The Builders by Daniel Polansky
Tor.com: November 3, 2015
Review source: Free from publisher
The Builders opens with a scene in a dive bar. The owner, a rat who has lost limbs and more in a previous war, welcomes a mysterious mouse called the Captain. The Captain has come to recruit his former soldiers to fight the war again. After the rat, he goes on to recruit a boastful stoat, a reluctant badger, an enigmatic salamander, a scheming mole, and a crazy owl (and possibly others I can’t remember) all having fought previously under his command The resultant war band fights gory, gruesome battles as they win in their quest to overthrow the usurper. As a warning: It’s all about fighting, battles, and war. There’s not much else to the plot.
The characterization in this short novel is well done, and I found getting to know the different warriors more interesting than witnessing the battle scenes. Many of the characters are taciturn, all of them are natural killers, and there are different relationship dynamics within the group.
Our latest Reader’s Map is all about dragons. And there are plenty! Click on the image below to see a map full of dragon books, categorized by genre or dragon characteristic, e.g. Where the War Dragons Fight, The Kingdom of Magic Dragons, and The Empire of Epic Fantasy.
The Thousand Names by Django Wexler
Roc, July 2, 2013 (Military Fantasy)
My rating: I’d go there again (3.5/4)
Recently, I was looking for a good fantasy book, and The Thousand Names happened to come onto my radar. Wasn’t really sure what to expect, but when I learned that it featured a woman disguised as a male soldier, I immediately thought of the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce. Logically, I knew this book would be no where close to the same, but I thought it was a great premise that spoke to my past teenage reader brain. The Thousand Names was an interesting read, although it had a lot more military details than I was expecting, this kind of description isn’t really my “thing” when reading. That said, I ended up quite liking this one, and I’m looking forward to book two, The Shadow Throne.
The Thousand Names is set in an alternate world. My impression was that it was a more Middle Eastern culture due to the desert setting. The Vordan have a military base in Khandar, and it’s where the dregs of the Vordanai military are sent in punishment. However, this unimportant outpost is about to get a lot more notice when Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich arrives to take command following a rebellion. His stated plan is to win back the throne for the Khandarian prince; however, it soon becomes clear to the Vordanian captain that Janus just might have an alternative mission in the works. (more…)