Book Review 137: Lord Valentine’s Castle by Robert Silverberg

With the most popular fantasy series discussed, I have always heard about  The Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire, Wheel of Time series and so on. However, I have never heard the Majipoor Cycle by Robert Silverberg being discussed. The Majipoor Cycle is Silverberg’s most commercially successful works in his long and storied career.  I have always found interesting on which books or book series gets discussed and revisited over the years and which does not.

I have read several Robert Silverberg novels over the past couple years, mostly from his most prolific period of 1967-1976. However, it was recommended I needed to read the Majipoor Cycle to get the full range of this science fiction grandmaster’s career.

Lord Valentine’s Castle is the first book in the Majipoor Cycle.  It tells the story of Prince Valentine and his travels through planet Majipoor. He meets a juggling troupe along the way and becomes a member.  However, Prince Valentine has these intense dreams about his past.  A past that reveals him as a member of the royal family of Majipoor and his place as its king.  Are those dreams real? If so, why did he end up in a position as a wanderer and member of this juggling troupe?

Silverberg tells a simple hero quest on the surface.  But he adds depth to the story with commentary about the power of dreams, telekinesis, and the search for one’s identity.  Moreover, Silverberg’s world-building was the some of the best I have ever read in imaginative fiction.  I was engrossed by Valentine’s travels of Majipoor, a world of both spirituality and science. Silverberg does not short change either side of that divide in Lord Valentine’s Castle.

I recommend Lord Valentine’s Castle for fantasy fans looking for a new series (actually a modern classic series) to read and readers who want to get lost in a world for a few days of reading.  I look forward to reading the remaining two books of the original trilogy: Majipoor Chronicles and Valentine Pontifex.

Book Review 136: The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller

I never thought I would like reading a book about witches. Well, that’s the power of reading.  You can end up liking something unexpected. The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller is the story of Aven Dovenelle. Finally in her thirteenth life, she has found stability and happiness in the now witchcraft-friendly Salem, Massachusetts, where she… Continue Reading

Book Review 135: The Man in The Maze by Robert Silverberg

“Science Fiction, more than any other form of literature, is a progress, and it comes with a sell-by date. Some old SF can become unreadable. Some reputations erode with time. What we respond to, once the sell-by date is past, is art and, perhaps, is also truth.” (Neil Gaiman) The introduction by Neil Gaiman from… Continue Reading

Book Review 133: Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

“The marketer is not in control, the consumer is. And the consumer is selfish. Consumers care very little about you, your company, your products, your career, or your family. They’re not likely to spend time trying to discover how you can help them solve their problems. The heart of Permission Marketing is giving the stranger… Continue Reading

Book Review 132: The Land Across by Gene Wolfe

One of the greatest living American authors just had their eighty-seven birthday earlier this month.  Is it Philip Roth? Cormac McCarthy? Richard Ford? John Irving? Toni Morrison?  None of them.  It is Gene Wolfe. Wolfe has never gotten the mainstream literary success or lauded like those aforementioned authors. However, he is revered and celebrated in… Continue Reading

How to Get Away This Summer without Leaving Home

    Greetings from Kammbia! Welcome to a world you’ll want to escape to again and again! But first, I’d like to ignite your imagination with a whirlwind tour of all things Kammbian. Look for these things as you read—and absorb more about this fantastic world.   The Lay of the Land The map of… Continue Reading

Book Review 130: Warrior by K.M. Tremills

Last year, I read the first book in a series of an introspective and thoughtful fantasy novel by an author I had made an online acquaintance through a Facebook writers group.  That first novel, Messenger, got my attention through its absorbing prose and a protagonist, Gabriella determined to stop the evil Great Prince from conquering… Continue Reading

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