Review: THE LAST MORTAL BOND by Brian Staveley (Tor)

StaveleyB-CUT3-LastMortalBondUSThe highly-anticipated conclusion to the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy

DEATH IS NEAR, ARMIES ARE GATHERED, AND THE FUTURE RESTS ON A KNIFE-EDGE 

The Annurian Empire is losing a war on two fronts — and it’s unclear who’s in command. Adare is stationed in the thick of battle, calling herself Emperor. However, she can’t hold back the nomadic Urghul forces forever. She needs her brilliant general, Ran il Tornja, but will he betray her again?

Adare’s brother Kaden is the true heir, yet he’ll accept a republic to save his divided people. And he faces something more terrible than war. He’s unmasked Ran il Tornja as a remnant of an ancient race, one that attempted to destroy mankind. The general now plans to finish what they started. Kaden has also discovered that capricious gods walk the earth in human guise — and their agendas may seal the fates of all.

In early 2014, I finally got around to reading Brian Staveley’s first two novelsThe Emperor’s Blades and The Providence of Fire. I was blown away — I read them back-to-back, which is something I haven’t done with a fantasy series since Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, and Peter V. Brett’s The Desert Spear and The Daylight War. Staveley’s writing, his characters, and the fantastically composed and paced narrative just pulled me through. I was hooked. I still think the two novels are a fantastic example of what modern fantasy can be. (Seriously, go read them.) I had a rather different reaction to The Last Mortal BondContinue reading

Upcoming: THE BOY ON THE BRIDGE by M.R. Carey (Orbit)

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Above is the cover for M.R. Carey‘s The Boy on the Bridge, the highly anticipated sequel to The Girl With All the Gifts (easily one of my favourite reads of 2013). Cover design by Duncan Spilling, photography by Stephen Mulcahey of Arcangel Images.

Here’s the novel’s brief synopsis:

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller, and has been adapted into a film starring Sennia Nanua, Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine.

The Boy on The Bridge (one of my most-anticipated novels of the year) is published by Orbit in the UK and US, on May 4th, 2017.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “Writing Strong Women”; Review of The Girl With All the Gifts

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Interview with COREY J. WHITE

whitecj-authorpic-cropLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Corey J. White?

I live in Melbourne, Australia, and I enjoy scotch and playing with the cat. When I’m not writing, I work in education for an Australian retailer and publisher. I’m not particularly interesting on paper, but my mum thinks I’m cool.

Your debut novella, Killing Gravity, will be published by Tor.com. It looks pretty awesome: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Killing Gravity follows Mars Xi, the most powerful space witch in the galaxy, and her experimental, cat-like pet named Seven. Mars has the ability to kill you with her mind — and if you cross her she’ll do exactly that. She wants little more than peace, but finds herself on a path toward answers and, inevitably, revenge against MEPHISTO — the military research group that made her what she is.

Or if I wanted to be reductive, I could say it’s like The Force Awakens, but where Rey is damaged and merciless, with the psychic powers of Akira‘s Tetsuo. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Living Larger with Animism” by Arianne “Tex” Thompson

ThompsonAT-AuthorPicYou know, one of the coolest things about SFF is how it invites us to mothball our skepticism and explore just about any metaphysical concept. Avatar Aang lives in a world where reincarnation is inarguably real. So does Rand Al-Thor. Just so, Narnia is a world with a concrete moral order, and the Marvel universe is absolutely lousy with gods. Fate, karma, magic, ghosts – you name it; we’ve got a franchise for it.

But here’s one big idea that I’d like to see getting more air-time: animism. It’s one of the oldest belief systems in the world, and put simply, it’s the idea that non-human creatures and things have souls, and therefore should be treated with awareness. In sci-fi and fantasy, animism usually comes to the fore whenever a creator wants to craft a culture that’s all about living in harmony with nature – your wood-elves, blue cat-people, et al. The problem is usually that they are so dang harmonious that they would never be worth writing about if they didn’t get bulldozed by the plot. (Literally, if we’re talking Ferngully and its like.) Continue reading

Upcoming in 2017… Gollancz & Orion

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A selection of anticipated novels from Orion Books (and imprints).

Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Dan Abnett, Mark Alder, Brad Beaulieu, Ezekiel Boone, C. Robert Cargill, Steve Cavanagh, Mason Cross, Aliette de Bodard, R.J. Ellory, Emily Fridlund, John Hornor Jacobs, Ursula K. le Guin, Ian McDonald, Andrew Pyper, Alastair Reynolds, Simon Wroe

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Upcoming in 2017… St. Martin’s Press, Flatiron Books, Minotaur (Macmillan)

upcoming2017-macmillanus

Here is a small selection of anticipated novels coming from St. Martin’s Press, Thomas Dunne Books, Flatiron Books, and a couple other Macmillan imprints. (I’d recommend checking out their non-fiction lists, too. They have a great, broad range of books on the way.)

Featuring: Brad Abraham, Charles Cumming, Anthony Franze, Grant Ginder, Lee Matthew Goldberg, Christopher Golden, Jack Grimwood, Joseph Helmreich, Jay Hosking, Robert Kroese, Liza Palmer, Sarah Pinborough, M.L. Rio, Ben Sanders, Graeme Simsion, Kimberley Tait, Rio Youers

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Guest Post: “Just Damn Write” by K.M. McKinley

mckinleykm-2-cityoficeWrite what you want to read, write what you know, but just damn write.

I’ve read a lot of advice about writing. I’ve quizzed dozens of writers about how they do it. I’ve had kindly publishers and agents and assorted industry types give me tips. And now, having been a writer of fiction for several years, I reckon I’m in a position to start dishing out advice myself with all the puffed-up simian surety every slightly drunken expert has.

I am often slightly drunk.

Using the power of my brain, I reckon I can boil down much of the advice I have received to the above the statement. It’s not the whole story — for who could be so bold as to assert such a simple truth and mean it it wholeheartedly! The world is a whirling, multi-dimensional quantum construct whose elements, seen and unseen, are interlinked in ways incomprehensible to our puny mortal minds. Continue reading