norse God is called "The Mischievous One"?
Loki
Balder
Thor
Odin

Question 4:
In Chinese mythology, a "Kylin" or a "Kirrin" is a mythical beast with a form of...
Snake head with turtle body
Eagle head and wings with lion body
Dragon head with lion body
Eagle head with dragon body

Question 5:
In Indian mythology, which one of these is NOT included as the Greatest Three Gods?
Brahma
Indra
Vishnu
Shiva

Question 6:
Which Greek God is not among the "Three Brothers"?
The Lightning Thief
Poseidon
Zeus
Hades
Cronos

Question 7:
Which one of these are NOT included in the Twelve Tasks of Hercules?
Slay the Lerneanan Hydra
Steal the Apples of the Hesperides
Capture Cerberus
Clean the Augean Stables in a single day

Question 8:
Whom among these Greek heroes fought Chimera?
Theseus
Perseus
Bellerophon
Hercules

Question 9:
What is the Indian God Krishna's weapon?
Slumdog Millionaire: The Shooting Script
Spear
Bow and Arrow
Sword
Chakram

Question 10:
What is the Chinese God Nezha's characteristics?
A boy riding a single wheel
A three-eyed god
A god wielding pagoda as weapon
A young man playing flute

Friday, April 01, 2011

Garudayana Vol 2 by Is Yuniarto - Peter's Review

Review and Commentary of Garudayana Vol 2 by Is Yuniarto

by Peter Prabowo on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 7:24pm
Source: Link

Warning: This review is half spoiler, and half spoiler-free. Since I'm not sure which part is the spoiler for you and you're not sure which one I considered spoiler, even though that spoiler may not be spoiler at all, let's just play safe and say this review has spoilers.

Title: Garudayana 2

Author/Artist: Is Yuniarto

Editor: Gupta Mahendra S

Graphic Designer: Heru Lesmana

Publisher: Koloni

Summary:

From the creator of Wind Rider & Knights of Apocalypse Trilogy

Kirana the treasure hunter and the little Garuda departed to 'Sanda Nuai', the Cliff of Corpses to find a lead to the whereabouts of Kiskenda Cave. Meanwhile, in a fight with the Ashuras, Gatotkaca was shocked by the coming of a least expected foe...


I just have one question. Why does HE hog the whole cover?

Review

It's good. Carry on.

Final Verdict 8 out of 10

The only Indonesian comic book I enjoy more than Bleach or Naruto

Recommendation

Everyone

Okay ^^ I was just pulling your leg

but the rating stays.

Commentary

When I bought Garudayana 2, I was driving my mom to buy whatever it is she wanted to buy. I sat down, unwrap the book and read it the moment she said "wait here". I read, I laughed, I giggled, then she came back and we went home. I read it while having lunch, smiled again, and finished it before continuing work.

I did this whenever I bought a new Koloni (without the mum), but so far Garudayana 2 is the only Koloni book where I didn't have to raise eyebrow, say "what?", facepalm, or say a louder "WHAT!?". It is as enjoyable as a comic book can be, and although the art is not perfect (what does?) it doesn't stop me from enjoying the book. When I finished it, for the first time ever since reading Koloni books, I feel eager to read the next volume.

Kinara and Garuda continued their adventure to find the Elder Garudas. They took a side quest, Tomb Raiding to get the key to open a cave, which will give them clue to find the Elders. They brave the hilarious undead, while Legojuna escorted Hakase-Semar with the Trio. In a different place, Gatotkaca helps people while hunting other Ashuras (there isn't only one, apparently)

The battle between Gatotkaca and 3 Ashuras took the most part of the book, followed by the undead followed Kinara and Garuda to a World Map Random Village, while a mysterious character looked on. A new epic character is also introduced, someone well known by Gatotkaca and Legojuna, and attacked both of them.

If there's any weakness to this book, is that compared to the first, it doesn't have that much plot. It's basically a side quest plus mystery. A bridge to from the pilot to a series. Compared to the first action-packed, information-packed one, you may feel it a little empty, a little let down. Especially since you know you have to wait a year to get the next volume.

However as a bridge, the volume made to make us hyped up to the next, it's not bad. In fact, it's good. Since there's not much in it, we want to know more, and we want to wait for the next volume. So in that case it works. The time taken to produce the next volume kinda dampen it though.

But there's hope. The author has proven himself time and time again that he can produce wonderful works. A couple of assistants and the right sponsor, then maybe in a couple of years... no... let's be hopeful and say months... maybe we can get our first monthly (or bi-monthly) series.

So, anyone in Surabaya (nii-san, do you still live there?) go contact him.




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