Tor.com: I want to rave about Elizabeth Bear’s The Stone in the Skull. Actually, it feels like I need to rave about it: a glorious, dramatic, lush and striking fantasy set in the same continuity as the Eternal Sky trilogy (Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars, and The Steles of the Sky), with a brilliant cast of characters and an opening that involves an ice wyrm attacking a caravan on its way up a frozen river. It’s no exaggeration to say I was hooked from the first page.
Add that to Bear’s amazing worldbuilding, gloriously precise prose, and excellent pacing. And a wonderfully human, humane approach to relationships. The Stone in the Skull is not exactly warm and fuzzy fantasy, but it rejects grimness and spits in the eye of pragmatism as the major criterion of human relationships. It may not take place in a kind world, but its characters move through their world with compassion. It’s hopeful without being naive. And I really love it.