1 September 2014

Smiler's Fair - Rebecca Levene [book review]

1 comment:
Smiler's Fair - Rebecca Levene
Smiler's Fair by Rebecca Levene
Published by Hodderscape
Paperback - 416 pages
Published 31st July 2014
Review copy from publisher
Part of the Hodderscape Review Project

In a nutshell

Smiler's Fair is an epic fantasy that follows a number of key visitors to the eponymous fair, which constantly travels across the land. War is brewing - a bounty has been placed on the head of the king's son, thought to have been killed at birth, who is now grown and attempting to bring soldiers to his cause.

What worked

The nature of Smiler's Fair means that we get glimpses of many different cultures throughout the world; from the vast shipforts of the Ashane to the borders of the Rune Waste.

Levene doesn't pull any punches when crafting her world - the cultures are vibrant and distinct from one another, each with their own folklore histories, grudges and customs. There are no boilerplate fantasy races here - this is epic fantasy at its best.

Smiler's Fair doesn't hold back when it comes to being visceral, either. From the opening chapter, where the king's son is forcibly taken from his mother's womb (read the chapter in all its bloody glory), Levene gives us a gritty edge to the story that shows us just how dangerous the world can be for its inhabitants.

What didn't work

My only beef with Smiler's Fair is that that the shift in viewpoints at the start was a bit sudden and frequent at the start, which pulled me about before I had a chance to really get stuck in with any particular character. Once I got used to this, though, everything flowed more naturally.

In short

I really enjoyed Smiler's Fair - rich yet sprawling in its scope, yet intimate and visceral in its details. An absolute pleasure to read and a series I'm very much looking to keep up with.

Would I recommend it?

This book is a perfect blend of epic and 'gritty' fantasy, combining the best aspects of the two genres. A definite thumbs-up from me.

About Jamie
Jamie Gibbs is a life-long geek and leans towards anything with sorcery, dragons or obscure pop culture references.
You can follow him on at @mithrilwisdom for a daily dose of fanboy discourse.

19 August 2014

Epic Death! the card game [board game review]


Epic Death! the card game
Designed by Beth Hughes and Sam Lamont
Developed by Waits in Graves
Published by Game Salute
Players: 2-5
Ages: 12+
Playtime: 30 mins

13 August 2014