Waiting on Wednesday – The Raven Tower and Master of Sorrows

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  This week I could not decide between two very intriguing fantasy novels, both of which are being released in Australia by Hachette around the same time.  Therefore I decided to choose both of them, and I will be very interested to see which one I enjoy more in February.

The Raven Tower Cover.jpg

The first book I want to get is The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie.  Leckie is an established science fiction author who has written a number of cool-sounding books in the last few years.  While I have not had the opportunity to check out any of her previous work, her debut fantasy book, The Raven Tower, looks to be a pretty epic piece of fantasy fiction.

Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this breathtaking first fantasy novel from Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes.

But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods.

It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo–aide to Mawat, the true Lease–arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself…and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.

I love the summary of this book, and it really sounds like The Raven Tower will have a good blend of fantasy and intrigue elements.  The fight for control of an ancient god in a new fantasy city sounds like it will be pretty amazing concept, especially with outside influences potentially impacting the outcome.  I am also very keen to figure out the dark secrets at the heart of the tower.  Overall, this sounds like it will be a pretty cool read and I am very keen to check it out.  No indication at the moment whether this will be a standalone novel or the start of a series, but I think it has potential as both.

Master of Sorrows Cover.jpg

The second book that I am really excited about in the next few months is Master of Sorrows by Justin Call.  Master of Sorrows is a fantastic-sounding piece of young adult fantasy fiction from debuting author Justin Call.  This will be the first in a planned series of fantasy books, titled The Silent Gods, which will no doubt be released over the next few years. What really intrigues me about this book is that I have seen two very different plot synopses, both of which sound really good but which indicate different plot directions.  The first summary is on the Hachette Australia website:

The stunning coming-of-age adventure of fantasy’s most compelling anti-hero . . .

The Academy of Chaenbalu has stood against magic for centuries.

Hidden from the world, acting from the shadows, it trains its students to detect and retrieve magic artifacts, which it jealously guards from the misuse of others. Because magic is dangerous: something that heals can also harm, and a power that aids one person may destroy another.

Of the Academy’s many students, only the most skilled can become Avatars – warrior thieves, capable of infiltrating the most heavily guarded vaults – and only the most determined can be trusted to resist the lure of magic.

More than anything, Annev de Breth wants to become one of them.

This summary paints the book as a coming-of-age story at a magical academy, with a secret organisation of magicians being trained to locate and obtain magical items from a new fantasy universe.  I love a great magical training narrative, and this sounds like a pretty cool book all on its own; however, when combined with its Goodreads synopsis, this storyline takes on a whole new flair:

You have heard the story before – of a young boy, orphaned through tragic circumstances, raised by a wise old man, who comes to a fuller knowledge of his magic and uses it to fight the great evil that threatens his world.

But what if the boy hero and the malevolent, threatening taint were one and the same?
What if the boy slowly came to realize he was the reincarnation of an evil god? Would he save the world . . . or destroy it?

Among the Academy’s warrior-thieves, Annev de Breth is an outlier. Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital city, Annev was born in the small village of Chaenbalu, was believed to be executed, and then unknowingly raised by his parents’ killers.

Seventeen years later, Annev struggles with the burdens of a forbidden magic, a forgotten heritage, and a secret deformity. When he is subsequently caught between the warring ideologies of his priestly mentor and the Academy’s masters, he must choose between forfeiting his promising future at the Academy or betraying his closest friends. Each decision leads to a deeper dilemma, until Annev finds himself pressed into a quest he does not wish to fulfil.

Will he finally embrace the doctrine of his tutors, murder a stranger, and abandon his mentor? Or will he accept the more difficult truth of who he is . . . and the darker truth of what he may become . . .

This paints the story in a far darker light, with a protagonist with a secret and the magical academy he is being trained at a far more sinister institution, as they apparently executed his parents as part of their mission.  It also sounds like the protagonist will have to make some hard decisions as he chooses between his friends and the career he always wanted.
Essentially, I was sold on both synopsises for this book.  Combined, Master of Sorrows sounds like it has the potential to be a really great read.  I am really looking forward to this book, and I think it could turn out to be one of the best debuts of 2019.

Waiting on Wednesday – Alien: Echo by Mira Grant

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.

Alien Echo Cover

For this week’s Waiting on Wednesday review, I will be looking at one of the more interesting looking movie tie-in books of early 2019, Alien: Echo by Mira Grant. If you look back at some of the books I have reviewed in the past, it is pretty clear that I love novels that tie in to movies, television shows, video games and comic book series.  Therefore, when I saw this tie-in to the classic Alien movies, I knew that I would have to read it, especially as it’s being written by skilled horror author Mira Grant.

Horror is not my favourite genre in the world; however, I have read a couple in the last year, and one of my favourites has got to be Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant.  So far this is the only Mira Grant book I have read, except for a short story in a Night of the Living Dead zombie short story book, but I have been intending to check out some of her other series, such as her Newsflesh or Parasitology series.  However, if Grant can make mermaids bloody terrifying like she did in Into the Drowning Deep, I can not wait to see what she does with one of film’s most iconic horror creatures.

Here is what the plot is sounding like at the moment:

An original young adult novel of the Alien universe

Olivia and her twin sister Viola have been dragged around the universe for as long as they can remember. Their parents, both xenobiologists, are always in high demand for their research into obscure alien biology.

Just settled on a new colony world, they discover an alien threat unlike anything they’ve ever seen. And suddenly the sisters’ world is ripped apart.

On the run from terrifying aliens, Olivia’s knowledge of xenobiology and determination to protect her sister are her only weapons as the colony collapses into chaos. But then a shocking family secret bursts open—one that’s as horrifying to Olivia as the aliens surrounding them.

The creatures infiltrate the rich wildlife on this virgin colony world—and quickly start adapting. Olivia’s going to have to adapt, too, if she’s going to survive…

As you can see, this book has a pretty cool synopsis, and I like the sound of two young people fleeing through a strange new planet, being pursued by an entire planet of aliens. I am also loving the cover of this book, especially the alien eggs appearing in both of the young women’s eyes.  Early prediction based off the synopsis: the girls are either clones, part alien, androids or some variation of the three.

Alien: Echo is apparently going to be an original young adult novel, and I will be interested to see how writing it for a young adult audience will affect the horror elements of the Alien franchise.  This book is coming out in early April 2019, and I will probably get it in its audiobook format, which will apparently be narrated by Kate Marcin.  I have not heard anything narrated by Marcin before, but I am hoping that the audiobook format will bring the reader right into the middle of the horror.  Plus, at around eight hours, it should allow me to breeze through this book fairly quickly and get out a review ASAP.

I am really looking forward to this one, and do not be surprised if this kick-starts me into reading a few more Mira Grant books in 2019.

Waiting on Wednesday – Tiamat’s Wrath

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.
Tiamat's Wrath Cover.jpg

In this week’s Waiting on Wednesday review, I will be looking at a book that is probably on the waiting list of every science fiction fan out there: Tiamat’s Wrath by James S. A. Corey. Tiamat’s Wrath is the eighth book in Corey’s bestselling The Expanse series, which has been developed into the popular epic science fiction television series of the same name.  Tiamat’s Wrath is currently being billed as the penultimate book in the entire series.  I really enjoyed the previous book in the series, Persepolis Rising, especially as it set up the story for this final trilogy within the series, while also really raising the stakes for the entire The Expanse universe.  I, like many other readers, was very disappointed when Tiamat’s Wrath was delayed from December this year to March 2019.

This new book sounds like it will have some incredible plot elements to it, as the crew of the Rocinante are forced to fight a desperate war against the Laconian Empire, an old and powerful enemy that easily conquered the galaxy in the previous book using advanced alien technology.  At the same time, their captain, James Holden, is trapped on the enemy’s planet and will find himself involved in some political intrigue.  In the midst of all this, mysterious alien powers threaten everyone in the galaxy, which will ensure the return of Elvi Okoye and focus on her trying to get to the bottom of the threat while being hunted by the Laconian Empire. All of these story elements sound incredibly fascinating, and Corey already has a proven ability to combine several great storylines into outstanding overall narratives.

As a result, Tiamat’s Wrath sounds like it has the potential to be an amazing book, and is probably already a contender for the best science fiction book of 2019.  I am very much looking forward to checking out this book, especially as it will set up the final book in this iconic science fiction series.

Waiting on Wednesday – Emperor of Rome by Robert Fabbri

Welcome to my new weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think that I will really enjoy.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.

Emperor of Rome Cover.jpg

In this week’s Waiting on Wednesday review I will be looking at the ninth and final book in Robert Fabbri’s dark and wildly entertaining Vespasian series, Emperor of Rome. Emperor of Rome is currently set to be released in Australia in February 2019 and it will be one of the main historical fiction books I’ll be trying to get in the next few months. I have been a huge fan of this series for a few years now, and have been particularly impressed at how Fabbri has managed to write the nine excellent books in the series in just eight years in addition to the connected standalone novel Arminius: The Limits of Empire.

The Vespasian series follows the early life of the future Emperor, Vespasian, as he attempts to survive and prosper in a Rome ruled by a series of increasingly unstable and power-hungry Emperors.  What distinguishes the Vespasian series from all the other Roman historical fiction series is the focus on the darker and more salacious stories of ancient Rome, with some intriguing mystical elements also thrown in. These absolutely insane but in many cases very real historical stories works incredibly well with the political backstabbing and detailed Roman battle sequences to create a series of highly enjoyable and very entertaining novels.

Emperor of Rome will finally see Vespasian make his claim to the throne after years of existing in the shadow of crazy and incompetent Emperors and has a lot of potential as the final book in this series.  There are some great historical moments and events that Fabbri can mine in this final book, including the fall of Nero, the chaos of the Year of the Four Emperors and Vespasian’s final bid for power.  I am really looking forward to seeing how Fabbri uses all these events in his final book and I have high hopes that the author’s signature style will once again make this book stand out from all the other Roman historical fiction novels being released in 2019.

Waiting on Wednesday – The Unbound Empire by Melissa Caruso

I’ve really enjoyed the Waiting on Wednesday feature that several other book blogs provide, so I decided to give it a try. Waiting on Wednesday features books that I am hoping to get and review in the future.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books the moment I get them.

The Unbound Empire Cover (WoW).jpg

For my first Waiting on Wednesday, one of the main books I am hoping get in 2019 is The Unbound Empire by Melissa Caruso.  The Unbound Empire is the third book in the Swords and Fire series and will be released in April 2019. I have really enjoyed the previous two books in the series, The Tethered Mage and The Defiant Heir, which were some of the best fantasy books in the last two years.  With a fun combination of humour, intense fantasy adventure, enjoyable characters and excellent world building, I have awarded both of these books five-star reviews when I read them.

Definitely one to watch out for in 2019, I am expecting great things from The Unbound Empire.