Review: Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan



Occupy Me

by Tricia Sullivan

Science Fiction | Fantasy | 266 Pages | Published by Gollancz in 2016


| Rating |


This book was received from Netgalley in return for an honest review

As soon as I finished Occupy Me, the latest novel from sci-fi author Tricia Sullivan, I knew that I would have a hard time writing a review for it. At its best, Occupy Me is a beautiful, twisted and chaotic novel which sings with wonderful prose and an obvious depth of skill and imagination. At its worse, however, it is confusing, utterly strange and left me at times thinking ‘what was the point?’

Written in a distinctive voice, with a healthy dose of imagination, Sullivan’s talents as a writer are undeniable. However, this is a book which I can only imagine will be loved or loathed in equal measure by those who embark on unravelling those mysteries which are held between its pages. I’m afraid that after a promising start, by it’s conclusion, my feelings fell more in line with the latter.

A woman with wings that exist in another dimension. A man trapped in his own body by a killer. A briefcase that is a door to hell. A conspiracy that reaches beyond our world. Breathtaking SF from a Clarke Award-winning author.

Tricia Sullivan has written an extraordinary, genre defining novel that begins with the mystery of a woman who barely knows herself and ends with a discovery that transcends space and time. On the way we follow our heroine as she attempts to track down a killer in the body of another man, and the man who has been taken over, his will trapped inside the mind of the being that has taken him over.

And at the centre of it all a briefcase that contains countless possible realities.

Tricia Sullivan returns to the genre with a book that will define the conversation within the genre and will show what it is capable of for years to come. This is the best book yet from a writer of exceedingly rare talent who is much loved in the genre world.

Sullivan paints a strange picture of a world where angels nudge humanity in a favourable direction and which is coloured by both the innocence and the disenchantment of the protagonists. These protagonists – one angel: Pearl; and one doctor: Kisi Sorle – spin the narrative into something akin to a chase across the globe, where aims are not always clear and the hunter and the hunted are often interchangeable. This is a novel where, should it be undertaken, the utmost attention should be paid to the very least of strings lest the reader get mired in the cacophony of madcap themes and schemes which undoubtedly unfold the moment one’s attention drops.

Occupy Me, however, benefits from an assortment of strange, repulsive and somewhat amusing characters who, whilst providing a diverse cast, failed to make me truly care for any by its conclusion. Unfortunately, with little connection to the majority of the cast, it became increasingly difficult to care about their place in the narrative even when I understood what was going on at all. But whilst these may not have been characters I ‘liked’, they were all rather interesting, if not entirely bizarre, and often became the driving force behind the plot, heaping moments of excitement and utter confusion on the reader in equal measure.

And not least Pearl. An angel whose memories of her past are lost and whose present and future are uncertain, Pearl is an oddity in this world and beyond. Her interactions are strange and amusing, her view of the world is both innocent and all too knowing, and her life is entwined with mystery and a sense of the unknown. Her attachment to ‘the briefcase’ and her failed attempts at its retrieval are, when not entirely confusing, some of the most nonsensical, absurd and enjoyable moments in the novel, and her almost alien composition keep the level of intrigue and mystery at a peak throughout.

Dr. Kisi Sorle on the other hand is a good man who, in a strange case of possession and an unusual attachment to a certain briefcase, finds himself complicit in murder, crime and other nefarious acts. In his – or rather the other his’ – attempt at causing instrumental global change, the world as we know it is broken apart in a torrent of chaos, flashes of bright light and the apparition of prehistoric monsters at inconvenient moments.  The strange which surrounds Dr. Sorle is entirely more my cup of tea and his chapters, whilst equal in absurdity, were entirely more comprehensible and provided welcome intervals throughout the novel.

However, it would be an unfair review to say there were no parts of this novel which I enjoyed from start to finish, including an interesting play in perspective writing which made for one of the highlights of the novel. These sections, written in second person perspective (an idea which would usually give me nightmares), were some of the most enjoyable chapters and their increase in frequency would have been of benefit throughout. Similarly, Sullivan’s prose is relatively distinctive and is one of the few novels I’ve felt compelled to read in an American voice. Her passages are often marked by interesting, amusing description and surprising observations, and Sullivan’s obvious love for the strange is something which I would be eager to read in her future work.

Despite these aspects of the narrative which I enjoyed all the way through, a lack of clarity and a firm sense of confusion seemed to grip me by its end. The strange questions raised throughout the novel failed to yield the answers I was so desperate to find out; the science came with little explanation and even less sense; and the characters shifted from being interesting if a little strange to being almost unbearably confusing. This novel, which began with an intriguing and incredibly readable opening chapter, started to weigh heavily over its course and became something of a chore to read by its conclusion. Occupy me is, altogether, a book which has left me in more than one state of confusion.

Whilst Occupy Me may not have been the read I had hoped it would be, and whilst it may not have been the best introduction to Tricia Sullivan,  there were still positives and enjoyable moments to pull from its pages. I may have felt a little too much relief as I drew to its conclusion but, you never know, it may just take you by surprise. Be open to the strange and the strange may just open up to you… just take care that the strange in question isn’t a briefcase.

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Book Haul: March 31




| Angel of Storms by Trudi Canavan |

Having not got around to reading Thief’s Magic, the first book in the Millennium’s Rule Trilogy, I still hadn’t picked up a copy of its sequel, Angel of Storms. Luckily for me I happened across this little gem in my local bookshop! With this beautiful signed edition added to my collection, this trilogy will be heading straight to the top of my reading pile… here’s hoping it’s as good as it looks!



| Synopsis |

Tyen trains students in the ways of magic, but his teaching may soon be outlawed. Rumour has it that the formidable ruler of all worlds, long believed to be dead, is back and is harshly enforcing his old laws – including the one forbidding schools of magic. As teachers and pupils flee, Tyen is left with no home and no purpose . . . except to fulfil the promise he made to Vella, the sorcerer imprisoned in a book. Tyen must decide what he is willing to do to free her.

Elsewhere, Rielle’s peaceful new life as a tapestry weaver has been shattered by a local war. As defeat looms, the powerful Angel of Storms appears and invites Rielle to join the artists of his heavenly realm. But what will he require in return for this extraordinary offer?

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|Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson |

And no sooner had I spotted a signed Trudi Canavan book to add to my collection than I caught sight of this pesky Sanderson mini-tome to add to the signed Sanderson shelf. Another book which is long overdue to be (both bought and) read!


Legion3


| Synopsis |

Stephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the new story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there’s a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous…

What follows is a visionary thriller about the potential uses of technology, the mysteries of the human personality, and the ancient human need to believe that death is not the end. Legion: Skin Deep is speculative fiction at it most highly developed. It reaffirms Sanderson’s place as one of contemporary fiction’s most intelligent—and unpredictable—voices.

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Review: Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


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Broken Banners

An Echo of the Ascended – Elinor Book Two

by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Fantasy | Novella | 70 Pages | Published by Gelineau and King in 2016


| Rating |


This book was received from Netgalley in return for an honest review

Mark Gelineau and Joe King continue on their quest to bring bitesize fantasy to the masses with the fifth novella in their Echoes of the Ascended series. Broken Banners, which continues the story of Elinor following the events in A Reaper of Stone, is an engaging and beautifully written fantasy epic which captures the spirit of its predecessor whilst introducing new characters and themes to this increasingly diverse series.

Gelineau and King have proven themselves to be masters of deception as the captivating world of Aedaron is once again brought to life in surprisingly short format. This is a world which becomes ever more substantial with each addition and which consistently leaves you hanging on for more. And with this latest novella, these authors look set to start a tradition of successful and thoroughly engaging successors to their varied sub-series of novellas.Slaughtered and left for crows, soldiers of the King’s Army lay dead in a field. A grim reminder: the king’s law ends at the gates of the capital.

Elinor fought for what she believed and now she is an outcast. No soldier will follow her. No officer will stand with her. Yet when she finds her brothers and sisters slaughtered, she cannot turn her back on them. 

Long ago, they swore an oath. Not to the king, but to each other.

And woe to those who break that bond.

Saved from prison by the machinations of powerful men, Lieutenant Aldis Janen, Reaper of the King and leader of the company of the Ninety-Fifth, must make his way to Cragswatch March on a mission of importance; a mission which could mean elevation in the ranks for Aldis and glory for the men and women of the Ninety-Fifth.

But when Elinor, Conbert, and their contingent of Engineers attempt to assist Aldis in the Reaping at Height’s Ward Keep, they soon realise all is not as it should be. Half the Ninety-Fifth lie dead, and the other half are missing – of Aldis no sign remains.

Finding themselves embroiled in a war of succession, Elinor and Con must fight their way to the usurper and his pack of turncoat Razors; but can they rescue Aldis and the remainder of the Ninety-Fifth before it’s too late? In this battle of wills and arms, a Reaper’s work is never simple.From the outset it is clear that this will be a story of both discovery and adventure, a story where Elinor and Aldis, past friends and compatriots, will be reacquainted as the battle lines are drawn. However, Con’s obvious dislike of the Lieutenant shows that his reputation as a rogue and troublemaker extend far beyond his current situation and into the mystery of their combined past – a mystery which runs a line of intrigue throughout the novella. Often finding himself in situations unbefitting of his station, and from which he often must beg, bribe or cheat his way out, Aldis Janen brings both drama and humorous relief to the narrative, giving this second Elinor novella a distinctive modern fantasy flavour.

Broken Banners continues in the same vein as A Reaper of Stone with Elinor’s passages marked by their beautiful and atmospheric descriptions, a quality that lends itself to the vivid depiction of a darkly alluring fantasy world which resonates with the tradition that so clearly marks this series. In addition to this, Broken Banners builds on the success of its predecessor by splitting its perspective between Elinor’s observations and Con’s practical realism, along with the introduction of Aldis’ roguish verve and humour; a tactic which adds a refreshing tone to an already impressive sub-series.

Janen is a reactionary character who inspires love, loathing and despair in equal measure to those who cross his path and who, despite good intentions, manages to break Elinor’s calm serenity on more than one occasion. Elinor, whilst accepting of Aldis, is able to show her strength of personality by insisting that he face the consequences of his actions with the firm resolve which she consistently displays throughout the narrative. An excellent addition to this small cast of characters, Aldis Janen gives Elinor’s Echoes a certain flair and sense of unpredictability which consistently builds tension and excitement and which looks set to continue in the Elinor novellas to come.

From an amusing introduction, to a dramatic core, Broken Banners is a thoroughly exciting novella from start to finish. The narrative and its alternating perspectives give a wide view of Aedaron from a varied, if small, cast of characters. With a touch of conspiracy and a good dose of humour, this second Elinor novella showcases the varied skillset of these talented authors and left me in no doubt of the quality of this beautiful, if dangerous, fantasy series.With delicious hints of strange powers, a narrative which is at all times beautiful and compelling, and fantastic battles which are more than worthy of a mention, Broken Banners is a wonderful addition to this addictive fantasy series. Fans of the Echoes of the Ascended will not be disappointed by this latest Elinor novella and, for those who have yet to discover the writing of Gelineau and King, surely you can spare an hour to become submerged in this dark, dangerous and beautifully imagined world.

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Teaser Tuesdays: March 29


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by Books and a Beat. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: March 29 |

Tomorrow the Killing

Low Town Book Two

by Daniel Polansky

Fantasy | 368 Pages | Published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2012


He had a walk that kept pace with the sprint of lesser men, his towering midsection held in place by a pair of stork-like legs. A performance, to be sure, but one with purpose – while your eyes trailed the dazzle, a steel trap marked you, jotted down your net worth to the copper, memorized any detail that might one day be of use.

~ 41%, Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky


| Synopsis |

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.

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| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week Four


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| Week Four |

Welcome to the Read Along of A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

Welcome to the fourth and final post in the A Local Habitation Read Along! This week we had some grand revelations, plenty of action and an exciting finale to this second novel in the October Daye series. And after this enjoyable conclusion, The Bibliosanctum has some very juicy questions for us to answer!

Here’s how the schedule panned out:

Week 1 (Saturday 5th March)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 12th March)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by Lynn’s Books

Week 3 (Saturday 19th March)

Chapters 19-25 – hosted by Books by Proxy (me!)

Week 4 (Saturday 26th March)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by The Bibliosanctum

There will be spoilers!


| Week Four Rating |


| The Questions |

| 1. |

Alex and Terrie’s secrets are finally revealed. Was that the outcome you were expecting? If not, what theories did you have concerning the two?

Alex and Terrie have been a suspicious pair from the off! I definitely suspected that these two were one and the same person, although I almost wish that this had been more of a surprise to create a grand revelation. But it panned out well all the same!

The revelation of their fae species however remained a complete mystery until it was revealed during this section of the novel. Despite the inherent creepiness of the Gean-Cannah, and the danger presented to changelings and mortals alike, I find that there is something desperately sad and lonely about them. As a changeling with little power to shift between selves, losing that other half of themselves must have been incredibly painful.. after all, who else do they have but themselves? A dying race who cannot let themselves love too much. It’s quite tragic.

| 2. |

We get Toby doing more powerful things with blood during the course of this story aside from gleaning information. What are you thoughts on this? Do you think we’ll start to see her doing more wondrous things over the course of the series?

I really love that we’re seeing a development in power for Toby. From the outset of this series it’s been hammered home that Changelings have severely muted powers and that Toby’s in particular are nothing beyond the ordinary measure for one of her kind. Whilst this makes her an excellent protagonist – who needs perfection anyway – it creates ample possibilities for her development and growth in power, and for her own development into something else – something which belongs in Faerie.

Her blood working with Alex seemed completely natural, driven by instinct alone, which shows she is becoming something more akin to her mother than she at first supposed. Tybalt certainly seemed to be taken aback by her powers, though Toby seemed to brush it aside as being completely ordinary. Whether this kind of power is the norm in Faerie or whether it is something else entirely remains to be seen. I guess we’ll have to wait and find out!

| 3. |

Did you expect Tybalt to actually show up at Tamed Lightning? What’s your take on this “not-friendship” that is developing between Toby and Tybalt? Does learning more about the cats and sensing Tybalt’s own feelings about what has occurred make you feel differently about him or see new aspects to his personality?

At this point in time I’m in no doubt that whenever Toby is in trouble, Tybalt will come running with teeth and claws bared! And I’m certainly enjoying his dry humour! I’m quite happy with the way things are developing between them, however if things do progress further, I hope they retain the witty repartee which marks most of their conversations.

We’re certainly learning a little more about Tybalt and the Cait Sidhe and their role in Faerie politics but, if anything, this just adds another layer of interest and diversity to the Summerlands. His reaction to events at Tamed Lightning seemed perfectly reasonable but I’m sure we’ve not seen the extent of his retribution as it stands. Right now, the Court of Cats still remains something of a mystery.

| 4. |

Despite being misguided, what did you think of the attempt to create something lasting for Faerie after hearing Elliot’s explanation? Is there a way to save and preserve Faerie or is Toby right that maybe its end is near?

Misguided intentions have been the cause of many horrors over history so the justification for what they were doing is definitely off. The only way Faerie will die is if those who live in it allow it to. Cultures and societies change over time so there is little reason as to why Faerie should be any different. Yes it’s good to retain tradition but surely ALH of all people should have appreciated change, adaptability and growth.

No matter the argument, from what we’ve seen so far throughout the novels, Faerie doesn’t look even close to ending. Maybe this theme will be made more apparent in the novels to come – something which I don’t doubt it will – but whatever the case, I’m in no doubt that Toby will be right in the thick of it!

| 5. |

What do you think will happen at Tamed Lightning now that Jan is gone? Do you think April will be able to maintain or do you think things are just getting started between Tamed Lightning and Dreamer’s Glass? Do you think others will be willing to go to Tamed Lightning after this?

Whatever happens now in Tamed Lightning is sure to be exciting! As something entirely new in Faerie and as someone who is only just finding out who and what she is, April is certain to be in for a bumpy and incredibly interesting ride.

The prospect of warfare between Dreamer’s Glass and Tamed Lightning is actually quite intriguing, and gives the potential for some very dramatic storylines. April could be a very strange and unpredictable enemy and Riordan at present is really an unknown quantity.

| 6. |

Overall, what did you think of A Local Habitation? Did you like it more or less than the first book? Are you still excited to see where Toby’s journey leads? Any favorite parts? Least favourites? Gush as much or as little as you want.

I really enjoyed A Local Habitation. At about the Week Two point I was a little worried; Toby’s voice wasn’t working for me, we’d been transported to a completely different location and something about the storyline just wasn’t resonating with me. However, once the action kicked in and the bodies started piling up, I found myself getting lost in the storyline and really began enjoying it. Phew!

I absolutely loved the development of Toby and Quentin’s relationship, something which remained amusing, endearing and readable throughout. Quentin has grown as a character and A Local Habitation certainly solidifies his place in these novels. A definite highlight throughout! I was similarly glad to see Tybalt sauntering back into the storyline leaving me in high hopes of future Cait Sidhe action!

However, the main highlight (or new addition) of A Local Habitation would have to be April. She is a fascinating, different and thoroughly entertaining character who comes across as something unique in the realms of urban fantasy. From her penchant for bunnies, her pixelated tears and her strange digital humour, and despite her sad role during the main storyline, April is a fantastic character who leaps off the page. I definitely look forward to seeing more of her in future storylines!

As for Toby, I cannot wait to find out what happens next! Tybalt – will she won’t she? Connor?! Raysel?!!! And that’s just the relationships! I also can’t wait to find out more about her mother and her developing powers! Bring on book three!

Join us this April for a Read Along of the third October Daye novel, An Artificial Night

Review: Legend by David Gemmell



Legend

Book One of the Drenai Saga

by David Gemmell

Fantasy | 337 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2012


| Rating |


There can be few who venture the wilds of fantasyland who have never crossed paths with David Gemmell, whether through his own masterful creations or the countless authors he’s influenced over the years. Despite this father of heroic fantasy having an extensive catalogue to his name, and the shameful fact that he has been woefully absent from my bookshelf of late, his legacy inevitably conjures up one series time and time again: The Drenai Saga.

And every series must start somewhere. Legend, the first book of The Drenai Saga, is a heart-thumping, axe-wielding, battle-crying spectacular of military might; a fantasy masterpiece which couldn’t fail to live up to its name. Legend is a seamless combination of wholesome traditional fantasy blended with the grit and wit of modern grimdark; a novel which, despite some minor teething issues, captivates and thrills to the very end and always leaves you wanting more.

His name is Druss.

The stories of his life are told everywhere. But the grizzled veteran has spurned a life of fame and fortune and retreated to the solitude of his mountain lair.

His home is Dros Delnoch.

And it is the only route through the mountains for the army laying waste the country around them. Once the stronghold of the Drenai, the fortress of Dros Delnoch will now be their last battleground. And Druss will be its last hope.

His story is LEGEND.

The Nadir tribes, now united under the formidable Ulric Wolfshead, are gathering in the north, their eye fixed on the lands of the Drenai. But the Drenai, once a great force who fought daring battles and brought low great empires, are now a shadow of their former selves. Unable to defend their lands against the northern horde which threatens to descend, the Drenai must make a stand. Holding Dros Delnoch might just buy them enough time to gather their forces; holding Dros Delnoch might just be the key to their survival.

But those who remain are weak. The Earl is dying, his leaders have little experience at war, and their numbers are but few. With such little chance of success, the Thirty can only see death in the mists. But rumour has it that Druss the Legend, a living hero of countless battles of old, can still wield a blade. With the odds in favour of the northmen, can the Legend hold the walls of Dros Delnoch against the greatest force ever gathered? Can one man turn the tide of battle?

Gemmell has carved a world out of action; his stage is the battlefield and his players the soldiers who wage bloody war to live just one more day. With the barest hints of the world at large, the only place that matters in Legend is the here and now. Where most fantasy plots benefit from a layering of the inhabited world throughout, this skilful lack of diversion creates an addictive concentration of knowledge, characters and plot on a relatively small playing – or battle – field, narrowing the focus and tightening the plot around the central theme.

With ample descriptions of the fortifications of the Dros, a place which lends hope and despair in equal measure to those who stand vigil or fight upon them, Gemmell has built a world which he fully intends to pull down stone by stone and man by man. For this master world builder, the true beauty in the descriptions are lent more to the world’s destruction than its creation, and it is in these sections of the novel, where people and places are remorselessly snuffed out, that the narrative truly comes to life.

With a bloodthirsty and barbarous enemy who delights in the wholesale destruction of those beyond their borders, the Drenai are given a foe which will stop at nothing to bring their lands under their sphere. Through their leader Ulric, and the snapshots of the lives of his loyal tribesmen, the Nadir are given a complexity which stops them short of becoming a faceless and two dimensional enemy, and succeeds in making them an integral part of the plot.

Legend isn’t just about the battalions and the hordes however, it is about the individuals who will face unprecedented odds and through bravery, hard work and battle are forged into new people. And this surfeit of characters certainly throws some interesting personalities into the mix; The Thirty, warrior priests who will fight to all ends; Bowman and Caessa, noble but dangerous outlaws; Orrin, whose growth over the course of the novel shows a deep strength rooted in this people; and Rek and Verai, two lovers whose converging storyline becomes the embodiment of hope and, that at the end of it all, there was something worth fighting for.

Legend is defined by this plethora of weary soldiers, battle-hardened warriors and powerful mystics which inhabit its pages. As farmers, leaders, noblemen and outlaws come together to fight for their ultimate survival, the comradery which grows between them adds an intriguing dimension to the plot. Whilst motivations are not always made clear, and character developments and relationships can sometimes appear rushed, Gemmell manages to tease out the hope, bravery and despair which rules the minds of the populace throughout the seige, a skill which more than makes up for this lack of realism and adds much appreciated depth to the novel.

But whilst this novel certainly describes a sweeping assortment of characters, Legend is and can only be about one man – Druss the Legend; a character who couldn’t fail to live up to all expectations. His power as an inspiration, his brilliance in battle, and his status as a true hero of the ages are all undeniable. But after all this he’s just a man – and an old, worn out one at that. His entanglement with death, which has become a long drawn out game of cat and mouse, lends itself to his fearless and furious prowess in battle and, if anything, it is those sections of the novel where Druss takes centre stage which truly made this an unputdownable read.

Legend is a novel which is held together by a solid, intense and exciting core. Whilst at its outset I would have preferred greater development of character motivations, and at its conclusion I would have preferred a more open ending, the middle of the novel was exceptional in its structure, storytelling and pace. The worldbuilding is suited to the narrative, the characterisation is varied and interesting, and the battle is sublime. Skilfully written and expertly plotted, this is a tale which is sure to stand the test of time to delight and thrill generations to come, and leaves you in no doubt of David Gemmell’s place in the fantasy hall of fame.

Legend is more than deserved of its title as a fantasy classic. A powerful and intense tale, this is a novel which boasts one of the most glorious heroic centres possible. A truly absorbing read from start to finish, there is little doubt as to why it serves as inspiration for so many authors today. For those who have yet to discover Gemmell, there is no time like the present – you will not regret it. 

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The Friday Face-Off: Green With Envy


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.

Green With Envy

 

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off! This Face-Off is comparing books with predominantly green covers and, for me, there’s only one book which came instantly to mind!

Published by Gollancz in the UK and by Tor in the US, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson is not only a brilliant read but has some stunning artwork gracing its covers. Scroll down to see which one takes this week’s crown.


Gollancz – UK Cover

Artwork by Sam Green

Tor – US Cover

Artwork by Stephan Martiniere


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

Stephan Martiniere’s US cover is undeniably beautiful and incredibly detailed. It has a brilliant traditional and almost sci-fi quality to it which still manages to resonate beautifully with the narrative. However, the Sam Green covers for Brandon Sanderson’s extensive repertoire have been a long time favourite and so this week’s winner was an easy choice. Monochrome with a flash of colour, these beautiful illustrations never fail to impress. Capturing the beautiful eerie quality of a city under a magical plague, this wonderfully stylised artwork along with its eye-catching typeface couldn’t fail to come out on top in this week’s Face-Off.

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

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Next Friday’s theme is: Water, Water Everywhere

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes

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Teaser Tuesdays: March 22


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by Books and a Beat. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: March 21 |

Under the Empyrean Sky

Book One of The Heartland Trilogy

by Chuck Wendig

Science Fiction | Dystopian | 370 Pages | Published by Skyscape in 2013


The pollen drift picks up and the winds start to howl, and all around are those allergic to the storm – blowing their noses into paisley handkerchiefs or rubbing their swollen red eyes. But they gather just the same because, above all else, they want to win.

~ p. 97, Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig


| Synopsis |

Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow. And the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie, his first mate and the love of his life, forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry, angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. Cael’s ready to make his own luck . . . even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.

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Cover Reveal: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan – US Edition


Cover Reveal


| The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan |

After last month’s reveal of the UK edition of The Waking Fire, Anthony Ryan has just revealed the US cover for the first novel in his Draconis Memoria Series. Whilst entirely different to the UK’s offering, this cover from Ace sparks the imagination and hints at another facet of this intriguing premise. With Da Vinci-esque illustrations and a parchment map wreathed in flame, it might not have the sheer power and beauty of the UK cover, but it certainly has its own charms to recommend it. But no matter the cover, one thing seems certain – The Waking Fire looks set to be be one of my summer reading highlights.



The Waking Fire

Book One of the Draconis Memoria

by Anthony Ryan

Ace – 7th July 2016


| The Waking Fire – UK vs US |


| Synopsis |

The New York Times bestselling Raven’s Shadow Trilogy was a perfect read for “fans of broadscale epic fantasy along the lines of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels.”* Now, Anthony Ryan begins a new saga, The Draconis Memoria…

Throughout the vast lands controlled by the Ironship Syndicate, nothing is more prized than the blood of drakes. Harvested from the veins of captive or hunted Reds, Green, Blues and Blacks, it can be distilled into elixirs that give fearsome powers to the rare men and women who have the ability harness them—known as the blood-blessed.

But not many know the truth: that the lines of drakes are weakening. If they fail, war with the neighboring Corvantine Empire will follow swiftly. The Syndicate’s last hope resides in whispers of the existence of another breed of drake, far more powerful than the rest, and the few who have been chosen by fate to seek it.

Claydon Torcreek is a petty thief and an unregistered blood-blessed, who finds himself pressed into service by the protectorate and sent to wild, uncharted territories in search of a creature he believes is little more than legend. Lizanne Lethridge is a formidable spy and assassin, facing gravest danger on an espionage mission deep into the heart of enemy territory. And Corrick Hilemore is the second lieutenant of an ironship, whose pursuit of ruthless brigands leads him to a far greater threat at the edge of the world.

As lives and empires clash and intertwine, as the unknown and the known collide, all three must fight to turn the tide of a coming war, or drown in its wake.

What do you think of the cover for The Waking Fire? Which edition do you prefer?

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