Stockholm Noir: A Review of The Rabbit Hunter, by Lars Kepler

Detective fiction is one of those genres most readers believe to be a modern invention, beginning with the Victorian publication of Sherlock Holmes.  And, while Mr. Holmes certainly deserves credit for taking the genre mainstream, it’s origins may be found in much older stories.  Chinese detective fiction may be traced back to the thirteenth century, while another detective story may be found in One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.  Solving a mystery, collecting the clues, and trying to guess the ending is an unending fascination.  Today, detective fiction is more popular than ever.  There is an innate desire to solve the mystery before anyone else in every reader on this planet.

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When the Rich Go to War: A Review of Ironclads, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Science-fiction is everywhere, and one of the most present variations is that of military science-fiction.  The audience can always tell when a story inhabits this genre.  If it is a book, it is told in first-person.  There will be several main characters, usually male of varying ethnicities, whose bond is like a brotherhood.  There will be one female character, initially looked at with distrust, but eventually accepted as an equal with the original group.  The genre is concerned with the role of the military.  It will ultimately decide that force is not the right way forward, but force is required on occasion.  The best of these stories will take all of what makes it military science-fiction and transcend them in some way.  Most stories will not accomplish this.  Most stories will be perfectly content to use the same, time-tested formula and craft and experience that is primarily fun to read.

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More Than a Fairy Tale: A Review of Season of Storms, by Andrzej Sapkowski

Once upon a time, the stories we told were different.  Meant to frighten children and teach important life lessons, these stories took on the shape of fairy tales.  Stories warning us away from the monsters in the woods or training us to be wary of strangers riding into town with ill intent.  These stories flourished in the darker reaches of Europe, where civilization was small and the lands were relatively lawless.  But then, something happened.  Time progressed, civilization grew.  Suddenly, the forests were not quite so dark.  The wolves were tamed and caged.  The strangers could be identified with a picture or a fingerprint.  Fairy tales faded and became sanitized, even if their essence remains relevant to this day.

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A note about The Witcher series and my next review

The Witcher world, created by Andrzej Sapkowski, spans two collections of short stories, a five novel series, and a trilogy of video games.  To even the most avid reader and gamer, this is a lot of story to consume.  The series follows Geralt of Rivia.  Geralt is a witcher, a type of human mutant, enhanced through magic and medicine to fight the monsters that plague the continent on which the tales take place.  He is friends with a world-renowned poet and bar, the lover of a powerful sorceress, and adopted father of a princess without a kingdom.

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