This Week by Proxy: 13 – 19 July


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I link up with the Caffeinated Reviewer to look back on the past week and see what I’ve been reading, posting, watching and playing!


| This Week by Proxy: 13 – 19 July 2020 |

With work deadlines, socially-distanced birthdays and family gatherings aplenty, this week has been busy, busy, busy! This has resulted in my reviews and Top Tens of the Past Two Years taking a bit of a dive – if you can call it a dive after such a prolonged absence – but hopefully I will be back on schedule next week!

I hope you have all had fantastic weeks and I cannot wait to read all your latest recommendations!


| Books Read |

Becky Chambers’ A Closed and Common Orbit is so beautifully written and so heartwarming that I had tears in my eyes as it came to a close. It truly is a wonderful space opera and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough! It also means that I am having to restrain myself from opening Record of a Spaceborn Few immediately!

On top of my Wayfarers indulgence, I also read The Man with One Name, a novella in Tom Lloyd’s God Fragments series. Having left such a long period between reading Stranger of Tempest and Princess of Blood, I thought it best if I reintroduced myself to the world through the accompanying prequel before embarking on the next feature length novel – and it must have worked because I cannot wait to start!

I also completed A Pelican at Blandings by P.G. Wodehouse, the eleventh novel in the Blandings series. Although this novel follows the same formula used time and time again throughout this series, A Pelican at Blandings really was quite entertaining and, as usual, didn’t fail to make me smile. 


| Currently Reading |

Having finally finished A Closed and Common Orbit, I find myself unable to get enough of Becky Chambers’ writing. So, while Record of a Spaceborn Few burns a hole in my Kindle, I have started reading her stand-alone novella, To be Taught, If Fortunate. So far, so good.

With the publishing date looming, I have also started reading Django Wexler’s epic, Ashes of the Sun. This is the first novel of Wexler’s I have ever read and I can’t seem to put it down at all – never a bad sign! I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you all!


| Upcoming Reviews |

Life, the universe and everything have put me a little behind schedule but, never fear, I will have reviews for Going Postal, A Closed and Common Orbit and The Man with One Name coming up over the next week or so. With all three books over the four star mark, you can expect some very happy responses!


| Watching |

While the other half and I continue watching Warrior Nun and the second season of The Order, I have finally gotten around to watching The Sinner. Weaving mystery, murder and a complex, layered narrative, the first season starts with Cora’s story and is seriously addictive. If you like dark psychological crime thrillers, this really is for you!


| Gaming |

In between numerous failed bouts of Apex Legends, I have been playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch. Having never had a console before and having never played Zelda before, this has been a wonderful and addictive introduction! Thank you to everyone who recommended this!


| Posts |

Review: How to Rule An Empire and Get Away With It

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books That Make Me Smile

Teaser Tuesdays: The Man with One Name by Tom Lloyd

Waiting on Wednesday: Tales from the Folly by Ben Aaronovitch

The Friday Face-Off: Just as it Seems

Friday Firsts: To Be Taught, If Fortunate


I hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled week!

What have you been reading, watching and playing this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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Review: How to Rule An Empire and Get Away With It by K.J. Parker



How to Rule An Empire and Get Away With It

by K.J. Parker

Fantasy | 384 Pages | To be published by Orbit on 18th August 2020


| Rating |


| TL;DR |

How to Rule An Empire and Get Away With It picks up seven years after the events of Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City. Told from the perspective of Notker – thespian, playwright, and son of a late Theme boss – this witty and over-dramatised tale tells the story of his coercion into a seat of power as tensions begin to fray both within The City and beyond its battered walls.

Funny, action-packed, and almost always surprising, How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It is a sequel worthy of its predecessor. Whether just one in a series, or the final chapter, this book is sure to shock, amuse and entertain in equal measure.

| Synopsis |

This is the story of how the City was saved, by Notker the professional liar, written down because eventually the truth always seeps through.

The City may be under siege, but everyone still has to make a living. Take Notker, the acclaimed playwright, actor and impresario. Nobody works harder, even when he’s not working. Thankfully, it turns out that people appreciate an evening at the theatre even when there are large rocks falling out of the sky.

But Notker is a man of many talents, and all the world is, apparently, a stage. It seems that the Empire needs him – or someone who looks a lot like him – for a role that will call for the performance of a lifetime. At least it will guarantee fame, fortune and immortality. If it doesn’t kill him first.

This is the story of Notker, an occasionally good man and a terrible liar. With razor-sharp prose and ferocious wit, K.J. Parker has created one of fantasy’s greatest heroes, and he might even get away with it.

| Review |

How to Rule An Empire and Get Away With It tells the story of Notker, one part thespian, one part crook and two parts in over his head. Seven years have passed since the commencement of the siege. Seven years of enemy bombardments, seven years of death, blood and mayhem, and seven years staring at an enemy encampment turned temporary metropolis. Tensions within The City are frayed and, if the enemy doesn’t get there first, The City’s destruction might just come at its own hand.

With a speciality for impersonating the great and the good on stage, Notker finds himself in the unlikely position of having to impersonate hero and darling of The City, Lysimachus. But this time the world is his stage and life isn’t so easy at the top – pride most definitely comes before a very, hard fall. Notker, along with his grudging partner Hodda, and a whole host of crazed, bureaucratic and megalomaniac puppet masters, must save both The City and his own neck – well, mostly his own neck – before the ruin of all.

Through the Acts of a play, K.J. Parker has woven comedy, tragedy and fantasy tropes aplenty into an engaging and well-paced narrative. This stand-alone novel set in the same world as Sixteen, is often humorous and always charming, yet has an undercurrent of darkness that gives the story both depth and purpose. Told entirely from Notker’s perspective, this is a clever and surprising novel which revels in shocking and surprising its reader.

Throughout the tale Notker, in the true character of a performer, relishes in expounding humorous descriptions of books and plays which tie directly back to his own narrative. These amusing and anecdotal recitals help to develop both Notker’s character and flesh out the world around him, which despite his best intentions, remains a mere backdrop to The City’s leading lady. His own history and engagement with The City, through his familial connections, his work and his somewhat questionable lifestyle, allows The City to grow in tandem with Notker and become the true supporting character to his tale.

The style of narrative, however, lends itself to the caricature-esque development of ‘extras’ to Notker’s narrative; his reluctant partner, his crone-like mother and the rival parties vying for his control. Painted through Notker’s witty observations and unconscious bias, these supporting actors often miss out on the depth of character employed in other works of fiction, but retain their own unique and theatrical charm as a result of it.

In essence, this novel, and Sixteen before it, are books about ordinary folk who find themselves in a city on the brink of destruction, and who find that they have been coerced, tricked, or pulled into positions of power by friend and foe alike. The events may result in shock, laughter, surprise or an eye roll, but these are their stories; imperfect realism of an imagined history.

While the shock conclusion to Sixteen left a little to be desired, How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It does not suffer from the same limitations. The climax is clever, surprising and ties the threads of the narrative together with a verve and panache one can only expect from a true tragicomedy. This is a book which reflects Notker – which is Notker – and the style that the author has chosen to employ can only be applauded.

Whether in The City or another land entirely, I can only hope to return to Notker, or Lysimachus, or whomever he may be impersonating now, once again.

Thank you to NetGalley and Orbit for providing a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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This Week by Proxy: 06 – 12 July


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I look back on the past week to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted and the goals I’ve completed.


| This Week by Proxy: 06 – 12 July 2020 |

Ahh my second Sunday and it still feels so good to be back! I have spent a lot of time catching up on your wonderful blogs, reading reviews and generally enjoying this amazing community. I think I may have enjoyed it a little too much though as WordPress decided to confine me to several spam folders on Friday… which I entirely blame on my enthusiasm for commenting following such a prolonged absence!

I hope you have all had wonderful weekends and I can’t wait to see all your posts this coming week!


| Books Read |

After completing my Top Ten Tuesday, I had a sudden and irresistible urge to read more works by P.G. Wodehouse. Having only ever read stand-alone or Blandings novels, I decided to venture into the realms of Reginald Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. The Inimitable Jeeves is the first full length Jeeves novel out of a series comprising of eleven full length novels and thirty-five short stories – a series which is bound to keep me busy for a lifetime!

Now I have a bit of a soft spot for Blandings so no sooner had I completed The Inimitable Jeeves, I picked up yet another Blandings novel in order to get my fix of Lord Emsworth and the magnificent Empress. Galahad at Blandings was, as usual, an amusing and chaotic affair which was enjoyed alongside the excellent fantasy novel How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It by K.J. Parker. 


| Currently Reading |

While you might think two P.G. Wodehouse novels in one week would keep me ticking over for some time you would, in fact, be entirely wrong. As soon as Galahad at Blandings reached its joyful conclusion I reached for A Pelican at Blandings, another truly dotty book from the master of wit.

As Wodehouse novels tend to be distinctly different and a lot shorter than my ‘main’ reads, I find them relatively easy to squeeze in and around more complex or longer novel, such as the truly wonderful A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers, which I am enjoying immensely!


| Upcoming Reviews |

For those of you I have spoken to in the week about Terry Pratchett, I apologise. For some reason I have continually referred to Going Postal, an incredibly witty novel about the fantastical postal service of Ankh-Morpork, as ‘Postal Service’, which is literally just describing its contents. This, however, just makes me love the bureaucratic madness that is this book even more…  and I have a sneaking suspicion that Junior Postman Tolliver Groat would approve of such direct and to the point ‘regulation’ descriptions. I hope to have a review out for both Going Postal and How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It this week!


| Watching |

While catching up with the third season of Killing Eve and the brilliant I May Destroy You, the other half and I have started to watch Warrior Nun on Netflix. While I expected this to be a cheesy and mediocre offering, I really am rather enjoying it and find myself eagerly awaiting the next episode. I’m also not going to deny that if there is hype for warrior nuns I am all for it as the Book of the Ancestor is just ripe for dramatisation!


| Gaming |

This week I have continued to play the fifth season of Apex Legends. After achieving rank Gold IV in the season’s first half, I was very close to putting it down and starting an entirely new game (as usually I just play Apex as a ‘filler’ game between larger titles) but lo and behold the ranks and maps reset and I have once again been suckered back in!

The other half and I also purchased a Nintendo Switch but I am yet to play anything as I am still umm-ing and aah-ing over which game I want to play! Let me know if you have any suggestions!


| Posts |

Review: Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K.J. Parker

The Friday Face-Off: The Sea Brought You. The Sea Shall Have You Back. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

Teaser Tuesdays: How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It by K.J. Parker

Waiting on Wednesday: The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie

The Friday Face-Off: At the End of Every Light, is a Tunnel of Darkness.

Friday Firsts: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

My Top Ten Books of the Past Two Years


I hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled week!

What have you been reading, watching and playing this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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Teaser Tuesdays: How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: July 07 |

How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It

Book Two of Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City

by K.J. Parker

Fantasy | 384 Pages | To be published by Orbit on 18th August 2020


“Artavasdus was enjoying the blood. Fair enough; as Saloninus says, the man who’s tired of killing is tired of life, and at least he made no bones, no pun intended, about it.

~ Act 1, Chapter 15 | 35% | How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It by K.J. Parker


| Synopsis |

This is the story of how the City was saved, by Notker the professional liar, written down because eventually the truth always seeps through.

The City may be under siege, but everyone still has to make a living. Take Notker, the acclaimed playwright, actor and impresario. Nobody works harder, even when he’s not working. Thankfully, it turns out that people appreciate an evening at the theatre even when there are large rocks falling out of the sky.

But Notker is a man of many talents, and all the world is, apparently, a stage. It seems that the Empire needs him – or someone who looks a lot like him – for a role that will call for the performance of a lifetime. At least it will guarantee fame, fortune and immortality. If it doesn’t kill him first.

This is the story of Notker, an occasionally good man and a terrible liar. With razor-sharp prose and ferocious wit, K.J. Parker has created one of fantasy’s greatest heroes, and he might even get away with it.

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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Review: Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K.J. Parker



Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City

by K.J. Parker

Fantasy | 384 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2019


| Rating |


Having never read a novel by K.J. Parker, it came as something of a surprise to discover I had no less than five of his books loitering on my bookshelf. In a bid to eliminate dust and finally discover what all the fuss was about, Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City became the next book to be cleared from the decks.

With a cover as eye-catching as its eccentric title, the first in this unnamed series had me hooked from the moment of its dusty extraction. A tale of sieges, battles and bloody escapades and falling, almost always, on your feet, Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City is a clever, action-packed and page-turning read that ended far too abruptly and far too soon.

This is the story of Orhan, son of Siyyah Doctus Felix Praeclarissimus, and his history of the Great Siege, written down so that the deeds and sufferings of great men may never be forgotten.

A siege is approaching, and the city has little time to prepare. The people have no food and no weapons, and the enemy has sworn to slaughter them all.

To save the city will take a miracle, but what it has is Orhan. A colonel of engineers, Orhan has far more experience with bridge-building than battles, is a cheat and a liar, and has a serious problem with authority. He is, in other words, perfect for the job.

Orhan is an engineer, a bridge builder by trade and a colonel in the Robur army. When tales of pirate raids, slaughtered allies and a seemingly unstoppable enemy become unavoidable, Orhan turns his regiment to The City, the last bastion of the Robur.

But all is not as it seems.

The Robur army is all but lost, the naval fleet have disappeared, and the ruling elite have vanished without a trace. The people of The City stand on the precipice of disaster.

But hope is not lost – not while there is a sarcastic, lying Milkface to blunder his way to the top. Intelligent, uncertain and with more than a little luck on his side, Orhan inadvertently assumes control of the final stronghold of the empire.

The City’s salvation or its doom lie entirely at his feet.

The Robur rule a vast and uncompromising empire which stretches across the globe, absorbing different lands, peoples, and cultures into its fold. Indentured and little more than slaves, those that find themselves bending the knee must claw their way through a society which places value in the colour of skin and not a person’s worth.

But Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City is not a story of empire, it is a tale of The City; a metropolis dominated by classism, racism and petty thuggery, where the elite rule the people and the Themes rule the streets. Gang warfare, gladiatorial battles, and gold reign supreme and are captured by Parker through Orhan’s frank observations of the world around him.

Narrated entirely in first-person, Orhan is a witty, self-deprecating protagonist who fumbles and blunders his way up the chain of command. His sharp wit and self-doubt play a leading role throughout the novel, culminating in unexpected successes, hapless disasters, and extraordinary moments of accidental genius.

While supporting characters never quite receive the flesh they deserve and female characters are somewhat scarce, Lysimachus, Orhan’s unwanted bodyguard and Aichma, his friend’s daughter, hint at more well-rounded character portrayals under the author’s belt – at least when not scrawled down by a bridge builder with delusions of grandeur.

Nevertheless, Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City is a skilfully written novel with an excellent premise and a host of amusing characters. Parker also has the enviable knack of teasing a brilliant, eminently quotable paragraph in almost every chapter, which continue to rattle around my head as though Orhan were a sage.

But then we come to the end.

Through feats of engineering, tense stand-offs, and explosive battles, and fighting three hundred pages worth of impossible odds, Parker balances the reader on the precipice of something great…

…and then it’s all over.

Just.

Like.

That.

Rudely torn from The City’s infernal bosom, the narrative concludes in a most unsatisfactory and abrupt way. Whether this was the intent of the author or whether he simply ran out of steam, the unexpected and hastily tied up ending was a sobering and somewhat disappointing experience. Though – it must be stated – I was not sorry to have been taken along for the ride.

Just shy of blundering excellence, this novel is a wonderful opening salvo into the works of an author with a flair for the anti-hero, and provides a fitting introduction to a series which promises the most motley crew of liars, cheats and thieves the empire has ever seen.

Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City is a fast-paced novel full of interesting and imperfect characters whose somewhat lacklustre ending managed to knock Orhan’s five-star crown clean off.

Though, knowing Orhan, he probably would have preferred it this way. 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Recent Impulse Book Buys


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… Recent Impulse Book Buys |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! This week we’re looking at our Top Ten books bought on a whim. As a result of my undeniable cover love and a rather impulsive nature, the majority of my bookshelf consists of impulse buys – so this Tuesday I’ve gone for my most recent acquisitions! In no particular order, here are the latest surprise additions to my shelves:
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| 1. |

BookofPhoenix

The Book of Phoenix

by Nnedi Okoraforheart

A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell….

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.

Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape.

But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future.
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| 2 |

The Folding Knife

by K.J. Parkerheart

Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man.

He is ruthless, cunning, and above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he’s only ever made one mistake.

One mistake, though, can be enough. heart

| 3 |

The Electric Church

Book One of the Avery Cates Series

by Jeff Somers

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In the near future, the only thing growing faster than the criminal population is the Electric Church, a new religion founded by a mysterious man named Dennis Squalor. The Church preaches that life is too brief to contemplate the mysteries of the universe: eternity is required. In order to achieve this, the converted become Monks — cyborgs with human brains, enhanced robotic bodies, and virtually unlimited life spans.

Enter Avery Cates, a dangerous criminal known as the best killer-for-hire around. The authorities have a special mission in mind for Cates: assassinate Dennis Squalor. But for Cates, the assignment will be the most dangerous job he’s ever undertaken — and it may well be his last. heart

| 4. |

The Rook

Book One of The Checquy Files

by Daniel O’Malley
heart

“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, The Rookis a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer. heart

| 5. |

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Book One of the Fairyland Series

by Catherynne M. Valente
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Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.heart

| 6. |

Malice

Book One of the Faithful and the Fallen

by John Gwynne

heart

A black sun is rising…

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors under King Brenin’s rule, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed shields in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars.

High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Some are skeptical, fighting their own border skirmishes against pirates and giants. But prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust. heart

| 7. |

Dark Eden

Book One of the Dark Eden Series

by Chris Beckett
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A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world: science fiction as it ought to be from British science fiction’s great white hope.

You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of Angela and Tommy. You shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees, hunting woollybuck and harvesting tree candy. Beyond the forest lie the treeless mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. The Oldest among you recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross between worlds. One day, the Oldest say, they will come back for you.

You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of two marooned explorers. You huddle, slowly starving, beneath the light and warmth of geothermal trees, confined to one barely habitable valley of a startlingly alien, sunless world. After 163 years and six generations of incestuous inbreeding, the Family is riddled with deformity and feeblemindedness. Your culture is a infantile stew of half-remembered fact and devolved ritual that stifles innovation and punishes independent thought.

You are John Redlantern. You will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. You will be the first to abandon hope, the first to abandon the old ways, the first to kill another, the first to venture in to the Dark, and the first to discover the truth about Eden.heart

| 8. |

The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King

by Michael R. Miller
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Dragons once soared in the skies, but that was before the Transformation, before they took human form. Now, demonic forces stand to obliterate them. When left mortally wounded, Darnuir, the Prince of Dragons, can only be saved through a dangerous rebirthing spell. He is left as a babe in human hands.

Twenty years later, Darnuir is of age to wield the Dragon’s Blade. As the last member of his bloodline, he is the only one who can. He is plunged into a role he is not prepared for, to lead a people he does not know. Shadowy demons ravage his new home and the alliance between humans, dragons and fairies has fractured.

Time is short, for new threats and deadlier enemies are emerging… heart

| 9. |

Shadow and Bone

Book One of the Grisha Trilogy

by Leigh Bardugo
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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.heart

| 10. |

city-of-bohane

City of Bohane

by Kevin Barryheart

Forty years in the future. The once-great city of Bohane on the west coast of Ireland is on its knees, infested by vice and split along tribal lines. There are the posh parts of town, but it is in the slums and backstreets of Smoketown, the tower blocks of the Northside Rises and the eerie bogs of Big Nothin’ that the city really lives.

For years, the city has been in the cool grip of Logan Hartnett, the dapper godfather of the Hartnett Fancy gang. But there’s trouble in the air. They say his old nemesis is back in town; his trusted henchmen are getting ambitious; and his missus wants him to give it all up and go straight… And then there’s his mother.

City of Bohane is a visionary novel that blends influences from film and the graphic novel, from Trojan beats and calypso rhythms, from Celtic myth and legend, from fado and the sagas, and from all the great inheritance of Irish literature. A work of mesmerising imagination and vaulting linguistic invention, it is a taste of the glorious and new.heart

Which books have you recently acquired on a whim? 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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Book Haul: February 13



The Rats 2


| The Rats by James Herbert |

Ahh another book which bears testimony to the fact that I cannot resist a shiny book cover! Having very few horror books in my reading repertoire, and barely managing to shift the one I’m currently dragging my way through- though I don’t dislike it by any means – I decided I’d break out of my genre comfort zone and give The Rats by James Herbert a try. Plus it has a foreword by Neil Gaiman… that should be worth reading at least!


| Synopsis |

It was only when the bones of the first devoured victims were discovered that the true nature and power of these swarming black creatures with their razor sharp teeth and the taste for human blood began to be realised by a panic-stricken city. For millions of years man and rats had been natural enemies. But now for the first time – suddenly, shockingly, horribly – the balance of power had shifted.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


The Folding KnifeThe Folding Knife 2


| The Folding Knife by K.J. Parker |

K.J Parker is one of those authors who I only know of because Amazon is desperately trying to get me to read their novels in a torrent of one dimensional recommendations. But it seems to have done the trick because here I am with Parker’s The Folding Knife to hand! Damn subconscious purchasing… I must admit though, the premise of this novel sounds right up my alley. Well played Amazon. Well played.


| Synopsis |

Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. Basso the Murderer. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man. He is ruthless, cunning and, above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he’s only ever made one mistake. One mistake, though, can be enough.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Electric Church


| The Electric Church by Jeff Somers |

Hello surprise sale purchase! The Electric Church and Jeff Somers were completely unknown to me before I happened across a wondrous bargain in the bookshop, but this series sounds very intriguing – and who doesn’t love a bit of cyberpunk? I can’t wait to give it a try!


| Synopsis |

In the near future, the only thing growing faster than the criminal population is the Electric Church, a new religion founded by a mysterious man named Dennis Squalor. The Church preaches that life is too brief to contemplate the mysteries of the universe: eternity is required. In order to achieve this, the converted become Monks — cyborgs with human brains, enhanced robotic bodies, and virtually unlimited life spans.

Enter Avery Cates, a dangerous criminal known as the best killer-for-hire around. The authorities have a special mission in mind for Cates: assassinate Dennis Squalor. But for Cates, the assignment will be the most dangerous job he’s ever undertaken — and it may well be his last.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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