Angela Slatter : Vigil (Review) Blog Tour.

Angela Slatter

Angela Slatter's picture

Specialising in dark fantasy and horror, Angela Slatter is the author of The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales, Sourdough and Other Stories, The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, andBlack-Winged Angels, as well as Midnight and Moonshine and The Female Factory (both with Lisa L. Hannett). She has won five Aurealis Awards, one British Fantasy Award, and a World Fantasy Award, as well as being a finalist for the Norma K. Hemming Award.

Angelas short stories have appeared in Australian, UK and US Best Ofanthologies such The Mammoth Book of New Horror (Stephen Jones, ed.), The Years Best Dark Fantasy and Horror (Paula Guran, ed.), The Best Horror of the Year (Ellen Datlow, ed.), The Years Best Australian Fantasy and Horror(Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, eds.), and The Years Best YA Speculative Fiction(Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, eds.).

She has an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing, is a graduate of Clarion South 2009 and the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop 2006, and in 2013 she was awarded one of the inaugural Queensland Writers Fellowships.

Her novellas, Of Sorrow and Such (from Tor.com), and Ripper (in the Stephen Jones anthology Horrorology, from Jo Fletcher Books) will be released in October 2015.

Angelas urban fantasy novel, Vigil (based on the short story Brisneyland byNight), will be released by Jo Fletcher Books in 2016, and the sequel,Corpselight, in 2017. She is represented by Ian Drury of the literary agency Sheil Land.

 Blog tour poster
Vigil  (2016) (The first book in the Vigil series)
vigil

Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds.

The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength – and the ability to walk between us and the other – as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.

But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale – and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways – and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane.

And Verity must investigate – or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.

Review
I couldn’t resist reading this when the kind people at Jo Fletcher asked me if i would be part of the blog tour, the cover art alone is totally intriguing, that angelic, yet slightly disturbing image, something added to when you hold the book, not sure if its intentional but it has a waxy, almost slightly slimy quality to it which adds to the weyrd nature of the book.
When reading the book i could not help but make some comparisons to the first time i read Ben Aaronivitch, that sense of something a bit different but also something excellent in the making. While Vigil lacks the humour of Ben’s books (its supposed to)  it has a much more open and in your face Weyrd world, which requires more from the author in making the real world and the Weyrd blend and work hand in hand.
Angela Slatter managed it perfectly, not only did the narrative flow, but it was believable. Thats not an easy thing to accomplish when talking about Sirens, angels, boatmen and many other creatures of Weyrd origin.
Using a half breed (Verity Fassbinder) to cross the boundaries between worlds is a stroke of genius, an understanding of both worlds, and yet retaining that outsider hero element. Every chapter pulled… drove you to the next. I was forcing myself to put it down every night, wanting to see how all the threads of this plot would pull together, so i could finally see the whole Machiavellian plot that the author had kept shrouded until the end.
This series has huge potential for a long run, the characters have so much rich history (not just Verity) there are creatures as ancient as time, knowledge stretching over centuries all of which will lead to some very twisted ideas. The location was exotic and yet familiar, and the clash of normal to Weyrd culture so apt with all the modern culture clashes that the whole book resonates with the reader on a very real level (which is a surprise given the story). Bring on book 2…and 3 and many more.
(Parm)

Leave a comment

Filed under Angela Slatter, Supernatural

Tom Lloyd: Stranger of Tempest (review)

Tom Lloyd

Tom Lloyd's picture
UK (1979 – )

Tom Lloyd has born in 1979, and spent most of his childhood believing his mother was a witch – a white witch. He followed his degree in Politics and International Relations with a series of jobs in publishing. When not writing, he works as a contracts manager for a major London literary agency.

Stranger of Tempest: Book One of The God Fragments

Stranger of Tempest  (2016)
(The first book in the God Fragments series)
A novel by Tom Lloyd

51YF2BG7FoL.SX316

Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour – a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent’s principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little, so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he’s not forced to rely on others or kill without cause.

Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won’t turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough: the mercenaries are less stupid and vicious than most he’s met over the years. So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.

Review

I’ve been a fan of Tom Lloyd’s writing for some time, his is an easy fantasy, that’s not to say simplistic, because the world building is deep, complex and utterly believable. Its more that the narrative and flow of the story is paced to perfection, carrying the reader, making the reading effortless, its pace increasing with the pace of fight and flight and then smoothing down to a calm laconic pace when the protagonists are at rest, tense and gripping in the dark places and light and funny at the camps fireside.

Its this quality of writing that makes you not want to put the book down, but also makes the book dictate its own reading pace, at 480 pages its not a short read, but this lovely HB fits snug and light in the palm late at night and kept me entertained until the wee hours for several days.

For me there is a touch of the Gemmell in the characters, (so easily said when talking about really good fantasy), but all of our mercenary company have that complicated Gemmell character quality, a past that is in many cases shady, in some just outright nasty and yet they all have the inherent nature to die for a comrade, be that an act of good ( or not in the readers eyes), these men and women willingly walk into the firestorm for one of their number no matter  how new. The mercenary band element of the plot means that the diversity and complexity of characters is broad and makes for some really great reading. The wit and humor resounds across the group in sharp, bitter angry retorts but is a delight to read. The creatures of this world provide yet another layer of depth to the plot, and also a tantalizing view of future plot and past history of the world, of which more  i’m sure will unfold later in the series.

This; book one is just the start of the journey for our band of mercs….. this series looks set to be an amazing treat for all… i cant wait for the next one.

(Parm)

 

Twilight Reign
1. The Stormcaller (2006)
2. Twilight Herald (2007)
3. The Grave Thief (2008)
4. The Ragged Man (2009)
5. The Dusk Watchman (2012)
The God Tattoo (2013)
The Complete Twilight Reign Collection (omnibus) (2014)
The Twilight Reign (2014)

Empire of a Hundred Houses
1. Moon’s Artifice (2013)
2. Old Man’s Ghosts (2015)
God Fragments
1. Stranger of Tempest (2016)
2. Princess of Blood (2017)
Honour Under Moonlight (2016)
Novellas
Fear The Reaper (2015)

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Toby Clements, KingMaker: Divided Souls (Review)

testTobyClements2.png

Toby Clements was inspired to write the Kingmaker series having first become obsessed by the Wars of the Roses after a school trip to Tewkesbury Abbey, on the steps of which the Lancastrian claim to the English throne was extinguished in a welter of blood in 1471.

Since then he has read everything he can get his hands on and spent long weekends at re-enactment fairs. He has learned to use the longbow and how to fight with the poll axe, how to start a fire with a flint and steel and a shred of baked linen. He has even helped tan a piece of leather (a disgusting experience involving lots of urine and dog faeces). Little by little he became less interested in the dealings of the high and mighty, however colourful and amazing they might have been, and more fascinated by the common folk of the 15th Century: how they lived, loved, fought and died. How tough they were, how resourceful, resilient and clever. As much as anything this book is a hymn to them.

He lives in London with his wife and three children.

Divided Souls (2016)
(The third book in the Kingmaker series)

61alO7KpcLL.SX316

Divided Souls (Kingmaker 3)

Lent, 1469. The recent wars between the House of York and the House of Lancaster seem over. The Yorkist King Edward sits on his throne in Westminster while the Lancastrian claimants are in exile or under lock and key in the Tower. But within the family of York, there is discord.

The Earl of Warwick conspires against his king, and while to one another’s faces they are all smiles, their household men speak in lies and whispers. No man comes to court unarmed. Thomas and Katherine have returned to Marton Hall, the only home they know.

But what lies buried in the past cannot remain so for long, and soon they are forced to take up arms once more in one of the most savage wars in history. The War of the Roses….

Review

This is the 3rd book in this excellent series from Toby Clements, a series that has always surprised me from page one. I will admit to being fairly easy when it comes to a decent Historical Fiction book, give me a decent battle, with a good build up and great characters i can enjoy and i’m a happy reader. Conn Iggulden has done this period recently and just completed his series with Ravenspur, as ever he has dramatic prose and sweeping scenery and all the major players, the knights and lords and kings and queens. Toby on the other hand brings the same story down to a more earthly level, to the common man (and woman) caught up in events beyond his/her control, buffeted by the winds of power that change with the fickle moods of royalty and betrayal.

Thomas and Katherine as always find themselves buffeted by the fickle winds of fate, the great and the powerful searching for a way to oust the King. The Earl of Warwick returning to England to stir the pot and exact revenge for implied insults. More than in the previous two books Thomas and Katherine are dragged close to the flame of power, and we mix with the gentry, not just the common people. But the book never loses that common touch that is prevalent across the series, Thomas and Katherine always provide that intimately common touch, the villages, the farmers, the charcoal burners, the smiths etc…while they survive and navigate the corridors of power.

Old memories resurface, old enemies come back to haunt them, and old friends are a boon and a curse as they can be used against them.

Once again Toby Clements knocks it out of the park, even for a middle book the story, the characters and the writing is first class, there are no holes or weaknesses in the plot of this book that just powers along, holding the reader remorselessly in its grip

Highly recommended

(Parm)

Series
Kingmaker
1. Winter Pilgrims (2014)
2. Broken Faith (2015)
3. Divided Souls (2016)
Novels
The Asti Spumante Code (2005)
The No.2 Global Detective (2006)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Torneo del Cigno Bianco 2016

With Pen and Sword

Torneo 2

The truth is that I cannot do justice to the excellence of this event, but I’ll try.  For me, it is one of the most pure experiences of a Medieval deed of arms that I have; it’s good enough to make me load armour and clothes onto airplanes and fly to Italy from Canada, for example.  By the way, that’s Ser Gregario Mele and Ser Rudolpho Ordalafi fighting with lanzia or spear on foot.  Greg Mele runs the Chicago Swordplay Guild and was my teacher in the gentle art of punching a six foot spear into your opponent’s throat through his mail; Greg, along with half a dozen other experts, is responsible for the virtual red9scovery of the Medieval fighting arts in the ;last twenty years.  This blog is not about Armizare, but if you’d like to learn more, you can look on the International Armizare Society website here.

View original post 577 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Vado a Roma

With Pen and Sword

via WP for Windows app.

This week, I’m walking to Rome. I’m with my friends Jon Press of England and Alessio Porto of Verona Italy and so far we’ve covered almost 150 kilometers, although I freely confess we took a. train for 12 kilometers and we got a ride for almost 30. Laugh if you like; we did 38 kilometers the first day, in Medieval clothes and more importantly, Medieval shoes. If you don’/t know, medieval shoes have no support and no heel; they are very comfortable for walking on medieval surfaces, like a nice hard packed dirt road, but they are not quite so much fun for walking on asphalt. In tract, today’s last 5 kilometers walking through a suburb of Rome with no sidewalks and it happening to be garbage collection day was… less than a perfect medieval experience. Hmm. Or perhaps in some ways, a very pure…

View original post 297 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ezekiel Boone The Hatching (Review)

 Ezekiel Boone
Ezekiel Boone's picture
lives in the United States with his family and has an entirely healthy respect for spiders everywhere.

The Hatching (2016)

book cover of The Hatching

Deep in the jungle of Peru, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist party whole. FBI agent Mike Rich investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in an Indian earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there.

The Chinese government ‘accidentally’ drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. And all of these events are connected. As panic begins to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at Melanie Guyer’s Washington laboratory. The unusual egg inside begins to crack. Something is spreading….

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. A virulent ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. But this is only the beginning of our end….

Review:
 Horror…. another genre i don’t normally venture into, although i’m not sure i would class this as horror. but there isn’t a genre called creepy crawler thrillers.
So once again i’m stretching the boundaries of my reading horizons, but why this one? I’m not really sure, the cover was eye catching, and i’m a sucker for a good cover.
Then there has been an excellent social media campaign from Gollancz and the author, building that desire to read, the anticipation.
The book its self, is an excellently written, highly engaging thriller, with all the ingredients of an apocalyptic type thriller. A steady build and delivery, introduction of key characters, by an ever brooding “who is going to die next”. There is a worry that certain characters may as the series (trilogy?) progresses, survive anything, which would be a shame, i think an anyone is fair game approach would be best (fingers crossed) and adds a higher level of reality.
The book and the series has major motion picture written all over it (them), sweeping panoramic scenes, major landmarks and billions or spiders, high tension and gore galore.
I have spent every day whilst reading the book and since, slapping at imaginary spiders,  not one of the little blighters has been humanely removed from the house and i itch just thinking about the book. …. i loved it, i love that a book can cause such a reaction.
highly recommended
(Parm)
Novels
The Hatching (2016)
Skitter (2017)

Leave a comment

Filed under Ezekiel Boone

TOUCHSTONE TUESDAY: The Walls of Constantinople

AUTHOR. ACTOR. SWORDSMAN.

There are touchstones you find, like my sea shell. There are those you make, like the sling shot. Those you buy, like the shepherd’s crook.

And then there are those that are used to attack you.

Welcome again, to Touchstone Tuesdays, my weekly blog of objects to be found in my writing hut. Things I have acquired over the years, during my wanderings. This week: a piece of the Theodosian walls.

Here am I -Atop the Theodosian Walls Here am I -Atop the Theodosian Walls

These are the great defences that protected the fabled city of Constantinople on the landward side for close to 1000 years. They were only breached once: on May 29th 1453 when Mehmet ‘Fathi’, Sultan of the Ottomans, took the Christian city by storm after an epic seven week siege of relentless gunnery and daily assault. It became a Muslim city then and, eventually the fabulous place we know today as Istanbul.

View original post 637 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized