Friday, October 30, 2009

Coming in the next two days a review for the novel Lightbreaker by Mark Teppo of the pacific north-west... I miss the Seattle area and reading this book makes me homesick for the gloomiest city in the usa....
Yes that is right another Urban Fantasy - I blame Sixty-one Nailsfor this renewed interest... Thanks Mike

If you have an interest in Urban fantasy and like sneek peeks there is an intro posted on Teppo's website here for you to read for free... yes the first hit is sometimes free

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sixty-One Nails "You'll Never be safe again."

As promised I will post my review on Sixty One Nails today (PST) and if you are at all interested in getting a free look check out the Angry Robot site hereLink to free preview chapters and get a hint of what is the good start to a series....
As you can see the publisher avoided the clich├ęs with the cover - no trench coats, no wide brimmed hats and no tranp stamp floozies are up for view and that is a good thing. The tone set by the cover tells much about the story - its moody and different for a genre that some authors are glutting the market with and others are calling dead or dying.
" You'll never be safe again"
The protagonist, Niall, is told this towards the end of the free preview above and like in reality safety is an illusion we work under; Niall just had that illusion shattered. His near death experience followed by his first meeting with Blackbird is just the beginning to his introduction to the world that was once hidden from him. During the course of the story Mark Shevdon skillfully takes his main character from a moderately content middle-aged divorced indulgent father of one to a potent and potential hero in a new and invigorating urban fantasy.
I had OD'ed on the Dresden stories a little over a year ago and had all but stopped reading urban fantasy not for lack of fun but from overdose. I had picked up the Castor novels by Carey but had not touched them and now have to happily thank the fine people at angry robot for sending Sixty One Nails for me to review. Mr. Shevdon in this first novel gave me just what I need; main characters that I feel for, care about and could get invested in. Rabbit and Blackbird revealed enough about themselves in get my attention but have held back secrets to keep my interest. In addition the background characters, the glimpses that I got of them in their screen time, gives me just enough to wet my appetite and make me want more... lots more in fact.
I feel that I don't want to give away too much but I will give you this, the story involves Courts of "Feyre", one which is in exile. The feyre are a mostly infertile race and had to breed with the fertile humans to survive and there are fey that he very differing views on these half breeds. There is magic in the book but its not what you may expect, there are battles that Niall fights and quests that he has to complete but they are not what you might expect. The people that populate this book deserve your attention if you have an interest in modern fantasy and you may be like me and have much to thank Mr. Shevdon for - thanks for something new sir that has renewed my faith in Modern Fantasy. Oh and he adds in some real London history here and there and that is a great thing too.
I have to say I cant wait for the next book "The Road to Bedlem" and with the end of Sixty-one nails, the changes that occured - I know it will be a different kind of book and that too is something nice to hope for even if it may be a bit unsafe. Here here to being Unsafe.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Faith in Urban Fantasy

Ok - I will be honest I did read too many Jim Butcher novels in a row that ended my siege on urban fantasy last year; its like smarties ( those are m&m's only better for thoes who are unfamiliar with the canadian candies) you'll eat the whole box but you'll be guilty after - it is candy after all. I have to thank Angry Robot for the ARC of Sixty One Nails which I will post a full fledged review by Tuesday night - Mark Shevdons feyre novel has renewed my faith that there is something new to be had in the sub-genre...can't wait for Road to Bedlam the second Rabbit and Blackbird novel...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I went to the post today and found a surprise awaiting me .... a package from somewhere that has to claim for tariff... Angry Robot has sent me another fine looking book to read and comment on... I really appreciate the gesture and hope to get to reading it soon. Sixty Six Nails comes out in the UK at the end of this month... Got to get through Kell's Legend first but if the prologue is any indication that will not take to long to get through...

Sixty Six Nails calls itself Urban Fantasy - hope that it has a sharper edge then most --- don't get me wrong I like me Dresden but I hunger for another unique voice.....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stark Beauty

As promised today I am posting my thoughts on Winters Song by Colin Harvey published by Angry Robot . The blog Walker of Worlds has already posted a very good review of the novel so do go and check out what he had to say too at his blog
The new publisher Angry Robot ranges a multitude of sub-genres and with Winters Song adds something very hard in the Science Fiction category; according to one of the back cover blurbs "Rock -hard science Fiction adventure...No one gets out alive." Well I agree, the body count is fairly high, but I would add or unchanged to the statement."

Winters Song relies on very few science fiction tropes, they are present in the novel, but the story is about much more then hyperspace, implanted personalities, terraforming and transhumanism. The conflicts that are present in the tale could have taken place in a secluded community now or in the last century, or millennia struggling with limited resources and questions of personal responsibility to community and society. Karl Allman, the protagonist and catalyst for change, crashes pretty spectacularly on a barely habitable planet (its a description worthy of Ian Banks here). He is helped by Bera a woman shunned by her social group/fostered family for an illegitimate and failed child.
Together these two break from the trial group causing a hunt across the icy and mostly barren and strangely, starkly beautiful landscape encountering the sometimes hostile and more often poisonous local fauna Karl looking for a possibly mythical ship/beacon through which he can send a signal for aid and Bera looking for freedom from the oppressive system that has kept the failing colony going for generations.
The above description does no real justice to the well crafted society that recalls the "Formers" that abandoned the unprofitable colony to fend for itself. In looking back on the story there is a great deal of heroism in the struggle of Ragnar's(the family "chieftain") and his small town you might call it. They may be harsh and repressive to us and the hero's of the story but in fact there is a nobility in their struggle. There are other elements that invade the story - but I think that those elements are best left to be discovered as the tae unfolds. Know that there is lots more at heart in this tale then the tropes that some authors use as central elements, this is a tale about personal struggle and will leave you thinking about it weeks later.
The tale that Colin Harvey is a worthy additions to the science fiction invasion that has come from England in the last decade. He deserves a place on your shelf along with Asher, Reynolds, Hamilton and Stross. He is not them, don't expect him to he but check him out.