Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On My Radar

Three titles have popped up on my radar for next year. There are obviously more than three titles that I am eagerly awaiting (hello Oracle, House Wars Book 5 by Michelle West AND [hopefully] Destiny's Conflict by Janny Wurts)  but I've just seen covers for these ones and I am excited!

Brian Staveley was for me, the standout debut in 2014. I cannot wait for book two in this brilliant new epic fantasy series, I truly hope it lives up to the wonder of book one The Emperor's Blades.


The Providence of Fire
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Book Two
By Brian Staveley

War is coming, secrets multiply and betrayal waits in the wings... The Annurian Empire's ruling family must be vigilant, as the conspiracy against them deepens. Having discovered her father's assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies. But few trust her, until she seems marked by the people's goddess in an ordeal of flame.

As Adare struggles to unite Annur, unrest breeds rival armies - then barbarian hordes threaten to invade. And unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn has fallen in with forces mustering at the empire's borders. The terrible choices they face could make war between them inevitable.

Fighting his own battles is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with two strange companions. While imperial forces prepare to defend a far-distant front, Kaden's actions could save the empire, or destroy it.


Book one of Peter Orullian's Vault of Heaven, The Unremembered came out sometime ago, unfortunately it didn't grab me in quite the way I had hoped, for various reasons. However having read his short stories set within the same world, in particular Sacrifice of the First Sheason, my understanding of just where he is coming from has completely changed and I looking forward to seeing where he take the series.  

Trial of Intentions
Vault of Heaven Book Two
By Peter Orullian

The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god — and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind — in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that contains them has protected humankind for millennia and the monsters are little more than tales told to frighten children. But the Veil has become weak and creatures of Nightmare have come through. To fight them, the races of men must form a great alliance to try and stop the creatures.

But there is dissent. One king won’t answer the call, his pride blinding him even to the poison in his own court. Another would see Convocation fail for his own political advantage. And still others believe Convocation is not enough. Some turn to the talents of the Sheason, who can shape the very essence of the world to their will. But their order is divided, on the brink of collapse.

Tahn Junell remembers friends who despaired in a place left barren by war. One of the few who have actually faced the unspeakable horde in battle, Tahn sees something else at work and wonders about the nature of the creatures on the other side of the Veil. He chooses to go to a place of his youth, a place of science, daring to think he can find a way to prevent slaughter, prevent war. 

And his choices may reshape a world...


I first came across Mr Polansky when his debut, The Straight Razor Cure, was released in 2011. Unfortunately I got side-tracked finishing the book and only just picked it back up when I saw the cover for this new one. And boy I am glad I did. The Straight Razor Cure is brilliant and I will be reading books 2 and 3 in the trilogy very soon while I wait for this new one.


Those Above
The Empty Throne Book One
By Daniel Polansky

The first in an explosive new epic fantasy series by Daniel Polansky, perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence.
They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.

Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.

Those Above is the first of an extraordinary new fantasy epic by the author of the acclaimed Low Town series that will sweep the reader into a wholly alien, wholly recognizable world of rebellion and revenge, of love and of death, of intrigue and pitiless war.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The World of Ice & Fire - Not Really a Review

THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE
By George R.R. Martin, Elio Garcia 
and Linda Antonsson

If the past is prologue, then George R. R. Martin's masterwork-the most inventive and entertaining fantasy saga of our time-warrants one hell of an introduction. At long last, it has arrived with The World of Ice and Fire.

This lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO's Game of Thrones. In a collaboration that's been years in the making, Martin has teamed with Elio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, the founders of the renowned fan site Westeros.org-perhaps the only people who know this world almost as well as its visionary creator. Collected here is all the accumulated knowledge, scholarly speculation, and inherited folk tales of maesters and septons, maegi and singers.


It is a chronicle which stretches from the Dawn Age to the Age of Heroes; from the Coming of the First Men to the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror; from Aegon's establishment of the Iron Throne to Robert's Rebellion and the fall of the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, which has set into motion the "present-day" struggles of the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens. The definitive companion piece to George R. R. Martin's dazzlingly conceived universe, The World of Ice and Fire is indeed proof that the pen is mightier than a storm of swords.
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What needs to be said about this one? Any fan of made up history (Hello! Guilty as charged), and/or A Game of Thrones, is going to devour this history of Westeros and the lands beyond.

The World of A Game of Thrones is staggering in its scope and as rich and complex as the events of the War of the Roses, as treacherous as Imperial Rome and could chew the Borgias' up and spit them out without breaking a tooth.

This compendium work contains full colour artwork and maps, detailed family trees, new material that gives in-depth explorations of the history and culture of Westeros, half of which Martin has written for this book specifically.

It is the definitive companion to this masterwork of modern fantasy fiction and perfect for fans of the books and the TV show.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Clariel - A Review

Clariel
An Old Kingdom Novel
By Garth Nix

Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker? An epic fantasy adventure, set six hundred years before Sabriel and as rich and compelling as the original Old Kingdom novels.

Clariel is the daughter of one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen, and to the King.

When her family moves to the city of Belisaere, Clariel finds herself at the centre of sorcery and intrigue: a plot is brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan; her parents want to marry her off to a killer; and a dangerous Free Magic creature is loose in the city.

When Clariel is drawn into the efforts to find and capture the creature, she finds hidden sorcery within herself, yet it is magic that carries great dangers.

Can she rise above the temptation of power, escape the unwanted marriage and save the King?

Set approximately six hundred years before the birth of Sabriel, Clariel will delight Old Kingdom fans as well as new readers hungry for epic fantasy adventure.

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This book brought with it a heavy dose of nostalgia. It has been many years since I read an Old Kingdom novel, yet they still stand in my memory among the best fantasy books I've read.

Nix is an evocative writer and from the first page it was as though the years between my reading the original trilogy and getting my hands on this - what is technically a prequel, yet also a stand-alone book - had never occurred.

Clariel never wanted to come to Belisaere, the capital city, the only place she felt at home was in the Great Forest but her mother's position as the head of a powerful guild and her relation to the Abhorsen means her wishes are disregarded. She struggles to find herself a place in this new life, but when she is used as a pawn her fury knows no bounds and she escapes to make her own choices.

A somewhat darker novel than the original books, Clariel depicts the Old Kingdom in the glory we had previously only read about and never experienced. And things aren't always as they are recalled in history books. The powerful Kingdom is strangled by hierarchy and social inequality, unrest is rife and self-absorption and a disregard for the Charter all adds to wonderfully a fleshed out world that brings vibrancy and atmosphere to the stage.

Fans of the Old Kingdom Trilogy will find this an exciting addition to the story, those of you new to Nix's work will find it a great place to start.

I hope we continue to have many more adventures in this wonderful world.