Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

First off lets be clear. I don't read Epic Fantasy. I don't like it.

I don't care for careful world building that includes 3000 years of lore and mythology. Names that string vowels together with apostrophes and a consonant or two for flavor turn me off. Oh, and anyone caught singing a song accompanied by a lute will be taunted mercilessly.

So how, you may ask, did I end up reading Name Of The Wind? Easy. I was tricked. I  was walking around the sci fi/ fantasy aisles with the ever helpful  Broguely McBookstore and he pulled shenanigans. See, I was looking for my standard fare- UF, something I hadn't seen before. He recommended a few tomes, then turned to me and said the few magic words that are guaranteed to get a reaction from me.

"But, if you're looking for a challenge..." ( imagining it with his cute little accent- it takes it up to a +10 on the guaranteed to get me to do things I otherwise might not--good thing the only thing he's selling is books)

I couldn't not buy it. Even if it was the first in a series and it sits at 700+ pages. Even if the front cover featured a faceless person in a dark cloak standing in a field. He practically smacked me in the face with his gauntlet. I had to buy the book.

I didn't read the BOB blurb before I bought it- but here it is (snatched from Barnes &

Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard. 

As I mentioned before--as a rule I hate Epic Fantasy. But rules are made to be broken and sure enough this book shattered it. It is definitely a Baby Doll Nightie read- our hero manages to hold his beloved though the night, but mentioning that is just to get the point out of the way so we can get to the meat.

Name The Wind is beautifully written, elegantly put together and it managed to suck me in completely. The mythology is robust without being pompous. Everything that is in the story feels like it should be there, not like it was put in to satisfy some nerd-itch of the author.

The characters are written to be flawed and I don't feel like I have seen them a thousand times before. This is a very character driven book, if you are looking for a plot heavy page turner- this may not be your thing...but then again-- I'm the girl who hates Epics... I cannot wait for the next installment of the Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy (The Wise Man's Fear) to come out in March of 2011.

All in all I figure I must be nicer to Brouguely McBookstore, he seems to have a knack for picking winners.


So who the hell is Lela Gwenn and why should you care? Ummm, I dunno. Presumably you are here because you love to read as much as I do and your favoritest (or at least top 3) thing to read is fantasy with a contemporary and slightly sexy bent.  Great, me too.

I am an aspiring author--and yes I'm using you kind folks to build what any agent worth their salt would call a "platform", but I promise to be nice and say kind things about you on my acknowledgment page if I ever get that far. As a writer I plan on putting up tidbits of stories up here for yall to read. I encourage you to send me your stuff as well (original, no fan fic--some authors don't like it and I can't afford to make any enemies until after I hit the NYT bestseller list (: ) Once a month I'll pick the best of the best and post it.

Mostly, I promise to keep you all clued in as best I can on exciting things happening in the genre as well as providing solid reviews for books. I read fast and I read lots. I can't promise that everything I read will be fresh off the presses and it usually will be mid-list ( I don't tend to read the best sellers until the hype has died down) but the reviews will always be my honest opinion. If ever you see a post that says "Blah Blah Blah book was read but will not be reviewed- It means I can't think of anything nice to say. We can discuss it in comments- but I didn't care for it. 

If you have any questions or comments- drop me a line, let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review: Black Dust Mambo by Adrian Phoenix

BOB Blurb (Taken from

Kallie Rivière, a fiery Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a talent for trouble, finds herself smack-dab in the middle of one of those times her mentor warned her about when she visits New Orleans to attend the Hecatean Alliance’s annual carnival: her hard-bodied conjurer hookup ends up dead in her blood-drenched bed. And he was killed by something that Kallie would never dream of touching—the darkest of dark juju, soul-eating juju—a black dust hex that may have been meant to kill her.
Now Kallie has to use every bit of hoodoo knowledge and bayou-bred mojo she possesses to clear her own name and find the killer—even as that dark sorcerer hunts Kallie and her friends. But Kallie’s search for the truth soon leads her in a direction she never anticipated—back home to Bayou Cyprés Noir, and to Gabrielle LaRue, Kallie’s aunt, protector, and hoodoo mentor . . . who is looking more and more like she just might be the one who wants Kallie dead.

Lets start with the good. This book is a fun romp through a hoodoo drenched Louisiana, where a carnival of all sorts of magically inclined folks get together and party right under the noses of the "switched off" non-magical folks.The plot is tight and fast moving and the world building is subtle, but rich.

A few down points.

Some of the dialogue in Black Dust Mambo gets a little forced and cutesey. At times I almost expected to here a laugh track come in behind the "See, we are sassy women!" banter.

The big twist (I won't ruin it) left me with a big question mark. It doesn't really make sense and is confusing.

The MOST confusing thing about this book is the **love** angle here. It seems like Ms. Phoenix wrote an excellent thriller and then someone said to her "Yo, Adrian! You'se can't write no Urban Fantasy without a love story! You need sexy people to sell UF!" ( Sorry, nothing could stop me from making a Rocky joke)

So, everyone thinks everyone else in this book is sexy as hell. Everyone is sexy as hell. Everyone. The Main Male Love Interest (cuz it gets a little confusing toward the middle who the love interest actually is) isn't in the drivers seat in his own body--which makes it a little hard to connect with him as a character.

Oh, and nobody has sex.

Usually I would just label this a Baby Doll Nightie-- but, I can't. There wasn't any two people between the sheets--but, strangely, there is graphic male masturbation. At the start of the book the dirty thoughts of the characters and the language led me to believe it was Erotica--imagine my surprise when NO ONE ACTUALLY HAS SEX!!!!
All in all a good read. Sure, it is flawed-- but it is also fun, exciting, and interesting and Adrian Phoenix writes well -- Black Dust Mambo is well worth picking up at the library.