Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: Robert Thompson


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Leviathan Wakes: Action-packed space opera that transcends the genre

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

FORMAT/INFO: Leviathan Wakes is 592 pages long divided over a Prologue, 55 chapters and an Epilogue. Extras include an interview with the author and an extract from Caliban’s War, the second book in The Expanse series. Narration is in the third person, alternating between Executive Officer James Holden and Detective Miller, except for the Prologue (Julie) and Epilogue (Fred). Leviathan Wakes is mostly self-contained, coming to a satisfying stopping point,


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Deathless: Demands careful reading and close attention

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

CLASSIFICATION: Weaving together fairy tales and history, Deathless is kind of like Pan’s Labyrinth, if it was told by Hayao Miyazaki and Neil Gaiman. Highly recommended for fans of adult fairy tales, Russian folklore, and Catherynne M. Valente.

FORMAT/INFO: Deathless is 352 pages long divided over a Prologue, 6 Parts, and 30 numbered/titled chapters. Narration is in the third-person, mostly via the protagonist, Marya Morevna.


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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: Different

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

CLASSIFICATION: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is epic fantasy that mixes together court intrigue, mythology, romantic/family drama, and celestial magics. It brought to mind everything from Jacqueline Carey, Lane RobinsMaledicte, and Marie Brennan’s Midnight Never Come to Gregory Frost’s Shadowbridge / Lord Tophet, John Scalzi’s The God Engines,


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Dragonfly Falling: It’s weird, but it works

Dragonfly Falling by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Between introducing the uniquely imaginative concept of ‘Insect-kinden’ and showcasing a well-rounded display of characterization, world-building, story, pacing and prose, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Empire in Black and Gold was not only an impressive debut, it was also a memorable start to an exciting new fantasy series. A direct continuation of Empire in Black and Gold, Dragonfly Falling is basically more of the same, just on a larger and more entertaining scale.


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Empire in Black and Gold: Ought not to work

Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky

If all I had to go by was the cover art (Tor 2008 edition), the title of the book and the synopsis, I probably wouldn’t give Adrian Tchaikovsky’s debut a second glimpse. After all, the artwork fails to capture the eye, the book title is bland, and the summary makes the novel sound formulaic. I mean how many times have authors written about a powerful ‘Empire’ bent on conquering the world and the unlikely heroes determined to stop them? For that matter,


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Shadowbridge: Exquisite imagery and magic

Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost

Gregory Frost graduated from Clarion Workshop, authored five novels and the critically-acclaimed short story collection Attack of the Jazz Giants & Other Stories, and has been a finalist for nearly every major award in the fantasy field including the Hugo, the Nebula, the James Tiptree, and the World Fantasy Award.

Impressive, but what did I think of Shadowbridge? Well, for the most part I enjoyed reading Shadowbridge and while I may have liked the novel,


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Patient Zero: Like riding The Screaming Eagle

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

The summer I turned 30, I went to Great America with my two sisters and one brother-in-law. We rode the Screaming Eagle rollercoaster, one of those wooden rebuilds of old-time coasters, which (at the time) had the longest drop on the first hill of any rollercoaster in the world. As we reached the top of that hill, my sister turned to me and said, “It’s been nice knowing you.” Sure enough, that first drop about killed me; even worse (or better, depending on your perspective) was the series of corkscrew turns at high speed that came toward the end of the ride.


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Horns: Frightening, sad and ultimately hopeful

Horns by Joe Hill

CLASSIFICATION: Horns is a murder mystery/love story/revenge thriller with a dark supernatural twist in the vein of Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Peter Straub.

FORMAT/INFO: Horns is 384 pages long divided over 4 titled Parts and 50 numbered chapters. Narration is in the third-person, mainly via the protagonist Ignatius “Ig” Perrish, but also includes narratives by the villain and Ig’s older brother Terry. Horns is self-contained.


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Jade Man’s Skin: Not as enjoyable as first book

Jade Man’s Skin by Daniel Fox

Why are the second books of trilogies so difficult? Jade Man’s Skin is the second book of MOSHUI: THE BOOKS OF STONE AND WATER, a series set in an alternate China where dragons are real and jade has the power to make an emperor nearly invincible. I greatly enjoyed Dragon in Chains, the first in this series. And I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy Jade Man’s Skin; only that I enjoyed it less.


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Dragon in Chains: An uncommon fantasy setting

Dragon in Chains by Daniel Fox

Most epic fantasy written in English has its basis in Western culture. While the worlds created in these books are not our world, they are generally recognizable: the use of language is comfortable, the foods are what we or our ancestors ate, the customs are basically familiar. Even mythological creatures look the way we expect them to, so that unicorns have horns and dragons have wings. When there are exceptions to these rules, the author is certain to provide an explanation, and the exception is often integral to the tale.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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