Wolfblade: I wasn't all that kind to Jen Fallon's last efforts that I read. Partially, you know, because they really could have been so much better, just... yea, it's best to avoid having melodrama make one laugh. Interestingly, I must not have been the only one to have this opinion, since the other trilogy was Bantam Spectra -- meaning she was considered oh so promising -- and this latest effort is Tor. One could infer that "I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin". I'm really happy to say that Wolfblade is better. For pulpy intrigue, kinda trashy, yet satisfying and absorbing? Definitely. Much better job at making sure a lot more of the characters are filled out rather than just a select group of them. The two nominal main characters and the way they both develop and the way power shifts between the two of them is especially interesting. We do still have a few murders that are a bit WTF-ish, but which feel less gratuitous, less humorous, and which are done moreso by people that somehow mean well as opposed to anyone so sociopathic that it just slays me daid. The book following this is coming out in hardback; make of that what you will but I think it's safe to say that's a good sign. Another interesting trend in fantasy is yet more main characters who are slaves or at the least servants.
Violet & Claire is Francesca Lia Block to a bit more of my liking. One would think she'd be most poetic writing about fairies, but no, she always most tends to be when writing of doings in LA. It is not as sunny as the first Weetzie Bat, or quite as bittersweet as many of her others. Just plain solid and pretty tale of friendship and how it alchemizes the two people within it. This will take you about 5 seconds to read -- okay so I exaggerate -- even if you savor it, which you are likely to.
Transformation was somehow a little hard to get started on, perhaps because it has a sort of quiet unassuming tone due to the quiet unassuming main character. This is actually a good thing, and 8ofswords might very well draw parallels to Carey's Imriel on that front. Especially since, indeed, the wildest craziest things begin happening, but yet there is something subtly subdued about the proceedings. This is one hell of a first novel, I must say; Berg worked hard. I am absotively getting the other two in this trilogy.
The Sword of Change books begin with Devlin's Luck, which Amazon has been trying to get me to purchase for approximately ever. Might I say that these books have very cheesy old school covers? I mean, I suppose the art's not without skill or anything, but these look as generic as they possibly could. Maybe that's why I had a hard time getting started, but I'm glad I did. Great concept, that of a hero accidentally being created because he has absolutely nothing left to lose and in fact is really hoping he'll get killed. Devlin is cynical and grim; cheering minstrel sidekick who believes in him to the nth degree is a great contrast. Second book has a bit of sophomore slump to it -- really not sure how she could have divided up the story any better into three parts, but this particular part tends to drag. Third book is being a lot more promising and more along the first for feel and satisfaction (doesn't really sound like I'm talking about a perfectly non-smutty book, but really I am).
I think all of these are worth a read, actually. Wolfblade probably the most gripping; a bit of the literary Pringles about it ain't nothin' to be ashamed of.