Author Query – Claire North

Claire North has received huge accolades for her first two novels under that name — I say that name as it is an open secret that it is a pseudonym for Catherine Webb aka Kate Griffin — her third novel The Sudden Appearance of Hope was just released in paperback and her fourth novel The End of the Day is out this April. So no time like the present to have her over on A Fantastical Librarian for an Author Query. I very much enjoyed this interview and Claire’s answer for how she shelves her books is one of my favourite ones I’ve received yet. My next goal is my own book nook! I hope you enjoy the interview just as much as I did. And look for reviews of Claire’s books here on the blog in the near future.  Read More …

Emma Newman – After Atlas

Gov-corp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away, what made his father lose hope, what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do with why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man in charge of the investigation.

To figure out who killed one of the most powerful men on Earth, Carlos is supposed to put aside his personal history. But the deeper he delves into the case, the more he realises that escaping the past isn’t so easy. There is more to Casales’s death than meets the eye, and something much more sinister to the legacy of Atlas than anyone realises…

Let’s not bury the lede here: Emma Newman’s After Atlas is brilliant, you should all read it and I nominated it for a Hugo. Done. Everyone can go about their day. Or you can read on and find out why I loved this book so much.  Read More …

Margrét Helgadóttir (ed.) – Asian Monsters

They lurk and crawl and fly in the shadows of our mind. We know them from ancient legends and tales whispered by the campfire. They hide under the dark bridge, in the deep woods or out on the great plains, in the drizzling rain forest or out on the foggy moor, beneath the surface, under your bed. They don’t sparkle or have any interest in us except to tear us apart. They are the monsters! Forgotten, unknown, misunderstood, overused, watered down. We adore them still. We want to give them a renaissance, to reestablish their dark reputation, to give them a comeback, let the world know of their real terror.

Asian Monsters is the third in a coffee table book series from Fox Spirit Books with dark fiction and art about monsters from around the world.

If myths and monster stories are universal and timeless, they are separated by place. Even if almost any civilisation has an overlap in the core nature of their monsters, each is rich in their variety often influenced by their environment. You can find dozens of iterations of vampiric entities and shape shifters, of the fey and the possessive. The one creature that appears across the globe in the same guise is the ghost. Be it a revenant, haunt, poltergeist or lingering spirit, be they malevolent or benign—ghosts are of all times and places. As such I found it striking that so many of the stories in Asian Monsters, edited by Margrét Helgadóttir, focused on these apparitions. If the monsters in African Monsters were largely bound by place, the monsters in this volume were bound by people.  Read More …

Margrét Helgadottir and Jo Thomas (eds) – African Monsters

They lurk and crawl and fly in the shadows of our mind. We know them from ancient legends and tales whispered by the campfire. They hide under the dark bridge, in the deep woods or out on the great plains, in the drizzling rain forest or out on the foggy moor, beneath the surface, under your bed. They don’t sparkle or have any interest in us except to tear us apart. They are the monsters! Forgotten, unknown, misunderstood, overused, watered down. We adore them still. We want to give them a renaissance, to reestablish their dark reputation, to give them a comeback, let the world know of their real terror.

African Monsters is the second in a coffee table book series from Fox Spirit Books with dark fiction and art about monsters from around the world.  Read More …

A.C. Wise – The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories

“Ladies and Gentlemen: I give you the Kissing Booth Girl! Lips that beguile. Oh, I promise, the nearest thing to nuzzling an angel can be yours—today!—for a shiny round Seated Liberty I know you carry in your very pockets as I speak.” But to mechanically-inclined Beni, is the ethereal girl who fell from the sky a wish come true or false hope for life beyond the confines of the odd carnival called home. Her story—as well as tales of an order of deep-sea diving nuns caring for a sunken chapel and a high school boy asked to prom by the only dead kid he’s ever met—can be found in A.C. Wise’s newest collection of the fantastical, the weird, the queer and the poignant.

Last year I read and reviewed A.C. Wise’s The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again and I loved it. It was fun, camp, and utterly delightful. So when Wise approached me about reviewing her latest collection, The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories, I agreed with alacrity, as I was keen to read more of her work. And while this collection is perhaps less exuberant than the previous one, it is a deeply thoughtful and thought-provoking set of stories, which while spanning the breadth of the speculative genre in space and time, all deal with identity and agency.  Read More …

G X Todd – Defender

In a world where long drinks are in short supply, a stranger listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on a dusty road.

The moment locks them together.

Here and now it’s dangerous to listen to your inner voice. Those who do, keep it quiet.

These voices have purpose.

And when Pilgrim meets Lacey, there is a reason. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Defender pulls you on a wild ride to a place where the voices in your head will save or slaughter you.

G X Todd’s debut novel Defender, the first in a four-part series called The Voices, was an unexpected surprised when it arrived in the mail. The accompanying information was intriguing, but didn’t reveal much, so going in to the book I didn’t really know what to expect. I certainly hadn’t expected to find a gripping, post-apocalyptic adventure that wasn’t just engrossing in its own right, but also made me think a lot about how we regard mental illness, specifically conditions that include auditory hallucinations, such as schizophrenia.  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 …

Review Amnesty: Space Edition

reviewamnestyWelcome to another edition of Review Amnesty. As I explained earlier this week, I’ve been playing review catch up all year and it is now time to actually catch up. Today I’m starting off the latest round of Review Amnesties with a Space edition in which I review to space novels (sort of), namely Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station and Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit, both of which I loved for different reasons.  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!

***

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 …

Guest Review: Lois McMaster Bujold – The Warrior’s Apprentice

Wiebe is back with another review and this time he is tackling a classic!

loismcmasterbujold-thewarriorsapprenticeMiles Vorkosigan’s physical infirmities have destroyed his lifelong dream. After flunking the physical and being dropped from the Barrarayan military academy, he takes what he thinks will be a pleasure trip. However, Miles has a towering talent for leadership-and for chaos-and he and his companions soon run afoul of spacegoing mercenaries. One thing leads to another until miles, now a self-appointed admiral with an alias, finds himself leading his mercenaries on an impossible mission. If he can’t be an officer in the Barrarayan military, perhaps miles will make a very good space pirate.

There is still one problem, however. Miles is a member of the Barrarayan aristocracy, and the law of his home planet forbids members of that class from having their own armed forces…and breaking that law carries a death sentence. 

My wife, the Fantastical Librarian, suggested Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Warrior’s Apprentice to me when we were shopping in the Forbidden Planet in London. Read More …