books: how I spot good fantasy/SF

I don't have a lot of time to read these days, I see a metric asston of books every day, and the time is long past when my perceptions were acute enough to determine quality at a glance. Neither is the tried and true 'start reading' necessarily foolproof, as I've run across a number of books in recent years that started out okay and swiftly fell apart.

So now, I open to a random page somewhere in the middle-ish area , select a paragraph and read.

If I can get through it without scoffing, rolling my eyes and/or throwing up a little in my mouth, it's probably an okay book.

Which brings me to The Fifth Sorceress by Roberty Newcomb. The cover looked appealingly classic High Fantasy, the blurb sounded okay (although comparisons to Terry Goodkind's excrescent Sword of Truth series rang an alarm bell) so I plopped it open and read.

Page 334:

But such a throw would be impossible even for Kluge, many of the warriors thought.


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