Snorri Kristjansson – Kin

Everyone loves a family reunion.

He can deny it all he likes, but everyone knows Viking warlord Unnthor Reginsson brought home a great chest of gold when he retired from the longboats and settled down with Hildigunnur in a remote valley. Now, in the summer of 970, adopted daughter Helga is awaiting the arrival of her unknown siblings: dark, dangerous Karl, lithe, clever Jorunn, gentle Aslak, henpecked by his shrewish wife, and the giant Bjorn, made bitter by Volund, his idiot son.

And they’re coming with darkness in their hearts.

The siblings gather, bad blood simmers and old feuds resurface as Unnthor’s heirs make their moves on the old man’s treasure – until one morning Helga is awakened by screams. Blood has been shed: kin has been slain.

No one confesses, but all the clues point to one person – who cannot possibly be the murderer, at least in Helga’s eyes. But if she’s going to save the innocent from the axe and prevent more bloodshed, she’s got to solve the mystery – fast . . .

Lies. Manipulation. Murder. There’s nothing quite like family . . .

Kin is the latest book by the wonderful Snorri Kristjansson. I adored his first two novels, Swords of Good Men and Blood Will Follow. So much so, that I haven’t finished the first series yet, since I don’t want to say goodbye to Ulfar and Audun, the protagonists of the Valhalla trilogy. I really do love Snorri and his writing though, so when Kin arrived I squealed. Because Viking crime? I became the embodiment of this gif:

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Sebastien de Castell – Tyrant’s Throne

Falcio Val Bond, First Cantor of the Greatcoats, is on the brink of fulfilling his dead King’s dream: Aline is about to take the throne and restore the rule of law once and for all.

But for the Greatcoats, nothing is ever that simple. In neighbouring Avares, an enigmatic new warlord is uniting the barbarian armies, and even worse, he is rumoured to have a new ally: Falcio’s old nemesis Trin. With the armies of Avares at her back, she’ll be unstoppable.

Falcio, Kest and Breast go racing north to stop her, but in those cold, treacherous climes they discover something altogether different, and far more dangerous: a new player has entered the game, and plans to take the throne of Tristia…

Just when you think that Falcio and his Greatcoats have finally achieved their goals, the past comes back to haunt them in the form of not just a former known foe, but new unexpected enemies as well. In the fourth book in The Greatcoats series, Tyrant’s Throne, Sebastien de Castell brings several elements of the previous book full circle. I really enjoyed the way that he pulled back in strands that had seemed resolved; the reappearance of some of them created a gloomy sense of inevitability for Falcio and friends, a despondency they needed to fight to overcome.  Read More …

Sebastien de Castell – Saint’s Blood

How do you kill a Saint?

Falcio, Kest and Brasti are about to find out, because even Tristia’s most powerful Saints are turning up dead and the entire country is convinced it’s a sign that the Gods themselves oppose Aline’s ascension to the throne.

Now the Dukes are using the murders as an excuse to weasel out of their agreement to reinstate the Greatcoats, providing a golden opportunity for the Inquisitors — the Church’s own duelling magistrates — to take up the burden of enforcing justice … their own much harsher form of justice.

If he’s going to stop the Inquisitors, Falcio has to find the Saint-killer.

The only clue is the terrifying iron mask encasing the head of the dying Saint of Mercy — but even if it does lead him to the murderer, Falcio will still have to face him in battle.

And this may be one duel that no swordsman, no matter how skilled, can ever hope to win.

After I finished the second book in The Greatcoats series, Knight’s Shadow, I couldn’t wait to dive into Saint’s Blood, because I needed to know what happened next. This third instalment in the series was just as exciting as the previous two and even more gut-wrenching emotionally. Falcio and friends are back and have to face yet more foes bent on keeping Aline from the throne.  Read More …

Sebastien de Castell – Knight’s Shadow

Tristia is a nation overcome by intrigue and corruption. The idealistic young King Paelis is dead and the Greatcoats — legendary travelling magistrates who brought justice to the Kingdom — have been branded traitors. But just before his head was impaled on a spike, the King swore each of his hundred and forty-four Greatcoats to individual missions.

Falcio Val Bond, First Cantor, with the help of fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti, has completed his King’s final task: he has found his Charoites — well, one at least, and she was not quite what they expected. Now they must protect the girl from the many who would see her dead, and place her on the throne of a lawless kingdom. That would be simple enough, if it weren’t for the Dashini, an equally legendary band of assassins, getting in their way, not to forget the Dukes, who are determined to hold on to their fractured duchies, or the fact that the heir to the throne is only thirteen years old. Oh, and the poison that is slowly killing Falcio.

That’s not even mentioning the Greatcoat’s Lament…

When Sebastien de Castell’s debut novel Traitor’s Blade came out, I fell in love with both the story and the style. It was a joyous book, yet dealing with serious issues. And who could resist the brotherhood between Falcio, Brasti, and Kest? When I finished the first book, my main complaint was that I couldn’t read the second one immediately. I waited a year and when Knight’s Shadow came out, it fell between the cracks of all the other review copies I had to read. And when the next book, Saint’s Blood came out last year, it suffered the same fate, since now I had to read two huge books to catch up. However, this year saw the publication of the final book in the The Greatcoats series, Tyrant’s Throne and I decided it was time to catch up. In the end, I don’t know whether to kick myself for not reading the books sooner or to be grateful to my past self, since I could now just read all of the story in one go. I’m still undecided on that point…  Read More …

Review Amnesty: Reprise

reviewamnestyIt’s the return of the review amnesty. Once again I’m behind on reviewing books I’ve read and I really want to get through this backlog, so I won’t just keep staring at it mournfully and then freeze up trying to write the reviews. So I’ve decided to to write another batch of shorter reviews and I might do another one in the near future, just so I can start fresh after the summer.  Read More …

Angela Slatter – Vigil

angelaslatter-vigilVerity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds.

The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength – and the ability to walk between us and the other – as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.

But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale – and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways – and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane.

And Verity must investigate – or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.

Welcome to Brisneyland! The story Angela Slatter presents us with in her debut solo-novel Vigil is a departure from her previous work, which I have heard people raving about for the past few years really. As such it was the perfect place for me to start my first Angela Slatter story, since it is the beginning of a series and the start of this new urban fantasy direction for the author. And I loved it. Vigil is a fantastic read, with a heroine who captured my heart.  Read More …

Author Query – Angela Slatter

angelaslatter-vigilFor the past few years I’ve heard people rave about Angela Slatter’s writing and due to that I was familiar with her name. When Jo Fletcher Books announced they’d acquired two books by her in an urban fantasy series I was intrigued, as it was a departure from her dark fantasy and horror work. I read Vigil earlier this week and it was awesome—I may have a teensy book crush on Verity Fassbinder. I’ll be posting my review for the book later today, but for now here is an interview with Angela on Verity, the inspirations for Brisneyland, and whether a tourist could find their way to places in the book.  Read More …

Author Query – Trevor Hoyle

trevorhoyle-thelastgaspSince 2014, Jo Fletcher Books has been slowly but surely bringing back to print the entirety of Trevor Hoyle’s oeuvre, culminating in yesterday’s publication of a new edition of perhaps his best known work The Last Gasp. What fascinated me about this book, was that despite having been first published over thirty years ago, its themes and topics remain relevant. Not only that, but the author has been able to revise and update the text not once, but twice, reflecting the changes in what we known about climate change and how it is viewed between 1983 and 2016. I was glad to have the opportunity to ask Trevor some questions about this process and about The Last Gasp. I hope you find Trevor’s answers as interesting as I did.  Read More …

Author Query – Robert Jackson Bennett

robertjacksonbennett-cityofbladesI’m stoked to bring you today’s Author Query. Last year I read and loved Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs and I’m currently in the midst of his City of Blades, which I’m loving just as much. But RJB isn’t just a great author, he also writes interesting articles on his blog and his Twitter feed is always interesting, whether you like witnessing off-the-wall author interactions, political commentary, or the plain weird, Bennett has it all on his feed. I was excited when I got the chance to interview him and he had some interesting answers to my questions.


Let’s start with the basics. Who is Robert Jackson Bennett?

Me, a writer! I’m just some guy who writes books.  Read More …

Stephanie Saulter – Regeneration

stephaniesaulter-regenerationThe gillungs – genetically modified, waterbreathing humans – are thriving. They’ve pioneered new aquatic industries, and their high-efficiency quantum battery technology coupled to tidal turbines in the Thames estuary looks set to revolutionise the energy industry. But as demand grows, so does fear of what their newfound power might mean.

Then a biohazard scare at Sinkat, their London headquarters, fuels the opposition and threatens to derail the gillungs’ progress. Was it an accident born of overconfidence, or was it sabotage?

DS Sharon Varsi has her suspicions, and Gabriel sees parallels in the propaganda war he’s trying to manage: politicians and big business have stakes in this game too. And now there is a new threat: Zavcka Klist is out of prison. With powerful new followers and nothing to lose, she’s out to reclaim everything they took from her.

Stephanie Saulter’s ®evolution series has been one of my favourite series published in the past two years. I was blown away by her debut Gemsigns and thought the follow-up Binary was even more fabulous. So my expectations for the final book in the series Regeneration were sky high. I was wondering how Saulter would end her series and whether she’d stick the landing and bring it home in style. I shouldn’t have worried, because spoiler for the rest of the review: I loved it. As this is the concluding book of a trilogy, there will be spoilers for the previous two books, so consider yourself warned on that front.  Read More …