Sunday evenings come around too fast! It always feels like I barely finish one Sunday Summary and then here I am sat starting another. I hope you have had a good week? Mine has been great as I have been enjoying the last of my time off for the year and getting Christmas shopping finished. I have even gotten most of it wrapped. Look at me being organised! I think this time last year I had barely started…
In between drafting Sunday Summary posts, I have managed to squeeze a few others in. Last week, immediately after drafting last week’s update I had to jump into writing a review for Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. I published that post first thing on Monday.
December’s reading list was published on Wednesday 4th, although it had been decided well in advance of that date. I have a lot of tours coming up in January, so I have to start my reading now to get myself prepared. I do have a couple of books of my own choice in there too. In that post, I also talk about why there aren’t many festive books on the list, so if you haven’t checked out that post yet here is the link to it.
Lastly, on Friday I shared the next Shelf Control post in my regular feature. Not only did I talk about a book that I was gifted nearly three years ago now, but I also learned it was part of a series. I had no idea before writing that post! It’s a classic science-fiction novel and I seem to be getting on with those really well at the moment. I should probably pick it up soon!
Whilst I say in one breath that I am doing well with science-fiction novels of late, I have had to set one aside for now. I have been enjoying reading Howling Dark but I just don’t think I have time to pick it up again this month. That said… if I do manage to finish this list early then I’ll pick this up again. I have a couple of short(er) books on the TBR, so maybe?
Instead, I began the week by finishing off another carryover from last month, Moroda by L. L. McNeil. I basically started reading this on the last day of November as I had promised the author to read it in October/November time. I am really pleased with myself as I read this quite quickly. Fingers crossed I’ll be reviewing it very shortly for her too.
After Moroda, I picked up my first read of December. I was keen to leave behind a bad month of reading (or lack of progress) and start this month’s TBR in earnest. Again, After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks was only in my hands for a few of days before I finished it. I was excited to start the month reading this as I have already read and enjoyed the first couple of books in the series. It’s almost a reassurance that I’m starting in a good place.
The latter end of the week has been spent with my head buried in the concluding novel to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. This is my current read and I am LOVING IT! It’s a shame I have to go back to work tomorrow instead of sitting at home and reading this…
Tell you what else I did get done this week – I finished listening to Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. I typically listen to audiobooks in the car and I expected to finish it in the couple of journeys I made. I think I listened to the last three minutes or so at home, so I really wasn’t wrong! It also surprises me how long it took me to listen to – about seven weeks! I’m so slow with audiobooks.
It amazes me that I have spent a week off work, shopping and generally mooching around and yet I have not added a single book to the TBR this week. I have been good (spending my money on everyone else!)
As I am pretty late to getting to read Moroda, I’m keen to get my review live as soon as possible! So, with that in mind, my intention is to have my thoughts on this fantasy novel published on my blog first thing on Tuesday.
I have been reading After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks this week as I have a blog tour post scheduled for Wednesday 11th. In that post I’ll be linking to my reviews of the earlier books in the series The Beltane Choice and After Whorl: Bran Reborn, as well as share my views of the latest instalment. I hope you can tune in for that!
As always, I’ll be preparing a First Lines Friday post for you to round up the working week. I don’t like to choose my featured book of the week too early in advance. I’ll be picking it on Thursday when I sit down to write this post. No spoilers for you to ruin the surprise, I’m afraid!
Good evening everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post! I can’t believe it’s December already! I have spent the day helping my parents put their Christmas decorations up; I’ll be doing mine in the next few days. Where has this year gone?
So, what have I been up to this week? Well, aside from using some days off work to have a good tidy up and a clear out, I have been doing a little bit of reading in between. On Tuesday I shared my review of Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs as part of the blog tour with Gollancz. I am really glad I asked to take part in the tour, even though I ended up reading this rather hastily in order to get my post live on time. This one at least wasn’t my fault!
Thursday’s post was a promo post for book four of the Battle Ground series by Rachel Churcher. I featured the third book on my blog a little while ago and it was a pleasure to feature the series once again, on publication day of book four, no less.
On Friday I shared another First Lines Friday post. This week I featured a book on my To Be Read list (TBR). I’m looking forward to reading this book; I also happened to feature another book of similar genre by the same author in my recent Top Ten Tuesday – New Releases I am Excited About post.
I’m disappointed with this month’s reading progress, but it can’t really be helped. I got off to a slow start with finishing Imaginary Friend, my last read in October, on the 9th November. I’ve had things going on which have hampered my progress too. I’m trying to finish one book tonight, but even with that in mind I have had to drop one book on this month’s list and I am going into December having only part-read another.
As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I have made as much progress as I can on a few books. I finished Ctrl+S on Sunday night as I only had a few pages left. From there, I picked up Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio again as this is the book I set aside to read Ctrl+S. I got to page 231 towards the end of the week, which from 55 is pretty good going.
Yesterday I set the books aside once again in favour of a review request I promised for October/November time. Obviously, it was the last day of November and I hadn’t touched this book at all yet. I am impressed with how I have done with this one; since last night I have read 69% of the book, which roughly equates to just over 280 pages. This book is my priority over the next couple of days in order to get a quick turnaround on a review for the author.
Progress on Thunderhead has been a little slower this week with only a couple of commutes from work as part of my normal routine. I visited my friend Vicky on Friday, so I listened to this travelling to and from her house. That equates to two work commutes when I think about it. I have less than two hours left on the audiobook so I am confident I will be finishing it this week!
I have a few additions to this section, even though I haven’t been particularly looking for anything new as such.
I had a bit of an unpleasant beginning to this week and so I decided to buy myself a book to cheer myself up. I’m collecting classics in paperback, and I was going to buy it very soon anyway. I’ll give you a hint: it will be appearing on this month’s reading list in a couple of days.
When featuring Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher on Thursday, I said that I planned to pick up and read the series although I couldn’t for the tour. Rachel kindly let me know that books one to three were available to download for free as it was publication day for book four. Naturally, I downloaded them!
Next week is going to be busy for me. I have a few planned blog posts already – one I will be drafting immediately after this one! Tomorrow I am publishing my review of Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. My post is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
On Wednesday I’ll be sharing December’s reading list. Considering I made such an effort to read seasonally in October, I only have one Christmassy book on this list. I’m not a festive cheese person, so it’s not just because I have lots of reading to do ahead of next month’s blog tour mayhem! No prizes for guessing what it is now, I might have already mentioned it in this post…
It’s the turn of a Shelf Control post on Friday. So, I’ll be looking at the next book on my TBR list and sharing just why I want to read it. I was gifted a copy of the book I’ll be featuring nearly three years ago now for my birthday. It fits in well with the recent sci-fi theme I’ve had with my reading and blogging. It’s also a bit of a classic. Any idea what it might be?
That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! I hope you have enjoyed this week’s post. Let me know in the comments – what have you been reading this week?
It’s Sunday evening again friends, so it can only mean it’s time for this week’s Sunday Summary post! Have you had a good week? Mine has been pretty good. I took a slightly more chilled stance on the blog posting this week in an effort to catch up with some reading. Turns out, I needed that time!
My first blog post of the week was published on Tuesday. For a bit of fun, I decided to take part in the Autumn Book Tag! It’s been a little while since I have written one of these posts and I really enjoyed doing so!
Then, on Friday I published my next Shelf Control post – this week I featured Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan. If you want to check out why Age of Myth is on my TBR then you can check out that post to find out more!
Through no fault of my own, I have had a shift in priorities this week. I began where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post with reading Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio. This is no small book, so I was hoping to make good progress this week. As it is, I feel I am already behind on my reading.
I then received an email about a blog tour that I signed up for, giving me a week’s notice for my tour date. It was a genuine mistake that I hadn’t had it confirmed earlier. Truthfully, I had forgotten about it too. I received my copy of the book to review a couple of weeks ago. So, I have been reading Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs most of the week! As things stand, I only have 40 or so pages left to read so that is tonight’s job after I publish this post.
As always I have been enjoying listening to my audiobooks and Thunderhead is getting really good right now! I have just less than four hours to go to the end and I cannot wait to see how things unravel. As it happens, I have some time off work imminently so I have more time to listen to this. I basically have my headphones glued in when I am home nowadays, so it gives me an excuse to listen to something!
I signed up to a website called BookSirens about a month ago. As is well-documented on my blog, my thoughts on Netgalley aren’t all that positive. I have no objection to using the site for tours and books from specific publishers, but I don’t really rate it otherwise. In terms of looking for other ARCS, I don’t actively use it.
I signed up to BookSirens as it seemed a lot more user-friendly, looked more appealing and I liked the look of a number of books on there. At the time I signed up I couldn’t commit to reading any books due to blog tour commitments. After a couple of weeks of registering and not signing up to any reviews, they kindly sent me an email to get some feedback from me on whether I had any problems. I explained that I had some other review obligations elsewhere, which was totally fine with them. I actually really like this personal touch – there is no way you would get the same from Netgalley!
Well, this week I signed up to my first review after an email notified me that some books now had a longer window to review them in! I started small with a novella called Fires of the Dead by Jed Herne. I have until February to read and review it, but I would like to get it done sooner if I can!
I have a couple of blog tours to take part in next week, which is really exciting!
I mentioned Ctrl+S earlier in the post, as I have had to hastily read the book in advance of the tour. My tour slot is on Tuesday next week (26th November) and I am really looking forward to sharing my review. If you like the sound of a near-future science-fiction novel about the use (and abuse) of virtual reality, then stay tuned!
A little later in the week, I am taking part in another blog tour post! On Thursday I am promoting the latest book in the Battleground series, Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher.
A First Lines Friday post will be taking its place on the blog on… well, that’s obvious. Friday. I really enjoy writing these posts and I hope you enjoy reading them too!
Hi guys and welcome to a very busy Sunday Summary post here at the home of Reviewsfeed. I had a busy day yesterday with housework and then going out for the evening! In a shake-up of usual Saturday evening activities, (aka reading) I attended The House of Hell event hosted by Nightmare Nights. I went with my mum and dad and we all enjoyed going, despite being underwhelmed by the ‘scariness’. Today, I have spent the day with them again and now come home for a not-very-relaxing evening. Around drafting tonight’s Sunday Summary post, I am baking for a charity cake sale at work tomorrow! Everything is cooling at the moment, so I get some brief respite before I have to decorate.
Aside from the above shenanigans, what have I spent my week doing? Quite simply, work, blogging and reading. The usual! The only thing out of the ordinary has been investing time into restoring the older posts I lost in the recent migration… accident.
The first post of the week was an overdue review of The Chalk Man by C J Tudor. I read this book back in July, so it was definitely time to commit my thoughts to a review. I had to pull the book out and refresh my memory on a couple of things. This is why making notes after I read something would come in handy, but can I do it? No.
I published a second review of Wednesday; Making Magic is a short story written by Allan Walsh. At 32 pages it was a really quick but enjoyable read about the magic of writing and storytelling.
Friday saw the return of my First Lines Friday regular feature and this week I featured Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Let’s just say the book choice was inspired by a current read at the time…
In last week’s Sunday Summary post I mentioned that I was indecisively flitting between a couple of books as my next read – Howling Dark and Days of Blood and Starlight. In the end, Days of Blood and Starlight did win and it didn’t take me all that long to read. I couldn’t wait to pick up the next book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and I got back into it very quickly!
Conscious that it was the middle of the month and I had only read two books on the TBR, I picked up the shortest book on my list, Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. At around 200 pages, my aim was to blitz this within a couple of days and I did! It makes me feel better going into the second half of the month knowing I am on track. I have read this book as I am reviewing it for the upcoming blog tour starting at the end of the month. It’s a children’s book so I am not its target audience, but I really enjoyed it and I’m not ashamed either! I love the main theme and the topics that this book addresses.
It might sound daft, but in addition to my newfound love of the series, the reason I picked DOB&S over Howling Dark is that the proof copy I have is really heavy! It’s quite a bit larger and getting started has been a little cumbersome. I have started this book in earnest in the last day or two and this will be my current read for the next few days!
I have also been listening to Thunderhead again. There is still six hours to go to reach the conclusion, so I’m going to be listening for a little while yet. The storyline of this one is interesting though and it has really picked up the pace in the last couple of hours!
I have added one book to the list this week after stumbling across a book set where I live… entirely by chance! I was just browsing a few blog posts the other day and read an unsuspecting First Lines Friday post. When I realised that the featured book is set on the Isle of Man I added it to the list! I’ve linked the post below if you want to have a read.
I want to make sure that I keep up with my reading next week. I may be on track but I still have three books to finish; all are over 400 pages long. Combine that with my ongoing project to restore my blog to its former glory, I have decided that this week I am keeping it to three posts.
On Tuesday I am going to take part in the Autumn Book Tag. I saw this over on one of my favourite blogs (again, this is linked below) and I want to take part. It’s a little bit different from the usual material I post here!
On Friday I’ll be tackling the TBR again (one book at a time) by sharing the next Shelf Control post. I’ll be taking a look at the next book on the list and telling you all why I want to read it. These posts have actually given me a kick to start reading some of these golden oldies. I enjoy writing them too. Do you like reading them?
Hey all and Happy Sunday! It’s Sunday evening here again and the prospect of going back to work tomorrow looms. After a busy eventful stressful week, going to work will seem like a rest!
The beginning of the week didn’t get off to a great start. After switching my domain renewal onto a new contract I realised all-too-late that the latest backup of my blog was only available on my blog’s back-end dashboard – access to which naturally went up in a puff of smoke the minute I confirmed the new contract.
Then, I made a mountain out of a molehill in trying to get my blog back online. It took days for me to get it right. In my defence, I was trying my best to use what I had to rescue the recent posts on my blog, but no. It wasn’t enough. Eventually, I admitted defeat and installed everything with an old backup – from June. One of my bigger jobs this weekend has been to re-instate what’s missing. The indexing of my blog pages so I can view cached versions and my drafts of posts not available that way stored locally has been my lifesaver!
The lesson here is to make doubly, triply and quadruple-y sure you have a backup before you do ANYTHING to your blog. You don’t realise how much it means to you until it’s gone. Next time I want to renew my domain, someone do my a favour and kick me.
Consequently, last week’s Sunday Summary post was shared on Wednesday and my reading list for November on Thursday. They were later than I wanted, but at least I am getting everything back in order! Friday’s Shelf Control post went live as and when expected.
When I wasn’t having a crisis (meltdown) over my blog situation, I was trying to catch up with my reading! Reading Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky has taken me far longer than I anticipated. I only finished it yesterday; nine days behind schedule! I was a fantastic book, but an epic. As I was reading an imperfect proof copy too, a good few sections were a little difficult to read because wordsweremushedtogetherlikethis. Which is fine, it’s a proof. But I think that contributed to how long it took me to read.
As well as reading Imaginary Friend, I have been sampling a couple of other books to read in between. I’ve been very indecisive about it too, so consequently I am 55 pages through Howling Dark and about 80 pages through Days of Blood and Starlight. I think the latter wins as my next read; I am conscious I need to get a shift on and a quick reading win will spur me on. It sounds like I have read more of Days of Blood and Starlight, but in terms of word count I haven’t. There is a lot more to Howling Dark per page.
I have managed a quick read today, in between restoring almost all of my Blogtober posts. I was approached by Allan Walsh to read and review his short story, Making Magic. Unfortunately, I was supposed to be reviewing this on the 4th November but with my domain being out of action and the clean-up process, I didn’t get the chance! I have read this today and a review will be going live for it next week, come hell or high water!
I have managed to listen to another couple of hour’s worth of Thunderhead this week as well. As ever, it’s my companion on the drive home from work. I like where it is going after Scythe. It’s not a repetition of the first book and it feels fresh. I’m interested to say where events are going to go.
It’s been a week of spending my Audible credits! … Okay, I only had two, but I managed to get a couple of audiobooks in the 2 for 1 sale yesterday and then I spent my last credit today. A bargain is a bargain! So, in yesterday’s sale, I bought Head On by John Scalzi. Whilst not a direct follow-up to Lock In, it includes the same characters and centres around the lives of those with Haden’s Syndrome. I really enjoyed listening to Lock In earlier this year, so it makes sense to listen to Head On too. At the same time I also got a copy of Jack the Ripper: Case Closed by Gyles Brandreth. I have quite a few books based on the murders of Jack the Ripper (that I really need to start reading!). I don’t doubt I’ll enjoy this too. Does that make me weird?!
Today, inspired by my current listen of Thunderhead, I used my last credit to buy the last book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, The Toll.
Thankfully this section is going to be a lot easier to write than last week. I know where I am at. I’m conscious that with Blogtober, I posted a lot of discussions posts. To that end, I am going to be sharing a couple of reviews with you in order to catch up!
Tomorrow, I am going to be sharing my thoughts on The Chalk Man with you. I read this back in July in a matter of three days. That’s how much I loved it! That probably gives you an idea of the kind of review it is going to be, but I hope you can check it out!
On Wednesday I am reviewing Allan Walsh’s short story, Making Magic. Thankfully he is very understanding about the postponement and has agreed to a review this week instead.
Friday’s post is the turn of my regular feature, First Lines Friday. I haven’t decided which book I am going to be featuring yet. This is about as spontaneous as I get! It’s as much a surprise to me at the moment, but I hope you like the book I choose to feature!
As I am working on the current posts on my blog, I am also going to keep working to restore my missing posts. You shouldn’t really notice this unless you scroll for it. I’m working backwards and restoring the more recent posts first. I’ll let you know when everything is back as it should be.
Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary post, albeit a little late! My contract renewal was up for my blog hosting and I did not want to renew the existing contract. Consequently, I’ve had to transfer to a different one, still with the same provider, but it has resulted in some downtime (and losses – but that’s my fault). Apologies! On the plus side, I am saving about £12 a month (they tried to bump my fees up a lot), so it’s worth it!
I hope you have all had a good week? Mine has been a busy, but rewarding one. In addition to being back to work, I have also taken part in no less than four blog tours. Not only that, but I completed Blogtober! It was… an experience. I’m glad I can say that I did it! It was a challenge, compounded by having to prepare a lot of posts in advance of my holiday. I still did it though! It just goes to show how productive I can be when I put my mind to it.
So, what posts have I been sharing this week? I started the week by sharing my Halloween book recommendations in Halloween Horrors post. From H. P. Lovecraft to Stephen King, I am sure the list has something for everyone. Then, blog tour season started on Tuesday with a review of Hallowed Ground by Paul Twivy. I really enjoyed reading this book and the author’s passion for Namibia shines through the narrative.
On Wednesday, I shared my second review of the week, this one for To Snare a Witch by Jay Raven. This is an easy to read novella, seasonably appropriate and only 85 pages long. It’s great if you are looking for a quick read! Thursday’s post was my third review of the week and shared my thoughts on The Haunting of Paradise House by Killian Wolf. Reviewing this on Halloween itself felt really appropriate.
Blogtober was officially over at that point, but there is no rest for the wicked as I had one final blog tour on Friday 1st for After Whorl: Bran Reborn by Nancy Jardine. This second book of the series suited me far better as it has far less of a romantic element.
This week was understandably less active on the reading front than last. I have had a lot of blog tours to draft posts for, so I’ve only made a little progress on Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. I’m now 44% through this 720-page epic, so I’ve still managed to read around 160 pages this week. Not my best, but in the circumstances, I’m happy with it. I could have read more if I was in the mood on Saturday night, but I wasn’t. I ended up watching three episodes of Chernobyl instead…
Whilst I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with myself on Saturday, I picked up one of the books due to go onto November’s TBR. I managed to read just over a chapter of Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio before I decided I wasn’t in the mood to read at all. I’ll hopefully be making more progress on this next week.
I’ve listened to Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman on my commute home from work a few times this week. Having listened to Scythe not that long ago, this is really easy to get into and I am really enjoying it so far!
I have got my hands on a few books this week, which is always exciting! I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone on holiday and absolutely loved it, so I treated myself to the next two books in the series from Waterstones.
I also received a copy of The God Game from Gollancz on Friday. Having seen it advertised on Twitter, I was selected to receive a copy to review which is really exciting!
I also bought an e-book copy of The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware, since it was reduced in the Amazon store. I added this book to the TBR a little earlier this year, intending to get my copy nearer the time I planned on reading it. I figured it made sense to pick it up whilst it was only 99p though… so I did!
It’s going to be a little tough trying to organise blog posts for this week with my site being down for the domain transfer, but it is what it is! As soon as my blog goes live again I’ll be posting my reading list for November, whenever that turns out to be.
On Friday I’ll be sharing my next Shelf Control post. I’ll be looking in detail at the next book on my TBR and telling you what interests me about it and why I want to read it. As ever, I’ll then share my next wrap up on Sunday. I’m keeping this quite a light week on blog posts so I can relax a little from Blogtober, as well as catch up with my reading.
So that’s all from me! What have you been reading this week?
Empire of Silence is classic space opera. Set approximately twenty thousand years in our future, humanity reigns across the galaxy, with seats on millions of worlds, on uncounted moons and asteroids, and even across the Dark between the stars. So what can you expect to see as you journey with Hadrian through the pages of this first adventure? What brave new worlds—and what people in them—will you encounter along the way? Here’s a quick rundown of five things you can expect for the world and worldbuilding in my novel.
WE’VE GOT THE EMPIRE, NOW AS THEN
More than sixteen thousand years old by the time our story begins, the Sollan Empire is the largest nation ever to exist. With the control of nearly half a billion habitable worlds and hundreds of trillions of people, it stretches all the way from the Perseus Arm at the outer rim of our galaxy towards the dense Norman Expanse near the center, carving out a wedge of human-controlled space in an uncaring cosmos. Interstellar travel being slow, the Empire is essentially feudal, each planetary system acting more or less independently, with minimal oversight from the Emperor (and minimal interference from his legions) in his palace at Forum. Each feudal territory—be it a moon, a planet, or an entire solar system—is under the command of one or many noble houses. These nobles are the beneficiaries of the finest genetic engineering: they’re stronger, smarter, better-looking, and they may live for centuries, ruling their respective worlds like tiny gods. Founded as they were out of a reaction to the abuses of artificial intelligence and other forms of high technology, the Sollan Empire tightly regulates access to anything more complicated than an automobile.
The Empire’s culture is self-consciously traditionalist. Built on the back of a human victory over their own machines, the first Sollans experienced a renaissance during which the ancient aesthetic and cultural traditions of our checkered past were revived as emblems of an age before our near extinction. Anything that smacks of the postmodern, the artificial, or the inhuman, is cast out or destroyed.
BUT WE ARE NOT ALONE
There may be billions of habitable worlds in the Milky Way, but if there are other civilizations, we have yet to hear from them. As humanity made its way into space, we discovered the answer to Fermi’s Paradox was rather simpler than we expected: we were early risers. Intelligent life is relatively rare in the cosmos. In nearly twenty thousand years of exploring deep space, we encountered dozens of intelligent species, but none of them had developed any technology more advanced than steel. Some of these species we uplifted, others enslaved. In all that time, we have only encountered one other species capable of star travel: the Cielcin. Like humanity, the Cielcin homeworld is lost, destroyed in the deeps of time. Unlike humanity, they have not settled other worlds, but set to roaming, wandering in the black of space inside ships hollowed out of asteroids: gathering fuel from gas giants, sucking water from comets, and harvesting planets for food—when they can find it. Roughly humanoid, they are carnivorous to a fault, and it is this need to eat that has driven them to assault human colonies. Entire cities are captured and butchered to feed their migratory hordes, leaving only smoking ruins in their wake. Because of their migratory nature, humanity has been forced to fight a defensive war for centuries, unable to find the aliens’ fleets in the dark of infinite space. For mankind, it’s been nothing but a series of losses and losing battles, punctuated by the odd, startling success…that is, until Hadrian Marlowe appeared.
BIOLOGY IS DESTINY
Hadrian Marlowe is a child of lords. A palatine. Born at the very top of the imperial caste system, he is the the beneficiary of dozens of generations of breeding and genetic engineering. Members of the palatine caste may live for centuries, with the very oldest and noblest families living as long as six or seven hundred years. They’re free from most diseases, taller, smarter, more attractive than their low-caste plebeian counterparts who—like you and I—are doomed to live a mere 80-some years with various health problems and insufficiencies. Between them are the patricians, low-caste people given gene therapies and other medical interventions in return for services rendered. Such patricians may live longer—some as many as three hundred years—and may even pass those inheritances on to their children, if their lords are gracious enough. But not all is well for our palatine overlords. Their genomes are so heavily modified, so idiosyncratic, that they cannot reproduce without scientific help. That’s all well and good. The palatine nobility wouldn’t want children the natural way to begin with, preferring instead to have their children in artificial wombs under the watchful eye of scientists. But they also cannot reproduce without imperial permission, as the keys that would allow each noble couple’s children to develop healthy are tightly controlled by the Emperor’s office. Thus the Emperor retains control of the noble houses: through their children.
NEVER TRUST ROBOTS
You won’t find any robots in the Sollan Empire (and if you do, you must report them to the Holy Terran Chantry at once). They’re forbidden. Long ago, before the foundation of the Empire, the ancient Mericanii were ruled by machines, vast artificial intelligences that governed Old Earth in its dying days. Those would have been humanity’s dying days as well, for our machine children turned against us, and it was only the actions of a few offworld colonies—led by the man who would become the Sollan Empire’s first Emperor—who delivered mankind from the machines. Never again, they vowed, would we make monsters out of metal and silicon. That’s where the Chantry comes in: part religious institution, part judicial apparatus, the Chantry polices the imperial world. Every citizen, from the lowliest serf to the Emperor himself, is subject to their inquiry. Their influence even stretches beyond imperial borders, into Jaddian space and amongst the Norman colonies. Though they police all manner of crimes-turned-sins, their primary charge is the hunting down and destruction of illegal technologies, especially any technologies with a glimmer of intelligence. Cybernetic implants are strictly forbidden, as the mixture of man and machine is considered the worst abomination of all.
But beyond the borders of the Empire—in the Dark between the stars—the Chantry’s power breaks down. Among the Extrasolarians (human pirates and barbarians that rejected imperial civilization) it is said the old, forbidden technologies still prosper. Perhaps the machines are not so dead as the priest-hunters of the Chantry believe.
THE SWORD IS MIGHTY
It was space travel that first revived the age of the sword. The delicate hulls of spacecraft and the presence of volatile chemicals made firearms a poor option, but it was the development of the Royse field that truly restored the sword to its rightful place in the hand of every soldier, mercenary, gentleman, and privateer. The force field sidelined traditional firearms, forcing common soldiers to adopt plasma weapons—whose ambient heat can pass through a Royse barrier—and melee weapons, which are slow enough to pass beneath a shield’s energy threshold. This revolutionized combat and reshaped human culture as we expanded into space. Most battles between human groups became fought on the ground or the air, most inter-ship weaponry having been made obsolete by the shield and by the blanket ban on artificial intelligence, and what space combat there is most often performed by boarding parties and by stealth. Just an importantly, the swords themselves improved. Highmatter is a form of programmable exotic matter discovered some millennia before Hadrian’s day. A kind of liquid metal, highmatter is used in some electronics and especially in spacecraft, but it is also used for swords. Highmatter swords can cut through almost anything. Their edges are programmed to an atom’s thickness, and they might cut steel or stone as easily as an arm or leg. The atoms of a highmatter blade are bonded together, making the sword essentially one massive molecule, and nigh unbreakable. The only defense against a highmatter sword is the long-chain carbon atoms that are found in starship hulls—or, of course, another highmatter sword.
About The Author
Christopher Ruocchio is the author of The Sun Eater, a space opera fantasy series from DAW Books, as well as the Assistant Editor at Baen Books, where he co-edited the military SF anthology Star Destroyers, as well as the upcoming Space Pioneers, a collection of Golden Age reprints showcasing tales of human exploration. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where a penchant for self-destructive decision making caused him to pursue a bachelor’s in English Rhetoric with a minor in Classics. An avid student of history, philosophy, and religion, Christopher has been writing since he was eight-years-old and sold his first book —Empire of Silence— at twenty-two. The Sun Eater series is available from Gollancz in the UK, and has been translated into French and German.
Christopher lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he spends most of his time hunched over a keyboard writing. When not writing, he splits his time between his family, procrastinating with video games, and his friend’s boxing gym. He may be found on both Facebook and Twitter at @TheRuocchio.
***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book, (a huge thank you to Stevie) by Gollancz in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated below are my own***
I’ll be honest and say that this book will forever have a special place in my heart, because in terms of my blogging career, it’s a milestone. It’s the first physical ARC sent to me by a publisher for review.
I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this book since the moment I finished reading it. I hope you are sitting comfortably because I have more than enough to say about this epic!
Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.
It was not his war.
On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives–even the Emperor himself–against Imperial orders.
But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.
Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. Forced to fight as a gladiator and into the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.
Wow!!! Books like this really make me question why I don’t read science-fiction more often.
I was captivated by the synopsis and the promise of a tale likened to other prominent books out there. I’ll admit I was both excited but slightly dubious when I saw this likened to Dune by Frank Herbert and Patrick Rothfuss’ fantasy novel, The Name of The Wind. Rothfuss was one of my favourite authors in my teenage years (I still eagerly await the release of Doors of Stone). Whilst I haven’t actually read Dune, a copy has been sat on my bookshelf for over a year now, but I haven’t read any more than the first few pages. You don’t have to have read the book to know it’s an award winning, revered novel in the science-fiction genre.
Association to popular authors when marketing a new book is no doubt a useful and successful tool. I will be honest and say though that I often wonder, when picking up a book for the first time, if it really is the undiscovered gem it claims to be. I worry that it may not live up to expectation.
I was not left disappointed by Empire of Silence.
The tone and narration style is indeed very similar to The Name of the Wind, so no false comparison was made there. Given that this was one of my favourite elements of that book, I was drawn in to Empire of Silence straightaway.
We are introduced to Hadrian Marlowe – a man who has already trodden the path of destiny and now recounts the tale, warts and all, for the devoted reader. He begins his journey with the best of intentions and the innocence of youth, but inevitably, life does not run smoothly for him. Lending to the visage of a wizened man, Hadrian does not shy away from his less favourable attributes or actions in telling his tale. His faults really bring our protagonist to life, for none of us are perfect after all. I’ve said time and again on my blog that I love a character with a wealth of depth, and Hadrian honestly is that.
I must also credit the evident time and effort that has gone into the structuring of the book and the supporting characters around the main storyline. In a universe based on power and hierarchy, this is inevitably, well.. important. Whilst there are a vast number of families and roles that make up this fictional universe, I didn’t find information dumped or conveyed haphazardly in the narrative. This must have been very difficult to achieve, but it makes a difference for the reader – especially for a book of this size!
The vivid descriptions of worlds truly unknown are beautiful; even the explanations of the advanced technology available to this advanced version of humans were clear. Neither did I find myself at a loss as to what the author was trying to convey, nor was the language used to do so in any way intimidating. The planets themselves may be fictional but society living on them is still governed largely in a way we understand – through power and wealth… faith and when all else fails, fear.
Empire of Silence (Sun Eater #1) is being published on the 5th July this year and I sincerely hope/believe it will become the success it deserves. It’s association to other epics will no doubt perform wonders in helping Christopher Ruocchio launch himself as a successful author in his own right.
It is well deserved, if you ask me.
What book blogger wouldn’t proclaim themselves an avid reader?
If found without a book in hand, send for medical aid!
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