Tag archives for Ace

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

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

mykecole-fortressfrontier

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.

mykecole-fortressfrontier-uk

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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Anticipated Books (Winter/Spring) 2013: Science Fiction and Horror

2013Fear not! For on the third day of Anticipated Books posts there will be horror – well, one horror book anyway – and science fiction. Both SF and horror were genres I managed to explore further in the past reading year with success, so this year there are more books in this list than last year. 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!

Science Fiction

January
Natsuo Kirino – The Goddess Chronicle (Canongate)natsuokirino-thegoddesschronicle
In a place like no other, on an island in the shape of a tear drop, two sisters are born into a family of the oracle. Kamikuu, with creamy skin and almond eyes, is admired far and wide; Namima, small but headstrong, learns to live in her sister’s shadow.

On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is presented with a feast of seaserpent egg soup, sashimi and salted fish, and a string of pure pearls. Kamikuu has been chosen as the next Oracle, while Namima is shocked to discover she must serve the goddess of darkness. So begins an adventure that will take Namima from her first experience of love to the darkness of the underworld. But what happens when she returns to the island for revenge?

Natsuo Kirino, the queen of Japanese crime fiction, turns her hand to an exquisitely dark tale based on the Japanese myth of Izanami and Izanagi. A fantastical, fabulous tour-de-force, it is a tale as old as the earth about ferocious love and bitter revenge.

rameznaam-nexusRamez Naam – Nexus (Angry Robot Books)
Mankind gets an upgrade
In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.

 

James Smythe – The Explorer (HarperVoyager)jamessmythe-theexplorer
When journalist Cormac Easton is selected to document the first manned mission into deep space, he dreams of securing his place in history as one of humanity’s great explorers.

But in space, nothing goes according to plan.

The crew wake from hypersleep to discover their captain dead in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. They mourn, and Cormac sends a beautifully written eulogy back to Earth. The word from ground control is unequivocal: no matter what happens, the mission must continue.

But as the body count begins to rise, Cormac finds himself alone and spiralling towards his own inevitable death … unless he can do something to stop it.

February
MadScientistsDaughter-144dpiCassandra Rose Clarke – The Mad Scientist’s Daughter (Angry Robot Books)
“Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”

He looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion… and more.

But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Naomi Foyle – Seoul Survivors (Jo Fletcher Books)naomifoyle-seoulsurvivors
A meteor known as Lucifer’s Hammer is about to wreak destruction on the earth, and with the end of the world imminent, there is only one safe place to be.

In the mountains above Seoul, American-Korean bio-engineer Dr Kim Da Mi thinks she has found the perfect solution to save the human race. But her methods are strange and her business partner, Johnny Sandman, is not exactly the type of person anyone would want to mix with.

Drawn in by their smiles and pretty promises, Sydney – a Canadian model trying to escape an unhappy past – is an integral part of their scheme, until she realises that the quest for perfection comes at an impossible price.

karenlord-thebestofallpossibleworldsKaren Lord – The Best of All Possible Worlds (Jo Fletcher Books)
The Sadiri were once the galaxy’s ruling élite, but now their home planet is unlivable and most of the population killed. The few groups living on other worlds are desperately short of Sadiri women, and their extinction is all but certain.

Grace Delarua is assigned to work with Councillor Dllenahkh, a Sadiri, on his mission to visit distant communities, looking for possible mates. Delarua is garrulous and fully immersed in the single life; Dllenahkh is controlled and responsible for keeping his community together. They both have a lot to learn.

April
Ian Whates (ed.) – Solaris Rising 2 (Solaris)ian_whates-big
Having re-affirmed Solaris’s proud reputation for producing high quality science fiction antologies in the first volume, Solaris Rising 2 is the next collection in this exciting series. Featuring stories by Allan Steele, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kim Lakin-Smith, Paul Cornell, Eugie Foster, Nick Harkaway, Nancy Kress, Kay Kenyon, James Lovegrove, Robert Reed, Mercurio D. Rivera, Norman Spinrad, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Liz Williams, Vandana Singh, Martin Sketchley, and more. These stories are guaranteed to surprise, thrill and delight, and maintain our mission to demonstrate why science fiction remains the most exiting, varied and inspiring of all fiction genres. In Solaris Rising we showed both the quality and variety that modern science fiction can produce. In Solaris Rising 2, we’ll be taking that much, much further.

Jared Shurin & Anne C. Perry (eds.) – Pandamonium Fiction: The Lowest Heaven (Jurassic London)
The Lowest Heaven explores the furthest reaches of the Solar System with help from the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Today’s greatest science fiction authors set out on missions of discovery, with new stories inspired by our closest celestial neighbours.

May
eric-brownEric Brown – Serene Invasion (Solaris)
THEY ARE HERE… AND WE ARE NOT READY It’s 2025 and the world is riven by war, terrorist attacks, poverty and increasingly desperate demands for water, oil, and natural resources. The West and China confront each other over an inseperable ideological divide, each desperate to sustain their future. And then the Serene arrive, enigmatic aliens from Delta Pavonis V, and nothing will ever be the same again. The Serene bring peace to an ailing world, an end to poverty and violence but not everyone supports the seemingly benign invasion. There are forces out there who wish to return to the bad old days, and will stop at nothing to oppose the Serene.

Wesley Chu – The Lives of Tao (Angry Robot Books)Wesley-Chu
When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it.

He wasn’t.

He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.

Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…

al_ewing-bigAl Ewing – The Fictional Man (Solaris)
Niles Golan is writing a remake of a camp-classic spy movie. The studio has plans for a franchise, so rather than hiring an actor, the protagonist will be ‘translated’ into a cloned human body.

It’s common practice – Niles’ therapist is a Fictional. So is his best friend. So (maybe) is the woman in the bar he can’t stop staring at. Fictionals are a part of daily life now, especially in LA.

In fact, it’s getting hard to tell who’s a Fictional and who’s not…

June
Alan Averill – The Beautiful Land (Ace)alanaverill-thebeautifulland
Takahiro O’Leary has a very special job working for the Axon Corporation as an explorer of parallel timelines—as many and as varied as anyone could imagine. A great gig—until information he brings back gives Axon the means to maximize profits by changing the past, present, and future of this world. If Axon succeeds, Tak will lose Samira, the woman he has loved since high school—because her future will cease to exist. The only way to save her is for Tak to use the time travel device he “borrowed” to transport them both to an alternate timeline.

But what neither Tak nor Axon knows is that the actual inventor of the device is searching for a timeline called the Beautiful Land—and he intends to destroy every other possible present and future to find it.

The switch is thrown, and reality begins to warp—horribly. And Tak realizes that to save Sam, he must save the entire world…

stephaniesaultergemsignsStephanie Saulter – Gemsigns (Jo Fletcher Books)
For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found – in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems – the line between survival and ethics was radically altered.

Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom.

But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.

Guy Haley – The Crash (Solaris)
The Market rules all, plotting the rise and fall of fortunes without human intervention. Mankind, trapped by a rigid hierarchy of wealth, bends to its every whim. To function, the Market must expand without end. The Earth is finite, and cannot hold it, and so a bold venture to the stars is begun, offering a rare chance at freedom to a select few people.

But when the colony fleet is sabotaged, a small group finds itself marooned upon the tidally locked world of Nychthemeron, a world where one hemisphere is bathed in perpetual daylight, the other hidden by eternal night. Isolated and beset, the stricken colony members must fight for survival on the hostile planet, while secrets about both the nature of their shipwreck and Nychthemeron itself threaten to tear their fragile society apart.

Frank Schätzing – Limit (Quercus)
2025. Entrepreneur Julian Orley opens the first-ever hotel on the moon.

But ORLEY ENTERPRISES deals in far more than space tourism: it operates the world’s only space elevator, connecting the earth with the moon and enabling the transportation of helium-3, the fuel of the future.

Now Julian has invited twenty-one of the world’s richest and most powerful individuals to sample his lunar accommodation, in the hope of securing the finances for manufacturing a second lift.

Meanwhile, on earth, cyber detective Owen Jericho is sent to Shanghai to find a young female hacker, Yoyo, on the run since uncovering information that someone seems very determined to protect.

As Jericho closes in on the girl, and the conspiracy surrounding her, he finds increasingly concerning links to Julian Orley – and his enemies and competitors – that suggest the lunar expedition is in real and immediate danger.

Horror

alisonlittlewood-pathofneedlesAlison Littlewood – Path of Needles (Jo Fletcher Books, January)
A murderer is on the loose, but the gruesome way in which the bodies are being posed has the police at a loss. Until, on a hunch, an expert in fairytales is called in. And it is Alice who finds the connection between the body of Chrissie Farris and an obscure Italian version of Snow White.

Then, when a second body is found, Alice is dragged further into the investigation – until she herself becomes a suspect. Now Alice must fight, not just to prove her innocence, but to protect herself: because it’s looking like she might well be next.

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