PSA: Two new K.J. Parker Stories and a New Trilogy!

I will not stop proselytising the religion of author K.J. Parker until her books are read and appreciated by millions of readers worldwide. Fine, maybe not millions of readers, but K.J. Parker is an author that is so criminally underappreciated by genre readers that were I a conspiracy nut, I would angrily shout that there are malevolent forces at play here. That I have only started reading Parker’s work in the last month is irrelevant, or it makes my case even stronger;  it is enough time to come to terms with the sheer amount of intellectual power and dry humour she brings to the table in her books.

Devices and DesiresAnd as so, I have taken up the task of recommending her fiction to those who care to listen. It’s the best and only thing that I, as a reader, can do to positively impact an author that I care about. (Unrelated addendum: Why is it that we don’t see millionaires financing the careers of authors they like? Is patronage a thing of the past? If so, why)

Those who want to start reading her work, two new stories have been published online by both Subterranean Press, whose Subterranean Online has published a wide amount of Parker’s stories, and that has come to an end, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Almost all of her shorter fiction has also been recently collected in the Academic Exercises anthology, which I hereby bet with everyone that it will win a bunch of anthology awards (the World Fantasy Award is a given).

Additionally, and far far more exciting, the first details of her newest trilogy have finally surfaced. Slated for a February 2015 release, The Invincible Sun looks like it will be the first K.J. Parker novel to be featured in the world that she has been building throughout her shorter fiction. For those new to her work, The Invincible Sun is the name of the God and main religion in this world, the only world by her that features overt magical elements. If it proves to be the case that the book’s story will indeed be set in this world , The Invincible Sun will be the first K.J. Parker novel to feature her original magic system. The creation of The Invincible Sun is the subject of her stupendous story “The Sun and I”.

As you can tell, I am beyond excited for this new trilogy and everything that this author does next. Give her work a chance, you will not regret it.


The Godless by Ben Peek

The Godless

The Godless is not Ben Peek’s first published work, but, as his fantasy debut, it is a new step in the Australian author’s career. The Godless is set in a fantasy world where a calamitous war between the gods has left them for dead, or dying. In the aftermath of that world-changing event, the god’s bodies have begun leaking remnants of their powers into the world, creating new Immortals – humans with powers, feared by many.

It is on the literal back of one of these gods that the city of Mireaa, a huge trade city, was built. Much like a cairn, Mireea finds itself in the midst of a siege by a warring neighboring nation which the city may not be able to stop. It is in this setup that The Godless introduces us to its three main characters. Ayae, a cartographer’s apprentice, discovers early on in the book that she cannot be hurt by fire. Buelaran, saboteur, leader of the mercenary company Dark, has been hired to infiltrate the besieging army and cause as much harm as he can. Zaifyr, a man covered in charms, both feared and detested by Fo and Bau, two powerful Immortals living in Mireea, knows more about the world’s history that his apparent young age lets on.

The Godless is nothing but epic, and as the first book in the Children series, with a world and history much larger than can be put into 400 pages, it feels like a book whose purpose is to setup the events that are to come in the following books in the series. It could be said that more important than the besieging army story, it is the characters that Peek here introduces that are the true focus of the book, as more words are spent establishing each character’s backstory than they are advancing the main story forward. However, the strategy’s purpose is made clear as you progress through the book, and it is sure to pay dividends in the proceeding installments in the series when all the threads are knitted back together.

That is not to say that the book does not have its issues. The sudden changes in time, without warning or notice, more often than not ended up breaking my reading flow and forced me to backtrack several paragraphs because I couldn’t mentally place the action in its correct time and place. This isn’t much of a problem later on in the book because you learn to expect these changes, but in the beginning it can become quite tiring. It also doesn’t help that the book is divided in several small chapter, each with a different character viewpoint, which makes it harder to settle into each character’s mindset. Again, this is more of a trouble in the beginning because the characters are new and you have nothing with which to anchor their viewpoints.

In all, The Godless succeeds in what sets out to do: it establishes the world, its characters, and the context with which the later book will work with. While it may have some problems, it is interesting and compelling enough to keep on reading, and by the end of it you cannot but wait to find out what happens afterward.

What We’re Looking Forward To In September

What We’re Looking Forward To is, as the name indicates, a monthly feature where we talk about what books we’re most excited to check in the coming month. 

From João:

This is, by far, my most anticipated book for 2015. I have fallen in love with Ken Liu‘s short fiction ever since I read his multiple award-winning story Paper Menagerie – which you can read here, – and The Grace of Kings, his novel debut, promises to be one of the best this next year. The novel will be published by the new imprint SAGA Press, and you can get a taste for it in his story None Owns The Air, published in Lightspeed Magazine, which is based in the same world.

The Grace of KingsTwo men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.

Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.


K.J. Parker is one of those authors that is constantly featured on every underappreciated authors list and I have yet to see a negative thing written about her writings. I am expecting great things from The Folding Knife.

The Folding KnifeBasso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man.

He is ruthless, cunning, and above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he’s only ever made one mistake.

One mistake, though, can be enough



I am cheating a bit here since I have already reviewed this book on this blog, but City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett is poised to be one of the most talked about books this year and I will be very surprised if it doesn’t do spectacularly well both critically and commercially. You have to check out this book.

City of StairsThe city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem—and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

From Rita:

I first heard of The Iron Trial after some of my favourite booktubers went to BEA and received an ARC. Although I have never read anything by Holly Black, I have heard very good things about her writing… and well I really, really like Cassandra Clare books. Now that I have my copy (thanks to Netgalley) I’m just going to have to devour it, because who doesn’t love a book about mages and magic school?


From the imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping plunge into the magical unknown.

Think you know magic?

Think again.

The Magisterium awaits . . .

Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt.

Call has been told his whole life that he should never trust a magician. And so he tries his best to do his worst – but fails at failing.

Now he must enter the Magisterium.

It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister. And Call realizes it has dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning. Call’s biggest test is still to come . . .



Marissa Meyer is one of my favourite authors, The Lunar Chronicles is one of my ultimate favourite sagas and I just can’t get enough of it. So, obviously, when I heard of this companion I was in heaven! You’ve got to love a good villan, and Levana fits the profile perfectly…

22489107In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Yesterday's KinYesterday’s Kin, by Hugo and Nebula award winning author Nancy Kress, is a first-contact story set in the not so distant future. We follow Marianne Jenner, a geneticist who is celebrating a recent career breakthrough, when she is called to a meeting set up by the secretive aliens that have recently landed in New York. As she arrives, she quickly discovers the surprising link between her recent work and the aliens, as well as the reason behind their sudden appearance on Earth. Alternating chapters with Marianne is her son Noah, addicted to a drug that can temporarily change his identity.

There is a reason why the aliens have chosen to make the journey towards Earth and make themselves known, which informs the conflict that serves as foundation for the plot of the novel. The trouble with it is that by itself it makes for a very poor foundation to build a novel around since there is literally nothing any of the characters can do about solving it. It is unsatisfying, and besides the first chapters with Marianne,  none of the characters’ actions have any effect on the development and possible resolution of the conflict. The Noah chapters are the most egregious in this regard, and you could cut them all out and not lose any serious plot development.

The climax is, by way the plot has been set up, unsatisfying , and the characters have no serious input towards making it happen. It is not unlike the climax of The War of the Worlds – the movie version, I have never read the book, – in essence, and it feels cheap and bland.

It’s disappointing since the excerpts that can be found online promised an interesting first-contact story, but the setup of the story doesn’t help itself for an interesting plot and its inevitable resolution feels cheap and uninteresting, and ultimately, unsuccessful.


João Eira

The Books We’ve Bought This Summer

As every book lover knows, there are never enough books one can have, bookshelf space be damned! Here are the latest books we have added in our expanding collection.

From João:

Joao Summer Bookhaul

From Rita: