Guest Post/Excerpt: HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS by Aliette de Bodard

deBodard-AuthorPicThe Great Houses war is a central part of the book, though by necessity it’s always seen in flashbacks, as it took place sixty years before the events of the novel. It’s left marks on everyone, and of course it has also devastated Paris and given rise to the city in the book, a dystopic place where people cling to the Great Houses as their only source of safety. This scene is one of the strongest reminiscences from Philippe, who actually fought in it.

It also contains what is possibly my favourite lines in the book: the “magicians turned into soldiers… our best men turned into corpses”, which was one of those gifts from the muse: it came straight into the first draft and hasn’t really moved since.

The war. Philippe thought of the clamor of explosions; of huddling in the doorways of ruined buildings, peering at the sky to judge the best moment to rush out; of his lieutenant in House colors, urging them to lay down their lives for the good of the city; of his squad mates buried in nameless graves, on the edge of Place de la République. Ai Linh, who had had a laughter like a donkey, and always shared her biscuits with everyone else; Hoang, who liked to gamble too much; Phuong, who told hair-raising stories in the barracks after all lights had been turned off. “I don’t know what the war was like, inside the Houses,” he said, and it was almost the truth. Continue reading

Mini-Review: THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS by Aliette de Bodard (Gollancz/Roc)

A superbly written, atmospheric mystery

A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out — literally — of a war in heaven

Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation; or the architects of its last, irreversible fall…

This is a fantastic novel. Superbly written, wonderfully atmospheric and brought to life on the page, House of Shattered Wings is a must-read novel of the year. It’s the first novel by multi-award winning/nominated Aliette de Bodard that I’ve read, and it’s quite excellent. The novel has been generating a fair bit of hype with its upcoming release, and I’m happy to say it’s entirely justified. Continue reading

Upcoming: HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS by Aliette de Bodard

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Above is the stunning cover for Aliette de Bodard‘s upcoming new novel, House of Shattered Wings, which was recently unveiled by Roc Books. I love all the details in the art — especially the smouldering feathers. I was luckily able to have a read of an early three chapters from the novel, thanks to Aliette’s agent, and I absolutely loved what I read. I really can’t wait to read the completed book. The novel is due to be published by Roc Books (a division of Penguin) in the US on August 20th, 2015. Gollancz have the UK rights, and will publish on September 1st, 2015. Both will also publish the sequel (I assume in 2016).

Here’s the synopsis:

In the late Twentieth Century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians’ War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.

I’ll be sure to share the UK cover, when it finally becomes available.