Review: Shattered Shields

Shattered Shields is an anthology of military fantasy edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Jennifer Brozek. Included are seventeen new stories from such well-known authors as Glen Cook, Elizabeth Moon and David Farland. Some are set in established worlds, others in new universes. It’s a wide selection of tales dark, light, serious and humorous. Swords and sorcery, hack and slash. About half-way through the anthology, I did have to put it aside for a couple of days. I found it hard to consider each new story with a fresh perspective but I did actually read every single one of them, which is unusual for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever completed an anthology read without skipping at least one story.

The title of the anthology is taken from the first story, “Ashes And Starlight” by David Farland. Set in the Runelords universe, this story is easy to fall into. A prisoner of the Knights of Mystarria proves himself to his captors by saving the king’s daughter twice and uncovering a secret that may save the kingdom as well. In return, the king grants his daughter’s request. The captive will be trained as a guard but she is warned to keep her distance, for

“He is a soldier, a shield. In times like those that are to come, such shields will be easily shattered.”

Continue reading “Review: Shattered Shields”

Make Room! Make Room!

I just pulled two books out of the trash. Sadly, it is not the first time I have done so. What marks this occasion out from all the others is that I retrieved these two novels from my own trash. Yes, I actually threw books away. Or tried to.

There is coincidence involved. A friend on GoodReads recently read and reviewed The Black Company by Glen Cook. I have it on my to be read shelf. It’s been there for about ten years, along with Shadows Linger (The second Chronicle of the Black Company) and The White Rose (The Third Chronicle of the Black Company). I have tried to give these books away through Paperback Swap. (If you don’t know about PBS, visit and start swapping) But they are so old and cruddy, I had to take them off the list. People don’t want books with creased spines, ripped covers and yellowed pages. Neither do I, really, unless I’ve read them and loved them and couldn’t possibly part with them. So, why don’t I want to keep these?

Imagine me sighing. I have so many books. I know I’m not going to read all I want to read before I die and I have finally recognised the fact that I am not going to read everything stacked on the bookcase in my bedroom–where I keep those books I would like to read. I don’t want to be rescued from beneath a mountain of books, or feature on a tawdry reality show. I have accepted the fact I have a habit and that it needs to be broken. I need to part with some of my cherished…I will not call them children. Books, they are just books.

About six months ago, I took pity on the small, sagging bookcase there and thinned the herd. I packed a box of books and listed them on PBS. I donated the hardcovers to the library. Then, about a month ago, I bought a new, sturdier bookcase that looked like it would hold more books. I had a plan, you see. A cunning plan. If the new shelves held more and/or looked less crowded, I could get more books.

Continue reading “Make Room! Make Room!”