More inexpensive ebook goodies!

Until the end of the year, you can download Brandon Sanderson's The Alloy of Law for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Fresh from the success of The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson, best known for completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time®, takes a break to return to the world of the bestselling Mistborn series.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn, who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

You can also get your hands on the author's definitive edition of Peter Orullian's The Unremembered for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Peter Orullian's epic fantasy debut The Unremembered has been critically acclaimed, earning starred reviews and glowing praise. But now it gets even better. In anticipation of the second volume in Orullian's epic series, and for one of the few times in our publishing history, we at Tor are choosing to relaunch a title with an author's definitive edition.

In addition to stunning updates to the original text, we're also including an exclusive short story set in the world of Vault of Heaven as well as a sneak preview of the sequel, Trial of Intentions, and a glossary to the universe.

The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy however, they sealed the rogue god-and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortal kind-in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that protected humankind for millennia has become weak and creatures of nightmare have now come through. Those who stand against evil know that only drastic measures will prevent a devastating invasion.

Tahn Junell is a hunter who's unaware of the dark forces that imperil his world, in much the same way his youth is lost to memory. But an imperious man who wears the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far have shared with Tahn the danger. They've asked him, his sister, and his friends to embark with them on a journey that will change their lives . . . and the world . . . forever. And in the process, he'll remember . . .

A bit of humor. . .

Didn't know Yoda was such a pervert! :P

Patrick Rothfuss contest winners!

Thanks to the generosity of the great folks at Daw Books, these three winners will get their hands on a copy of the trade paperback edition of Patrick Rothfuss' The Slow Regard of Silent Things! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners are:

- Steve Howard, from Stamford, Connecticut, USA

- Bobby V. Berry, Jr., from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, USA

- Jason Bellows, from Orem Utah, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

There are quite a few Raymond E. Feist titles available on the cheap! Shadow of a Dark Queen, opening chapter of the Serpentwar series, can be downloaded for only 2.99$ here!

Here's the blurb:

Acclaimed, New York Times bestselling fantasist Raymond E. Feist gets his masterful Serpentwar Saga off to a spectacular start with Shadow of a Dark Queen. Feist’s classic epic fantasy adventure returns readers to ever-imperiled Midkemia, a breathtaking, richly imagined realm of magic and intrigue, where two unlikely heroes must rally the forces of the land to stand firm against a malevolent race of monsters intent upon conquest and annihilation. Locus magazine calls Shadow of a Dark Queen, “the place to start for those yet to discover Feist’s fantasy worlds.” For fans of Terry Goodkind, George R. R. Martin, and Terry Brooks—and for anyone not already in the thrall of this astonishing author’s literary magic—that is excellent advice indeed.

The sequel, Rise of the Merchant Prince, is available for the same low price here.

You can also sample another one of the author's bestselling series with Talon of the Silver Hawk, first volume of the Conclave of Shadows series, available for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A sweeping new epic fantasy series from worldwide bestselling author Raymond E Feist, marking the 20th year since the first publication of his first novel, Magician. Featuring one of the most fascinating characters and scenarios ever created in the genre, The Conclave of Shadows promises to become one of the great all-time classics in the field.

Among the Orosini tribe, every boy must undergo the traditional manhood ritual in order to understand his place in the universe and discover his manhood name. Kielianapuna must survive on the remote mountain peak of Shatana Higo until the gods grant him his vision. But Kieli has already waited for four days and nights, and now he is cold, lonely, despairing, and very, very tired…

When he is woken by the terrifying sensation of sharp claws piercing his skin and finds a rare silver hawk upon his arm, it is such a disorientating moment that he is not sure whether it has even happened, or whether it was a vision.

Returning to his home, nameless and still a child, Kieli stumbles upon devastation. His village is being burned, his people slaughtered. Although it means certain death, Kieli throws himself into the battle…

Against all the odds, he survives, alone of all the Orosini, who have been cut down where they stand: every last man, woman and child.

A distant voice echoes in his mind: Rise up and be a talon for your people…

The visitation of the bird on Shatana Higo was indeed his naming vision. He is a boy called Kielianapuna no more. Now he is Talon of the Silver Hawk, a man who must avenge the murder of his people, whatever that may take…

You can also get the digital edition of the second installment, King of Foxes, for only 3.99$ here.

There are a number of other Feist titles available in the 2.99$-3.99$ range, including some Demonwar books and Prince of the Blood. Check it out!

Author Guy Gavriel Kay receiving the Member of the Order of Canada

Guy Gavriel Kay is Canada’s foremost author of speculative fiction. His novels are intricate fusions of history and the fantastic, with imagined characters and settings inspired by recognizable, real-world cultures, and grounded in rigorous research. Since 1990, all of his books have become national bestsellers, and his writing has been published in over 25 languages, to great acclaim. He addresses powerful subjects such as cultural imperialism, religious extremism, and the relationship between art and power, distinctively fusing narrative strength with the elegant prose and ambitious themes of literary fiction.


Fully deserved! Congratulations to Guy Gavriel Kay! =)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Max Gladstone's Three Parts Dead for only 4.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.

Follow this link to read an extract from the novel.

You can also get your hands on the sequel, Two Serpents Rise, for the same price here.

All three volumes of Bernard Cornwell's The Warlord Chronicles are available for 4.99$ each!

- The Winter King
- Enemy of God
- Excalibur

Here's the blurb for the first volume:

It takes a remarkable writer to make an old story as fresh and compelling as the first time we heard it. With The Winter King, the first volume of his magnificent Warlord Chronicles, Bernard Cornwell finally turns to the story he was born to write: the mythic saga of King Arthur.

The tale begins in Dark Age Britain, a land where Arthur has been banished and Merlin has disappeared, where a child-king sits unprotected on the throne, where religion vies with magic for the souls of the people. It is to this desperate land that Arthur returns, a man at once utterly human and truly heroic: a man of honor, loyalty, and amazing valor; a man who loves Guinevere more passionately than he should; a man whose life is at once tragic and triumphant.

As Arthur fights to keep a flicker of civilization alive in a barbaric world, Bernard Cornwell makes a familiar tale into a legend all over again.

In addition, Neil Gaiman's collection of short story, Fragile Things, can be downloaded for only 5.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Fragile Things is a sterling collection of exceptional tales from Neil Gaiman, multiple award-winning (the Hugo, Bram Stoker, Newberry, and Eisner Awards, to name just a few), #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys, Coraline, and the groundbreaking Sandman graphic novel series. A uniquely imaginative creator of wonders whose unique storytelling genius has been acclaimed by a host of literary luminaries from Norman Mailer to Stephen King, Gaiman’s astonishing powers are on glorious displays in Fragile Things. Enter and be amazed!

There are a few more Gaiman titles available for the same price:

- Coraline
- Smoke and Mirrors
- Stardust
- Anansi Boys

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (November 16th)

In hardcover:

Stephen King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams debuts at number 1. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

George R. R. Martin's A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is down one position, ending the week at number 10. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Gregory Maguire’s After Alice is up one spot, finishing the week at number 17.

In paperback:

Andy Weir's The Martian maintains its position at number 2.

Andy Weir's The Martian is down one position, ending the week at number 2 (trade paperback).

Dean Koontz's Saint Odd debuts at number 12.

Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One maintains its position at number 14 (trade paperback).

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

There is a slew of good deals available and I'm not sure how long they will last. The two volumes of Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun are available for 4.99$ each.

- Shadow and Claw
- Swords and Citadel

Here's the blurb:

The Book of the New Sun is unanimously acclaimed as Gene Wolfe's most remarkable work, hailed as "a masterpiece of science fantasy comparable in importance to the major works of Tolkien and Lewis" by Publishers Weekly, and "one of the most ambitious works of speculative fiction in the twentieth century" by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Shadow & Claw brings together the first two books of the tetralogy in one volume:

The Shadow of the Torturer is the tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession -- showing mercy toward his victim.

Ursula K. Le Guin said, "Magic stuff . . . a masterpiece . . . the best science fiction I've read in years!"

The Claw of the Conciliator continues the saga of Severian, banished from his home, as he undertakes a mythic quest to discover the awesome power of an ancient relic, and learn the truth about his hidden destiny.

"Arguably the finest piece of literature American science fiction has yet produced [is] the four-volume Book of the New Sun."--Chicago Sun-Times

"The Book of the New Sun establishes his preeminence, pure and simple. . . . The Book of the New Sun contains elements of Spenserian allegory, Swiftian satire, Dickensian social consciousness and Wagnerian mythology. Wolfe creates a truly alien social order that the reader comes to experience from within . . . once into it, there is no stopping."--The New York Times Book Review

The same thing goes for all four volumes of Daniel Abraham's The Long Price Quartet.

- A Shadow in Summer
- A Betrayal in Winter
- An Autumn War
- The Price of Spring

Here's the blurb for the first volume:

The powerful city-state of Saraykeht is a bastion of peace and culture, a major center of commerce and trade. Its economy depends on the power of the captive spirit, Seedless, an andat bound to the poet-sorcerer Heshai for life. Enter the Galts, a juggernaut of an empire committed to laying waste to all lands with their ferocious army. Saraykeht, though, has always been too strong for the Galts to attack, but now they see an opportunity. If they can dispose of Heshai, Seedless's bonded poet-sorcerer, Seedless will perish and the entire city will fall. With secret forces inside the city, the Galts prepare to enact their terrible plan.

In the middle is Otah, a simple laborer with a complex past. Recruited to act as a bodyguard for his girlfriend's boss at a secret meeting, he inadvertently learns of the Galtish plot. Otah finds himself as the sole hope of Saraykeht, either he stops the Galts, or the whole city and everyone in it perishes forever.

The same for the first two Runelords installments by David Farland.

- The Runelords
- Brotherhood of the Wolf

Here's the blurb for the first book:

Young Prince Gaborn Val Orden of Mystarria is traveling in disguise on a journey to ask for the hand of the lovely Princess Iome of Sylvarresta. Armed with his gifts of strength and perception, Prince Gaborn and his warrior bodyguard stop in a local tavern along the way. Immediately, they spot a pair of assassins who have their sights set on Princess Iome's father. As the prince and his bodyguard race to warn the king of this impending danger, they realize that more than the royal family is at risk, the very fate of the Earth is in jeopardy.

Peter Watts' Firefall books are also available for 4.99$ each.

- Blindsight
- Echopraxia

Here's the blurb for Blindsight:

Two months since the stars fell...

Two months since sixty-five thousand alien objects clenched around the Earth like a luminous fist, screaming to the heavens as the atmosphere burned them to ash. Two months since that moment of brief, bright surveillance by agents unknown.

Two months of silence, while a world holds its breath.

Now some half-derelict space probe, sparking fitfully past Neptune's orbit, hears a whisper from the edge of the solar system: a faint signal sweeping the cosmos like a lighthouse beam. Whatever's out there isn't talking to us. It's talking to some distant star, perhaps. Or perhaps to something closer, something en route.

So who do you send to force introductions on an intelligence with motives unknown, maybe unknowable? Who do you send to meet the alien when the alien doesn't want to meet?

You send a linguist with multiple personalities, her brain surgically partitioned into separate, sentient processing cores. You send a biologist so radically interfaced with machinery that he sees x-rays and tastes ultrasound, so compromised by grafts and splices he no longer feels his own flesh. You send a pacifist warrior in the faint hope she won't be needed, and the fainter one she'll do any good if she is. You send a monster to command them all, an extinct hominid predator once called vampire, recalled from the grave with the voodoo of recombinant genetics and the blood of sociopaths. And you send a synthesist—an informational topologist with half his mind gone—as an interface between here and there, a conduit through which the Dead Center might hope to understand the Bleeding Edge.

You send them all to the edge of interstellar space, praying you can trust such freaks and retrofits with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they've been sent to find.

But you'd give anything for that to be true, if you only knew what was waiting for them...

And there are plenty of other titles by authors such as Neil Gaiman, R. A. Salvatore, Robert Jordan, Bernard Cornwell, Charles Stross, Chuck Wendig, Elizabeth Bear, Elizabeth Haydon, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Jack Whyte, and much, much more!

Wizard and Glass

With Stephen King finishing the series a few years back, I had been meaning to return to The Dark Tower for quite some time. My review of The Waste Lands dates from January 2012, so it was high time to give the fourth installment a shot. And given that Wizard and Glass turned out to be the best of the bunch thus far, I'm glad I elected to do so!

With many of the new releases failing to truly capture my imagination these last couple of months, I'm planning on finishing King's magnum opus before the end of 2016. The same goes for Jacqueline Carey's first Kushiel trilogy. I know that it's important that I should review a lot of new books every year. The SFF blogosphere is a great place to help spread the word about quality reads and the reason why publishers send out review copies in the first place. Still, the number of "older" titles and series I want to read keeps growing (well over 200 novels as far as I'm concerned), so I will have to find a way to create a better balance between newer and older published works that I review from now on.

Here's the blurb:

Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Jake’s pet bumbler survive Blaine the Mono’s final crash, only to find themselves stranded in an alternate version of Topeka, Kansas, one that has been ravaged by the superflu virus. While following the deserted I-70 toward a distant glass palace, they hear the atonal squalling of a thinny, a place where the fabric of existence has almost entirely worn away. While camping near the edge of the thinny, Roland tells his ka-tet a story about another thinny, one that he encountered when he was little more than a boy. Over the course of one long magical night, Roland transports us to the Mid-World of long-ago and a seaside town called Hambry, where Roland fell in love with a girl named Susan Delgado, and where he and his old tet-mates Alain and Cuthbert battled the forces of John Farson, the harrier who—with a little help from a seeing sphere called Maerlyn’s Grapefruit—ignited Mid-World’s final war.

Early on, worldbuilding did not play much of a role in the series. Stephen King played his cards pretty close to his chest, and readers learned next to nothing about the series' universe in both The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three. Everything changed in The Waste Lands, which was great. To begin with, the author finally elaborated on the physics by which the world operates, especially the six beams running between twelve portals which mark the edges of Mid-World. And standing at the point where the beams cross at the center of the universe lies the Dark Tower. A few hints seemed to indicate that the Dark Tower might lie at the center of all worlds. With more revelations regarding the Guardians of the Beam and the layout of the land, it became abundantly clear that tale resounded with depth. And Wizard and Glass turned it up a notch or two.

Sadly, this fourth volume suffers from a lackluster beginning. Understandably, it begins right where its predecessor ended, with the ka-tet squaring off against Blaine the Mono in a contest of riddles. Problem is, this face-off drags for too long. Once done, the four of them appear to find themselves in the version of our world that King depicted in The Stand. During their journey, Blaine needs to recharge its batteries at the Fall of the Hounds, a massive waterfall with two enormous stone protrusions shaped like snarling dog heads. It is implied that the technology used to recharge the train could predate the civilization of the Old Ones. As always, I continue to hope that we'll learn much more about the Dark Tower's universe's past. Indeed, I find all those little tantalizing glimpses to be quite fascinating.

I knew that one of the books in the series was mostly a flash-back sequence, but I wasn't aware that it was Wizard and Glass. As I'm all about back stories, I relished the opportunity to discover more about Roland's past. I must admit that it felt a bit weird at first, what with King leaving the ka-tet hanging as they first encounter the mysterious dimensional hole the Gunslinger calls a thinny and focusing on Roland's tale as he recounts to the others his own first encounter with the strange phenomenon. Having said that, very quickly we realize that this side-story will shape Roland in a profound way and make us understand how he became the man he is today. From then on, I was enthralled and didn't want this tale to reach its end.

As a no-nonsense kind of cowboy, Roland of Gilead immediately became a fan favorite. Although the first two installments featured an interesting supporting cast, the main focus essentially remained on Roland. What differentiated The Waste Lands from its predecessors was that Eddie, Susannah, and Jake truly came into their own and took their rightful place in the narrative. It became obvious that all three would play important roles in what was to come. Hence, to discover that Wizard and Glass focused on an entire cast of new men and women felt like quite a gamble. But in a few short chapters, Stephen King sets our minds at ease and it's a pleasure to follow Roland, Alain, and Cuthbert, as they discover that there is a devious plot between the elite of Barony of Mejis and John "The Good Man" Farson, whose rebel faction has already started a war in the North, being hatched with no one the wiser. Add some interesting characters like Susan Delgado, the witch Rhea of the Cöos, and the Big Coffin Hunters, and you have all the ingredients necessary for a terrific story. Though young and inexperienced, Roland and his companions come to realize that all is not well in Hambry, and they must rely on their foes' underestimating them to get to the root of the conspiracy. The tragic love story between Roland and Susan gave the whole flash-back sequence an emotional punch that leaves no one indifferent.

It actually feels weird to return to the "present" once Roland's tale is done. But as the book comes to an end and the Gunslinger makes other revelations about his past, revelations which explain why he's been searching for the Dark Tower for all these years, King closes the show on a high note that makes you beg for more. Wizard and Glass is indeed the best volume in the series so far and sets the bar quite high for what will come next.

Impossible to put down!

The final verdict: 9/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

US cover art for R. Scott Bakker's THE GREAT ORDEAL

Crap, never saw the cover art until now. My bad. Clearly sleeping at the wheel. . . :/ R. Scott Bakker's eagerly anticipitated The Great Ordeal will be released on July 5th 2016! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

It's a nice cover that is stylistically similar to its predecessors. But did they really need to steal the face from the soldier on the cover of Alan Smale's Clash of Eagles???

Here's the blurb:

The much-anticipated third installment of R. Scott Bakker’s acclaimed series, The Aspect-Emperor.

Praised by fans and critics worldwide, R. Scott Bakker has become one of the most celebrated voices in fantasy literature. With The Great Ordeal, Bakker presents the long-anticipated third volume of The Aspect-Emperor, a series that stands with the finest in the genre for its grandiose scope, rich detail, and thrilling story.

As Fanim war-drums beat just outside the city, the Empress Anasurimbor Esmenet searches frantically throughout the palace for her missing son Kelmomas. Meanwhile and many miles away, Esmenet’s husband’s Great Ordeal continues its epic march further north. But in light of dwindling supplies, the Aspect-Emperor’s decision to allow his men to consume the flesh of fallen Sranc could have consequences even He couldn’t have foreseen. And, deep in Ishuäl, the wizard Achamian grapples with his fear that his unspeakably long journey might be ending in emptiness, no closer to the truth than when he set out.

The Aspect-Emperor series follows Bakker’s Prince of Nothing saga, returning to the same world twenty years later. The Great Ordeal follows The Judging Eye and The White-Luck Warrior, and delivers the first half of the conclusion to this epic story. Returning to Bakker’s richly imagined universe of myth, violence, and sorcery, The Aspect-Emperor continues to set the bar for the fantasy genre, reaching new heights of intricacy and meaning.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

All four omnibus editions of Glen Cook's Chronicles of the Black Company are available for only 5.99$ each! That's a hell of a deal!

- Chronicles of the Black Company
- The Books of the South
- The Return of the Black Company
- The Many deaths of the Black Company

Here's the blurb for the first omnibus:

Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead.

Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more…

This omnibus edition comprises The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose—the first three novels in Glen Cook's bestselling fantasy series.

A bit of humor. . .

An oldie but a goodie! :P

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

For a limited time, the digital omnibus containing all 10 volumes of Steven Erikson's The Malazan Book of the Fallen is available for only 52.62$ here!

Here's the blurb:

Included in this collection are:

Gardens of the Moon
Deadhouse Gates
Memories of Ice
House of Chains
Midnight Tides
The Bonehunters
Reaper’s Gale
Toll the Hounds
Dust of Dreams
The Crippled God

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

You can also download Brian Staveley's The Emperor's Blades for only 4.99$ here!

Here's the blurb:

In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it's too late.

An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test.

At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor's final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing—and risk everything—to see that justice is meted out.

Ian McDonald contest winner!

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Tor Books, this winner will receive a copy of Ian McDonald's Luna: New Moon. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Craig Joly, from Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

Don't know for how long, but you can get your hands on the digital edition of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart, which could well be the very best fantasy debut ever, for only 4.99$ here!

Here's the blurb:

The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good...and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission...and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel's Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one.

Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair...and beyond. Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.

Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new.

You can also get Kushiel's Chosen, the excellent second volume, for the same price here. The same thing goes for the last installement in the series, Kushiel's Avatar, here.

You can now download Matthew Woodring Stover's Heroes Die for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:


But Caine's no hero. He's an assassin.

Renowned throughout the land of Ankhana as the Blade of Tyshalle, Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners, villains and heroes. He is relentless, unstoppable, simply the best there is at what he does. He is free.

At home on Earth, Caine is Hari Michaelson, a superstar whose adventures command an audience of billions. Yet he is shackled by a rigid caste society, bound to ignore the grim fact that men die on a far-off world for the entertainment of his own planet--bound to keep his rage in check.

But now Michaelson has crossed the line. His estranged wife, Pallas Rill, has mysteriously disappeared in the slums of Ankhana. To save her, he must confront the greatest challenge of his life: a lethal game of cat and mouse with the most treacherous rulers of two worlds.

Matthew Woodring Stover has created a spectacular, page-turning epic where a Jackal-type assassin maneuvers through a vivid Tolkienesque world. With a plot as driven as its main character and drawn against a setting as vivid as the very best in fantasy, Heroes Die is a brilliant feat of the imagination.

Quote of the Day

This is as good as it gets. Can't expect everyone to be on the same page. We're still humans after all. Some percentage of us are always going to be assholes.

- JAMES S. A. COREY, Nemesis Games (Canada, USA, Europe)

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can get your hands on the digital edition of Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith's The Greyfriar for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Rousing pulp action and steampunk come together in a heartbreaking story of high adventure and alternate history. In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming. Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. When she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan, her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans. The first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, the Vampire Empire series brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.

For a limited time, you can download Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Fritz Leiber's work bridges the gap between the pulp era of H. P. Lovecraft and the paperback era of P. K. Dick, and arguably is as influential as both these authors. From a historical context, Leiber, in fact, knew both of the authors, and his work can be seen as a bridge connecting the many different flavors of genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Edited by award-winning editors Jonathan Strahan and Charles Brown, this new collection of the grand master's fiction covers all facets of his work, and features an Introduction by Neil Gaiman and an Afterword by Michael Chabon.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (November 9th)

In hardcover:

George R. R. Martin's A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is up one position, ending the week at number 9. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

David Mitchell’s Slade House debuts at number 11.

Gregory Maguire’s After Alice debuts at number 18.

In paperback:

Andy Weir's The Martian maintains its position at number 1 (trade paperback).

Andy Weir's The Martian is down one position, ending the week at number 2.

Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is down two positions, ending the week at number 14 (trade paperback).

Win a copy of L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s SOLAR EXPRESS

I have a copy of L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s Solar Express for you to win, compliments of the folks at Tor Books! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

You can't militarize space. This one rule has led to decades of peaceful development of space programs worldwide. However, increasing resource scarcity and a changing climate on Earth's surface is causing some interested parties to militarize, namely India, the North American Union, and the Sinese Federation.

The discovery of a strange artifact by Dr. Alayna Wong precipitates a crisis. What appears to be a hitherto undiscovered comet is soon revealed to be an alien structure on a cometary trajectory toward the sun. Now there is a race between countries to see who can study and control the artifact dubbed the "Solar Express" before it perhaps destroys itself.

Leading the way for the North American Union is Alayna's friend, Captain Christopher Tavoian, one of the first shuttle pilots to be trained for combat in space. But, as the alien craft gets closer to its destination, it begins to alter the surface of the sun in strange new ways, ways that could lead Alayna to revolutionary discoveries-provided Chris can prevent war from breaking out as he navigates among the escalating tensions between nations.

Solar Express is a thrilling, new, hard science fiction novel from New York Times bestselling author L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) with the header "SOLAR." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

The Expanse trailer

The Expanse is the best ongoing science fiction series out there, so I'm really looking forward to watching this show!!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

For a limited time, you can get your hands on the digital edition of Tim Powers' Dinner at Deviant's Palace for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award: In a nuclear-ravaged California, a humble musician sets out on a dangerous quest to rescue his lost love from the clutches of a soul-devouring religious cult.

In the twenty-second century, the City of Angels is a tragic shell of its former self, having long ago been ruined and reshaped by nuclear disaster. Before he was in a band in Ellay, Gregorio Rivas was a redeemer, rescuing lost souls trapped in the Jaybirds cult of the powerful maniac Norton Jaybush. Rivas had hoped those days were behind him, but a desperate entreaty from a powerful official is pulling him back into the game. The rewards will be plentiful if he can wrest Urania, the official’s daughter and Gregorio’s first love, from Jaybush’s sinister clutches. To do so, the redeemer reborn must face blood-sucking hemogoblins and other monstrosities on his way to discovering the ultimate secrets of this neo-Californian civilization.

One of the most ingeniously imaginative writers of our time, Tim Powers dazzles in an early work that displays his unique creative genius. Alive with wit, intelligence, and wild invention, Dinner at Deviant’s Palace is a mad adventure across a dystopian future as only Tim Powers could have imagined it.

This ebook features an original introduction by the author.

Ilana C. Meyer contest winner!

This lucky winner will get her hands on my copy of Ilana C. Meyer's Last Song Before Night! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Sharon Berry, from Austin, Texas, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can get your hands on the digital edition of Wild Cards I, a mosaic novel edited by George R. R. Martin, for only 4.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Back in print after a decade, expanded with new original material, this is the first volume of George R. R. Martin’s Wild cards shared-world series.

There is a secret history of the world—a history in which an alien virus struck the Earth in the aftermath of World War II, endowing a handful of survivors with extraordinary powers. Some were called Aces—those with superhuman mental and physical abilities. Others were termed Jokers—cursed with bizarre mental or physical disabilities. Some turned their talents to the service of humanity. Others used their powers for evil. Wild Cards is their story.

Originally published in 1987, Wild Cards I includes powerful tales by Roger Zelazny, Walter Jon Williams, Howard Waldrop, Lewis Shiner, and George R. R. Martin himself. And this new, expanded edition contains further original tales set at the beginning of the Wild Cards universe, by eminent new writers like Hugo–winner David Levine, noted screenwriter and novelist Michael Cassutt, and New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn

You can now download Yangsze Choo's The Ghost Bride for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Part 19th century novel, part magical journey to the Chinese world of the dead, Yangsze Choo's debut novel The Ghost Bride is a startlingly original historical fantasy infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, and unexpected supernatural twists. Reminiscent of Lisa See's Peony in Love and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, The Ghost Bride is a wondrous coming-of-age story from a remarkable new voice in fiction.

C. S. Friedman contest winner!

This lucky winner will receive an autographed set of C. S. Friedman's Dreamwalker (Canada, USA, Europe) and Dreamseeker (Canada, USA, Europe), compliments of the author!

The winner is:

- Richard Slobod, from Tuxedo, New York, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

Win a copy of Orson Scott Card's GATEFATHER

I'm giving away my review copy of Orson Scott Card's Gatefather to one lucky winner! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

In Gatefather, the third installment in the Mithermages series, New York Times bestselling author Orson Scott Card continues his fantastic tale of the Mages of Westil who live in exile on Earth.

Danny North is the first Gate Mage to be born on Earth in nearly 2000 years, or at least the first to survive to claim his power. Families of Westil in exile on Earth have had a treaty that required the death of any suspected Gate Mage. The wars between the Families had been terrible, until at last they realized it was their own survival in question. But a Gate Mage, one who could build a Great Gate back to Westil, would give his own Family a terrible advantage over all the others, and reignite the wars. So they all had to die. And if the Families didn't kill them, the Gate Thief would-that mysterious Mage who destroyed every Great Gate, and the Gate Mage, before it could be opened between Earth and Westil.

But Danny survived. And Danny battled the Gate Thief, and won.

What he didn't know at the time was that the Gate Thief had a very good reason for closing the Great Gates-and Danny has now fallen into the power of that great enemy of both Earth and Westil.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) with the header "GATEFATHER." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

Half a War

As you know, I was more than a little worried when it was announced that Joe Abercrombie would be writing a YA series. Having established himself as one of grimdark's most popular voices, I was concerned that switching gears to appeal to a different market could well take away most of what made the author's books so enjoyable. Thankfully, though it may not have been Abercrombie doing what he does best, both Half a King and Half the World remained brutal, engaging, entertaining, and satisfying fantasy novels featuring an interesting and endearing band of misfits.

I was curious to see how Abercrombie would close the show. And, more importantly, if he could do so with style and aplomb. Well, I'm glad to report that he managed to do just that! In the end, Half a War is the least YA installment of the series.

Here's the blurb:

Words are weapons

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships no god but Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil

Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.

Half a King was a very slim volume, the shortest written by Abercrombie thus far. Unfortunately, the smaller wordcount precluded much in the way of worldbuilding. The longer length of the second volume allowed Abercrombie to imbue the series with more depth, and the same can be said of Half a War. Still, it nonetheless features the same tighter focus on the narrative which keeps the pace crisp and this final installment is as much of a page-turner as its predecessors. Most of the action occurs in Throvenland and focuses on Bail's Point. In my review of Half the World, I explained that a few tantalizing glimpses of elf relics and technology hint that this tale might be taking place in a far-future dystopian Earth. I was wondering if Abercrombie would shine some light on the elves and how they disappeared from the world. I can't say that the author offers much in terms of concrete answers, but we do get to visit Strokom. And again, everything hints that those ruins used to be a modern city set in our own world and era. Moreover, it appears that a nuclear strike may have destroyed it and that radiations could still be a hazard. I have no idea if Abercrombie plans on writing additional works set in this universe, but I for one would love to discover more about its past and how the elves disappeared. . .

A number of familiar faces such as Father Yarvi, Koll, Brand, Thorn, and Skifr return in this last volume. As was the case with Half a World, it was nice to see how they have evolved as characters and where fate has taken them. But it's Princess Skara who takes center stage in this book. Her family was betrayed and murdered by agents of the High King and she escaped to Thorlby disguised as a slave. Her only hope now is to rally the High King's enemies to her cause and in so doing change the Shattered Sea forever. Other than Yarvi, I believe that Skara turned out to be one of the most interesting characters of this series. Could have done without the little love affair, though. I particularly loved how crafty Father Yarvi turned out to be. He's no Sand dan Glokta, but he is a devious son of a bitch in his own right, that's for sure. Abercrombie did a good job tying up loose ends and bringing various plot threads from all three volumes together at the end.

As was the case with its two predecessors, though there are no major changes in terms of style and tone compared to the author's "adult" works, Half a War remains different to some extent. Once more, the wit, cynicism, and dark humor that characterize Abercrombie's backlist are all present, if a little subdued. The YA label demands that the violence be not as graphic as usual, with less blood and gore. Half a War is definitely an Abercrombie novel, but again it shows a more self-restrained Joe Abercrombie, one that pulls some of his punches and doesn't go all out the way he did in novels such as Best Served Cold or A Red Country. Overall, although Half a War is the best of the trilogy, it doesn't satisfy the way the grimdark Abercrombie titles usually do.

As I mentioned earlier, this final chapter is the least YA of the bunch. Especially at the end, Joe Abercrombie shows how brilliant he can be and why he's one of the best fantasy writers around today. Just when you thought that the endgame would take place in a certain way, the author pulls the rug from under your feet and turns things around. Half a War provides a truly great ending.

All in all, Half a War is a solid effort and a satisfying conclusion to this series. It offers plenty of unexpected surprises and resolution, yet leaves the door open for future adventures and misadventures for the surviving members of the cast.

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Dave Hutchinson's Europe in Autumn for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:


Rudi is a cook in a Kraków restaurant, but when his boss asks Rudi to help a cousin escape from the country he’s trapped in, a new career – part spy, part people-smuggler – begins. Following multiple economic crises and a devastating flu pandemic, Europe has fractured into countless tiny nations, duchies, polities and republics. Recruited by the shadowy organisation Les Coureurs des Bois, Rudi is schooled in espionage, but when a training mission to The Line, a sovereign nation consisting of a trans-Europe railway line, goes wrong, he is arrested and beaten, and Coureur Central must attempt a rescue.

With so many nations to work in, and identities to assume, Rudi is kept busy travelling across Europe. But when he is sent to smuggle someone out of Berlin and finds a severed head inside a locker instead, a conspiracy begins to wind itself around him. With kidnapping, double-crosses and a map that constantly re-draws itself, Europe in Autumn is a science fiction thriller like no other.