Tag archives for Ace

Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2015: Fantasy January-March

2015Welcome to the first post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2015. As usual I had so many fantasy books catch my fancy I had to split them into two posts. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!

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Anticipated Books (Summer-Fall) 2014: Science Fiction and Horror

2014Welcome to the third post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. Today I bring you both my science fiction and my horror picks. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Summer-Fall) 2014: Fantasy July-September

2014Welcome to the first post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. As usual I had so many fantasy books catch my fancy I had to split them into two posts. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Continue reading »

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Anticipated Reads (Winter-Spring) 2014

2014In the past two and a half weeks I’ve brought you my Anticipated Books for Winter/Spring 2014 and today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. As usual it’s a list of fifteen, as there are just too many good books to choose from and I always have a hard time getting the list down to the more usual ten books. Also as per usual, I’ve excluded many books I’m really looking forward to reading right out of the gate, for example all the new instalments in series I’ve been reading. If I loved the previous book in the series, it’s a good bet I’ll want to read the next one. Some examples of these are Tom Pollock’s final book in The Skyscraper Throne trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets, Douglas Hulick’s long-awaited second book Sworn in Steel and Stephanie Saulter’s Binary, the second book in her ®Evolution series. I also left off repeat offenders who also made the list last time, such as Mark Alder’s Son of the Morning. So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from the lists I posted recently?   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2014: Science Fiction and Horror

2014Welcome to another post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2013. Today it’s time for my Science Fiction and Horror picks. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2014: Fantasy April-June

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2014Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2014. As usual I had so many fantasy books catch my fancy I had to split them into two posts; this is the second half of the lists. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!   Continue reading »

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Mark Lawrence – King of Thorns

MarkLawrence-KingofThornsThe boy who would be king has gained the throne…

Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath vowed when he was nine to avenge his slaughtered mother and brother—and to punish his father for not doing so. When he was fifteen, he began to fulfill that vow.

Now he is eighteen—and he must hold on by strength of arms to what he took by torture and treachery.

King Jorg is a man haunted: by the ghost of a young boy, by a mysterious copper box, by his desire for the woman who rides with his enemy. Plagued by nightmares of the atrocities he has committed, and of the atrocities committed against him when he was a child, he is filled with rage. And even as his need for revenge continues to consume him, twenty thousand men march toward the gates of his castle.

His enemy is far stronger than he is. Jorg knows that he cannot win in a fair fight. But he has found, in a chamber hidden beneath the castle, ancient and long-lost artifacts. Some might call them magic. Jorg is not certain—all he knows is that the secrets they hold can be put to terrible use in the coming battle…

One of my favourite books of 2011 was Mark Lawrence’s debut novel Prince of Thorns. While hotly debated and often maligned for it supposed misogyny, I found Lawrence’s story of this black-hearted prince and the forces that made him who he was and which manipulate his actions still fascinating. Not only did Lawrence tell a fantastic story, he also told it in wonderful prose. Unsurprisingly, I was looking forward to reading King of Thorns, which however I didn’t get to read until this past week. Discussing this second book in the series will inevitably lead to spoilers for the first, so if you haven’t read Prince of Thorns yet and want to remain unspoiled, best click away now!   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Summer-Fall) 2013: Science Fiction and Horror

2013Welcome to another post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2013. Today it’s time for my Science Fiction and Horror picks. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!

Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Summer-Fall) 2013: Fantasy July-September

2013Welcome to the first post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2013. As usual I had so many fantasy books catch my fancy I had to split them into two posts. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Continue reading »

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Myke Cole – Fortress Frontier

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US Cover

Alan Bookbinder might be a Colonel in the US military, but in his heart he fears he’s nothing more than a desk jockey, a clerk with a silver eagle on his jacket. But then one morning he is woken by a terrible nightmare and overcome by an ominous drowning sensation. Something is wrong. He has changed.

Forced into working for the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder’s only hope of finding a way back to his family will mean teaming up with former SOC operator and public enemy number one: Oscar Britton. They will have to put everything on the line if they are to save thousands of soldiers trapped in a fortress frontier on the brink of destruction.

Myke Cole’s debut Control Point, published last year, was ‘Fast-paced, well-written and well-thought out’ as I put it and I was really looking forward to reading its sequel, Fortress Frontier, to see whether the magic would hold. And I’m pleased to say it did. Not only did we get to catch up with the first book’s protagonist, Oscar, we’re also introduced to another lead character, Colonel Alan Bookbinder. He allows us to get a different view of SOC and of the forward operating base in the Source we last saw through Oscar’s eyes.

It’s worth mentioning that Bookbinder’s narrative arc starts some time before the end of the previous book and that roughly the first quarter of the book is spent catching us up to where we left last time. This confused me at first, but once I realised the time shift, things made sense again and I could just settle into the story. Cole uses an interesting structure in the book; not only does he go back in time at the start to give us Bookbinder’s full story and show us the effects of Oscar’s decisions in the previous book on the FOB, he also switches story arcs for a bit, from Bookbinder to Oscar and back again. In this way, we get both of their stories from their point of view and all the puzzle pieces fit together smoothly once we get to the spectacular finale of the book.

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UK Cover

In itself the plot is quite simple: Bookbinder has to find a way to rescue the stranded personnel from the beleaguered base. It sounds easy, but of course it isn’t. Cole takes us on a long trek through the Source to find assistance and on this trek we learn more about the Source and make some interesting discoveries. I loved how we got to explore the way other nations dealt with the Great Reawakening and their treatment of their Latents, especially those of the Sahir, the Indian version of the SOC. The naga en their Bandhav, their human partners, are fascinating and Cole’s portrayal of the naga court amazing. I loved the details he incorporated, from the architecture to the mythology and the diplomacy, though I could have done without the visuals of snakes blanketing every surface, but that’s my personal prejudice against the slithery darlings rearing its head.

As in Control Point, the characters shine brightly in Fortress Frontier. Bookbinder is a compelling character and his emotional growth over the course of the book was very well done. When we first meet him, Bookbinder is a desk jockey. He’s a Colonel who has never seen any action and as a result he feels that he’s less of a soldier than all those around him who have, but he’s also convinced he isn’t capable of being authoritative and a leader of men, so he’s rather accepted his lot. But when he turns up Latent, but not Manifesting, he’s shipped off to the SOC base and he’s forced to learn to be more and start believing in his own capabilities as much as his inferiors do. Bookbinder is a perfect example of the ‘hero against all odds’, the one who is forced into it by his sense of duty and his humanity. Cole shows his struggle to be the leader he needs to be, to believe in himself and his grief at what he sees as his failures. In a sense, Bookbinder’s movement in the book is the opposite of Oscar’s in the previous book. Oscar was an insider-turned-outsider by his magic, while Bookbinder felt he was an outsider, by dint of his career path, who becomes an insider and comes home in a sense, through his experiences in the Source.

Oscar is as cool a character as ever and where I found him a little frustrating in his last outing due to his indecisiveness on which side to pick, that is completely gone in Fortress Frontier. Oscar has found his mission and works to complete it, while at the same time trying to get his group to safety. His desire to effect change in a peaceful manner and without ‘normal’ casualties typifies the person he is and regardless what happens to him, he keeps his honour and sense of duty, which makes him very sympathetic. His growth in this book is less dramatic than Bookbinder’s and as such I found his storyline just a little less compelling than Bookbinder’s, but it was strong nonetheless and gave us some key information for the denouement of the book.

Fortress Frontier ends on a high, but also on a drawn breath. For while the plot for this book is quite resolved, there are several loose ends that tease an explosive final in the last book in this trilogy. Cole’s respect for the military and the values it upholds bleed through, without glorifying war or violence. With his second book Cole has proven once again that he can combine amazing action scenes with great characterisation and genuine emotion. Fortress Frontier is stronger than its predecessor and raises expectations for the next book, Breach Zone. The Shadow Ops series is proving to be one of my favourite series at the moment and one I highly recommend.

This book was provided for review by both the US and the UK publisher.

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