Wednesday, 27 January 2016

New Release!

Dyndaer Book Two in the Kaelandur Series

by Joshua Robertson



Excerpt

A woman, unlike any Branimir had ever seen, emerged from the crowd and occupied the remaining chair. The bow slung over her shoulder, and the quiver on her back were the last things Branimir noticed. She was shorter than most Anshedar with an oversized head, a scrawny neck, and a sickly, thin frame. Yet her skin, smooth and colored a reddish brown, darker than Branimir, caused him to lean toward her. A sash, red as blood, hung across her shoulder, angled over her small chest.
She sat with her back stiffened and chin jutted forward. Pushing long black strands behind her ears, she introduced herself, “Hanna Bretka, daughter of Briv, from Danduher in Haemus Mons.” She sloshed her mug onto the table after taking a gulp.
“Branimir and Dorofej,” Bran said, “And, excuse my asking, but what are you?”
Her eyes swelled like an owl, a circular black center and the rest filled with a cerulean orb. The colored ring twinkled like the Ojenek in his pocket. “What do you mean what am I?”
Adamus and Dorofej merged in laughter.
“Kras,” she said, “I am a Lilitu. How would you not know my kind? The Kras frequent trade with the Lilitu in Halderon.”
Branimir rubbed the back of his neck with a crooked smile, and meekly shrugged. He could not take his eyes off of her.
What are you?” Adamus repeated, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. “Best thing I have heard in two months. Having you travel with me never tires, Hanna.”
“Glad to please you, Adamus,” Hanna muttered, rolling his name off her tongue. “Is this why we detoured to Cavell? I thought we were aiming for debauchery, not expanding on our alleged friendship.” 

Available from:






Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Crimson Edge Press


BIO 

Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children. In 1999, he began crafting the world for Thrice Nine Legends, including Melkorka and Anaerfell. He is also the author of the A Midwinter Sellsword and Gladiators and Thieves in the Hawkhurst Saga. His short story, Grimsdalr, is inspired by the tale of Beowulf.


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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Book Review


Mythmaker

by Marianne de Pierres

(Angry Robot Books, 2015)

**I was provided with a ARC copy of this in exchange for an honest review**



I loved Peacemaker so much that I immediately began Mythmaker upon finishing it and I wasn’t disappointed with this, the second book in de Pierres series set in a future Australia.

Mythmaker follows on almost immediately from where Peacemaker ended.  Virgin Jackson and Nate Sixkiller are still a team, in fact Virgin has been coerced into working for CJIC by her mother.   (At the end of Peacemaker Virgin’s mother, whom she had thought dead, turned out to be the head of this clandestine organisation.)  

Life has become decidedly more complicated for Virgin: Mythos sightings have been increasing and her investigations reveal her brother’s involvement in the human faction working to bring the Mythos into Virgin and Nate’s world for, as Virgin describes it an “other worldly coup.”  In addition a dogged police officer is determined to charge Virgin with murder.

So, Virgin has a web of tangled emotional dilemmas to deal with - her antagonism with her mother whom she sees as abandoning her, her troubled brother, her best friend’s illness and several potential love interests.  (What I like here is that these “love interests” are deftly woven throughout the plot, but are not the driving force  and Virgin is not head over heels for anyone.  What will happen with them though is anyone’s guess.)

In Mythmaker, de Pierres, once again immerses us in her writing with terrific world building and a cracking pace.  The genre blending of western, crime, sci-fi and fantasy still held all its appeal as it did in the first book and the characters just get even better.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mythmaker and couldn’t put it down until I finished it.  Bring on the next book in the series!

Four Stars.






Friday, 15 January 2016

Book Review


Theo Blinkerson and the Copper Coffin

by Gregory Butron

(2015)


**I was provided with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review**


Theo Blinkerson and the Copper Coffin is a dystopian science fiction novella suitable for MG through to teen readers.  I suspect the tween audience will enjoy it the most.

The main protagonist, Theo, is 14 and living on a space station in orbit around Earth with his parents and a team of scientists.  Before this he lived in Eversham - a “nicely bigoted, little region north of Kentridge, where most people still aren’t ready to deal with the fact that neurobs are people.”

Neurobs? Neurobs are robots / androids / AIs whatever you want to name them.  They are prevalent throughout this future Earth and they are so human like that often people can’t tell the difference between“a wet-born and a neurob.  Sometimes you’ll see an I/O port behind the ear, maybe hear a little whir if you’re walking right next to one – but maybe not.”

Theo’s best friend is a neurob named Carson – in fact Carson is his only friend.  They are separated when Theo moves to the space station, however Theo can communicate with Carson using a comm card which Carson gave him.  So apart from being bored senseless on a space station and schooled at every turn by the scientists, Theo can at least still talk to his friend - until the comm card stops working. In fact all communications including their “elevator” to the planet stop working. They are stranded, desperately trying to figure out how to communicate with Earth and considering the dire need to ration food.

On Earth a movement against the manufacture and continued existence of neurobs has been gaining ground and a revolution of sorts has begun to rid the world of all neurobs.
Those on the station have no idea what is going on. 

When the “elevator” finally starts working the scientists lock its doors and decide not to open them until they’ve completed further investigations – they fear some form of contagion risk.  Thanks to Theo ignoring the rules, when the space lift starts working, he is there to witness its arrival and meet the girl, Ilene, who breaks out of it.   From here the adventure escalates and Theo finds himself embroiled in a struggle to stop all the neurobs from being destroyed.

Butron has created convincing young teen voice for socially awkward loner Theo.  Written in the first person, at times the narrative digresses into a stream of consciousness from Theo – which is often very amusing.  On the whole I really enjoyed this aspect, however not when the action should have been playing out.

Pacing is this story’s single biggest problem and Theo’s tangential ramblings do slow the pace down right when it needs to ramp up.  For instance when Theo and Ilene are battling a deranged “reprogammed” neurob on the space station the pace should be fast until the end of the fight, but Theo’s cute ramblings are spattered throughout it and slow it down. A few less of these and the scene would have flowed much better.

When the book ends, little has been resolved and the final scene was a little anticlimactic for me.  (Hopefully a sequel is planned to finish the story.)  I would have preferred Butron to have given us a slightly longer book and at least resolved a little more in regard to the bad guys, or to have finished the book a little earlier and left us on more of a cliff hanger.  

All up though this was an enjoyable read. Would I read a sequel...yes.

3 stars.  



Saturday, 9 January 2016

Book Review


Peacemaker

by Marianne de Pierres

(Angry Robot Books, 2014)





Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres is a blend of paranormal fantasy, mystery, crime, western and little bit of sci-fi; it had me hooked within a couple of pages.


The novel is set in the future in Australia and the world de Pierres has created is believable and detailed.  The cities in Australia have merged into a megalopolis and parklands are rare.  Virgin Jackson is a ranger in Birrimun Park and devoted to its preservation.  The park has, however become the sole wild west theme park in the Southern Hemisphere – tourist dollars are saving Australia.

At the end of her park rounds, when the park is supposed to be closed and empty, Virgin witnesses a murder. She is attacked by what appears to be a crow and the murderer escapes.  This coincides with the arrival of Marshal Nate Sixkiller from the US who is ostensibly investigating drug running within the park.  On the same day, after witnessing the murder, Virgin becomes the target of a hitman.   You can tell already that de Pierres is setting a cracking pace, can’t you?

Virgin and Sixkiller’s investigations lead them through the seedier parts of the city. Like all cities, this one has its respectable and tourist areas along with its disreputable quarters and the grunge in these places is almost palpable.  The reader gets to see the western themed section of town, and a quarter devoted to the supernatural – tarot, fortune telling etc and the areas controlled by feuding gangs, both of whom are heavily armed.

The fantasy elements of the plot revolve around different realities and the notion that creatures from myth and folklore are real. While this is a concept many fantasy readers will be familiar with, it is the blending of genres in de Pierres' novel that makes all the difference and creates a unique world.

I don’t want to divulge any more of the plot save to say that it is intricate and there are many twists and turns. 

The characterisations in Peacemaker are excellent.  Each of the characters is complicated and different.  Virgin is stubborn, independent, intelligent, courageous and reckless.  She is a kick-arse heroine, but she is also often wrong and I loved her for her mistakes. 

Peacemaker was refreshingly different and de Pierres does blend a variety of genres into a fast paced story that you will not want to put down. (I immediately started reading the sequel!)

Four Stars!