The second half of the Dreamhealers duology. The first half of which made me cry no less than three times and I reviewed here in mid October 2015.
There is significantly less crying in this book. While the plot is more dramatic and further reaching than Mindtouch, and the highs even higher the lows are less sublime. The character's discovery of an unfolding relationship and domesticity were such a touching part of the first half that I raved about it for days. This book is lacking that, but it is just as well. I doubt anyone could have duplicated it in another work, even a sequel.
The wisdom we overlook when we fly past a sign at 100 mph, and then have to walk back and pick it up is a valuable lesson. We all have those moments/milestones. Jahir has at least two of them. As does Vasi, although his is more like the opposite and he has to race away at 100 mph to put his wisdom to use.
See also: Review by Fred.
Tampa, FL, Studio MCAH, January 2014, trade paperback $15.99 ([1 +] 341 [+ 7] pgs.), Kindle $5.99.
While I could say that Song of the Summer King by Jess E. Owen is a very satisfying action adventure young adult book played straight (which is true; it follows a coming of age story formula and it knows it), there's a lot of subtle choices made by the writer which makes this book stand out: how inaction is in itself implicit action; how listening can appear to be a prophetic power to those who have never attempted empathy; how refusing to choose between two bad options can be a valid choice.
From the beginning of the novel, Shard lives passively: he's enthralled by a patriarchal society of fascist conqueror griffins who believe only the strongest survive. He lives in constant (well-founded) fear of never being trusted and eventual exile, which are his driving influences to seek strength and social accolades. But when Shard's own heritage gets foisted upon him, he has to choose between being comfortable or being ethically consistent with what he finds to be the truth, all the while reconciling his racial differences from the dominant griffin tribe.
Shard has to question everything when he discovers that the world is more complicated than he once thought, and that it is incredibly frustrating when those closest to him continue to live trapped in their oversimplifications about what it means to live a good life.
Spoiler warning: This review does discuss plot elements some may consider spoilers below the break.
Five Elements Press, 2012, $4.99 Kindle, $25 hardcover, $12.99 paperback (264 pages). Illustrated by Jennifer Miller.
When I finished God of Clay by Ryan Campbell, I described the experience as "satiating something I was hungry for." And usually when I read genre fiction, I have to take bits and pieces of things I want from the books I read and make compromises. "Well, this book had gay protagonists at least, even if the conflict didn't let you forget that, and the characters paid for it." Or "this book has people of color as opposed to the assumption of a main character's innate whiteness, but it is overshadowed by western mores and still exhibits egregious exoticism." Or "well, there's a woman over 40 who plays a significant role, but she's more or less window dressing."
God of Clay, on the other hand, was a buffet of the things I was hungry for: colorful sensory splendor; anthro and human presence; smart character decisions the fueled further conflict; a non-white cast of main characters; gay protagonists with sexuality not intrinsically tied to the main conflict; a world where you can still be older than 40 and be a woman and make life changing decisions for yourself and your tribe.
See also: Review by Fred.
The ALAA’s 2015 Anthropomorphic Recommended List has been updated from August to October 15. This includes all of the anthropomorphic works published or released during 2015 that have been submitted by someone as being worth reading, looking at, or playing. Look it over and see if you have been missing anything.
If there is any 2015 work that you feel is worth recommending that is not on here, please submit it for the next update to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is almost the end of 2015, so do not delay!
M.C.A. Hogarth is a writer who belongs to the Furry Writers' Guild, something I've been involved with these last few months since crawling out from under my bed after hiding there for a few years. I went looking for a few good books about furries with LBQT+ relationships for a future BookCrossing bookbox, because I like to share furriness with my friends.
I wanted to buy a few books from Amazon for the free shipping; something I hardly ever do. I figured I should get to know my fellow writers better, and while this didn't seem like the kind of book I was looking for for, I liked the idea of two different types of ESPers co-mingling, both aliens on an alien world (not to mention, college kids ... education is sexy, am I right?).
I have to admit to being daunted by the size of the book. Four hundred plus pages. I wanted a writing sample, not a bible. I have over a hundred unread books in my queue! Did I really want to push most of those back in order to relate better to a name in a chat room? And it was book one of two. Who writes duologies, anyway?
See also: Fred's review of Mindtouch.
The release date of Disney’s forthcoming theatrical feature Zootopia (Zootropolis in the U.K., Portugal, Turkey and other countries; Zootropola in Croatia and Zwierzogród in Poland) is March 4, 2016. But on January 19, 2016, the Disney merchandising machine will release a slew of tie-in books, published by Disney print subsidiaries or licensed by it. Most, but not all of them, will be juvenile-oriented. Some of them, such as the Disney Zootopia Ultimate Sticker Book or Judy Hopps and the Missing Jumbo-Pop, will be little more than picture books featuring the leading characters. Others, such as the Zootopia Big Golden Book, will also be picture books but will show a condensation of the movie’s plot. And a few, such as Zootopia: The Official Handbook, Zootopia Junior Novelization and DK’s Disney Zootopia: The Essential Guide, will be of interest to the adult enthusiast. No lavish The Art of Zootopia coffee-table art book has been announced yet, but there will undoubtedly be one by next March – or sooner.
The Anthropomorphics Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), which administers the annual Ursa Major Awards, has updated the 2015 Anthropomorphics Reading List to include the titles recommended by furry fans through August 8. This list is often used by fans to nominate in the next year’s Awards.
All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, short fiction, other literary works, graphic stories, comic strips, magazines, published illustrations, websites, and games) first published during 2015, if they are not already on the list. Send in your recommendations to email@example.com, and read the List to see what other fans have recommended.
Nominations for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, in the same eleven categories, will open on 14 January 2016 (the first day of Further Confusion 2016) and will be accepted until 28 February. Don’t miss this opportunity to nominate the titles that you felt have been the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips and books, websites, games, etc. of 2015 for the Awards. And don’t forget to vote when the polls open on 15 March.
Writer C.R. Grey has created a new fantasy series for young readers that’s described as “Drawing on the traditions of Harry Potter and His Dark Materials… a fantastical boarding-school adventure with steampunk sensibilities and political intrigue…” The first book in the Animas series, Legacy of the Claw, goes like this: In a world where everyone eventually hooks up with a non-human animal, known as a “kin”, in a spiritual connection known as an “animus bond”, 12-year old Bailey Walker fears that he will become an outcast if he doesn’t find his own kin soon. But darker forces are at work in his world… forces that seek to enslave all the kin and destroy the power of animus forever. This new series is available now from Disney-Hyperion. Check it out over and Barnes & Noble.
In 2012 John Claude Bemis (author of the Americana-Fantasy series The Clockwork Dark) brought us a new post-apocalypse novel for young readers called The Prince Who Fell From The Sky. “In Casseomae’s world, the wolves rule the Forest, and the Forest is everywhere. The animals tell stories of the Skinless Ones, whose cities and roads once covered the earth, but the Skinless disappeared long ago. Casseomae is content to live alone, apart from the other bears in her tribe, until one of the ancients’ sky vehicles crashes to the ground, and from it emerges a Skinless One, a child. Rather than turn him over to the wolves, Casseomae chooses to protect this human cub, to find someplace safe for him to live. But where among the animals will a human child be safe? And is Casseomae threatening the safety of the Forest and all its tribes by protecting him?” Published by Random House, check this out over at the author’s web site.
Here’s another one of those “how did we miss this?” young-adult fantasy book series. Tui T. Sutherland is part of the author collective that, under the name Erin Hunter, created the Seekers and Warriors series of cat-based fantasies. In 2012 though, she returned to her own name to bring us the Wings of Fire series, beginning with The Dragonet Prophecy (published by Scholastic, Inc.) “The seven dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting, with the help of a prophecy — a foretelling that calls for great sacrifice. Five dragonets are collected to fulfill the prophecy, raised in a hidden cave and enlisted, against their will, to end the terrible war.” As you can well imagine, things don’t turn out as planned when the five young dragons escape. Their adventures have thus far lead us through six books in the series, and at least two more books are being written even now. Check out the first book over at Barnes & Noble.
Recently a new young-readers’ book series premiered, courtesy of Jennifer Lynn Alvarez. Starfire is the first book in her new series The Guardian Herd, featuring a society of talking pegasi. “Once every hundred years, a black foal is born, prophesied to either unite or destroy the five herds of flying horses that live in Anok—fated to become the most powerful pegasus in all of the land. Star is this black foal. Even though Star has malformed wings that make him unable to fly, the leaders of each herd will take no risks and want to execute Star before his first birthday. With the help of his friends, Star must escape the clutches of the powerful leaders, and his epic journey of self-discovery turns into a battle between good and evil that will keep readers eagerly turning the pages.” They’ll have more pages to turn this coming April when Stormbound (the second book in the series) hits the shelves. Check out the official page from Harper Collins Publishers to find out more.
The cover bears the line, The Fire Bearers: Book One, letting you know it ends on a cliffhanger. It is, in fact, the first volume of a trilogy.
In the prehistoric past, when men shared the world with anthropomorphized animal-gods, there were two very different brothers in a tribe. Clay, the older brother, respects and worships the old gods who control all men’s lives, while irreverent Laughing Dog mocks the unseen gods, and swears that he controls his own destiny. The brothers love each other, in their own ways, but their differences lead both to disaster.
Doto crouched in the forest, his clawed fingers pressing down beneath the grasses and bed of fallen leaves to touch the earth below. He went out, out, into the soil, into the trunks of the trees, the branches and leaves, the grasses and ferns. He felt the air swaying branches, the sunlight on the leaves. He felt the rodents skittering across the forest floor. […] He leapt from branch to branch and winged over the canopy. He spread himself out, farther and farther. Through the keen eyes of the birds and the considering gaze of a monkey clinging to a branch above, he could see himself, crouched on the ground far below, so still that he was nearly undetectable. […] All the surrounding life lived through him. But all was not right. There was an uneasiness in the forest, somewhere around the edges. Could great Atekye have risen herself up in the south of the forest, swelling her swamps to flood the forest floor once again? (p. 1)
Boom! Studios, which have had several Planet of the Apes tie-in titles over the years, now turn their sights toward this summer’s hit movie — with a new full-color comic book miniseries titled, appropriately enough, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. “Bridging the 10-year gap between the Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes films, fans will bear witness to the fall of humanity and the rise of Caesar’s civilization. While the apes of the world have yet to advance as a species, Caesar must find a way to unify in them to one cause. On the other side of the country, Malcolm must venture into the decaying Americas with his family to find a cure for the plague slowly killing his wife, Rita. World powers will shift as civilizations collapse and rise.” Written by Michael Moreci (Curse, Hoax Hunters) and illustrated by Dan McDaid (Mind the Gap), issue #1 of the the new Dawn is available now.
Another notable-for-furry-fans young adult fantasy adventure series from author Kevin Gerard: Conor and the Crossworlds. “A Boy, a Mystical Creature, and the Journey of a Lifetime . . . Conor: An innocent ten year-old boy, not unlike other boys anywhere . . . Purugama: Immense, powerful, magical, a towering champion of the crossworlds . . . A young boy subconsciously calls forth the power of the crossworlds creators. They send the mystical beast, Purugama, to accompany him on a fantastic journey. After revealing a number of possible futures to his young companion, Purugama prepares to return him to his home. His plans are interrupted when Drazian, Purugama’s mortal enemy, faces the immense cougar in a ferocious battle. The prize? Conor’s life, or death, depending on the ultimate outcome . . .” As with his other series Diego’s Dragon, the author has created a Conor home page that features video previews and lots of other bits of information. The series is published by Author House.
More new dragon fantasy books: Spirits of the Sun, Book One in the new Diego’s Dragon series by Kevin Gerard (published by Crying Cougar Press). “An eleven-year-old Latino boy wins a district-wide writing contest for sixth graders. When an author visits his school to award his prize, Diego Ramirez has no idea how much his life is about to change. Nathan Sullivan hands Diego his statue, a handsome, glistening black dragon. After hearing the name Magnifico spoken aloud by family and friends, Diego awards it to his new dragon. If he only knew how fitting the name was, he might have known what lay ahead: Magnifico is the leader of the Sol Dragones, dragons that live within the magical fires of the sun. Nathan Sullivan is the earth’s connection to the mysterious creatures. It is his task to find Magnifico’s guide. As Magnifico comes to life he becomes quite mischievous, playing tricks on Diego to embarrass him. As he discovers his bloodline, however, Diego assumes greater control over his dragon and his destiny.” There’s a video on YouTube introducing you to the series, and more information over on the official web site.