The Bi-Annual Book Exchange - or BaBE, if you're in a hurry - is a collab between Jeremy from Inklingstime and myself, where we give each other one of our own books to read. Why, you might ask? Well, whenever we get together, the conversation tends to drift towards books in one way or another and we always recommend each other some books. Because our taste in books isn't that similar, those recommendations get met with an 'yes, sometime' response, sometime being somewhere between not now and never.
However, with both of us part of the blogosphere, we quickly came up with the Bi-Annual Book Exchange. Every six months, I get a book from Jeremy in whichever genre that may be, and I present him a fantasy novel I thoroughly enjoyed and/or find it to be a must-read. After reading it in timely fashion, we review the book and both reviews will appear on both blogs, albeit in a different format.
Everytime we exchange a book, I'll put up a post like this, where I have a little chat about them, and afterwards the reviews will be posted separately and links to those will be added in this post as well for easy access. So without further due, let's have a look at the changelings.
Choosing a book for Jeremy wasn't easy pickings. Beforehand, I promised to not give him certain books for the first exchange. He isn't a big YA reader, so none of that. Also, his sceptical look whenever he caught me reading an Urban Fantasy book (*), let to the solemn pledge not to throw any UF at him this time 'round. However, I did promise to let him experience the joy a good Urban can bring, so he can expect some Kim Harrison or Kelley Armstrong some other time.
My main goal with this collab is to open the world of Fantasy to him, but I figured that graded exposure was the better approach rather than flooding/drowning. So any big, epic series with lots of magic flying around was also out of the question. With all that in mind, I quickly came up with Ben Galley's The Written. A novel which I enjoyed a lot and embodied pretty much everything I like about Fantasy without being too daunting. The series has been recently finished with the concluding two volumes Dead Stars, part 1 & 2, and with a total of four books, the length of the series isn't (too) overwhelming. The story as well, isn't too crowded. It's an epic fantasy novel, but the complexity isn't a George R.R. Martin kind of complex. Not too many characters to keep track of, not too many different species and an engaging story with some pleasantly unique additions and a nice magic system. I believe it to be a nice introduction to a bit of everything the genre has to offer and I hope he enjoys it.
My review is just a click away.
Inklingstime review to come.
Exchanging books means that I also got one, and I must say that I was a little afraid. He told me the feeling was mutual, but whenever I browse his shelves, there aren't that many books that I want to read right away. Sure, there are plenty which I do want to read, some time, but having one of those thrust upon me was something different altogether. Jeremy, however, has been nice and given me one of the books I actually wanted to read rather soonish than laterish. He's been really into Neil Gaiman lately, and because I haven't read any of his works, I got The Graveyard Book. Of all the Gaiman books we have together, there is only one book of his I wanted to read more than this one, and that is Good Omens, co-written by Terry Pratchett. Since Good Omens is a book of mine, he couldn't have picked a better book and I'm very much looking forward to reading it!
Inklingstime review here.
My review here.
(*) To be fair, some of those UF deserved that look, but they're damned pleasant reads!