Tag: Gollancz

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Book Review: The Cathedral of Known Things – Edward Cox

***I am grateful to have received a copy of this series for an honest review courtesy of Gollancz. All opinions stated are my own***

 

Goodreads – The Cathedral of Known Things

Divided, hunted and short on resources, the surviving members of the Relic Guild are in real trouble. Their old enemy, the Genii, and their resurrected master have infiltrated Labrys Town and taken over the police force.

So the Relic Guild must flee their home, and set off on a dangerous journey across the worlds of the Aelfir. One that will lead them to a weapon which might destroy the Genii. Or the whole universe…

And forty years before all this, the war which led to the fall of the Genii continues. And what happens to the Relic Guild during that conflict will change the course of their desperate flight.

 

My Thoughts…

My initial impressions of the series can be found in my review of The Relic Guild, the first book of the series. The turmoil within Labrys Town continues in this second instalment, and the Relic Guild are out of their depth.

The dual timeline between The Great War forty years ago and the present day is one of my favourite elements of the book. The circumstances have changed for both sides since the first invasion years ago. Fabian Moor has licked his wounds and learned from his mistakes. On the other hand, the Relic Guild has fewer numbers than before. The odds are stacking against them rapidly in this new attack on the Labyrinth.

It is fair to say that the narrative storyline is well developed, but isn’t hard to follow. In this second book of the series, there is far more action and plot development. It builds on the events of the first book well, so the character relations and world building are carried through. I really enjoyed the characterisation and world-building elements in the first book. Although I didn’t pick up The Cathedral of Known Things straight after the Relic Guild, it was easy to pick up again and felt familiar almost immediately. The world building and characterisation were necessary components of the first book of the series and brilliant besides. However, I am grateful to start to see the action unfold now that I have invested time into the lives of these characters.

Whilst both storylines are narrated concurrently in the book, the main emphasis I took away from it lies in the storyline of The Great War all those years ago. Could it be that the key to winning this present day war lies in events of the past? Perhaps. I’ll only know that once I read The Watcher of Dead Time later this month. I can’t wait to read it and share my thoughts with you all. With any luck though… I’ll pull my finger out and share them with you a bit sooner than three months after the reading of it…

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 16th December 2018

When I haven’t been at work or reading a book, I’ve spent a lot of this week preparing for Christmas! I’m officially on countdown! I love this time of year and I’m finally getting into the spirit!

On account of spending time wrapping presents and attending Christmas parties, I only managed one out of the two blog posts I promised you this week. Whilst it would have been nice to make some further progress in whittling down the TBR pile, I feel that posting my review of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides was more important. I received an ARC back in July this year so my reading and reviewing this title was overdue. The book is published on the 7th February 2019 – I must insist you get a copy!

 

Books Read

 

I have been reading two books concurrently this week. Earlier in the week, I continued reading The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire. When writing my Sunday Summary post last week I had higher hopes of making more progress with this book than I have. Instead, I ended up reading just over 40% a second book on December’s reading list. The Cathedral of Known Things is the second book by Edward Cox in The Relic Guild series. I totally love the magic system and the world-building, so putting this down has proven rather difficult.

 

Books Discovered

 

I have been really tame this week – I haven’t even added any books to the TBR! *And so I shouldn’t – it’s already out of control*

 

Coming Up…

 

down the tbr holeThis week I promised you a review of the TBR pile, which ultimately didn’t happen. I’m sorry; I don’t have any particular excuse. I just didn’t get around to it. However, I will this week – it’s the first post I am committing to.

 

 

 

The second post I want to publish this week is a review of Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett. I am absolutely in love with the Discworld and its various characters. At the time I read this book on a whim – you can’t really go wrong with that, can you? It’s just what I needed. I love Pratchett’s humour and writing style.

 

 

 

On the reading front, I am going to be bold and say that I want to have finished The Cathedral of Known Things by next week. If I get time to read any more than this, I’ll continue with The Road to Alexander.

 

Are you all set for Christmas? Have you planned to read any festive books for the season? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Reading List: December 2018

When I look back on last month’s approach to reading – only setting a couple of books to read, it is with mixed feelings.

I set myself the task of re-reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin and getting around to my last NetGalley ARC, The Mansions of Murder by Paul Doherty. Re-reading A Game of Thrones is no mean feat – it is over 850 pages in its own right! However, I didn’t finish reading any others. I am also 60% through I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson, which is good. I wouldn’t describe this book as “my genre”, but it’s good to try something new. In addition to these two books, I also struggled through half of Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski before setting it aside. For now, at least.

I think my reading (or lack thereof) was a result of “unfortunate events” – combine trying to read one epic book along with another that is completely not your genre at all. Add to that a book you REALLY want to love and can’t really bear to DNF (but have to) and it all ends up a pretty toxic mix. I was also away for a few days, so that knocks out the schedule too.

 

That said, it’s only the 6th December and I have read Facing A Twisted Judgment by K. J. McGillick and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury already.

Perhaps I needed the break… or the start of a new month to breathe in some fresh air and start again. I’m not ready to write off the more relaxed approach yet. I just need to find the middle ground, is all. So, which books are going to make it onto the list for December?

 

The Road to Alexander – Jennifer Macaire

I am looking forward to reading this book in advance of the blog tour next month! The novel is based around time travel, with influences of Greek mythology. I’m not all that versed in Greek mythology I must admit, so I want to see how much influence it has in this book and whether it inspires me to read on further. The synopsis of the book makes it sound like a hilarious read too!

 

Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares – Shaun Hume

When I started my blog early last year, Shaun Hume was the first author to contact me for a review. Well, now he is back! The second book of the Ewan Pendle series has been released and he has asked if I will review the book for him. Obviously, the answer was yes! Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith is a refreshing read in a genre that I really enjoy. Now I get to find out the next step in his adventures!

 

The Cathedral of Known Things – Edward Cox

I fell in love with the fantasy world the Relic Guild series is based in earlier this year. I received copies of the series by Gollancz in exchange for a review and it’s time to delve into book 2. The storyline is intricate and detailed (without being too complicated) and the characters are adorable. I knew when I finished this book that I wouldn’t be able to wait for too long until picking up the next one.

 

So, those are just some of the books I am planning on reading this month! What is on your reading list?

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Book Review: The Relic Guild – Edward Cox

My review of The Relic Guild by Edward Cox feels well overdue. I mean, I read this book towards the end of August! It’s a shame in a way that I have had so many other blogging commitments, meaning I couldn’t get around to writing this before now.

Better late than never, right?

 

The Relic Guild

Goodreads – The Relic Guild

Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, went to war, everything was ruined and the Labyrinth became an abandoned forbidden zone, where humans were trapped behind boundary walls a hundred feet high.

Now the Aelfir are a distant memory and the Thaumaturgists have faded into myth. Young Clara struggles to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, where eyes are keen, nights are long, and the use of magic is punishable by death. She hides in the shadows, fearful that someone will discover she is touched by magic. She knows her days are numbered. But when a strange man named Fabian Moor returns to the Labyrinth, Clara learns that magic serves a higher purpose and that some myths are much more deadly in the flesh.

The only people Clara can trust are the Relic Guild, a secret band of magickers sworn to protect the Labyrinth. But the Relic Guild are now too few. To truly defeat their old nemesis Moor, mightier help will be required. To save the Labyrinth – and the lives of one million humans – Clara and the Relic Guild must find a way to contact the worlds beyond their walls.

 

My Thoughts…

I received a copy of The Relic Guild from Gollancz in exchange for a review, so firstly, a huge thank you to the team. It was one of many exciting book-post packages I received this summer!

Aside from the synopsis, the first thing I look at when deciding if I like a book is the author’s narration style. It’s make-or-break for me; it always has been. I have a natural preference for books narrated in the third person. The narration is also clear and descriptive, balancing the action of the story with descriptions of the Great Labyrinth and Labrys Town etc. The narrative also interchanges between two time periods; the War, which took place forty years previous and the present day. Chapters for each respective time period are clearly marked, making the story easy to follow.

The Relic Guild introduced a whole new concept of magic to me. The members of the Relic Guild are some of the last able to wield magic… and they each have different abilities. These abilities are almost second nature, or like a sixth sense, to the characters. Their attitude to the power differs greatly from each other too. In addition to this: weaponry, portals and other elements of the Labyrinth draw on external forces of magic. I have never found a book that as both “types” of magic, yet Edward Cox makes them work side by side so well.

I love the idea of the Labyrinth. It’s a magical place shut off from the rest of the world. In the centre, the remaining citizens live together in Labrys Town. Out in the maze surrounding the town, danger lurks around every corner. No-one can enter nor leave. Well, so they believed. Yet forty years on from the war he lost, Fabian Moor is out for his revenge against the Relic Guild. He may not be stuck in the Labyrinth, but he is a massive threat all the same.

There are a number of characters that have a crucial role to play and they are all distinct, well-developed people. Each member of the Relic Guild has a unique relationship with one another. With the exception of Clara, all were part of the War forty years ago. Clara, a former prostitute of Labrys Town has been hiding her gift. She is the first gifted person to be identified since the War, so she is a welcome surprise when the Relic Guild rescues her from danger. There is a lot of history, grudges and camaraderie between these characters and that is reflected well throughout the book. They feel like a community, a family even, as you would expect from such a close-knit group.

The citizens are protected by the Resident, who also happens to be head of the Relic Guild. His ever-watchful eye puts them in a position to observe the danger and attempt to protect the Labyrinth as disaster unfolds. The war isn’t over.

It has only just begun.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 12th August 2018

It’s the end of another week friends! Have you all had a good one? It’s been a pretty good one here, I have to say. Despite it being a normal working week, I’ve had the pleasure of reading some pretty fantastic books. That’s what counts, right?

I really enjoyed writing my review for Children of Blood & Bone this week. I think the book is fantastic and I am so glad it has received such a positive reception. Interestingly, I also saw Tomi Adeyemi on BBC News… in which she said that a film was being made of the book! I’ve read the book first, so that’s license to go and watch the film when it’s out. That is if they show it here…

On Friday I also published the latest Down the TBR Hole post, with little success in clearing out the list. I only binned off one book, but at least I know I still want to read the other nine I reviewed. What can I say; I just have good taste in books!

 

Books Read

This week feels like a really productive one!

I have been reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, and I will say, it is quite a dense read. Since last week I have progressed from around 20% to 47%. I’m nearly half way! It is hard going at times though. It’s not that the book isn’t enjoyable… it is just that there is a lot going on and a lot of information to process. I’ve found that I read it better when I take breaks and read something else in between chapters.

For a few days, that “something else” has been Individutopia by Joss Sheldon. I would argue that this book is more political type fiction than I would normally read, but I have enjoyed it though! I finished this last night as I listened to the rain belting against the window and the wind howling (perfect reading weather, imho). I’m going to be sharing my thoughts with you really soon, so stay tuned. Reading this book in between has also been useful as I am pretty up to date with reviews – spending too long on Eye of the World would make me struggle for content. It’s a win-win situation.

In the same vein as Individutopia, I have started reading The Relic Guild in between chapters of The Eye of the World. I am only a few chapters in so far, having only started the book last night. I’m enjoying it because it is the first physical book I have picked up in a wee while. Kindles are great for practicality, but they don’t quite replace the real thing though.

Last, but by no means least – I FUFILLED MY PROMISE TO FINISH NEVERNIGHT!!

It’s been a long time coming, but I got there in the end. I tend to listen to audiobooks when getting ready for work in the morning. Lately, I’ve not been sleeping so well – so in the morning I’m too tired to even try to follow it. I’ve done it though! Moving onwards and upwards, I’m listening to Godsgrave next!

 

 

Books Discovered

This feels pretty much like the story of my life. Remember I took one book off the TBR in Friday’s installment of Down the TBR Hole?

Yeah, well I’ve already replaced it.

As I also think I established in that post, I have a particular love for Tudor history – especially Henry VIII. I am really interested in the history of the monarch himself, and his wives, so adding this book to the list was a no-brainer. I saw that the book was on offer for £1.99 – it would have been rude not to?

I’ll tell myself that.

 

 

Coming Up…

IndividutopiaSo, as I previously mentioned, I am going to be sharing my thoughts of Individutopia with you next week! I found the book really easy to read, even though the setting and mindset of our main character was a little extraordinary. If you want to find out more, please check out my review on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

I am also going to be starting another mini-series, friends! I’ve been thinking for a little while about how many books I have read before starting my blog. It’s quite a few! Therefore, to incorporate these books on my blog, I am going to be writing mini-reviews of them! I cannot promise that they are hugely specific (as I read them a long time ago) – but it may just be enough to either introduce a new series to you all, or find other like-minded friends!

I’ll be writing my first post on Thursday!

Reading List – August 2018

Every month seems to come around faster than the last. In the blink of an eye, it’s time to publish my reading list for August! This month I have some pretty long books on the list, so I am going to have to get my skates on!

Also, for the first time in over two years, I am going to be re-reading some much-loved books. I recently published a Top Ten Tuesday – Books to Re-Read post and basically convinced myself that I need this series in my life again. As you do.

So, shall we get started?

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

the eye of the world

 Goodreads – The Eye of the World

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

I have had this book on the reading list so long. Every month I try to get around to reading it, but as it is always the last book on the list (and I have taken to overstretching myself) it never happens for me. Well, enough is enough. This month, it’s the first book on the list and I am determined to finish it – or die trying.

Okay… so that’s a bit extreme, but you get my point.

 

Three Bloody Pieces – Elizabeth Davies

Three Bloody Pieces

 Goodreads – Three Bloody Pieces

Queen, widow, beggar – Lady Caitlyn is all three, and now she can add murderer to the list.

When death and treachery propels her south to Normandy, to seek sanctuary with the exiled Prince Alfred, visions of a woman with ancient eyes travel with her.

Herleva is a woman filled with ambition and greed. A woman who intends to be more than a commoner. A woman who gets what she wants by whatever means possible, even if she has to practice the dark arts to achieve her goals.

A woman who is a witch.

Caitlyn finds herself caught up in a magic which changes her very being. A magic which produces a king to change the lives of every man, woman, and child in England.

I am so excited to be taking part in a blog tour for this book next month. I have added it to the reading list well in advance, as I am going to be reviewing the later books in the series too. Those reviews aren’t going to be published until October/November this year.

Three Bloody Pieces looks set to be an exciting fantasy novel. Having read a few bits and pieces of other genres, this month I am certainly feeling the fantasy vibe. Most of my reads this month are of the genre.

 

Individutopia – Joss Sheldon

Individutopia

 Goodreads – Individutopia

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SOCIETY

Beloved friend,

The year is 2084, and that famous Margaret Thatcher quote has become a reality: There really is no such thing as society. No one speaks to anyone else. No one looks at anyone else. People don’t collaborate, they only compete.

I hate to admit it, but this has had tragic consequences. Unable to satisfy their social urges, the population has fallen into a pit of depression and anxiety. Suicide has become the norm.

It all sounds rather morbid, does it not? But please don’t despair, there is hope, and it comes in the form of our hero: Renee Ann Blanca. Wishing to fill the society-shaped hole in her life, our Renee does the unthinkable: She goes in search of human company! It’s a radical act and an enormous challenge. But that, I suppose, is why her tale’s worth recounting. It’s as gripping as it is touching, and I think you’re going to love it…

Your trusty narrator,

PP

This is the one book on the list that isn’t fantasy. I love the dystopian “society” (or lack thereof) the book is set in. I think this will be particularly interesting to read as, far more and more, we turn to social media and the internet to “socialise”.  Ironically makes us isolate ourselves from each other more. I can’t wait to see how this book portrays a world in which society has broken down.

 

The Relic Guild – Edward Cox

 Goodreads – The Relic Guild

Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, went to war, everything was ruined and the Labyrinth became an abandoned forbidden zone, where humans were trapped behind boundary walls a hundred feet high.

Now the Aelfir are a distant memory and the Thaumaturgists have faded into myth. Young Clara struggles to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, where eyes are keen, nights are long, and the use of magic is punishable by death. She hides in the shadows, fearful that someone will discover she is touched by magic. She knows her days are numbered. But when a strange man named Fabian Moor returns to the Labyrinth, Clara learns that magic serves a higher purpose and that some myths are much more deadly in the flesh.

The only people Clara can trust are the Relic Guild, a secret band of magickers sworn to protect the Labyrinth. But the Relic Guild are now too few. To truly defeat their old nemesis Moor, mightier help will be required. To save the Labyrinth – and the lives of one million humans – Clara and the Relic Guild must find a way to contact the worlds beyond their walls.

I am very grateful recipient of a copy of this book (by Gollancz) in exchange for a review.

I know very little of this series, other than what I have read of the synopsis. Forbidden magic is a bit of a theme to the books I am reading at the moment. I have to say I am enjoying the theme. The synopsis puts me in mind of a Children of Blood & Bone meets Maze Runner kind of scenario.

I’m looking forward to reading this first book as an introduction to both a new series and a new author.

 

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

 

Goodreads – A Game of Thrones

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Yes folks, I talked myself into re-reading A Game of Thrones. Again.

This will be my third read through, but I’m justifying it by putting it to the end of the list and making it accommodate my other reading. Also, I’m hoping to have re-read the series so far by the time the last season airs in April next year.

Do I even need to justify it? I don’t think so…

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 22nd July 2018

Today, my Sunday Summary post covers two weeks’ worth of reading, as I had a short holiday last weekend and couldn’t post!

Before going away, I shared my review of The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale – a lovely historical fiction novel involving the magic of toys and children’s imagination.

Whilst I was away, I had a couple of other posts scheduled for you. On Friday I shared a wonderful guest post written by Christopher Ruocchio, Five Things You Need to Know About the World of Empire of Silence. On Saturday, I shared my reviews on Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery by Alice Castle as part of the organised Blog Tour.

After I came back, I posted the next Down the TBR Hole post. I only ended up taking a couple of the books off of the list, but at least I know for sure that I want to read the books that ARE on it!

I managed to get a little reading done whilst I was away. Being sat at an airport alone makes for productive reading time!

 

Books Read

Following my Sunday Summary post a couple of weeks ago, I managed to finish reading The Girl in the Gallery with plenty of time to draft my thoughts for the blog tour post. If you haven’t checked out that post, I would really appreciate it if you did. You can find the link above!

Moving on, I picked up A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. This was the book I picked up in the few moments I had whilst on holiday… although they were few and far between! I was visiting my sister so we had lots of shopping and activities planned. I did manage to finish the book reasonably quickly, wrapping it up on Wednesday night.

From there, I picked up another much anticipated read – Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I really love this book so far as it really does tackle some difficult themes like oppression, slavery and prejudice in a way that is approachable to read. I also love the magic in the book! I’m currently 39% through the book and I cannot wait to pick it up again.

 

Books Discovered

I have only added two books to the list, purely because I refused to even allow myself to look at books whilst shopping. I spent too much money. Payday is much awaited.

I only added Auschwitz to the TBR as I saw a fantastic review of the book. As usual, I’ve done my thing and NOT made a note of the reviewer. SORRY!!! If I find it again, I’ll add the link!

It’s one of my favourite topics. Having read some fictional works based on this tragic episode of history, I wanted to go that step further and delve into real accounts from survivors. I cannot wait to read the book!

I am adding the second book to the list literally as I write this post. Having been hugely undecided as to whether to add/buy the book, Eve of Man has been on my radar for weeks. However, having just watched a video by the lovely Zoe at No Safer Place (discussing the book and it’s hype on Youtube), I am sold. I will get around to reading this book! 

 

Top of Form

Coming Up…

I tell you, it’s lovely to be able to get back into some semblance of a routine again. I loved going away, I had a fabulous time. It threw me off the blogging schedule though, and if I have one flaw, it’s that I don’t adapt to change or breaking routine well.  Bottom of Form

Now that I can flex my typing fingers once again, I am going to kick-start the week with a post I don’t write very often. Themed around books I would love to read again, I am going to be writing a Top Ten Tuesday post.

 

 

A Darker Shade of MagicOn Friday I’ll be posting my review of A Darker Shade of Magic. I’m looking forward to reviewing this book because it is still fresh in my mind. You have no idea how much easier I find reviewing books when I have just read them. I proved that to myself in my review of The Toymakers!  

 

 

 

 

So, that’s all for now, ladies and gents! I hope you have enjoyed reading my post and I look forward to catching up with you again in my Top Ten Tuesday post!

As ever, any love, comments or criticisms are welcome – I would love to hear from you!

empire of silence blog tour banner

Five Things You Need To Know About The World Of Empire Of Silence – By Christopher Ruocchio

Empire of SilenceEmpire 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.

 

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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 RuocchioChristopher 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.

Source: http://sollanempire.com/

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 8th July 2018

Hi everyone and welcome to another weekly summary! Have you had a good week? I hope so! It’s been another hot one here, with plenty of blue skies!

This week has been a really exciting one… for reasons bookish and not! The first and most exciting news is family related. Anyone following me on social media will know that my sister graduated from University this week – I couldn’t be prouder!

Now onto bookish events; on Monday I took part in my first Blog Tour organised by Gollancz, posting my review of Ravencry by Ed McDonald. I thoroughly enjoyed both Blackwing and Ravencry, and I am grateful to have taken part! If anyone is yet to read my review, I would be eternally grateful if you could.

The “To Be Read” pile was reviewed and culled this week. Four out of ten books were axed in my Down the TBR Hole #11 post. Whilst it may not sound like much, over time this adds up. The TBR will look a lot healthier for it.

Books Read

This week I have made real progress in reading The London Murder Mysteries books. This is ready for the upcoming blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. I had to postpone finishing Death in Dulwich to take part in the Gollancz tour for Ravencry. Luckily I made a good start on the book as early as I did so I could afford to. I finished reading this on Tuesday and already have my thoughts drafted for the review. I am currently reading The Girl in the Gallery… and most of the way through it too! I’m hoping to finish reading this by tomorrow, giving me plenty of time to draft my review.

In between chapters of The Girl in the Gallery, I have been reading A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab. I’m currently 20% through, but reading brief sections at a time makes it feel like I have barely started at all! I cannot wait to start reading this one in earnest!

Nevernight makes the list again this week, but I have only listened to this audiobook one morning or two. I think things are about to get really interesting, so I may find myself starting to binge listen to this. It’s hard enough getting myself out of the door in the morning as it is!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve basically undone all the hard work in my Down the TBR post because I have added as many books as I took off the list in that post…

The first addition to the list is The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams. From what I can gather, it is a bit of a classic in the Fantasy genre that has inspired modern writers. Needless to say, this was pretty much an automatic add. I typically find the orphan/coming of Age storyline a little overused, but I’ve added the book knowing it’s there. I can’t complain about it.

Hold me to that. Please.

Yesterday I received a fabulous book bundle from Gollancz – The Relic Guild trilogy by Edward Cox. I am yet to read any books by this author, so I can’t wait to be properly acquainted with the series and let you know my thoughts!

 

Coming Up…

Things are going to be a little different than usual because due to family commitments, I am not going to be able to post my usual Sunday Summary next week.

Don’t worry – I have plenty of other exciting posts lined up for you! To cover all bases, here are the posts coming up in the next TWO WEEKS: –

Week 1

I’ll be dropping my next post on Tuesday, in which I’ll be reviewing The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. I actually finished this book at the end of May. But, due to other commitments, I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet! Oops…

 

 

 

 

 

Friday the 13th may be unlucky for some, but certainly not for me – or you! Empire of Silence is the fantastic debut novel by Christopher Ruocchio; it officially hit bookshelves on Thursday this week! I was privileged to receive an advance copy from Gollancz. If you want to check out the review I have written for the book, you’ll be able to find it here. What does this have to do with Friday 13th, you ask? Well, as part of the launch tour, I will be sharing a guest post written by the author himself!

 

 

I may not be posting on Sunday next week, but I will have ANOTHER Blog Tour post lined up for you on Saturday. In this post, I will be reviewing Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery by Alice Castle. If you like a cozy murder mystery, then the adventures of Beth Haldane, coined “Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple”, may be of interest to you.

 

 

 

Week 2

down the tbr holeJumping now to Wednesday, I will be reviewing the TBR pile again to further cull any impulse additions or books I no longer wish to read due to changing tastes. I am determined to get to the end of the list, so then I’ll have a realistic idea of how many books I truly want to read. Well, as much as is possible to gauge from an ever-expanding list, anyway.

 

 

Sunday SummaryThen, after two weeks, I’ll post the much anticipated Sunday Summary. I hope to have plenty to tell you about! If nothing else, these summaries help me get the house in order. It will be as much anticipated by me as anyone else!

 

 

Blog Tour: Ravencry – Ed McDonald Review

Today I am incredibly lucky, as I get to share my review of Ravencry for the ongoing Blog Tour. Firstly, a huge thank you to Stevie, Gollancz and of course Ed McDonald himself for all the hard work!

 

Ravencry

Goodreads – Ravencry

Amazon     Book Depository

 

Synopsis

Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but as they hurl fire from the sky, darker forces plots against the republic.

A new power is rising: a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady manifests in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power even as the city burns around them.

When Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached, an object of terrible power is stolen, and Galharrow and his Blackwings must once find out which of Valengrad’s enemies is responsible before they have a chance to use it.

To save Valengrad, Galharrow, Nenn and Tnota must venture to a darker, more twisted and more dangerous place than any they’ve walked before: the very heart of the Misery.

RAVENCRY is the second book in the Raven’s Mark series, continuing the story that began with the award winning epic fantasy BLACKWING.

 

About the Series

Blackwing, the first book of the series, is one of the best debut novels I have read to date.

The Raven’s Mark is an Epic Fantasy series set in a magical, semi-postapocalyptic world. Magic has destroyed the landscape now known as the Misery.  Vicious monsters roam that poisoned land, scoured by the Nameless identified only as Crowfoot. Anyone roaming the Misery can fall victim to any of the creatures that lurk there.

Ryhalt is Blackwing and bound to serve Crowfoot. In between he takes mercenary jobs, chasing deserters and preventing them from crossing the Misery to convert to the Deep Kings. It is a long war, but Ryhalt soon finds his involvement is about to get a lot deeper.

Events in Ravencry take place four years after Blackwing. Whereas Ryhalt isn’t a particularly changed man, Valengrad has moved on from the events of the first book. The devastation is still evident though. The Bright Lady, who first appeared at the pinnacle of disaster is making appearances again. A new religion is founded under her visage and the preachers proclaim her return to save them in their darkest hours…

 

My Thoughts…

One of the things I really enjoyed about Ravencry is that the narrative isn’t identical to Blackwing. Having read Blackwing only a couple of weeks prior, it was clear that events were progressing. The setting and characters are familiar, but what has transpired before has changed them. Ryhalt’s cynical perspective on life is as humorous as ever, although in this book we get to see a slightly less hard-faced side to his personality. Shaped by the experiences of his past, we get to see the man he could have been… if the Nameless and Deep Kings hadn’t intervened with their war, that is.

I have always been a fan of magic with roots in scientific realism. Brandon Sanderson is particularly good for this, basing his magic on alchemy (Mistborn series) or around light (Stormlight Archives). In this series, magic centres around the filtering of light. The ability to wield magic isn’t granted to everybody, thankfully. Light spinners manipulate the light from the moon into stored energy. There are larger and darker powers too, more vast than we can imagine – known only to the Nameless and Deep Kings. Personally, I enjoy magic systems this way as it brings that world just one step closer to reality.

There is plenty of world-building throughout these books; Ed McDonald reveals the backstory gradually as the narrative continues to grow and evolve. With such a rich history, it would be easy to reveal too much too quickly. A lot of Ryhalt’s character is conveyed here, but details are divulged at the right time to compel you to read on.

Ryhalt, (or Captain Galharrow) is the perfect character to lead the narrative; he is inseparably entwined with the magic manipulating the world. Servitude to Crowfoot leads him down dark paths and lends him a depth of experience to draw upon later. Even when Ryhalt reflects on his own life, the narrative is not even for one second dull. He recognizes his flaws, doubts himself, laments his mistakes and lets us into his thoughts uncensored, proving he is as human as we are. None of the characters fall flat on the page.

I would even go so far as to call them friends.

 


 

About the Author

Ed McDonald has spent many years dancing between different professions, cities and countries, but the only thing any of them share in common is that they have allowed him enough free time to write. He currently lives with his wife in London, a city that provides him with constant inspiration, where he works as a university lecturer. When he’s not grading essays or wrangling with misbehaving plot lines he can usually be found fencing with longswords, rapiers and pollaxes. You can find out more about Ed by visiting his website or following him on Twitter (@EdMcDonaldTFK) and Facebook.

***Profile originally published on Gollancz’s website