Bookish Beats: Massive Attack – Mezzanine


Bookish BeatsMusic, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion.This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. 


Mezzanine

Massive Attack


Listen to with:

A beautiful but gritty fantasy

Such as:

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

Massive Attack returns in this week’s Bookish Beats with their phenomenal album Mezzanine. This modern masterpiece is, without a doubt, one of my favourite albums of all time and after a countless number listens has become one of my go-to albums whilst reading. If you’re looking for a soundtrack to a beautiful gritty fantasy, whether its urban or epic or something in between, then you can’t go far wrong with Mezzanine. This album really is a beauty.

Mezzanine is a throbbing, beautifully strange and artistic album which brought a surge of electronica to Massive Attack’s trip hop sound. Released in 1998 to wide critical acclaim, Mezzanine became Massive Attack’s most commercially successful album and, almost twenty years later, it’s not hard to see why. This is an atmospheric and addictive musical masterpiece whose lazy, rolling and electronica suffused beats, and surfeit of wonderful vocalists, have you reaching for the repeat button time after time.

Mezzanine opens with Angel, an almost hypnotic track whose slow beat and drawn out vocals take you to another world entirely. Featuring the reggae singer Horace Andy, whose vocals also appear in every one of Massive Attack’s other albums (his contribution to Heligoland on the track Girl I Love You is one of my all time favourites), this is one artist who doesn’t fail to make his presence felt with this pulsating, rhythmic and incredibly haunting track. Man Next Door, a track which features Andy’s reverberating and beat led vocals, becomes increasingly addictive as it reaches its pitch and is one of my favourite tracks on this entire album.

But there is another outstanding vocal contributor to Mezzanine who is more than worthy of a mention. Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, whose wonderful vocals also feature on The Lord of the Rings soundtrack on both Lothlorien and Isengard Unleashed, is a singer whose haunting and eerily addictive vocals contribute to some of the most stunning tracks on this album. Teardrop is arguably the most well known track on Mezzanine and for good reason; an emotive and incredibly beautiful piece, this is a track which ensnares you in Fraser’s vocals and refuses to let you go. But her genius doesn’t end there. Black Milk, another highlight from this album of highlights, and Group Four, one of my favourite tracks, both carry you above a steady underlying beat on a tide of Fraser’s haunting and brilliant vocals; vocals which truly make for a unique album.

Mezzanine is a phenomenal album which deserves its well recognised status. Horace Andy and Elizabeth Fraser make a stunning contribution and, for those of you who have yet to sample the Cocteau Twins or Andy’s other work, I urge you to check them out. Massive Attack never fail to impress and with Mezzanine have provided a wonderful backdrop to countless literary delights. This is one album which can’t be missed.

Favourite track

10 – Group Four

07 – Man Next Door

Top track for action

04 – Inertia Creeps

Top track for tension

01 – Angel

Top track for emotion

03 – Teardrop

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Book Haul: February 08



Drake 2


| Drake by Peter McLean |

Thanks to Tammy from Books, Bones and Buffy, I now have Peter McLean’s novel Drake to hand! This book has a fantastic premise and, had I not been fortunate to win it in a giveaway, I imagine it would have ended up on my bookshelf sooner or later! With a cast of hitmen, angels and demons, this is one book I cannot wait to start.


| Synopsis |

Hitman Don Drake owes a gambling debt to a demon. Forced to carry out one more assassination to clear his debt, Don unwittingly kills an innocent child and brings the Furies of Greek myth down upon himself.

Rescued by an almost-fallen angel called Trixie, Don and his magical accomplice The Burned Man, an imprisoned archdemon, are forced to deal with Lucifer himself whilst battling a powerful evil magician.

Now Don must foil Lucifer’s plan to complete Trixie’s fall and save her soul whilst preventing the Burned Man from breaking free from captivity and wreaking havoc on the entire world.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads



| Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard |

Following on from her beautiful novel The House of Shattered Wings, it was about time I hunted out some of de Bodard’s other writing. When I saw Servant of the Underworld, the first in her Obsidian and Blood series, I couldn’t resist! With its premise of murder, magic, Aztec priests and the underworld, this novel couldn’t seem more different to The House of Shattered Wings – but one I fully expect to enjoy!


| Synopsis |

Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, High Priest of the Dead must find her, or break the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


TheCrimsonRibbonThe Crimson Ribbon 2


| The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements |

It was the small endorsement from Karen Maitland on the spine of this book which made me pick it up off the sale pile – a piece of historical fiction full of obsession and superstition? That sounds just like my cup of tea. After doing a little bit of research I’m now convinced I made the right decision… now all I need to do is read it!


| Synopsis |

England 1646. The Civil War is raging and society turned upside down.

What should be a rare moment of blessing for the town of Ely takes a brutal turn and Ruth Flowers is left with little choice but to flee the household of Oliver Cromwell, the only home she has ever known. On the road to London, Ruth sparks an uneasy alliance with a deserting soldier, the battle-scarred and troubled Joseph. But when she reaches the city, it’s in the Poole household that she finds refuge.

Lizzie Poole, beautiful and charismatic, enthrals the vulnerable Ruth, who binds herself inextricably to Lizzie’s world. But in these troubled times, Ruth is haunted by fears of her past catching up with her. And as Lizzie’s radical ideas escalate, Ruth finds herself carried to the heart of the country’s conflict, to the trial of a king.

Based on the real figure of the extraordinary Elizabeth Poole, The Crimson Ribbon conjures a mesmerising story of two women’s obsession, superstition and hope.

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Review: The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard



The House of Shattered Wings

Book One of the Dominion of the Fallen

by Aliette de Bodard

Fantasy | 402 Pages | Published by Gollancz in 2015


| Rating |


Aliette de Bodard is another author I unearthed at the Gollancz Book Festival last year, one who I have been eager to read ever since. The House of Shattered Wings, with its premise of warring angels on the battlefield of a scarred and ruined Paris, sounded far too intriguing to miss. Delaying time only enough to not actually get a signed edition, I made my purchase, opened it up and became instantly absorbed in this broken world of ruinous glory. This is a novel which, despite some minor flaws, is a beautiful and captivating read and promises great things to come from an author who isn’t afraid to turn the world on its head.

A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out – literally – of a war in Heaven.

Paris has survived the Great Houses War – just. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens continue to live, love, fight and survive in their war-torn city, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over the once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, a alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation. They may be the architects of its last, irreversible fall…

The House of Shattered Wings follows the story of Paris following the fall of the angels and their subsequent war of dynasties; a clash of powerful houses which has already obliterated Paris and threatens to shake the city to its foundations once again. The Morningstar is gone, disappeared or dead – no one knows. His continued absence has left a void in House Silverspires and his apprentice and heir, Selene, must hold her House together. Something she is prepared to do at all costs.

But when a young angel falls to earth and is rescued from being brutally harvested for her magic, or Angel Essence, House Silverspires is turned on its head. A darkness is stalking its halls, killing its people and will stop at nothing but the complete destruction of the House. As we follow the story of Selene as she fights to retain power, along with Isabelle, the young fallen angel; Philippe, her would be murderer; and Madeleine, House Silverspires’ addict Alchemist, one thing remains uncertain – can House Silverspires survive those who conspire against her? Or will the darkness consume them all?

The true strength of this novel is de Bodard’s skill at descriptive worldbuilding. A ruined Paris is described in sumptuous detail – landmarks stand proud in their ruinous glory and its poisoned artery, the Seine, which has turned black with the corruption of magic, continues to flow through the heart of the city bringing with it death and ruin. de Bodard delights in taking the city apart, pulling down its stonework, shattering its stained glass, and creating a stunning backdrop to this new world of angels intent on underhanded and duplicitous warfare.

This is a novel with incredible vision and scope. Each dynasty, each House, is bound tightly in a web of intrigue, House politics and power struggles. Every character is tied just as tightly to their House, whether through free will or imprisonment, their very lives are linked to the House’s beating heart. And at the heart of House Silverspires is a distinct absence, a void left by the disappearance of the Morningstar. Without his power and influence, and with the other Houses vying for Silverspires’ destruction, it can only be a matter of time before it falls.

Characterisation in this novel is a much harder subject to tackle. Whilst each character is, in their own right, intriguing with the promise of a rich and detailed back-story, there was something about their depiction which failed to inspire an emotional connection in me that they otherwise might have. Madeleine was perhaps the exception to this trait. A flawed essence addict, she stumbles through the novel finding darkness and trouble at every opportunity with the inability to either confront or counter it. She remains a troubled but endearing character throughout whose singular emotional connection served to make her something of a heroine in this novel.

The majority of characters, however, read more like historical figures from a textbook; figures which tend to keep the reader at an arms length, are firmly separated by time, yet remain compelling enough to mitigate any negative impact their characterisation may have on the storyline. These characters remain fascinating to read but a further emotional connection would have served to win me over fully and add yet another dimension to the narrative.

The House of Shattered Wings is a vast and richly imagined novel which perhaps came to a head too soon. Although the storyline wraps up relatively neatly at its conclusion, I felt the absence of Morningstar and would have preferred the main antagonist to have featured more throughout the narrative and particularly towards the end of the novel. Despite these minor quibbles, this is a novel which also exhibits a lot of skill and strength in its writing – I defy anyone to not find any beauty in de Bodard’s descriptions – and, whilst I might not have connected with the majority of the cast, their promise of a rich and detailed history left me anxious to know more.

The House of Shattered Wings is a beautiful book with an impressive list of attributes to its name. Whilst there were some elements of the story which I wish were elaborated upon or explored further, it remains a distinctive, imaginative and exciting novel which takes its time to see you through to the end. I am definitely looking forward to spending more time in the Dominion of the Fallen.


Bookish Beats Suggestion

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The Monthly Round-Up: December 2015


The Monthly Round-Up - DecWelcome 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!


| Books Read |

December has come to an end and we’ve crossed the threshold into 2016 – and what a year it has been! I’m currently compiling my year in review but December alone was a great month of phenomenal fiction. With a hefty pile of novellas bulking up the number, I’ve discovered some fantastic authors, read some thrilling tales and been taken to some truly amazing worlds.

And in the process of devouring – my Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge was well and truly surpassed, I fell just short of the mark on my Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge and I well and truly flopped on my personal goals for December… But nevermind! This has been a fantastic month and here are the books to prove it:

| 1. |

Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

| 2. |

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

| 3. |

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

| 4. |

A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 5. |

Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 6. |

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

| 7. |

The Serpent by Claire North

| 8. |

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

| 9. |

Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 10. |

The Builders by Daniel Polansky

| 11. |

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

| 12. |

Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship by Aliette de Bodard

| 13. |

The Thief by Claire North


Book of the Month


The Serpent

by Claire North


| December Goals |

To finish at least one of the poor neglected novels which I am currently reading

(The Daylight War, NOS4R2 or Emma)

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

Status: Incomplete

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To read at least one Christmas themed novel

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

Status: Incomplete (though started!)

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| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 115/100 Books Read (115%)

Status: Completed

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 41/50 Books Read (82%)

Status: Incomplete


| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

The Serpent by Claire North

Superposition by David Walton

A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


                  

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna


| Other Posts From December |

December brings with it a new feature – The Friday Face-Off – where I pit cover against cover to discover the best cover art from across both sides of the pond.

The Monthly Round-Up: November 2015

The Month Ahead: December 2015

Cover Reveal: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie – UK Edition

Cover Reveal: Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Cover Reveal: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie – US Edition

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Oblivion OST

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Ex Machina OST

Bookish Beats: Massive Attack – Heligoland

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Debuts from the Gollancz Festival 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Classics of 2015

Top Ten ‘X-Mas’ Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Most Anticipated Releases of 2016

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 01 – Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 08 – Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

Teaser Tuesdays: December 15 – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

An X-Mas Teaser Tuesday: December 22 – The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 29 – Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

The Friday Face-Off: December 18 – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The Friday Face-Off: December 25 – The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

The Friday Face-Off: December 18


Friday Face Off 2cWelcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new feature 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 Friday Face-Off: The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard |

I’m a huge fan of literary cover art and love to see the different interpretations which appear from across the globe. With that in mind, I decided to start a new feature where I take a look at the artwork which graces some of the covers on my bookshelves and see which, if any, tips the balance in their favour.

This week I’m looking at the covers for a very promising book which I’m currently in the process of devouring. The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard is a fantasy novel set in Twentieth Century Paris and provides a wealth of beautiful description to inspire artists and designers the world over. Published by Gollancz in the UK and by Roc in the US, this week we have two very beautiful and very different covers to ogle. Take a look and see which cover you think comes out on top.


Gollancz – UK Cover

House-of-Shattered-Wings-UK-resized

 Design by Graeme Longhorne

“It’s a very different beast to the US cover – classier and more refined, but I really like the details (the window and its reflection in the water, broken up by debris; the jewel-like wings, which are very appropriate for my Fallen, whose magic is beautiful, addictive and highly prized.”

~ Aliette de Bodard

Roc – US Cover 

House-of-Shattered-Wings-2

Artwork by Nekro

“It’s got oodles of atmosphere, it says creepy in all the right places, and the burning feathers are just a lovely touch from the opening scene of the novel. This is meant to be Morningstar’s throne in Notre-Dame, in its current state, and I love the ruined city in the background!”

~Aliette de Bodard 


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

THoSW - Winner

The winner of this week’s Friday Face-Off is Roc’s US cover for The House of Shattered Wings. The Gollancz UK cover is beautiful – the wings are reminiscent of stained glass and I love the reflective ecclesiastical interior – but the Roc cover is gorgeous! I love the image of Morningstar’s throne in the foreground with the burning feathers floating down to earth, and the image of a ruined Paris emerging from the deep blue sky in the background. The typeface is simple and the overall composition is both eye-catching and elegant. A definite winner!


| Audio Book Bonus |

THoSW - audio

Orion Audio (UK) vs. Blackstone Audio (US)

And here are the covers for the UK and US audio books! This one is a much harder choice for me; I love the gothic tracery framing the Eiffel Tower on the US edition but the UK cover looks very atmospheric by comparison. The edge might be tipping in Orion Audio’s favour but I think I’m going to have to call this one a draw!


Have you read The House of Shattered Wings? Which is your favourite cover? 

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Teaser Tuesdays: December 15


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: December 15 |

The House of Shattered Wings

by Aliette de Bodard

Fantasy | 416 Pages | Published by Gollancz in 2015


“Like most buildings in Paris, it was covered with soot, the blackened streaks characteristic of spell residue. Once, it must have sheltered thousands—a natural refuge, an island only connected to the rest of the city by seven bridges, but now it lay empty and dark, and the river that had once been its first line of defense had turned wild, become a power that snapped and killed anything that came near its shores.”

~ p. 38, The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard


| Synopsis |

A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out – literally – of a war in Heaven.

Paris has survived the Great Houses War – just. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens continue to live, love, fight and survive in their war-torn city, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over the once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, a alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation. They may be the architects of its last, irreversible fall…

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 Month Ahead: December 2015


The Month Ahead - DecIn The Month Ahead, I will be rounding up the books I am currently reading, the ones I will start this month, and the ones I intend getting my mitts on… if I haven’t already! I will also be sharing any news about features or posts on Books by Proxy, and anything in the book world that has me all excited!


| Currently Reading |

We’re already well into December but seeing as I forgot to post ‘The Month Ahead’ when it was truly ahead, I figured now would be as good a time as any. And of course I still haven’t picked up three of the books which have been languishing on my currently reading pile for some time now… but there is always hope for December… if I don’t get distracted by too many shiny new books! Having made their way to the top of said pile, the currently reading list currently includes Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut and The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard.


| Current Events |

The 2016 Sci-Fi Experience
The 2016 Sci-Fi Experience

Hosted by Stainless Steel Droppingsheart


Upcoming Events |Rosemary and Rue Read Along

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The Rosemary and Rue Read Along

Organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 1 (Saturday 9th January)

Chapters 1-6 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 16th January)

Chapters 7-14 – hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Books

Week 3 (Saturday 23rd January)

Chapters 15-20 – hosted by Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings

Week 4 (Saturday 30th January)

Chapters 21-End – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

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Vintage Sci Fi Month

Vintage Sci-Fi Month

Hosted by Little Red Reviewer

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Blog Tour - The American

Blog Tour: The American by Nadia Dalbuono

Review scheduled for 16th January 2016

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| Book Haul |

So many fantastic new books! This month I’m very excited to have acquired Golden Son by Pierce Brown, The Copper Promise by Jen Williams and The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay – three books which have been on my to be read for a while now and which I cannot wait to read!

Pyr very kindly sent me Supersymmetry by David Walton which, after the brilliant Superposition, I’m looking forward to getting stuck into, and following the brilliant The Few by Nadia Dalbuono, I received The American from Scribe Publications and will be participating in the blog tour during January.

Along with Kay’s The Lions of Al-Rassan, I acquired Isaac Asimov’s Foundation as part of the Dragons and Jetpacks Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book of the Month, and after seeing the final film in the cinema, I finally thought it was about time to jump on the band wagon and read The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (yes – it’s about time!).

And last but not least we have Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds, a fantastic novella which I’ve already finished reading – review to come!heart


| December Goals |

To finish at least one of the poor neglected novels which I am currently reading

(The Daylight War, NOS4R2 or Emma)

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

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To read at least one Christmas themed novel

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

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Have you picked up any great books lately or read any of those mentioned above? What are your goals for the month ahead? 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Debuts from the Gollancz Festival 2015


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome 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… Debuts from the Gollancz Festival 2015 |

This week’s Top Ten was supposed to be a list of debut novels I’m most looking forward to in 2016. However, I’m quite useless at finding books that are yet to be published by authors I’ve never heard of so this week I’ve made a list of the authors and their debut novels that I discovered at the Gollancz Festival this year. I am yet to read any of these beauties though a number of them are topping my TBR pile!  In no particular order, here are my Top Ten… Debuts from the Gollancz Festival 2015 (with a bonus set of authors I discovered thanks to the Gollancz Festival):

| Debut Novels |

| 1. |

The House of Shattered Wings

by Aliette de Bodard

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A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out – literally – of a war in Heaven.

Paris has survived the Great Houses War – just. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens continue to live, love, fight and survive in their war-torn city, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over the once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, a alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation. They may be the architects of its last, irreversible fall…

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| 2. |

The Promise of the Child

by Tom Toner

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Lycaste is a lovesick recluse living in a forgotten Mediterranean cove who is renowned throughout the distorted people of the Old World for his beauty. Sotiris Gianakos is a 12,000-year-old Cypriote grieving the loss of his sister, a principled man who will change Lycaste’s life forever. Their stories, and others, become darkly entwined when Aaron the Longlife—the Usurper, a man who is not quite a man—makes a claim to the Amaranthine throne that threatens to throw the delicate political balance of the known galaxy into ruin.

The Promise of the Child is a stunning feat of imagination set against an epic backdrop ranging from 14th-century Prague, to a lonely cove near the Mediterranean Sea, to the 147th-century Amaranthine Firmament. Toner has crafted an intelligent space opera filled with gripping action and an emotional scale that is wonderfully intimate, a smart and compelling debut that calls to mind the best of Kim Stanley Robinson or M. John Harrison.

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| 3. |

Crashing Heaven

by Al Robertson

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A diamond-hard, visionary new SF thriller. Nailed-down cyberpunk ala William Gibson for the 21st century meets the vivid dark futures of Al Reynolds in this extraordinary debut novel.

With Earth abandoned, humanity resides on Station, an industrialised asteroid run by the sentient corporations of the Pantheon. Under their leadership a war has been raging against the Totality – ex-Pantheon AIs gone rogue.

With the war over, Jack Forster and his sidekick Hugo Fist, a virtual puppet tied to Jack’s mind and created to destroy the Totality, have returned home. Labelled a traitor for surrendering to the Totality, all Jack wants is to clear his name but when he discovers two old friends have died under suspicious circumstances he also wants answers. Soon he and Fist are embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not only their future but all of humanity’s. But with Fist’s software licence about to expire, taking Jack’s life with it, can they bring down the real traitors before their time runs out?

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| 4. |

Roboteer

by Alex Lamb

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A fast-paced, gritty, space-opera based on cutting edge science, perfect for fans of Peter F. Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds.

Roboteer is a hard-SF novel set in a future in which the colonization of the stars has turned out to be anything but easy, and civilization on Earth has collapsed under the pressure of relentless mutual terrorism.

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| 5. |

The Falconer

by Elizabeth May

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She’s a stunner.


Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.

But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.

Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.

The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

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| 6. |

The Relic Guild

by Edward Cox

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It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, went to war, everything was ruined and the Labyrinth became an abandoned forbidden zone, where humans were trapped behind boundary walls a hundred feet high.

Now the Aelfir are a distant memory and the Thaumaturgists have faded into myth. Young Clara struggles to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, where eyes are keen, nights are long, and the use of magic is punishable by death. She hides in the shadows, fearful that someone will discover she is touched by magic. She knows her days are numbered. But when a strange man named Fabian Moor returns to the Labyrinth, Clara learns that magic serves a higher purpose and that some myths are much more deadly in the flesh.

The only people Clara can trust are the Relic Guild, a secret band of magickers sworn to protect the Labyrinth. But the Relic Guild are now too few. To truly defeat their old nemesis Moor, mightier help will be required. To save the Labyrinth – and the lives of one million humans – Clara and the Relic Guild must find a way to contact the worlds beyond their walls.

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| 7. |

Robot Overlords

by Mark Stay

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Tie-in novel to a brilliant British film starring Gillian Anderson, Ben Kingsley and Callan McAuliffe.

To find his father, one boy must defy an empire…

Three years ago, Earth was conquered by a force of robots from a distant world. They have one rule:

STAY IN YOUR HOMES

Step outside and you get one warning before you’re vaporised by a massive robot Sentry, or a crawling Sniper, or a flying Drone. That’s if the vast Cube doesn’t incinerate you first.

But Sean Flynn is convinced that his father – an RAF pilot who fought in the war – is still alive. And when he and his gang figure out a way to break the robots’ curfew, they begin an adventure that will pit them against the might of the ROBOT OVERLORDS.

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| Newly Discovered |

| 8. |

Empire of the Saviours

by A.J. Dalton

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In the Empire of the Saviours, the People are forced to live in fortified towns. Their walls are guarded by an army of Heroes, whose task is to keep marauding pagans out as much as it is to keep the People inside. Several times a year, living Saints visit the towns to exact the Saviours’ tithe from all those coming of age – a tithe often paid in blood.

When a young boy, Jillan, unleashes pagan magicks in an accident, his whole town turns against him. He goes on the run, but what hope can there be when the Saviours and the entire Empire decide he must be caught?

Jillan is initially hunted by just the soldiers of the Saint of his region, but others soon begin to hear of his increasing power and seek to use him for their own ends. Some want Jillan to join the fight against the Empire, others wish to steal his power for themselves and others still want Jillan to lead them to the Geas, the source of all life and power in the world. There are very few Jillan can trust, except for a ragtag group of outcasts.

His parents threatened, his life in tatters, his beliefs shaken to the core, Jillan must decide which side he is on, and whether to fight or run . . .

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| 9. |

The Steel Remains

by Richard Morgan

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A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs Ringil Eskiath—Gil, for short—a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose cynicism is surpassed only by the speed of his sword. Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but when his mother enlists his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that more is at stake than the fate of one young woman. Grim sorceries are awakening in the land. Some speak in whispers of the return of the Aldrain, a race of widely feared, cruel yet beautiful demons. Now Gil and two old comrades are all that stand in the way of a prophecy whose fulfillment will drown an entire world in blood. But with heroes like these, the cure is likely to be worse than the disease.heart


| 10. |

The Death House

by Sarah Pinborough

This is an exceptional, contemporary, heart-breaking novel.

Toby’s life was perfectly normal . . . until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test.

Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House; an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They’re looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it’s time to take them to the sanatorium.

No one returns from the sanatorium.

Withdrawn from his house-mates and living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes.

Because everybody dies. It’s how you choose to live that counts.

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Have you read any of these books or authors? What’s your favourite debut novel of this year? 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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