Archive for Reviews
With the US and ebook release dates for our September titles – The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley and The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan – fast approaching, what better time to recap the wonderful and exciting things that are being said about these two fantastic books.
The Mirror Empire‘s release follows hot on the heels of Kameron‘s TWO Hugo awards at LonCon, and is certainly making waves in the fantasy circles. We are very excited for it be unleashed on the general public, and look forward to seeing and hearing reader reactions. For the full list of Kameron’s blog tour, check out her blog post here. For now, here are just some of the rave reviews The Mirror Empire has received, thus far:
STARRED REVIEW: “This is a hugely ambitious work, bloody and violent, with interestingly gender-flipped politics and a host of factions to keep straight, as points of view switch often. Although it is a challenging read, the strong narrative thread in this new series from Hurley (God’s War) pulls readers through the imaginative tangle of multiple worlds and histories colliding.”
– Library Journal
STARRED REVIEW: “Hurley (Rapture) reuses old tropes to excellent effect, interweaving them with original elements to create a world that will fascinate and delight her established fans and appeal to newcomers. Readers will blaze through this opening installment and eagerly await the promised sequel.”
– Publishers Weekly
“Hurley intelligently tackles issues of culture and gender, while also throwing in plenty of bloodthirsty action and well-rounded characters. This is a fresh, exciting fantasy epic that’s looking to the future and asking important questions. 4****/5″
– SFX magazine
“The Mirror Empire is a fresh, vigorous, and gripping entrant into the epic fantasy genre, able to stand toe-to-toe with any of the heavyweight series out there. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough.”
– SF Revu
“The Mirror Empire is epic in every sense of the word. Hurley has built a world – no, worlds – in which cosmology and magic, history and religion, politics and prejudice all play crucial roles. Prepare yourself for sentient plants, rifts in the fabric of reality, and remarkable powers that wax and wane with the stars themselves. Forget all about tentative, conventional fantasy; there’s so much great material in here that Hurley needs more than one universe in order to fit it all in.”
– Brian Staveley, author of The Emperor’s Blades
“Taking epic fantasy down challenging and original paths. Thoughtful and thought-provoking with every twist and turn.”
– Juliet E. McKenna
“For me [The Mirror Empire] did all the things a fantasy should do — holding our own societies up to the light by reflecting off worlds that are very different. Add in a magic system where the users are only powerful some of the time, and semi sentient vegetation that is possibly more of a threat than the magic users, and I happily sank into this book with a satisfied sigh.”
– Francis Knight
– Courtney Schafer, author of The Whitefire Crossing
“The Mirror Empire is the most original fantasy I’ve read in a long time, set in a world full of new ideas, expanding the horizons of the genre. A complex and intricate book full of elegant ideas and finely-drawn characters.”
– Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of The Shadows of the Apt series and finalist for the 2014 Gemmel Legend Award
“There’s a powerful yet elegant brutality in The Mirror Empire that serves notice to traditional epic fantasy: move over, make way, an intoxicating new blend of storytelling has arrived. These are pages that will command your attention.”
– Bradley Beaulieu, author of The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy
“With vividly inventive world building and a fast-paced plot, The Mirror Empire opens a smart, brutal, and ambitious epic fantasy series. Book two is already on my must-read list.”
- Kate Elliott , author of the Spiritwalker Trilogy
“The Mirror Empire takes look at epic fantasy patriarchy & gives it a firm kick in the balls…[it] will be the most important book you read this year.”
– Alex Ristea, Ristea’s Reads
“In the two worlds of The Mirror Empire, we get Deadly Plants, Blood Magic, and yes, Brutal Women. The Mirror Empire is both a chance for fantasy fans to get to know Hurley’s writing, and for previous fans of her work to see what she can do in a new vein. And for readers new to her work, this is in many ways the best place to start. 4.5****/5.”
– Paul Weimer, SF Signal
“One of the most stunning epic fantasies I’ve read this year. The setting is unique and plays a major role in the story. A spectacular novel.”
– Books Without Any Pictures
“I can’t even tell you how much I liked this book. It was long, yes, but I didn’t mind it because there was just so much awesome happening. I classify it as a fantasy, but it could also be considered science fiction, what with the parallel universes and binary star system and all.”
– In Case of Survival
“At its best this novel is as good as anything I have read this year. Expect to hear ‘ambitious’ a lot; I couldn’t imagine the mental and physical mapping it would take to hold all these pieces together but hold together they do. The world is alive, the world is unique, and the world is actually built rather than borrowed.”
– Fantasy Review Barn
Not content with releasing The Mirror Empire in September, we also have the award-winning author Rod Duncan with The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, a riotous novel of alternate history, set in a divided England. The cover is the first thing to catch everyone’s attention, and rightly so. This beautiful creation is by the fantastically talented Will Staehle, and visit Tor.com for Will’s exclusive post on his design process. The first book in the Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire has certainly struck a cord with readers, and here’s some of the reasons why reviewers are loving Elizabeth Barnabus and her story:
“Steeped in illusion and grounded in an alternative history of the Luddite Rebellion, Duncan’s strong supernatural mystery serves ably as both a standalone adventure and the start to a series…Strategically placed steampunk tropes inform but do not overwhelm Elizabeth’s headlong quest to find a missing aristocrat sought by the Patent Office, which is fixated on both achieving perfection and eliminating “unseemly science.” A hazardous border crossing into the permissively corrupt Kingdom of England and Southern Wales provides ample excitement, and a glossary at the novel’s conclusion hints enticingly at a much more involved story to come.”
– Publishers Weekly
A “detective story with a difference…Chapters begin with quotes from the legendary Bullet-Catcher’s Handbook, phrases that introduce not only the idea of illusion that pervades the novel, but also the author’s sly humour. [Duncan's misdirection is] subtly and well done, all the way through the book, right to a neat little twist at the end, a play on the title that had me nodding in approval. Each [character] is vividly portrayed, lively enough to feel like the heroes of their own stories, all with distinctive voices; it’s always a good sign when you find yourself reading dialogue out loud, rolling your lips and tongue around the words.
Rod Duncan’s talent has combined inventive plot and characterisation to create a smart, amusing and fascinating tale that had me reading long into the night.”
– Fantasy Faction
“It’s all steampunk and circus wonder as we follow the adventures of Elizabeth Barnabas.The double crosses along the way keep the plot tight and fun, and the conclusion sets us up nicely for book two.”
– The Washington Post, Best New Science Fiction and Steampunk
“If I had a bowler hat, I’d take it off to the author of this beautifully crafted steampunk novel.”
– Chris D’Lacey, author of The Last Dragon Chronicles
“Rod Duncan’s The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter is a magic box pulsating with energy. Compulsive reading from the get-go, the blend of steampunk alternate history wrapped in the enigma of a chase makes for first-rate entertainment in this finely crafted novel.”
– Graham Joyce, author of Year of the Ladybird
“The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter is off to a solid start. Rod Duncan has created a wonderful setting in The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter taking in account the big as well as the small things that are needed to make a world go round. He has struck a perfect balance between both highlighting the characters, from our main protagonist Elizabeth Barnabus down to the secondary characters, and the world itself, using bits and pieces of exisiting history spinning it in his own way by adding enough fantasy influences to make it one-of-a-kind. It is with these kind of books that make sure the fantasy genre is kept fresh. If you are looking for something new and refreshing make sure you read The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, it’s is everything you want and much more!”
– The Book Plank
“Looking for a good book? Mystery, duplicity, secret societies, alchemy, romance, action … The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan has it all and promises to be the talked-about/must-read book for sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts this year!”
– Looking For A Good Read
“Really, a fine and well crafted novel. As per the glossary, Elizabeth plays a key role in the fall of the Gas-lit empire. Cheers to that as she is a captivating character. Angry Robot has picked a winner.”
- Koeur’s Book Reviews
“Steampunk at its best. Engaging characters, spectacular settings and snappy dialogue.”
- Cayocosta72 Book Reviews
“I was immediately hooked by the world Duncan created. What would the world look like if the Industrial Revolution had been halted, even reverse? What really made this book for me was Elizabeth Barnabas. Her unusual upbringing in a traveling circus and her five years of forced independence have made her clever and strong. She’s a wonderful character and it was a treat to watch her work through the challenges the cropped up as she find out why everyone wants to get their hands on the Duchess’s missing brother.
“The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter is the opening book in a series and I will be eagerly waiting for the next installment of Elizabeth’s adventures.”
– Summer Reading Project
“The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter is an entertaining book that has some genuine, original touches combined with a clever story and even cleverer characters.”
– SF Book Reviews
“Rod Duncan has successfully written an absorbing tale from the perspective of a woman in the early nineteenth century. This is science-fiction with the sub genre of Steampunk, so technology is unorthodox and fascinating. A cracking read.”
– Fancy Pans Cafe
“Duncan has crafted a credible and intriguing world where the twists of a society founded on very different ideals are perhaps even more important than the technology. That makes this novel, while solidly a steampunk offering, feel very fresh and engaging. The backdrop of the circus and the surprising way Elizabeth manages to make a living give the whole story real depth. This is the first in a planned series of novels entitled The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire: I’m certainly looking forward to the next installments. Fabulous.”
- Geek in Sydney
Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? Both books are released in the US and on ebook next Tuesday, 26 August with UK and ROW releasing Thursday, 4 September. Happy reading!
Hey folks, today’s Robot Round-Up is a celebration of January 2014’s coming titles, and we have two exciting books to share with you! First up, the much anticipated The Cormorant, the third in Chuck Wendig’s fantastic Miriam Black series. Readers of the first two books loved the dark, punchy style (“fast, ferocious, sharp as a switchblade and fucking fantastic” – Lauren Beukes, author of Zoo City and The Shining Girls) and I can’t wait to see what you all think of the third book. Read More→
Damn, April already? Isn’t this year flying past? But also, that means that it’s British launch week for the wonderful The Age Atomic, the terrifying Black Feathers and the incontinence-inducing hilarity of The Marching Dead.
That man Joseph D’Lacey has been hither and thither promoting his book in the UK, and many thanks to Blackwells and Big Green for letting us hijack your stores. Black Feathers is getting raves everywhere right now:
• The mighty Tor.com said the novel is “an exceptional piece of apocalyptic/horror/fantasy fiction”, which is true.
• Upcoming4Me rather agreed: “a refreshing take on the whole post-apocalyptic genre and a great introduction to the writing of Joseph D’Lacey”.
• SciFi Now magazine gave it a half page and said the novel “artfully weaves a tale of destruction and rebirth”.
• Head to Popcorn Reads for a review and a chance to win an advance proof: “I loved this novel, despite the fact that it gave me chills and some bad dreams.”
• … or Book Bones Buffy, who also has a proof to give away, to celebrate “a story that is irresistibly addicting.”
• Fantasy blog Draumr Kopa recommended Black Feathers “to anyone who wants a more intelligent story, with lots of secrets and mystery, people who don’t mind a little thinking while reading.”
• And Then I Read a Book were blown away by the book: “It terrified me, made me angry, made me sad, transported me somewhere new and yet strangely familiar, and hasn’t left my head yet. It combines mythology, folktale, shamanism, coming of age and apocalyptic themes to create something very special.”
• And Stanley Eriks concluded by saying: “Black Feathers is an original and intelligent apocalypse story. It’s a myth-filled fable of the end of the world on an individual basis. It’s a coming-of-age story set on a cruel and broken Earth.”
The inimitable Lee Battersby has returned, bringing hapless half-dead Marius don Hellespont with him in The Marching Dead, the sequel to The Corpse-Rat King:
• Kate Of Mind blog loved loved loved it, giving it “all the stars” and saying “With this sequel, Battersby kicked up everything I loved about the first novel by a notch or two – world-building, storytelling, hilarity, and most of all, characters who just made me punch the air over and over again, usually while laughing.”
• Don’t forget you can get a taster in the form of an exclusive short story, Lying Like Cards, right here on this very website.
The tireless Adam Christopher was out and about promoting The Age Atomic, the two-fisted follow-up to Empire State. Thanks to Forbidden Planet in London for a fab launch event this Thursday – we rocked the joint, again.
• The book was an April pick for Kirkus Reviews, which was nice.
• A Writer’s Sidequest said it is “a glorious and joyous ode to the pulp science fiction of old. Awesome fun, from start to finish, just straight up, pure entertainment.”
• Adam was interviewed on My Bookish Ways, who also have a copy to give away too, so hurry over there!.
Upcoming debut author Wesley Chu continues to wow folks with the breakneck thrillride that is The Lives of Tao, out in May.
• Wes had a guest post on The Qwillery this week to talk about the first time a novel really spoke to him.
• I Will Read Books had this to say: “By the end of the books I was close to tears, which proves my emotional investment in the characters and their fates. I wish every book made me care about the characters as much as The Lives of Tao.”
• Over at Tome of Geek, Wes managed to overcome their usual aversion of genre mash-up novels: “We get the full sci-fi feeling combined with the spy genre without either side getting diluted or ignored. We get the full effect and in turn get a character we care about.”
Emma Newman, despite losing her wisdom teeth this week (wishing you a speedy recovery, Em), was still full of the joys of Between Two Thorns.
• Her guest post on The Creative Penn talked charmingly about urban fantasy, as a genre, its influences and its many strands.
• And finally, blog heavyweights Fantasy Faction gave the book nine stars out of ten, saying: “If you like a bit of fairy magic, the juxtaposition between ancient and modern, here and there, and you don’t mind being left in suspense for a good few months, you’ll really enjoy it.” (They’re going to be overjoyed when they hear that the sequel, Any Other Name, will be out in June then!)
“Naam displays a Michael Crichton-like ability to explain cutting-edge research via the medium of an airport techno-thriller.”
“His breathtaking expertise and confidence as a writer makes Naam the only serious successor to Michael Crichton working in the future history genre today.”
Scott Harrison, author of Archangel
“Reminds me of Michael Crichton at his best.”
Brenda Cooper, author of The Silver Ship and the Sea and The Creative Fire
There appears to be a pattern emerging! Also…
“Excellent spycraft, kick-ass action scenes, and a chilling look at a future cold war over technology and ideology… a hell of a read.”
Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
“The action scenes are crisp, the glimpses of future tech and culture are mesmerizing”
“A ‘smart thriller’ in all senses of that phrase. Ramez Naam really does know how to make you turn that page. If you are posthuman or transhuman this is an absolute must-read for you; and even mere mortals will love it.”
Philip Palmer, author of Version 43 and Hell Ship
And if you pre-order a copy of Nexus, you can get an eBook copy of Naam’s HG Wells Award-winning non-fiction debut, More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement FREE!
Nexus will be published in the US on December 18th and in the UK on January 3rd. The eBook will be available worldwide on December 18th.
The Bookman Histories by Lavie Tidhar is published worldwide as an eBook on December 18th ($11.99 / £9.99). It will also be available as a 1,024 page paperback in North America (US$15.99) from that same date, and in the UK from January 3rd, 2013 (£12.99).
The Bookman Histories comprises the three individual volumes:
1. The Bookman – “Simply the best book I’ve read in a long time.” – James P Blaylock
2. Camera Obscura – “Stuffed to the gills with action and plot.” – The Literary Omnivore
3. The Great Game – “It’s a virtuoso performance.” – Locus Magazine
Plenty of love rolling in for David Tallerman’s energetic debut novel, Giant Thief:
SFX Magazine says:
Breathless pace… Damasco resembles a landlocked version of Jack Sparrow… The atypical backdrop,self-aware style and downplaying of magics bring to mind the contemporary fantasies of Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie.
Meanwhile, Starburst had this to say:
I’m finding it hard to dislike anything about this book. It’s a fun, entertaining read, everything a good story should be… David Tallerman’s first novel is a gripping yarn, one that is difficult to put down once started, and this reviewer is eagerly awaiting the next tale of Easie Damasco.
Over at A Fantastical Librarian, they confidently state that
If you’re up for a fun, fast-paced adventure featuring rogues, giants and lots of fighting, you won’t want to miss it!
and Publishers Weekly tells us:
“Best known for an eclectic variety of short stories, Tallerman debuts with a breezy novel of a man with his eye on the prize … Tallerman’s charming, devil-may-care hero has plenty of swashbuckling roguishness to carry him through the planned sequels.”
And Fantasy Nibbles was impressed, too:
This really is a fun read. Saltlick is adorable, I want one! It’s straightforward, linear, smack down the middle fast-paced goodness.
Giant Thief is released in mass market paperback in the US and Canada on January 31st, and in the UK on February 2nd. The eBook is released worldwide on January 31st in ePub and Kindle formats.
A couple of excellent reviews in the papers, today.
Whates has developed an intriguing metropolis every bit as fascinating as his varied cast of characters… Compulsively readable.
Suffused with a love for noir fiction and the golden age of American comic books, Christopher’s Empire State is something of a tour de force. If, somehow, Raymond Chandler and Philip K Dick had collaborated on a Superman story, they might well have produced this novel.
Click on the links to read the full reviews, then go buy/order from your favourite indie, chain, or online retailer (including the Angry Robot eBook Store).
“Debris is a strong, exciting debut that took me by surprise with its unique setting, interesting main character, and powerful “fight your way back to the top” narrative.”
“The world building is spectacular with a concept that’s amazingly simple yet wonderfully constructed and when added to some decent characterisation it’s a title that really does make you think… this debut is pretty impressive.”
– Falcata Times
““Debris is a fast read, and very well put together. I was immersed in its world at every stage, and fascinated by its characters. Tanyana may be too proud for her own good, but Jo Anderton has written a novel she deserves to take pride in.”
– Warpcore SF
“Jo Anderton combines elements of steampunk with her own unique vision to create something striking. Debris is a first novel NOT to be missed.”
– Marianne de Pierres, award winning author of the Parish Plessis and Sentients of Orion series.
“Anderton demonstrates a mastery of storytelling and world building in this series opener that is reminiscent of the visionary works of China Miéville. This accomplished debut novel should enjoy a wide readership.”
– Library journal
“I did enjoy living within this very richly crafted world that the author presents in Debris and the magical system is not only pretty unique but such a great idea too.”
– SF Books Review
“If you want a novel that will sweep you up and take you to another world where a kick-ass heroine will do battle to right wrongs and save her planet, then you are going to thoroughly enjoy Debris! I know I did!”
– Popcorn Reads
“I was reminded of the best of Stephen King. It’s the smartest and most compelling end-of-the-world alien-zombie story I have ever read.”
– Adam Roberts, author of By Light Alone and Yellow Blue Tibia
“This book is told with a sure hand and careful attention to detail; it’s frightening where it should be, sensitive where it should be, and enthralling throughout.”
– Mike Resnick, author of the Starship series, and the John Justin Mallory Mysteries
“Peter Crowther is crafting the first great post-apocalyptic saga of the new century, one that may dwarf even such a benchmark work as The Stand.”
– Lucius Shepard, author of The Golden and Life During Wartime
“Anything that has Pete Crowther’s fingerprints on it is evidence of quality. Snap it up.”
– Joe R. Lansdale, author of the Drive-In series and Bubba Ho-Tep
“As intensely menacing and gruesome as any George Romero film. A virtuoso ‘tour de force’ by Pete Crowther.”
– Ramsey Campbell, author of The Grin of the Dark and Thieving Fear
“His writing is master storytelling at its finest — gripping, chilling and beautifully told.”
– Sarah Pinborough, author of the Dog-Faced Gods trilogy and The Language of Dying
The Secret Lair is a bit of a misnomer – it’s actually really easy to find – here, for example. Not much of a secret, really, but we don’t mind – we’d prefer you to be able to actually find it. Partly because it’s a great blog, and partly because this week they’re running an Angry Robot Week.
Every day this week you’ll find reviews, interviews and commentary on some of the things Angry Robot are up to. For example:
There’s a Haiku Contest, where you can win five cool Angry Robot books.
There’s a review of the classic Morlock Night (recently reprinted by Angry Robot).
There’s an overview of our Nano Editions (short stories by our authors).
And today there’s an interview with Empire State author, Adam Christopher.
Go visit them every day this week for further goodies.