Guest Post: “Some Thoughts on Fantasy Series & Stand Alones” by Blake Charlton

charltonb-authorpic“Is this book a standalone or the third in your trilogy?” A question that I’ve had to address since the publication of my latest book, Spellbreaker. The answer, perhaps confusingly, is yes. When justifying this answer, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the way stories are told in series, particularly in epic fantasy.

I don’t think too many will disagree that in the traditional conception of epic fantasy, the use of a series of books is a logistical necessity, not an aesthetic choice. The Lord of the Rings, of course, was written as one book (to rule them all?) and broken into three only because the printing, binding, and shipping costs would have been prohibitive. This precedent created the current expectation that every book in an epic fantasy series will be the immediate continuation of the last. Since the 1980s, the majority of successful fantasy series have done exactly that. There are many, well-known advantages to this approach; it allows for intricate exploration of subplots; it proves continuous and detailed character development; it creates an experience in which the reader traverses an epic number of pages that mirrors the characters’ journey across and among an epic number of landscapes and cultures. The grandmasters do so effortlessly and with style. Continue reading

New Books (April-May)

Saga-36 crop

Featuring: Gillian Anderson, Neal Asher, James Bennett, Ezekiel Boone, Brom, Terry Brooks, Lily Brooks-Dalton, Karl Brown, Caleb Carr, Blake Charlton, Paul Cornell, Paul Crilley, Jan Fedarcyk, Jenni Fagan, Mike French, Teresa Frohock, Frank Gardner, Claudia Gray, Grady Hendrix, Lindsey Lee Johnson, Jo Jordan, Richard Kadrey, Guy Gavriel Kay, Paul Kearney, Taylor Larsen, Edward Lazellari, Yoon Ha Le, Ava Marsh, Michael J. Martinez, Imbolo Mbue, Andy McNab, Graham McNeill, Sylvain Neuvel, Paige Orwin, Daniel Polansky, Terry Pratchett, Tarn Richardson, Gene Riehl, Jeff Rovin, John Sandford, Yvonne Sewall-Ruskin, Anne Valente, Ben Winters, Chris Wraight

Above Picture: Crop of Saga #36, by Fiona Staples (Image)

Continue reading

Eight Anticipated Voyager Titles…

VoyagerUK-Early2016

While looking for another book, I stumbled across a couple of covers for upcoming Voyager covers. For some reason, I haven’t read many books published by Voyager for some time, despite them publishing some of my favourites — for example, Peter V. Brett, Richard Kadrey, Stacia Kane and Mark Lawrence. Whatever the reason, here (alphabetical-by-author) are some interesting-looking titles that will hit shelves this year — they are mainly UK releases, but I’ve included details for North American editions, too. [The publisher is publishing other interesting titles, of course, but I’ll share more of those in another post in the not-too-distant future.] Continue reading

Upcoming: SPELLBREAKER by Blake Charlton (Tor/Voyager)

CharltonB-3-Spellbreaker

Above are the covers for the long-awaited third novel in Blake Charlton‘s Spellwright Trilogy, Spellbreaker. The sequel to Spellbound, it works as a stand-alone. It’s due out in June 2016, published in the US by Tor Books and in the UK by Voyager. Here’s the synopsis:

Leandra Weal has a bad habit of getting herself in dangerous situations.

While hunting neodemons in her role as Warden of Ixos, Leandra obtains a prophetic spell that provides a glimpse one day into her future. She discovers that she is doomed to murder someone she loves, soon, but not who. That’s a pretty big problem for a woman who has a shark god for a lover, a hostile empress for an aunt, a rogue misspelling wizard for a father, and a mother who — especially when arguing with her daughter — can be a real dragon.

Leandra’s quest to unravel the mystery of the murder-she-will-commit becomes more urgent when her chronic disease flares up and the Ixonian Archipelago is plagued by natural disasters, demon worshiping cults, and fierce political infighting. Everywhere she turns, Leandra finds herself amid intrigue and conflict. It seems her bad habit for getting into dangerous situations is turning into a full blown addiction.

As chaos spreads across Ixos, Leandra and her troubled family must race to uncover the shocking truth about a prophesied demonic invasion, human language, and their own identities — if they don’t kill each other first.

I rather enjoyed the first two novels in the trilogy, but four years and many novels later, I have forgotten a fair bit of what happened in them…

Also on CR: Interview with Blake Charlton; Reviews of Spellwright and Spellbound

For more, be sure to check out the author’s website, and follow him on Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook.