The Completist: The NIGHT ANGEL TRILOGY by Brent Weeks

When Brent Weeks’s first novel, The Way of Shadows, was unleashed the publisher and author of course had high hopes for his career as an author and the first book in The Night Angel Trilogy.  In a very smart move (modeling the approach Del Rey books used to amazing success on Naomi Novik’s Temeraire novels), the publisher opted to release the three books in three months, creating immediate shelf presence and eventually landing Brent Weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.  While Orbit had a presence in the US for a since 2007 these books publishing in late 2008 and early 2009 helped to further establish the imprint as one of the premiere English language science fiction and fantasy imprints.

On to the story within the pages of the books…

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Those are the Rules – Magic Systems Showdown!

Once upon a time, in fantasy stories far far away, magic was a mysterious force that affected the characters and world in mostly unknown ways. If a character ever wondered how something impossible happened…magic. How’d we blip across an entire continent in mere moments? Magic portal. How does this steel sword burst into flames without melting? Magic weapon. How’d my head suddenly transpose with my buttocks? Transmorgrifying magic spell. (Or a particularly severe wedgie at the hands of a barbarian warlord.)

Nowadays, many fantasy novels have turned magic into, well, a form of science–in some ways creating a whole new form of physics or imagining alternate worlds where the laws of thermodynamics not only apply to entropy but also to the mass transference of shapeshifting dragons.

Let’s explore the properties of several fantasy novels that get downright textbook with magic systems and see which one is worth studying up on.

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SF Tidbits for 7/22/09

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