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my second (first?) review!

looks like my email is not working 100%, as i just found this review from the Kirkus Discoveries team buried in my alternate email box, sandwiched between other emails which did make it to my main box. no idea what’s going on there. all the more frustrating since i’ve been waiting and waiting for this and it’s been there since March 31.

but who cares about my email problems? i received this great review from Kirkus Discoveries!

Blais sets his fish-out-of-water story against a rich imaginary landscape teeming with arresting creations, including “it,” a nameless god fallen on such hard times that it must hitch rides on passing spiders to get about. The author, who has a master’s degree in medieval studies, expertly blends his authority of the age with a cunning knack for invention.

Kirkus Discoveries (the review is not posted on their site yet, but will be soon)

now, to put this in perspective, Kirkus Discoveries is an off-shoot of Kirkus Reviews, and is a paid service. this means i paid someone to write the review, and may well cause skepticism, but Kirkus has a reputation for honest, impartial reviews, and KD is held to the same standard: “A review is commissioned from the Discoveries team, who assigns the book to one person within the Kirkus-brand pool of professional reviewers, who in turn provides an honest, caveat-emptor evaluation, under the same impartial rubric as Kirkus Reviews.

further, this is not the same kind of depth as was given by Alice at Sandstorm, and this is also worth noting. as i mentioned in the my post about Alice’s review, the balance of positives with negatives inherently increases the value of both.

finally, while i am unquestionably thrilled with the KD review, it is, like the Sandstorm review, just one person’s point of view, and i tend to err on the side of caution in all such things. nonetheless, i am thrilled by both reviews, for different reasons,

Full KD Review:

Two unsuspecting office workers sojourn from modern times, upending a magical medieval world in this entertaining fantasy adventure.

When a melee of warriors and werewolves, accompanied by a small tornado, breaks out on a Boston street, mild-mannered call center rep Rick Frith and ill-behaved sales manager Stephen Prescott fall through a manhole into a space-time portal. They emerge in the Valley, a melting pot of medieval societies. Greek-like Heccan goat herders, German-esque Narician horsemen, Slavic-type shapeshifters and French-modeled Kerosian witches make their home there, all overshadowed by the encroaching empire of the Romanic Skyrran Council.

Rick, a nerdy devotee of sword-and-sorcery fantasies, is thrilled until he realizes that his counterpart Stephen, a handsome, muscle-bound meathead who can actually heft a blade, cuts a far more heroic figure in the eyes of the Valley’s inhabitants. Pursued by the realm’s Byzantine political factions, who surmise that the duo somehow figure into a 1,284-year-old prophecy about The World Breaker, Rick and Stephen fall into the clutches of thuggish Narician chieftain Omma and devious Skyrran ambassador Ptereseus.

In this first installment of his All Prophets are Liars series, Blais reworks the usual fantasy tropes into a sharp, funny culture clash. At sea in a grungily realistic, if slightly enchanted environment, Rick finds himself low man on the totem pole in a place that rudely violates all his romantic preconceptions about the feudal world. Meanwhile, Omma and Ptereseus ponder the baffling alchemy behind Rick’s zippered synthetic warm-up clothes, his walkman and Mortal Kombat II CD, which seem to have captured the very souls of the damned.

Blais sets his fish-out-of-water story against a rich imaginary landscape teeming with arresting creations, including “it,” a nameless god fallen on such hard times that it must hitch rides on passing spiders to get about. The author, who has a master’s degree in medieval studies, expertly blends his authority of the age with a cunning knack for invention.

Charming, fanciful kickoff to a promising new series.

Kirkus Discoveries (the review is not posted on their site yet, but will be soon)

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