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Books for Review should be sent to: Don D'Ammassa, 323 Dodge Street, East Providence, RI 02914

 LAST UPDATE  1/9/21

Hyperborea by Clark Ashton Smith, Ballantine, 1971 

This collects all of the author’s stories of Hyperborea, which are unrelated except for the common setting, and the four stories from the World’s Rim series. Some of his most famous and best work is included, like “The Testament of Athammous,” “Ubbo-Sathla,” and “The Abominations of Yondo.” The stories are filled with strange, inhuman gods and a variety of monsters that are of more mortal nature. There are wizards and soldiers and executioners and moneylenders as protagonists, all resident of a lost continent where dinosaurs, saber toothed tigers, and horrid crossbreeds all live. Most of the stories do not turn out well for their protagonists. Smith used an ornate poetic style and a depth of physical description that is no longer popular. 1/8/21

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey, Tor, 2019 

Mixing a detective story with fantasy is kind of tricky, since magic contradicts the rational world and mysteries are generally solved rationally. That hasn’t stopped people from doing it, and sometimes doing it well. This contemporary fantasy does it well. The private investigator is hired to investigate a gruesome murder at the school for magicians where her sister works as an instructor. Ivy isn’t all that fond of magic, and the crime is months old before she even learns about it, buy she’s game and competent and works her way through an intriguing and entertaining mystery in an interesting setting. I suppose this is technically an urban fantasy but that label has become meaningless. 1/2/21

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