The Qwillery | category: Adrian Tchaikovsky


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

The 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist

The 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist

The shortlist of the 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award has been announced:

  • The City in the Middle of the Night  by Charlie Jane Anders
  • The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
  • A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
  • The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell
  • Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • The Last Astronaut  by  David Wellington

The 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist
The 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist
The 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist
The 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist
The 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist
The 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019

Bye bye May! I can't believe that May has come and gone. I hope that May brought you some blooming great books (get it...May flowers....blooming???...tee hee).  Well excuse my poor sense of humour. I have jetlag after a rather long journey back from the east coast of Canada. The holiday did provide me with the opportunity to read some good books though. So what did I read?

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019
One of my sisters is an ardent fan of Patricia Briggs (she introduced me to the author) and had the most recent Mercy Thompson book - Storm Cursed. I had forgotten that this book had been released so I grabbed her Kindle and piled in. This book is set a mere few months after the events of book 10 when Mercy was kidnapped and held in Europe. Rather than referencing the events of the last book Storm Cursed carries on the plot arc from books 8 and 9. Just when Mercy has a little bit of stability in her life a deadly coven of witches threaten the peace talks between the humans, fae and werewolves. Mercy and the pack promised to protect the Tri Cities and they are determined regardless how many zombie goats they have to kill in the process.

I enjoyed Mercy's 11th adventure more than I thought I would. This instalment links more closely to the overall plot arc (or what I believe is the plot arc) then the previous instalment Silence Fallen (book 10). A number of my favourite characters are back including Zee, Uncle Mike and Larry the Goblin King. The book also emphasizes how Mercy is a bit of an outsider and if it wasn't for being Adam's mate she wouldn't have the support from all of the pack. I felt the book was a bit more like the early books with the dynamic between Mercy, Zee, Tad and the vampire Stefan. Zombie goats aside there are some rather violent sections in this book although much of the violence is recounted rather than experienced by one of the characters. Mercy does get beaten up but not as badly as in previous books. I know this isn't popular with some readers of my posts but I really wish Briggs would wrap up this series. I like Mercy but I think she needs to have her HEA.

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019
I decided to switch it up and read some science fiction after a glut of fantasy and urban fantasy. I turned to the short story Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The story is told by astronaut Gary Rendell. Gary has gone on a mission across the stars to investigate an alien structure. Disaster strikes not long after landing and Gary is alone and lost inside the structure with something or somethings lurking around every corner.

I enjoyed this short story mainly for the witty way in which Tchaikovsky tells the story through Gary's POV. The story switches between the present and the past as Gary recounts how he has ended up in his unique predicament while he wanders through the endless dark tunnels trying to survive. The story is rather light hearted because of Gary's witty story telling until the very end when it gets rather much darker. If you are a science fiction fan and want something that doesn't take ages to read then give Walking to Aldebaran a go.

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019
In case you missed it one of my other reads in May was the final instalment of Lindsay J. Pryor's Blackthorn series - Blood Broken. In honour of this being the final book of the series I wrote a full review which you can read here.

For all you Ilona Andrews fans you are going to be totally jealous that I got an advance copy of Sapphire Flames which is the soon to be released latest book in the Hidden Legacy series. I have to wait a bit before I am able to review it. It is out in August so look for my review sometime in July.

That's all I have for you for this month. I am going to be a bit more dedicated to the blog and get some full reviews posted so wish me luck. Until June happy reading!

Storm Cursed
Mercy Thompson 11
Ace, May 7, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019
In this powerful entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves…

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.
And a coyote shapeshifter.
And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe.  As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it.

Walking to Aldebaran
Solaris, May 28, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 140 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - May 2019
Chilling story of a lost astronaut on an alien artefact from Arthur C. Clarke award-winning Adrian Tchaikovsky

My name is Gary Rendell. I’m an astronaut. When they asked me as a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “astronaut, please!” I dreamed astronaut, I worked astronaut, I studied astronaut.

I got lucky; when a probe sent out to explore the Oort Cloud found a strange alien rock and an international team of scientists was put together to go and look at it, I made the draw.

I got even luckier. When disaster hit and our team was split up, scattered through the endless cold tunnels, I somehow survived.

Now I’m lost, and alone, and scared, and there’s something horrible in here.

Lucky me.

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 29, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - October 29, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - October 29, 2017Well, I am back in the UK again after almost 2 week in Canada. If you read my post last week you would know I was hoping to see some lovely fall colours. I was quite disappointed as the leaves were very dull this year.  It was like someone took a brown wash and painted over top what should have been bright reds, deep oranges and sunny yellows. This was probably the best display of colours I saw the whole week I was there. I took this photo at Lion's Head lake in Ontario, near Georgian bay.  The water was soo blue but not what I would exactly say is warm even though the weather was fantastic. If you live in Ontario or ever travel there I highly recommend going up to that area or around Tobermory. It is a beautiful part of the country.

Although as much as I am sure you are fascinated about my holiday I am certain you are more interested in what I read while on hols.

The first book I am going to tell you about is Starborn by Lucy Hounsom. This is the first in the Worldmaker series and I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley. I have to admit I actually started reading this book a few months ago, stopped to read something else then forgot I had it. Oops!

Melanie's Week in Review - October 29, 2017
Kyndra has just come of age and looking forward to participating in the ancient naming ceremony that will allow her to find her true path. Unfortunately, for Kyndra the vessel used in the ceremony breaks when she is about to find out her true name and she is blamed for disrupting the ceremony and all the tragic events that follow. Its not long before she finds herself on the run with two sorcerers who take her to the secret citadel of Naris. There she is plagued with visions from the past, through the eyes of man thought to be long dead. Caught in the middle of the rebels and the fanatics within the hidden chambers of the citadel Kyndra is cruelly tested in a bid to unlock her magic.  All the while the visions show her a past no one knew existed. Kyndra doesn't have much time to find out who she truly is, save her new friends in the citadel and the family she was forced to leave behind.

Starborn is rather standard fantasy aimed at a younger reader although not too young as there is a rather dark theme, mainly towards one of the female characters, that might not be suitable for anyone under the age of 18. I thought that Kyndra was realistically portrayed for her age - neither too brave or too cowardly. Several chapters in the later half of the book were told from the POV of two of Kyndra's companions which was a bit jarring as this wasn't the format of the story throughout and I wish it had been as it really worked. I think that Hounsom could have done a bit more to build the world in which the characters were set. There was fairly little description of the landscape, society or different races throughout Kyndra's travels. Within Naris it was more descriptive but I thought that was more to set the scene rather than to create a realistic world for the characters to interact with.  Overall, it was an OK read but I am not completely sure I wan to invest more time with Kyndra. I used to really enjoy young fantasy but think I have a bit of burn out from reading too much of it that wasn't that exceptional in the last few years.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 29, 2017
The second book I would like to tell you about is the novella Ironclads by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I was mainly drawn to this book by the cover (yes, I am a cover snob!) and the fact that this book was a limited edition (not sure why that impressed me but it did!).

The world is at war and the scions are always the winners. The sons of the great corporate families always survive all thanks to their 'ironclads' which is power armour that can protect them against almost any attack. When one goes missing, which is almost unheard of, Sergeant Ted Reagan is sent to Europe to bring to find his ironclad and bring them both home. Reagan and a selection of the more disenfranchised soldiers are sent behind enemy lines, out manned and out gunned to find out what happened and bring back the suit....if they survive that is.

If you are a fan of science fiction and / or military based fiction then this is a must read. I am not a fan of the latter and like some, but not all, science fiction however, I really enjoyed Tchaikovsky's tale. Reagan and his men are believable and combined with the backstory of the war, the scions and the ironclads gives this story depth. Given the fact that this is a novella there is quite a bit of detail and it seemed much longer because of this. I never knew what was going to happen next and there seems to be a suggestion at the end that there could be future books, which I would happily read.

That is it for me this week. I hope to have a few more books to tell you about next week if jetlag doesn't prevail so until then Happy Reading.

The Worldmaker Trilogy 1
Pan Macmillan, January 1, 2018
     Trade Paperback, 512 pages
Pan Macmillan, April 23, 2015
     eBook, 513 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 29, 2017
Death and destruction will bar her way. . .

Kyndra's fate holds betrayal and salvation, but the journey starts in her small village. On the day she comes of age, she accidentally disrupts an ancient ceremony, ending centuries of tradition. So when an unnatural storm targets her superstitious community, Kyndra is blamed. She fears for her life until two strangers save her, by wielding powers not seen for an age - powers fuelled by the sun and the moon.

Together, they flee to the hidden citadel of Naris. And here, Kyndra experiences disturbing visions of the past, showing war and one man's terrifying response. She'll learn more in the city's subterranean chambers, amongst fanatics and rebels. But first Kyndra will be brutally tested in a bid to unlock her own magic.

If she survives the ordeal, she'll discover a force greater than she could ever have imagined. But could it create as well as destroy? And can she control it, to right an ancient wrong?

Solaris, November 7, 2017
Limited Edition Hardcover and eBook, 200 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 29, 2017
Special limited edition science fiction hardcover novella by the Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author. Only 1000 copies.

Scions have no limits. Scions do not die. And Scions do not disappear.

Sergeant Ted Regan has a problem. A son of one of the great corporate families, a Scion, has gone missing at the front. He should have been protected by his Ironclad – the lethal battle suits that make the Scions masters of war – but something has gone catastrophically wrong.

Now Regan and his men, ill equipped and demoralised, must go behind enemy lines, find the missing Scion, and uncover how his suit failed. Is there a new Ironclad-killer out there? And how are common soldiers lacking the protection afforded the rich supposed to survive the battlefield of tomorrow?

The 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award ShortlistMelanie's Month in Review - May 2019Melanie's Week in Review - October 29, 2017

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