Cannonbridge – Jonathan Barnes

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Release date: February 10th, 2015
Publisher: Solaris
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 272
Format: e-book
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Something has gone wrong with history in this gripping novel about a lie planted among the greatest works of English fiction.

Flamboyant, charismatic Matthew Cannonbridge was touched by genius, the most influential creative mind of the 19th century, a prolific novelist, accomplished playwright, the poet of his generation. The only problem is, he should never have existed and beleaguered, provincial, recently-divorced 21st Century don Toby Judd is the only person to realise something has gone wrong with history. 

All the world was Cannonbridge’s and he possessed, seemingly, the ability to be everywhere at once. Cannonbridge was there that night by Lake Geneva when conversation between Byron, Shelley and Mary Godwin turned to stories of horror and the supernatural. He was sole ally, confidante and friend to the young Dickens as Charles laboured without respite in the blacking factory. He was the only man of standing and renown to regularly visit Oscar Wilde in prison. Tennyson’s drinking companion, Kipling’s best friend, Robert Louis Stevenson’s counsellor and guide – Cannonbridge’s extraordinary life and career spanned a century, earning him a richly-deserved place in the English canon. 

But as bibliophiles everywhere prepare to toast the bicentenary of the publication of Cannonbridge’s most celebrated work, Judd’s discovery will lead him on a breakneck chase across the English canon and countryside, to the realisation that the spectre of Matthew Cannonbridge, planted so seamlessly into the heart of the 19th Century, might not be so dead and buried after all…

Review:

‘Cannonbridge’ is one of those few books that demand a lot of thinking and are still very compelling. It tells the tale about Dr. Toby Judd, a man whose life crashes and burns around him at the very beginning of the book. In his state of mental instability he starts obsessing about Matthew Cannonbridge, one of the most famous authors in English history. Dr. Judd has a feeling that something isn’t right about his work. Something just doesn’t fit. When he decides to investigate the infamous author, he stumbles across a lot of mystery, death and secrecy. He makes it his mission to find out what is going on with Cannonbridge and what secret is so important that people would kill for it.

I loved the writing; it had sometimes bordering poetic or lyrical. It might be a bit too much for some people, but for me personally it really fit the story rather well. A large part of this book focusses on authors of the 19th Century in England and this writing style seemed to fortify the feeling of that age and that subject.

The story jumps from present to past, with the flashbacks showing famous English authors at a certain point in their life. Each and every one meets Cannonbridge and we can see the evolution of Cannonbridge’s character through these flashback. The man who started out as a polite, benign stranger ends up a weird and threatening man.
It was very interesting to have these flashbacks to other famous English authors. Most of them I knew (Oscar Wilde, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens…), but some I had never heard of. It was fascinating to take a look online to find out about their background and the works they wrote. It helped me understand their parts in the story better.

The fantastical aspect to the story only became apparent later on in the book, but it intrigued me. It’s not something that’s easy to wrap your head around and it demands quite a lot of imagination. I thought it was very imaginative and original and I loved finding out how everything really worked. It still remains very complicated and though that has it’s charm, it might take away some of the punch, the impact of the big reveal.

Our main character Dr. Judd is that kind of character I like to read about. Very flawed, with a life in tatters. Smart, but still baffled by what he encounters during his journey to find out more about Cannonbridge. There are a few secondary characters that didn’t really leave that much of an impression, but still kept the story going and most of the times also gave the main character the means or the incentive to go on with his investigation.

The very end is heart wrenching, but somehow I’d felt it coming. I’m a bit disappointed that it was this transparent; it could have really been a shocker to end the book with. It’s also interesting to think what this will do in the future to the main character, how he will cope with it. Interesting, but like I said, you could see it coming from miles away.

I ultimately really liked this book; the mystery was tangible throughout the entire book, only revealing the full extent of the scheme towards the end. I could never entirely guess what was going on and I absolutely love it when a book can keep me in the dark like that. It maybe has its flaws and it won’t appeal to everyone, but I enjoyed reading ‘Cannonbridge’ very much.

Spotlight: ‘Knight’s Shadow’ by Sebastien de Castell

So much excitement! Last year, ‘Traitor’s Blade’ was announced with a pretty big marketing campaign that made many of us quite curious about de Castell as a debut author. After reading it I could only agree that ‘Traitor’s Blade’ is indeed a great book and that de Castell would be high on all ‘best debut authors’ lists at the end of the year. ‘Traitor’s Blade’ did get a lot of love in the blogging community and I hope it has spread far beyond that. On the 5th of March the second book in the Greatcoats series, ‘Knight’s Shadow’, will be published by Jo Fletcher Books, and I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on it!

About the book

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Falcio Val Mond, First Cantor, with the help of fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti, has completed his King’s final task: he has found his Charoites – well, one at least, and she was not quite what they expected.

Now they must protect the girl from the many who would see her dead, and place her on the throne of a lawless kingdom. That would be simple enough, if it weren’t for the Daishini, an equally legendary band of assassins, getting in their way, not to forget the Dukes who are determined to hold on to their fractured Kingdoms, or the fact that the heir to the throne is only thirteen years old.

Oh, and the poison that is slowly killing Falcio. That’s not even mentioning the Greatcoat’s Lament . . .

Add the book to your Goodreads reading list.

Pre-order the book here! Or here if you like.

About the author

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Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later he realised how much he hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist. He lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his wife.

Follow him on Twitter or Facebook!

Red Rising – Red Rising #1 – Pierce Brown

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Release date: January 16th, 2014
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Pages: 382
Format: e-book
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Review:

*This review may contain some spoilers for the first half of the book*

Well, I joined the hype. When I requested this book from Netgalley, positives reviews were piling up on Goodreads and it seemed everyone was pretty wild about the book. I have to be honest though: I don’t like hyped books. Most of the times they don’t meet my expectations and though they might be pretty good, disappointment will make it seem like I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have otherwise.

Luckily, Red Rising isn’t one of those books. In fact, it is probably one of the best books I’ve read last year. It has some similarities with books like The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, The Maze Runner or Ender’s Game. In all of these, teenagers or young adults are put in a certain environment where fighting to survive seems to be the main storyline. Red Rising does feel different than all these books, though I can’t pinpoint what makes it stand out exactly.

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Spotlight – ‘Windswept’ by Adam Rakunas

Angry Robot has made a two-book deal with a new author, Adam Rakunas! The first book, ‘Windswept’ will be published in september of this year, while the second book will be released in 2016.

About the book

‘Windswept’ stars Padma Mehta, a long-time labor organizer who is on the verge of making the deal of her life when it all falls apart. Now, she has to rely on the neighbourhood scam artist and a handful of stowaways to save her city, her planet, and Occupied Space — all before Happy Hour. With a host of well-crafted characters, ‘Windswept’ is a part detective, part space operetta with snappy dialogue, adventure, and plenty of comedic timing.

About the author

Adam Rakunas

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Adam Rakunas has worked a variety of weird jobs. He’s been a virtual world developer, a parking lot attendant, a triathlon race director, a fast food cashier, and an online marketing consultant. Now a stay-at-home dad, Adam splits his non-parenting time between writing, playing the cello, and political rabble-rousing. His stories have appeared in Futurismic and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. ‘Windswept’ is his first novel.

 

You can find out more about the author, or just say hi here:

Twitter: @rakdaddy
Facebook: Adam Rakunas Books
Tumbler: rakdaddy
Website: Giro.org

Update – December & January

It’s me!

Yes, I’m still alive. At least, I know I am, although I sometimes doesn’t feel that way. The last two months have been… exhausting. I had my final exams in December and January so I decided to focus almost all my time and energy on them. I get my results on friday, so fingers crossed!
I also moved abroad and as of yesterday I live in the UK. I’m doing a research project here to finish my Masters in Plant Biotechnology. After that I’ll be graduating and it’s a bit of a weird feeling actually. Up until now I always knew what my life would approximately look like in a year’s time. Now everything from July onwards is a big black hole. Who knows where I’ll be in six months? It’s very exciting but also a bit terrifying.

Read and Currently Reading

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Luckily, the fact that I’m doing a research project and don’t have any courses left to follow or any papers left to write, will give me more time to blog again. I have finished loads of books that I still need to review and those will definitely go up in the weeks to come. Here are all the books I’ve read and will review asap:

  • The Unquiet House – Alison Littlewood
  • The Warring States – Aidan Harte
  • The Silk Map – Chris Willrich
  • Red Rising – Pierce Brown
  • Golden Son – Pierce Brown
  • Blood Will Follow – Snorri Kristjansson
  • Cannonbridge – Jonathan Barnes
  • The King’s Hand – Anna Thayer
  • Clash of Eagles – Alan Smale
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I’m currently reading ‘Your Brother’s Blood’ by David Townsey and ‘Native Silver’ by Blake Hausladen who, btw, has an awesome project going on. More information can be found here.

 

 

 

Movies and Series

The latest Fantasy movie I’ve seen was ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ which I thought was entertaining but silly to the point of ridiculousness at times. Bilbo knocking out Orks by throwing stones at them? Legolas defying gravity in a million different ways, the most spectacular (and ridiculous) being him jumping up falling rocks like they were stairs. I got a distinct video-game-feel during that scene and I heard a lot of people chuckling at how silly it all looked. ‘The Hobbit’ (the book, that is) will always be a playful story in my eyes and I think this movie tried too hard to be all serious and dark, trying to top LOTR. It didn’t succeed.

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I’ve also started (binge)watching Merlin. I absolutely love it! It doesn’t take itself that serious and has some silly story lines, but it’s all very entertaining and addictive. I was also very impressed by all the actors. Colin Morgan does a stellar job as the clever, funny and kind Merlin, while Bradley James portrays a perfect cocky Prince Arthur who hides a golden heart inside. All the other actors also deserve a shoutout for their remarkable performances. I’m now halfway through season 3 and another episode is already waiting for me after I finish this post!

Posts in December and January

There haven’t been a lot of posts the past few month due to the reasons mentioned above, but here’s what went online on the blog:

 

Cover Reveal: ‘Hidden Huntress’ by Danielle L. Jensen

Today, the cover for ‘Hidden Huntress’ by Danielle L. Jensen was revealed! I really enjoyed reading the first book in the Malediction Trilogy, Stolen Songbird, and I’m very curious to read this follow up!
First let’s have a look at the blurb:

“Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…”

 

Exciting!
Now, ready for the cover? It’s stunning!

HiddenHuntress-300dpi

 

I absolutely love it! Want to add the book to your to-read list? Add it on Goodreads!

Hidden Huntress will be published on June 2nd in the US/CAN and June 4th in the UK by Angry Robot.

The Leopard & The Lady – Marakand – K.V. Johansen

The Leopard

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Release date: June 10th, 2014
Publisher: Pyr Books
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In the days of the first kings in the North, there were seven devils…

Ahjvar, the assassin known as the Leopard, wants only to die, to end the curse that binds him to a life of horror. Although he has no reason to trust the goddess Catairanach or her messenger Deyandara, fugitive heir to a murdered tribal queen, desperation leads him to accept her bargain: if he kills the mad prophet known as the Voice of Marakand, Catairanach will free him of his curse. Accompanying him on his mission is the one person he has let close to him in a lifetime of death, a runaway slave named Ghu. Ahj knows Ghu is far from the half-wit others think him, but in Marakand, the great city where the caravan roads of east and west meet, both will need to face the deepest secrets of their souls, if either is to survive the undying enemies who hunt them and find a way through the darkness that damns the Leopard.

To Marakand, too, come a Northron wanderer and her demon verrbjarn lover, carrying the obsidian sword Lakkariss, a weapon forged by the Old Great Gods to bring their justice to the seven devils who escaped the cold hells so long before.

The Lady

The Lady - K.V. Johansen

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Release date: December 9th, 2014
Publisher: Pyr Books
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 435
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Possessed by a ghost who feeds on death, the undying assassin Ahjvar the Leopard has been captured by the Lady of Marakand, enslaved by necromancy to be captain of her Red Masks. His shield-bearer Ghu, a former slave with an uncanny ability to free the captive dead, follows Ahjvar into the war-torn lands of the Duina Catairna to release him, even if that means destroying what is left of Ahj’s tormented soul.

Deyandara, the last surviving heir of the Catairnan queen, rides into a land ravaged by disease and war, seeking the allies she abandoned months before, though they have no hope of standing against the army led by the invulnerable Red Masks of Marakand and the divine terror of the Lady.

In the city of Marakand, former enemies ally and old friends seek one another’s deaths as loyalists of the entombed gods Gurhan and Ilbialla raise a revolt, spearheaded by the Grasslander wizard Ivah, the shapeshifting Blackdog, and the bear-demon Mikki. The Lady’s defences are not easily breached, though, and the one enemy who might withstand her, the Northron wanderer Moth, bearer of the sword Lakkariss, has vanished.

Review:

‘The Leopard’ and ‘The Lady’ are a two-book fantasy series set in the same world as ‚Blackdog’. The two books can be read without having read ‚Blackdog’, but I’d recommend reading that book first. I hadn’t read it when I started The Leopard and though it is a whole different story set in the same world, there are characters and reference to the story in ‚Blackdog’ that will be lost on anyone who hasn’t read that one.

‘The Leopard’ and ‘The Lady’ are one big book split in two. It is quite obvious this used to be one continuous story before it was split. The characters that start the story in ‘The Leopard’ disappear halfway through the story to give the stage to a whole new set of characters. I thought this was an interesting choice. The first set of characters set the whole story in motion and lead us to Marakand, one of the most important cities in the book. There another cast of characters takes over and continues the story in Marakand, while the others continue their journey to other parts of the country.

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New books in 2015 – Part II

Solaris

Macaque Attack – Gareth L. Powell (15/01/2015)

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The Spitfire pilot monkey Ack-Ack Macaque faces a world on the brink in this adventure, the conclusion to his astonishing trilogy.
In the thrilling conclusion of the Macaque Trilogy, the dangerous but charismatic Ack-Ack Macaque finds himself leading a dimension-hopping army of angry monkeys, facing an invading horde of implacable killer androids, and confronting the one challenge for which he was never prepared: impending fatherhood! Meanwhile, former journalist Victoria Valois fights to save the electronic ghost of her dead husband and reclaim his stolen soul from the sands of Mars.

 

 

 

 

For a Few Souls More – Guy Adams (15/01/2015)

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The thrilling conclusion to the Heaven’s Gate Trilogy!

The uprising in Heaven is at an end and Paradise has fallen, becoming the forty-third state of America. Now angels and demons must learn to get along with humans.

The rest of the world is in uproar. How can America claim the afterlife as it’s own? It’s certainly going to try as the President sets out for the town of Wormwood for talks with its governor, the man they call Lucifer.

Hell has problems of its own. There’s a new evangelist walking its roads, trying to bring the penitent to paradise, and a new power is rising. Can anyone stand up to the Godkiller?

 

Signal to Noise – Silvia Moreno Garcia (12/02/2015)

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A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City.

Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends — Sebastian and Daniela — and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love…
Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?

 

Cannonbridge – Jonathan Barnes (12/02/2015)

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Something has gone wrong with history in this gripping novel about a lie planted among the greatest works of English fiction.

Flamboyant, charismatic Matthew Cannonbridge was touched by genius, the most influential creative mind of the 19th century, a prolific novelist, accomplished playwright, the poet of his generation. The only problem is, he should never have existed and beleaguered, provincial, recently-divorced 21st Century don Toby Judd is the only person to realise something has gone wrong with history.

All the world was Cannonbridge’s and he possessed, seemingly, the ability to be everywhere at once. Cannonbridge was there that night by Lake Geneva when conversation between Byron, Shelley and Mary Godwin turned to stories of horror and the supernatural. He was sole ally, confidante and friend to the young Dickens as Charles laboured without respite in the blacking factory. He was the only man of standing and renown to regularly visit Oscar Wilde in prison. Tennyson’s drinking companion, Kipling’s best friend, Robert Louis Stevenson’s counsellor and guide – Cannonbridge’s extraordinary life and career spanned a century, earning him a richly-deserved place in the English canon.

But as bibliophiles everywhere prepare to toast the bicentenary of the publication of Cannonbridge’s most celebrated work, Judd’s discovery will lead him on a breakneck chase across the English canon and countryside, to the realisation that the spectre of Matthew Cannonbridge, planted so seamlessly into the heart of the 19th Century, might not be so dead and buried after all…

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New books in 2015 – Part I

Pyr

Originator – Joel Sheperd (06/01/2015)

Originator

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Hope for the future in the hands of an enemy from the past…

Cassandra Kresnov must find the answers that could free her people-or doom her family.

A quarter of a million people die in the destruction of the moon Cresta. The League civil war is accelerating out of control, but projections indicate that as their technologically induced sociological dysfunction continues, all of humanity may face a similar fate. In the aftermath of Cresta’s destruction, Sandy Kresnov discovers the alien Talee operative Cai in Tanusha, there to learn just how far the technologically-induced insanity has gone. The Talee have seen this before, and they are terrified of anything threatening a recurrence.

Meanwhile, Sandy’s old nemesis Renaldo Takewashi, the self-proclaimed “father” of synthetic intelligence, comes to the Federation seeking asylum. Talewashi may even have a cure-previously unknown Talee technology implanted into a human child subject-Sandy’s little boy, Kiril. But it is exactly this technology that the Talee fear, and they will exterminate anyone caught using it.

Now, Sandy must fight to save her family from a terrible new threat, but doing so may plunge humanity into another destructive war between humans, or worse, against the massively-advanced Talee. And what final secret are the Talee protecting about the origins of synthetic humans like Sandy that could either liberate Sandy’s fellow synthetics from bondage or spell disaster for all humanity?

 

Covenant’s End – Ari Marmell (03/02/2015)

Covenant's End

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The thief Widdershins and her own “personal god,” Olgun, return to their home city of Davillon after almost a year away. While Shins expects only to face the difficulty of making up with her friends, what she actually finds is far, far worse. Her nemesis, Lisette, has returned, and she is not alone. Lisette has made a dark pact with supernatural powers that have granted her abilities far greater than anything Widdershins and Olgun can match.

Together, Widdershins and Olgun will face enemies on both sides of the law, for Lisette’s schemes have given her power in both Davillon’s government and its underworld. For even a slim chance, Shins must call on both old friends-some of whom haven’t yet forgiven her-and new allies.

Even with their help, Widdershins may be required to make the hardest sacrifice of her life, if she is to rid Davillon-and herself-of Lisette once and for all.

 

The Wide World’s End – James Enge (17/02/2015)

Wide World's end

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The tale of the early days of Morlock Ambrosius-master of all magical makers, wandering swordsman, and son of Merlin-concludes!

From beyond the northern edge of the world, the Sunkillers (undying enemies of everything that lives and breathes and is an individual) are reaching into the sky of Laent to drain out its light and warmth. Their hope is to scrape sky, land, and sea clean of mortal life and return to where they once dwelled, before the first rising of the sun. Against them stand only the Graith of Guardians, defenders of the peaceful anarchy of the Wardlands. But the agents of the Sunkillers are abroad even in the Wardlands: plotting, betraying, murdering among the Graith.

Married now for a century, Morlock Ambrosius and Aloê Oaij will take different paths to counter the threat. As Aloê ferrets out the enemy within the Graith, Morlock joins forces with his sister, the formidable Ambrosia Viviana, and crosses the monster-haunted plains of the deep north to confront the Sunkillers in their own realm. Morlock and Aloê think their parting is temporary, but it is final. They may or may not save the world, but they will not save each other, or themselves.

 

Edge of Dark – Brenda Cooper (03/03/2015)

Edge of Dark

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What if a society banished its worst nightmare to the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living. And yet, that life thrived? It grew and learned and became far more than you ever expected, and it wanted to return to the sun. What if it didn’t share your moral compass in any way?

The Glittering Edge duology describes the clash of forces when an advanced society that has filled a solar system with flesh and blood life meets the near-AI’s that it banished long ago. This is a story of love for the wild and natural life on a colony planet, complex adventure set in powerful space stations, and the desire to live completely whether you are made of flesh and bone or silicon and carbon fiber.

In Edge of Dark, meet ranger Charlie Windar and his adopted wild predator, and explore their home on a planet that has been raped and restored more than once. Meet Nona Hall, child of power and privilege from the greatest station in the system, the Diamond Deep. Meet Nona’s best friend, a young woman named Chrystal who awakens in a robotic body….

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Best Reads of 2014

I’ve read way less books than I wanted this year, which makes me a bit sad. Life has gotten a bit in the way of my reading and though I’ve had a very busy and fun year, I miss the many hours spent on the couch with a book. But the books I did read were all very, very good. I think there was only one book that wasn’t really my cup of tea, some books that I thought were ok, but most of them were such awesome reads! There are only 3 more days left in 2014, so it’s time to pick the Best Reads of 2014. It was a tough choice this year, but I selected a few that really struck a chord or that left an impression.

Gemsigns and Binary – Stephanie Saulter (Jo Fletcher Books)

(R)evolution, book 1

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(R)evolution, book 2

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(R)evolution is one of the best Science-Fiction series I’ve read to date. My background in Biotechnology might be what drew me to these books in the first place, but it’s the fantastic writing and the powerful characters that kept me reading. To survive a deathly Syndrome humans needed to be genetically modified. The Gems, as they are called, are however not the same as normal people or Norms. Some have convenient powers, but others are disabled or violent. After years serving the Norms, they are now finally free, but as you can suspect this raises a lot of suspicion. Are these Gems really still human?
A great story about acceptance (in every form you can imagine) into a suspicious and unwelcoming society, the power of mega corporations and what may well be a realistic possible future of biotech.

 

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter – Cassandra Rose Clarke (Angry Robot)

The Mad Scientist's Daughter

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There are very few books that have succeeded in making me cry and this is one of them. It’s such a tragic story. In this book we follow Cat as she grows up, sheltered at first and tutored by the android Finn. As she gets older and leaves the only world she’s ever known, her views and feelings get challenged. Cat is very easily influenced and in trying to be what others want her to be, she only succeeds in making herself feel miserable. The relationship between Cat and Finn was complex and heartbreaking. The bond Cat has with her father is feeble at first, but deepens as the story progresses. A sad, but beautiful tale of love, losing yourself to please others and trying to find happiness.

 

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

Traitor's Blade

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Traitor’s Blade may be one of the best debuts of this year. The Greatcoats used to be heroes, but when they surrendered when the Dukes invaded and executed their King, they were marked as traitors. What the people don’t know is that the Greatcoats promised to fulfil the King’s last wish, to find the King’s Charoites. Exciting surprises, awesome fights and great characters and world building make this a fascinating read. I absolutely can’t wait to read the second book!

 

The Leopard and The Lady – K.V. Johansen (Pyr)

Cover art: Raymond Swanland

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The Lady - K.V. Johansen

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I’ve only just finished The Lady and I couldn’t help but love the story. The Leopard is quite a complex book, that lost me sometimes. I had to re-read a few passages to really get what was going on, but ultimately it didn’t throw me off and I couldn’t stop reading. There are a lot of characters involved, all with their own mysterious background and I enjoyed reading about them all. It’s a majestic tale about Gods, Goddesses, Devils, Demons and Wizards, but in a composition you might never have seen before.

 

The Everness Trilogy – Ian McDonald (Jo Fletcher Books/Pyr)

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Steampunk! I love some good steampunk. Although Electropunk might be better suited here. Ian McDonald certainly delivered an interesting trilogy that got me hooked straight away. First of all, it features something I’ve been fascinated with since I was young: parallel worlds. Everett gets the map to all the parallel worlds from his scientist dad when the latter gets kidnapped right before Everett’s eyes. This is the beginning of an exhilarating adventure where Everett tries to rescue his dad, travelling through the parallel worlds with his new friends, the crew of the airship Everness. Lots of different world with different cultures, pulse-racing action and a whole new dialect! What do you want more?

 

The Three – Sarah Lotz (Hodder & Stoughton)

The Three

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Chilling, suspenseful and mysterious. The Three sucked me in and didn’t let me go. It’s an eerie story about four plane crashes that happened simultaneously around the globe. Only four people survive, three kids and Pamela May Donald who dies shortly after leaving a cryptic voice message on her phone. The survival of the kids is seen as miraculous, but somehow they are changed. And then strange things start to happen and people start believing that there’s something wrong with the kids. Is there, or is this just mass hysteria? The Three is a captivating page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

 

City of Stairs – Robert Bennet Jackson (Jo Fletcher Books/Broadway Books)

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

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Robert Bennet Jackson brought us a whole new, fascinating world where Gods have been slaughtered and caused the collapse of part of the city of Bulikov. Shara Thivani travels to Bulikov to investigate the murder of Dr. Effrem Pangyui. There’s more to this mysterious murder than first meets the eye though and Shara finds herself knee-deep in the complicated history of the Continent and Saypur. The world building in this book was more than amazing, I enjoyed reading about it very much. The quirky divine objects were a great magical touch and the characters were interesting and well fleshed out. City of Stairs is a book that kept me reading well into the night.

 

Red Rising – Pierce Brown (Hodder & Stoughton/Del Rey)

Red Rising

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My most recent read and also one of the very best of this year. I read through the night to finish this book, even though I already have finals and I should have been studying the next day. I absolutely loved it. It’s brutal, gory, full of suspense and surprising twists. I’m still writing the review for this one, so I’ll keep it short, but this is one hell of a book. I’ve already ordered the second book, Golden Son, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The story is set on Mars in a dystopian future. Though this might sound like a space opera kind of book, it’s far from it. The protagonist, Darrow, is one of the oppressed Reds that are mining the planet Mars to create a climate that can support human life. When his wife is executed for singing a forbidden song, he realises that he can do more to change Red’s lives. Red Rising is a fast-paced, incredible book that is well worth the hype.

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