Archive for the ‘Jo Fletcher Books’ Category

Talk about your unexpected endings! Twists, turns, and “I didn’t see that coming” really describe the action in Aidan Harte’s book, Irenicon – Book I of The Wave Trilogy. The cover consists of what appears to be a group of rag-tag knights on horseback riding out to defend a kingdom, led by a Joan-of-Arc type character carrying a banner.  So naturally I expected more of a medieval-type fantasy. Not nearly so!

Family factions of the city of Rasenna spar and battle for supremacy.  Words and family names seemed very Italian, very Mafia-like in their tone, violence, and passion. In Rasenna, it’s all about loyalty to your group and family. Factions are further separated by the river, Irenicon. The ruling empire, Concord, created a Wave that plunged the river through the center of Rasenna, effectively permanently severing the north from the south. The ensuing fracturing of geographical cohesion magnified the already squabbling family clans and weakened any resolve to combat Concordian rule.

Concord is ruled by an Engineering Guild, the very same masters of the school of thought that created the Wave. Young Engineer Giovanni is sent to by his guild into the heart of Rasenna to build a bridge over the Irenicon.  Rasenna has for its champion Sofia Scaglieri, the heiress to the ruling Scaglieri clan.  Sofia and Giovanni’s paths collide while the bridge is being built. With Sofia’s combat training and Giovanni’s engineering skills, chances for the success of the bridge rise along with Rasenna’s steps towards rebellion against Concord.

Harte has really created a unique world here, rich in history and culture. The geography feels similar to our real world map, but has been altered slightly to create this new universe.  The characters are also well thought out and complex.  From Sofia, a coming of age teenager who is plunged abruptly into isolation and leadership, to Giovanni, the young engineer with a mysterious past who is desperately trying to prove himself. There are many supporting characters who are just as satisfyingly drawn out for us. Harte adds some magic and fantasy elements into the mix along with some sweet and interesting violent battles. The very creepy dungeon with its moving cells and mysterious energy pain beams was very reminiscent of the setting of the movie The Cube. Wonderfully inventive and gruesome at the same, while the seemingly indifference of the captors was chilling.

Finally, the only thing I could have used in this book was a glossary! I don’t speak Italian and don’t know if any the words were real or just Italian sounding words, but I wouldn’t have minded some definitions either way. Understood the words somewhat by context, but the glossary would have helped a bit and since this is a trilogy I can only imagine these words won’t be one-book wonders.

Great book! Can’t wait to read Book II!

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As a book reviewer I’m able to get my hands on more upcoming books than most sane people should be able to. However…. there are always those few precious shiny arcs that allude my grasp. Here is my list of current Books Worth Dying For:

A Different Kingdom by Paul Kearney (Solaris Books)

Michael Fay is a normal boy, living with his grandparents on their family farm in rural Ireland. In the woods—once thought safe and well-explored—there are wolves; and other, stranger things. He keeps them from his family, even his Aunt Rose, his closest friend, until the day he finds himself in the Other Place. There are wild people, and terrible monsters, and a girl called Cat.
When the wolves follow him from the Other Place to his family’s doorstep, Michael must choose between locking the doors and looking away—or following Cat on an adventure that may take an entire lifetime in the Other Place. He will become a man, and a warrior, and confront the Devil himself: the terrible Dark Horseman..

I’ve read a little of Kearney’s previous work and the man is ridiculously talented. I’ve been drooling over this one.

Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell (Jo Fletcher Books)

Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are traveling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.

Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters.

All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…

I don’t need to say much except.. I Want. I Want. I Want.

The Three By Sarah Lotz (Hodderscape)
They’re here … The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many … They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to??–

The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 – 2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.

This one snuck up on me, sounds brilliant though.

 

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen (Strange Chemistry)
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

Certain YA books are either huge hits or misses for me. Stolen Songbird sounds like it might be something truly special.

Morningside Fall by Jay Posey (Angry Robot Books)
The lone gunman Three is gone, and Wren is the new governor of the devastated settlement of Morningside, but there is turmoil in the city. When his life is put in danger, Wren is forced to flee Morningside until he and his retinue can determine who can be trusted.

They arrive at the border outpost, Ninestory, only to find it has been infested with Weir in greater numbers than anyone has ever seen. These lost, dangerous creatures are harbouring a terrible secret – one that will have consequences not just for Wren and his comrades, but for the future of what remains of the world.

Three by Jay Posey was fantastic, Morningside Fall, might just be better.

 

 

 

The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick (Angry Robot Books)
In a land riven with plague, in the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control – the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation.

And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power – one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring – plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack…

Another Angry Robot Book common man… Sorry, but AR doesn’t disappoint often, this one oozes excellence.

 

 

 

 

 

Yarrick: Imperial Creed by David Annandale (Black Library)
Yarrick: the very name carries the weight of legend, of great deeds and of wars won for the Imperium.
But Sebastian Yarrick, who fought on Armageddon, who Space Marine Chapter Masters show their fealty to on bended knee, was not always Lord Commissar. He was once just a man, a newly minted officer from the ranks of the schola progenium.

His first mission under the tutelage of Lord Commissar Rasp was on Mistral. Here, an uprising of barons had upset the delicate balance of power. But, as Yarrick was soon forced to learn, Mistral and Imperial politics are often murky, the truth seldom clear cut. As war engulfs the world, a plot unravels that pits old friends against one another and fashions unusual alliances. Chaos cults, the fanatical Adepta Sororitas and clandestine inquisitors all stand between Yarrick and his mission. Here is where the legend began. In this crucible was Lord Commissar Sebastian Yarrick forged in blood.

More Yarrick. Imperial Guard. David Annandale. Count me in.

Have a recent book that you think is Worth Dying For? Let me know!

Chilling. Just chilling. And mesmerizing. Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough captivated me thoroughly. Grisly murders set in late 1800s London baffle Scotland Yard and terrorize the city. Combine that with a Police Surgeon who is rapidly becoming addicted to opium, a self-flagellating mysterious holy man, and a Polish Jew with visions of evil and you now have Mayhem. I buzzed through this book in a flash, couldn’t put it down!

Pinborough magically weaves the lives of the main characters together as they combat a murderer and evil itself. Dr. Bond, our hero surgeon, is wonderfully, humanly flawed due to his dependency on drugs to cope with the depravity he sees each day while brilliantly able to relate to the wealthy and poor alike. He is very likable and I would enjoy reading his adventures in further novels. Aaron is a poor man who teeters on madness as his visions swallow his life and alienate all those around him. The third corner in this triangular alliance is a fanatical holy man, hell – or heaven – bent on fighting and killing the demon that haunts the killer.

We are introduced to the killer in bits and pieces, feeling alternate emotions of aversions, fear, and pity. Our killer remains human even when controlled by his tormentor, which for me, makes him far more interesting than an imaginary supernatural beast killer.

The grimy, dark back alleys of the less fortunate come to life as the unlikely trio hunt for murderer. Pinborough gives us an atmospheric backdrop for the shivery events that repeat themselves throughout the plot.

Perhaps less thought out was the holy man. I could have used more background to flesh him out. Although as is, he remains very mysterious, a wraith-like character always hiding in the shadows.  Also, the ending fell a little short for me; I would have liked a tad more wrap up. I was happy with the outcome, I just wanted more.

All in all, a great compelling, gripping story!