Mother Nature can be a scary bitch. Forget horror movies; if you ever want to see some truly messed up, freaky bone-chilling stuff, look no further than your BBC nature documentary. Case in point: the “Jungles” episode of Planet Earth. After so many years, that infamous scene of the killer parasitic fungus bursting forth from the back of a dead ant’s head like some kind of grotesque alien worm still gives me the heebie-jeebies—and clearly, I’m...

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The Tethered Mage was a very enjoyable read with an interesting magic system. Individuals in this world develop a tell tale mage-mark (a ring on their iris) as they develop their magical ability. There are different types of abilities that may manifest and some display at a younger age than others. But regardless of ability, if a child displays the mage-mark, they must be enlisted as a Falcon. A “jess” is put on their arm to contro...

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While it may be a little bloated at times, which unfortunately weighs the story down in its later sections, overall I have to say Blackwing is a pretty solid debut. Writing vividly and originally, Ed McDonald has managed to pull off something few authors have been able to do in recent years—open my eyes to a new way of doing grimdark. In this novel we follow our protagonist Ryhalt Galharrow, who is a bounty hunter and captain for the Blackwing...

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A solid 3.5 star read. Kat Howard enchanted me with her debut Roses and Rot last year, so I was excited to check out An Unkindness of Magicians, her sophomore novel about a hidden world of magic and power. In this “Unseen World”, members of elite magical houses come together every few years to duke it out in a tournament called the Turning, with each family represented by their chosen champion. Ostensibly held to place each house in a hierarch...

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Imposters of Aventil carries forward with the fun and excitement I’ve come to expect from the Maradaine series. The Thorn has a habit of getting himself in compromising positions sometimes, and bending (OK, maybe breaking) the law to suit his end purpose fighting the drug trade. But in this, he finds himself the suspect in cases he has nothing to do with. There is an imposter who is using the guise of the Thorn while stirring up trouble with b...

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Magicians Impossible is a fun and exciting adventure that introduces magic to our world. I think this book should do well with readers that are fans of The Magicians by Lev Grossman. It features an older protagonist than a typical coming into powers or magic school book, and with just one or two exceptions, he has been a loner for most of his life. After the death of his estranged father, Jason’s world turns upside down and he finds hims...

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One of the largest holes in my fantasy reading repertoire is older works. I’ve been reading the genre for only about 5 years, so I missing practically a lifetime of reading, and I have to confess to being easily distracted by all the new and shiny books as they are released. So when people talk about classics of fantasy, I’m ashamed to admit that I usually don’t have much to contribute. When Tachyon offered a copy of this for...

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Hannah’s world is turned upside down when her parents split up. But when the Devil wakens from a long nap to discover someone is stealing the evil deeds of humanity, Hannah and her family will be central to putting this right. For various shades of right. He is the Devil, after all. I’ve been a big fan of Michael Marshall Smith for years, and his books are few and far enough between that a new one is always a celebration (yes, ther...

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Soul of the World is a good debut that sets the stage for an epic, world spanning series featuring magic, fantastical creatures and beasts. Three very different perspectives are used to give us the world view, which features a new and old world, and while there are different names, it feels much like England, France and the Americas. Aruk’Jar gives insights into the wilds and tribal life and customs. There is a strong tradition of gender...

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In Raid, Merbeth takes us back to the wastes where we can see all the violence and messiness that comes with it. If you haven’t read Bite, I can sum it up as a post-apocalyptic type, mad max type of world. With cannibals (or sharks as they are called in the books). It can be an isolating world, and the perspective of Clementine really highlights this. She hunts raiders, who destroy and endanger towns, but it also actually feeds her isola...

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10/10
Review: Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher
Reviews / December 25, 2015

R. Scott Bakker. Steven Erikson. Peter Watts. When you think of dark, epic, mind-bending genre fiction from north of the 49th parallel, these gentlemen are the undisputed masters. It may be uncharacteristically bold and presumptuous to demand that a new name be added to that list so soon in his career, but I’ll be damned if Michael R. Fletcher hasn’t earned it. Seriously, Beyond Redemption really is that good. If our worl...

Guest Post and Giveaway: Romance in Speculative Fiction by Anna Kashina
Giveaway , Guest Post / December 24, 2015

Today we’re pleased to welcome Anna Kashina to talk about Romance in Speculative Fiction! Also be sure to check out our giveaway for the first two books in her Majat Code series. The third one, Assassin’s Queen, releases this June. Hope you enjoy!       Romance plays a big role in our everyday life. Because of that, I find it to be a very natural element of fiction as well. In fact, I have been writing for ...

0
10/10
Comic Review: Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda
Reviews / December 23, 2015

Monstress is absolutely stunning comic with a dark story and artwork that is simply gorgeous. I really can’t stress enough how much I loved all the imagery. I will readily admit to being a complete novice when it comes to comics, having read pretty much just Saga and Locke and Key, but even as a novice I feel secure in saying that this is one comic that you just can’t miss. Even if you are not into comics, it is worth pic...

0
10/10
Review: Nightwise by R.S. Belcher
Reviews / December 22, 2015

I loved the first two books in Rod Belcher’s Golgotha series, and I was curious to see what else he could do. And boy am I glad I picked up this book! I was blown away by his fascinating magic system, not to mention the characters. Best of all, Belcher has some mad writing skills, in case you appreciate that sort of thing, which I do. While his Golgotha books contain multiple points of view, this story is told in first person from th...

1
9/10
Review: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
Reviews / December 21, 2015

The Grace of Kings really is a work of epic proportions.  A story of rebellion and war, victory and defeat, friend and foe and ultimately an incredibly poignant and sometimes sad look at friendships.  The story is dripping with issues of trust, deceit and betrayal whilst also telling some incredibly moving stories of love and loyalty. I’ve only read one of Liu’s short stories before The Grace of Kings and on the strength ...

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5/10
Review: Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden
Reviews / December 17, 2015

The concept behind Dead Ringers is definitely a bit creepy and as you get further into the book, there are some seriously haunting scenes. The thought of suddenly coming across another person that is so identical to yourself, to the point that even close family can not tell the difference is strange. I will admit at times something about this tested my willing suspension of disbelief, I think because it happened to a number of charac...

0
10/10
Review: Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb
Reviews / December 16, 2015

At one time, the second (or middle) book of a trilogy was a thing to be dreaded – a book to be endured as a necessary sort of narrative bridge, with the built-in expectation that any lack of enjoyment is to be tempered by anticipation for the concluding book to follow. While there have been a few ‘new’ authors (such as Jeff Salyards and Sebastien de Castell) who have bucked that trend, I really didn’t expect t...

0
8/10
Review: Time and Time Again by Ben Elton
Reviews / December 15, 2015

While I enjoy time travel books as much as the next reader, I still recall my doubts when I was first pitched this book: What if I don’t know that much about World War I? How much history do I need to know in order to follow the plot? Will I still be able to enjoy this story? Looking back at those questions now, I have to laugh. Really, I needn’t have worried about a thing. Even though history is at the center of this plot and WWI is...

1
10/10
Review: The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence
Reviews / December 14, 2015

The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence is the second instalment in the Red Queen’s War trilogy that once again follows in the footsteps of two of fantasy’s most unlikely companions in Prince Jalan Kendeth and Snorri ver Snagason.  I awaited this book with eager anticipation and can say from the outset that it lived up to my expectations and then some. The story begins as Snorri and Jal take a somewhat less than cheerful departure from the N...

Upcoming Releases: December 8 – 19, 2015
Upcoming Releases / December 12, 2015

Here’s a rundown of the books we think you should look out for in coming in the week. See any that you are really looking forward to? Find any you had not heard of yet? Know of books we missed? We know we don’t have everything and would love to hear what you feel we may have overlooked. December is a slower month for releases, but that doesn’t mean there’s not new books worth checking out! Instead of doing the normal week...