The Speculative Herald’s Best of 2015
Book List / December 5, 2015

  One of the perks I’ve found with working with several bloggers is that we can cover more books than we have time to read on our own. So, when it came time to make our Best of 2015 list, I decided to ask each of the contributors to submit a ranked list of their favorite books (yep, I’m mean like that. Choosing favorites can be hard, ranking is even harder). I then used a scaled points system to calculate an over all list. So, the end result features a variety of books that either several of us agreed belong in the top 10, or books that perhaps just one reviewer read, but placed in their high on their ranked choices of the year. With so many great choices we had to expand our collaborative list past just 10 books to 25. Since our blog started late in the year, many of these books do not currently have reviews here. But we do plan on adding them, so keep your eye out. So here it is, Speculative Herald’s list of our absolute favorite books from 2015! And because I like to get straight to the good stuff, I am listing them in order starting with…

Review: The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman
Reviews / December 2, 2015

The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman is the second in series that got off to a great start with the Invisible Library.  I think that this book could probably be read as a standalone however I would personally recommend reading the first in series because it’s just so good.  I will forewarn you that whilst I will try to avoid spoilers for The Masked City the review may contain spoilers for the first book so please bear that in mind. By way of context the Invisible Library is a library that exists in a different dimension.  From within there appear to be no boundaries and the library is a vast labyrinth that can take days if not weeks to traverse.  The role of the Librarians is to travel to alternate worlds and recover books that are about to disappear and then preserve those books for all time. Using an unusual form of magic the librarians are able to travel to alternate worlds by stepping through a portal within the library and coming out in a library ‘elsewhere’.  The number of possible alternate worlds is immense and each one is different in terms of magical ability or occupants.  In the first…

Giveaway: Updraft by Fran Wilde
Giveaway / November 6, 2015

Another great day, another chance to win a great book!  Updraft has been out for a little while now and this is a reminder that perhaps you should read it.   If you live in the U.S. or Canada be sure to enter to win a copy.   Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage. Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City. As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever – if…

Review: Made to Kill by Adam Christopher
Reviews / November 2, 2015

I loved Made to Kill – it’s so completely different than anything I’ve read recently – I didn’t know what to expect and almost went into it negatively so it was a great surprise to enjoy it so much.   Witty, well written and just downright good reading that made me laugh out loud.  I’ve not read Adam Christopher before but I’ll certainly be taking a look back at his other work after this.   Set in an alternative 60s universe Made to Kill revolves around one central character, who just so happens to be a robot.  In this version of 60s Los Angeles the technology was slightly more advanced than our own of that period and the Government created a programme to roll out robots across the country to take up dangerous or menial tasks.  Unfortunately it was not a success and people railed against their jobs being taken over by robots.  As a result the programme was scrapped and all the robots destroyed.  All but one.  Raymond.  Part of a slightly different programme, Raymond and his super computer Ada survived the destruction and as part of an alternative exercise set up their own PI agency.  The Electromatic Detective Agency.  Well,…

Review: Mystic by Jason Denzel
Reviews / October 27, 2015

Mystic is very much a coming of age, perhaps somewhat standard fare for a young adult novel. And maybe you could say the story, in some ways, was predictable. But you know what? I don’t care. I found the characters refreshing, I wanted to read their experiences as they venture through this story. So, regardless of anything that felt familiar, I still really enjoyed it (remember, sometimes familiar is fun when the story is told well). Mystic is a book to immerse yourself in, in a way that makes you feel you can join the adventure as it unfolds on the page. It is very much a character driven story and the reader’s connection with Pomella is crucial to make this work. Luckily, I found Pomella very intriguing and wanted to root for her the entire time. Even though this is a character driven story, the magic in it is also very cool. The Myst is the magical force/entity/power in which “magic” lives. This type of magic feels natural, like part of the earth and environment, but only select people have the ability to access and manipulate it. Honestly, I loved the Myst and how those who could call on…

Review: An Apprentice to Elves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
Reviews / October 13, 2015

An Apprentice to Elves is a rather beautifully written story that takes us to the land of the North, Iskryne.  This is a harsh place to survive, its people have withstood many attacks not least of all from the  Trells (trolls that seem to be able to move stone to their will) and have also learnt to stay alive during the fierce winters. Their metal is about to be tested greatly by the arrival of the Rheans.  It’s difficult to withstand an enemy that has seemingly endless resources and is both ruthless and determined.  This is book No.3 of the Iskryne Trilogy.  I haven’t read the first two books but feel that this reads well as a standalone and, whilst based on my experience with this I would quite like to go back and explore the previous novels, I don’t think it’s necessary to do so before picking up An Apprentice to Elves.  I would also mention that not having read the previous books I may unwittingly include spoilers so please be aware of that possibility before reading my review. At the start of the story we are introduced to Alfgyfa who has, in an attempt to establish better relations between men…

Upcoming Releases: October 11 – 17, 2015
Upcoming Releases / October 10, 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.   FANTASY              SCIENCE FICTION     FANTASY                                       SCIENCE FICTION                 FANTASY             SCIENCE FICTION  

Upcoming Releases: October 4 – 10, 2015
Upcoming Releases / October 3, 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.   FANTASY          URBAN FANTASY           SCIENCE FICTION     FANTASY                                            URBAN FANTASY               SCIENCE FICTION                         FANTASY          URBAN FANTASY           SCIENCE FICTION

Review: Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
Reviews / October 1, 2015

A lot of the books that I’m excited for in 2015 are actually releasing quite late this year, so as we sauntered into fall and said good bye to summer, I was getting ready to say hello to a couple of my most anticipated titles. Shadows of Self was most definitely near the top of that list. I’m a big fan of Brandon Sanderson, and I absolutely loved The Alloy of Law – probably more than all three books of the original Mistborn trilogy put together, so small wonder that I was really looking forward to this follow-up. If there’s one thing I can never resist, it’s a good Fantasy meets Western setting. Three centuries after the events at the end of The Hero of Ages, the world of Mistborn has transformed into something altogether different. We’re on the cusp of an era similar to the industrial revolution, and all around are new inventions giving rise to mild hints of steampunk. On the outskirts of the built-up city of Elendel is a dusty, lawless territory known as the Roughs, where our protagonist Lord Waxillium Ladrian made his name as a lawman-for-hire. Magic, however, is alive and well. Allomancy and Feruchemy…