Beautiful World of Books – The Middle Third of 2022

If you missed the first one of these, I laid out all the covers of the books that I read January through April. Why did I pick thirds instead of quarters you ask? Because I didn’t think of it until the beginning of May.

Anyway, not a whole lot of explanation needed for this. These are all the books I read May through August!

Beautiful World of Books – Wheel of Time Recap

Not too much to say about this. It’s just the bloody recap is all; the culmination of the 5-6 posts that have preceded it. I’ll have to work out what to do next, though with my current jobs taxing my energy a bit, I might also just let this segment lie until I find something else that captures my interest enough to resume it. Who knows? Who can say? Let’s just get into it.

But a few notes first:

  • I included a few covers I’d originally missed in specific posts, like the Memory of Light cover for the Tor 2nd’s, which is basically the same (the same picture with a different border) as the Tor 1st version.
  • I included the special split versions of the first two books (eye of the World and the Great Hunt) in the Tor 1st cover section as they bear the same art style. Likewise, I included the Wheel of Time Companion in the Orbit 1st’s, as the art style there is quite similar.
  • I added the final three books to the Orbit 2nd’s, because I felt like I might as well.

Um, anyway…

Eye of the World Anniversary Edition

Tor 1st Editions

Orbit 1st Editions

Tor 2nd Version

Tor 3rd Version

Orbit 2nd Version

And that’s all of them! Did your favorites change upon seeing them all together? I may have the Tor 1st’s in my personal collection, but after this I’d say I’m a convert to the Tor 2nd Versions! I mean, I still HATE the cover of Eye of the World—and vastly prefer the 1st or SE to it—but otherwise it’s pretty much unanimous from me. What do y’all think?

Wheel of Time: Light at the End – Beautiful World of Books

Well, here we are at the close. The end of all things. The Sanderson arc.

I actually quite liked these three entries, especially the last two books, when things started happening again. That said, I can actually understand not enjoying these final three (for you—you know who you are) for a variety of reasons. That being said, this segment ain’t about the plot but the covers! So let’s get this last part underway!

Tor Originals (Tom Dogherty Covers)

Orbit Covers

Tor 2nd Editions

I couldn’t find A Memory of Light cover for this printing, which was disappointing as I was really starting to enjoy them. I’ll give it another shot for the recap next week, but I’m just not sure it exists. Anybody know?

Prime Video Tie-in Editions (Tor 3rd)

And there we are! Which are your favorites? I actually really like the 2nd Tor covers—but of course there’s no final book. And the Tom Dogherty ones—except for the Gathering Storm one that just looks stupid. So I guess I’m going with the Prime Tie-ins. But there’s no clear winner for me.

Come back next week for all the collected covers together (and then after that I’ll actually have to come up with something new…)!

The Wheel of Time – The Fall of Jordan (Beautiful World of Books)

So, sorry for the break. I forgot about how much of an insane month May was release-wise, and just how many UK releases I had that were scheduled on Thursdays. Plus, I’ve been feeling particularly unenergetic (non-energetic?), so I didn’t try to squeeze them in even though I really could have.

In addition, I’ve reworked the schedule slightly, as “the Lore & World of” that I originally had scheduled 4th turned out to be only two books. Seriously, I swear that there were more, but if that’s true I couldn’t find them recently.

Therefore, I’m going to repeat Books 8 & 9 and combine the with 10 & 11—the last two that Jordan fully wrote before his untimely death. And I’m going to throw the covers for the “Lore & World of” in at the beginning.

LORE & WORLD COMPANION BOOKS

TOR ORIGINALS

ORBIT ORIGINALS

TOR 2ND VERSION

ORBIT 2ND EDITION

LITTLE BROWN/TOR 3RD VERSIONS

You know, as much as I’m nostalgic for the Tom Dogherty ones (the Tor 1st Editions), I’m starting to come around on the others. In fact, I’d say I probably like a pair of these better than the originals, which I always felt were a bit bland at this stage. Specifically, the Tor 2nd and 3rd’s probably take it, though to be honest the Orbit originals aren’t too bad (the Orbit 2nd’s continue to be bland, boring, and worse than the 1st’s). If I had to pick between the two… I’d be torn. I like the 3rd version of Crossroads better, but prefer the 2nd for Knife of to all others. I’ll can’t wait to see the complete sets here in a couple weeks to make my final call. What about you, which do you prefer?

And, in case you really had to ask, yeah, the World of’s cover is waaaaay better than the super generic Companion’s.

Beautiful World of Books – The First Third of 2022

We’ll get back to the Wheel of Time next week, but today I wanted to do something a wee bit different. See, I really enjoyed last year’s recap post where I laid out the covers of all the books I’d read in 2021, so I figured I’d do one each quarter of 2022!

Except, well, I kinda missed the whole quarter thing, so maybe I’ll do thirds instead. Anyway, these are all the books I’ve read this year. Enjoy!

Shadowdance – the Beautiful World of Books

With the release of The Bladed Faith coming next week, I thought it might be nice to take a look back at some of David Dalglish’s previous series to see just how far we’ve come. Now, as the author has written and published waaay more than just a handful of books, we have quite a few options for this. The the most recent Keepers trilogy, preceded by the Seraphim one. Then there are the shared universe ones. In chronological order: the Breaking World trilogy; then the Shadowdance hexalogy (that’s 6—not including the Cloak and Spider prequel), whose own timeline overlaps the Paladins’ tetralogy (that’s 4); and at last the Half-Orcs heptalogy or septology (which is 7). That’s… a lot of books.

Now, it’s fair to say that Dalglish is one of my favorite authors, but even I haven’t read all his stuff. And while I’ve read and reviewed at least some of his stuff on here, I’m willing to bet that many of you are only kinda aware that he exists. And likely weren’t aware that he’d published nearly 30 books.

To be fair, a lot of these were self-pubbed, and haven’t been repubbed by any major outlets. But they still carry the same quality as most of the rest of his works—although the early ones are a bit rough around the edges.

Anyway, while I’ll try to work through these series fully, for now let’s focus on my original favorite, my first introduction to Dalglish—the Shadowdance series.

This was a tricky one, as only four of the books were self-published before being picked up fully by Orbit, so there are four self-pubbed entries—plus the Cloak and Spider novella. Also, two of them have different names. Though actually, it’s more than just that. Books #3 & 4—A Dance of Mirrors and A Dance of Shadows—were originally published as A Dance of Death and Blood of the Underworld, books where Dalglish changed the titles on because he did significant restructuring and rewriting so that the stories don’t really match up anymore. They’re actually quite different than the others, if I remember correctly, though it’s been a while since I read them. You used to be able to find the two self-published versions on Dalglish’s website for free—if you were curious—though I’m not sure if that’s still a thing.

Self-Published Shadowdance

Orbit Shadowdance

So, which do you like better: the classic fantasy vibe that the self-published ones have, or the more uniform, if stylized decoration upon the Orbit ones?

Rockton by Kelley Armstrong – The Beautiful World of Books

You’d be forgiven for not realizing it, but Kelley Armstrong’s Rockton series came to a close in February of this year with the release of the Deepest of Secrets. February was jam-packed with releases, so I almost missed it myself. In fact, it wasn’t until Mogsy’s review of it that I found out it was the final book.

Though I guess it makes sense. Just how many murders can one stage in the remote Yukon wilderness, where the population of moose almost surely exceeds that of humans? Now I haven’t read the latest book yet (or #6, for that matter), but does that mean that we can’t take a look back on the seven covers that have led us to this point?

Well, I’m doing it anyway.

Now I’m going to post two separate sets of seven. The first are those covers from Minotaur Books. The others… are… kind of a collected set from other publishers in English. I don’t know why, but there were some that I couldn’t find covers for from one certain publisher that I’d never heard of. So… yeah, two sets of seven.

Rockton (Set #1)

Rockton (Minotaur Books)

So, which do you like better? The Minotaur ones or the… others? Personally, I’d pick most of the others, but not absolutely all of them.

Well… maybe all of them.

By the way, just in case you were curious, check out my reviews for the first 3 books in the series below! I uh kinda skipped #4, Watcher in the Woods (as in I DNFed it), but my review of Alone in the Wild should be out sometime soon—maybe by the end of March.

• Review of City of the Lost

• Review of A Darkness Absolute

• Review of This Fallen Prey

Until next time!

The Tchaikovsky Novella – Beautiful World of Books

I seems like every year I’m reading one or two Tchaikovsky novellas a year, thinking “Wow, I should really read more of his stuff”—only to read more of his full-length novels and thinking “Wow, why do I like this guy again?” Now, I’ve heard that it’s mostly his recent stuff that’s the problem. That it’s too dry and political. And dry. And boring. Now I’ve also heard that Shards of Earth is different; a return to his older work, his better stuff.

Still, Adrian Tchaikovsky has been pumping out one or two good novellas a year, which is quite impressive considering he’s also writing full-length stuff. For the last four years I’ve read one per—all of which have been excellent—a trend that has extended through this year. So here’s the art of the Tchaikovsky Novella:

And there they are: all the Tchaikovsky novellas from recent years! Do you have more to mention that I failed to include? I probably missed some, the way the guy keeps churning them out. Personally, I’ve read 5 of these 9 so far (the final five, while I haven’t read the first four: Ironclads, Elder Race and either Expert System ones). How many have you read? Or even heard of? And if you’ve never heard of Ogres before now, don’t worry—Tchaikovsky’s latest novella comes out the 15th of March, 2022. And it is as excellent as his recent work, I assure you;)

Beautiful World of Books – Traitor Son Cycle

This week’s beautiful covers come courtesy of Miles Cameron, for his gritty, high fantasy epic series, The Traitor Son Cycle. These five books are highly intensive (sometimes too much so) and amazingly detailed, with unrivaled weapons and equipment expertise coming out of the Dark Ages. There is a bit of a mid-series lull, but it both opens and closes very strongly. The covers are also quite lovely, though while the US (Orbit) ones tend to focus on the title character Red Knight himself, the UK (Gollancz) instead include some mythical beast for him to fight. Well, you’ll see.

Orbit Books

These are strong and gritty knightly poses. As the quote on the cover of the first book states: Forget George and the Dragon. Forget fancy knights and daring deeds. Slaying dragons is a BLOODY business. These covers are very much like that. There’s a very dose of black around the edges, and shadows galore. There’s a knight in full armor, a sword stained red. It’s almost like the artist knew that their work would adorn a grimdark series. While I do like the Gollancz covers better for their inclusion of a beast or two, I do vastly prefer the font on these covers!

Gollancz

These… well, I like these a lot better. Yes, I actually prefer the use of black and shadow in the US covers that help convey the gritty tone of the texts, but it’s hard for me to argue with the UK’s rendition of mythical beasts. Especially A Plague of Swords—because who doesn’t just love a kraken?

Well, that’s this week’s pick for beautiful covers! Next week I’ll once again be featuring the work of Miles Cameron in his second fantasy series, Masters & Mages, so get hyped for that! If you’re familiar with them—great! Because I haven’t actually read those. These, I loved—mostly. But they’re a bit dense and take a while to get through. And they can get a bit dry when the author descends into one of his military equipment or court etiquette spiels. I’d still definitely recommend the Traitor Son Cycle, especially for lovers of high fantasy and grimdark alike, just be forewarned that it can be a bit… heavy, at times. Hope you liked these covers! But which set did you prefer? And have you read these books, or want to read them?

The Long War – Beautiful World of Books

I’ve read A.J. Smith only twice before—having stalled in the middle of not one, but two of his series’ sequels. The trilogy he’s currently writing is the Form & Void trilogy, but the one that started it all was the Long War tetralogy, a series of epic, dark fantasy novels Smith wrote; set in a world he created over several years of tabletop gaming. While I’ve been having issues getting into the books themselves, the world is very finely crafted and vividly imagined. And while I continue to hear good things about the series, I’m not sure this is a story I’ll ever experience to fruition.

But I can show off the covers.

The Long War

To be honest, while I find the cover of the Black Guard somewhat interesting, the next two—the Dark Blood (#2) and the Red Prince (#3) (not to mention the Tales omnibus)—are rather boring. Weapons, by themselves, are a bit overplayed in fantasy books, and maybe as a result somewhat pedantic. That said, I quite like the axe adorning the cover of the World Raven. It’s probably my favorite of the four.

Form & Void

These all stick to the same basic sea-theme, but since they’re waaay less generic than the Long War covers. And I kinda like how well they go together.

I’m still planning on continuing the Form & Void trilogy (I need to restart #2, The Sword Falls sometime soon), but I might not ever come back to the Long War. I know Drew would be somewhat disappointed in this decision as I seem to remember him really liking this series, but has anyone else read it? And what do you think? Also, what’d you think of the covers—favorites?