Adrian Tchaikovsky: The Hyena and the Hawk

Hyena and HawkPlease be aware of spoilers for the previous two books in the series.

From the depths of myth an ancient enemy has returned: the Plague People, whose very presence obliterates whole villages; whose terror destroys minds. In their wake, nothing is left of the people, not their places, not their ways.

On the plains, the warriors and the wise of all tribes gather to confront the aggressor. Loud Thunder leads his great war-host south, even as Tecumet and Asman head north with the Sun River army. With Maniye Many Tracks, they plan to forge a new unity between the tribes such as the world has never seen. But will it be enough to stave off an oblivion that might devour even their gods?

Their adversary’s presence is like a wound in the world, and wakes all the old terrors and evils from the peoples’ stories. But before they can deal with the enemies without, they must conquer their demons within.

The Hyena and the Hawk is the third and final novel in the Echoes of the Fall series. A world filled with humans that take on the souls of animals with the ability to shape-shift into that soul is now under threat. With an enemy they once previously faced many generations ago, an enemy they never thought they would see again, Maniye and the many friends and enemies she has encountered along the way must attempt to put all their troubles and feuds aside to present a united front against a terror that threatens to rid the world of their Gods entirely.

Maniye has now fully made her mark on the world. Having embraced her new role as Champion of the Crown of the World (taking on aspects of Wolf, Tiger, Bear, and more in one), Maniye has now found her place and feels wanted by those around her. She has helped to make a name for her tribe who followed her to the south, whilst making new friends of the Crocodile and Dragon. But now, with a dark terror creeping up upon the Crown, the Plains and the Sun River Nation, Maniye is aware that there is still more for her to do, with a great weight sitting upon her shoulders that it is down to her to save the world from the loss of their humanity. Having re-read the whole series in preparation for The Hyena and the Hawk, you can clearly see the personal development that Maniye has gone through. From rebellious young girl to a mature young woman who knows what she wants, where she needs to be, and how to get there. Maniye can clearly taken on this new burden with the end of the world imminent and, with Hesprec by her side throughout, Maniye knows that the Serpent has something up her sleeve – doesn’t she always?

The resolution of this series was very well thought out and written. We are introduced to new characters and narrative threads that begin to help us understand the Plague People and their terror they instil in everyone around them; we are introduced to a people who know far more about the Plague People than anyone else and thus everyone begins to understand that making friends of their enemies, even for a small space of time, is clearly the only way to win the war. Though I wasn’t surprised or shocked by the ending of the novel, I did not expect or foresee the events to unfold as they did. It was not evident that such actions could occur which really helps you to relate to the characters and their knowledge that the Serpent always has a plan, but it will only be revealed when the time is ready.

I am genuinely sad to see the series end, though I would love to see Tchaikovsky write a novella or another story that gave more light to some of the topics mentioned, particularly in regards to the Plague People and how/why the Serpent were forced to move to the land of the Crown of the World, the Plains and the Sun River Nation. I feel like there is a whole other story there and that backstory really jumps out at me. I really enjoyed all the characters, past and presents – alive or dead – that played a part within the narrative. I felt that every character developed in a way that was realistically human and at a pace that fit with the events that took place.

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Adrian Tchaikovsky: The Tiger and the Wolf | Adrian Tchaikovsky: The Bear and the Serpent

Tyler Whitesides: The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn

Thousand Deaths of Ardor BennHired by a mysterious priest to attempt his most daring heist yet, Ardor knows he’ll need more than quick wit and sleight of hand. Assembling a dream team of forgers, schemers and thieves, he sets out to steam from the most powerful king the realm has ever known.

But it soon becomes clear there’s more at stake than fame and glory . . . Ard and his team might just be the last hope for human civilisation.

The Thousand Death of Ardor Benn (TDAB for short!) only came into my life thanks to a lovely bookseller at my local Waterstones. Having a casual browse on a trip into the city centre, I was looking around the science fiction and fantasy section – the only place to be! This bookseller was sorting out the books on the table made specifically to grab your attention and she could see that I was looking for something, anything to catch my attention. Out of nowhere, she told me to take a look at TDAB; that it was a new fantasy novel on the scene and that, though she didn’t know much about it due to its newness, the cover looked good. I thought, why the hell not?! It’s not everyday someone suggests a book out of nowhere that they know nothing about, and you certainly don’t either. And here we are today – a good few weeks later I must admit – but I’ve finished the book and…

It was definitely a good pick!

TDAB is without question a hefty tome at just over 700 pages long. For what seems such a simple heist there is a lot of planning, subterfuge and training spent in creating the perfect scenario to steal from their king, King Pethredote. You might then be thinking, does that mean that the book is boring or long-winded? The answer to that is simply no. Of course you have the quieter moments of the novel, but it doesn’t in any way make the novel drag or seem like it is drawn out on purpose. Each scene is put there on purpose to reach the end goal, and ensure that the reader is fully aware of how they got there. Endless chapters on how the characters simply got into character is not mind numbingly boring, but it is intriguing and really helps to flesh out each original and made-up character. It helps to understand how our protagonists develop through their subterfuge and also draws you in so much that ruse and reality blend seemlessly. You begin to question each character’s motives, you begin to question beliefs, emotions, and feelings.

We have our three main characters: Ardor, Raek and Quarriah. Ardor and Raek have been joined at the hip since a young age. They’re the perfect team in that, as Quarriah duly notes: ‘One was a dreamer. The other a doer.’ The two clearly bounce off of each other with Ardor being the creative thinker and brains behind building each cunning new ruse, and Raek being the hands-on mastermind who can instantly tell you how much something weighs and how much of each substance you need just by looking or thinking about the situation given to him. They’re firm friends and nothing can get between them… In comes Quarriah, a young thief who has similarly made a name for herself. She’s the talent behind the ruse going right or wrong, the one that will ultimately lose her head if she cannot pull off the simple act of stealing the item they have chosen from the King. As they go through the motions of setting up the ruse, they all grow closer together bouncing off of each other and generating feelings that, due to them being in character, are hard to fully distinguish as real. With everything going on, all of these character grow and bond together as the ruse continues beginning to understand the importance of their mission and the part that they play in the future of the Homeland and the Greater Chain islands. They are constantly learning new things about themselves that they only begin to fathom due to an outsider picking up on quirks, habits, and mannerisms that one may have found as a positive, or negative, but is in fact the complete opposite.

TDAB is a novel that I became invested in. I couldn’t get away from a novel filled with dragons, deceit, cunning, wit, humour, and so much more. Whitesides writes a novel that has no holes in which you can pick apart the narrative, with everything connecting together. Even when you seem unsure that their latest plan won’t carry through, Whitesides characters manage to pull it all together and surprise you. Everything is linked and everything fits together seamlessly without feeling like it has been added in as a bit of filler or because Whitesides seemed unsure on how something could be resolved. There is a lot of humour, stupidity, wit, and cunning that really lighten the mood even in the darkest of times and really adds to how believable the characters are. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and see how Ardor, Raek, and Quarriah have impacted the world and what other adventures they will embark upon.

Stephanie Garber: Legendary

LegendaryAfter being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more – and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets . . . including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything – maybe even her life.

But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

As they once again dive into the thrill of Caraval, Scarlett and Donatella switch positions as Tella herself attempts to win the game this time around. However, it is not Scarlett’s life that she wishes to save but that of her Mother who, thanks to her mysterious friend that she has been writing, may not be as out of reach as she thought. Upon setting foot in Valenda, Tella is immediately faced with mischief, passion, mystery, and uncertainty as she falls for the game as easily as her sister once did, questioning the reality of everything around her as well as what she feels. Caraval is just as magical and thrilling as the first time around, but is it really just a game?

I hadn’t really paid too much attention to the release of Legendary. It had managed to fall under my radar where I had taken a break from blogging and my TBR pile was starting to stack up. However, when Mary from Ramblings of a Writer pulled this out of her bag for me to read, I was immediately intrigued once again. Caraval was a novel to be watched and was eagerly anticipated by everyone last year. There were high expectations for Legendary, and boy did it not disappoint!

It’s a testament to how good Garber’s writing is, and the intensity with which I was instantly drawn back into the world having completed the book in less than 24 hours. I was hooked from the get go, eager to find out who this mysterious friend was and to find out the truth about the girls’ Mother. Not only that, but I was looking forward to the headache that was trying to sift through what was or wasn’t a game as Tella dove back into Caraval. Legendary was, as the name suggests, quite legendary in and of itself – bringing back on the magic and wonder of the game and so much more. We are introduced to new and exciting characters that put a spanner in the works, giving more information about the world they live in and the motives behind Legend and the games that he hosts. We also find out more about what drives the girls’ to choose the paths that they are walking, whether that be intentional or not.

I felt there was definitely a lot more mystery this time around, as we begin to find out who her friend is; who Legend really is; and the motives behind their Mother leaving them all those years ago. However, it is a mystery easily solved with the writing clearly leading you in the right direction and your hunches almost always coming out correct. That being said, it did not hinder or deter from the fun and enjoyment of the novel but made things all the more exciting as you realise how everything is or isn’t connected.

In Caraval, I spoke about how Scarlett really developed as a character as the games progressed, having to realise how to play the game and finding out so much about herself she never previously knew. This time around, Tella learns about herself and begins to see why she does things the way she does having believed that her future has been set for her by the powers that be with barely any chance of alteration. But, as the game is played, decisions are made, and new people come and go, Tella begins to realise that, though her fate may be set in stone, it is her interpretation of it that has put her on this course in life as she faces obstacles, physical and emotional, that test who she is as a person.

The ending of the novel is one that you will both love and hate, as you brace yourself for another book in the series. I found myself slightly at a loss as I read the last words and cursed Garber for not tying up a few loose ends and leaving myself speculating. In this regard, Legendary far exceeds the first novel bringing the series along in leaps and bounds that solidifies this series as being one to read.

Caraval Review

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Ed McDonald: Ravencry

IMG_20180623_132154For Ryhalt Galharrow, working for Crowfoot as a Blackwing captain is about as bad as it gets – especially when his orders are garbled, or incoherent, or impossible to carry out.

The Deep Kings are hurling fire from the sky, a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady had begun to manifest across the city, and the cult that worships her grasps for power while the city burns around them.

Galharrow may not be able to do much about the cult – or about strange orders from the Nameless – but when Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached and an object of terrible power is stolen, he’s propelled into a race against time to recover it. Only, to do that, he needs some answers, and finding them means travelling into nightmare: to the very heart of the Misery. . .

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
*Potential for spoilers.*

After the events involving Nall’s Engine within Blackwing, Ravencry sees us move forward four years with Ryhalt and the Blackwing in a position far better than what they had previously. They have their own office, they have a glorified secretary that does everything for them, and they hold some status within the city. However, when an item of great power and importance is stolen from Crowfoot, Ryhalt must make it his mission to retrieve the item or face the creation of a power far greater than any previously imagined. Alongside this, he must live with the notion that those he once loved and lost, may still, and will, have a hold on him.

When the e-mail to review this novel popped into my inbox I was sat in my house with Mary from Ramblings of a Writer. As soon as I mentioned the subject line of the e-mail, we both just seemed to look at each other and we both knew what the other was thinking – we need this book! We had both thoroughly enjoyed Blackwing and were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to immerse ourselves back into the world McDonald had built, and to see where our characters were after the Blackwing ending.

And McDonald did not disappoint. A slow beginning eases you back into the world as you’re reminded of the life debt Ryhalt commits to with Crowfoot, and the adventures Ryhalt and his crew had within the first novel. We’re reminded of characters that had only just entered the scene, and begin to see what part they will be playing as Ryhalt embarks upon these new adventures, and how they may help or hinder him. After all the introductions, you’re submerged once again and things head full throttle from there.

There is always that fear, like with a film, that the second in the series – and subsequently every one after – will not live up to the expectations of the first. However, Ravencry delivers. Not only is it easy to slip back into the Blackwing team as if you had only seen them yesterday, but McDonald brings even more to the table with new and exciting villains and powers, a more in-depth look into the Misery that we only briefly began to understand about in Blackwing, and characters that have clearly developed during those unmentioned four years.

In my review of Blackwing (take a look!), I described Ryhalt as being “a man with many wounds, both old and new, that he believes he has closed over but ultimately end up reopening as events progress.” There is still no better way to describe Ryhalt as the wound freshly created at the end of Blackwing is forced wide open with no room to heal thanks to the superstitious beliefs of those around him regarding the Bright Lady. However, Ryhalt uses these wounds to help spur him on and get to his end goal instead of wallowing in self-pity and alcohol (though he still does much of this!). It is clear that Ryhalt has developed exponentially since the first novel as he finds himself held accountable for a young girl who reminds him daily of his inability to be a husband and father earlier in his life. It is as if he has been given a second chance, and you can see how he feels about the situation as the novel progresses and he grows with it. He knows what he should or shouldn’t be saying to this young girl to build up her hopes and dreams but, as with any Father, he cannot help but assuage her.

McDonald ends the novel with words that leave a feeling of despair within the pit of your stomach. What is Ryhalt about to get himself in to, and has he been tainted by the events of Ravencry? I’m looking forward to finding out how Ryhalt continues his journey, and whether certain relationships will be developed or all but destroyed.

Blackwing Review

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S. B. Nova: A Kingdom of Exiles

IMG_20180623_132145Once upon a time there was a coffin, an evil stepmother, and a girl destined for greatness.

Serena Smith is unusual. Growing up as an outcast in her backwoods village, her life is grim and hard and lonely. Then, on her eighteenth birthday, she is given a magical heirloom and suffers a heart-breaking loss. Still reeling, she is forced into exile, snatched by slavers and condemned to a lifetime in chains.

Dragged to Aldar, a fae kingdom ruled by a tyrant witch, Serena soon discovers the embers of a forbidden love, and meets fellow exiles, each with their own secrets. As the lives of warriors, rebels, and witches clash, they discover a shared destiny. For only together, and with Serena’s newfound gifts, can she and her companions escape a cruel master and survive a realm of monsters and spies, while building the flames of a revolution.

A Kingdom of Exiles is the first in Outcast series by S. B. Nova that follows our main character Serena as she is exiled from her village for supposedly being a fae changeling. Locked up in a cage in the woods surrounding her village, Serena is saved from the clutches of Gus by a fae seeking to capture and take outcasts to the fae world of Aldar. Upon entering this realm, Serena begins to realise that she is stuck there with no way of escape and must make what she can of the situation she has been given. As she makes new friends, and attracts older brooding male fae, Serena starts to unravel the truth about her Mother, the necklace she has inherited, and her lineage.

No word of a lie, I finished this book within two days and I could not put it down. I even risked being late into work at one point I was that hooked by the characters, the story-line, and the writing. This novel is perfect for adults who miss the fast-paced action, the frowned upon love, and mystical fantasy of young adult novels – though this is not in any way a young adult novel.

Though it possesses all the characteristics, Nova does not shy away from triggering scenes of rape, or subtly imply sexual relations between characters – something you would see in young adult novels. I felt that this worked well within the novel, helping to identify the character of Serena and allow her to develop and learn from those within her past. From these moments, Serena becomes a compassionate and empathetic person who just wants the best for everyone. She is the kind of person that does not like to leave anyone behind, but must learn that you must pick and choose those you help and those you hinder. But it is also the people that she meets that help her to flourish into the woman that she becomes: a woman that knows her own mind, understands when the right move should be made, and to assess the people around her to better understand their motivations. All of this allows her to keep going and persevere, and proving that she is not a person to underestimate.

There is a lot going on in this novel and Nova does not reveal it all in one fell swoop, but drip feeds the information to be unveiled as and when it is needed and by the character appropriate for the job. As more information is imparted, you begin to understand how fragile the world of Aldar is and why the fae people are as they are. As to be expected within a sequel, you do finish the novel with some questions to be answered and I believe Nova will reveal the answers as we travel further along Serena’s chosen path.

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who is/was a fan of young adult and/or fantasy. The writing is vivid yet simple and each character slowly develops based on the actions and consequences of everybody else. I have always held by the opinion that if an author can submerge you so deeply within a novel that you deeply feel an emotion, then they are skilled in what they do, and Nova is no exception to this rule. I found myself losing track of time but, the biggest tell was that I found myself shedding a few tears over a certain moment close to the end of the novel. If that doesn’t sell the novel to you – what does!

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Christopher Ruocchio: Empire of Silence

*Potential for spoilers as I explain, and describe Hadrian Marlowe and set up the scene*Empire of Silence

It was not his war.

On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives–even the Emperor himself–against Imperial orders.

But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.

Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fighting a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

Empire of Silence is Christopher Ruocchio’s science fiction debut that sees us follow the first-person documentation of our protagonist, Hadrian Marlowe. We follow Hadrian through a small snippet of his life, starting off on his home planet of Delos where he is part of the nobile class, to his time on Emesh where he is unknowingly dumped whilst on his way to join the holy Chantry and thus having to make his own way in life without the help of his blood, name, and titles. It is a novel about survival, race and class differences, segregation, and so much more – providing an insight into a universe that seems so similar, yet so different.

Hadrian Marlowe, as mentioned, is a part of the nobile – essentially the upper-class nobles a.k.a palatines. On Delos, he is a part of the ruling class and heir-apparent to his father Alastair Marlowe. However, Hadrian has never really had an inclination towards the rough and tumble ways in which his father rules his planet, preferring to be more polite, courteous, and inquisitive to those of a lower-class than him. It is this calmer, more respected demeanour that sets him apart from his father, and also his younger brother, Crispin. Where his brother enjoys the sport and competition of fighting in the Collosso against those who have committed crimes, Hadrian would much rather draw, learn languages, and imagine his life living out amongst the stars like his heroes. However, Hadrian – who against his Father’s wishes to join the Chantry and, with the help of his Mother, was on a carrier to join the Scholiast’s – is dumped on an unknown planet far from his home system. With his deception at the forefront of his mind, Hadrian can no longer use his name, title, or breeding to get anywhere on this new planet without giving away his location, forcing him to live far below his station out on the streets with the thieves and criminals, eventually becoming a myrmidon to make a more honest living and hopefully fulfil his dreams to travel the universe.

As the novel progresses and events begin to unravel, putting the lives of Emesh in danger and uncovering new information that could change the course of the universe, Hadrian begins to develop and fully come into his own. Decisions and actions he would previously have shied away from, he is forced to confront and enact in order to get what he needs and understand better everything happening around him. Hadrian begins to ingratiate himself with his fellow myrmidons, thus making lifelong friends with those of a lower-class who, if he was still living on Delos, he would never have had any interaction with. Alongside this, with the war with the Pale moving ever closer to his position, Hadrian begins to understand the role he could, and will play, in this war and the way in which his actions could help in the future. Though many around him may not see it yet, Hadrian is able to convince and needle his way into Emesh’s nobile allowing him to set his course in life that will continue in future novels.

I’m a big fan of character-driven science fiction novels. I find them more emotional and engaging than those that focus entirely on world-building and the technology, society, and politics of these new planets. Empire of Silence is character-driven and brings all the information you need with each page you turn. Though we only see a small corner of this universe, we gain information about races, planets, and people we have not currently met allowing for a wider sense of the universe around him. However, I did find the novel to be long-winded and felt that many sections could have been shortened, or cut out entirely. This book took me almost two weeks to get through, and I did find – at times – that after putting the book down and coming back to it, I couldn’t fully remember the details of the previous chapter. For a 700 page book, a lot of the writing could have been condensed to around 500 whilst still providing all the information that was key in building up Hadrian and building the planets and people around him. With that being said, I am eager to read anything further that connects to this novel to better understand Hadrian, the Cielcin (the Pale), and the string of information we received throughout this novel. There are a lot of directions that Ruocchio can take with this novel and I look forward to seeing where it does go.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Blogger A-Z Survey

I’ve recently started following more bookish blogs… I recently came across Cailin at Stumbly Blog and thought I’d steal this little bookish meme to post up here. So, without further ado – let’s find out a bit more about me and reading!


I think this would have to be Lee Child! I’ve been reading his Jack Reacher novels for a good 10 years or so, I just happen to not possess any on my current bookshelf.


So many to choose from! Up there would have to be Justin Cronin’s ‘The Passage’ series, Becky Chambers ‘Wayfarer’s Series’, and the ‘Nevernight Chronicles’ by Jay Kristoff – they’re all so different but epic!


At the time of writing this, Ed McDonald’s ‘Ravencry’


Either water or a fizzy drink.


9/10 I will read a physical book over an eBook, that is my preferred choice. Though I do sometimes dabble in using my Kindle.


I honestly cannot think of a character off the top of my head. I’ve read so many books that none jump out at me! But I’ve dated a lot of gamers…


I would say Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King. I’ve never really read Stephen King and had never jumped on the bandwagon with all the hype, but it ended up being an enjoyable book after the slow rise to action!


I would say maybe Song of the Stork by Stephan Collishaw… Only because I haven’t really seen it around in the book community online and it was a wonderful, heart-wrenching story to read.


A few years ago when I moved out, I finally started reading books more for what I was feeling and the genres I preferred. When I was younger I never really spent my pocket money on books and would just read whatever books came my way from my Mother.


A Kingdom of Exiles by S. B. Nova. Read it, ’nuff said!


I do not read anything non-fiction (unless it’s historical), autobiographies, sports, music.


Let’s go with books as they might as well all add together… I spent around 4 months of my life reading the Wheel of Time series – and they’re all around the 1000 page mark.


A Kingdom of Exiles by S. B. Nova. I felt all the emotions for this novel, and I don’t even know when the next one is coming out!


Does rows/piles of books on desks, wardrobes, and drawers class as bookcases? No? Just the one then 😦


Let’s go with a classic.. Jane Eyre. It is the one classic novel that I have read many times and never gotten bored of.


My bed. It has such a comforting smell and feel about it. And you can sit in all kinds of positions that hurt your neck and back!


“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” – Clockwork Angels by Cassandra Clare. So much truth.


Spending money on a self-help book about sugar addiction when you know you will always be defeated by that sugary goodness.


Echoes of the Fall series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I have had the third and final book since it released earlier this year but have not finished as wanted to re-read the whole series in one go!


Just three? I’ll put some different novels down as I don’t want to repeat myself… Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan and The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne


I wouldn’t say unapologetic, but I love New Adult Fantasy (where they don’t skim over the sex scenes etc – it really makes the novel and the relationships more interesting!)


I’ve just done a Waiting on Wednesday for this novel… Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers


As hard as I try, sometimes I break the spines of my books (hides in fear!)


The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton


Why not check out this post to find out…!


A Kingdom of Exiles by S. B. Nova


Daniel Godfrey: The Synapse Sequence

IMG_20180623_132202In a future London, humans are watched over by AIs and served by bots. But now that justice and jobs are meted out by algorithm, inequality blooms, and protest is brutally silenced. Anna Glover may be the most hated woman in the troubled city – the media’s scapegoat for an unpopular war. Now she hides from the public eye, investigating neglected cases by using the mind-invading technology of the synapse sequencer to enter witnesses’s memories.

When a PI brings her a new high-stakes case, Anna sees a chance for atonement. But soon she is drawn into a plot that threatens to upend her hard-won anonymity and put everyone in danger – even those she hopes to save.

The Synapse Sequence follows our main character, Anna Glover, as she attempts to hide from those looking to point the blame. As she is going about her daily life and hoping to promote the Synapse Sequencer to authorities and interested parties, Anna is pulled into a case that could change how the world currently sees her. However, as she progresses further, uncovers more information, and submerges her mind into the sequencer many more times, Anna must suffer the consequences of her actions leaving her questioning her reality.

I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of this novel and the way in which the Synapse Sequencer is promoted. When we first meet Anna and the sequencer, she is attempting to highlight the importance of using the sequencer in criminal cases by being able to see multiple angles of a scene from the memories of witnesses who were there. It is a concept that is very forward thinking and is a form of technology that sounds logical, making the novel more realistic and not far-fetched as seen in some science fiction novels. I loved how as the novel progressed you began to see the various pros and cons of the technology, and what side effects can come of using such technology far more than you really should (something about that sounds familiar, right?! *cough* phones and computers *cough*)

Anna is a flawed character, one that is stubborn but also ambitious in her approach to get results. She takes chances when she believes that she can get the answers whilst also being aware of the consequences that these actions may cause. Anna also carries her demons, in particular the unpopular war that she is continuously blamed for (something that we will get the answers to as the novel progresses) – but she uses this as fuel in her will to prove to herself, and those around her that she is not the person she once was. By being brought onto this high-stakes case, Anna begins to find out more about herself as well as society in general when she submerges into the sequencer and the memories of the victim of the crime. It highlights how often we stereotype people based on something as simple as a name, and this information later makes her question the reliability of the sequencer as well as questioning herself.

I found this novel hard to put down, and a very easy read. It was informative without bogging you down with vast amount of info dumps. This was my first time reading a novel by Daniel Godfrey and I will definitely be reading some of his other novels after this.

Waiting on Wednesday: Record of a Spaceborn Few

It’s been a long time since I did a book meme for the blog, so let’s start it off with an eagerly anticipated book due out at the end of July. I have had this book on order since around this time last year when it was first advertised for pre-order. If you’re a long term reader of the blog, or have followed me on Twitter long enough – you will know of my obsession for Becky Chambers and her debut Wayfarers Series. Those who are fans of science fiction, in particular sci-fi that is more character-based than planet/tech based, will seriously love this series. I class it as a work of literary sci-fi – it’s that good! Check out the synopsis for the third book in the series below, and why not check out my reviews for the previous books if you’re interested in what I thought!

Side Note: Though these novels are all based in the same series and do contain characters from previous novels, I do personally believe that they can be read as stand-alone novels as not all characters do reappear or are mentioned.

As always, credit to Breaking The Spine for the creation of WoW.



Image taken from the Hodder website

Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.

Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.

Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.

Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.

And when a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:

What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

Becky Chambers: The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet |Becky Chambers: A Closed and Common Orbit


The Synapse Sequence Blog Tour – Guest Post

It’s me again – back with a quest post for Titan Books latest blog tour for Daniel Godfrey’s ‘The Synapse Sequence’. Hoping to put up a book review sometime in the future but things are getting a little busy, so Titan have kindly supplied me with a guest post from Godfrey himself. I hope that you all enjoy, and the synopsis for the novel can be found at the bottom of the post (it’s a good book, pick it up!).

Five Books That Made Me

I think it’s probably true that the books we read as children stay with us the longest. In this blog post, I’ve picked out five books that I read prior to leaving secondary school – and which have had the greatest impact on my reading life.

The Rightful King of Ramir, Sheila K. McCullagh: This is the oldest book on the list, and is part of the Buccaneer series which I tore through whilst at primary school. The story involves a boy, Nicholas Strange, who owned a painting of a ship that could transport him to Ramir – a place full of pirates and Buccaneers. Yes, a portal fantasy very much from the Narnia playbook (though for a younger audience). I thought they were great!

Star Wars Annual: Okay, at first, this may appear to be a strange choice. My copy of the annual is battered (torn and some pages ruined by crayon!) and acquired by my parents for me second hand. But this book has had the biggest impact on my writing. Because somewhere in my attic is a little school book in which I used the annual’s comic strip panels to pen the scenes as if writing a novelisation. “If you strike me down,” old Ben said calmly*, as his lightsabre clashed with Vader’s. “I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!”

The Hardy Boys, Franklin W Dixon: Okay, let’s start with the fact that Franklin W. Dixon is a pseudonym for a whole host of ghostwriters! I was gobsmacked when I found this out, and yet it undoubtedly made sense given the number of books written. Frank and Joe Hardy solved mysteries (assisted – and often hindered – by their best friend Chet) in a way common to Nancy Drew. I had a good collection, amused and attracted by the American locations and names (Chet, Biff, Fenton etc). My sister also read them and, being older, also had access to the Hardy Boys Casefiles which were aimed at older readers. The emotional trauma of me reading about Joe Hardy’s girlfriend (Iola) being murdered in Dead on Target….no. No! I’m sorry, but it is still too much. 😦

Heir to the Empire, Timothy Zahn: I put a lot of thought into whether to include two Star Wars books, but there’s no getting round the fact that they had the biggest impact on my young reading. I think Zahn’s book brilliantly evokes the original trilogy whilst introducing a range of new characters. Much of the book has now been superseded by the prequel and sequel trilogy of course but – whilst I very much enjoyed The Force Awakens – I think an Empire fighting back from near ruin would have been a more interesting backdrop than how the First Order has been portrayed as a near pinnacle-Empire replica (and would also have moved the series on a bit from what we’d seen before).

From Russia with Love, Ian Fleming: The most ‘adult’ book on the list. My dad owned a collection of James Bond paperbacks – which I found as a teenager to be very different to the Roger Moore incarnation that was then being regularly repeated on the television. Nowhere to be found was the raised eyebrow, or the (groaning) gags. This was a Bond who you could believe could actually kill people, and who was being put in grave peril. My favourite of the lot was From Russia with Love (also my favourite Bond film) featuring the villainous Rosa Klebb! Danger, excitement and foreign locations – it took me a world away from the Yorkshire coast.

‘In a future London, humans are watched over by AIs and served by bots. But now that justice and jobs are meted out by algorithm, inequality blooms, and protest is brutally silenced. Anna Glover may be the most hated woman in the troubled city – the media’s scapegoat for an unpopular war. Now she hides from the public eye, investigating neglected cases by using the mind-invading technology of the synapse sequencer to enter witnesses’ memories.

When a PI brings her a new high-stales case, Anna sees a chance for atonement. But soon she is drawn into a plot that threatens to upend her hard-won anonymity and put everyone in danger – even those she hopes to save.’