Author Query – Kate Forsyth

Rebirth-of-RapunzelI first read Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens in 2013 and I fell in love with the story, its characters and Kate’s writing. Reading her next novel The Wild Girl only strengthened that love. Her previous book, The Beast’s Garden has only been published in Australia (get on that, UK publishers!) and as such I haven’t yet managed to get my hands on a copy, because it’s really expensive to order books from Australia. But I plan on getting my hands on it somehow in the future. All of this goes to say that I was really interested in reading Kate’s non-fiction collection, The Rebirth of Rapunzel, which I reviewed yesterday, and which left me with some questions to ask Kate. Luckily, she’d already agreed to be interviewed and you can find the results below. Can I just say I can’t wait for Beauty in Thorns? It sounds amazing! If you haven’t read Kate’s work before and you love fairytale retellings or historical fiction, I highly recommend checking out her writing.  Read More …

Kate Forsyth – The Rebirth of Rapunzel

Rebirth-of-RapunzelA unique collection presenting Kate Forsyth’s extensive academic research into the ‘Rapunzel’ fairy tale, alongside several other pieces related to fairy tales and folklore.

This book is not your usual reference work, but a complex and engaging exploration of the subject matter, written with Forsyth’s distinctive flair.

I’ve read and loved Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens and The Wild Girl, though I still need to get onto reading her last novel The Beast’s Garden, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. When The Rebirth of Rapunzel arrived in my inbox I was really excited, since it was the non-fiction component to Forsyth’s MFA of which Bitter Greens was the fiction part. I love learning about the development of stories throughout the ages and The Rebirth of Rapunzel delivered exactly that for the story of the maiden in the tower.  Read More …

Author Query – Matthew Jobin

skelethMatthew Jobin’s Nethergrim books, The Nethergrim and The Skeleth sound like fun. Additionally, they’ve also been translated into Dutch, so hopefully I’ll be able to share them with Emma sooner rather than later, as I won’t have to teach her English before reading them to her! That aside, I really did like the sound of the books and wanted to know more about them and their author. Matthew kindly answered my question and you can find the resulting interview below. Check out the Nethergrim books and for my Dutch readers, you can go meet Matthew at the Grijze Jager Dag in Alphen on the 15th!  Read More …

Author Query – Alan Smale

alansmale-eagleinexileAlan Smale’s Clash of Eagles series combines some of my favourite things: fantasy, historical fiction, and Romans. So one day, one day when I finally get my time turner, I definitely want to read them. Until that time though, I decided to settle for the second best option and that was to ask Alan for an interview. He obliged and had some great answers about the research he has done for the book, whether his work for NASA influences his writing, and promoting science through song. Check out Alan’s latest novel Eagle in Exile from Titan Books, out now.  Read More …

Genevieve Cogman – The Masked City

genevievecogman-themaskedcityIrene is working undercover in an alternative Victorian London. for this librarian spy, it’s business as usual – until her assistant Kai is abducted. Kai’s dragon heritage means he has powerful enemies, and this act of aggression could trigger a war between his people and their greatest rivals. As they each represent the forces of order and chaos themselves, matters could turn unpleasant.

Irene’s mission to save Kai and avert Armageddon will take her to a dark, alternate Venice where it’s always Carnival. Here Irene will be forced to blackmail, fast talk, and fight. Or she’ll face mayhem – at the very least.

Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, the first book in the series with the same title, couldn’t have been a book better suited to my tastes if the author had asked me what I wanted in my book. Alternate magical London, secret librarian spies, a witty and kickass heroine and a lovely assistant. That book had it all. And as such it was a tough act to follow. The Masked City had a lot to live up to and I certainly had some things I really wanted to see in there, not least more on Kai’s dragon heritage, but also more about Irene parentage. So did the book deliver what I was hoping for? Not exactly, but it delivered so much other awesomeness that it didn’t matter that I still don’t know more about Irene’s parents. The Masked City is a fantastic sequel to The Invisible LibraryRead More …

Stephanie Burgis – Masks and Shadows

stephanieburgis-masksandshadowsThe year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus’s mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband’s death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace’s golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress–a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.

I’ve been aware of Stephanie Burgis’ writing for years through the rave reviews I’ve read of her middle grade books, yet I’ve never actually read them. It did make me pay extra attention whenever her name popped up as the author of a story featured on the short fiction podcasts I listen to. And from what I’d heard I really liked Burgis’ writing. Reading the synopsis for her first fantasy novel for adults made me perk up immediately as it blends a lot of my favourite things: fantasy, history, mystery and conspiracy. And Masks and Shadows delivers on all of those things with the added bonus of a pinch of supernatural and a dash of romance thrown in.  Read More …

Kate Elliott – The Beatriceid

kateelliott-thebeatriceidBefore Andevai, the waking of dreaming dragons, the war for Europa, and the cruel treachery of the Wild Hunt, cousins Catherine and Beatrice Hassi Barahal were novice students at the Academy. Here, Cat and Bee learned of mathematics and politics, history and storytelling. But not all stories are told or remembered in the same way–particularly where the tale of Dido and Aeneas, and the fate of Carthage and Rome are concerned.

To the victors go the spoils–only this time, it is the gilded-tongued Bee and the quick-footed Cat who will collect the winnings.

Set before the start of Cold Magic, The Beatriceid is a brand new, standalone short story written in Iambic Pentameter that reimagines The Aeneid in a feminist, Phoenician light.

It’s no secret that I’m a Kate Elliott fangirl. I loved her Crown of Stars series, and last year I raved about both her short story and non-fiction collection The Very Best of Kate Elliott and her YA novel Court of Fives. And I absolutely loved Black Wolves, though I still need to review it—I just need to get past the JUST READ IT impulse and be able to talk about coherently before I do. Anyway, when I saw the announcement for The Beatriceid, I had an immediate case of want; the cover by Julie Dillon was amazing and the concept of a retelling of the Aeneid in iambic pentameter made me curious. I’m not necessarily a poetry person, but I loved reading the Classics in high school, though admittedly I took Greek not Latin, so I’m more familiar with the Iliad and the Odyssey.  Read More …

Guest Post: Ben Peek on Multiculturalism in Leviathan’s Blood

benpeek-leviathansbloodIn 2014 Ben Peek published his big fat fantasy novel The Godless. I really enjoyed the characters and world the story is set in. But the thing that drew my interest initially, and which made it of interest to a lot of people, was the fact that The Godless was peopled with a super diverse set of characters. The second book in the series, Leviathan’s Blood promised to be as diverse. So when I got to pick a topic for a guest post, I immediately jumped on the chance to have Ben talk about the multiculturalism in his book and how his fictional world mirrors his everyday world. Enjoy and remember to check out Leviathan’s Blood tomorrow when it is published.  Read More …

Susan Jane Bigelow – Broken

susanjanebigelow-brokenIn a post-war, future world, where first contact has been made with intelligent life and humans are colonizing the stars, the nations of Earth have been united under a central government. Extrahumans, those possessing supernatural abilities such as flight and strength, are required by this government to belong to the Union, where they can be trained, monitored, and weaponized.

Michael Forward is cursed with the ability to see the future – every possible future – when he gazes into another person’s eyes. All he has ever wanted is to escape the grim destiny he sees when he looks in the mirror, but when he is tasked with a mission that will define the course of human history, Michael finds he cannot refuse. Now, he needs the help of a homeless ex-superhero to save a baby who may become the key to humanity’s freedom.

Broken figured she was done with heroics when she lost the ability to fly and escaped the confinement of the Extrahuman Union. But then the world started to fall apart around her, and a desperate teenage prophet with a baby entered her life, offering her the possibility of redemption and a chance to fly once more.

In a time of spreading darkness, when paranoia and oppression reign, can these unlikely allies preserve a small ray of hope for a better, brighter future?

I’ve only gotten into the whole superhero thing in the last five years. Yes, I watched cartoons when I was a kid and of course, I watched all the X-Men films in the cinema, but I never really thought of them as anything other than popcorn fodder. In the past few years, that has somewhat changed. Yes, through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but mostly through books and short stories. There were the Union Dues short stories at Escape Pod, the Secret World Chronicle, Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Cookie Cutter Superhero and Lavie Tidhar’s amazing The Violent Century to name a few. Susan Jane Bigelow’s Extrahuman Union books fit right in that line up, which made me very excited to read the first book in the series, Broken. It did NOT disappoint in the slightest.  Read More …

Guest Post: Brian Staveley – Hitler’s Sister

brianstaveley-thelastmortalbondBrian Staveley burst onto the SFF scene with his debut novel The Emperor’s Blades in 2014 and I loved it. But I was even more impressed with the sequel The Providence of Fire. As such, it is no surprise that I’m really looking forward to seeing how the story ends in The Last Mortal Bond. What fascinated me most about the series is the intricacy of the sibling bonds in The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne. The dynamics between Kaden, Adare, and Valyn are fascinating; there is so much love, anger, jealousy, and loyalty that complicates their relationships. I asked Brian about why the sibling bond can make for such a great narrative driver. You can find his answer below.  Read More …