A half-goblin, the youngest son of the emperor has lived his entire life in exile, far from the Imperial Court and the intrigue that surrounds it. But then his father and three half brothers – who are the heirs to the throne ahead of him – die together in an airship crash. Maia is summoned to take his father’s throne.
For Maia, life in the capital is a bewildering and exhausting daily test of his mettle. And before long he discovers his father and half brothers’ deaths were no accident. The airship was tampered with. The crash was murder.
With no friends, no advisers, and no schooling in the art of court politics, the only thing Maia knows for certain is that whoever was behind the assassinations must still be plotting an attempt on his life.
After seeing most of my friends, and much of the SFF blogosphere, geek out over Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, I knew I needed to read it at some point. A few weeks ago I finally got the final push to actually read it (Thank you, Justin) and then the book was nominated for a Hugo, which clinched it: I was reading this book ASAP. And I’m glad I did, because The Goblin Emperor was brilliant and addictive. I just wanted to keep reading this book, even if I had to put down the book because life. I couldn’t wait to go back to Maia’s tale and find out what happened next. Continue reading
By 23 April, 2015
Posted in fantasy, review
The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape, carrying nothing but a kit-bag, a legendary sword and a baby. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the sword, the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.
Peter Newman’s debut novel The Vagrant was one of my most anticipated books for the first half of the year. Already familiar with his work on the Tea and Jeopardy podcast, I was looking forward to seeing what he would do with a longer fictional work. When the cover was released and I spotted that baby on it, along with the blurb, I was hooked, I had to read this book. After a bit of a cold start The Vagrant made for very compelling reading. Continue reading
By 22 April, 2015
Posted in fantasy, review
“It was the first day of spring. The Yelling Stones, snow-swaddled, loomed before the great hall that bore their name and waited for something to happen. It would not take long…”
Astrid Gormsdottir cannot wait for the snow to melt so that she can ride freely through field and forest. But on her first spring ride she is attacked by wolves, only to be saved by a newcomer, a boy named Leif. And as winter ends there are whispers of a terrifying beast, trolls being attacked and witches on the move.
Astrid and Leif must join forces to face an unknown danger that threatens their very way of life.
The tagline to Oskar Jensen’s The Yelling Stones is ‘A Viking tale of myth and magic.’ Of course, this is catnip to my inner nine-year-old—who am I kidding? This is catnip to thirty-five-year-old me! To add to the must-read-this-now factor of the book, The Yelling Stones has a heroine and a hero who doesn’t fit the traditional Viking mould. The story was every bit as fun and adventurous as its cover indicates, yet it isn’t as straight-forward an adventure romp as it would seem either; there is some true tragedy in the book and some quite serious themes. Continue reading
Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.
Ken Liu is mostly known for his prolific output as a short story writer. He’s also an author that rarely disappoints; I’ve liked, if not loved, all of his stories I’ve read. When Saga Press announced they’d snapped up his long-awaited novel it immediately went on my must-read list. The Grace of Kings is an epic Silk Road fantasy with added -punk elements; it combines traditional Chinese story elements with a Pacific Ocean islands locale and some clever technological inventions that feel organic to the setting. In other words, once again Liu didn’t disappoint. Continue reading
By 10 April, 2015
Posted in fantasy, review
This May sees the somewhat delayed publication of Susan Murray’s fantasy debut The Waterborne Blade. I’ve been looking forward to the book and I’m hoping to crack my ARC open sooner rather than later *gives teetering review pile a stern look* When I got to ask Susan for a guest post, I put the following question to her:
As Alwenna is called Queen, but her husband’s rank is left unspecified, I was wondering whether you could tell us a bit more about how Highkell’s court is structured and whether Alwenna is indeed a ruling queen in her own right.
Susan sent me the following as an answer. The Waterborne Blade is out from Angry Robot on 7 May world-wide. Do check it out! Continue reading
By 8 April, 2015
Posted in fantasy, guest post
In the past couple of years Kickstarter and its various competitors have turned into a great way to get interesting anthologies to market. There are lots of great projects out there and increasingly I’ll receive emails asking me to broadcast new campaigns to my readers here on the blog and elsewhere. I usually let those go, because it feels odd to promote projects I won’t personally be backing. But last week I backed the Defying Doomsday project, because it looked very interesting, it’s got a story by the awesome Corinne Duyvis, and the representation of disabled or chronically ill characters is dear to my heart. This meant that when I received an email about the project from its creators, I was stoked to share it here on the blog. What exactly is the Defying Doomsday project? Have a quote: Continue reading
By 6 April, 2015
Posted in article, fantasy, horror, science fiction
This is not a drill. This is not an April Fool’s joke, this is a full-out cover reveal for Bryony Pearce’s new novel Phoenix Rising. Having loved Bryony’s last book, The Weight of Souls, I was really looking forward to seeing what she wrote next so I was rather excited to receive an advanced review copy for the book along with my official #BansheeCrew tag bracelet. What is this #BansheeCrew thing about you ask? Have a blurb and see what you think.
By 1 April, 2015
Posted in article, fantasy, YA
Harrison Harrison—H2 to his mom—is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school.
On Harrison’s first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife-wielding killer, and the Deep Ones, fish-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources—and an unusual host of allies—to defeat the danger and find his mother.
Last year I read a great many rave reviews for Daryl Gregory’s Afterparty and We’re All Completely Fine. I’d also heard Jonathan Strahan mention Harrison Squared as one of his books to look forward to in the coming months, so my interested was already piqued when a review copy arrived. The story sounded really cool, even if I know almost nothing about Lovecraft’s work other than that it’s problematic (to put it mildly) and it features tentacly monsters of the Deep. And while I still don’t feel very motivated to go and read Lovecraft’s work, I enjoyed Gregory’s interpretation of it tremendously and I’ll certainly keep an eye out for his work in the future. What made Harrison Squared so great? Continue reading
By 27 March, 2015
Posted in fantasy, horror, review