With no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.
But Kayla is not all that she appears.
And when Lucky is visited by a demonic assassin with a message for her friend, she finds herself dragged into the Underlands – and the political fight for the daemon king’s throne.
Lucky, trapped in the daemon world, is determined to find her way home… until she finds herself caught between the charms of the Guardian Jamie, the charismatic Daemon of Death Jinx – and the lure of finding out who she really is.
I love hidden worlds parallel to our own, as witnessed by my love for Emma Newman’s The Split Worlds and Lou Morgan’s Blood and Feathers books. So when I read the synopsis for Sue Tingey’s debut Marked when Jo Fletcher Books announced their acquisition of the story, my interest was immediately piqued. I was very lucky to have the chance to get an extra early look at Marked and I’m really glad for the chance, because Marked is a wonderful story. Continue reading
By 24 February, 2015
Posted in fantasy, review
Enter an enchanted land of mythical creatures where manticores reign and ogres roar—a land of mystery and fright. A unique twist on traditional rhymes of everyone’s youth, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes presents a more sinister approach to these childhood classics, and yet the sing-song nature of the poems renders them playful and jovial at the same time. […]If you enjoy mischief and have a penchant for the morbidly hilarious, the Herzs’ rhymes will satisfy your mythological curiosities.
Larson’s illustrations give new life to these ancient figures, and her artistic style employs the bold lines and colorful movement of an action-packed comic book. The author also includes a “bestiary” with information about the book’s legendary creatures, which hail from Scotland, Germany, Italy, Persia, Haiti, and Scandinavia.
This is a first on A Fantastical Librarian: a picture book review. Henry Herz’s Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes contains fourteen rhymes all playing off well-known nursery rhymes. Since we’ve been reading lots of picture books with the girls, I thought this one would be fun to review as it is not just a children’s picture book but also heavily indebted to D&D’s monster manual for its monsters. This means that all geeky parents who at one time or another have slung the dice, be they tangible or virtual, will be entertained by Herz’s reimagined children’s ditties. Continue reading
By 6 February, 2015
Posted in children's books, fantasy, review
When the present offers no hope for the future, the answers may lie in the past
AJ Flynn has just failed all but one of his GCSEs, and his future is looking far from rosy. So when he is offered a junior position at a London law firm he hopes his life is about to change — but he could never have imagined by how much.
Tidying up the archive one day, AJ finds an old key, mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth – and he becomes determined to find the door that fits the key. And so begins an amazing journey to a very real and tangible past – 1830, to be precise – where the streets of modern Clerkenwell are replaced with cobbles and carts, and the law can be twisted to suit a villain’s means. Although life in 1830 is cheap, AJ and his friends quickly find that their own lives have much more value. They’ve gone from sad youth statistics to young men with purpose – and at the heart of everything lies a crime that only they can solve. But with enemies all around, can they unravel the mysteries of the past, before it unravels them?
A fast-paced mystery novel by one of the country’s finest writers, THE DOOR THAT LED TO WHERE will delight, surprise and mesmerise all those who read it.
Before The Door That Led to Where, the only book I’d read by Sally Gardner was The Double Shadow. I completely fell in love with that book, which not only offered an intriguing story and wonderful characters, but also had me put my English Lit degree to good use. Thus I was pleased to receive a review copy of The Door That Led To Where, not least because it was a fantasy book set in my favourite of all places, London and it had time-travelling to boot. The idea of a secret door to a different time or place is an old one, who hasn’t wished they had a magic wardrobe at least once as a child or to be able to cross to Platform 9 3/4? In Gardner’s capable hands this premise led to a wonderful story that is not just about solving a murder, but about friendship, love, and the ties that bind. Continue reading
By 4 February, 2015
Posted in fantasy, mystery, review, YA
Strong heroines and riveting storytelling are the hallmarks of groundbreaking fantasy author Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars, Crossroads). Her long-awaited first collection showcases twenty years of her finest work. Captured here are many of Elliott’s previously out-of-print tales, four previously unpublished essays, and a brand new Crossroads story, “On the Dying Winds of the Old Year and the Birthing Winds of the New.”
Elliott’s bold adventuresses, complex quests, noble sacrifices, and hard-won victories shine in classic, compact legends. In “The Memory of Peace,” a girl’s powerful emotions rouse the magic of a city devastated by war. Meeting in “The Queen’s Garden,” two princesses unite to protect their kingdom from the blind ambition of their corrupted father. While “Riding the Shore of the River of Death” a chieftain’s daughter finds an unlikely ally on her path to self-determination.
Elliott’s many readers, as well as fantasy fans in search of powerful stories featuring well-drawn female characters, will revel in this unique gathering of truly memorable tales.
Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars series remains one of my favourite series ever. It’s got all the drama and sweepingness you might hope for in an epic fantasy setting, but with more than your average, garden-variety western medieval setting and world-building. It took me a while to start the series – I think Elliott was up to book four at the time – but once I did I couldn’t wait for the next instalment to come out. I’d always wanted to read more by Elliott, but somehow never got around to it. Going into her backlist seemed risky, because availability in the Netherlands was always a gamble – mind you, this was before I started ordering books of the internet – and with her latest completed series there were all the review copies that meant I never got around to buying them. All of this is a rather lengthy way of explaining why there was much rejoicing at Casa Librarian when I was approved for a review copy on Netgalley for Elliott’s short fiction collect The Very Best of Kate Elliott. Continue reading
By 3 February, 2015
Posted in fantasy, review, science fiction
Deep in the heart of history’s most infamous concentration camp, a man lies dreaming. His name is Shomer, and before the war he was a pulp fiction author. Now, to escape the brutal reality of life in Auschwitz, Shomer spends his nights imagining another world – a world where a disgraced former dictator known only as Wolf ekes out a miserable existence as a low-rent PI in London’s grimiest streets.
An extraordinary story of revenge and redemption, A Man Lies Dreaming is an unforgettable testament to the power of imagination.
After 2013’s wonderful The Violent Century, which I loved, I couldn’t wait to read Lavie Tidhar’s 2014 release A Man Lies Dreaming. Luckily I was in London the week after it was released, so I got to pick up a copy soon after release. And I’m glad I sprung for the hardback version as it’s a beautiful book, physically speaking. The cover is deceptively simple yet very powerful and evocative and is not a dust cover, but has laminated boards, in other words it’s printed directly on the boards. The novel contained within the covers is perhaps not so much beautiful as it is compelling. A Man Lies Dreaming isn’t an easy book to read, at least not for me, but it was absolutely engrossing. Continue reading
By 31 January, 2015
Posted in fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, review
Next month will see the publication of The Iron Ghost, the follow up to The Copper Promise. Written by Jen Williams, The Copper Promise was oodles of sword and sorcery fun, which I just loved. I’m really looking forward to tucking into this second offering featuring, Wydrin, Sebastian and Frith, but I’m making myself wait until closer to publication. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy this interview with Jen and if its piqued your interest and you haven’t read The Copper Promise yet, go catch up before February 26, when Headline will be publishing The Iron Ghost! Continue reading
By 28 January, 2015
Posted in fantasy, interview
War is coming, secrets multiply and betrayal waits in the wings…
The Annurian Empire’s ruling family must be vigilant, as the conspiracy against them deepens. Having discovered her father’s assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies. But few trust her, until she seems marked by the people’s goddess in an ordeal of flame.
As Adare struggles to unite Annur, unrest breeds rival armies – then barbarian hordes threaten to invade. And unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn has fallen in with forces mustering at the empire’s borders. The terrible choices they face could make war between them inevitable.
Fighting his own battles is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with two strange companions. While imperial forces prepare to defend a far-distant front, Kaden’s actions could save the empire, or destroy it.
Last year Brian Staveley’s The Emperor’s Blades was one of the big debut titles of the year. I enjoyed it a lot. I found it a return to traditional epic fantasy, less of the grimdark, but updated to today. It was also a return to a traditional length, and Staveley’s second book is even bigger. Seriously, this hardback will kill a chihuahua when accidentally dropped on them from a height. With The Providence of Fire Staveley has gone bigger and better in all aspects.The book is just a fantastic follow up to a solid debut and I had a fantastic time with it. Continue reading
By 27 January, 2015
Posted in fantasy, review