Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Must Read

You have no idea of my excitement. I couldn't possibly describe it to you even if I tried.

I have been waiting for this book for a long time (not that Michelle has not been writing but I've been waiting for this particular part of the story!).

It had completely dropped off my radar as well - and for that I feel deeply ashamed.

If you don't read Michelle West you are missing out on awesomeness!



Beneath the streets of Averalaan, capital city of the Essalieyan Empire, lie the three Princes of the firstborn, doomed to sleep until the end of days. When gods walked the world, they feared the Sleepers. They fear them even now. If the Sleepers wake, the city will not survive—and the Sleepers are waking. 

House Terafin has already felt the con­sequences of their stirring. 

To save the city—and the House over which she rules—Jewel Markess ATerafin must go to face the Oracle. She leaves a House that is still divided, and a city in which demons, in human guise, have begun to move. At no time in Terafin’s history has it faced the dangers it now faces, and it will face them bereft of its leader. 

Jewel has always seen unpredictable glimpses of the future—images of death and destruction which she cannot control and cannot always understand. To master her birthright, she chooses to walk the path of the Oracle. In her hands, she carries the only hope of the Winter Queen. 

But the path she must travel was old when the gods ceased to walk the world. Ancient creatures stalk winter skies at the behest of the demons, who mean to ensure that she will never reach the Oracle’s side.

Secrets, long hidden from all but the first­born, will finally be brought to light. Choices will be made, and paths chosen, from which there will be no return.... 

Oracle is the intricate sixth novel in The House War series. Set in the same rich fantasy universe as Michelle West’s Sacred Hunt duology and her six-book Sun Sword series, the House War novels recount the events leading to the momentous final con­frontation between the demonic minions of the Lord of the Hells and the defenders of the Essalieyan Empire—a realm with a long and bloody history.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Maps

To map or not to map? That is the question.

Actually it's not a question at all - I am mapping in my book. I don't understand fantasy books without maps; it's never made sense to me. You (the author) have created a whole new world with mountain ranges and deserts and peninsulas and oceans... give me a visual on what the landscape looks like! Let me get an idea of the surrounding environment of the village our hero(es) starts in. Or the great city that is their home.

I dig all that.
A map of Thedas from the DragonAge games (mine own map isn't this pretty - yet)

In fact it is one of the first things I do when I world build. Once I know who main character is and have a sense of what they will go though and know where they will end up (the beginning and ending are always clear for me, the middle bits are more discovery) then I have to know where they are. What is the stage they are on? The environment that surrounds them?

Creating the landscape and the shape of their world leads into its back story, its history. The rise and fall of empires and kingdoms; wars and conquests and cultures. All of this is vital for my process. Story is important, the characters, their tale and its execution, of course. But the story of the land, the world around them is of equal import - even it if its true depth is never delved in the tale I am setting to paper (or word doc as the case may be/is).

But everybody is different and a story should definitely be able to stand on its own without a map. Flipping to the front pages of a novel whenever a new kingdom or city is mentioned is something I enjoy but other readers (and authors) can't be bothered with. Horses for courses.

But I love me a good map :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett

I cannot adequately express how desperately I have been waiting for this book. The Skull Throne is the fourth volume of the series, The Demon Cycle, by Peter V. Brett, one of my favourite authors. If you have not yet read the preceding three books, go and order book one, The Painted Man, now.

Brett has created a powerful saga that depicts mankind winnowed to the brink of extinction by night-stalking demons, the survivors who fight back and the prophecy of the Deliverer who will lead them. With one book, his first, Brett strode to forefront of modern fantasy writers to stand alongside the likes of Robert Jordan, Joe Abercrombie and Elizabeth Moon . Crafting a fantasy that leaps off the page and into hearts and minds, he has given us one of the most significant epics since the Wheel of Time.

The Skull Throne begins immediately after the shocking conclusion of The Daylight War , with both sides searching in vain for their 'fallen' warriors before retreating to regroup. Inevera immediately begins to spin her webs, desperate to retain the power she has painstakingly built with Jadir. Meanwhile, their sons begin to vie for leadership of their people and control of his armies while Leesha, pregnant with Jadir's child, is called back to Angiers and Rojer, faces Jasin, the man who murdered his mentor.
 
The Skull Throne is packed with action and adventure, politics, intrigue and exciting character development, not to mention demons and runic magic. You cannot miss this book, or this series.