Jay Kristoff: Godsgrave
Published by Harper Voyager 7th September 2017
Conquer your fear, conquer the world. Mia Corvere, destroyer of empires, has found her place among the Blades of
Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry do not believe
she has earned it. Her position is precarious, and she's still no closer to exacting revenge for
the brutal death of her family. But after a deadly confrontation with an old
enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself. When it is announced that Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo will be making a
rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia
defies the Church and sells herself into slavery for a chance to fulfill the
promise she made on the day she lost everything. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more
questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies
unfold, secrets are revealed and the body count rises within the collegium
walls, Mia will be forced to choose between her loyalties and her revenge.
Superlative fantasy writing from Jay Kristoff - the beauty of this book is that only subtle hints here and there confirm that it's not set on Earth, or at least a world with which we are familiar. This author is a fantasy genius...
Christie Golden: Star Wars Battlefront II - Inferno Squad
Published by Century 27th July 2017
Set in the aftermath of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, this
action-packed prequel to the hotly anticipated videogame Battlefront II
introduces the Empire’s elite force: Inferno Squad.
humiliating theft of the Death Star plans and the destruction of the battle
station, the Empire is on the defensive. But not for long. In retaliation, the
elite Imperial soldiers of Inferno Squad have been called in for the crucial
mission of infiltrating and eliminating the Partisans―the rebel faction once led
by notorious Republic freedom fighter Saw Gerrera.
Following the death of
their leader, the Partisans have carried on his extremist legacy, determined to
thwart the Empire―no matter the cost. Now Inferno Squad must prove its status as
the best of the best and take down the Partisans from within. But the growing
threat of being discovered in their enemy’s midst turns an already dangerous
operation into a do-or-die acid test they dare not fail. To protect and preserve
the Empire, to what lengths will Inferno Squad go . . . and how far beyond
The Rebellion may have heroes like Jyn Erso and Luke Skywalker.
But the Empire has Inferno Squad.
This excellent standalone Star Wars Adventure has all the right elements to make it a blockbuster - absolutely brilliant!
Sabaa Tahir: A Torch Against The Night
Published by Harper Voyager 27th August 2017
The sequel to the explosive New York Times bestselling debut AN EMBER IN THE
ASHES, that’s captivated readers worldwide. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt Elias and Laia as
they flee the city of Serra. Laia and Elias are determined to break into the Empire’s most secure and
dangerous prison to save Laia’s brother, even if for Elias it means giving up
his last chance at freedom. They will have to fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the
bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of
Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene―Elias’s former friend and the
Empire’s newest Blood Shrike. Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own―one that
might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who
helped him escape . . . and kill them both. In 2015, one book emerged as the most highly acclaimed fantasy debut. Now,
the sequel will set the world on fire.
Top notch fantasy from Sabaa Tahir - I didn't get to review An Ember In The Ashes, more's the pity, but you can pick up some of what occurred in the first book as you go along.
George R R Martin: The Mystery Knight
Published by Harper Voyager 24th August 2017
A full-color graphic novel edition of The Mystery Knight, one of the
thrilling Dunk and Egg novellas from George R. R. Martin's A Knight of the Seven
Kingdoms and a prequel of sorts to A Game of Thrones. "Every wedding needs a singer, and every tourney needs a mystery knight." Westeros is eerily peaceful. King Aerys I sits on the Iron Throne. A ravaging
plague has abated. Yet beneath the surface, tensions linger sixteen years after
a failed rebellion. In these restless times, noble hedge knight Ser Duncan the
Tall – Dunk, to his friends – and his precocious boy squire, Egg, travel the
Seven Kingdoms performing chivalrous deeds, though Egg's bloodline must be
concealed at all costs. After heading north for Winterfell, Dunk and Egg are lured off the kingsroad
by a wedding feast–and an unusually lucrative tournament. The champion jouster
will claim a rare trophy indeed: a dragon's egg. Dunk, always better in a melee,
would be satisfied with a hot meal, a cup of wine, and a purse full of coins.
But a treasonous plot is more likely to hatch before another dragon ever
stretches its wings. Someone's on to Egg. And a mystery knight with designs on
an even bigger prize soon throws the entire affair into chaos.
This is only the second graphic novelisation of some of Game of Thrones I've seen, but there may be more. The artwork is sensationally good, and the words are expertly crafted to suit the illustrations. First rate entertainment.
H G Wells: The War Of The Worlds
Published by Oxford World's Classics 24th August 2017
'Cities, nations, civilization, progress-it's all over. That game's
up. We're beat.'
One of the most important and influential
invasion narratives ever written, The War of the Worlds (1897)
describes the coming of the Martians, who land in Woking, and make their way
remorselessly towards the capital, wreaking chaos, death, and destruction. The
novel is closely associated with anxiety about a possible invasion of Great
Britain at the turn of the century, and concerns about imperial expansion and
its impact, and it drew on the latest astronomical knowledge to imagine a desert
planet, Mars, turning to Earth for its future. The Martians are also
evolutionarily superior to mankind.
As with all Oxford World's Classics, there are copious notes and explanations, and the front cover illustration by renowned space illustrator David Hardy makes this one of the best versions to have.
Adrian J Walker: The Last Dog On Earth
Published by Del Rey 7th September 2017
Every dog has its day…
And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel
from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his
owner just how loyal he can be.
Reg, an agoraphobic writer with an
obsession for nineties football, plans to wait out the impending doom in his
second floor flat, hiding himself away from the riots outside.
an abandoned orphan shows up in the stairwell of their building, Reg and Lineker
must brave the outside in order to save not only the child, but themselves…
Always nicer when there's a dog in a story... somehow I can't imagine a world without dogs, and Lineker steals the show for me!
Benjamin Percy: The Dark Net
Published by Hodder & Stoughton 3rd August 2017
The dark net is an online shadowland for criminals to operate anonymously,
but when a demonic force begins to hack the minds of its users there is nowhere
left to hide. Twelve-year-old Hannah has been fitted with a high-tech prosthetic that
restores her sight, but can't understand why she can now see shadows surrounding
certain people. Lela, an emotionally shut-off, technophobic journalist stumbles onto a story
nobody wants her to uncover. A story someone will kill to keep hidden. A former evangelist, Mike, suffers demons - figurative and literal - and
keeps an arsenal of weapons stored in the basement of the homeless shelter he
runs. And Derek, is a hacker who believes himself a soldier, part of a cyber army
dedicated to changing the world for the better. With the virus spreading throughout the net and an ancient evil threatening
to break lose on the real world, it falls to these strangers to stop the rising
darkness. THE DARK NET is a cracked-mirror version of the digital nightmare we
already live in, a timely and wildly imaginative techno-thriller about the evil
that lurks in real and virtual spaces, and the power of a united few to fight
The trouble with the Dark Net is that it's all true, I believe, which makes this tense thriller even more scary than it otherwide would have been...
Ray J Newell: Tintagel
Published by Matador 28th August 2017
While playing on a cliff ledge in Cornwall, a young man, Dejon, discovers the
Sword of Shaftesbury, which once belonged to the Celtic God, Bran. However,
Dejon gets more than he bargained for, as he finds the wizard Cadgwith, father
of Merlin, trapped within it. Cadgwith's granddaughter, Sennen, is in mortal
danger and upon releasing the wizard, Dejon is persuaded to help. In order to
save Sennen from the evil sea lord Mullion, Dejon is transported to Tintagel in
the year 410 AD. However, by mistake, Dejon's rival Jamie falls into the spell
and lands in the dungeon of the castle, where he meets Mithian, the hero of the
local people; after several mishaps, all three escape the castle together. The
King of Tintagel hates his stepdaughter, Ruth. She is a revered general and
leads her own rebel army within the castle. She is a fearless fighter, respected
by all sides. A slow and brooding love story develops in a battle for Ruth's
affections between her childhood friends Mithian and Delaboe, her comrades in
arms, and Dejon. Mullion assembles a fearsome army and travels through time,
joining forces with Quin, leader of a band of Cornish cutthroats and vagabonds.
The teenage rivals bring twenty-first century humour and logic to those dark
days of death before dishonour. Dejon uses the magic sword as a flying
skateboard, encountering spirits, gods, druids - and even the Grim Reaper!
Tintagel crosses Cornwall from north to south and from east to west with
authentic references to the geography and the history of the time. At first
glance it may seem like a fairy tale, but don't be fooled - it is for adults
only! A pulse-pounding read, Tintagel will appeal to fans of fantasy series such
as The Chronicles of Narnia and Game of Thrones.
Marilyn Messik: Witch Dust
Published by Matador 28th August 2017
A red gash of a mouth rimmed with impossibly tiny, razor-sharp teeth yawned
wide, then swift as a snake, she bent and struck. For Sandra, daughter of
illusionists, Adam and Ophelia, life's never been run of the mill! But when
Adam's wandering eye lights on yet another conquest, it proves a chorus girl too
far, and Sandra's caught in the reverberations of her parents acrimonious
parting. Coerced into restoring her depressed Mother to the bosom of a family
Sandra never knew existed, she's sucked into a situation that even for her is
unnerving. From being without a single relative, she suddenly acquires several
she'd rather do without, and learns a few home truths she'd prefer not to know.
Ophelia, it appears, has not been entirely honest about any number of things.
There's no doubt in Sandra's mind, the sooner she puts as much distance as
possible between herself, her newly discovered nearest and dearest, their
peculiar tendencies and their failing hotel business, the happier she's going to
be. Dire straits call for desperate measures and Sandra reluctantly rises to the
occasion. A hanged housemaid, a fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Psychic Society
and a quasi co-operative journalist all handled correctly should, she reckons,
get the family business up and running, which will allow her to do the same - as
fast as she can, and in the opposite direction. Things unfortunately move
swiftly from bad to farce and then get a hell of a lot darker. One moment
Sandra's struggling to save the family's income, the next, she's battling to
save their lives. Turns out, some darknesses, once buried, are best left
Nicholas Romano: DP Goes A-Roving
Published by The Book Guild 28th July 2017
DP Goes A-Roving is a fantastical tale, woven through with elements of the
surreal and bizarre, which will appeal to fans of historical and
character-driven novels. Centred on the ups and down of Dino, a young boy
endeavouring to make sense of a hideous war, a matriarchal mother, an absentee
father, and Blackshirt vs. partisan goings-on, not to mention puppy love.
The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its sixteenth year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email and I'll let you know where to send it.