Monday, 5 December 2016

Interview: Giles Kristian


With the release of the third book in Giles' epic Rise of Sigurd trilogy, we've been lucky enough to be included as part of the authors blog tour.  (For more stops see the poster further down the interview.)

As such we wanted to dig deep into the mind of this modern skald and bring you some answers to some questions we've been pondering for quite some time, so without further ado here we go:

You spend a lot of time writing about the Viking period. How well do you think you'd survive if you were thrown back into those days?

Great question! The truth is, of course, I’d be woefully ill-equipped in every aspect to survive in late 8th century Norway. The itchy woollen clothes alone would finish me off. We are, after all, products of our environment, and my environment is mostly centrally heated, populated with labour-saving technology, relatively sterile and lacking the immediate threat of physical danger. And yet. There is a part of me that would fit right in. Let’s call it my feasting hall mentality. Plus, I’m sure I could do my bit in the mêlée if it came to it. In fact, there’s a dark part of me (buried deep, fortunately) that would love to swing an axe in anger. Still, it’s probably for the best that I can write about Vikings from the comfort of my slippers and save the axe for my enemies that lurk within the log pile.


New discoveries are made every so often that affect the way that we today see those who have gone before. What is the weirdest period fact that you've come across and why has it amazed you?

When I visited the British Museum’s exhibition Vikings: life and legend, I was struck by a collection of bones and decapitated heads, unearthed during the creation of the Weymouth Relief Road, which are believed to be those of fifty-two young Viking warriors. Something else which made this rather disturbing discovery extraordinary was that some of the men’s front teeth have horizontal grooves etched into them. However this was done, it can’t have been a pleasant experience and we don’t know why they did it. There is a suggestion that these grooves were filled with pigment or resin and it could be that having filed teeth was a status symbol, perhaps the mark of a great warrior. Or perhaps it was done in order to frighten one’s enemy, for it must have made for a strange and outlandish appearance. Or could it even have been purely decorative? We just don’t know why a young Viking might have filed his teeth, but it certainly adds fearsome colour to the image of a warrior who has chosen to live outside of society’s norms. And what could be more Viking than that?


Who has been your favourite character to write about and why?

It’s funny how this has changed the older I’ve become. I used to like writing Black Floki best. He’s just so dark and dangerous and good with his blades. He’d kill his own grandmother for the fluff-covered Werther’s Original in her coat pocket, and this lack of decency makes him fun to write. He seems fearless and just does not care for the rules of men or even, perhaps, the gods, and yet he has some sort of spiritual side in as much as he believes his wyrd - his fate - is woven into Sigurd’s own. Then of course I realised I enjoyed writing Sigurd so much that I wanted to base another series on him and how he became a jarl and a man who inspires others to pledge oaths of loyalty to him. But these days I really like writing Olaf. I like his slight cynicism when it comes to the gods. I enjoy his banter and the way he talks to his enemies and I think he is often the voice of reason and experience in the face of some of the other men’s rash bravado. I also like that even among a crew that includes Black Floki, Svein and Bram the Bear, you wouldn’t bet against Olaf being the last man standing if it came down to it. I like to think experience counts for a lot.


What can you say about your next project?

My work-in-progress, LANCELOT: The Betrayal, is my take on the Arthurian myth. What makes it so different from anything else I know of is that it tells Lancelot’s story, not Arthur’s or

Merlin’s, but Lancelot’s. He is, after all, the great warrior. The famous lover. The betrayer. We see the world through his eyes, man and boy, and his journey will be our journey. His inner conflicts will be our conflicts, his battles our battles.

Set in a 5th century sub-Roman Britain besieged by invading warbands of Saxons and Franks, Irish and Picts, this will be a tale of love, lust, guilt and tragedy. It will be earthy yet spiritual. It will be imbued with pagan beliefs and the associated ‘magic’ of divination, spirit-flight and incantation, but there will not be dragons.


What would you say is the most valuable lesson you've learned about writing?

This is a lesson not so much about writing but about the business of writing – and that is: there’s nothing, or at least very little, I can do about what happens after the book is written and published. So, for instance, when I receive emails from angry readers who want to know when book III of the RAVEN saga is going to be translated into Spanish (for whatever reason the Spanish publisher has so far only bought books I and II); when readers mail me to say that this Waterstones or that Waterstones doesn’t have my new book in stock (alas, nothing I can do); when some of my ebooks are available in the U.S. while others are not (all to do with the licensing agreements); when audiobook listeners complain that they can’t find my audiobook on CD, or else they can only find it on CD (depends what deals have been done); when someone doesn’t like the image on the cover of the book (ultimately the publisher’s decision); or when they think a book is too expensive (I don’t set the price); or when the map on the ebook is not big enough (not my area); or when Amazon doesn’t deliver the book fast enough or the box it comes in is damaged so they give me a bad review (seriously); however frustrating all this stuff can be, there’s really not much I can do about it. I guess this is the double-edged sword of being available via all the social media platforms. It upsets me when a would-be reader can’t find my book in a branch of Waterstones, and I do tend to pass the info on to my publisher, but I must try to not let it bring me down, because it’s out of my control. All I can do is try to write the best book I can, then be available to my readers should they want to get in touch. That is what I am trying to learn.




When you're working on a project, what is your biggest flaw and likely to cause delays?

The enticing black hole that is social media. On the one hand it’s amazing to be able to chat to readers and other writers about books or the business or whatever. After all, being an author can be lonely and intense and very, very quiet, so Facebook and Twitter go some way to making up for that. Also, from a business perspective, social media is the way by which we authors, who are, after all, running our own small businesses, can interact with our customers and publicise our work.

And yes, it’s all too easy to let social media, or the internet generally, lead us toward temptation and procrastination. Writing can be hard work. Chatting to friends or looking up medieval recipes for mead is fun. The trouble is that both involve the same keys and the same screen, which are both within arm’s reach. I mean, who hasn’t started Googling images of Iron Age hill forts only to be sucked into a wormhole where you find yourself looking at pictures of supposed ghosts captured on camera, then end up buying a pair of shoes and checking Leicester City’s position in the league? Or is that just me?

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Rise of Sigurd 3: Wings of the Storm - Giles Kristian

Release Date: 01/12/16
Publisher: Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:

Fighting in Sweden for an ambitious warlord, Sigurd Haraldarson and his small but loyal band of oathsworn warriors are winning fame and reputation. But Sigurd knows that to take on his hated enemy, the oath-breaker King Gorm - the man who betrayed his father, a man Sigurd has vowed to kill - he must earn riches enough to build an army.
Many believe Sigurd to be Óðin-favoured, but his exploits have drawn the eye of another god, too: Loki the Trickster, and when a daring assassination attempt goes wrong, Sigurd finds himself a prisoner of the powerful Jarl Guthrum. Bound like a slave, his luck having seemingly deserted him, Sigurd is taken to the sacred temple at Ubsola, a place where the blood of human sacrifice flows to appease the gods.
It is at Ubsola that Sigurd will face the sacrificial knife. And it is here that he will find a powerful relic, the great spear that was said to have once belonged to Óðin himself. With such a spear in his possession Sigurd might now assemble a host strong enough to challenge King Gorm and wreak the revenge he craves.

For, like Óðin, Sigurd will be the Wild Huntsman tearing through the sky on his fearsome steed, and the rage of his passing will be the sound of wings of the storm.

With Wings of the Storm, one of our finest young historical novelists brings his extraordinary Viking saga - an adventure to that is sure to satisfy any 'Game of Thrones' fan - to a triumphant close


REVIEW:

The final book in the Rise of Sigurd series and one, as usual with Giles, will grab you from the beginning and not let go until that final page is turned. The writing is crisp, the warfare brutal and bloody which when blended with Giles' own unique storytelling style, generates a book that is a triumph and for me, his best to date.

Back this up with great dialogue, norse mythology alongside some magical twists and all round you'll be in for a treat. If you know a fan of the viking and they haven't yet picked up this series, it is a great gift that they;ll devour this holiday season during the cold winter months. Magic.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

ALTERNATE URBAN FANTASY: The Dark Gifts Trilogy 1: Gilded Cage

Release Date: 01/12/16
Publisher: Pan

SYNOPSIS:

Britain's magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years - and now it's the Hadleys' turn. Abi Hadley is assigned to England's most ruthless noble family. The secrets she uncovers could win her freedom - or break her heart. Her brother Luke is enslaved in a brutal factory town, where new friends' ideals might cost him everything.

Then while the elite vie for power, a young aristocrat plots to remake the world with his dark gifts. As Britain moves from anger to defiance, all three must take sides. And the consequences of their choices will change everything, forever.


REVIEW:

Finding something unique and new is always a gem, and after hearing good things about it from a friend in publishing, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this title. After all, whats not to love about an Alternate reality Victorian novel where the rich hold sway over the indentured poor.

The writing is delightful, fits into the time period wonderfully and helps bring the past to life as the tale moves along at its own pace. The prose charmingly descriptive and when added to dialogue alongside a huge overall arc, makes this a series to watch in my opinion.

Back this up with a unique authorly voice and characters that I've loved to spend time with, all round made this a tale I savoured. I can't wait to see what is next to come.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Historical Fiction Review: The Long Road 6: Rage of Ares - Christian Cameron

Release Date: 20/10/16
Publisher: Orion

SYNOPSIS:

Arimnestos of Plataea was one of the heroes of the Battle of Marathon, in which the heroic Greeks halted the invading Persians in their tracks, and fought in the equally celebrated naval battle at Salamis.

But even these stunning victories only served to buy the Greeks time, as the Persians gathered a new army, returning with overwhelming force to strike the final killing blow.

For the Greeks, divided and outnumbered, there was only one possible strategy: attack. And so, in the blazing summer of 479 BC, Arimnestos took up his spear one final time at the Battle of Plataea.


REVIEW:

Christian is an author that I always love to pick up and spend time with. I'm guaranteed a cracking story with top notch characters and a level of believability that just transports me to the time period concerned. Here in this final tale in Christian's Long War series we're treated to an epic battle, delightful descriptive prose and all topped off with a principle character that just helps to drive the plot forward. All round a magical experience and for me, if you're looking for a series to pick up for that historical fiction fan in your life, pick up this ancient greek saga. Its an epic that will entertain the spirit of Homer.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Shadow Police 3: Who Killed Sherlock Holmes - Paul Cornell

Release Date: 19/05/16
Publisher:  Pan Macmillan/Tor

SYNOPSIS:

The Great Detective's ghost has walked London's streets for an age, given shape by people's memories. Now someone's put a ceremonial dagger through his chest. But what's the motive? And who - or what - could kill a ghost?

When policing London's supernatural underworld, eliminating the impossible is not an option. DI James Quill and his detectives have learnt this the hard way. Gifted with the Sight, they'll pursue a criminal genius - who'll lure them into a Sherlockian maze of clues and evidence. The team also have their own demons to fight. They've been to Hell and back (literally) but now the unit is falling apart . . .


REVIEW:

OK I missed out the second book in the Shadow Police series but I do remember enjoying the first, so when it landed I thought it would be a great bit of fun alongside escapism to get away from the real world.

What Paul does well is bring his comic book background to the fore. The story has some cracking twists, good solid prose and backed with a principle character I fully enjoyed spending time with.

Its defintiely a series that is coming into its own and with Paul's ability to tell a story that just hooks you in really delivers. Magic



Saturday, 19 November 2016

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Spin Trilogy 1: Creation Machine - Andrew Bannister

Release Date: 19/05/16
Publisher:  Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:

It is the aftermath of civil war in the vast pageant of planets and stars known as The Spin. Three years since he crushed the rebellion, Viklun Haas, industrialist and leader of the Hegemony, is eliminating all remnants of the opposition. Starting with his own daughter.
But Fleare Haas, fighter for Society Otherwise has had a long time to plan her next move. Sprung from her remote monastery prison and reuniting with a team of loyal friends, Fleare’s journey will take her across The Spin to the cluster of fallen planets known as the The Catastrophe Curve - and from exile, to the very frontiers of war.
Meanwhile, in the brutal and despotic empire of The Fortunate, word is reaching viceroy Alameche of a most unusual piece of plunder from their latest invasion. For hundreds of millions of years, the bizarre planets and stars of The Spin itself have been the only testament to the god-like engineers that created it. Now, buried in the earth of a ruined planet, one of their machines has been found . . .


REVIEW:

This is a title that has taken me quite a while to get round to and then after reading, I had to take my time to get my thoughts together about it. Its not that its a book that I hated but there were elements that worked well and then the problem area's for me.

Firstly lets concentrate on the good. What Andrew does well is create a universe that feels not only realistic but one that you'd love to explore, the action sequences are well constructed and of course the prose works for the space opera title very well.

However for me the major problems I had with the book is principly to do with the characters. The support cast were littl emore than 2d stereotypes and the lead for me was a spoilt, arogant stuck up little princess who I absolutely hated and could find absolutely no common ground with to form a bond. OK, thats harsh but its a bugbear of mine. I need people I want to root for to stand beside as we travel the stars.

All round a book that whilst i saw potential was one that whilst I have made a note of the author to look at future series is not a place I wish to return to any time soon.



Friday, 18 November 2016

FANTASY REVIEW: The Defenders of Shannara: The Sorcerers Daughter - Terry Brooks

Release Date: 26/05/16
Publisher: Orbit

SYNOPSIS:

Blood and magic will collide . . .

Leofur is the daughter of Arcannen - a power-hungry sorcerer prepared to use the blackest of magic to get what he wants.

But she is also devoted to Arcannen's nemesis, Paxon Leah - sworn protector of the Druids who defend the Four Lands against evil.

When the Druids are forced to flee, having been framed for a murderous rampage which leaves many dead, Paxon knows that the evil sorcerer Arcannen is behind it. As the Druids seek sanctuary, Leofur sets out on a perilous quest to thwart her father's desires to destroy them all .


REVIEW:

There are some fantasy authors that just seem to be gifted to tell stories filled with magic creating a world that whilst unlike our own in some circumstances has heavily taken cataclysmic turns that help to generate something unique. So it is with terry's series and to be honest whilst I'm not a fan of the TV series, I am addicted to his writing.

As with Terry's other titles, the writing is crisp, full of adventure and delivers a wonderful tale that will take you away from our reality. The dialogue works wonderfully well for me and when backed with a principle character that I just loved to spend time with magically transported me away from Earth for a few hours returning me at the tales sated as well as wondering what the hell had happened to the time. (I suspect a time difference as I felt like I spent days there only to return a few hours later Earth time.)

All round a cracking read and another gem for Terry's collection.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

SCI-FI HORROR/COMEDY REVIEW: Hunters and Collectors - M Suddain

Release Date: 07/07/16
Publisher:  Jonathan Cape

SYNOPSIS:

John Tamberlain is The Tomahawk, the universe’s most feared food critic – though he himself prefers the term ‘forensic gastronomer’. He’s on a quest, in search of the much-storied Hotel Grand Skies, a secretive and exclusive haven where the rich and famous retreat to bask in perfect seclusion. A place where the waiters know their fish knife from their butter knife, their carotid from their subclavian artery, and are trained to enforce the house rules with brutal efficiency.

Blurring the lines between detective story, horror and sci-fi, Hunters & Collectors is a mesmeric trip into the singular imagination of M. Suddain – a freewheeling talent whose poise, invention and sensational sentences have already earned him comparisons to Vonnegut, Pynchon and Douglas Adams.


REVIEW:

Let me start out by saying this, this is a book that really defies description or classification as its just so off the charts that once you think you've gotten a handle on whats happening a curve ball hits you from out of nowhere taking you on a different path. OK, so its not going to be a book for everyone and to be honest I had a hell of a time getting into it and getting to understand how the character dynamics would work within. But once you get past that its a journey unlike any other.

It is definitely quirky, is character driven with three stunning leads (and whilst its technically one principle player if you read the title you'll understand why I class three people as leads) and generates a Sci-Fi Horror Journey into something that the only title out there that might be brought in is Adam's Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It truly is that unique.

Back this up with solid dialogue that works wonderfully well, good use of prose and a writing style that will either have you loving or hating it and all round its a book that I'd suggest reading for the experience. All round definitely unique and for me, that alone is worth taking the time to read. Magic.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Alan Dean Foster

Release Date: 27/09/16
Publisher: Del Rey

SYNOPSIS:

More than thirty years ago, Star Wars burst onto the big screen and became a cultural phenomenon. Now the next adventures in this blockbuster saga are poised to captivate old and new fans alike beginning with the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And alongside the cinematic debut comes the thrilling novel adaptation by New York Times bestselling science fiction master Alan Dean Foster.
Set years after Return of the Jedi, this stunning new action-packed adventure rockets us back into the world of Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Luke Skywalker, while introducing a host of exciting new characters. Darth Vader may have been redeemed and the Emperor vanquished, but peace can be fleeting, and evil does not easily relent. Yet the simple belief in good can still empower ordinary individuals to rise and meet the greatest challenges.
So return to that galaxy far, far away, and prepare yourself for what happens when the Force awakens. . . .


REVIEW:

Book adaptations of films are always tricky. They either get it right or they feel so stinted that you're left wondering why they attempted it in the first place as the sentences are not only clipped but to the point and almost childish.

Whilst this is the first Star War's film adaptation for quite some time, for me I feel that the selection of Alan was the right one. He knows how to bring characters across wonderfully, gives the reader the chance to see the emotional inner workings alongside consequences of choices and keeps the tale moving at a solid pace whilst giving you all the action alongside tension of a film.

All round a good adaptation and one that I read way before seeing the film for the first time. Cracking.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Eagles of Rome: Hunting the Eagles - Ben Kane

Release Date: 25/08/16
Publisher: Arrow

SYNOPSIS:

JUSTICE , HONOUR, REVENGE

AD 14: Five long years have passed since the annihilation of three legions in the wilds of Germania.

Demoted, battle-scarred and hell-bent on revenge, Centurion Tullus and his legionaries begin their fightback. Ranged against them is the charismatic chieftan Arminius, determined to crush the Romans for a second time.

Convinced that the eagle belonging to his old legion is close at hand, Tullus drives ever deeper into enemy lands.

But with Arminius and his warriors closing in on the Romans, a murderous battle is about to begin…


REVIEW:

Ah, Ben Kane, a guilty pleasure of historical fiction and an author that i just love to spend time with, as his gritty war torn tales not only deliver what I want from the Historical Fiction point of view but also contains practical archaeology within as he's a man who has not only walked the Hadrian's Wall route but also to Italy in full Roman armour.

It all comes together within his work and when you add cracking principle characters to top notch dialogue that twists historical facts into a story that you don't want to break from all round gives you a story that is a pure gem to read.

Finally throw into the mix, some top notch sleight of hand and a writing style that puts you right in the thick of it and all round I was a more than happy reader. Magic.

Monday, 14 November 2016

SCIENCE FICTION ALTERNATE HISTORY REVIEW: The Road to Moscow 2: The Oceans of Time - David Wingrove

Release Date: 07/04/16
Publisher: Del Rey

SYNOPSIS:

Part Two of The Roads to Moscow

The War For Time Continues.

From the frozen tundra of 13th Century Russia to the battle of Paltava in 1709 and beyond, Otto Behr has waged an unquestioning, unending war across time for his people.

But now a third unidentified power has joined the game across the ocean of time, and everything Otto holds dear could be unmade...


REVIEW:

OK I'm going to keep this simple, if you haven't read the first book The Roads of Time, then don't even think about picking up this title. Yes its a seperate tale but you have to have a good understanding of the twists and turns of what has gone before for this title to make sense and for you to see how the author manipulates time alongside events in constantly changing events as two sides vie for what they beleive is right.

It is a very complex novel and once you've wrapped your head around a good few of the concepts is one that you will more than likely enjoy as the characters really do help make it all beleivable. Its pretty twisty in a weird, to quote Dr Who "Timey Wimey" sort of way and you, at times, have to see this more as a three d or in some cases 4d game of chess played by the unseen hands of the two sides.

For me this is a title that I'm more than happy I spent time with but lets just say that I shoul dbe thanking some deities that I reread the original just before otherwise I may have gotten lost due tot he complexity. Cracking.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

THRILLER REVIEW: Vanishing Games - Roger Hobbs

Release Date: 19/03/16
Publisher: Corgi

SYNOPSIS:

The perfect blend of a Lee Child novel and a Quentin Tarantino film, this is the latest from the bestselling author of GHOSTMAN.

I work alone.

I may be the best thief in the world but no one will ever know a single thing about me. Well, almost no one.

A lifetime ago I had a mentor, Angela. She taught me how to be a criminal, how to run a heist.

And now, six years after she vanished and left me high and dry on a job in Kuala Lumpur, she’s sent me an SOS.

Or at least I think it’s her. If it is, then I've got to go. I owe her that much.

So soon I'll be on a plane to Macau, either to see a friend or walk into a trap. Or both.

But that's the way I like it. Sometimes the only thing that makes me happy is risking my life.

Time to go.


REVIEW:

There are times when you want a book that isn't going to hurt your brain when you read it as you try to remember all the twists and turns alongside who's betrayed who and double dealt with whom throughout. So I was more than happy when this title landed. Not that its a bad thing to have a simpler plot but it does allow you to concentrate on giving the reader what they want, in this case high octane action with great kick ass sequences and characters that have stepped right out of a film set to keep the story moving forward.

Yes its not going to win anything for complexity but for me, getting onto a title where I'm allowed to just drift away in an almost computer game cornacopia tale of action more than sated my spirit having gone through quite a few more complex titles recently. All round, the characters are solid, the book does wht it promises and when you throw into the mix a cracking overall arc, I was a more than satisfied reader. Great stuff.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

THRILLER REVIEW: John Hart 3: The Templar Succession - Mario Reading

Release Date: 07/04/16
Publisher: Corvus

SYNOPSIS:

1998. Kosovo is in the grip of civil war, and John Hart is an aspiring photojournalist determined to capture the devastating scenes. On his mission to shed light on the atrocities he discovers a house where women are enslaved purely for the pleasure of the Serbian soldiers. Hart risks his own life to free the imprisoned women.

2015. John Hart has his world turned upside down when he is left to care for a young woman - the daughter of one of the women he freed that fateful day in Kosovo. She is determined to track down the man known as the Captain: a war criminal, and her father. Unable to turn his back on the girl, Hart sets out to find the Captain. His quest takes him across Europe and into Africa where, on an isolated plateau in the mountains of Ethiopia, he confronts the man who shows no remorse, and no regard for life...


REVIEW:

I love a story that takes you on a journey and in this outing, John Hart returns to take on a mission that not only has repercussions from the characters own past but allows the reader to take the emotional journey with him.

The writing is pretty addicitive and with top notch action sequences (although some are quite bloody) the reader is treated to a Thriller that delivers on all angles. Finally throw into the mix a wonderful set of circumstances, a solid story arc and all round I was a more than happy reader

Friday, 11 November 2016

SCIENCE FICTION DYSTOPIAN REVIEW: Australia 2 and 3: Long Dark Dusk and Dark Made Dawb - James P Smythe

Release Date: 07/04/16
Publisher:  Hodder

SYNOPSIS:

***SEQUEL TO THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD SHORTLISTED NOVEL WAY DOWN DARK***

The moment she learned the horrible truth about her life on Australia, the derelict ship overrun with violent gangs, Chan Aitch made it her mission to save everyone she could from their fate worse than death. But her efforts were in vain. Now, everyone she cares about is dead or in prison, and Chan is more alone than ever before.

As the only person to have escaped Australia's terrible crash-landing back to Earth, Chan is now living in poverty on the fringes of a huge city. She believes Mae, the little girl she once rescued on the Australia, is still alive - but she has no idea where Mae is, or how to find her. Everything on Earth is strange and new, and Chan has never felt more lost.

But she'll do whatever it takes to find Mae, even if it means going to prison herself. She's broken out of prison before. How hard could it be to do it again?


REVIEW:

Having loved the original title in the Australia series, I couldn't wait to return to see what the author would do with the not only the world but the characters that inhabit it. I shouldn't have worried as the tale continues in its own way concentrating on the principle character of the original novel.

The prose is solid, the pace fast enough to get your blood up and with dialogue to keep you glued you really get to know the people of James' work pretty well. They're not just after thought, each feels fleshed out and for me, thats the sign of a good book. Back this up with an overall arc that continues to deliver and all round I was a more than happy reader.




Release Date: 06/10/16
Publisher: Hodder

SYNOPSIS:

THE EPIC SERIES BEGAN WITH WAY DOWN DARK, SHORTLISTED FOR THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD.

IT CONTINUED WITH LONG DARK DUSK.

IT CONCLUDES... NOW.

There was one truth on Australia, the derelict ship on which Chan was born and raised: you fight or you die. Usually both.

But everything on Australia was a lie. Abandoned and alone, Chan was forced to live a terrible existence on the fringes of society, Australia's only survivor after a terrible crash-landing on Earth.

But Chan discovered she was not alone. Together with the unlikeliest of allies, Chan carved out a place for herself on Earth. And now the time has come: she's finally found a reason to keep going. But friends have become enemies, and enemies have become something worse. It's time for Chan to create her own truths, and discover a life beyond fighting and death.

A life beyond Australia.


REVIEW:

The final part of the Australia series and having loved the previous titles I really couldn't wait to see how the series would end. After all in the final book all bets are off as to not only survivability but also as to how the author will round up a lot of the loose threads/

What James does well is keep the characters moving forward, the events of the past having not only shaped them but aided in them becoming friends of the reader. The dialogue is crisp, the prose a joy to read as they have been throughout the series and all round, for me, I was treated to a tale that made me more than pleased I read the others not so long ago in order to help keep events fresh. All round a great series and one I'd reommend for anyone looking for not only a dystopican title but one that centres around believable characters, something that can get lost when you step into the far future. Magic.



Thursday, 10 November 2016

FANTASY REVIEW: Children Trilogy 2: Leviathan's Blood - Ben Peek

Release Date: 07/04/16
Publisher:  Pan Macmillan/Tor

SYNOPSIS:

A new god has risen.
The immortal Zaifyr has arrived at the Floating Cities in chains, to await trial for murder. Despite this, he's preparing for war against a new child god - for she will do anything to destroy those who stand in her way.

A city has fallen.
Ayae must fight to protect the survivors, and finds herself ensnared in a web of political intrigue. She'll find politics can be as lethal as any sword, and hers is not the only life at stake.

A warrior has arrived.
Across the ocean, the exile Bueralan returns home. And he's bearing a dead man's soul around his neck. God-touched and grief-stricken, he treads a dangerous path. He'll confront a legendary fighter . . . and discover a secret that will change the world.


REVIEW:

The second book in the series and to be honest its been a long time in coming. Not that I'm a bad person, just when I enjoy a book I do get impatient waiting to see what will happen next, whilst at the same time worrying that the book won't be as polished as the original.

That worry was quickly laid to rest upon picking up this title. As with the original (The Godless), the writing is delightful, the prose nicely sharp and with an underlying overall arc opening up allows the reader to see the overall brushstrokes without seeing the final picture. As with the first, Ben plays for keeps and death is always a close companion. Finally throw into the mix, characters who just fly off the page into your imagination all round generates a series that if you love fantasy, is a great one to get into. Trust me you won't be disappointed, but it is going to be a wait for the final outing and if you're as imaptient as me, that at times, can be quite a bad thing.



Wednesday, 9 November 2016

FACTUAL REVIEW: Breakdown: THe Crisis of Shell Shock on the Somme 1916 - Taylor Downing

Release Date: 07/04/16
Publisher:  Little Brown

SYNOPSIS:

Paralysis. Stuttering. The 'shakes'. Inability to stand or walk. Temporary blindness or deafness.

When strange symptoms like these began appearing in men at Casualty Clearing Stations in 1915, a debate began in army and medical circles as to what it was, what had caused it and what could be done to cure it. But the numbers were never large.

Then in July 1916 with the start of the Somme battle the incidence of shell shock rocketed. The high command of the British army began to panic. An increasingly large number of men seemed to have simply lost the will to fight. As entire battalions had to be withdrawn from the front, commanders and military doctors desperately tried to come up with explanations as to what was going wrong. 'Shell shock' - what we would now refer to as battle trauma - was sweeping the Western Front.

By the beginning of August 1916, nearly 200,000 British soldiers had been killed or wounded during the first month of fighting along the Somme. Another 300,000 would be lost before the battle was over. But the army always said it could not calculate the exact number of those suffering from shell shock. Re-assessing the official casualty figures, Taylor Downing for the first time comes up with an accurate estimate of the total numbers who were taken out of action by psychological wounds. It is a shocking figure.

Taylor Downing's revelatory new book follows units and individuals from signing up to the Pals Battalions of 1914, through to the horrors of their experiences on the Somme which led to the shell shock that, unrelated to weakness or cowardice, left the men unable to continue fighting. He shines a light on the official - and brutal - response to the epidemic, even against those officers and doctors who looked on it sympathetically. It was, they believed, a form of hysteria. It was contagious. And it had to be stopped.

Breakdown brings an entirely new perspective to bear on one of the iconic battles of the First World War.


REVIEW:

I've always looked at footage from the Great War and seen the pride of those marching off to war vs the faces of fear of those who returned and whilst I knew about Shell Shock, a lot of what I understood was sadly that it was just the result of the conditions that the men were forced to suffer.

Yes its a pretty naive point of view and thanks to this book by Taylor Downing, I've gotten to see how it affecrted the best known battlefield of the first world war, the Somme. Within this title is an indepth look into the condition, through the eyes of three very different cases, a private, a doctor and a brigadier and its amazing to see the differences in how each were treated. The book is more of a medical commentary on the great war and its effects and whilst its always difficult reading, the way in which the subject matter is approached is comprehensible, understandable and of course very thorough.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

SUPERNATURAL CRIME THRILLER: Charles Horton 4: The Detective and the Devil - Lloyd Shepherd

Release Date: 23/04/16
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster

SYNOPSIS:

‘What impresses me most is Lloyd’s ability to bring big themes into the weave of the story and yet keep to the underlying threads of an astonishingly good detective novel. Such a magnificent writer’ Manda Scott

‘This is historical crime fiction at its very best’ Shots

From the author of the acclaimed historical thriller Savage Magic comes The Detective and the Devil, a riveting tale of villainy, alchemy and murder.

London, 1815: Constable Charles Horton of the River Police Office is called to investigate the brutal murder of a clerk and his family in London's East End. Horton's investigation draws him into the secretive world of the East India Company, which will stop at nothing to protect the secrets of its vast empire. What is the Company hiding, and why are its employees disappearing - particularly those linked to the small island of St Helena? The trail takes Horton and his wife Abigail from the steps of John Dee's house in Mortlake to the lonely South Atlantic, on the trail of a killer who seems to be the very Devil.


REVIEW:

The fourth outing for Charles Horton and a book that delightfully continues his "war" against the dark forces that beset this superntural crime thriller.

The prose is solid, the dialogue wonderfully rich and when you throw into the mix a principle character that you love to spend time around as he goes about his duty all round makes this a book that was a sheer delight to read. Whilst you can pick this up with no knowledge of what has gone before, I would suggest that you start from the beginning to get the fuller picture and with the holiday period fast approaching, could be a good time to order the lot for one hell of an adventure to get you away from the ensuing chaos it inevitably brings.

Monday, 7 November 2016

SCIENCE FICTION DYSTOPIAN REVIEW: Too Like the Lightning - Rob Palmer

Release Date: 10/05/16
Publisher:  Tor

SYNOPSIS:

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer--a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competion is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destablize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life...


REVIEW:

A book that is quite unlike any other out there as its not only a wlel written story but a social commentary on modern society and to be honest is a book that you really have to take your time with to make sure that you don't miss some of the details that become crucial later on.

Throw into the mix a well designed culture, a believable world and of course an overall arc that not only delivers but keeps the reader guessing all round makes this a book that whilst at times hard to read, a title that you'll be more than pleased that you completed it. Stunning.



Sunday, 6 November 2016

FANTASY SHORT STORY COMPENDIUM: Sharp Ends: Tales from the World of First Law - Joe Abercrombie

Release Date: 26/04/16
Publisher:  Gollancz

SYNOPSIS:

The Union army may be full of bastards, but there's only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.
Curnden Craw and his dozen are out to recover a mysterious item from beyond the Crinna. Only one small problem: no one seems to know what the item is.

Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria, lurches from disaster to catastrophe alongside her best friend and greatest enemy, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.

And after years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There's only one obstacle left - his own lunatic champion, the most feared man in the North: the Bloody-Nine . . .

Sharp Ends combines previously published, award-winning tales with exclusive new short stories. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue's gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law.


REVIEW:

In fantasy, there are some authors that just automatically make it ot the top o fmy reading pile, and one such is Joe Abercrombie. I love his gritty writing style, the characters he brings together and of course the high octane action sequences that just leave you breathless demanding more.

The prose is always blade sharp and at the end of the day with this much kick assery between the pages you really are guaranteed a cracking bang for your buck. Now whilst this is a bit of a departure from his normal work, this title is ideal travel fodder or just the ideal material to take you away from the real world during your breaks. Each tale is carefully thought out, delivers what you expect from Joe and all round leaves you sated . Cracking.



Saturday, 5 November 2016

ALTERNATE HISTORY REVIEW: Children of Eath and Sky - Guy Gavriel Kay

Release Date: 12/05/16
Publisher:  Hodder

SYNOPSIS:

Guy Gavriel Kay, bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, once again visits a world that evokes one that existed in our own past, this time the tumultuous period of Renaissance Europe-a world on the verge of war, where ordinary lives play out in the grand scheme of kingdoms colliding.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates , a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the Grand Khalif at his request-and possibly to do more-and a beautiful oman, posing as a doctor's wife in her role of a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the clever younger son of a merchant family -with ambivalence about the life he's been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif-to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates-and those of many others-will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world...


REVIEW:

If you love alternate history you at one point have to have tried Guy Gavriel Kay. The writing is delightfully crisp, the prose sharp and when you get right down to it all the books interlink with this one throwing out a lot of references to previous titles.

Its got something for everyone with characters that you just love to spend time with. Top notch dialogue and all wrapped up with a pace that is masterfully done. FInally add to this an overall arc that is not only beautifully creative but takes the reader upon one hel lo fa journey. Cracking.

Friday, 4 November 2016

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Chronicles of the Invaders 3: Dominion - John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard

Release Date: 28/07/16
Publisher:  Headline

SYNOPSIS:

DOMINION is the epic follow-up to CONQUEST and EMPIRE in the Chronicles of the Invaders series by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard. Fans of Pittacus Lore and Veronica Roth will be entranced.

They have cheated death.

Defied their people.

Changed beyond recognition.

Their love has survived the impossible.

But now they must learn to trust again:
the future of their worlds depends on it.


REVIEW:

Sadly the end of this series and to be honest it was one that I not only enjoyed but devoured with every single outing as both John and Jennifer masterfully wove a tale of complexities, emotional alongside physically trauma's whilst maintaining character integrity and believability.

The prose was always spot on, the high octane moments left you breathless and wihen that final page turned there was not only the feeling of elation but of loss for the tale had ended.
All round a cracking series and one that I really hope that you try. You won't be disappointed .

Thursday, 3 November 2016

SCIENCE FICTION MILITARY REVIEW: The Lazarus War 1: Artefact - Jamie Sawyer

Release Date: 25/02/16
Publisher:  Orbit

SYNOPSIS:

Artefact is book one of The Lazarus War, an explosive new space adventure series from one of the brightest new stars in science fiction - perfect for fans of The Edge of Tomorrow, Alien and James S. A. Corey's Expanse series. Jack Campbell, author of the Lost Fleet novels calls it 'a gripping read that moves at warp speed'.

Mankind has spread to the stars, only to become locked in warfare with an insidious alien race. All that stands against the alien menace are the soldiers of the Simulant Operation Programme, an elite military team remotely operating avatars in the most dangerous theatres of war.

Captain Conrad Harris has died hundreds of times - running suicide missions in simulant bodies. Known as Lazarus, he is a man addicted to death. So when a secret research station deep in alien territory suddenly goes dark, there is no other man who could possibly lead a rescue mission.

But Harris hasn't been trained for what he's about to find. And this time, he may not be coming back . . .

Artefact is an action-drenched tale of elite space marines, deep space exploration and galactic empires. Discover The Lazarus War - the thrilling new space opera series from one of the most exciting new voices in science fiction.


REVIEW:

If you like your Science Fiction Military novels, then this could be the start of a cracking series for you as Jamie brings an almost Dirty Dozenesque unit to the fore in a tale told from the chief protagonist's (Harris) point of view.

The writing is sharp, to the point (as you'd expect iwth a military type of book) with pace that only gives you a breather a good way into the title and then only to allow you to prepare for a kick ass ending. Back this up with solid dialogue and all round its a book that delviers a cracking yarn of daring do. Cracking.



Wednesday, 2 November 2016

CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: Frank Behr 4: Signature Kill - David Levien

Release Date: 11/02/16
Publisher:  

SYNOPSIS:

He's going to leave his mark on you

The gripping new Frank Behr novel from David Levien, author of City of the Sun. Perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and Chris Carter.

A corpse discovered. A woman. Dismembered. Twisted. Grotesquely reassembled.

This is the work of a dangerous, psychopathic serial killer. Soemone who goes about his daily business unseen, slipping under the radar.

And ex-cop Frank Behr has somehow got himself involved.

As Behr is drawn further and further in to the murky underworld, he finds that the line between good and evil is more blurry than he ever thought . . .


REVIEW:

If you're looking for a gory dark crimt thriller then David Levien is an author for you to try. The descriptive prose leaves you in no doubt about the twisted nature of the tales villain and whilst I have never been to Indianapolis I have to say that I could imagine the scenes pretty well.

The pace is delightfully fast, the action top notch and when backed by a character that, whilst on his fourth outing, is still fresh and complex, gives you something to thoroughly draw you in. All round a top not read. Magic.



FANTASY REVIEW: The Gaia Chronilcles 2: Rook Song - Naomi Foyle

Release Date: 05/02/16
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

SYNOPSIS:

Astra Ordott is in exile. Evicted from Is-Land for a crime she cannot regret, she has found work in an ancient fortress in Non-Land: headquarters of the Council of New Continents, the global body charged with providing humanitarian aid to the inhabitants of this toxic refugee camp.

Recovering from a disorienting course of Memory Pacification Treatment, Astra struggles to focus on her overriding goals - to find her Code father and avenge the death of her Shelter mother, Hokma.

But can the CONC compound director, the ambiguous Major Thames, protect her from the hawk-eyed attentions of her old enemies? And who in this world of competing agendas can she trust? The deeper Astra ventures into this new world, the more she realises her true quest may be to find herself.


REVIEW:

The second title in the Gaia Chronicles and one that works wonderfully well for me as a reader. Giving you the chance to explore the cultures within the world, the way that they all interact with each other and of course allows the reader to get to know each of the people on a personal level with their own unique voices.

The writing is crisp, the prose delightfully sharp and of course when you add into the mix some cracking twists alongside a principle character that you just can't help but love generates a book that not only takes you into the world but allows you to explore it without giving the reader any additional fluff that detracts from the tale. Top notch writing.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION DYSTOPIAN REVIEW: The Diabolic - S J Kincaid

Release Date: 01/11/16
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Childrens

SYNOPSIS:

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.
Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.
When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia – a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.
As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity inside her that is true and pure – more so than that of most humans she encounters. Amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life – and the empire.


REVIEW:

A YA title that to be honest is a book that took me a little bit to get into as I took a bit of time to adjust to a world where murder is so common that no one seems to care. Its dark, blighted dystopian future where every word has to be carefully guarded as death comes on swift wings for anyone who falls foul of the political machinations of matriarchal society of those in power.

Add to this principle characters who demonstrate how dependent they are upon one another, at times just making up a singular person in some respects and all round with solid dialogue makes this a book that whilst a stand alone could well become a film that will thrill as well as terrify a lot of cinema goers. Read it before the hype hits as to be honest getting ahead of the game is the order of the day especially when I suspect it will be a talking point for quite some time to come. Magic.

Monday, 31 October 2016

FANTASY REVIEW: Iskryne Trilogy 3: An Apprentice to Elves - Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette

Release Date: 13/10/15
Publisher: 

SYNOPSIS:

Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear return with the third book in their Iskryne trilogy, "An Apprentice to Elves." The trilogy began with "A Companion to Wolves," and continued in "The Tempering of Men." This novel picks up the story of Alfgyfa, a young woman who has been raised in the Wolfhall by her father Isolfr, who is the human leader of the queen-wolf Viridechtis' pack, and was the protagonist of the first book.

The warrior culture of Iskryne forbids many things to women-and most especially it forbids them bonding to one of the giant telepathic trellwolves. But as her father was no ordinary boy, Alfgyfa is no ordinary girl. Her father has long planned to send his daughter to Tin, a matriarch among the elves who live nearby, to be both apprentice and ambassador, and now she is of age to go.


REVIEW:

I love a story that takes me away and that's exactly what this title from Elizabeth and Sarah did for me. The writing is crisp, you can't see a change in writing styles from where each author added their own work and the whole story is cohesive with cracking prose.

Back this up with some solid dialogue, a superb cast of supporting characters alongside a lead that really has you loving your time with her especially when she's amongst an "alien" culture, all round makes this a book that was a pure joy to spend time with. Magic

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Mafia 3 - Take 2

Release Date:  07/10/16
Publisher:  Take 2

SYNOPSIS:

After years of combat in Vietnam, Lincoln Clay knows this truth: family isn't who you’re born with, it’s who you die for. When his surrogate family, the black mob, is wiped out by the Italian Mafia, Lincoln builds a new family and blazes a path of military-grade revenge through the Mafioso responsible.

New Bordeaux, a reimagined new Orleans

A vast open world ruled by the mob and detailed with the sights and sounds of the era.

A lethal anti-hero

Be Lincoln Clay, orphan and Vietnam veteran hell bent on revenge for the deaths of his surrogate family

Revenge your way

Choose your own play-style; brute force, blazing guns or stalk-and-kill tactics, to tear down the Italian Mafia

A new family, in the ashes of the old

Build a new criminal empire your way by deciding which lieutenants you reward, and which you betray



REVIEW:

This is a game that I've been looking forward to for quite some time. I loved the way the way that they built up the release through the adverts, brought good story telling to the fore and perhaps best of all, utilised cracking music from the time period.

What unfurled sadly was a game that was a bit half baked and whilst the storyline was compelling, it felt like the whole thing was a little too repetitive with very little options available for the gamer.

The vehicles were sluggish and whilst I do accept that this was a problem of the cars at the time, I would have bene fine with better control and being able to feel like i was Steve McQueen in Bullet flying round the corners and outrunning Police. What you got however was foot down, crash bang, wallop, followed by the gamer swearing as the Police plowed in and blew the living hell out of you. Thats no way for a game to behave.

Add to this an auto aim that was leff than helpful and huge losses to finances when you died (which was often) all round left the game feeling a little flat. A great shame as it was a title that I'd had high hopes for this year.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Falconer 2: The Vanishing Throne - Elizabeth May

Release Date: 19/11/15
Publisher: Gollancz

SYNOPSIS:

First the fae murdered my mother. Then they destroyed my world.

Now I'm fighting for more than revenge.

Aileana took a stand against the Wild Hunt, and she lost everything: her home, her family and her friends. Held captive by her enemy, and tormenting herself over her failure, escape seems like only the faintest possibility. But when she gets her chance, she seizes it . . . to rejoin a world devastated by war.

The future is bleak. Hunted by the fae, running for her life, Aileana has only a few options left. Trying to become part of a society scarred by - and hiding from - the Wild Hunt; trusting that a fragile alliance with the fae will save her; or walking the most dangerous path at all: coming in to her own powers as the last of the Falconers . . .


REVIEW:

OK, I read the original and thought that it was a solid enough title, but even after a reread, this one left me feeling like I didn't have a clue as to where I was with the whole story let alone the lead character as the story started in not only a weird place but took me quite a while to figure out.

That is a bad thing for me as a reader as I'm trying to make sense of something without really concentrating on whats happening at that point. You miss things, you also have trouble reattaching to characters and that can completely destroy the readers trust in the story which as a result means that they won't form the attachment that is required to help you care.

All round a book that because of my problems was one that I really didn't care for and at the end of the day left me feeling cheated and confused. Not a good thing.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Down 2: The WHite City - Simon Morden

Release Date: 27/10/16
Publisher:  Gollancz

SYNOPSIS:

Award-winning author Simon Morden's stunning quest continues, unravelling magic and uncovering secrets on the way . . .

LET'S FACE IT, NONE OF US DESERVE TO BE SAVED.

Since escaping London's inferno, Mary and Dalip have fought monsters and won - though in the magical world of Down, the most frightening monsters come from within.

Now they hold the greatest of treasures: maps that reveal the way to the White City, where they can find the answers they're looking for, and learn the secrets of Down.

But to get there they must rely on Crows, who has already betrayed them at every turn. As they battle their way towards the one place in all of Down without magic, they must ask themselves how far they will go to find their way home.

After all, if there's one thing the White City offers those brave enough to enter, it's more than they bargained for.

SIMON MORDEN'S DOWN STATION WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY QUEST FOR MEANING AND IDENTITY. NOW HE'S LEADING US TO THE KIND OF TRUTHS THAT LEAVE US CHANGED.


REVIEW:

Having found the previous outing Down Station, a bit of a let down due to the supporting cast, I picked up this book apprehensively hoping that with the world mainly set up that this one would concentrate on what for me were the weaker area's in order to allow me to fully enjoy my reading experience.

What occurred within I felt was more of the same sadly and whilst I was prepared for the supporting cast to let me down, I did find that the pacing problem that haunted the original was stil there leaving me feeling quite flat. I do love the authors creativity in bringing new worlds to life, I still love how he breathes life into his principle characters but with the same problems recurring again, I don't think I'll be continuing with this series and wait for his next series instead.



Friday, 28 October 2016

FANTASY REVIEW: Traitor's Son 4: A Plague of Swords - Miles Cameron

Release Date: 27/10/16
Publisher:  Gollancz

SYNOPSIS:

ONE ENEMY HAS FALLEN
A GREATER ONE REMAINS
NOW IT'S WAR . . .

The Red Knight withstood the full might of his enemy, and won the day. In a victory which will be remembered through the ages, he brought disparate factions together and turned them into allies against a more powerful foe than they had ever seen.

Now, he will need his allies more than ever.

Because behind one adversary hid another - one with allies of their own - whose goal was never to destroy Alba, but to distract the Kingdom while achieving his true aim. And whatever it is, it's probably not in the Red Knight's interest.

With one army defeated, now the Red Knight must fight again . . . and for every one of his allies there is a corresponding enemy. Spread out in different lands, and on sea, it will all come down to one last gamble. And to whether or not the Red Knight has guessed their foe's true intentions.

With each throw of the dice, everything could be lost .


REVIEW:

The fourth title in Miles' Traitor Son series and one that is building up for one hell of a conclusion in the final outing. As with Miles other books, the combat is not only historically acurate for the medieval period with the author himself having conducted quite a lot of practical research so that it all flows onto the page allowing it to feel organically developed.

Back this with a cracking overall arc, top notch prose and dlalogue that just trips from the page to allow you to feel fully immersed all round generates a book that is hard to put down. Finally throw into the mix a principle character that has foibles alongside positive traits and feels delighfully real which in turn gives this alternate world a delightfully realistic feeling. Magic.



Thursday, 27 October 2016

FANTASY REVIEW: The Lightbringer Quintology 4: The Blood Mirror - Brent Weeks

Release Date: 27/10/16
Publisher:  Orbit

SYNOPSIS:

The Blood Mirror is the action-packed new novel in the Lightbringer series by international bestseller Brent Weeks.

The Seven Satrapies have collapsed into four - and those are falling before the White King's armies.

Gavin Guille, ex-emperor, ex-Prism, ex-galley slave, formerly the one man who might have averted war, is now lost, broken and trapped in a prison crafted by his own magical genius. But Gavin has no magic at all. Worse, in this prison, he may not be alone.

Who will fight to prevent a tainted empire from becoming something even worse?


REVIEW:

The latest of Brents Lightbringer series (now set at a five book series rather than the original planned trilogy) and one that clearly proves why the series had to be extended. Whilst some will complain about the extension of the series, having read this book I can see why the publisher and Brent felt that they had to. Its got an organic feel and by allowing the series to continue to develop rather than rush an ending, they're treating the reader to an arc that will feel nicely rounded and give a greater view of the world as events allow it to develop.

As usual the writing is crisp, the characters not only believable but people you want to spend time around and when added to Brent's delightful prose that just trips from the page, delivers all round. Back this up with a great overall plot, alongside top notch dialogue and all round I'm more than a happy reader.