Review Amnesty: Amazeballs Fantasy Edition

reviewamnestyAnother Monday, another Review Amnesty post. This time I decided to focus on three fantasy novels I read this summer. They are all three of them fantastic, two of them are books first published in 2015, while the first I’ll review is a 2016 debut novel. They are also all super different from each other and reminded me while writing their reviews how incredibly varied and versatile the fantasy genre is, which is one of the things I love about it.  Read More …

Gerrard Cowan – The Machinery

gerrardcowan-themachineryFor ten millennia, the leaders of the Overland have been Selected by the Machinery, an omnipotent machine gifted to their world in darker days.

The city has thrived in arts, science and war, crushing all enemies and expanding to encompass the entire Plateau.

But the Overland is not at ease, for the Machinery came with the Prophecy: it will break in the 10,000th year, Selecting just one leader who will bring Ruin to the world. And with the death of Strategist Kane, a Selection is set to occur…

For Apprentice Watcher Katrina Paprissi, the date has special significance. Life hasn’t been the same since she witnessed the kidnapping of her brother Alexander, the only person on the Plateau who knew the meaning of the Prophecy.

When the opportunity arises to find her brother, Katrina must travel into the depths of the Underland, the home of the Machinery, to confront the Operator himself and discover just what makes the world work…

Gerrard Cowan’s The Machinery is an interesting debut novel. It is also one that took me longer than usual to read. When I first started this last year I had just hit my reading slump, which meant that I got stuck at about page 42 and didn’t pick it back up until somewhere this summer. And even on my second try it took me a bit to get really grabbed by the narrative. However, I liked the writing immediately; Cowan writes in an easy manner which has you reading on without noticing the passage of pages. It’s worth noting that the title and cover of the book were somewhat misleading as they come off as SF, but The Machinery very definitely isn’t that, it is far more high fantasy—up to and including a prophecy narrative.  Read More …

Review Amnesty – Hugo Novella Edition

reviewamnestyWelcome to another Review Amnesty. This time with some of the novella nominees for this year’s Hugo’s. I’ve already reviewed Daniel Polansky’s The Builders and the winner Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti, but here are the remaining three. I’ve developed a fondness for the novella format, because I’ve found it is a great way to get acquainted with an author’s writing without feeling as if you’re committing yourself to a huge time investment. Especially if you’re dealing with a very established author such as Lois McMaster Bujold, who have written a gazillion books and it is hard to know where to start. Conversely, it’ll leave you wanting to read even more books if you like an author. *looks mournfully at to-be-read shelves* All of these novellas were part of the Hugo Voter Packet 2016.  Read More …

Author Query – Jamison Stone

stone-runeoftheapprentice-6x9-cv-ft_hiresJamison Stone’s Rune of the Apprentice sounds like a book I’d very much enjoy  — and I one day plan to — but since I’m already terribly behind on my reading, I asked Jamison whether he’d be willing to answer some questions about the book and his writing. Luckily, he said yes, so here we are. Hopefully you’ll enjoy his answers as much as I did and check out Rune of the Apprentice!

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Jamison Stone? 

Hello everyone! I was born in Massachusetts and raised throughout New England on a healthy diet of magic, martial arts, and meditation. I live with my loving wife and wolf, but expect to have our pack grow soon. When I am not getting distracted by video games, I am the director of Apotheosis Studios. Rune of the Apprentice is my first novel, however, there are more on the way.  Read More …

Barbara Barnett – The Apothecary’s Curse

barabrabarnett-theapothecaryscurseIn Victorian London, the fates of physician Simon Bell and apothecary Gaelan Erceldoune entwine when Simon gives his wife an elixir created by Gaelan from an ancient manuscript. Meant to cure her cancer, it kills her. Suicidal, Simon swallows the remainder—only to find he cannot die.

Five years later, hearing rumors of a Bedlam inmate with regenerative powers like his own, Simon is shocked to discover it’s Gaelan. The two men conceal their immortality, but the only hope of reversing their condition rests with Gaelan’s missing manuscript.

When modern-day pharmaceutical company Transdiff Genomics unearths diaries describing the torture of Bedlam inmates, the company’s scientists suspect a link between Gaelan and an unnamed inmate. Gaelan and Genomics geneticist Anne Shawe are powerfully drawn to each other, and her family connection to his manuscript leads to a stunning revelation. Will it bring ruin or redemption?

The Apothecary’s Curse is Barbara Barnett’s debut novel. When I read the synopsis for it, I was immediately intrigued, as it reminded me a little of Deb Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, because of the mixture of alchemy and the past and current timelines. Once read, The Apothecary’s Curse turned out to be quite different, but an equally fabulous read. I loved the book; its characters and its theme captured my heart and of course I couldn’t resist the fact that one of the mysteries at its heart is an ancient manuscript.  Read More …

Author Query – Barbara Barnett

barabrabarnett-theapothecaryscurseI’m really excited about today’s interview. I read Barbara Barnett’s The Apothecary’s Curse last month and I loved it. (Look for a review of the book tomorrow!) So I was happy to be able to ask Barbara some questions about her debut novel. I got to ask her about alchemy, research and her love of everything Holmes. I hope you enjoy Barbara’s answers and check out The Apothecary’s Curse.

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Barbara Barnett? 

Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak to you and your readers!!  Read More …

Author Query – S.C. Flynn

childrenofthedifferentweb150Earlier this month I reviewed S.C. Flynn’s debut Children of the Different, which I really enjoyed. Today I am part of S.C.’s blog tour for the book with an Author Query. Thanks to S.C. for dropping by and I hope you enjoy the interview.

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is S.C. Flynn?

I am an Australian/British/Irish/Italian reader and obsessive reviser. I was born in a small town in South West Western Australia, but I have lived in Europe for more than twenty years. First the United Kingdom, then Italy and currently Ireland, the home of my ancestors. That has been a great experience, but also difficult and lonely at times.  Read More …

Brandon Sanderson – The Dark Talent

The Dark Talent coverAlcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the Highbrary–known as The Library of Congress to Hushlanders–the seat of Evil Librarian power. Without his Talent to draw upon, can Alcatraz figure out a way to save Bastille and defeat the Evil Librarians once and for all?

The Dark Talent is the fifth and latest book in Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians series. It comes after a gap of six years between book four and book five, but combined with the new editions of the first four books, it’s a perfect time to allow new readers to discover the series. The book delivers on the opening scene of the first book and, as such, closes off the arc in this quintet, but hopefully doesn’t signal the ending of Alcatraz’s story.  Read More …

Brandon Sanderson – The Shattered Lens

Untitled-3.inddAlcatraz Smedry is up against a whole army of Evil Librarians with only his friend Bastille, a few pairs of glasses, and an unlimited supply of exploding teddy bears to help him. This time, even Alcatraz’s extraordinary talent for breaking things may not be enough to defeat the army of Evil Librarians and their giant librarian robots.

The Shattered Lens is the fourth instalment in the Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians series and this time Alcatraz goes to war! Or rather, he goes to stop a war and prevent the Librarians from conquering the entire country of Mokia. Our boy is growing up and coming into his own, though not without wreaking a lot of havoc.  Read More …

Brandon Sanderson – The Knights of Crystallia

brandonsanderson-theknightsofcrystalliaIn this third Alcatraz adventure, Alcatraz Smedry has made it to the Free Kingdoms at last. Unfortunately, so have the evil Librarians–including his mother! Now Alcatraz has to find a traitor among the Knights of Crystallia, make up with his estranged father, and save one of the last bastions of the Free Kingdoms from the Evil Librarians.

Alcatraz is back for another rip-roaring story in The Knights of Crystallia, where he, Bastille, Grandpa Smedry and a host of other wacky characters need to rescue the Free Kingdoms from another dastardly plot hatched by the Evil Librarians to take over the Kingdoms and align the entire world with the (somewhat boring) vision Biblioden has for the “proper” ruling of the world. While we learned about some of the different Librarian factions in the previous books, as you might have guessed from the title, this book focuses on the order of the Knights of Crystallia, who are an integral part of Nalhalla and the Free Kingdoms.  Read More …