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Fly Girl's Cabinet of Curiosities

curated by Thornton Rigg

Month

August 2016

Mistborn, The Final Empire : Brandon Sanderson

… pacy and intriguing …

On holiday I finally got round to reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.  As I hoped from such a well received book, it has a solid plot, satisfying world building, and some interesting story weaving with a passages from an unintroduced “memoire” at the head of each chapter.  00a_mb_ukI enjoyed the protagonist, Vin’s, development from lowly skaa to Mistborn and thought the various secondary, but very important characters, well drawn. My eyes did glaze over all the Allomancy explanations and metal technique in the fight scenes.  I just don’t think it’s necessary to go into the mechanics.  Character and plot are more important than the world in any fantasy and I am now interested to read a later work to see how his writing style has developed.  However, a great pacy and intriguing start to this trilogy.  Recommended.

Brandon Sanderson is the award-winning American author, best known for his Mistborn and his Stormlight series.  He is very prolific and seems to be working on loads of projects at the same time.  The Mistborn series has been followed by the Wax and Wayne series which sets the Mistborn world in a future, Western type arena.

Cover design moment: The UK covers for the series are an outstanding set by Sam Green, a London illustrator.  They really enhance the Mistborn concept.  Well done whoever commissioned them.

Mistborn was published by Tor back in 2006.

 

 

Revenger : Alastair Reynolds

… perfect escapism …

An entertaining adventure about the sisters, Adrana and Arafura, who escape a genteel bankruptcy by signing up on Captain Rackamore’s sunjammer, travelling through space scavenging ancient technology from highly protected planets.

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The girls are both “bone readers,” who can pick up traces of spacecraft communication using skulls from an ancient civilisation and so are valuable members of his hard-bitten crew.  Experienced writer, Alastair Reynolds has developed a beautifully constructed universe with plenty of room for sequels and introduced a likable protagonist in Fura as she grows up fast amidst treachery and bravery, robots and alien artefacts.  He uses a fair bit of Victorian slang to suggest a pirate/sea dog atmosphere which I found slightly irritating but the story romps along to a satisfying climax.  A perfect escapist read.

Alastair Reynolds is the award-winning author and astrophysicist best known for his Revelation Space and his Poseidon’s Children series.

Cover design moment: The UK cover is a stylish update on the standard and old fashioned hard boiled SciFi design with a stand-out spine in contrasting red.  The designer has not been credited in the ARC and I couldn’t find any reference to them – even in the Cover Reveal GollanczBlog post … UPDATE : Thanks to a heads up from Carole Heidi the design company is the brilliant Black Sheep.  Their website is here.

Revenger will be published by Gollancz on 15 September 2016.  I read a copy lent to me by Emily at A Festival of Books.  Thanks, Em!

Vigil : Angela Slatter

… dazzlingly inventiveness with smart as a whip one liners makes Vigil a sheer delight …  

Vigil is a brilliant urban fantasy from an accomplished Australian writer.  I read it too fast and had to force myself to slow down; I carried the book around just in case I had time to sneak a couple of pages … now, I can’t remember the last time I did THAT.

Smart and sassy detective, Verity Fassbinder, walks between the two Brisbanes, accompanied by (and bickering with) an assortment of entertaining characters such as Ziggi, the three eyed taxi driver; the Three Sisters who keep Little Venice cafe; and the grizzled Inspector McIntyre.

Damaged by memories of a dark Weyrd father and sore from an impossible Weyrd romance, Verity still feels duty bound to keep the peace, making sure the Weyrd remain hidden from the normal city.  Now multiple problems are clamouring for Verity’s attention including snatched children; an urban golem; a witchy wine maker and some seriously damaged sirens.

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Angela’s dazzlingly inventiveness of plot and character combined with smart as a whip one liners make Vigil a sheer delight to read.  I highly recommend it.

Angela Slatter is the award-winning author of various story collections. She has won the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award and five Aurealis Awards. Vigil is her first solo novel.

Vigil was published was Jo Fletcher Books (a Quercus imprint) on 16 July 2016.  I read a copy lent to me by Emily at A Festival of Books.  Thanks, Em!

 

 

Nevernight : Jay Kristoff

… exceptional world building …  with dazzling fights & unexpected treachery …

Like the inky shadows that swirl around the heroine, an undercurrent of darkness is never far away from this wonderful epic.  The story traces the story of sixteen year old Mia as she pulls herself and her fear drinking non-cat, Mister Kindly, up from despair and into the school of the Red Church.  With other student assassins, Mia battles through knife fights, blood pools and poisons, through staged trials and unexpected treachery, hoping to become a Blade in the service of the dark Mother – and then avenge her family.

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An exceptional world building talent, Jay has created a fascinating backdrop of setting and history in which to place his complex and likeable heroine, Mia.   Set amongst a well drawn array of secondary characters, the story has some great plot twists – with some dazzling fight and chase pieces – and a tremendous ending, with enough trailing lines for another book or two.

I enjoyed Jay’s deft use of flashbacks to create the past narratives, and his occasional move away from Mia’s point of view to create a particular effect. However, his footnotes!  After the first couple, I ignored them as they slowed the pace too much for me.

Apart from that, Nevernight is a real pleasure to read and I highly recommend it.

NB: Nevernight contains scenes of graphic sex and extreme violence and so is definitely Adult rather than Young Teen territory. 

Cover design moment : The UK cover is by Philippines-based illustrator, Kerby Rosanes, and is absolutely brilliant.  A real asset to the novel.  Well done whoever at HarperVoyager sourced and chose it – and for crediting him on the back.

Jay Kristoff is the author of the award winning Japanese Steampunk series, The Lotus War; and a second well received series, The Illuminae Files. With his work, Jay has been a winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Fiction and a nominee for the David Gemmell  Award.

Nevernight will be published by HarperVoyager on 11 August 2016.  I read an ARC lent to me by Emily at A Festival of Books.

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