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Take a trip across time and space with the latest Sci-Fi titles; head to another universe with the latest and greatest Fantasy novels and get your heart pumping with a brilliant selection of Horror.
My heart is full of love for this darkly beautiful and mind-twisting novel. Set in the time of Elizabeth I, a curse given in anguish and hate is set to run amok. At birth Beau is burdened with great beauty and is due to be the cause of the death of his father, while unrelated to the curse, Randa is born a mix of beast and human. And, so begins a story of the greatest highs and the lowest lows, of revenge and hope, love and despair. The first sentence sucked me in, and I was held in thrall throughout. This is a completely gorgeous blend of Shakespearean drama, the very darkest of fairy tales, and the simply wonderful pen of Wray Delaney. I felt a reassuring half-formed recognition as I read, yet at the same time, a prickle of awareness that I was an explorer, charting an entirely new world. I highly recommend The Beauty of the Wolf to anyone who hungers for a bite of difference, with a more than a twist of glorious darkness. I have chosen this as both a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month, and a LoveReading Star Book, it’s fierce, it’s wonderful, I adored it.
From #1 New York Times bestseller Cassandra Clare and award-winner Wesley Chu comes the first book in a new series that follows High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood as they tour the world after the Mortal War. The Red Scrolls of Magic is a Shadowhunters novel. All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation-a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke. Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn't bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever-even if it means revealing the secrets they've both been keeping. Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at Shadowhunters.com.
This is what a reading experience is all about, Ness touches, tests, pushes, strokes, inspires, and I have given this little book my heart. I have hesitated about explaining the background to Ness, but have decided that to know doesn’t unduly shape thoughts. Orford Ness in Suffolk is a shingle island which is constantly changing due to the sea and weather. It is the site of an abandoned military base where research included nuclear weaponry during the Cold War. The author and illustrator know this place, and have created a powerful lyrical read where nature takes steps to stop a crime against the world. It is a wonderful heady mix of novella and poetry-prose, a fantasy creation of word and illustration that took up lodging in my mind. A hagstone, which allows a veiled glimpse to the future or past, sits centre stage throughout the book, the illustrations by Stanley Donwood allowing a viewing station, a pause, before the next taste of action. The words by Robert Macfarlane sing, they just beg to be spoken, to be heard. As I spoke the words, I had the feeling that I was setting them free, and at the final few pages a shiver of emotion skittered down my arms. Ness is a beautiful yet fierce and frightening call, containing a warning that we should be shrieking from the rooftops. I have chosen it as one of my Liz Robinson Picks of the Month, and a LoveReading Star Book.
This deservedly best-selling series launches with a powerful love story that thrills and chills in equal measure. Sailing from New York, 16 year old Tessa Gray arrives in Victorian London to meet her brother. But nothing goes according to plan and Tessa finds herself instead in the Downworld, a terrifying supernatural place of vampires, demons and warlocks. How Tessa survives before falling in love – the biggest danger of all! – is a terrifying and passionate read. This is a new urban fantasy full of vampires, werewolves and shape-shifters from the bestselling author of The Mortal Instruments series.
Sarah J. Maas devotees certainly have a treat in store with this luxurious collector’s edition of the first book in her outrageously popular A Court of Thorns and Roses series. The story that spurred the series is here presented in a beautiful black slipcase that’s embellished with gold foiling. The book itself features a stunning gold foil depiction of a forest scene on its cover, lavish metallic ink endpapers, intricate fairy tale-esque illustrative detail on every page, plus a handsome newly drawn map of the Faerie Lands of Prythian. It’s a beguiling package that befits the tale itself, an enchanting story that follows nineteen-year-old Feyre’s magical, epic quest through the beautiful, dangerous faerie lands. Reeling with romance, intrigue and outright “immortal horror”, Feyre’s journey feels timeless in setting and atmosphere, and contemporary in much of its straight-talking delivery.
Faithful fans of the Throne of Glass fantasy phenomenon need never be without access to Celaena’s epic adventures with this limited mini edition of her first epic quest. With its compact format, violet ink decoration and unabridged text, this mini edition of Throne of Glass is the perfect stocking-filler for completest collector devotees, and a glam gift for newcomers to the series. But what of the story printed on the fine-papered glory of this mini-format? It’s a seductive cocktail of all-out action and fighting for survival in a wildly imagined fantasy world, with a smart, sassy eighteen-year-old assassin at its pounding heart. After a year of slavery and being “escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword-point” Celaena Sardothian is called to the castle and issued with a task that may secure her release. If she succeeds in defeating a band of warriors, she’ll be freed to serve as the King’s Champion. But with evil afoot, and duplicity, distrust and paranoia in abundance, our headstrong, sharp-tongued heroine must summon all her physical and intellectual strength.
This is an absolute belter of a novel. Awaiting you is a stunning, murderous mix of Eastern European folklore and a serial killer, set during 1935 in rural Czechoslovakia. Psychiatrist Dr Viktor Kosarek takes up a position in Hrad Orlu Asylum for the criminally insane to study the ‘Devil’s Six’, while in Prague, a serial killer is announced. The page and a half prologue sets the novel up brilliantly, the last sentence, so starkly delivered, chilled me to the bone. My mind entered the most vividly real locations, I slipped through the streets of Prague and flinched as I entered the Castle. Craig Russell crosses several genres and balances a number of themes seamlessly, which I just adored. My thoughts pushed and pulled at my emotions as they balanced together on a cliff edge. The Devil Aspect, is a dark, haunting whopper of a story and it set my imagination on fire. So good, it has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book and just had to be one of my Liz Robinson picks of the month.
Reading a new Frances Hardinge novel is always an adventure into a new, carefully constructed world - where things are never quite as one might imagine as you begin. Here two friends, raised together in poverty and scavenging are leader and led, counterpoint to each other, one believing in friendship above all, the other of a very much darker outlook. They live on one of a series of islands that form the Myriad, each island with its own long dead gods, each with its own strange traditions and stories. The sea surrounding the islands hides many things within it, wrecks, bones as one may expect, but also the undersea where danger lurks ready to take any who venture too far and spit them out utterly changed. In this world Hardinge has created a masterpiece of tension, fear and friendship. A slow coming to the realisation of the world that they inhabit, and a look at power and how it can be manipulated for politicians, gods and evildoers own nefarious ends. It makes your mind race with the adventure but pulls you up to consider the philosophy behind the characters motivations. A truly great read – I think I may have to read it again now!
The Angel of Evil is the fourth book in The Great Devil War series and yet again I raced through it. It’s filled with the same tongue-in-cheek humour as the previous books, but feels much darker. Before I go on, I must stress that it’s essential that you read books one to three in this series first, to understand the concept of Lucifer’s Kingdom, immerse yourself in the cleverly-constructed setting and to follow Philip’s journey into Hell. It feels like there’s less new world building in The Angel of Evil than in the previous books, and Hell and its surroundings felt more familiar and more ‘natural’ - the devils, the condemned, punishment and death. Though this time, Philip travels to the far reaches of Hell to save his friend Satina who has been kidnapped, which means there are some new characters to meet while Hell is under attack from rogue devils. This series is about good versus evil, though not in a conventional way, as devils take the centre stage. As with humans, some are good, some are not so good and some are evil. The narrative is littered with biblical and historical characters that brings a sense of familiarity. There are also a few poignant moments as Philip finally meets someone from his past and decides on his future. This is an ‘alternative’ Harry Potter series. It grows as the series progresses, with twists and turns and an action-packed plot. It’s very easy to read. But some of the descriptions can be quite graphic so it’s not for younger children or the faint-hearted.
A perfect stocking filler for anyone who likes a little spooky darkness to pay a visit at Christmas time. Twelve short stories are set in and around, or somehow connected to the Essex Witch Museum. If you haven’t yet explored the series, don’t worry, you can most certainly enter here. Can I just say that the cover is absolutely delightful, skulls and snowflakes sit perfectly alongside each other, as if they were always meant to be. Some of the stories tiptoe around Christmas, others stomp into it, all verge on the different though, and all have a certain chill factor. Syd Moore has a wonderfully light touch, humour sits alongside the macabre, and I was never quite sure what was going to come next. Can I just say that Doreen and her demonic Hoover was a particular favourite of mine! The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas really is a fabulous little book, full of the weird and wonderful I adored it!
A stunningly beautiful, courageous read, one that crosses through time to 1612, when witchcraft allegations went hand in hand with fear, power and corruption. This is a work of fiction based on real people, local residents, Pendle witches and all. Let me tell you about the cover of this book, which really is very gorgeous indeed. The green leaves sooth, with fiery bursts of orange-red and gold, I then noticed the fox, the ring, pendant, feather… and last of all, the noose, which of course once I had seen, reached out and became all I could see. I tell you this, because the cover reminds me of how I felt about the book, mysterious, yet almost gentle, I let the words take me, I felt myself floating, and then bites of uncertainty and disquiet started gnaw at my awareness. The persecution of the women hammered home while an otherworldly existence lodged itself in my thoughts, and remains there. Deceptively powerful, moving and provocative, Stacey Hall writes with an eloquent pen. Opening a window into a vivid feast of a read, as a debut novel The Familiars stands out from the crowd.
His ‘Dark Materials’, is the story of Lyra, a young girl with an exceptional destiny. Brought up in Jordan College, Oxford Lyra uncovers a secret about her mysterious guardian which leads to some dangerous questioning. It also marks the beginning of Lyra’s search for her friend Roger, a search that takes her to the ice kingdoms of the North where armoured bears rule. Lyra’s courage and stubborn determination lead her on this mission of incredible danger in this brilliant and imaginative story. The author’s vivid imagination and vision is so spectacular and moving that it will leave you almost speechless with admiration and the amazingly diverse characters will be universally admired by all those who read about them. It’s completely original and totally spellbinding; a true classic that will stand the test of time much in the way Tolkien’s famous work has done.
A Maxim Jakubowski Best Science Fiction selection. A second novel by the fast rising South African author (pronounced Beukes like mucus, she tells us...), recently shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. A frantic urban fantasy in which ex-drug addict Zinzi December, whose job is to find people, is tasked to retrieve missing pop starlet Songweza. But, in a broken city peopled by crime lords, magicians, beast masters and symbiotic animals, nothing is ever straightforward, nothing is as easy as it appears. Cue a sassy and cynical heroine with a gleeful touch of mischief, twists and turns on every corner. A page turner and a pleaser. In November 2011 South African film producer Helena Spring won film rights to Zoo City. Lauren Beukes said: "Every novelist dreams of a movie deal—but you actually want more than that. You want to find a producer of great vision and integrity and experience who fundamentally gets the book . . . I'm thrilled that it's being produced in South Africa—for an international audience."
Zombies and supernatural beings are all the rage at the moment and although this is another story about a Zombie plague sweeping across the world this is told in an original and thoroughly entertaining way and by collection of some of the best modern authors around. Told through various letters, emails, blogs, TV reports etc the story unfolds at a rapid and gut wrenching speed and sweeps the reader along as fast as the zombies are taking over the planet. A great addition to the genre.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Peter Caswell is a killer without a conscience as after every mission his mind is wiped and his guilt is expunged. When he is ordered into space at short notice and against protocol to investigate a missing spaceship that disappeared ages ago, all the safeties he had in his system are thrown by the side as he has to embark on a killing spree that will lead him to another, Earth-like, planet which sits at the other end of a wormhole. Here, in a medieval world centuries behind Earth’s technology he has to track down and kill a fugitive who could change the fate of not just the two planets but the whole universe. Saddled with an involuntary companion, Melni, a spy for one of the other world’s warring factions, he slowly begins to unravel a truth many would rather be kept silent. Non-stop action powers the plot along like a runaway train. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Former hit singer Hollis is down on her luck after the Crash and can't turn down the offer of a job again from mysterious global ad agency, Blue Ant. Stanley Milgrim, ex-addict freshly out of an expensive rehab paid for by Blue Ant-founder Hubertus Bigend, is also on the payroll. Bigend wants them to do some discreet research on an a secret, obscurely fashionable denim. It may not matter that they know nothing about fashion - but it does matter, at least to them, when bullets start to fly and they realize that Bigend's business obsession is leading them down a dangerous path.
YA Sci-Fi featuring an all-girl spaceship crew taking control and showing the boy's how it's done, with romance, tragedy and ray-guns. Lovereading Review to follow.
In the wake of World War Z, the 28 Days movies and TV series The Walking Dead, we've been deluged by a surfeit of zombie trash, but The Walkin' Trilogy by Towsey succeeds in infusing the sub-genre with both empathy and a strong sense of the human (or should that be non human?) dilemma the state of being dead presents. Following a near apocalyptic event, soldier Thomas returns from the bloody front as a zombie. Part road trip and part small-town family drama, the initial volume, Your Brother's Blood, set the scene. Here, seven years later, Thomas and family have left their village on a quest for some form of truth, which will keep on eluding them. An elegiac western mood dominates the book and already makes us hanker after the final volume in the series where many questions will have to be answered. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
In the wake of World War Z, the 28 Days movies and TV series The Walking Dead, we've been deluged by a surfeit of zombie trash, but The Walkin' Trilogy by Towsey succeeds in infusing the sub-genre with both empathy and a strong sense of the human (or should that be non human?) dilemma the state of being dead presents. Following a near apocalyptic event, soldier Thomas returns from the bloody front as a zombie. Part road trip and part small-town family drama, the initial volume, Your Brother's Blood, set the scene. Here, seven years later, Thomas and family have left their village on a quest for some form of truth, which will keep on eluding them. An elegiac western mood dominates the book and already makes us hanker after the final volume in the series where many questions will have to be answered.
Maxim Jakubowski's November 2014 Book of the Month. The final volume in THE LAST POLICEMAN trilogy reaches a melancholy and moving end. A subtle combination of police thriller and science fiction, this trilogy has turned out to be a major achievement. A comet is hurtling towards Earth and the planet's days are counted. Against this apocalyptic background and the ensuing breakdown in society a young, naively idealistic policeman insists on continuing to do his job and solve crimes that are no longer of interest to anyone else. He is clumsy, unerringly honest and as obstinate as a mule, and in this third instalment of the deliberately downbeat but most endearing series is now seeking out his sister whose disappearance might be linked to survivalist theories that might prolong the planet's existence. A quiet determination, touching encounters with the lost and the living, poetry spun about the small epiphanies of life, all emotions that are rare in crime or SF fiction. A gem of a book.
In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world. When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken. Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans, where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go. Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?
Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies. To live, you must follow the rules. But some don't. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside. Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.
This is an omnibus volume of three short but quite spectacular SF thrillers. I would also guarantee that they are quite unlike anything else you have read before. Striding along the shadowy border between SF and Fantasy, Peter Higgins has imagined something that feels a little like China Mieville writing a John le Carre novel. With a dash of Gorky’s paranoia and Martin Cruz Smith’s edge-of-your-seat plotting. Set in a world that feels like an alternate Russia (but isn’t) the trilogy compresses a sense of Sovietesque history between 1939 and 1969 into a few short months as it follows downtrodden and rumpled provincial police inspector Visassrion Lom, into a plot at the centre of the dark dictatorship that is the Vlast. But there is a lot else going on beyond the cruelties of politics. An alien visitation, the spirit of the land, the press of other realities. As I say quite unlike anything else and sometimes you do feel like you’re running to keep up with its twists and new directions. But stay on board. With engaging characters and sometimes effortlessly beautiful and poetic prose (Higgins has an amazing way with describing nature) all nailed to a steam train of a plot this is the sort of book where you can afford to forget asking what sort of novel it is and just glory in the ride. With rights acquired for TV this is a trilogy you’ll want to be reading before it hit the screens. If you like David Mitchell this could be a dream for you. ~ Simon Spanton
A thousand miles east of Mirgorod, the great capital city of the Vlast, deep in the ancient forest, lies the most recent fallen angel, its vast stone form half-buried and fused into the rock by the violence of impact. As its dark energy leeches into the crash site, so a circle of death expands around it, slowly - inexorably - killing everything it touches. Alone in the wilderness, it reaches out with its mind. The endless forest and its antique folk lore are no concern to Inspector Vissarion Lom, summoned to the capital in order to catch a terrorist - and ordered to report directly to the head of the secret police. A totalitarian state, worn down by an endless war, must be seen to crush home-grown terrorism with an iron fist. But Lom discovers Mirgorod to be more corrupted than he imagined: a murky world of secret police and revolutionaries, cabaret clubs and doomed artists. Lom has been chosen because he is an outsider, not involved in the struggle for power within the party. And because of the sliver of angel stone implanted in his head at the children's home. Lom's investigation reveals a conspiracy that extends to the top echelons of the party. When he exposes who - or rather what - is the controlling intelligence behind this, it is time for the detective to change sides. Pursued by rogue police agents and their man-crushing mudjhik, Lom must protect Kantor's step-daughter Maroussia, who has discovered what is hidden beneath police headquarters: a secret so ancient that only the forest remembers. As they try to escape the capital and flee down river, elemental forces are gathering. The earth itself is on the move.
This is high action, ideas driven, noir science fiction but I believe lovers of action adventures could enjoy it too.Comparison: Michael Marshall Smith, Neal Asher, Nick Sagan.Similar this month: None.
Whether you want to join Jonathan Strange on the magic-haunted streets of London or Jon Snow and the rest of the Night’s Watch on the wall Fantasy is the genre for you. Authors from Joe Abercrombie to Zen Cho have turned the modern fantasy genre into one of the most exciting and imaginative genres around. They’ve brought magic and wonder, heroes, heroines and people like you and me, together in stories that will delight, scare and mystify you. Whether you want the romance and deceit of court, the shadows of a great city’s alleyways, the clear air of a mountain range, the terrors of a bloody field let fantasy take you to new realities.
There are characters for everyone; Scott Lynch’s charming conmen, Liz William’s artful magicians. Fantasy has worlds for all; Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea, George RR Martin’s brutal Westeros, Ben Aaronovitch’s contemporary London, Naomi Novik’s dragon haunted version of our 19th century. And the genre has a style for each and every reader; whether the playful literary trickery of Angela Carter or the imaginative epic adventures of Peter Brett. Somewhere here there is a story for everyone, so follow us and let your imagination run wild.
Established names like Stephen King and new stars like Lauren Beukes alike have taken horror into the mainstream. And it’s no surprise why – we can’t help ourselves we love a good scare from the safety of our armchairs. But there are any number of authors out there ready and willing to confront you with your darkest fears and, if you’re lucky, take you through them and out into the light again.
There’s always a fresh take on whatever has scared us down through the years. Whether the dark thrills of the demons that haunt the paranormal romances of Cassandra Clare or the hunger of the vengeful ghosts and vampires of Joe Hill. Or the high concept terrors of Sarah Lotz’s work, the insidious chills of Adam Nevill’s urban horrors. Horror can be stealthy like the classic chills of Susan Hills’ ghost stories or screaming in your face like Max Brooks’ terrifying zombies. So step this way and let us put the frighteners on you; scares that are subtle and literary or full-on ‘slap the book shut and turn on all the lights’. Or scares of the best sort – where you don’t know WHAT to expect.
If you’ve ever dreamed about the world our grandchildren will live in, thought about how life could be different, looked at a star and wondered if there’s someone or something there looking at our sun you’ve been wondering about the same things as the great writers of Sci-Fi. Or perhaps you’ve simply wanted to share the excitement and danger of life on an alien world or in the harsh expanses of space? Maybe you’re so busy you wish you had a clone of yourself to do the work while you had the fun of exploring new places and experiences – how would that feel? For both of you?
Sci-Fi is all about these questions and thoughts. And it’s about things we can never experience, perhaps not even thought about yet. It’s about putting you at the centre of wonder and excitement. Whether the wide-screen excitements from the likes of Peter Hamilton and Suzanne Collins, or the noir thrills of cyberpunk by authors such as Pat Cadigan and William Gibson or the intricate speculations of authors like Ian McDonald and Nnedi Okorafor Sci-Fi really does have something for everyone and you’ll find the very best of it here.