Category Archives: Dystopian

dystopian reviews

Pierce Brown: Iron Gold (Review)

Pierce Brown's picture

 Pierce Brown USA flag 
Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.
Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

Buy signed copy (UK)

Iron Gold (2018): Jan 16th 2018
(The first book in the Iron Gold series)

book cover of Iron Gold

Honor and betrayal fuel a caste-shattering revolution in the action-packed new novel from the number one New York Times best-selling author of the Red Rising Trilogy.

Ten years after the events of Morning Star, Darrow and the Rising are battling the remaining Gold loyalist forces and are closer than ever to abolishing the color-coded caste system of Society for good. But new foes will emerge from the shadows to threaten the imperfect victory Darrow and his friends have earned. Pierce Brown expands the size and scope of his impressive Red Rising universe with new characters, enemies, and conflicts among the stars.


Iron Gold was a much anticipated read, i have been an unashamed advocate for this new series and its excellent predecessor. Pierce Brown has always made life hard for himself, Red Rising was such an extreme and powerful debut that creating a better second book was such a hard ask, yet he smashed it with Golden Son, and once again with Morning Star.

How on earth do you top such a stella series? well apparently you take a leaf right out of the J K Rowling playbook, Harry Potter as a series grew with its audience, it matured, the language grew, the plot became more complex and mature and the subtext became deeper. That’s where Iron Gold takes the story of Darrow, this time with a multi POV expose on what happens when you shatter an empire…. the fall out and the impacts across many walks of life.

Featuring all the surviving key characters from the first series, but 10 years on, 10 years of bloody conflict for the Utopian republic that Darrow dreamed of,  reality is a long way from the hopes and dreams of the young idealist. Has Darrow become all he despised? is the new republic rotten at its core? What machinations abound across the galaxy, There are many golds left alive many grouping around the Ash Lord, can the Golds once more retake power, can the golds within the new empire work with the other colours? and where are the big players, the enemies of Darrow’s past? Golds that powerful may need to run and hide but they are too big to fade from history.

Once again Pierce Brown manages to surpass all my expectations, i thought this would be another all action novel, a full on action packed thrill ride (no bad thing), but whilst there are strong sections of this still and the pace is at times electric, the growth and depth of plot is a huge lift, we see and learn so much more of the empire and its complexity and history. I still hold with my view that i don’t like Sci-Fi, yet this series screams from the gorydamn void to be read, no matter your genre preference.

So Buy the book, Out Jan 16th


Red Rising
1. Red Rising (2012)
2. Golden Son (2015)
3. Morning Star (2016)
Iron Gold
1. Iron Gold (2018)

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Joe Hill: The Fireman (Review)

Joe Hill

Joe Hill's picture
(Joseph Hillstrom King)
USA (1972 – )
Son of Stephen King and Tabitha King

Joe Hill, born in 1972 as Joseph Hillstrom King, is an American writer of speculative fiction. Hill is the second child of the authors Stephen and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer.

517omMAz91L.SX316 the-fireman-joe-hill-cover

In a world overtaken by a deadly and dramatic new virus, Harper is determined to live long enough to deliver her baby. But when all it takes is a spark to start a deadly blaze, she’s going to need some help from the mysterious fireman.


I have to admit to only ever having read NOS4A2 and also not being a fan of Steven King or that type of novel, and yet when the chance to read this book came along i was at the front of the queue. NOS4A2 was such an interesting read i wanted to see what came next from Joe Hill.

This story isn’t what i expected, the globally apocalyptic pandemic is a riveting enough story, the imagination behind this complex virus and how its spreads and consumes humanity is astounding. But that’s not even the meat of the book, the true genius of the story is the people, the community, how the structure of humanity breaks down and polarizes in extreme circumstances. All of this is told in an intimate and personal fashion from the perspective of one woman’s journey, told in a compelling humorous style.

This book is utterly addictive, sleep was the only things that made me put this book down. Everything in this story draws you in, in the same way that a great TV box set serial hooks you, draws you into the plot, takes you through a wide ranging emotional roller coaster,  and then forces you to watch the ride all the way to the end regardless of sleep.

a real contender for book of the year




Locke & Key
1. Locke & Key (2008) (with Gabriel Rodriguez)
aka Welcome to Lovecraft
2. Head Games (2009) (with Gabriel Rodriguez)
3. Crown of Shadows (2009) (with Gabriel Rodriguez)
4. Keys to the Kingdom (2011)
5. Clockworks (2012) (with Gabriel Rodriguez)
6. Alpha & Omega (2014)
Locke & Key Master Edition Volume 2 (omnibus) (2016)

Heart-Shaped Box (2007)
Horns (2009)
NOS4A2 (2013)
aka NOS4R2
The Fireman (2016)
Heart-Shaped Box / 20th Century Ghosts / Horns / NOSA2 (2014)
20th Century Ghosts (2005)
Road Rage (2009) (with Stephen King and Richard Matheson)
Four For Fantasy (2013) (with Brian Aldiss, Joanne Harrisand Richard Christian Matheson)
Graphic Novels
Joe Hill’s The Cape (2010) (with Jason Ciaramella, Nelson Daniel and Zach Howard)
The Cape: 1969 (2013) (with Jason Ciaramella and Nelson Daniel)
Joe Hill’s Thumbprint (2014) (with Jason Ciaramella and Vic Malhotra)
The Wraith (2014)
Gunpowder (2008)
20th Century Ghost (2009)
Abraham’s Boys (2009)
Better Than Home (2009)
The Black Phone (2009)
Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead (2009)
Dead-Wood (2009)
In the Rundown (2009)
Last Breath (2009)
My Father’s Mask (2009)
Pop Art (2009)
Voluntary Committal (2009)
The Widow’s Breakfast (2009)
You Will Hear the Locust Sing (2009)
The Cape (2012)
Throttle (2012) (with Stephen King)
In the Tall Grass (2012) (with Stephen King)
Thumbprint (2012)
Twittering from the Circus of the Dead (2013)
Best New Horror (2014)
Wolverton Station (2014)
By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain (2014)

Anthologies edited
Shadow Show (2012) (with Eddie Campbell, Mort Castle,Dave Eggers, Harlan Ellison, Maria FrAihlich, Neil Gaiman, Alice Hoffman, Charles Paul Wilson III, Audrey Niffenegger, Sam Weller, Sam Wheeler and Charles Yu)
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015(2015) (with John Joseph Adams)
World Fantasy Best Collection nominee (2006) : 20th Century Ghosts
Bram Stoker Best First Novel winner (2007) : Heart-Shaped Box
British Fantasy Society Best Novel nominee (2008) : Heart-Shaped Box
Macavity Awards Best First Novel nominee (2008) : Heart-Shaped Box
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature Best Book nominee (2015) : Locke & Key

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Pierce Brown: Morning Star (Review)

Pierce Brown 

Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.
Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

book cover of Morning Star

Morning Star: Red Rising Trilogy 3

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied – and too glorious to surrender.


How how how do i like these books? I really do not like SCIFI, for some reason its one of the few genres i struggle to read (love the films, but the books leave me cold). Yet since i first started this series i have been captivated. was my initial taste of this book, and i left readers of this site in no doubt as to my feeling for this series, a year later after the most teasing PR campaign for some time followed and as follow up books go, it blew book one away.

Morning star once more takes new leaps, with all the power and pace of Red Rising, and all the depth of Golden Son, it introduces a new depth a darker Darrow and a darker storyline. everything is gritty, edgy and literally a life or death decision. Once again Pierce Brown does a Derren Brown, we spend plenty of time looking at whats in front of us in the book while the misdirect pulls the rug from under the reader and yanks the story into a new direction, a new darkness an new danger, a new death.

MorningStar will be one of my top books for the year without a doubt, as a series its been an impressive and immersive debut series, everbook highly anticipated. And now the man himself drops the teaser “IRON GOLD. Aka. Shit escalates. Howlers, on me.”

Read for yourself about what comes next…(Spoilers)

This series has epic movie franchise written all over it, i honestly don’t see that it will be long before this hits the big screen.



Red Rising
1. Red Rising (2014)
2. Golden Son (2015)
3. Morning Star (2016)

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Francesca Haig: The Map of Bones (Review)

Francesca Haig

Francesca Haig's picture
Francesca Haig is an author and academic. Her poetry is widely published, and her novel The Fire Sermon(the first in a post-apocalyptic trilogy) will be published in February 2015 by HarperVoyager (UK) and March 2015 by Simon & Schuster (US and Canada), and is being translated into more than 20 languages. She gained her PhD from the University of Melbourne, and her principal research area is Holocaust literature. She grew up in Tasmania, and currently lives in London.

book cover of The Map of Bones

The Map of Bones (Fire Sermon 2)

The second book in Francesca Haig’s incredible Fire Sermon series.

The Omega resistance has been brutally attacked, its members dead or in hiding.

The Alpha Council’s plan for permanently containing the Omegas has begun.

But all is not entirely lost: the Council’s seer, The Confessor, is dead, killed by her twin’s sacrifice.

Cass is left haunted by visions of the past, while her brother Zach’s cruelty and obsession pushes her to the edge, and threatens to destroy everything she hopes for.

As the country moves closer to all-out civil war, Cass will learn that to change the future she will need to uncover the past. But nothing can prepare her for what she discovers: a deeply buried secret that raises the stakes higher than ever before.


Last year i was lucky enough to be invited to i was only recently making a move into reading Dystopian novels and this sounded different. Once again i got lucky (mainly because the lovely ladies at Voyager have amazing taste).

But as i have said before , with a new author the proof of the author skill is in book two, can they nail it twice? In the case of this series and Francesca Haig the answer is a resounding yes. Deeper, darker and more intricacy plotted that Fire Sermon (which was already blooming good), its an excellent follow up, one that will mesmerize the readers.

This isn’t a pacy plot, its not one that will quickly suck you in and race along. Its a slow burn, it draws you in and immerses you, it pulls you into the orbit of darkness that surrounds the alphas and omegas, you become addicted to the darkness. You feel the pain and the treachery, you search for the solution, you marvel at mans recurring stupidity, and all the while you pull for Cass to survive her latest trials against the council, trying to pull together the rebellion of Omegas, trying to make sense of the visions, and thwart the plans her brother is hell bent on bringing to fruition.

i really recommend this series.





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Francesca Haig: THE MAP OF BONES (part 2 of The Fire Sermon series) COVER ART ( #mapofbones )

Francesca Haig
Francesca Haig is a novelist, poet, and academic. She grew up in Tasmania, gained her PhD from the University of Melbourne, and was a senior lecturer at the University of Chester. The Fire Sermon, her debut novel, is the first in a post-apocalyptic trilogy. Her poetry has been published in literary journals and anthologies in both Australia and England, and her first collection of poetry, Bodies of Water, was published in 2006. In 2010 she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship. She lives in London with her husband and son.




Fire Sermon
1. (2015)
2. The Map of Bones (2016) Release date: 7th April
The above cover art for The Map of Bones is taken from the US site……. what you have all come to see is the new UK cover art… and in my opinion some fantastic work….. keep scrolling

They were born together and they will die together.

One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.

The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.

The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they’re free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.

Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.

The power to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.





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Rob Boffard : Tracer (review + Q&A) Blog Tour


Rob Boffard's picture

Rob Boffard
Rob. Thirty. Author. Journalist. Sound Engineer. Snowboarder. Hip-hop artist. Tall. Basketball-player-length arms. Lots of tattoos. Glasses. Bad hair. Proud South African. Born in Johannesburg. Splits time between London and Vancouver. Digs New York. Doesnt dig Vegas. Loves New Orleans. Not a helicopter pilot.

Debut novel. Tracer. On Orbit Books. Out July 2015 (UK). Out sometime 2016 (US). Space stations. Parkour. Explosions. Good times. Two sequels. Huzzah!

Buy the e-Book

Book Description

book cover of </p><br /> <p>Tracer </p><br /> <p>

Imagine The Bourne Identity meets Gravity and you’ll get TRACER, the most exciting action thriller set in space you’ll ever read. Sarah Lotz, author of The Three calls it “fast, exhilarating and unforgettable”. A huge space station orbits the Earth, holding the last of humanity. It’s broken, rusted, falling apart. We’ve wrecked our planet, and now we have to live with the consequences: a new home that’s dirty, overcrowded and inescapable. What’s more, there’s a madman hiding on the station. He’s about to unleash chaos. And when he does, there’ll be nowhere left to run. In space, every second counts. Who said nobody could hear you scream? ‘A stunning debut that never lets up, from the nerve-jangling beginning to the explosive end’ James Douglas, author of The Doomsday Machine ‘TRACER sets a new standard for all-action SF’ Ken MacLeod


Tracer is a debut, and debuts are something i love, a chance to meet a new author, to get to know their imagination and their world, something that has probably been bouncing around as a personal passion for years, to really explore their personality, as i feel they give more away in book one than any other.

On a personal note for this review i struggled with Tracer to begin with, i found many similarities with Hugh Howey’s Wool Trilogy. I found myself about 60% into the book and in a quandary, do i keep going?

But then something happened, and to be honest im not sure what it was, but when i wasn’t reading the book i found myself speculating what might happen next, and wondering how the characters might survive and beat the odds, it was a clear view that the book had grabbed my attention and imagination without me knowing.

I still think that there are comparisons to other dystopian books or recent vintage, but it also carves out its own niche with its use  of Parkour as a means of getting around the space station.the writer doesn’t drown you in his love of the  free running sport, but gives that level of detail and enthusiasm you would expect from someone who has a love of it.

I think there are very clear signs that Zero-G has even more potential, as the author gets a chance to improve on his debut, and my gut tells me he will get better and better.


Parmenion Books QA – Rob Boffard


1) Where did you get the inspiration for this story?


I wanted to write about a space station – one that was old, broken down, falling apart. I got to thinking about how you’d move packages and messages around, and I decided that I wanted to tell the story of the people who did it. These couriers would be fast, good on their feet, good with their fists…perfect fodder for the action movie in my mind.


2) Are your Tracers based on people you know? (inspired by people?)


If you look closely, you’ll see that my main character Riley is actually George H.W. Bush in disguise. On the real, I cooked these characters up in my head – they’ve got more me in them than anyone I know.


3) The book for me had parallels with with Hugh Howey’s Wool, are there any books / authors that you think inspired you?


Howey’s a monster – although I only read his stuff after I wrote the book. Suzanne Collins was what really inspired me to write it. I breezed through The Hunger Games series in a weekend, and thought, I want to write something like that.


4) Who are your favourite authors?


I love classic mystery authors like Jeffrey Deaver and Ed McBain, plus Stephen King, and some really pulpy scifi writers like Margaret Weiss. And for whatever reason, I’m a big Bill Bryson fan – he’s super smart and super funny.


5) Is book 2 Zero-G underway? (how is it progressing?)


I’m about a day away from sending what I hope will be the final draft to the publisher! Then it’s all about editing book 3. ZERO-G though…it’s everything TRACER is, turned up crazy loud.


6) Tell the reader something about you? – how / why did you become a writer?


So this is going to sound so arrogant, but sod it. Writing is the only thing I’ve ever really been good at. When I was about seven, we got a class assignment to write a poem. I wrote this one about an elephant, and the teacher started bugging out over it. She read it out to the class, then to her colleagues in the staffroom. I’m sitting there like, really? I knocked that out in ten minutes. Since then, writing has been my drug. There – arrogant bit over.


7) If you could invite any 4 characters to dinner (real or fictional ) who would they be?


Long John Silver, Han Solo, Ellen Ripley and Gok Wan. I’d do it just because it’d be funny to see someone like Gok Wan try to hold his own against three of the baddest fictional characters in history. He’d either make a really good go of it, or get slammed.


8) Finally…the publisher give you a soap box and a spot outside Kings Cross station, you need to sell your story to passers by…. what’s your pitch… why should we read it?





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Fire Sermon (Francesca Haig) + Harper Voyager Blogger event.

Today (Sat 24th Jan) was one of those great rare days when i get invited to a publisher event (along with many other far more talented people) … The subject of the event? The launch of the upcoming Fire Sermon due out on the 26th Feb 2015.

Fire Sermon Buy from Amazon

Fire Sermon Buy Signed from Goldsboro

So up nice and early and on the train to London, leaving behind the wife and my little Diva

2015-01-24 11.10.06

Powering through the usual East coast mainline farce (they had reserved the same seat for 3 people…inc me) on a packed train, picturing a 90 min stand to lLondoni sighed down to the last carriage, and struck lucky with a reserved seat who hadn’t turned up…and what would any self respecting blogger do next… Out with the book ( Long Sword by Christian Cameron… review to come soon)

Due at 11.30am , in my usual fashion i arrived very early…

2015-01-24 14.45.05

(Anyone recognise the location?)

on a lovely sunny day you see the great buildings and sights in a different way…. none so much as coming out of the London Bridge Tube station…

2015-01-24 10.57.16-1

This is what you see just rising up in front of you, the stop must have been deliberately positioned to give this awe inspiring view as you rise up the escalator.

This is only the start of the amazing view that is the new Harper offices

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and the view from inside…one so fabulous that you wonder if anyone will get any work done

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this is only a small part of the stunning panoramic view from this wonderful new office building.

All this and i had not even got to the main event….meeting Francesca Haig and her wonderful new book.

2015-01-24 17.15.21

Greeted by Francesca… “Parmenionbooks, are you the one who has been tweeting me?”….. erm….. quickly tries to remember how cheeky i had been “Yes…erm thats me”…. yup i stunned her with my witty repartee!

I need not have worried, she was a truly lovely person to meet, (as was her husband and little one). We were treated to tea and coffee and then a reading or two from the pending excellence that is Fire Sermon

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(please note in the background the splendid book wall… close up below)

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also add in the some quite excellent typewriter table lamps (want one)

2015-01-24 13.52.24

The author reading soon turned into the blogger Q&A…. just for a few seconds there was that stunned silence of …”agghhh i don’t want to be first”.. i didn’t really help here.

But soon those other talented bloggers soon had Francesca pouring out little facts. When you read the book, pay attention to place names, there are some nods to dystopian authors of the past. We learned the origin of character names, where she wrote the book, how she wrote the book, the inspiration for the book and more. It all made for a fascinating morning…. and honestly everyone was listening, not thinking about cake…

2015-01-24 17.21.07 2015-01-24 17.17.28

nope…no thinking about cake at all…from anyone….

(i snagged one of these for the Diva)…..

and some lunch for me….(lovely sandwiches Harper Voyager thank you)

Then a surprise book signing and a copy of the book for each blogger and and goody bag of other books (yey… also containing a very interesting flyer for An Ember in the Ashes  – 4 Jun 2015 by Sabaa Tahir, i’m very intrigued by this one)… and a copy of Joe Abercrombie Half a World

2015-01-24 17.17.36


So for a blogger it was a wonderful day out, meeting some wonderful people…. some of the best being the lovely ladies of Harper Voyager themselves, a group who look after us all year long as readers, and went above and beyond today. THANK YOU.

and Thank you to Francesca Haig (and her family)

and those who enjoy this blog, or just seethe with jealousy…please read the book…(Review ) its compelling reading. For me…. its a heck of a long wait for book 2.




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