Thursday, August 30, 2012

“Shadows of Treachery” ed. by Christian Dunn & Nick Kyme (Black Library)


A Horus Heresy Anthology

From the battlefields of Phall and Isstvan, to the haunted shadows of Terra itself – the greatest war in the history of mankind rages on. While the traitor Legions continue their campaign of terror across the galaxy, preparations are made for the defence of the Imperial Palace and the final, inevitable reckoning that must yet come between Horus and the Emperor...

I know a few readers who really don’t like the Horus Heresy anthologies of short stories, but I rather like them. They offer some great gap-filling fiction for specific events (noteworthy or just interesting), and are great for marking time between the full-length novels. It’s just a pity that some of these stories couldn’t be longer still – there are two novella length stories (one by the great Aaron Dembski-Bowden), but the rest of the stories within are pretty short. I think it’s a good collection, but some people may be disappointed with the fact that three of the stories are just prose versions of audio-books. As someone who prefers prose to audio, though, I thought this was a great read and addition to the series.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DMZ: “M.I.A.” & “Collective Punishment” Vols. 9 & 10 (Vertigo)


Nearing the end, political and social tension in the DMZ is once again on the rise

It’s been great to get back into DMZ after a couple months away from it. As I’ve come to expect, these two books continue Matty Roth’s story in Manhattan very strongly. That Wood has been able to maintain the high standard of this story for so long is quite impressive. I’m really looking forward to reading the final two books in the weeks to come (review sometime in September). I have said it before, and I remain committed to my comments about this being one of the best comic series I’ve ever read. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

An Interview with G. WILLOW WILSON


I first learned of G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen at BookExpo America at the Grove Atlantic booth, which had a fun USB promotional… thingy. I investigated some more, and I think it has one of the most interesting premises of any novel released this year. It’s not surprising, then, that Lev Grossman recently included Alif on his list of Summer Must-Reads in Time Magazine. Naturally, this meant I had to interview the author. And so, in advance of my review of the novel, I got in touch with Wilson to learn more about her other work, writing practices and more.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

“The Immortal: Demon in the Blood” (Dark Horse)

Immortal-DemonInTheBloodReviewed by Abhinav Jain

Writer: Ian Edginton | Artist: Vicenç Villagrasa | Inks & Colours: José Luis Río

After a swordfight, Amane, a young samurai with a haunted past, is left for dead – only to be saved by a mysterious tattooist who imbues Amane with the immortal spirit of an oni demon. From that day on, Amane ages no more.

Amane learns of another with a similar oni – one that requires its host to kill – which leads Amane to the realization that the “other” is the man who murdered his sister years ago. But when his decades-long quest for the murderer causes him to cross paths with a maniacal serial killer intent on murdering the woman Amane loves, the only one who can help him is the man who killed his sister.

Samurai are a topic that I find quite fascinating. James Clavell’s Shogun, the tale of an Englishman in Japan at the time of the Portugese/Spanish influence on the island nation, is the novel that sparked my interest. Their sense of honour, their utter and calm lethality, their mysteries, their culture: everything. This fascination extends to the rest of Japanese culture and I’m always up for a variety of anime that showcase it, in all their myriad ways.

Ian Edginton’s script for the comic adaptation of Fumi Nakamura’s Ura-Enma has continued that love for me. It is a story that meshes samurai with oni, Japanese demons, and is a tale set in roughly the Gunpowder era. There is honour, betrayal, treachery, love, and romance, along with a certain bit of horror to the proceedings.

Monday, August 27, 2012

“Fear To Tread” by James Swallow (Black Library)


The Blood Angels, at long last…

Since the earliest days of the Great Crusade, Sanguinius – angelic primarch of the IXth Legion – was ever among the closest and most loyal of Horus’s brothers. But the Blood Angels have long kept their true nature hidden from the rest of the Imperium, and when the Warmaster hints that the key to their salvation may lie in the ruins of a conquered world, the sons of Sanguinius race to claim it. Now, as the revelation of their betrayal dawns and the traitors’ hand is revealed, the Blood Angels must face all the warp-spawned armies of Chaos, as well their own personal daemons, upon the blasted plains of Signus Prime...

This novel has been highly anticipated by a great many WH40k and Horus Heresy fans. The Blood Angels, one of the most popular loyalist Astartes Legion, finally get some of their story told. And Swallow nails it. This is an epic sci-fi tale of honour, nobility, betrayal and a deadly, hidden flaw…

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our World, But Wrong (Summer Giveaway #3)


In this third giveaway, up for grabs are three novels of our world, only not as we know it. As with the two Black Library giveaways, I either have multiple copies of these books, or have replaced them with eBooks so I can more-easily take them with me to the US.

To enter, please either email your details to the Civilian Reader address (at the bottom of the page), or leave your name in the comments along with some way of getting in touch with you if possible (Twitter handle or anti-spam-version of an email address, for example).

Unfortunately, this giveaway is limited to UK and EU. Sorry about this, it’s just too expensive to ship stuff further afield. I still intend to run more for North & South America from September.

Giveaway: Tom Pollock’s The City’s Son, Kate Locke’s God Save the Queen, Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker & The Drowned Cities.

It’s a short-run giveaway, too, so I’ll be drawing the winners on Wednesday 29th August – one will get The City’s Son, one will get God Save the Queen, and one will get both Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities.

Please remember to state which one you’re interested in, if you have a preference.

Friday, August 24, 2012

“Captain America” by Lee Bermejo

Is there a better artist working in comics than Lee Bermejo? I would love to see him work on SFF book covers. This is one of my new favourites, which I first saw on’s latest “Best Art Ever This Week” post (I don’t know if this was commissioned specifically for any single issue or not):



Sidebar: I am still reading and reviewing fiction, I’m just not at my computer much at the moment, so I’m going to have to figure out how to re-jig posting times and writing schedules. I’ve got a couple of reviews in the works, and will get back on track once I get used to my new schedule.

Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere, and there will be more than art and news posts on the blog again. Plenty of interviews banked and ready to go, too, so keep checking back – lots of great content coming up in the near future.

Upcoming: FADE TO BLACK by Francis Knight (Orbit)

I caught this as I got in to work this morning, so have only just got the chance to post it on here: the new artwork for Francis Knight’s upcoming Orbit Books debut, Fade to Black…


That is, quite frankly, a fabulous cover. I couldn’t find details on who put it together, though. Anyone know? Here’s what Anna Gregson had to say about the book:

We’d like to welcome you all to the fantasy world of Mahala. It’s a towering city that rises up from the deep, dark depths of a valley.

Mahala is built up in layers, not across – with streets piled upon streets, and buildings balancing precariously upon buildings. It’s a city that the Ministry rules from its lofty perch at the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the shadowy depths of the Pit.

This compelling tale follows the story of Rojan Dizon – a bounty hunter who’s grown up in the shadows of Mahala. Everyone knows he’s a rogue, a womaniser, a shirker of all responsibility. But what they don’t know is that he’s also a pain-mage: someone able to draw magic from his own and other people’s pain. Rojan’s not keen on using his abilities, but when his niece is abducted and taken to the dark depths of the Pit, he’ll be forced to unleash his powers to find her.

We jumped at the chance to publish Fade to Black – because the world that Francis has created just blew us away. It’s both awe-inspiring and vertigo-inducing, and Rojan’s tale makes the story just un-damn-put-downable. Think of the murky atmosphere of Sin City, filled with the action and pace of Brent Weeks or Scott Lynch.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this series. Can’t wait to read it. February 2013 can’t come soon enough!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Coming up in 2013 from Solaris Books


The other day, Solaris released a handful of new cover images on their blog. Being the book magpie that I am, I decided to share them again over here, with any other information on the books I could find.

So, without further ado, here are the covers for Gaie Sebold’s Dangerous Gifts, James Lovegrove’s Age of Voodoo, and Guy Adams’s The Good, The Bad, and the Infernal.

Art: DAREDEVIL #18 (Marvel)

I really enjoyed the first collected edition of Mark Waid’s new run on Daredevil, and I’ve been waiting to get my hands on book two (which I’ve ordered) and the soon-to-be-released book three. In the meantime, I’ve been keeping on top of the artwork and so forth for individual issues. And the art for #18, by Paolo Rivera, is pretty interesting and striking:

It fits in rather nicely with Daredevil’s special sight – although, while he wouldn’t be able to see someone’s venous system like this, there’s something about this picture that is somehow apt.

The issue is written by Mark Waid and pencilled by Chris Samnee. Here’s the synopsis:

Get ready for the biggest Daredevil story yet, as a new menace walks the streets of New York – the ruthless killer called Coyote! Can Daredevil put a stop to his crime spree? And with all that has been happening in his life, just how sane IS matt Murdock?

Daredevil #18 will be published on September 19th.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An Interview with LEV GROSSMAN


I first came across Lev Grossman through his columns for Time magazine, where he is a book critic and lead technology writer. Grossman is also the successful author of Codex, The Magicians and The Magician King, which has just been released in paperback. I decided it was a perfect time to get in touch and pick his brains about writing, his novels, and how he became a speculative fiction fan.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cover Reveal: “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter” by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Angry Robot)

This is just a very quick post to share this new piece of cover art. This time, it’s for Cassandra Rose Clarke’s second novel, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter:


The novel will be published by Angry Robot Books in February 2013. Here’s the synopsis:

There’s never been anyone – or anything – quite like Finn.

He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is to tutor Cat.

When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter will follow hotly on the heels of Clarke’s first novel, The Assassin’s Curse, which will be published in October 2012 by Strange Chemistry (Angry Robot’s YA imprint).

Readers may remember that The Assassin’s Curse was the subject of an earlier cover art post. Clarke is certainly having great luck with book jackets.

Monday, August 20, 2012

“Tomorrow the Killing” by Daniel Polanksy (Hodder)

Polansky-TomorrowTheKillingPolansky scores another direct hit with book two

Once he was a hero of the Great War, and then a member of the dreaded Black House. Now he is the criminal linchpin of Low Town.

His name is Warden.

He thought he had left the war behind him, but a summons from up above brings the past sharply, uncomfortably, back into focus. General Montgomery’s daughter is missing somewhere in Low Town, searching for clues about her brother’s murder. The General wants her found, before the stinking streets can lay claim to her, too.

In Tomorrow the Killing, Polansky shows us he is no one-book wonder. This sequel to the excellent Straight Razor Cure/Low Town adds yet more layers and colour to this world. Everything about this book builds on what has come before, and is better in almost every way. If you haven’t read Polansky yet, you must remedy this ASAP. He writes gripping, addictive stories with a grim eloquence.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Summer Giveaway #1 & 2: Black Library

So. I’m heading back across the Pond for the rest of 2012 (at least), and that means I’m going through another Replace-With-eBook Clear-Out. And, just like last year, this means I’m going to be running a few giveaways. I would much rather give these books to readers than just dump them on a charity shop or library. I’ll try to keep the giveaways thematic, too: there will be two Black Library ones, one alternate-London selection, and maybe specific fantasy and Sci-Fi giveaways as well. I’ll list 2-3 per week.

To enter, please either email your details to the Civilian Reader address (at the bottom of the page), or leave your name in the comments along with some way of getting in touch with you if possible (Twitter handle or anti-spam-version of an email address, for example). Please state which giveaway you’re interested in, too, although you can say both.

Unfortunately, these will be limited to UK and EU. Sorry about this, it’s just too expensive to ship stuff further afield. I’ll try to run more for North America from September.

To kick things off, here are the two Black Library giveaways:

Ciaphas Cain


Everyone’s favourite Imperial Guard anti-hero, this giveaway is for the latest two volumes in the series by Sandy Mitchell: The Emperor’s Finest (paperback) and The Last Ditch (hardcover).

Warhammer & Warhammer 40,000


A more general selection of recent Black Library releases, all of which I’ve either read and reviewed already, or replaced with eBook editions to read later: Path of the Renegade by Andy Chambers, Phalanx by Ben Counter, The Gotrek & Felix Anthology edited by Christian Dunn, and Luthor Huss by Chris Wraight.

I’ll leave this running until midnight (GMT) on Friday 24th August.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

First Thoughts: “Tomorrow the Killing” by Daniel Polansky (Hodder)

Polansky-TomorrowTheKillingThe Second Low Town novel

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance review copy of Daniel Polansky’s second novel. I’d delayed reading Straight Razor Cure for reasons that are quite beyond me, but I did not make the same mistake again, and I can safely say that Tomorrow the Killing exceeded my expectations. So, in advance of my full review, I thought I would take the opportunity to offer up another MLA* review. Here is an image that best explains my mood after finishing this incredible book:


* See here for an explanation of the MLA review method

DMZ: “War Powers” & “Hearts & Minds” Vols. 7 & 8 (Vertigo)


The DMZ sees the first, difficult, tentative steps towards self-government

I’m afraid this was one of my “lost reviews” that got caught in the great Computer Eaten By Virus Debacle of June 2012… Thankfully, I took quite a few notes while reading these two books, and managed to recover those (if not the review I’d already drafted). Needless to say, they continue the story in fine form. So here are some quick thoughts on “War Powers” and “Hearts and Minds”.

Friday, August 17, 2012

“Y The Last Man” Deluxe Vol.1 (Vertigo)

YTheLastMan-Deluxe-01All the men are dead. Except for one. The future rests on his shoulders, but he’s not ready for that responsibility.

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan | Artist: Pia Guerra | Inks: Jose Marzan, Jr. | Colours: Pamela Rambo

This is the saga of Yorick Brown – the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal with a Y chromosome. Accompanied by his pet monkey, Yorick searches for his lost love... And the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.

Before picking this book up, I had managed to read the first issue of the series for free on Comixology. It gave me just enough to make me know I had to read this series. And I’m very glad that I took the chance on this collection. It’s an interesting an original apocalyptic premise, one I think Vaughan and Co. manage to pull off intelligently and deftly. This book collects the first two storyline, “Unmanned” and “Cycles”.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Not a Review: “The Heretic Land” by Tim Lebbon (Orbit)

Lebbon-HereticLandA victim to my unsettled mind

Arrested by the Ald, scholar Bon Ugane and merwoman Leki Borle find themselves on a prison ship bound for the island of Skythe – a barren land and the site of long-ago wars. Warped and ruined by the ancient conflict, survival on the island is tough and its original inhabitants are neither friendly nor entirely still human. But something else waits on the island, a living weapon whose very existence is a heresy. Destroyed many years ago, it silently begins to clutch at life once more.

I’m afraid I didn’t actually finish this novel. Not because it was bad, by any means. It just wasn’t clicking for me while I was reading it, and I ended up putting it down in favour of something else after just 100 pages. Here are some initial thoughts on what I did read.

It’s actually a  novel that seem to revel in its world-building, without being too dense or excessive. I loved a lot of the elements that Lebbon has incorporated into his world, and his characters are readily likeable and sympathetic. I particularly liked Bon Ugane’s son, who is a genius but also slightly like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory in his single-minded thirst for knowledge and slight awkwardness. The opening scenes that detail Bon Ugane and Leki Borle’s trip to Skythe are great, and to begin with I was hooked. But, sadly, I’m just too distracted at the moment to dive into an entirely new world, I think.

The Heretic Land is just the right amount of dark, which is certainly my preferred ambience. It has everything from a devastated prison island surrounded by lethal seas, religious and political persecution, illegal magic, a hidden history, and plenty of other shenanigans going on to slake the thirst of any fantasy fan. The author’s prose is fluid but not exactly quickly-paced, which may have been why I didn’t feel like I was engaging with it.

Anyway. I will most likely come back to this novel in the future, and will hopefully write a proper review when I do. But, at this point in time, I’m just not in the mood for it. Maybe I need some more variation? A couple of novels outside of the fantasy genre (which has dominated of late). Some thrillers and sci-fi, perhaps.

I haven’t seen anyone else mention it on their blogs or anywhere else, really – if you’ve read it, feel free to add some of your own comments below.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Comics Round-Up (Aug.8)


A rather late round-up (was very distracted last week – although it’s annoying, as I had a few of these read and reviewed way before they were published). It’s another nice mix of comics this week – some more Star Wars action, post-apocalyptic mystery, serious post-apocalyptic zombies, tongue-in(-through?)-cheek post-apocalyptic zombies, and a mystery.

Reviewed: The Creep #0, Deadworld: War of the Dead #2, Fanboys vs. Zombies #5, The Massive #3, SW: Knight Errant – Escape #3, SW: Lost Tribe of the Sith #1, Waking: Dream’s End #3

An Interview with GWENDA BOND


Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint for feisty publishing upstart Angry Robot Books, has a superb opening line-up. I’ve featured one of their authors already, but Gwenda Bond’s debut, Blackwood, has been on my radar ever since the cover artwork was released. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “How can he still be judging books by their covers?!” – but the premise of the novel sounds great, too. So, without further ado, and in advance of a review of the book (expect that soon), I got in touch with the author and asked her about the novel, future projects, her writing practices, and her inability to finish Lord of the Rings (which I don’t judge her for, because neither have I)…

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

While I was Out… (Books Received)

Things have been pretty great on the book front recently, so I wanted to share some thoughts and info on some of the new novels that arrived while I was up in Durham for the last few weeks. Here’s the pile:


The top seven on the stacked pile were sent to New York, and Alyssa kindly forwarded them on to me. However, it’s entirely possible that I’ll be sending them right back, if all goes well on Thursday…

Artwork: Myke Cole’s FORTRESS FRONTIER (Ace)

The new cover for Myke Cole’s second novel, Fortress Frontier, was revealed yesterday. And it’s a doozy:


I think I may prefer this to the original US cover for Control Point, but more because of the colour palette – I like the colder blues. This also does a great job of showing us the change in perspective (something Cole’s been keen to let people know, this isn’t the Oscar Britton Series, but the Shadow Ops series – if I remember correctly, each novel will add POVs, but Oscar will be kicking around).

Here’s the synopsis:

The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers – summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed... but not for everyone.

Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.

Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier – cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.

Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place – Oscar Britton, public enemy number one...

Fortress Frontier will be published in the US in January 2013.

In related news, the first in the series, Control Point, will be published in the UK this week (Headline). I really enjoyed the novel, and you can check out my review here. There’s also an interview with and guest post by Myke Cole up on the site. And, because it’s fantastic, here’s the UK cover for Control Point once again:


Saturday, August 11, 2012

“Curse of the Mutants” (Marvel)

CurseOfTheMutants-ArtVampires vs. X-Men?

Writer: Victor Gischler | Artist: Paco Medina | Inks: Juan Vlasco | Colours: Marte Gracia

A human bomb explodes in San Francisco’s Union Square. Dozens are covered in blood. Jubilee is one of them.

The former X-Man soon falls victim to a strange manufactured virus – all part of the plan of Xarus, son of Dracula. Xarus is the new lord of the vampires, having slain his father, and he has an ultimatum for the X-Men: join his ranks as vampires, or perish. The X-Men enlist the aid of vampire-hunter Blade and even bargain with a resurrected Dracula himself, but who will win the ultimate battle between mutants and vampires in the streets of San Francisco?

Collects: X-Men #1-6

I’ve been wondering about this book for a while. I always thought it was just some gimmick – Marvel attempting to tap into the vampire-loving zeitgeist that seems to have swept genre fiction, YA, movies and TV. As it turns out, Curse of the Mutants is more than that. It has a pretty cool premise, but I’m not sure it’ll be for everyone.

Friday, August 10, 2012

“Dog Stars” by Peter Heller (Headline)

Heller-DogStarsQuite possibly the strangest book of which I’ve tried to form an opinion

Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He’s just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his remaining fuel.

But, just once, he picks up a message from another pilot, and eventually the temptation to find out who else is still alive becomes irresistible. So he takes his plane over the horizon, knowing that he won't have enough fuel to get back. What follows is scarier and more life-affirming than he could have imagined. And his story, THE DOG STARS, is a book unlike any you have ever read.

I have rather mixed feelings about this book. Parts of it were superb, others not so much. It was bittersweet, heart-wrenching, evocative and engrossing. It was also a little boring, over done and eccentric. I almost gave up on it before the end of part one. But I’m glad I stuck with it. Should you read it? Probably. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before, and yet also highly familiar. It’s rather uneventful for long periods of time, and yet I was hooked.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Guest Post: Living With The Consequences (or Why I Can No Longer Read the X-Men) – by Jonathan Wood

Jonathan Wood is the author of No Hero and Yesterday’s Hero. I invited him to write a guest post, and he has decided to get something off his chest about Marvel. It’s a grumble we have in common…

As a general rule, I try not to wish death on anyone. I’m not always successful (I’m looking at you jackass, singing along to your MP3 player on the crowded subway car. You can be taken down by a herd of horny wildebeest and I will stand by, cheering them on), but I try.

That said, man did I want Jean Grey to die.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

An Interview with EVIE MANIERI


Evie Manieri’s Blood’s Pride was a pleasant, surprise discovery – it introduces us to a new fantasy world, populated with rich, diverse characters and cultures. It is a story of rebellion, family and adventure. As a Debut Author to Watch, and with Blood’s Pride hitting shelves imminently, I thought it would be a great time to ask the author about her novels, writing and how she’s enjoying being a writer. And discovered her opinion on automatons…

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1 – “Legacy” (Marvel)

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy-Vol-01Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning | Artist: Paul Pelletier | Inks: Rick Magyar | Colours: Nathan Fairbairn

Back-to-back Annihilation wars have weakened the boundaries of our universe. Dark gods and monsters are seeping through the cracks, reigning horror upon many worlds. In the face of terror, who stands to defend a desperate universe? Star-Lord and his squad of butt-kickers – the modern day Guardians of the Galaxy!

Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy #1-6

After it was announced that Marvel Studios was going to be making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie (currently penciled in for 2014, apparently), I was interested to give the series a try. It’s written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, too – a writing duo who have, thus far, failed to disappoint. I stumbled across a mint-condition remaindered copy of this first volume in a local bargain bookstore, so snapped it up and dove right in. It’s a… different sort of Marvel comic, but I had a blast reading it.

Upcoming: “Colder” (Dark Horse) – Updated

I like the teaser image below for a number of reason. First, because I would really like to read the upcoming series Colder. Second, because I totally used to be that kid, sneaking a read at night. Third, because it’s just a really cool picture.


As far as I’m aware, Colder is a new series coming up from Paul Tobin (the author of Prepare to Die and a number of comics, who I interviewed here). Here’s some more artwork, this time from the cover of issue one:


Monday, August 06, 2012

“The Broken Isles” by Mark Charan Newton (Tor)

Newton-BrokenIslesThe final book in The Legends of the Red Sun

The culmination of the Legends of the Red Sun series. This takes us back to Villiren where Commander Brynd Lathera prepares for the coming battle ahead with invaders from the other world.

Villjamur is gone, Rika and her sister Eir are all that remains of the Jorsalir line and Brynd is determined that Rika will lead her people in the creation of a new city and new culture.

But Villiren has never been a city to play by the rules and, despite the impending threat of destruction, criminal gangs work to undermine everything that Brynd has set out to do. The world is on the brink of destruction and anarchy...

Final books in series are always tricky. Will the author tie everything up with a lovely bow for readers? Will there be vague, open-ended solutions that will have fans guessing and debating what really happened? Will it be an awful mess? There are many decisions and pitfalls that can catch the unwary or incautious author. But with The Broken Isles, Newton has pretty much dodged them all. This is a great ending. The story is top notch, as we can expect. I think each book in the Legends of the Red Sun series has improved in every way, and The Broken Isles is no exception, with great writing, an exciting story, and engaging characters.

[Despite my best efforts, there are some spoilers in this review. If you haven’t read the first three books in Legends of the Red Sun, I obviously think you should go read them now, as the whole series is fantastic. However, if you want to keep reading this review, you should proceed with caution.]

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Upcoming: “Captain America” #16

This is just a quick artwork post. I got this image a couple days ago from Marvel, and thought it was good enough to share this far in advance. The art is by Steve Epting, and I love how action-packed and dynamic it is:


Sadly, I wasn’t able to find a high-res image file of the cover artwork without the text, but it’s still pretty striking.

I won’t share the synopsis for this episode, though, because it contains quite a few spoilers. Captain America #16 is released this coming week, on August 8th.

I haven’t been reading this series of Captain America, because I want to finish Brubaker’s first run on the series, before starting on the post-Siege event “re-boot”.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Civilian Reader Abroad


Forgot to post a link to this when it went up, but your humble blogger was interviewed for Jo Fletcher Books’ blog the other day. Hope people find it interesting.

“Blood’s Pride” by Evie Manieri (Jo Fletcher/Tor)


An intriguing new voice in fantasy

A generation has passed since the Norlanders’ great ships bore down on Shadar, and the Dead Ones slashed and burned the city into submission, enslaving the Shadari people. Now the Norlander governor is dying and, as his three alienated children struggle against the crushing isolation of their lives, the Shadari rebels spot their opening and summon the Mongrel, a mysterious mercenary warrior who has never yet lost a battle. But her terms are unsettling: she will name her price only after the Norlanders have been defeated. A single question is left for the Shadari: is there any price too high for freedom?

I had never heard of Blood’s Pride before I got my hands on a copy of the book. After diving in with very little information, it turned out to be a very interesting, well-written start to an epic fantasy series. It’s not perfect, but I found myself addicted to the world, and fascinated by the relationships and differences between the characters, races and cultures.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

An Interview with JONATHAN WOOD


With the second novel in Wood’s Arthur Wallace series, Yesterday’s Hero, now available, I thought it would be a great time to learn a little more about the pulpy, supernatural urban fantasy series, its author, and his writing process.