The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey Chronicles

When I first encountered the ‘Chronicles’ collection of books published in conjunction with The Hobbit films, it was the last movie and I had no expectation that I would ever come across any that had come before. However, thanks to the generosity of the publishers at Harper Collins, I’ve been provided with the other three books that were released over the past several years.

For the first of The Hobbit movies, ‘An Unexpected Journey’, two books were released. The first one, ‘Art & Design’, takes you on a journey through the artwork that inspired the first movie, rather than the props and costumes. In many ways, this book is the only way much of this artwork will ever see the light of day – whereas two of the other books released in this series are very much companion pieces to the Behind the Scenes features released with the Extended Edition.

Thousands of pieces of art are packed into this book, including concept artwork, photographs, and development paintings. And for most of the pieces in this book, there is an accompanying blurb by the artist, revealing the stories behind the art.

With a foreword by world famous set decorator Dan Hennah, and Weta Workshop’s founder and creative director, Richard Taylor providing the Introduction, the book (like all in the series) is written and compiled by Weta Workshop senior concept designer Daniel Falconer (who many will have seen in the Behind the Scenes features).

I’m a massive fan of concept artwork – I’ll seek it out for most video games I play, and I love finding those pieces that are provided for movies such as The Hobbit (I’m less interested in concept artwork for, say, ‘Taken’). The second chapter is less about the concept artwork, focusing on the Dwarves and their costumes, and therefore photography. But many of the other chapters are heavily filled with concept artwork – like the chapters on Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum and the Company’s flight to the trees at the end of the film.

This book is the epitome of a coffee-table book, and should be on hand for any fan of The Hobbit films.

Competition: Win a copy of The Devil’s Detective by Simon Kurt Unsworth

The Devil's Detective book cover imageWelcome to hell… … where skinless demons patrol the lakes and the waves of Limbo wash against the outer walls, while the souls of the Damned float on their surface, waiting to be collected. When an unidentified, brutalised body is discovered, the case is assigned to Thomas Fool, one of Hell’s detectives, known as ‘Information Men’. But how do you investigate a murder where death is commonplace and everyone is guilty of something?

Those lovely people at Penguin Random House UK have given us 3 copies of The Devil’s Detective to give away. The competition is open to UK residents only  and here is how you can enter:

Simply tweet @FanBooRev with the name of the book you are currently reading and as many words from the first chapter as you can fit into 140 characters. For example:

@FanBooRev The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his…

The competition will close this Friday (March 6, 2015) and winners will be notified via Twitter and their UK mail address will be requested, so that a winning copy can be dispatched.

Good luck to all who enter.

For more information on The Devil’s Detective and its author Simon Kurt Unsworth, and to read an excerpt, visit the Del Rey UK website.

My book addiction 2014 and more of what’s to come in 2015

Where to start… There have been so many excellent (and a few bad) releases in 2014, so much so I reviewed nearly all of the books I have read, so hurray me. Some have inspired me, most have captivated me and a few have made me shake my head in indignation.

There is just something in the power of words that make even the tough times that little bit easier; they are the escapism, relief to stress and pressure which draws you into another world for a few minutes or hours. Paraphrasing Robin Williams, “books are a crutch and support for people who get lost in reality”.

Broken record I know, but I said it last year and I am sure to say it again. Why do you care what some blogger with a friendly webmaster says about this year’s reading material? The simple answer is you don’t have too, but I like to talk, I am still opinionated and you never know where a good recommendation or possibility a book to miss comes from.

My 2014 reads (some reviews are from books published prior 2014) in order of my favourites are:

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

Slow Regard of Silent Things coverThe University, a renowned bastion of knowledge, attracts the brightest minds to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences like artificing and alchemy. Yet deep below its bustling halls lies a complex and cavernous maze of abandoned rooms and ancient passageways – and in the heart of it all lives Auri.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a joyous offering of literary excellence and a heart-breaking delving of loss, loneliness and the mysteries that are Auri.

You can read an interview with the author here.
Rating: 10/10

Skin Game by Jim Butcher

Skin Game book coverIn the absence of justice and a choice Harry must withhold vengeance against his greatest enemy? Bound as the Winter Knight to Winter’s Law Harry must settle Mab’s debt, committing theft and robbery from the most secure vault in the Nevernever. Unwillingness to comply to the letter of the agreement risks violating Mab’s word, his life and a chance for payback against Nicodemus. It’s going to take some fast thinking to get Harry out of this one alive and in one piece.

Stacking up the last three books, this has definitely been my favourite, this is Dresden through and through.
Rating: 9/10

The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan

The Crimson Campaign book coverWhen Gods walk the Earth and War rages unchecked, Tamas suffers defeat at the hands of Kez. Beaten but not Broken Tamas must fight his way back to Adro and his son.

Taniel awakens from his coma only to hear of his father is assumed death, traveling to the front, many things are not as they should be, as a traitor hides with the Armies high command.

Crimson Campaign is the second in the Powder Mage Trilogy and much like the Promise of Blood, it is simply fantastic. Gods, overt and introvert, magic, a struggle for survival and revenge, bundled up across three main story arcs. The Autumn Republic is going to be a great conclusion.
Rating: 9/10

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan

I initially started a review of this but still can’t bring myself to finish it. I was left a little wanting (yes, I understand Jordan passed away). If you have read or reading the WoT series nothing I can say will keep you from this final instalment. Still a great read.
Rating 7.5/10

Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia

Monster Hunter International book coverIn Monster Hunter International we inhabit a world of werewolves, vampires, trolls, orcs and much much more. It’s a hidden world known only to those who fight these creatures and those who have suffered at their hands. From the opening pages this book contains a lot of action and gun love, and continues in this vain from the start to finish. Think of it as a book that runs up hill without stopping and then jumps off.

This was enjoyable book, which came as a surprise. The shape and flow of the story is well defined and you easily breeze through the pages with glee.
Rating 8/10

The Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

Promise of Blood book cover imageThe alchemy of gunpowder fused with the magic of sorcery. In a time of upheaval, resurgence and corrupted Royalty Privileged, one-man’s love for his lost wife and his country burns and fuels a new order where all can be treated equally.

You can almost smell the gunpowder and hear the guillotine falling.
Rating 8.5/10

The Very Best of Tad Williams by Tad Williams

The Very Best of Tad Williams book cover imageThe very best of Tad Williams is a collection of 17 different stories that will appeal to old and new fans alike. Whether you like fantasy, sci-fi, crime or horror there is a story here for you. Williams has delivered another well-conceived and written book, that if nothing else is a great introduction to his works for new fans.

The work regardless of the story is typical Williams, well constructed and thought-out, at times a little preachy for my taste but otherwise any reader would be very happy to pick up this work up.
Rating 8.5/10

No Hero by Jonathan Wood

I great little piece of English Urban fiction (even if he now lives in New York). Cosmic, funny, a lot of action and a great tag line, “What would Kurt Russell do?” Think Nightside mixed with Alex Verus.

When multidimensional horrors known as the Progeny try it invade your reality what would you do? Answer, join the secret government agency MI37 and ask yourself what would Kurt Russell do?
Rating 8/10

The City by Stella Gemmell

The City by Stella Gemmell book cover imageThe City is ancient and vast and has been waging almost constant war for centuries. At its heart resides the emperor. Few have ever seen him. Those who have remember a man in his prime – and yet he should be very old. Some speculate that he is no longer human, others wonder if indeed he ever truly was. And a few have come to a desperate conclusion: that the only way to halt the emperor’s unslakebale thirst for war is to end his unnaturally long life.

I will be the first to admit that I picked up this story with my own reservations and preconception, but was very happy to have them changed. This is a great addition to the epic fantasy genre.
Rating 7/10

Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan

Trudi Canavan's Thief's Magic book coverIn a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.

Overall the story is a success, mostly due to Tyen and Vella, with the last couple of chapters of Rielle’s story picking up the pace. There are some true Canavan elements and I look forward to seeing what happens in the next story. Tyen will only develop and learn and it will be interesting to see how he handles the power and responsibility. Rielle must evolve or stay the pawn of a religious overlord; I am not sure which way she will go.
Rating 7.5/10

Shattered by Kevin Hearne

Shattered by Kevin Hearne book coverFor nearly two thousand years, there was only one Druid left walking the Earth – Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword kept him alive while pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company.

The epilogue for Atticus, Granuaile and Owen is one of more trouble to come and I like that I can see which way and how it will be shaped in the next book.
Rating 7/10

Sleeping Late on Judgment Day by Tad Williams

The final book in this Bobby Dollar series doesn’t disappoint (well not much). Bobby must face the consequences of his actions, route out a Traitor in Heaven and maybe, just maybe save the girl/demon/love of this life. So, not much to worry about then.

For the most, Sleeping Late brings all the story threads together, throws in the Big Bad behind Bobby’s troubles (with very large hints to his past, which is then left unexplained, grrrr) and provides him the opportunity to kick some ass, while still getting his handed to him along the way.

Nice conclusion to this this particular story line.
Rating 7/10

Hidden by Benedict Jacka

Hidden by Benedict Jacka book coverAlex’s friend, the life mage Anne, distanced herself from him when she found out about his past as a Dark apprentice. Now she’s in serious trouble, but wants nothing to do with him. Alex has to start wondering if Anne’s problem is really with him – or if there’s a secret she’s trying to hide.

I am a big fan of Benedict Jacka, his writing style has a consistent flow and pace, his characters have a fully cemented feel to them but I found the lack of action for the first half of the book caused the reading to be a little dry. I would describe the book has having two parts. The first half is a good recap of the previous novels and leads you snugly to the second half, where the pace really picks up and you feel the story going somewhere. Knock through the first five chapters quickly and you won’t be disappointed.
Rating 7/10

The Getaway God by Richard Kadrey

The Getaway God by Richard Kadrey book coverRivers of blood, Armageddon and a resurrected enemy Stark personally made sure was dead. Welcome to L.A. The Old Gods are at the door and they want the squatters out. One problem, all of Stark’s favourite stuff is there, his DVD’s, his guns and his girlfriend, and as they say possession is nine-tenths of the Law.

Overall, The Getaway God had some true Sandman Slim elements and concluded to a degree Stark’s Sandman journey, but ultimately it didn’t feel like a cohesive and rounded novel.
Rating: 6/10

Severed Souls by Terry Goodkind

It may be best to just read my review. I also read The Third Kingdom in 2014 but it falls into the same basket as Severed Souls.
Rating 2/10


My still to read and review list from 2014 (have heard nothing but good things). So many books not enough time.

  • Age of Iron by Angus Watson
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
  • The Binding Knife by Brent Weeks

2015 is starting to look pretty good, so mark your calendars but I don’t think I have enough time to read them all. That’s it – I’m quitting work to read full time…

  • Firefight (Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson
    Just Released!
  • Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
    Release date, 3 February
  • The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3) by Brian McClellan
    Release date, 10 February
  • A Blink of the Screen by Terry Pratchett
    Release date, 17 March
  • The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle, #4) by Peter V. Brett
    Release date, 24 March
  • The Vagrant by Peter Newman
    Release date, 23 April
  • King of Ashes (War of Five Crowns) by Raymond E. Feist
    Release date, April
    Blood of the Cosmos (Saga of Shadows #2) by Kevin J. Anderson
    Release date, 2 June
  • Stileto (sequel to The Rook) by Daniel O’Malley
    Release date, 30 June
  • Killing Pretty (Sandman Slim, # 7) by Richard Kadrey
    Release date, 28 July
  • The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1) by Jim Butcher
    Release, Mid 2015 (sometime before Peace Talks)
  • Peace Talks (The Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher
    Release date, September
  • Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by Brandon Sanderson
    Release date, October

Maybe (most likely not, but so want them to be) late late 2015 releases.

  • Doors of Stone (Kingkiller Chronicles #3) by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Skybreaker (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson
  • Staked (The Iron Druid Chronicles #8) by Kevin Hearne

My most anticipated novel of 2015

I’ve been asked to select my most anticipated novel of 2015, to be included in a special feature on the tombola Times, The Top Ten Book Releases of 2015. I thought this might be difficult, very difficult. It wasn’t, it was incredibly easy and took less than ten seconds. The novel that I am most eager to read this year is Fool’s Quest, the second instalment in Robin Hobb’s Fitz and the Fool series.

Fool's Quest cover image

Often, when you look forward to the second book in a trilogy/series it is because you have enjoyed the previous instalment so much. But that doesn’t tell the full story here; it goes much deeper than that. You see, Robin Hobb has been writing wonderful novels set within the Realm of the Elderlings for twenty years now. I have, like Fitz, grown from a child, to a teenager, and now an adult with children of my own. The novels have been a constant and enjoyable part of my life and I’m hoping that the journey will continue for some time yet, particularly if the books remain as good as Fool’s Assassin, the predecessor to Fool’s Quest.

So why are they so good? Well, characterisation and story/plot stand out for me. As an author Robin Hobb takers her time, to me she doesn’t seem to feel the need to progress a story as much as en-richen it, adding layer upon layer of back-story and delicately placed details that build worlds and peoples both believable and vibrant. And these characters are just like us, they are flawed and they are very human. And in the previous book she literally took my breath away, causing me to re-read a certain page to make sure I had indeed read what I thought I had read. I can’t remember the last time that had happened.

I am confident that thousands of fantasy fans are similarly impatient for this novel’s release but if you are in the position of not having read any novels in the Elderlings series then I envy you – you have a glorious journey ahead of you and I would like to point you in the direction of Assassin’s Apprentice, the first novel in the Farseer Trilogy. And from there the directions would include the Liveship Traders, Tawny Man and Rainwild Chronicles.

Roll on August 2015 and may the journey never end.

Celebrating #libraryshelfie day

January 28 was #libraryshelfie day. A day to celebrate books, reading and your own precious bookshelves. Here at Fantasy Book Review a bunch of us reviewers got out our camera phones and snapped our pride and joy, the number one bookcase, containing all those books we have read and loved over the years.

The celebration was carried out on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ but it was so much fun, and the images so memorable, that we have brought everything together in this post.

As the day began we found ourselves in Australia with three long-time reviewers, Josh, Ryan and Fergus (who is a Northern Irishman living abroad).

As you can see, Josh loves his books and he is deservedly proud of them!

Impressed by the organisation, UK reviewer Michelle tweeted her own three mighty bookshelves.

Staying in Australia but moving into black-and-white photography Fergus shows his incredibly neat, tidy (and if rumour is true, alphabetised) bookshelves.

And Ryan shows his horizontal approach to book stacking. I will quiz him about this next time we speak – there will be reasoning  behind his actions.

Next we visited travelswithadiplomat in Thailand, and the crate full of classics he takes everywhere with him.

At this time a great photo came in from @jankensan on Twitter, who is studying abroad in Japan.

Back in a chilly, snow crusted UK we were treated to Cat’s fantasy books within a lovely old bookcase.

And I got to show off my favourite book shelf, guarded by the terrifying Bagpuss.

And then @DanMoran89 won the not-so-tidy bookshelf award.

Jo unveiled her Terry Pratchett shrine.

Before her Zen Pencils framed art proved to be the most popular tweet of the day.

And then, as dusk began to fall, we welcomed our latest reviewer Sam Wood and her extremely heavy looking bookcases.

And @RRakato42 posted us this lovely #libraryshelfie to bring the day to a perfect end.

I would just like to thank all who took part in our #libraryshelfie celebration. It’s good to love books.

Spotlight: CrossOver by Paul Proffet

“A promising, deeply satisfying debut full of action, wit and heart.” Kirkus Reviews

When a mystical warning from a vulnerable girl helps Len Doyle avoid a bloodbath, he wants answers.

If there’s one thing a professional killer doesn’t like, its loose ends.

In return for her secrets, the young girl wants shelter and protection.

But in hindsight, perhaps Doyle should have found out what she needed protecting from…

Drawn in equal parts from David Gemmell and Quentin Tarantino, CrossOver is a fresh and edgy take on epic/dark fantasy.

Set both in modern times and alternate realities, the main characters do battle with Underworld Killers and High Daemons, but through it all is a sense of humour as dark as it gets.

After a journey at break-neck speed our group arrive at a tense showdown, but before the smoke clears, several kettles will have died. buy button buy button

CrossOver by Paul Proffet book cover


Paul Proffet lives in Cheltenham with his wonderful partner Tanya and a seemingly constant scuffle with indigestion. He works full-time in the private security industry and writes whenever he can. CrossOver is his debut novel and he has recently picked a fight with the sequel.

Buying options

CrossOver is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle edition.

Arrow Season One Review

vamersarrowposter1With the impending release of the second season of ‘Arrow’ on DVD and BluRay here in Australia, I thought it about time I share my thoughts on the first season of one of the best non-cable channel shows of the last decade.

I have been a big Green Arrow fan for years now, so when I heard that the vigilante of Star City was coming to TV, I was stoked. I didn’t know anything about the actors, but having missed a lot of the CW-style TV shows over the preceding few years, that wasn’t much of a surprise. Mamma Queen and Pappa Lance were known to me, and Thea Queen was a memory from my ‘The O.C.’ days, but everyone else was a beautiful mystery (because, yes, everyone on this show is ridiculously beautiful).


Reviewing an entire season of TV is tricky at the best of times — worse when it’s as good as Arrow season one was. Many TV shows struggle through their first season — ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ anyone? (Or pretty much every Star Trek TV series ever.) However, from the very first episode, I was hooked on the stories of these re-envisioned characters.

One of the most impressive accomplishments of the show, however, was the wonderful use of flashbacks. Many shows use flashbacks as an ad-hoc info-dump, and irregularly, making them seem more like a failing in storytelling and writing rather than an interesting plot device. In Arrow, however, the flashbacks are absolutely integral to the overall story, and a number of the individual episode-length stories.


The season-length story-arc was everything I have ever desired from my TV shows. Ever since the I fell in love with the overarching story lines from ‘Star Trek: Deep Space 9’ I’ve wanted continuing stories in everything I watch — a TV show which is nothing more than ‘monster of the week’ stories bores me in a few weeks. And while Arrow incorporates its fair share of monsters each week, the real story is what happens around that. From the growth of Diggle as a character, and his relationship with Oliver; the almost pathological inability Oliver and Laurel have to make things work; to how Tommy became one of the most impressively written and acted characters on TV, thanks in large part to actor Colin Donnell: Almost every aspect of Arrow has depth and three-dimensionality to it that helps make this show one of the most watchable and entertaining shows ever.

The last few episodes of season one really ramp up the storytelling and match it strength for strength with intense drama and action. By the time the last episode rolls credits, you’re left feeling emotionally devastated — and desperately wanting more.

There’s little more that can be said, other than to implore any fan of good TV and storytelling, DC’s Green Arrow, and very beautiful actors (I think I can understand Felicity’s issue whenever Oliver works out on the salmon ladder) to go out immediately and buy season one of Arrow.

Children’s Laureate out to find UK’s best young writers

This week saw the launch of Project Remix – current Waterstones Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman’s nationwide competition to find the UK’s best young writers and creatives. Blackman’s second, and final, major Children’s Laureate project celebrates the art of storytelling, in all its forms, and is being hosted on the teenage story-sharing community The competition, open to UK residents aged 13-19 years, will be judged by Blackman, with entries published on the website and the winners announced at an exclusive event in April 2015.

Project Remix banner

To enter, teenagers are asked to make their own creative work in response to a selection of acclaimed literature – featuring fiction, poetry, graphic novels and short stories from some of the bestselling contemporary and classic authors, including: John Green, Suzanne Collins, Philip Pullman, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jane Austen, Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker. Entries can be submitted into five categories: Music, Book Cover Design, Book Trailer, Creative Writing, and Comic Strip.

The aim of the competition is to engage young people with literature, using it as a creative springboard into other storytelling mediums, and to open doors to the arts and the creative industries. It was inspired by the growth of online fandom, including fan fiction and fan art and the surge in related digital communities.

“Teenagers are some of the most passionate, dynamic and creative people I know. Yet too often this creative spark is left to flicker precariously and sometimes fade entirely.  Project Remix is all about fuelling that inventive spark, encouraging young people to view literature in fresh and exciting ways, putting creative control directly back into their hands.  Imagine Austen’s Pride and Prejudice remixed into a drum and bass anthem or saxophone solo, Collins’ The Hunger Games reimagined as a vibrant comic strip, and Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go brought to life as a suspenseful book trailer,” commented Blackman.

”As well as celebrating story in all its forms, I hope Remix will shine a light on the vast range of opportunities that there are in the creative industries for our young people – so often overlooked within traditional careers guidance.”

Project Remix will go live on the Movellas website at, with further information about the competition, plus resources to help young people create their entries, including guidance and insider tips from top industry experts from each category.

The full list of Project Remix selected works of literature:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Vintage Classics)
  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (Random House Children’s Books)
  • Tamsin and the Deep comic strip by Neill Cameron and Kate Brown (The Phoenix Comic)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
  • ‘Hear and Now’ poem by Laura Dockrill (unpublished)
  • Say Her Name by James Dawson (Hot Key Books)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (Vintage Classics)
  • Heroic by Phil Earle (Penguin Children’s Books)
  • If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (Random House Children’s Books)
  • Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin (Egmont)
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Penguin Children’s Books)
  • ‘Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come To You My Lad’ short story by M. R. James (Vintage Classics)
  • ‘The Alumni Interview’ (short story from How they Met) by David Levithan (Egmont)
  • Split Second by Sophie McKenzie (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
  • Wonder by R J Palacio (Random House Children’s Books)
  • Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (Scholastic)
  • (Un)arranged Marriage by Bali Rai (Random House Children’s Books)
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion Children’s Books)
  • ‘Ozymandias’ poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley (Vintage Classics)
  • Geek Girl by Holly Smale (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (Vintage Classics)
  • ’We Refugees’ (poem from Wicked World) by Benjamin Zephaniah (Penguin Children’s Books)

Competition category requirements:

  • Creative writing: write your own piece of fiction inspired by your chosen book, story or poem. Word limit: up to 2,000 words
  • Comic strip: create your own comic strip inspired by your chosen book, story or poem. Limit: up to three A4 pages
  • Cover design: design or illustrate your own alternative cover for your chosen book
  • Book trailer: produce a book trailer – a short piece of film, like a film trailer – for your chosen book, story or poem. Limit: up to 2 minutes
  • Music: write and perform a song or a piece of original music inspired by your chosen book, story or poem. Limit: up to 3 minutes

‘The World of Ice and Fire’ is Everything You Wanted!

When George R. R. Martin announced that he would be penning a “The World of Ice and Fire” book, fans around the world rejoiced. New information, new history, and maybe some spoilers — what could be better?

I’ll tell you what could be better — the actual product in your hand.

‘The World of Ice and Fire’ is everything fans of the series — both book and TV — could have asked for.

World of Ice and Fire 1

The book is big and heavy, just as it should be, and pretty much every page is highlighted with artwork, with the book boasting “more than 170 original pieces”. Each page is really quite stunning to just look at, never mind the fact that Martin has written a heap of new material for this book.

The book starts out looking at the ancient history of Westeros — the Dawn Age, the building of the wall, and any number of stories and characters vaguely referenced in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ books.

World of Ice and Fire 2

We get individual bios the Targaryen Kings, and a massive history of the Seven Kingdoms.

All in all, this book deserves a lot more said about it, but with no real story to underpin it, the best I can do is highlight some of my favourite parts of this monstrous history of one of the best series of books around.

If you ever wanted to know about what came before ‘A Game of Thrones’ and what made the Targaryens so … eccentric, then here’s your chance!

Virtual Science Fiction Festival–Nov 15 and 16 2014

A free Virtual Science Fiction Festival called #BFIVoyager will be taking place on the 15th and 16th November. A collaboration between HarperCollins and the BFI, the festival takes place as part of the BFI’s major three month celebration of Science Fiction, Days of Fear and Wonder. The festival takes place at BFI Southbank and venues across the UK until December, full of science fiction films and television, including Brazil, A Clockwork Orange, Barbarella, the cinema rerelease of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and a programme of talks, lectures and discussion with film and TV directors, actors and screenwriters.

Virtual Sci-Fi Festival logo

The aim of the BFIVoyager Science Fiction festival is to explore the link between Science Fiction literature and film and the program will reflect the 3 main themes of the BFI’s film season:

  • Tomorrow’s World – from post-apocalyptic wastelands to megacities to far-flung dystopia
  • Altered States – the science fiction of ‘inner space’ mad scientists, mutants, man-machines and mind-bending trips
  • Contact! – time to explore life from all corners of the universe and across multiple dimensions

The festival will be free to ‘attend’. Register now to be sent the full programme closer to the time and receive 2 free science fiction ebooks.