Tag archives for Jo Fletcher Books

The Skyscraper Throne Reread Week 11

TomPollock-TheCitysSonThis August Jo Fletcher Books is publishing the final instalment in Tom Pollock’s Skyscraper Throne trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets and to get ready for it, they’ve organised a massive reread for the first two books, The City’s Son and The Glass Republic. It’s no secret I adore these books and I’m eagerly awaiting the concluding volume to find out how Beth and Pen’s story ends. So I’m really pleased to be part of this reread and today I’ll be your host to the recap and discussion for the relatively short chapters 41-44. Remember, this is a reread, so there will be spoilers galore coming up, so as the lady says SPOILERS!   Continue reading »

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Naomi Foyle – Astra

naomifoyle-astraLike every child in Is-Land, Astra Ordott is looking forward to her Security shot so she can one day do her IMBOD Service and help defend her Gaian homeland from Non-Lander infiltrators. The one of Astra’s Shelter mothers, the formidable Dr Hokma Blesser, warns her that the shot will limit her chances of being a famous scientist – or helping raise the mysterious data-messenger Owleons that Hokma breeds – and Astra reluctantly agrees to deceive the Is-land authorities and all her family and friends in Or.

Astra grows up increasingly conscious of the differences between her and the other Or-kids – then Lil, an orphaned wild child of the forest, appears in Or and at last she has someone exciting to play with. But Lil’s father taught her some alarming ideas about the world, and Astra is about to learn some devastating truths about Is-Land, Non-Land, the Owleons, and the complex web of adult relationships that surrounds her.

Last year I reviewed Naomi Foyle’s Seoul Survivors and while the book and I didn’t really get along, I was very impressed with Foyle’s writing. And the premise of Astra sounded quite interesting, so I was really looking forward to seeing whether I’d get along better with Foyle’s sophomore effort. And I’m glad to say I did. Astra is just as thought-provoking as Seoul Survivors was, but without the problematic elements and Foyle’s use of language and imagery is just as good, if not better as it was in her previous novel.  Continue reading »

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Sebastien De Castell – Traitor’s Blade

sebastiendecastell-traitorsbladeFalcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.

Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters.

All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…

Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade looks to be Jo Fletcher Books’ big spring debut and the campaign promoting this book has been extensive. The first reactions to the book I’ve seen on Twitter have been very enthusiastic, so my expectations were high when I started Traitor’s Blade. From the synopsis I had expected to enjoy the book and taking into account the reactions from those around me, I knew I was in for a treat, but what I hadn’t expected was how much of a treat it would be. Because Traitor’s Blade is a very polished debut with a solid plot, great characters, a lovely world, and most importantly, it exudes a sense of fun that is infectious.  Continue reading »

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Mazarkis Williams – The Tower Broken

mazarkiswilliams-thetowerbrokenThe world is at breaking point. The nothing, a terrible darkness caused by the festering wounds of a god, bleeds out the very essence of all, of stone, silk – and souls. Emperor Sarmin thought he had stopped it, but it is spreading towards his city, Cerana – and he is powerless to halt the destruction.

Even as Cerana fills with refugees, the Yrkmen armies arrive with conquest in mind, but they offer to spare Sarmin’s people if they will convert to the Mogyrk faith.

Time is running out for Sarmin and his wife, Mesema: the Mage’s Tower is cracked; the last mage, sent to find a mysterious pattern-worker in the desert, has vanished; and Sarmin believes his kidnapped brother Daveed still has a part to play. The walls are crumbling around them. . .

The Tower Broken is the epic conclusion to Mazarkis Williams’ debut trilogy Tower & Knife and after reading The Emperor’s Knife and Knife Sworn I was really looking forward how Williams was going to resolve the problem of Mogryk’s wounds. The author managed to wrap up the story in a way I hadn’t expected, but which was compelling and elegant in one fell swoop.  Continue reading »

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Guest Post: Mazarkis Williams on Saying Goodbye

mazarkiswilliams-thetowerbrokenWhen thinking of a topic to ask Maz for a guest post on, I kept coming back to the fact that they’ve just finished a series and that it means saying goodbye to the characters that have accompanied them for a long time. So I asked Maz the following:

How do you say goodbye?

When you’ve written a series featuring the same cast of characters, I’d assume that some of them become almost friends and companions considering the time you’ve spent with them. How hard is it to say goodbye and move on to the next book or series and a new group of characters? Or do you avoid saying farewell by staying in the same world and group of characters?

Here’s Maz’s answer:  Continue reading »

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Mazarkis Williams – Knife Sworn

Mazarkis Williams - Knife SwornAfter a lifetime locked in his tower room, Sarmin has come into his own. He is the crowned emperor; he has wed Mesema of the horse tribes; the Pattern-Master – the being that caused a deadly plague in order to control the minds of Sarmin’s people – is dead. Everything should be happy-ever-after.

But war has ignited in the north; in the Palace intricate plots blossom around the Petal Throne, and in the darkness of Sarmin’s room, the remnants of the Many haunt his thoughts.

The worst damage left by the Pattern Master is about to take Sarmin unawares.

Knife Sworn is the second book in the Tower & Knife series and the middle book of a trilogy. As such it had a tall order in front of it; it had to live up to the first book and keep the narrative going so there will be a strong draw back for the third book. And of course, it has to avoid middle-book-syndrome. And people wonder why writing that second book is harder than writing the first! So you’ll be glad to know that Knife Sworn did the first and the second and was relatively successful at avoiding the last. I was quite pleased with how Williams continued the story after the relatively self-contained The Emperor’s Knife and the book’s ending definitely left me eager to start the final book. However, while it wasn’t less action-packed, slower-paced or only a bridge between book one and book three, Knife Sworn certainly doesn’t stand on its own; one could read it without having read the first book, but you’d miss a lot of background and the story doesn’t have as satisfying an ending as The Emperor’s Knife. Still, Knife Sworn is a very enjoyable read and shows Williams’ growth as an author quite well.  Continue reading »

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Author Query – Mazarkis Williams

untitledWhen I was contacted about reviewing Tower Broken, I had to admit to not having read any of them. So I quickly hit on the idea to have a Tower & Knife week, reviewing the whole trilogy and including an interview with and a guest post by Mazarkis themselves. Yesterday I brought you my review for The Emperor’s Knife, today I have an interview with Maz. I hope you enjoy Maz’s great answers!

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Mazarkis Williams – The Emperor’s Knife

Mazarkis Williams - The Emperor's KnifeA plague is attacking the Cerani Empire: as the geometric patterns cover the skin, so the victims fall under the power of the Pattern Master.

Only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl who once saw a path through the waving grass.

Mazarkis Williams is an author I’ve been aware of for a couple of years. They – since Mazarkis Williams is a pen name and the author’s identity and gender is unknown (to me at least, though I have my suspicions) I’ll be referring to the author as they – are part of the group of authors known as the Booksworn, several of whom are authors I’ve read and enjoyed and some of whom I regularly chat with on Twitter. So it was to my shame that I had to admit I hadn’t read any of their books, when I was approached about reviewing the final book in the Tower & Knife series, The Tower Broken, which was published late November last year. Fortunately, the publisher was kind enough to send me the whole series for review, so I could rectify the oversight. And I’m glad I got that chance, because judging by the first book, this trilogy and Williams’ writing is right up my alley.  Continue reading »

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David Towsey – Your Brother’s Blood

davidtowsey-yourbrothersbloodThomas is thirty-two. He comes from the small town of Barkley. He has a wife there, Sarah, and a child, Mary; good solid names from the Good Book. And he is on his way home from the war, where he has been serving as a conscripted soldier.

Thomas is also dead – he is one of the Walkin’.

And Barkley does not suffer the wicked to live.

Your Brother’s Blood is set in the far future, about 900 years from now, but at the same time it feels a little like weird west fantasy, such as Lee Collins’ books. As such I found it hard to classify the book ending up at dystopian fantasy. Apparently this is a far more common thing than I thought – really, who knew? Why doesn’t anyone tell me these things? – but to me this was my first encounter with it in this way and an interesting one it was too. Towsey mixes religion and zombies and a Western feel into an interesting amalgam that asks some pretty elemental questions of the reader.  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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