So I was just wandering around on the Internet, when I stumbled upon a link to an artist’s gallery. I clicked and I instantly recognized some of his work. So I looked up his name, and I found an interview over at A Dribble of Ink, a blog run by Aidan Moher.
The artist’s name is Kekai Kotaki. He was born on Hawaii, and moved to Seattle to go to college. He worked at ArenaNet, then left and started doing freelance work.
His work is beautiful. He worked a lot on the Guild War franchise, but he’s done quite a few fantasy book covers. Here’s a few you might recognize:
He’s also done the covers for Hannu Rajaniemi’s Jean le Flambeur trilogy (starting with The Quantum Thief) and a few covers for Alexey Pehov’s books (such as Shadow Prowler and Shadow Blizzard).
I just thought his work was amazing, and I wanted to show you all. Which one is your favorite?
His website: kekai.blogspot.com. Hope you enjoy!
Time for the obligatory “Most Anticipated” post. I originally thought this would be a smaller list, but as I looked a publishing dates, I realized it was going to be big. Very big. So I’m breaking it up into two parts: books that are going to be the first in a planned series, and sequels in ongoing series.
I am super excited, so let’s dive right in. I’ll start with the first books in new series, and these will be in no particular order. Onwards!
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
Release Date: August 5
I love N.K Jemisin. I’ve read all her other books, and loved them. She’s kept this book pretty much secret, so I’ll give you all the official teaser blurb from her blog:
“The Fifth Season is set in a world which has suffered frequent, repeated Extinction Level Events for millions of years, and all life (and magic) in this world has adapted to it. Hundreds of years might pass between these events—easy, plentiful years in which great cities rise, and people have the leisure for art and science and rapid advancement—but then, again and again, the cities fall. The world is littered with the detritus of these times of plenty, and this cover hints at them: past ages of decadence, now decaying; stone that endures beneath flaking gilt.”
So you can see why I am dying to get this book. Magic and apocalyptic events, what more could you want?
The Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
Release Date: June 3
From the author of Prince of Thorns, comes an entirely new story. I really want to see how he develops a whole new character. I wonder if this book will be as graphic as his previous trilogy, but we shall see. This book sounds very interesting and I am definitely looking forward to it!
The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Release Date: January 14
I know this book is already out, and I’ve heard some amazing reviews. It was really hyped last year as one of the biggest publications, and so far I think it has lived up to the hype. I haven’t managed to get a copy yet, and I am absolutely dying to read it. This is one of my most anticipated of the year, and it’s only January!
The Path to Power by Karen Miller
Release Date: July 8
So, I know very little about this books, but I’ve read her past books and liked them. I’m not so sure about the blood and dead bodies on the cover though. They’re a little disconcerting.
The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke.
Release Date: March 18
“Saker looks like a simple priest, but in truth he’s a spy for the head of his faith. It’s a dangerous job, and more lives than merely his own depend on his secrecy.When Saker is injured by a foreigner’s strange blade, the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, nor the sense of responsibility that comes with it, Saker can only follow its lead. It will put Saker on a path that reveals terrible secrets about the empire, about the people he serves, and likely lead to his own destruction. The Lascar’s dagger demands a price, and that price will be paid in blood.”
I really liked Larke’s other series, the Watergivers trilogy. I haven’t finished it yet, but I mean to before this book comes out. I like her style of writing and I will definitely pick this book up when it is released.
Twelve Kings of Sharakhai by Bradley Beaulieu
(This is not the cover art)
Release Date: September 2
I love it when fantasy novels are set in unusual places, for example, the desert. All I know about this book is that it is about a female pit fighter who somehow rises to the top and challenges the twelve magical kings that have ruled the desert for centuries. Something like that. I am so excited for this book, I can’t wait.
The Revolutions by Felix Gilman
Release Date: April 1
Again I know very little about this book, save that it is set in London. I absolutely loved The Half Made World as well as The Rise of Ransom City. The language and style of writing Gilman uses is amazing. I could not put either of his books down, and I hope this new story will be just as thrilling.
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Release Date: July 8
I haven’t finished Abercrombie’s last trilogy, but I like that he has branched out into young adult. I think with his talents he’ll do incredibly well. I am excited to meet a whole new bunch of his characters.
The Waking Engine by David Edison
Release Date: February 11
I got a galley of this book on my Kindle from NetGalley, and I’ve started it already. So far, it’s very good. I can’t wait to finish it. Say tuned for a possible review!
The Leopard by K. V. Johansen
Release Date: June 10
I had found this book right before I started this post and I just got very excited. I’ll give you all the blurb and let you see why I am so excited for this book:
“In the days of the first kings in the North, there were seven devils…
Ahjvar, the assassin known as the Leopard, wants only to die, to end the curse that binds him to a life of horror. Although he has no reason to trust the goddess Catairanach or her messenger Deyandara, fugitive heir to a murdered tribal queen, desperation leads him to accept her bargain: if he kills the mad prophet known as the Voice of Marakand, Catairanach will free him of his curse. Accompanying him on his mission is the one person he has let close to him in a lifetime of death, a runaway slave named Ghu. Ahj knows Ghu is far from the half-wit others think him, but in Marakand, the great city where the caravan roads of east and west meet, both will need to face the deepest secrets of their souls, if either is to survive the undying enemies who hunt them and find a way through the darkness that damns the Leopard.
To Marakand, too, come a Northron wanderer and her demon verrbjarn lover, carrying the obsidian sword Lakkariss, a weapon forged by the Old Great Gods to bring their justice to the seven devils who escaped the cold hells so long before.”
So that’s all for the first books in new series. Let’s move onto the sequels. Some of these are my most anticipated for the year. I can’t wait for all of them to finally be released. The wait is killing me.
Anyway, onto the books!
The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
Release Date: August 26
I absolutely loved the first two books in this trilogy, The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife. The magic system is one of the most original I have ever seen. I loved the main characters and I am dying to know how their story ends. The second book left on a pretty nasty cliffhanger, and I really want to know happens.
The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
Release Date: May 6
The first book, The Promise of Blood, was one of my favorite books of last year. I managed to find a signed copy too, which was amazing. I read it in two days, I physically could not put it down. The complexity of the government and the characters, all their stories and histories, it was all deftly woven together to create a superb novel. And the magic, oh my goodness, I cannot get over how amazing the different types of magic were, the powder mages, Privileged, Marked, Magebreakers and so on. I simply loved the whole story, and I can only imagine the sequel will be just as epic.
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
Release Date: September 16
I know this isn’t a fantasy book, but the first in the trilogy, The Fifth Wave, was another of my favorites for 2013. I loved the heroine, Cassie, and the world she lived in and how realistic she was. I’ve been dying to read this book for a while, and I cannot wait until September.
The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch
(This is not the cover art. But it is beautiful)
Release Date: Fall 2014
This book is only tentatively set for release this year. The first three books were all amazing and I loved all of them. Locke and Jean are one of my favorite duos in fantasy right now. I love their chemistry and how much they understand each other. I am dying to go with them on a another adventure.
The Bastards and the Knives by Scott Lynch
Release Date: March 3
Another Scott Lynch book, this one is a prequel to the first book, The Lies of Locke Lamora. I am looking forward to hearing from characters that have been gone for a long time. I can’t wait to see the whole group back together and doing crime again.
The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler
Release Date: July 1
I have a soft spot for military fantasy, and I completely fell in love with this book and all the characters in it. All the details were perfect and I was engrossed in the story from page one. The sequel is shaping up to be just as amazing and I can’t wait to read it.
Sworn in Steel by Douglas Hulick
Release Date: May 6
I confess…I haven’t actually read the first book yet, but it is at the top of my TBR pile. I just haven’t found the time to get to it. I’ve heard amazing things about it, and I do plan on reading it in the next few weeks. Maybe I’ll wait and marathon both of them. Stay tuned.
Sword of the North by Luke Scull
Release Date: June 1
I really like the first book in this planned trilogy. I loved all the different characters and how they all interacted with each other. I am looking forward to finding out more about their story, and where the trilogy is heading.
Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan
Release Date: July 1
This is one of my most anticipated books of the year. I loved the first book. I really like coming of age books, and the book managed to take that basic premise to a whole new level. I really enjoyed read the first book, Blood Song, and I am dying to see where all the characters go. I also really like the cover. The colors are interesting. I am so excited about this book!
The final book on the list, and easily my most anticipated of the year is…
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Release Date: March 6
Oh my goodness, I can not begin to describe how excited I am for this book. Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors, and The Way of Kings is one of my favorite books of all time. I devoured the first book in a few days. This is the second in a planned ten book series, and I’m glad I’m around to see each publication. The cover art is as beautiful as the first. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. I think that will be a highlight of my year.
So, those are 20 of my most anticipated books of 2014. This year looks like it is shaping up to be pretty spectacular. Tell me what books you are excited about in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
Hope you all enjoy your winter!
So here is another “haul” post, including books I received for Christmas. November and December were good to me, so I’m breaking this post up into two parts: Young Adult and Adult Fantasy. The total book count is 19. Wow…I’m just going to jump right in. Hope you enjoy!
So the first books I got were The World of the End by Ofir Gaftla and The Cusanus Game by Wolfgang Jeschke. I won them in a giveaway of international books, from the amazing people of Tor.com. I haven’t started either of them, but they do look interesting.
The next book, which I received from the wonderful people over at Gollancz, was Moon’s Artifice by Tom Lloyd. I am currently reading this, and so far it’s very good. The world and the characters are both very real and Lloyd has a real gift with descriptions.
After that, my family and I went to New York City for our annual holiday trip. We usually go to museums but this year I convinced everyone to go to Strand Bookstore. I had gone earlier this year, but unfortunately was rushed so I didn’t have a good chance to walk around, and it was overwhelming. I needed to go back and really admire all the books. So we all went and of course I bought a book, because who goes to Strand and doesn’t buy a book? Not me. I picked up a copy of The Passage by Justin Cronin. I actually started this book over the summer, but it’s very dark and somewhat dense, so I put it down and never got back to it. I did enjoy it however, and when I saw the hardcover for $10, I decided to go for it. Now it is forming the base for my ever-growing 2014 TBR pile.
I didn’t get any Adult Fantasy books for Christmas, but I did get quite a few gift-cards to Barnes and Noble. So I trekked over to their Paramus store, the one with the amazing used book section, and I went a little nuts. Just a little. I bought a bunch of books, starting with Malice by John Gwynne. I have been dying to read this book since I heard about its release in Great Britain. I thought it was right up my alley. Then I heard it was coming over to America, so I put it on my Christmas list. I didn’t get it, and when I saw it at B&N, I just couldn’t pass it up. I got a little distracted with other books, but it is next on my list to read.
I also bought Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson. I’ve a lot of good things about it, but I don’t really know much about the plot. It’s supposed to be a really amazing Historical Fantasy, so I’m looking forward to that.
The other books I got had been on my list for a long time. The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelzany is supposedly a classic, and I started it years ago, but never finished. Now I have all the books.
Devices and Desires by K.J. Parker looks very interesting, I’ve started it already and so far its good. This is my first book by this author, but I’ve heard good things, so I’ll keep reading.
City of Dreams and Nightmares by Ian Whates looks really good. I love books about interesting cities and I absolutely love it when an author create a city that is a character in its own right, and not just a backdrop. I’m hoping that Whates succeeds in doing just that.
The final book from above is Spellwright by Blake Charlton. This book looks like it incorporates my other favorite story line, the young pupil must master a certain skill to save the kingdom, world etc. For some reason, these type of books really catch my eye. I love seeing a character develop from a bumbling idiot into a hero. Spellwright looks like it has that sort of story, but with a few added twists.
On to the Young Adult books!
Alright, the first young adult book I got was Relic by Heather Terrell. I had contacted her for an interview, but she left on tour before she received my questions. So I was taken completely by surprise when I received a hardcover copy of Relic in the mail. I immediately dropped the other book I was reading to start this one, and I finished it pretty quick. It was good, but at the end, I just couldn’t stop laughing. If you’ve read it then you probably know what I’m talking about.
This holiday season I was involved in two Secret Santa parties. And both times I got books. The first was The Selection by Kiera Cass. The friend who gave it to me is obsessed with the series and she decided it was time I read it. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but it does look interesting.
The second Secret Santa book was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I tried to read this book when I was in middle school, but I couldn’t get past the idea that it was narrated by Death. Now its been turned into a movie, which I have not seen. It looks like the kind of book I want to read before I see the movie.
I didn’t get that many fiction books for Christmas. I did, however, get one that I REALLY wanted, which was Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve already read it and I loved it so much. I am reading the sequel as I type this post, and it is begging for me to pick it up again. The third book, Ruin and Rising, isn’t due out until the summer and it is one of my most anticipated books of the year.
The only other books I got for Christmas were Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant in a box set. I’ve read the first two, but someone (i.e. the Internet) spoiled the ending of Allegiant for me, so now I’m hesitant to start reading. I will though, because I love Tris and Four so much. The trilogy is so beautiful on my shelf and I have a new love for box sets. They are so nice looking.
Anyway, on the same post-Christmas Barnes and Noble trip, I bought Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I started reading this book, and I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t know, but the main character just bugged me. I’ll try to start over, but I make no promises.
The final book in this too-long book haul is Masks by E.C. Blake. This book was also on my Christmas list, and since I didn’t get it, I bought it for myself. I read it on New Year’s Eve, because I was already staying up and I really got into it. I like the idea of the masks as a way of the government to control the people. It was a little extreme, but I enjoyed it.
So that’s my November and December book haul. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrated, and I wish everyone a happy 2014! May it be great!
Wool by Hugh Howey
537 pages (US Hardcover)
Received: Bought at an independent bookstore
“In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo. 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.”
“What would you do if the world outside was deadly and the air you breathed could kill? And you lived in a place where every birth required a death, and the choices you made could save lives or destroy them?
This is Jules story.
This is the world of Wool.”
I had seen this book in a few different stores, but had put it back on the shelf more than once. I regret doing that, because this book was amazing. It was thought-provoking and gripping and I loved every minute of it. I got this while I was on vacation and instead of swimming at the beach, I was completely absorbed in the story.
To start off, this is an adult dystopian novel. The setting is a massive underground silo, with over one hundred levels. The top is were the wealthy live, the middle is for the computers and middle class, and the bottom is for the Mechanics, where our main character comes from.
Juliette, Jules to everyone, is stubborn, strong willed, and creative. She works in the darkest, dirtiest place in the entire silo, and loves it there. She is the best girl for any job. I loved her take on problems that didn’t involve her and how her sense of right and wrong drove her to ask questions. I loved following her through the story and I was rooting for her the whole time.
For the record, the title has nothing to do with the book. There is no wool in the story, not even sheep. I don’t quite understand where the title came from. Perhaps he is referencing the saying, “removing the wool from someones eyes”, but it seems a bit far-fetched. It bugged me the whole book.
I found this book to be a more mature Hunger Games. An oppressive government keeping secrets from the people, a heroine fighting for the truth, and a world that is alien, but at the same time eerily similar to our own.
This story was originally five separate novellas, that have now been combined to make this great book. Each one is slightly different, whether in perspective or overall tone, but they all flow together.
This is the sort of book I would recommend to anyone. When I finished it, I begged members of my family to read it. No one has yet, but I will be suggesting this to everyone I know for a long time.
Overall opinion: I absolutely loved this book. Five stars, ten stars, the highest it can go. The title was annoying, but the book itself was spectacular. As I said, I suggest this to anyone and everyone.
If you liked this book, you may also like:
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
Update (9/5/13) : I just discovered that Wool is part of a trilogy. Woohoo, two more books!!! I’m so excited. The second is called Shift and the third is called Dust! I can’t believe I didn’t see them sooner. I want to read them so bad!
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
457 pages (US Hardcover)
Received: An ARC in a contest on Goodreads
“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until see meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother – or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.”
I wanted to read this book since I saw the blurb. The idea of different waves of destruction really caught my attention. The aliens didn’t outright attack, but sent four waves to wreck havoc on Earth. The first killed the power, the second was a massive tsunami, the third was a deadly disease and the fourth was them picking off humans. I wanted to know how people survived these “waves”. Not to mention, it had a cool cover; just a girl walking by herself.
I really enjoyed Cassie’s narrative. She spoke as a girl that grew up during a series of catastrophic events, and turned into a different person. She is strong and smart, and devoted to finding her brother. I liked how she carried his teddy bear to remind her of her promise. She is sarcastic and I found myself rooting for her from page one. She is afraid, but she hasn’t given up and when faced with a choice, she decides to fight. I loved her spirit, and the way she tried to not let her past decisions haunt her.
Throughout the entire book, I felt connected to Cassie. She lost everything and is now all alone, but she feels compelled to find and rescue her brother. She is realistic about her situation and predicament and she doesn’t hide her fear of death. I understood her and could easily relate. I believe that most readers, male or female, will be able to, on some level, connect with Cassie. The author does an amazing job of creating a character that in no way feels like a piece of fiction, but rather like a friend.
I was hesitant about the character change, when halfway through the book the point-of-view was no longer Cassie’s. I was deeply engrossed in Cassie’s story and I didn’t want to leave. However, because of the change the reader experiences the other side of humanity. The other children that are now being trained to fight and kill. I didn’t like the nicknames, “Zombie” and “Nugget” were just odd and I stumbled over them. I was horrified to see how the children were treated and manipulated in the camps.
I am usually against relationships in books, most times it takes away from the story, in my opinion. At first, I was disappointed when I realized that there was indeed going to be a relationship between certain characters (it’s very difficult not to write any spoilers), however, the author manages to balance out the relationship(s) with action and suspense. It didn’t feel forced or rushed, and it didn’t hinder the story at all.
The pace of this book is just right. Cassie’s flashbacks allow the reader to see who she was before the Arrival and how she has changed. Her memories, such as the Crucifix Man, haunt her. There is enough action to keep you interested and enough backstory so the characters seem real. I could not put it down, I was hooked. I am fairly certain I missed a few meals while I was reading this and I anticipate doing the same when the next book comes out (which it is scheduled to do so next spring).
Overall Opinion: I loved this book. It was fast-paced and the characters were realistic and imperfect. Cassie especially. There were plenty of unanticipated plot twists that blew my mind and I could not put the book down. This book got me in a dystopian book craze. The author does a great job of creating an unfamiliar setting, even though it takes place on Earth. I absolutely cannot wait for the second book.
If you liked this book, you may also like:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
The Maze Runner by James Dashner