Orion announce full programme activities for 2014 Gollancz Festival

Gollanz Festival 2014 PosterGollancz, the science-fiction and fantasy imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, have announced the full programme of author events at Waterstones Piccadilly for The Gollancz Festival 2014 – the publisher’s first interactive multi-media celebration of genre fiction – on the 13th August 2014.

New additions to the line–ups of both rooms at Waterstones Piccadilly include Joe Hill and Connie Willis. For updates on digital events register your interest at www.gollancz.co.uk/gollanczfestival2014 and follow @gollancz #gollanczfest.

Room 1 at Waterstones Piccadilly will have a reading from Patrick Rothfuss followed by a series of panel events with award-winning authors covering the sense of wonderment in SF, the elements of SFF that make it impossible to cross genre boundaries, and whether fantasy, by definition, is consolatory.

In Room 2, Gollancz’s 2014 debut novelists will talk about their novels and experience of publishing, and three bestselling authors will give solo talks, readings and interviews:  Joanne M. Harris will discuss the use of different narratives as a means of exploring stories; Joe Hill might share an insight into having your work become a Hollywood film; and Patrick Rothfuss will give a solo talk and audience Q&A.

Gollancz have also confirmed that the Gollancz Festival Goodie Bags, available to every ticket-holder, will include two Gollancz novels, and an exclusive Pat Rothfuss The Slow Regard of Silent Things book plate.

For full details of the Waterstones evening event, to purchase tickets or to pre-order a signed book visit www.waterstones.com/events or call 020 7851 2400.

Authors participating in the festival will include:

  • Ben Aaronovitch
  • Joe Abercrombie
  • Mark Alder
  • James Barclay
  • Leigh Bardugo
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Greg Bear
  • Holly Black
  • Mitch Benn
  • Kit Berry
  • Miles Cameron
  • Pat Cadigan
  • Anna Caltabiano
  • AJ Dalton
  • Elspeth Cooper
  • Edward Cox
  • Janie Fenn
  • Joanne Harris
  • Peter Higgins
  • Joe Hill
  • Stephen Hunt
  • Simon Ings
  • John Hornor Jacobs
  • Tom Lloyd
  • Scott Lynch
  • Paul McAuley
  • Elizabeth May
  • Suzanne McLeod
  • David Moody
  • Richard Morgan
  • Den Patrick
  • Sarah Pinborough
  • Hannu Rajaniemi
  • Adam Roberts
  • Alastair Reynolds
  • Robert VS Redick
  • Justina Robson
  • Patrick Rothfuss
  • Brandon Sanderson
  • Nalini Singh
  • Gavin Smith
  • Jon Wallace
  • Connie Willis
  • Chris Wooding

George RR Martin and Robin Hobb to make London appearance in August

HarperVoyager will host an event with George RR Martin and Robin Hobb in a central London venue on 19th August 2014. Tickets will go on sale later this week, will be £45 each and will include a hardback copy of Hobb’s latest novel Fool’s Assassin.

George RR Martin.Robin HobbThis unique event offers readers the perfect opportunity to spend an evening listening to two of the world’s greatest storytellers, discussing how they build their fictional universes, create their characters and balance fantasy and reality; about their influences and inspirations, their struggles and successes.

“This is a uniquely exciting event, bringing together two of the greatest storytellers in modern fiction talking candidly about their writing lives. I have worked with them both for years, but in all that time I’ve never had the chance to eavesdrop on them in conversation: I can’t wait,” commented Jane Johnson, HarperVoyager’s Publishing Director.

The event is sponsored by ebook retailer blinkbox Books and in support of their pledge to bring readers closer to authors, they will be streaming the full event  for free – live and exclusively – on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/blinkboxbooks.

HarperVoyager and blinkbox Books newsletter subscribers will be first to hear about tickets: http://harpervoyagerbooks.co.uk/subscribe/

The event will have the #GeorgeAndRobin hashtag.

Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes read by Will Patton

Mr Mercedes audio-book cover imageThe following is a review of the audio-book edition of Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes, a cat and mouse thriller narrated by Will Patton and first released in June 2014.

Author King and narrator Patton recently joined forces for Dr Sleep, the author’s last publication (that review can be found here), and a sequel to his classic The Shining. So I felt in safe hands as I began the latest offering from an author whose output remains as varied and engaging as ever.

Stephen King opens books well. I guess you could say that he is an expert in manipulating the ‘hook’, that magical something that draws the reader in within the first chapter and holds their interest for the remainder of the book. And Mr Mercedes utilises this ‘hook’ as well as any King novel. Picture this – it is very early morning, mist reduces vision to only a few feet and outside a job fair (this novel is set during the recent recession) job-seekers have queued to be first in line when the doors open, seeking to secure one of the few hundred jobs on offer. And from out of this mist suddenly emerges a powerful Mercedes motor car, clown-masked driver behind the wheel, which ploughs indiscriminately into those crowded close together at the front of the line, killing eight and injuring and maiming many others. This masked perpetrator was never caught.

I don’t know about you, but this opening caught me hook, line and sinker.

Moving on from this stellar opening the story jumps ahead a few years and the detective who led the hunt for the Mercedes killer, one Hodges DET RET, is now retired, overweight and contemplating suicide. But a taunting letter from Mr Mercedes arrives through his letterbox and any thoughts of suicide are banished as the retired detective finds himself reinvigorated and determined to catch the maniac who had eluded him while active. And so begins a game of cat and mouse as Hodges and Mr Mercedes mess with each others minds and lives.

The first half of Mr Mercedes is excellent, just as good as all of King’s recent books, by which I refer to 11.22.63, The Wind Through The Keyhole, Joyland and Dr Sleep. And as I’ve mentioned is all my recent King reviews – he is writing as well as he ever has. But then things, in my opinion, begin to take a bit of a turn for the worse and a rather lame, but fortunately brief, romantic interlude is followed by rather weak secondary characters, which I can only call caricatures, being elevated to leading roles in a manner that seemed scarcely believable. This made the second half of the book a let down. And I think many other King fans might agree that the book loses its way after the midway mark, it just wasn’t up to his usual high standard.

But it would be unfair to concentrate on the negatives as there is much within that is classic King, the product of a craft mastered over decades. And Hodges is not an alcoholic which was refreshing. There is as ever a strong focus on characterisation and back-story development (initially) which allows for a strong emotional attachment between the reader and characters written on the page. King also has a gift for building tension with his narrative.

Will Patton’s narration was once again very good, doing full justice to the leads of Hodges and the Mercedes Killer. He is a first rate narrator.

So my summary would be that a cracking first half is followed by a weak second. But every review is subjective and others may experience the book differently.

Recommended, but with caveats.

7.5/10

Mr Mercedes (unabridged) by Stephen King
Narrated by Will Patton
Length: 14 hours, 21 minutes
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Mr Mercedes is available only from Audible.co.uk

Best selling fantasy audiobooks, June 2014

George R. R. Martin’s stranglehold on the fantasy audiobook top ten downloads is showing signs of lessening with Michael J. Sullivan challenging on two fronts. It’s good to see Jim Butcher and Jasper Fforde making an appearance.

Below are the 10 most downloaded titles from Audible.co.uk during the month of June 2014.

    1. A Game of Thrones (Part One): Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
      A Game of Thrones audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
      Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men… all will play the Game of Thrones. Winter is coming…
    2. Hollow World
      Hollow World audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By Michael J. Sullivan, narrated by Jonathan Davis
      Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man, about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe, but faced with a terminal illness he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage. If it works, he could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…
    3. Steel World: Undying Mercenaries, Book 1
      Steel World audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By B. V. Larson, narrated by Mark Boyett
      In the twentieth century Earth sent probes, transmissions and welcoming messages to the stars. Unfortunately, someone noticed. The Galactics arrived with their battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell-burners, Earth joined their vast Empire. Swearing allegiance to our distant alien overlords wasn’t the only requirement for survival. We also had to have something of value to trade, something that neighbouring planets would pay their hard-earned credits to buy.
    4. Game of Thrones (Part One): Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
      UNABRIDGED
      By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
    5. Lost in a Good Book
      Lost in a Good Book audiobook coverUNABRIDGED
      By Jasper Fforde, narrated by Gabrielle Kruger
      Thursday Next, literary detective and newlywed, is back to embark on an adventure that begins, quite literally on her own doorstep. It seems that Landen, her husband of four weeks, actually drowned in an accident when he was two years old. Someone, somewhere, sometime, is responsible. The sinister Goliath Corporation wants its operative Jack Schitt out of the poem in which Thursday trapped him, and it will do almost anything to achieve this – but bribing the ChronoGuard? Is that possible?
    6. The Hospital: The First Mountain Man story
      The Hospital audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By Keith C. Blackmore, narrated by R. C. Bray
      "Mountain Man" Augustus Berry is a survivor in undead suburbia. He scavenges what he can from what’s left over. He is very careful in what he does and where he goes, taking no chances, no unnecessary risks, and weighing every choice… until he decides to visit the hospital at the edge of town, and experiences terror the likes he’s never encountered before.
    7. The Martian
      The Martian audiobook coverUNABRIDGED
      By Andy Weir, narrated by R. C. Bray
      Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive-and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old ""human error"" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills-and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit-he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
    8. Skin Game: The Dresden Files
      Skin Game audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By Jim Butcher, narrated by James Marsters
      Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day. As Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. This time, it’s worse than that. Mab’s involved Harry in a smash-and-grab heist run by one of his most despised enemies, to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure horde in the world – which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the Underworld.
    9. The Jester
      The Jester audiobook cover imageUNABRIDGED
      By Michael J. Sullivan, narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
      Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap… and what happens to them is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.
    10. A Clash of Kings (Part One): Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire
      A Clash of Kings audiobook coverUNABRIDGED
      By George R. R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice
      The Iron Throne once united the Sunset Lands, but King Robert is dead, his widow is a traitor to his memory, and his surviving brothers are set on a path of war amongst themselves. At King’s Landing, the head of Lord Eddard Stark rots on a spike for all to see. His daughter Sansa is betrothed still to his killer’s son Joffrey – Queen Cersei’s son, though not the son of her late husband Robert. Even so, Joffrey is now a boy-king, Cersei is his regent, and war is inevitable. In Dragonstone, Robert’s brother Stannis has declared himself king, while his other brother Renly proclaims himself king at Storm’s End – and Eddard Stark’s fifteen year old son Robb wears the crown of the north at Winterfell. A comet in the night sky, red and malevolent, the colour of blood and flame, can only be an omen of murder and war. Stannis’s child Princess Shireen dreams of dragons waking from stone. And a white raven has brought word from the Citadel itself, foretelling summer’s end. It has been the longest summer in living memory, lasting ten years, and the small folk say it means an even longer winter to come… The first rule of war is never give the enemy his wish. But winter will be the biggest enemy. From beyond the Wall the undead and Others clamour for freedom, and from beyond the sea the long-dead Dragon King’s daughter hatches her revenge. Robb Stark will be exceedingly lucky to reach adulthood.

Audible offering free audiobooks to those taking part in #run2workday

run2work logoAudible.co.uk will be offering a free audiobook download to all those taking part in the #run2workday scheme, launched in partnership with the Evening Standard.

#run2workday is a brand new nationwide initiative, designed to encourage people to don their trainers, avoid the perils of public transport, save money and get fit. Audiobooks and running really are a match made in heaven, and have been proven to help with motivation whilst running. #run2workday kicks off with a London launch on 5th June – for more information, please visit: www.run2work.com/run2work-day.

Here are the top 5 recommended books to run to:

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

The first book of the highly acclaimed epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, where summers span decades and winter can last a lifetime.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A life-changing tale of nine-year old Liesel, separated from her family during WWII in Germany, who starts stealing books from under the noses of the Nazis.

The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry

This dazzling memoir promises to be courageously frank and honest. Let it excite you, make you laugh uproariously, and above all, surprise you.

The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters

A compelling examination of the mind management programme that helps listeners to operate with greater focus and conquer their fears.

Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

Very funny, very honest and very emotional, whether you’re in serious training or thinking about running for the bus, this is a book for anyone who after wine and crisps for supper a few too many times thinks they might like to run like a girl.

Gollancz acquire world rights to Robot Overlords novelisation

Gollancz has announced the acquisition of World Rights to publish ROBOT OVERLORDS, the fully authorised tie-in novel which will be written by the scriptwriter and co-creator of the science-fiction movie, Mark Stay.

Robot Overlords stars Gillian Anderson, Ben Kingsley and Callan McAuliffe. The film is co-written by British script-writers Mark Stay and Jon Wright, and produced by Piers Tempest. The film follows a group of teenagers in the wake of Earth’s invasion by Robots, and their regime which confined the human survivors to their homes. No one knows why – or what they want. There is only one clear message: Robots never lie. Nor do they show mercy…

The novel targets a cross-over readership, particularly readers aged 9-14. Like the film, there will be edge-of-your-seat action from the very beginning, but the novelisation also includes extra scenes, bonus material for attentive readers and fans of the film, and illustrations.

Mark Stay, screenplay co-writer and author of the novelisation, said: ‘Piers, Jon and I talked about a book from the very beginning, and we’re huge fans of those classic 80’s movie tie-in novels. I couldn’t be more excited that Gollancz are the publishers. If you want the world to share in your fun, action and robot carnage, you go to the best SF publisher in the business.’

Robot Overlords poster

The novel will be published as a B-format paperback with a movie tie-in cover to mark the film’s release.

Gollancz Publishing Director, Gillian Redfearn said: ‘I’m so delighted to work with Mark Stay as a novelist, on a project that we’ve had the fortune to watch develop from a glimmer in his eye to an incredible British film production. It’s genuinely exciting to work with such a great UK team, and to be publishing such a cracking story – one which might literally blow your socks off.’

Robot Overlords, Mark Stay, Early 2015, Gollancz, MMP £7.99 / eBook £4.99

Best selling fantasy books, May 2014

A look at the 20 most popular fantasy books this month, based on Amazon UK sales figures.

At a glance:

  • 16/20 of the books listed are Kindle Editions
  • 10/20 are from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series
  • 01/20 is an Audio Edition
  1. Dawn of Swords by David Dalglish
    Dawn of Swords by David Daglish book cover imageOn the young world of Dezrel, brother gods Karak and Ashhur, fleeing their own failed world, recreate mankind in an attempt to make amends. The fledgling race of humanity is guided by the First Families, men and women who will not age so long as their hearts remain devoted to their deities. But quickly the realms are thrown into chaos by the construction of the Temple of the Flesh, built by exiled children of Karak in the unclaimed land of Haven that lies between the two kingdoms. Those of the Temple refuse to bend knee to either god, no matter the risk. Thus comes Karak’s ultimatum to the people of Haven: destroy the Temple, or he will destroy it himself. But his fellow brother god, Ashhur, will not sit idly by while thousands of innocents die… Can Jacob Eveningstar, the First Man to be given life and Ashhur’s most trusted servant, prevent the coming bloodshed which threatens the survival of the fledgling human race?
    Kindle Edition
  2. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
    Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.
    Kindle Edition
  3. King’s by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
    “I am the man who can find anything or anyone. For a price. And my price is you.” When Mia Turner’s brother goes missing in Mexico, while on an archaeological dig, she believes that life couldn’t get much worse. But when she’s blocked at every turn from finding answers, by both local and U.S. authorities, she must turn to a man she swears is the devil. Others might be fooled by his private jet, fine tailored suits, and disarming smile, but Mia knows something dark, sinister, and unnatural lurks behind those penetrating, pale-gray eyes. And the more she learns, the more she realizes she may never be free again.
    Kindle Edition
  4. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
    Throughout Westeros, the cold winds are rising. From the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding lands of Winterfell, chaos reigns as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms stake their claims through tempest, turmoil and war. As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky – a comet the colour of blood and flame – five factions struggle for control of a divided land. Brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Against a backdrop of incest, fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory is measured in blood.
    Kindle Edition
  5. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
    Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian – but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance… Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change.
    Kindle Edition
  6. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
    Paperback
  7. King for a Day by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
    King isn’t who she thought. She wasn’t even close… When Mia Turner’s life becomes tethered to a mysterious billionaire, who she swears is the devil himself, she knows she must break free. It doesn’t matter if everything about him—those sinful lips, those pale gray eyes, that perfect male body—keeps her awake at night. He’s evil. She has to get away. But when this man, known simply as King, suddenly disappears, Mia will discover she’s not home free. Because without King, she’s no longer safe from his ruthless, depraved, power-hungry social circle. To survive, Mia will have to conceal King’s absence and walk a mile in the evil man’s twisted, cruel shoes. What she discovers will leave her more terrified and her heart more conflicted than she ever imagined. King is not who she thought. She wasn’t even close.
    Kindle Edition
  8. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
    The Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life. The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel. As plots, intrigue and battle threaten to engulf Westeros, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.
    Kindle Edition
  9. Family by Robert J. Crane
    Just hours after finding Andromeda and crossing paths with her mother, Sienna Nealon finds herself up against a bigger threat than ever before. Omega, the organization that unleashed Wolfe and others upon her, has declared war on the Directorate and the first strikes have already landed. Facing the seemingly unstoppable forces of Omega and Sienna’s own mother, the Directorate seems poised for defeat when a new threat rears its ugly head – a traitor in their midst, one that may mean the destruction of everything Sienna has come to care about.
    Kindle Edition
  10. A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust by George R. R. Martin
    In the aftermath of a colossal battle, new threats are emerging from every direction. Tyrion Lannister, having killed his father, and wrongfully accused of killing his nephew, King Joffrey, has escaped from King’s Landing with a price on his head. To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone – a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark’s bastard son Jon Snow has been elected 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. But Jon has enemies both inside and beyond the Wall. And in the east Daenerys Targaryen struggles to hold a city built on dreams and dust.
    Kindle Edition
  11. A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin
    Winter approaches Westeros like an angry beast. The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud. In the northern wastes, a horde of hungry, savage people steeped in the dark magic of the wilderness is poised to invade the Kingdom of the North where Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown. And Robb’s defences are ranged against the South, the land of the cunning and cruel Lannisters, who have his younger sisters in their power. Throughout Westeros, the war for the Iron Throne rages more fiercely than ever, but if the Wall is breached, no king will live to claim it.
    Kindle Edition
  12. Beowulf by J. R. R. Tolkien
    The translation of Beowulf by J.R.R. Tolkien was an early work, very distinctive in its mode, completed in 1926: he returned to it later to make hasty corrections, but seems never to have considered its publication. This edition is twofold, for there exists an illuminating commentary on the text of the poem by the translator himself, in the written form of a series of lectures given at Oxford in the 1930s; and from these lectures a substantial selection has been made, to form also a commentary on the translation in this book. From his creative attention to detail in these lectures there arises a sense of the immediacy and clarity of his vision. It is as if he entered into the imagined past: standing beside Beowulf and his men shaking out their mail-shirts as they beached their ship on the coast of Denmark, listening to the rising anger of Beowulf at the taunting of Unferth, or looking up in amazement at Grendel’s terrible hand set under the roof of Heorot.
    Hardcover
  13. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
    Audio Download
  14. Omega by Robert J. Crane
    Omega – a shadowy organization that is synonymous with power in the metahuman world. They have hunted Sienna Nealon since the day she first left her house, have killed countless Directorate agents and operatives, and now they unveil their greatest plot – Operation Stanchion, a mysterious phrase let slip by an Omega operative in the midst of a battle. Now Sienna must track the pieces Omega has in motion to confront her enemy before they can land their final stroke – and bring an end to the Directorate forever.
    Kindle Edition
  15. A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast by George R. R. Martin
    The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance. In King’s Landing the Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister, awaits trial, abandoned by all those she trusted; while in the eastern city of Yunkai her brother Tyrion has been sold as a slave. From the Wall, having left his wife and the Red Priestess Melisandre under the protection of Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon marches south to confront the Boltons at Winterfell. But beyond the Wall the wildling armies are massing for an assault… On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all.
    Kindle Edition
  16. Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan
    In 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. Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it – should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath. But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands. Not even the people they trust.
    Kindle Edition
  17. A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust by George R. R. Martin
    Paperback
  18. A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold by George R. R. Martin
    The Starks are scattered. Robb Stark may be King in the North, but he must bend to the will of the old tyrant Walder Frey if he is to hold his crown. And while his youngest sister, Arya, has escaped the clutches of the depraved Cersei Lannister and her son, the capricious boy-king Joffrey, Sansa Stark remains their captive. Meanwhile, across the ocean, Daenerys Stormborn, the last heir of the Dragon King, delivers death to the slave-trading cities of Astapor and Yunkai as she approaches Westeros with vengeance in her heart.
    Kindle Edition
  19. The Legend of Ellie Quinn by Alex Scarrow
    Ellie Quin’s just a normal young woman. Bored with her life on a remote farm, staring up at the stars at night and wishing she was far away on another more exciting world. She thought she was normal. Turns out she was wrong. It turns out she’s the most valuable, the most dangerous, the most hunted-for human in the universe… and there are people already closing in on her.
    Kindle Edition
  20. Destiny by Robert J. Crane
    In the aftermath of her confrontation with Sovereign, Sienna Nealon finds herself low on allies. The organization Century continues their genocide of the entire race of metahumans unchecked, working toward an ultimate goal that they have yet to reveal. Sienna must race to find the answers before it’s too late, because Century’s final attacks are beginning…and if Sienna and her allies fall, there will be no one left to stop them.
    Kindle Edition

The Charlaine Harris Blog Tour: A quick Q&A

MidnightCrossroad_BlogTour_animation[3] We are, here at Fantasy Book Review, honoured to welcome award-winning author Charlaine Harris to our website during her whistle-stop blog tour promoting her brand new book, Midnight Crossroad (you can read our review here). The creator of the massively popular Sookie Stackhouse series kindly answered a few questions on Midnight, the setting for her new novel.

Where did the idea of Midnight, Texas come from? You mention it came gradually; did you always want it to be a small, desolate place?

Yes, I did. First I thought of the pawnshop, and then the crossroad; crossroads are traditionally mystical in several ways. Then I decided it had to be a more barren landscape, like west Texas, because that was just the way I saw it.

As you have mentioned previously, you have no plans to write another Harper Connelly novel but can we expect her to show up as a guest character in Midnight in a future novel? (This would go for any main character from one of your other series)

Harper may show up, but she’s such a strong character that I thought it better (after writing a scene for her) that she not appear in the first book. And so far, she isn’t in the second. I just don’t need her, yet. I don’t think any of the main characters will be included in the Midnight cast, but of course I may get a great idea!

What part of the creative process (when writing a novel or envisioning a series) do you enjoy the most?

The world-building is fun. It’s like playing with dolls and Legos, too, building imaginary houses and putting imaginary people in them. Interview by Michelle Herbert We would just like to wish Charlaine all the best with her new book. Why don’t you join her once again on her tour at the websites shown in the animated image above.

Andrew Solomon wins 2014 Wellcome Book Prize

Andrew Solomon has been announced as the winner of the Wellcome Book Prize 2014 for ‘Far from the Tree: a dozen kinds of love’.

The Wellcome Book Prize, worth £30,000, aims to recognise and celebrate the best new work of fiction or non-fiction released each year centred on medicine and health.

National Book Award winner Andrew Solomon is a writer and activist working on politics, culture and psychology. Selected from a six-strong shortlist, ‘Far from the Tree’ is a work, a decade in the writing, about family. It tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so.

Sir Andrew Motion, Chair of Judges, said: "Andrew Solomon’s ‘Far from the Tree’ was chosen unanimously as the winner by the judges of this year’s Wellcome Book Prize: we all felt it to be a truly outstanding book on a very strong shortlist. Solomon has already been widely praised for his depth of research, his writerly flair and his range of address – and all these things are indeed remarkable: the book took him ten years to write, and the benefits of his patience and thoughtfulness are evident everywhere. But its greatest strength, perhaps, is to combine proper scholarly objectivity with a sense of intimate connection – and to do so in ways that allow for the creation of distinct categories and clear conclusions, while at the same time admitting contradictions and exceptions. It is, in other words, a very well-organised book yet a very generous-minded one: a profound reflection on the family, and on the influence of medicine and science. And not only that. It’s also a book that is driven powerfully by an appeal to personal experience – by Solomon’s recollections of growing up as a gay man, and by his exploration of the difficulties and opportunities this created for him. Taken all together, these things make it an exceptionally distinguished winner: startlingly intelligent, generously compassionate, memorably insightful, and courageous."

Andrew Solomon said: "I am profoundly honoured to receive the Wellcome Book Prize and am very grateful to the judges for their generous reading of my work. There sometimes seems to be an opposition between the social progress that allows us to accept the range of human difference and the medical progress that allows us to cure and eliminate many such differences. My book is about the extraordinary stories of love and compassion that unfold around this duality. For such work to be recognised by a prize that is specifically focused on medicine and health indicates the increasing openness to the nuanced questions of what constitutes health, and what the appropriate parameters are for medicine. The Wellcome Book Prize is a tribute to the many families I interviewed while writing the book, who told me their stories with such bracing honesty and such unyielding passion. I accept this prize on their behalf, with admiration for the human spirit that allowed so many of them to end up grateful for lives they would once have done anything to avoid, that allowed them to love and fight for children whom so much of society might have dismissed. The backdrop to the book, woven through its chapters, is my own experience as a child who was miserable about being gay and as an adult who has found joy with my husband and our children. For this award to come so soon after the UK has passed gay marriage is especially cheering; my husband and I first celebrated our civil partnership in the UK in 2007, and we are overjoyed, as are so many other people enmeshed in love, to be able to assume that beautiful word for our relationship. That, like this prize, marks a more tolerant, kinder world. This is a rapturous day for me."

Andrew Solomon and his 20014 Wellcome Book Prize

‘Far from the Tree’ is a book on how parents relate to their children. Drawing on interviews with over 300 families, covering subjects including deafness, dwarfism, Down’s syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, prodigies, children born of rape, children convicted of crime and transgender people, Andrew Solomon documents ordinary people making courageous choices. Difference is potentially isolating, but ‘Far from the Tree’ celebrates repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us.

"This book starts out as a study of parents raising ‘difficult’ children, and ends up as an affirmation of what it is to be human." ‘Guardian’

"It’s a book everyone should read… there’s no one who wouldn’t be a more imaginative and understanding parent – or human being – for having done so… a wise and beautiful book." ‘New York Times’

New multimedia fairytale app looking for public support

Writer Alex Nicholson and musician Pam Shaffer know a thing or two about fairytale romances. They have been working for nearly a year on Metalalia, the new storytelling app that would bring them back together, from half a world away. Now, they have been reunited, and their Kickstarter has gone live.

“Metalalia was formed when Pam started writing accompaniments to my original fairytales,” says Alex, writer and co-manager of the project. “She lives in L.A. and I live in Staffordshire, so it was a way of feeling closer to each other while we were apart.”

“We were inspired by the lithographs of William Blake,” Pam says. “We wanted to update the format for modern technology, to present favourite myths and fairytales in a new way, and serve the needs of our 21st century society.”

Writer Alex Nicholson and musician Pam Shaffer

Now, together, they are creating stories that take traditional tales and give them a speculative twist, rebuilding them in new worlds, while also infusing them with Metalalia’s ideology of diversity and agency.

A screenshot from the Metalalia app

“Metalalia wants that feeling of confidence, of power, of ‘protagonism’, to be available to everyone,” says Alex. “Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker are all well and good, but there are other kinds of people in the world, and all deserve to have their stories told.”

You can visit the official Metalalia website here – http://www.metalalia.com