Cover Reveal: The Bear and the Serpent by Adrian Tchaikovsky


Cover Reveal3


| The Bear and the Serpent by Adrian Tchaikovsky |

Last week, Tor UK revealed the cover art for The Bear and the Serpent, the second book in the Echoes of the Fall series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The first book, The Tiger and the Wolf, was a stunning introduction to this mesmerising new world and, if the cover and premise for this second novel is anything to go by, The Bear and the Serpent is set to storm the fantasy world in 2017. With another beautiful offering from Tor designer Neil Lang, this cover is simple but wonderfully effective, and is yet another Tchaikovsky novel which I cannot wait to read.



The Bear and the Serpent

Book Two of the Echoes of the Fall

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Artwork by Neil Lang

Tor UK – March 2017


| Synopsis |

from torbooks.co.uk

Maniye, child of Wolf and Tiger, has a new soul and a new shape. But as Champion of the Crown of the World, does she represent an opportunity for the North – or a threat? Travelling as a bodyguard to the Southern prince, with her warband of outcasts, she hopes to finally discover her true place in the world.

But if only it was that simple. Tensions rise, and new allies face up to old enemies as civil war threatens to tear the South apart. Royal twins can’t share a throne, so one must be chosen. And whoever rules the southern Sun River Nation will hold the fate of the world in their hands. As the protector of one potential heir, Maniye soon finds herself at the eye of a political storm. Yet all the while, an enemy from the most ancient of times prepares for conquest, and could destroy everything in their path…

What do you think of the cover for The Bear and the Serpent? Does this sound like something you would read?

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The Friday Face-Off: You Got The Blues


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.


The Falcons of Fire and Ice by Karen Maitland


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off! This week we’re looking at covers are predominantly blue!

Published by Penguin / Michael Joseph, The Falcons of Fire and Ice is a work of historical fiction written by one of my favourite authors, Karen Maitland. This Face-Off features the stunning  covers for the hardback and paperback editions of the book and, as usual, has created something of a dilemma of choice! Scroll down to see which one wins the Face-Off this week!


Penguin – Paperback Cover

Artwork by Mark Swan

Penguin – Hardback Cover

Artwork by Gray318


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

I honestly love both these covers which has led to a very difficult decision this week – as tempted as I was to call it a draw! The paperback is a splash of fire on ice, a decorative and elaborate typeface on a cool and muted backdrop. I love that misty, faded tree-scape and the vibrancy of the fiery falcon – this entire composition is very evocative.

The hardback meanwhile takes us back to the gorgeous stylised covers of Maitland’s previous novels – a style which I absolutely adore! Both bold and eye-catching, this illustrative style works well for the themes and period in which the books are set whilst capturing the wit and verve of Maitland’s writing. I love the splashes of colour and the woodblock print-style typeface which all come together to create one wonderful composition. This style of cover will never fail to please me!

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

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is: Which Witch is Which?

A cover which features a witch and/or witchcraft

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

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The Month Ahead: May 2016


In The Month Ahead, I will be rounding up the books I’m currently reading, the ones I will start this month, and the ones I intend getting my mitts on… if I haven’t already! Expect news and features by the bucketful!


| Currently Reading |

This month I’m embarrassed to say that NOS4R2 and Emma are still on my currently reading pile – one day they’ll leave it, I promise! – but this month they’re in the wonderful company of Lustlocked by Matt Wallace and Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman.

What are you reading at the moment? 
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| May Events |

Here are the upcoming themes for this month’s Friday Face-Off:

06th May 2016 | You Got The Blues

A cover which is predominantly blue

13th May 2016 | Which Witch is Which?

A cover which features a witch and/or witchcraft

20th May 2016 | Just Then Flew Down a Monstrous Crow

A cover which features a bird

27th May | Renewed Shall be Blade That Was Broken

A cover which features the word ‘blade’ in its title


The Between Two Thorns Read Along

Organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 1 (Monday 9th May)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Monday 16th May)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by On Starships and Dragonwings

Week 3 (Monday 23rd May)

Chapters 19-25 – Imyril at OneMore.org

Week 4 (Monday 30th May)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by Lynn’s Books

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For this month’s Read Along we’ll be reading the first book in The Split Worlds series by Emma Newman, Between Two Thorns. If you’re interested in joining in then head on over to the Goodreads group page and sign up!heart

| Synopsis |

Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.

The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.

There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.

But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?

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| May Goals |

This May I’ve decided to mix up my usual goals (which inevitably fail) and set a challenge I may actually complete. Having been a member of the Goodreads Group for a while now but having yet to participate, this month I will be starting my RMFAO Genre Challenge. I’ve put together quite a large list – intention is everything after all – so hopefully I’ll tick at least a few off and actually get some classics read this year!heart

| The Target |

Level 5

Bookiopath

5 books or more (challenging)

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| The Books |

Bulldog Drummond by Sapper (PB)

Service with a Smile by P.G. Wodehouse (PB)

Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham (PB)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (PB)

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (PB)

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (EB)

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne (EB)

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For a list of the rules, levels and each month’s genres, head on over to the Goodreads page


| May Releases |

And here is a (by no means comprehensive) list of the releases I’m most looking forward to this May – dates are from UK publishers only (though many will coincide!).

10th May

Too Like The Lightning

by Ada Palmer

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Children-of-Earth-and-Sky-Guy-Gavriel-Kay1

Children of Earth and Sky

by Guy Gavriel Kay

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19th May

The Sudden Appearance of Hope

by Claire Northheart

TheTowerofTheSwallow

The Tower of the Swallow

by Andrzej Sapkowski

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medusa-chronicles-cover-reveal

The Medusa Chronicles

by Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxterheart


24th May

26239013

A Blade of Black Steel

by Alex Marshallheart

Have you picked up any great books lately? What are your goals for the month ahead? 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Young Characters I’d Love to Read as Grown-Ups


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Young Characters I’d Love to Read as Grown-Ups |

This Tuesday we’re looking at young characters we’d love to read after they’ve grown up. And since there are far too many to really do them all justice, I’ve decided to mostly go for those characters which made an impact on my childhood – for better or worse – with a few new favourites thrown in here or there. So in no particular order, here’s the literary line-up:
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| 1. |

Artemis Fowl

from

The Artemis Fowl Series

by Eoin Colferheart

Spoiler time. Imagine if you will a boy megalomaniac; an arrogant and resourceful genius who will stop at nothing to fulfil his most criminal desires. Now imagine that he isn’t quite the Artemis who met Holly Short, the only female captain of the LEPrecon; who through various criminal enterprises and sinister plots (with varying degrees of disaster and triumph) became almost a changed man and/or boy. This Artemis Fowl – this brand spanking new clone, this untapped criminal mastermind, this arrogant bastard of a boy-genius – is the one I want to read about. This Artemis Fowl is going to cause a riot.
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| 2 |

Lyra Belacqua

from

His Dark Materials

by Philip Pullmanheart

Ohh Pullman, you crafty devil you. We’ve had some hints – or rather outright statements – regarding future Lyra and her fascinating adventures in further education… but we want more! Who did this wonderfully feisty little girl grow up to be? Does she once more bring the world to rights? Does she fight armoured bears for a living and/or other nefarious relations? Another foray into this dark and strange world of Lyra’s Oxford – with her equally grown dæmon Pan – would not go amiss.heart

| 3 |

The Princess and the Dragon

from

The Princess and the Dragon

by Audrey Wood

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A book from my early childhood, The Princess and The Dragon may have been one of my first fantasy favourites. Not bad for what is essentially a picture book. Here we have a rotten princess – a bad mannered, naughty prankster who drives her kingdom to distraction – and an intelligent, eloquent and cultured dragon who spends her time reading and playing the piano forte. Much to the delight of the seemingly deceived royal family and all their subjects, the two decide to swap places and find that they’re equally more suited to being the other. But what happens next? Does the dragon marry a prince and have various well-mannered mutant children who live happily ever after? Does the princess terrorise the flocks and steal hapless virgins from the nearby villages? I’ve been waiting for this sequel for twenty-five years!heart

| 4. |

Maria Merryweather

from

The Little White Horse

by Elizabeth Goudge
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Another childhood favourite, The Little White Horse was the epitome of magical, hidden lands; strange enchantments and ancient mysteries. Maria Merryweather, a brave an intelligent thirteen year old with red hair and freckles was my ultimate fictional heroine and I found myself lost in her world again and again. But what did the future hold for Maria and all those who fell under the spell of Moonacre Manor? I for one would love to find out.heart

| 5. |

Matilda

from

Matilda

by Roald Dahl
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Matilda finally found her place in the world at the end of her tale, but what happened next? Did she just remain the Matilda we all grew to love, surrounded by books from wonderful new authors? Or did she resent the loss of her powers and turn into the Trunchbull Mark II?! Did her powers eventually return full force leading her down the dark and depraved path to world domination?!! My money’s definitely on Matilda megalomaniac…

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| 6. |

Mary Lennox

from

The Secret Garden

by Francis Hodgson Burnett

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Over the course of The Secret Garden, Mary Lennox grew from a selfish and spoiled little girl into a kind and thoughtful girl whose transformation mirrored that of the garden under her care. But what happened next? Did Mary find she was more of a weed, beginning her embittered relationship with life anew? Did she re-cripple Colin to once more become the centre of his father’s attention leading to an adulthood of self-loathing and inevitable drug addiction?! I guess we’ll never know.
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| 7. |

Ip

from

The Copper Cat Trilogy

by Jen Williams
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Having only read the first novel in this trilogy, I’m in little of a position to say what happens to Ip and whether she is indeed around to grow up by the end of it. However, I love this creepy and devious little girl with the blood red eyes and a penchant for human heads, and I sure as hell want to know what happens to her next! Does she grow up to be a cannibal? A blood priestess? A combination of the two?! More please!heart

| 8. |

Everyone

from 

Harry Potter

by J.K. Rowling
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Few words are needed. Want to know everything. Right now.heart

| 9. |

Madeline

from

Madeline

by Ludwig Bemelmans
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Small, feisty and mischievous, Madeline was yet another childhood heroine of mine. But what did this fearless little lady grow up to be? A lion tamer? An acrobat? A daredevil? Perhaps all three! But I’m longing for the sequel to:

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine-
The smallest one was Madeline.”heart

| 10. |

The Watson Children

from

Elidor

by Alan Garner
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Alan Garner saved me the trouble of wondering what happened to Colin and Susan post-The-Weirdstone-of-Brisingamen-and-The-Moon-of-Gomrath by writing a sequel from their adult perspective. Therefore all my Garner cravings are heaped on the Watson children from the wonderful fantasy novel, Elidor. Garner’s darkly fantastic tales were a mainstay of my childhood and this tale of parallel worlds and dark and terrible powers have always left me wondering what happened next. Did the Watson children-now-adults find themselves slipping through to Elidor at inopportune moments? Did the forces of darkness return to find their way into our world once more? Will I inadvertently find myself joining them as I wander the streets of Manchester?!! There’s only one way to find out…heart

Which young characters would you love to read as grown-ups? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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Teaser Tuesdays: May 03


Teaser Tuesdays 2Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by Books and a Beat. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: May 03 |

Lustlocked

Book Two of the Sin du Jour Series

by Matt Wallace

Urban Fantasy | Novella | 211 Pages | Published by Tor in 2016


It’s a nightmare. And then the nightmare becomes a porno.

~ p. 90, Lustlocked by Matt Wallace


| Synopsis |

At a Goblin Royal Wedding party a magical food additive turns the humans in the room into horny 6 foot lizards, and all they want to do is have sex.

With anything. For as long as they can.

And as being screwed to death isn’t something that interests Sin du Jour staff, something must be done, but the building’s magical defences have kicked in, sealing off access to the outside world.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| 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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The Monthly Round-Up: April 2016


Welcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| The Monthly Round-Up: April 2016 |

April has been a strange month of sun between intermittent snow showers which, as it happens, makes for excellent reading time! I managed to read eight books this month; five novels, two novellas and one short story collection. However, I’ve been looking with increasing horror at my reading pile – as it rapidly makes its monstrous growth all the more apparent – and have decided that I’ll have to start crossing some of those books of my read list – eight books a month is not going to cut it! Backlist Burndown here I come. But in the meantime, here are the books which took over this April:

| Books Read |

| 1. |

Civil Blood by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Another Gelineau and King novella, another wonderful piece of bite-sized fantasy! These novellas are really quite addictive and Civil Blood has upped the intrigue factor tenfold leaving me, and no doubt many other Echoes fans, in great suspense for the next Alys novella.

| 2. |

Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky

Tomorrow the Killing continues the story of Warden as he once again finds himself embroiled in the customary death, murder and mayhem which pervades Low Town. A wonderful sequel and a firm reminder that I need to get my Polansky reviews out!

| 3. |

Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak

Black City Saint took me completely by surprise and is now one of my favourite urban fantasy novels. Set in the roaring twenties, and with its fair share of magic, mystery, saints and dragons, this is a novel which had be hooked from start to finish.

| 4. |

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is the first short story anthology I’ve read in a long time – and it certainly lived up to expectations. Ken Liu is a phenomenal writer with an effortlessly engaging style. With Grace of Kings firmly placed on my TBR, it’s only a matter of time before it too has been devoured.

| 5. |

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

I was a little hesitant about starting the Mercy Thompson series having heard that the first novel, Moon Called, really isn’t the best. However, it turned out to be a really rather enjoyable read and I can only look forward to a series which has a reputation for getting better and better. Blood Bound here I come.

| 6. |

Faith and Moonlight Part 2 by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Yes! Another Gelineau and King, and yes! Another exciting and suspenseful conclusion. This second round of novellas is certainly pulling out all the stops when it comes to action, excitement and leaving you on the edge of your seat.

| 7. |

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

An Artificial Night was April’s Read Along – and what an awesome read it was! The October Daye series has taken a distinctly dark turn with this third novel and has become my favourite of the three so far.  

| 8. |

The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan

The Steel Remains is dark, brutal, bloody and brilliant. With a surfeit of sex, violence and obscenities, an unforgiving world is carved out of its pages and reaches nothing short of a spectacular conclusion. This is one tale where the author never holds back.


Book of the Month2

Tomorrow the Killing

by Daniel Polansky


| April Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Roll over!

Status: Incomplete

… Goal shake-up coming up!

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| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 33/100 Books Read (33%)

Status: +8% in April


| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd


Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner


Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu


| Other Posts From April |

The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016

The Month Ahead: April 2016

The Friday Face-Off: April 01 – Water, Water Everywhere

The Friday Face-Off: April 08 – Peace is Poor Reading

The Friday Face-Off: April 15 – Metropolis

The Friday Face-Off: April 22 – Dead Men Tell No Tales

The Friday Face-Off: April 29 – Like One, That on a Lonesome Road

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… SFF Books That Will Make You Laugh

Teaser Tuesdays: April 05 – The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan

Teaser Tuesdays: April 12 – The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Teaser Tuesdays: April 19 – Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong

Book Haul: April 09 – Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Book Haul: April 11 – The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

Book Haul: April 17 – The Air War, The Man in the High Castle and Gardens of the Moon

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 1

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 2

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 3

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 4

Review: Skinshaper by Mark Gelineau and Joe King



Skinshaper

An Echo of the Ascended – Ferran Book Two

by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Fantasy | Novella | 102 Pages | Published by Gelineau and King in 2016


| Rating |


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

Rend the Dark was an impressive venture into the darker and more disturbing aspects of Aedaron, a multi-faceted world which has been compiled through varying genre perspectives in the Echoes of the Ascended series. With its sequel, Skinshaper, we are once again transported into the darkest reaches of this world where a veritable army of abominations lie in wait to repulse, disturb and delight fans of this darkly epic – and short – work.

Mark Gelineau and Joe King have, once again, hit the mark with this brutally fantastic tale which doesn’t shy away from taking its protagonists to hell and back, resulting in what has become my favourite Echo to date. Epic in its telling, horrifying in its creations, and bloody brilliant in its execution, Skinshaper sets the bar in this latest thrill ride from these masters of the fantasy novella.Barricades broken.

A mining town empty.

One survivor swings in a cage, waiting to die.

Ferran’s tattoos burn as horrors near. They should run. They should seek help. But to save a few, they must journey deeper into the heart of the nightmare to face an ancient foe.

Following the death of his friend Hillion, and the terrifying events of Rend the Dark, Riffolk finds himself travelling in the company Ferran and Mireia, two Acolytes of Talen. As they wander from town to town, Riffolk’s eyes become opened to the dark and nightmarish creatures which pervade Aedaron. The Ruins, twisted abominations who seek the destruction of all that is good and pure, have once again taken hold in the land.

When Mireia’s powers draw them to a seemingly abandoned mining town, an encounter with a single survivor leads their small company down a dark path into the heart of the mine. But the vile horrors which await them in the shadows are going to be anything but easy to vanquish, not for a man wracked by his own cowardice and guilt, not even for those with the strength of Talen on their side.

From the world at large to the confines of the mine, Gelineau and King have carved out a cold and brutal world where humanity is neither the province of monsters nor of men. Where Elenor’s storyline depicts the wheels of justice in motion, Alys’ the divisions of class, and Roan and Kay’s the legacy of honour; Ferran’s storyline highlights all that is dark and terrible in Aedaron. Through horrifying descriptions and brutal action, Skinshaper is a short, sharp shock to the senses.

In a narrative which highlights the brutality and inhumanity of the Ruins, their wilfully destructive and grotesque natures are used to convey their absolute evil. This world of horrors, where the creation of abominations maximises both physical and emotional pain, once again reveals the darkest side of Aedaron and the inherent danger all our protagonists face. The Order of Talen, though a beacon of strength in these dark places, as yet seems small and incomparable to the sheer strength and determination of the Ruins, lending this novella a distinctly unpredictable feel.

The continuation of Ferran’s storyline however, if anything, brings us closer to Riffolk. He is our laymen and anchor point to this sub-series of novellas, asking the questions which allow us to comprehend the world and allow Ferran and Mireia, along with the Order of Talen, to retain an element of mystery. However, Ferran remains almost a closed book throughout Skinshaper, his enigmatic nature maintaining a level of intrigue which speaks of future revelations, whilst Mireia’s character is elaborated upon for an explosive conclusion which leaves the reader in great suspense.

Skinshaper is a small, self-contained adventure which has been brought to life by its detailed but terrifying world, interesting and complex characters, and a thoroughly gripping storyline. This novella, like its predecessors, succeeds in deceiving the reader by its length and, as always, is delivered with beautiful but concise prose. With eight Echoes under their belt, Gelineau and King have proven that their fast-paced and compulsive format is anything but tired, and have delivered an impressive round of sequels which have hit the mark every time. 

With this fast-paced read, one which grips the imagination and disturbs with its terrifying creations, Gelineau and King have captured the spirit of its predecessor whilst elaborating upon it in spectacular fashion. Skinshaper is a powerful, if somewhat horrifying, addition to the Echoes of the Ascended series which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. 

Amazon | Goodreads

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Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week Four




| Week Four |

Welcome to the Read Along of An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

Welcome to the fourth and final post in the An Artificial Night Read Along! After finishing in spectacular style, this book has become my favourite of the series so far! This week Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is taking up the reins again to bring us our final round of questions.

Here’s how the schedule looks:

Week 1 (Saturday 9th April)

Chapters 1-7 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 16th April)

Chapters 8-17 – hosted by Books by Proxy (me!)

Week 3 (Saturday 23rd April)

Chapters 18-24 – hosted by Lynn’s Books

Week 4 (Saturday 30th April)

Chapters 25-End – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

There will be spoilers!

If anyone would like to join in with the Read Along for the fourth book in the October Daye series, Late Eclipses, just head on over to the Goodreads group page and sign up.


| Week Four Rating |


| The Questions |

| 1. |

Things pick up right where we left them, with Tybalt and Toby. What do you make of the not-quite-nine-lives thing? And do you have any fresh insight into what, if anything, is going on between him and Toby?

Not-Quite-Nine-Lives you say? Very interesting indeed! An addition such as this would usually irritate me because of the lack of justification but… it didn’t! I was just relieved that Tybalt wasn’t dead. Perhaps if it’s expanded upon in future books then it will make a little more sense but at the moment I’m quite happy to run with it. It’s quite a nice take on a popular myth too and fits well with the other themes which run throughout the series.

And clearly there is something between the two of them – that much is obvious. However, I’m still in utter confusion when it comes to what on earth Tybalt is going on about with all his cryptic messages!!! What a way to make you want to pick up the next in the series… I have a suspicion that whatever Toby did to resurrect Alex made Tybalt suspect that she may have used the Hope Chest in some way… but I guess we’ll have to read the next one to find out!

| 2. |

As predicted, Toby is far from finished with Blind Michael and returns to his realm, trading herself for Karen’s freedom. Things get pretty dark from there, but all isn’t lost… What’s your take on the Luidaeg’s rescue effort?

At first this return to the fray seemed quite pointless – Toby had to break Blind Michael’s spell but we hadn’t really seen the full effect of it in the ‘real world’ so it came across as almost a little premature. However the hazy, hallucinogenic ride and the darkness which would have befallen her had she not been rescued added some justification to this. It was also interesting to see Acacia continuing her role in the Wild Hunt with almost weary resignation – as though her spirit had been broken a long time ago.

The rescue was a nice touch though. It was fantastic to see more of the Luidaeg’s powers and her obvious care for Toby – even if it meant the death of one of her siblings. I was also more than happy to see the others come to Toby’s aid as it had felt incredibly wrong that none of them had offered any real help in the first place!

| 3. |

After all that, Toby still isn’t done. Do you think she did the right thing, going after Blind Michael to end things once and for all? And after all’s said and done, what do you think of Blind Michael himself?

Blind Michael was a corrupt and evil firstborn who cared more about his own enjoyment and pleasure than the innocent lives he twisted and ruined. Toby was certainly justified in going back to finish him off, though I’m not sure I would have felt the hesitation she did when weighing up whether he needed to die or not… but I guess that makes her a better woman than I! At the end he seemed weaker and more sorrowful; it certainly didn’t justify what he had done but it perhaps signalled that he really didn’t understand the evil of it either, which in a way is much more sad.

However, the one thing which has persistently grated on me throughout this series is the continual and repetitive ‘hero’ theme. Could all the characters go on about it any more?! Every time I read a section where Toby questions her hero status/decides to be a hero/reflects on being a hero/talks about being a hero/hero hero hero I feel like I want to kill her myself! *calms* So yes… I could do with a little less of that.

| 4. |

Quentin has a hard choice of his own to make in the aftermath, as the Luidaeg explains… Do you agree with her choice of consequence, or was she too hard on him?

Poor Quentin has certainly had to grow up fast, and the influence Toby has had on him is shining through more than ever. The choice he had to make seemed right; once another side of the world is open to you it could either make or break you – especially as a human – and it didn’t seem as though Katie’s mind could really handle the truth. I’m not sure Quentin could live with himself if he trapped her in the Summerlands, forever beholden to him. He’s too good a person. However, I don’t believe it was the Luidaeg’s choice at all… it came across as though she had as little sway over the matter as Quentin did. It seemed like the price faerie would exact from all.

| 5. |

We get one more scene with the Luidaeg, and it’s quite a turnaround, character-wise. What do you think of where she and Toby seem to stand, at this point?

Oh Luidaeg… I love this character so much! She’s definitely had a stand-out role throughout the series and has fast become a favourite. I love that she’s cranky and dangerous and completely unpredictable, but I also love that she’s prepared to let her walls down, even just slightly, to let Toby in.

Their friendship is such a fantastic part of the novels and it’s wonderful to see someone with such a weight of past and history, whose own myth makes the whole of faedom quake in its boots, become an integral part of Toby’s life. By the end of An Artificial Night it certainly seemed as though this friendship was as strong as ever – but I don’t think this makes her any less of a danger for the future.

Join us this June for a Read Along of the fourth October Daye novel, Late Eclipses

The Friday Face-Off: Like One, That on a Lonesome Road


Friday Face Off 2cWelcome 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.


A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off! This week we’re looking at covers which feature a road… preferably a lonely one!

Published by Titan in the UK and by Penguin / NAL in the US, A Curious Beginning is a book which fell into my lap through Goodreads a few months ago – and one which I am still yet to read! This Face-Off features two stunning covers in completely different styles, making this week’s choice incredibly difficult. Take a look and see which one, if any, came out on top!


Titan – UK Cover

Artwork by Julia Lloyd

Penguin / NAL – US Cover

Artwork by Michael Heath


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

This week is a definite draw! The style of the UK artwork is wonderful – and even better in real life! This eye-catching, illustrative cover is a light hearted edition which uses various Victoriana motifs to hint at the contents within. The colour palette – and that aged aquamarine especially – works perfectly as a backdrop to this elegantly fun composition, and the scroll-work and typeface used are interesting, detailed and work to draw the eye.

The US cover is a completely different affair and works with an atmospheric image to capture another side to the story. The use of lighting and a warm colour palette, especially the pink overlay to the street scene and the swirling mists, work together to create an eye-catching image – an image which almost feels like you could follow the figure into it – and the typeface is simple and elegant.

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

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksTomorrow’s theme is: You Got The Blues

A cover which is predominantly blue

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

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