Whether you are new to my blog or a frequent visitor, hello and welcome! I trust you are having a lovely weekend? In today’s post, I get to share my thoughts with you about Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire, book two in the Time For Alexander series.
In addition to my review, there is also the chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate; you’ll find the details for that below.
Legends of Persia
When Ashley Riveraine jumped at the chance to travel back in time to meet her hero Alexander the Great, she never thought she would end up staying there…
Following Alexander the Great’s army on its journey across Persia, Ashley is walking the knife edge of history. As a presumed goddess, Ashley is expected to bless crops, make sure battles are won and somehow keep herself out of the history books.
Can Ashley avoid the wrath of the Time Institute while keeping the man she loves alive?
Picking up this second book of the series is like getting into your “old faithful” pair of jeans. They’re familiar, comfortable and you know they fit. Having read and reviewed The Road to Alexander earlier this year, I was in the perfect position to pick this up and follow on from the events that transpired in book one.
Interestingly, one element that I really enjoyed about the first book is barely mentioned in the second! The historical fiction and science fiction crossover in The Road to Alexander isn’t one that I have seen all that much of. Okay, to an extent they go hand-in-hand where time travel is concerned. In my experience though, I haven’t seen it in any great detail; Jennifer Macaire’s writing is the exception.
To help readers, the circumstances of Ashley’s long-term presence in Alexander the Great’s time zone are recapped briefly. As a recap though, these versions don’t touch on the scientific explanations of how the time travel happens, as they did in book one. I don’t think that as a drawback though – Legends of Persia stands as a brilliant historical fiction novel without the need to include the science fiction as an element of intrigue.
An additional advantage of picking up Legends of Persia immediately after an epic like A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, is that it is really easy to read. I sat and engorged on 30% of this novel without even looking up in my first sitting. It didn’t take long to read either, and being so involved in the storyline and the characters trials and tribulations makes it so much easier. I say this a lot, but the writing style is make-or-break for me. I can get a good idea of how well I will get on with a book based on the first couple of pages alone. Jennifer Macaire’s writing style is very easy to read.
One of the other things I talked about in my review of The Road to Alexander was the sex and nudity throughout the novel. I went into Legends of Persia knowing what to expect, so I wasn’t so bothered about it this time around. The intimate moments aren’t so graphic in detail that it makes you uncomfortable as a reader, or so prolific to negate the actual storyline.
Throughout the series, the characters are more emotional than we are. Men cry and rejoice and love freely. There aren’t the constraints that the reader may expect; modern religion and society as we know it is yet to be born. I’m not all that versed in the sexual habits of people at the time, but I like the inclusion (and normalisation) of same sex relations between the characters. Love is for a person for who they are and doesn’t discriminate by sex or gender.
I’ve really enjoyed delving into both The Road to Alexander and Legends of Persia and re-living a historical time period largely unknown to me. I have already agreed to reading and reviewing the next two books in the series! I cannot wait for those!
Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.
Giveaway to Win a $10 Amazon gift certificate (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Good morning everyone! Today brings my second blog tour post of the month and I am pleased to feature Psychotopia by R. N. Morris. The tour has been organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources; I’ve been provided with a copy of the e-book for the purposes of giving an honest review. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts, but first, here is a little about the book: –
A game for the times we live – and die – in. Enter Psychotopia, a dark new dystopian novel from the author of the acclaimed Silas Quinn mysteries.
PSYCHOTOPIA, LEVEL ONE. Create your own boutique psychopath, then deceive, manipulate and be ruthless, spreading mayhem and destruction to reach the next levels.
It’s the computer game for our times. After all, the amount of crazy in the world is increasing. Senseless violence on the streets is becoming the norm. Can Dr Arbus’s ground-breaking device identify and neutralize psychopaths before it’s too late? In this increasingly dysfunctional world, surely Callum standing by Aimee after her devastating encounter with Charlie is proof that real love and goodness can still win in a world that’s increasingly rotten . . . Or can it?
Psychotopia is a work of speculative fiction in which society is filled with psychopaths. The narrative follows select individuals, some psychopathic and some not. Through their lives, we experience the indefinite change in society from our own and consider the consequences.
The perspective that has the most influence on my interpretation of the book is the police officer, Rick. His contributions to the book are primarily retrospective to the main storyline. As he also opens and closes the book with his thoughts on all that has happened. Consequently, the story feels less like the action-packed novel the synopsis indicates it will be and rather more philosophical. It’s not a criticism because I still enjoyed the book and the overall story. It is just told a little differently!
One of the philosophical elements I drew from the book is the influence of games on people’s minds. Can one person’s vision become media that alters another’s perspective? There are numerous debates about possible links between video games and violence. Nothing has been proven though. When a creeper blew up my ground-level spider spawner, I was pretty damn bitter. It was only 50 or so blocks away from base as well! I didn’t get violent as a result though. I have to think Minecraft isn’t quite in the league of Psychotopia, for my own sanity’s sake…
Still, having access to viewing and instigating negative behaviour in games may alter perspective over time. It’s a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” argument really, but I think about stuff like that. I’m an excellent debater… (at least in my own head).
Unusually, I found that chapters with different characters are written in different persons. I thought it an inconsistency at first, but it is done quite deliberately. I also enjoyed the nuance of chapters about the game development being issued as ‘circulars’. It serves well to break up the narrative and add some informal, conversational (and twisted) ideas into play.
Author Bio –
R. N. Morris is the author of ten novels. The latest is PSYCHOTOPIA, published 31 October, 2018.
A Gentle Axe, was published by Faber and Faber in 2007. Set in St Petersburg in the nineteenth century, it features Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoevsky’s great novel, Crime and Punishment. The book was published in many countries, including Russia. He followed that up with A Vengeful Longing, which was shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (as the CWA Gold Dagger was briefly known). A Razor Wrapped in Silk came next, followed by The Cleansing Flames, which was nominated for the Ellis Peters Historical Novel Dagger.
Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Today marks the first stop on the blog tour for Life, and Other Dreams by Richard Dee. The tour has been organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and I am delighted to be taking part! I’ve been provided with a copy of the e-book for the purposes of giving an honest review. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts, but first, here is a little about the book: –
Rick lives here on Earth now, with Cath. His life is boring, writing adverts for cat food and exotic holidays. When he’s asleep, he dreams vividly.
In his dreams, he lives as Dan, spending his time with his wife Vanessa. They live six-hundred years in the future, half a galaxy away. They’re explorers, searching for valuable minerals on Ecias, an alien paradise.
Dan has no dreams about Rick’s life, he lives on Ecias, loves his life and Vanessa.
When the two worlds overlap, Rick starts to question what is real. Events in his waking and sleeping lives are mirrored, similar people inhabit both and coincidences mount up. Then disaster strikes in each world at the same time. In his dreams, Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, after one coincidence too many, Cath thinks that Rick’s dreams are hiding an affair and leaves him.
Is Rick going crazy, or can he be living in two places, in two times, at once? If not, then which one of them is the reality? Will one life carry on when the other is on hold?
Richard Dee’s fast-paced, edgy science fiction -cum- psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!
Life and Other Dreams is an extremely approachable sci-fi psychological thriller. I would never have expected the two genres to gel as well as they do. I enjoy sci-fi books, but I confess it is the genre (of those that I “do read”) that I pick up the least. By no means am I a science geek, but that doesn’t matter. The concept of life on another planet and in a different time zone is simple and brilliant.
Two identities. Two completely separate lives. Rick and Dan exist in the other’s dreams – but where do the lines between the subconscious and reality lie? Rick lives a seemingly normal life, but Dan lives on another planet hundreds of years in the future. He and Vanessa are part of a small community colonising the planet, scouting for useful materials. The description of the unique landscape and the advancements in technology imagined are truly fantastic. More importantly to my mind, they are believable. No part of this new world feels forced or farfetched and consequently unimaginable. That can be a real deal-breaker with sci-fi, at least for me. However, I felt as much at home on Ecias as with Rick’s life on humble Earth.
It’s hard to tell if Dan and Rick are their own individual or in fact the same person, just living in different circumstances (or just the other person’s head). Each influences the other. They seem irrevocably bound together, but how or why are the intriguing questions borne from the narrative. This psychological thriller element sets Life, and Other Dreams apart from any other book I have read to date – for all the right reasons!
The pace of the novel and regular changes of perspective keep the narrative fresh. I found myself avidly devouring each chapter, desperate to find out what happens next for each of these men. They each have their own separate struggles in their own worlds, making the conflicts in the plot twice as exciting, and telling myself “just one more chapter” so much easier.
As to what happens next, we’ll just have to wait for the next instalment – Wake Me Up.
Author Bio –
Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon. He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.
Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, working as a Marine Insurance Surveyor and as Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.
In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as HMS Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority.
Richard is married with three adult children and three grandchildren.
His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. Sequels to Ribbonworld and The Rocks of Aserol have been published, together with a second Andorra Pett story, Andorra Pett on Mars. He also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection. Richard is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects.
You can find out more about me on my website at richarddeescifi.co.uk. Head over there to see what I get up to, click the FREE STUFF tab or the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free novel or short story.
Doesn’t the weekend, and the end of it, roll around all too quickly! The first week of the New Year is over… has anyone broken their resolutions yet?
I wrote about my New Year’s Resolutions earlier this week, as well as giving details of this month’s planned reading list. If you haven’t checked that out already, it would be really awesome if you do! I’d also like to know what resolutions you have set yourself! In addition to the resolutions on my post, I am also making a conscious effort to read more bookish blogs. I’ve fallen out of the habit, but even if I only take 20 minutes out of my day, that’s more than I am doing now. I have already read some fun, interesting resolutions posts; the best of luck to everyone in achieving your goals!
I have also written my first review of the year this week. It’s a review that I feel is overdue as I finished the book at the end of October last year. Unfortunately, I committed myself to a lot of blog tours in November. That’s why I have only gotten around to reviewing The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich now. This is the second book I have reviewed of hers, the first being Copper Sky. It was lovely that she contacted me to tell me what a pleasant surprise it was to see my thoughts on the book.
So, what have I been reading this week?
It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to lend a mention to three books in this section! Maybe all this New Year, new me lark does mean something after all. No harm in a fresh start. My first mention is going to be brief though – in last week’s Sunday Summary post I promised to finish The Cathedral of Known Things before bed… and I did.
The majority of my reading time this week has been invested in The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire. I had started the book in December but forgot to add it to my Goodreads and update my progress. So, on the 1st of January when I wrote my reading list, I confidently updated my progress without checking because I was convinced I was 46% through the book. Turns out, I had only read 31%. I had a bit more reading to do than I thought, but never mind. I still managed to finish the book on Friday night, so I’m happy.
This weekend, I have been reading Black Matter by G. D. Parker. I am reviewing the book later this month as part of the organised blog tour. I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure where the plot was going when I first started this book. The synopsis is quite vague in detail, but now I am hooked. I read the first 40% in one sitting and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the narrative unravels.
After kicking myself back into the blog reading action, I stumbled across a review for Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett. I am an awful person because after telling myself a HUNDRED times to save where the book recommendations come from so I can credit that person here… I haven’t. I’ve tried searching for it too, but no luck. Sorry!
The review discussed how the blogger enjoyed the political elements within the book. As I love the dynamic and intrigue from a political stance in novels such as the Song of Ice & Fire series by George R. R. Martin, I think I could really enjoy Onyx & Ivory.
For the first time EVER, I am being sent on a business trip this week! Eek! I’m equally excited and nervous because I haven’t been to London since I was a child. How can I tell I am nervous? I’ve already started trying to look into trains and taking screenshots of maps etc. I’m a worrier, okay, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. It’s just a day trip, but I have to get up in the early hours of the morning night to get there, it’s going to be a long day! I’m sure I’ll enjoy it though!
Back to the bookish side of things, what posts are going live this week?
As we are fresh into the New Year, I feel it’s only appropriate to take a look at some of the books I am really looking forward to reading this year. This will be my first Can’t-Wait Wednesday post, so I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!
A little later in the week, I am going to work on whittling down the TBR with another Down the TBR Hole post. It doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t get the numbers down. I’m forever adding new books so it feels like I am chasing my own tail sometimes. At least I know I genuinely want to read the books on the list!
I want to make good progress on the reading front this week. My aim is to finish Black Matter within the next couple of days, as it is a relatively short read. Next, I’ll be moving on to reading You Can’t Make Old Friends by Tom Trott. This is the first book of the series, for which I am taking part in a blog tour next month. I am hopeful that I will have this one finished, or nearly finished, by the time I am writing my next Sunday Summary post.
That’s all from me for now folks! Don’t forget… I would love to hear what your New Year’s resolutions are! What are you reading to kick off 2019?
I have been looking forward to the Breachers Blog Tour since February. FEBRUARY! I’ve had a little while to wait, but it has been worth every minute!
Breachers was introduced to me when I took part in a cover reveal tour, organised by Fiery Seas Publishing. What sold the book to me was the inclusion of an anti-hero, aka Jason Conners.
I don’t find this very often in the books I read. The exceptions to that statement are Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire series… or I could make a case for Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles. That’s five books, if you count each published book of the series (so far, anyway). I’ve read hundreds. The fact that I have rated all of these books a minimum of four stars (mostly five though) says it all.
WE.NEED. MORE. ANTI-HEROES!
By Anthony Thomas
Fiery Seas Publishing
September 18, 2018
Jason Conners is the last person you’d expect to run into a burning building, unless of course there was something inside worth stealing. Call him what you want: criminal, thief, asshole, but hero? Absolutely not. Jason’s questionable behavior and disturbing antics can only be attributed to one secret.
He can change the future, but with great power comes great responsibility? Hell no. His ability makes him the best thief in the city, and nothing is off-limits. Until Jason’s carefree attitude gains the attention of the Rogues, and the government.
The Rogues want him to stop catastrophic events from taking place, and the government has their own agenda. When the hunt begins, Jason is caught in the crosshairs and learns that breaching is not as limitless as he thought.
Can this anti-hero give up a life of easy money and become the savior the Rogues need, or will it cost him everything—even his immortality?
As well as a profound love for anti-heroes, which I hope I have established by now, I am also making a conscious effort to read more science-fiction. I found Breachers to be a very approachable read, even though it is not a genre I pick up all that frequently. The concept of time travel can be difficult to work with – it can either get very technical, very confusing or both. Anthony Thomas has written it in such a way that “breaching”, or time traveling, only steps the timeline back a little. No complicated loops, no “I must not interrupt previous events or meet myself” etc. Rewind the action like you would a VCR and don’t make the same mistake again.
I would like to clarify I am old enough to remember those. No doubt the thought crossed your mind!
I laughed out loud so many times whilst reading Breachers. Jason’s upbringing and lifestyle make him more than familiar with the shadiest sorts of people…. himself included, really. Consequently, the humour and language and subject matter is mostly crude but incredibly funny. That is my sense of humour, so I get on with this really well.
You cannot help but love the characters. Even as a minor character, I love Wilson’s backstory and how he came to team up with Jason. He’s a techno geek and a social lack-wit to boot, but he’s adorable… and far too innocent for the life he’s living. It makes for some bloody hilarious shenanigans though! Jason is definitely the wiser of the two, though far more reckless. Guess that’s a perk of being able to undo your latest death though. Later, we meet other “Breachers”. They all have distinctive personalities and relationships of their own; they didn’t really feel like secondary characters, in my opinion.
I loved reading Breachers – it was well worth the wait! I had no idea how it was going to end, which encouraged me to read on even more! It is a fantastic debut novel and this is one of the easiest five-star reviews I have given this year.
Anthony Thomas settled in the city of sin, though part of him will always remain in the small farming town in Northern California. When he’s not hunched over a keyboard, Anthony enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and two dogs.
Usually, I would be lamenting the fact that it is Sunday night. Not this week.
Call me a bitch if you like (go ahead, I’ve been called worse), but since I’m not at work tomorrow, I don’t care that it’s Sunday!
Okay, I know I’m a bitch. I’ll deal with it.
So, what have I been up to this week?
Aside from reading, shopping and just generally dossing around, I’ve been doing some work behind the scenes on my blog. There has been a slight appearance change to bring everything into line; I am pleased with the result! Also, I have been working on some broken links caused by the migration of my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. I still have a way to go on these. I’m hoping to invest more time into this next week, so next weekend it should be resolved!
As a result of this, I only managed one blog post this week. On Wednesday I shared my thoughts on a local event I attended a couple of weeks ago. As part of the Manx Litfest, I saw a re-telling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, performed by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones. It was a fabulous performance.
I’ve made good headway on a few books this week!
I started the week practically devouring the rest of Muse of Nightmares – not surprising really! I finished this on Monday night. It didn’t last long at all!
Next, I moved on to reading The Hidden Face by S. C. Flynn. I am reading this book at the request of the author in exchange for a review. It’s interesting so far! There is a fair bit of history to events, giving depth to the world the novel is set in. The characters are also unusual, and some shrouded in mystery. I’m about a third of the way through the book at the moment and I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes!
As I am taking part in the Blog Tour for Breachers by Anthony Thomas next week, I’ve also picked this up this week. I took part in the cover reveal back in February and since then I was hoping to get my hands on a copy! When I was invited onto the current blog tour, I was elated! I have nearly finished this book – I’m at 77%. It’s not an overly long one compared to others I have been known to read, but I am sure as hell enjoying it! You can look forward to my full review really soon!
Last, but certainly not least, I’ve made further progress on Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. As I have had some time to work on a painting project I’m doing, I’ve been listening to Godsgrave at the same time. It’s a combination that works for me – I can’t really explain it. I listened to several hours of the audiobook though, so I can’t complain!
I bought far too many books this week.
Okay, ignore the statement above, because there is no such thing. I bought six though, haha! A bad week for my wallet. Oh well!
On Monday, I was having a crappy day. It was just one of those… we all get them, right? I went into the bookstore “for a look”, which didn’t really go to plan. I came out with a copy of Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio. Both of these books were already on my TBR, so I justified it that way…
On Friday, I ventured into the bookstore again, gift voucher in hand. I knew I was going to end up buying a few books on this trip – in fact; I had been looking forward to the chance all week. The weather was absolutely awful, but I still ventured out anyway – #dedication. When I left, it was armed with a copy of;
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Shining by Stephen King
A successful haul, in my opinion! I might have to lay off for a while now though… or not. Best not to make promises I can’t keep!
So, as I mentioned above, I am taking part in the Blog Tour for Breachers by Anthony Thomas. My review is going live on Wednesday 17th, so I hope you can take a few moments to read my thoughts on this thoroughly enjoyable book!
I am planning on writing a second review this week, as I am aware it is a little overdue. Back in August, I read The Relic Guild by Edward Cox, however, I am yet to share my thoughts about it with you.
I’ll also be doing some more work behind the scenes to bring my blog up to speed and hopefully improve the site!
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.
Today is a bank holiday, so I get to enjoy being off work! It will be strange going back for one day tomorrow, mind. How are you all?
I’ve had a happy couple of days as I have just watched my sister graduate from University with a 1st honours degree. I am a very proud sister right now!
Today I am putting together another Down the TBR hole post, to make sure the list doesn’t become unruly. I’ve accepted it’s going to remain long… and it will always be added to, but I can try, right? For anyone unfamiliar with how this post works, here are the rules: –
As well as leafing through the well-known titles that have helped shape the world in which we live, Oliver Tearle also dusts off some of the more neglected items to be found hidden among the bookshelves of the past. You’ll learn about the forgotten Victorian novelist who outsold Dickens, the woman who became the first published poet in America and the eccentric traveller who introduced the table-fork to England. Through exploring a variety of books—novels, plays, travel books, science books, cookbooks, joke books and sports almanacs—The Secret Library highlights some of the most fascinating aspects of our history. It also reveals the surprising connections between various works and historical figures. What links Homer’s Iliad to Aesop’s Fables? Or Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack to the creator of Sherlock Holmes? The Secret Library brings these little-known stories to light, exploring the intersections between books of all kinds and the history of the Western world over 3,000 years.
This is pretty much a no-brainer for me. It also guarantees that my TBR will get a lot longer after I’ve read it! I am always looking for new ways to discover new books… and I think this book will do just that for me!
Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.
A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.
This book and the sadness of the near impossible friendship between these two boys make me want to read this book. I think we have all experienced similar feelings of confusion or isolations during our teenage years, so I am hoping to relate to these characters in one way or another.
The order of the world is in turmoil. An age of industry is beginning, an age of machines fuelled by magic. Sprawling cities rise, strange devices stalk the land. New money brings new power. The balance between the Hundred Kingdoms is upset. For the first time in generations the threat of war looms.
In these turbulent days, fortunes can be won. Magic runs strong in the Kressind family. Six siblings strive – one to triumph in a world of men, one to survive murderous intrigue, one to master forbidden sorcery, one to wash away his sins, one to contain the terrible energies of his soul.
And one will do the impossible, by marrying the might of magic and iron in the heart of a great ship, to cross an ocean that cannot be crossed.
I was won over by “epic fantasy” if I’m honest. It is my favourite genre of all time and I am intrigued by the combination of magic and the industrial revolution. By all means, this is not a slight book; at 650 pages, but I am up for the challenge. This is a keeper.
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?
This isn’t a case of does it stay… rather, it should be on my current reads list.
Technically, I’m listening to it via Audible, and it’s so fantastic that I have already purchased Godsgrave with my next credit. I’m already two-thirds of the way through and I cannot wait for the first book to come to its conclusion!
There are some surprises that no-one should ever have to experience. Standing over the body of your beloved – and murdered – niece is one of them. For Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a man perilously close to the edge, it feels like the beginning of the end.
His boss may be telling him he’s too close to work the case, but this isn’t something that Harry can just let lie. He needs to dive into the murky depths of the Bradford underworld and find the monster that lurks there who killed his flesh and blood.
But before he can, he must tell his brother, Ron, the terrible news. And there is no predicting how he will react. Impulsive, dangerous and alarmingly well connected, Ron will act first and think later. Harry may have a murderer to find but if he isn’t careful, he may also have a murder to prevent.
I originally added these books when the author was featured in Writers Magazine. Whilst they do sound interesting, I’m not sure I want to read them as much as I did when I added them originally.
What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?
George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.
I had forgotten I added this to the TBR; to be honest, a part of me wonders why. You think it would never happen near you.
One of the teachers at my school was arrested and charged for a sexual crime.
Whilst I was no more involved than being taught by him, the story is close to the bone. Guilty or not, I don’t think I would be comfortable reading and trying to sympathise with the accused based on what has happened here.
“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.”
So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.
Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay’s hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.
As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city’s poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals. The keys to unlock the mysteries and intrigues that bind Lin are held by two people. The first is Khader Khan: mafia godfather, criminal-philosopher-saint, and mentor to Lin in the underworld of the Golden City. The second is Karla: elusive, dangerous, and beautiful, whose passions are driven by secrets that torment her and yet give her a terrible power.
Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas – this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.
I think this was an impulse addition to the TBR as well. Not sure why and I can’t even justify it.
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
This sounds like the perfect blend of Fantasy and Science Fiction. When it comes to technical sci-fi, I get a bit lost. Red Rising and the plot is one I think and hope I can really get behind. I love the idea of rebellion against oppression!
On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.
Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.
Part coming-of-age story, part confession, If We Were Villains explores the magical and dangerous boundary between art and life. In this tale of loyalty and betrayal, madness and ecstasy, the players must choose what roles to play before the curtain falls.
It involves crime, theatre and Shakespeare. Need I say more? I absolutely love anything that centres around the stage and I am truly hooked by this synopsis.
So there you have it! I decided to bin 4 out of 10 books, so that isn’t too bad!
Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned and want me to change my mind? Let me know in the comments!
There is genuinely nothing more pleasant than a bank holiday weekend – especially if the sun is shining!
Feeling in the summery mood lately, I bought a small bird feeder that sticks to my window. Who knew such things existed?! You don’t have to have a garden to enjoy nature, it seems. Over the past few days I have had a number of small visitors to my windowsill.
So what else has been going on with me? This week I posted a couple of reviews to the blog, and I would really love if you could check them out (if you haven’t done so already)! On Wednesday I posted my review of Eternity’s Echoes by Evan Hirson, a science-fiction novel in which five teenagers harness the power of time travel. Sticking with the science-fiction theme, I shared my review of Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio. I really enjoyed reading both these books! Science-fiction books are enjoyable reads… but it’s not a genre I pick up everyday. I’ve decided I definitely need to read more of this genre.
This week’s read is The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. In my Sunday Summary last week I touched on the book as I had just started reading it. Now I am just over half way through and I absolutely love it! It is a story of a Toy Emporium whose magic is legendary. The Emporium opens at first frost for the Christmas period and closes again when the snowdrops bloom. Cathy, a pregnant teenager runs away from the family that have shunned her and joins the Emporium. I love how and why Papa Jack created the Emporium. His life has not always been plain sailing, but it goes a long way to showing why he thinks and how the “magic” of his Emporium allures children and adults alike! I can’t wait to finish this book.
Nevernight has also been on my list this week, and I have been listening to this audiobook getting ready for work. This is a long audiobook, so I am going to be listening to it for a while! Annoyingly I lost a little bit of my progress (must have closed the app or something) so I had to make that up again, but it’s not the end of the world.
I posted about this on Instagram and Twitter yesterday, because I was so excited to receive this book mail! Season of Storms was published on the 22nd May and I am delighted to have been provided with a review copy! I really enjoyed reading The Last Wish last year – and I’ve played a little of the game franchise too! This beautiful hardback is going to be tempting me – I just know it!
On Tuesday I am going to be sharing another Quintessential Quotes post, because I said I was going to write them more often. And I haven’t. Normally when I set these up I have an idea of a theme I’m going to base it on… but not this time! I’m basically going to decide when I write it.
This might be fun…
Later on next week I am going to be posting a review of Diana Christmas by F. R. Jameson; I was kindly requested to review this book by the author in exchange for an electronic copy. Diana Christmas is a screen siren, whom at the peak of her fame, disappears from the limelight. When our film journalist Michael meets her years later, the sinister truth starts to unravel as to why Diana disappeared.
I am also hoping to share an interview with the author about this book, so please stay tuned for that too!
***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.