The Qwillery | category: Ace | (page 4 of 9)


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Review: Javelin Rain by Myke Cole

Javelin Rain
Author:  Myke Cole
Publisher:  Ace, March 29, 2016
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print and digital)
ISBN:  9780425269657 (print); 9781101636763 (digital)

Review: Javelin Rain by Myke Cole
The fast-paced, adrenaline-filled sequel to Gemini Cell, set in the same magical and militaristic world of the acclaimed Shadow Ops series.

Javelin: A code denoting the loss of a national security asset with strategic impact.

Rain: A code indicating a crisis of existential proportions.

Javelin Rain incidents must be resolved immediately, by any and all means necessary, no matter what the cost…

Being a US Navy SEAL was Jim Schweitzer’s life right up until the day he was killed. Now, his escape from the government who raised him from the dead has been coded “Javelin Rain.” Schweitzer and his family are on the run from his former unit, the Gemini Cell, and while he may be immortal, his wife and son are not.

Jim must use all of his strength to keep his family safe, while convincing his wife he’s still the same man she once loved. But what his former allies have planned to bring him down could mean disaster not only for Jim and his family, but for the entire nation…

Qwill's Thoughts

Javelin Rain by Myke Cole picks up immediately after Gemini Cell, the first novel in the precursor series to Cole's Shadow-Ops Trilogy - Control Point, Fortress Frontier and Breach Zone. The Great Reawakening (the return of magic to the world) has not yet happened. However, magic is being used and probed and the Gemini Cell has created 'zombies' - dead animated by the souls of powerful and evil jinn pulled from the soul storm by a sorcerer. Jim Schweitzer (now an immortal undead ex-Navy SEAL) is on the run from Gemini Cell with his wife, Sarah, and their young son, Patrick. Gemini Cell wants Jim back or dead. Jim wants to protect his family.

In Javelin Rain plot nearly takes a back seat to the characters. For me this was really a story about a man's love for his family (Jim 's love for Sarah and Patrick) and the lengths he will go to protect them. Jim realizes, but somehow does not really get, that he can't be with his family anymore. His love for his wife is magical and drives him to behave in ways not at all consistent with his training as a SEAL. He's at the point where he has nothing to lose - he's already dead. - and nothing and no one will stop him from protecting his family.

Jawid Rahimi and Dadou Alva are sorcerers and are able to pull jinns/souls from the soul storm into a dead body. Jawid is quickly unraveling. Events from the Gemini Cell seemingly have unhinged him in ways that don't appear to be completely recognized by the people he's working with. He's always been quiet and loner. He's portrayed as a simple person in many ways, but he is constantly fighting against his very strict Muslim upbringing. What he does for the Gemini Cell can't be more antithetical to his religious upbringing and he is constantly at war within himself.

Dadou Alva is a horrible person. She is brought in to work with Jawid. She has no redeeming qualities. She's manipulative, murderous and mean. Her background is explained but it is not enough to elicit any sympathy for the psychological / emotional wreck that she is. I honestly kept hoping she would meet an unpretty demise. However, while I despised her she is incredibly memorable.

Jim is becoming more and more the immortal 'zombie' than in Gemini Cell - a thinking 'zombie' but still losing more and more of his humanity. He's constantly fighting his new self. He deeply loves his family and it is heartrending to watch him realize that he can not be with them anymore. He knows he can't, yet he yearns and hopes. There are times when his love for his wife overwhelms his training as a Navy SEAL, but he is always determined to protect his family no matter what.

Javelin Rain is a transitional novel between Gemini Cell and the next novel in the series. This is not a bad thing. Nothing is really resolved, but Jim knows what he must do. Bad things happen. Frightening things are revealed, but the novel left me with more questions than answers.

As always Cole's writing is taut and the pacing intense. This is Cole's most deeply emotional work. Having a window seat on Schweitzer's emotions and thoughts is devastating. Cole has deepened the history of the Gemini Cell program and there is still more to be revealed and more uncovered.


Gemini Cell
Ace, January 27, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Review: Javelin Rain by Myke Cole
Myke Cole continues to blow the military fantasy genre wide open with an all-new epic adventure in his highly acclaimed Shadow Ops universe—set in the early days of the Great Reawakening, when magic first returns to the world and order begins to unravel…

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself—and his family—in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

That should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty—as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark—especially about the fates of his wife and son…

See Qwill's Review here.

The Shadow-Ops Trilogy

Control Point
Shadow Ops 1
Ace, January 31, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Review: Javelin Rain by Myke Cole
Lieutenant Oscar Britton of the Supernatural Operations Corps has been trained to hunt down and take out people possessing magical powers. But when he starts manifesting powers of his own, the SOC revokes Oscar's government agent status to declare him public enemy number one.

Fortress Frontier
Shadow Ops 2
Ace, January 29, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Review: Javelin Rain by Myke Cole
The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone.

Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.

Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.

Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one…

Breach Zone
Shadow Ops 3
Ace, January 28, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Review: Javelin Rain by Myke Cole
The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began “coming up Latent,” developing terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Those who Manifest must choose: become a sheepdog who protects the flock or a wolf who devours it…

In the wake of a bloody battle at Forward Operating Base Frontier and a scandalous presidential impeachment, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Thorsson, call sign “Harlequin,” becomes a national hero and a pariah to the military that is the only family he’s ever known.

In the fight for Latent equality, Oscar Britton is positioned to lead a rebellion in exile, but a powerful rival beats him to the punch: Scylla, a walking weapon who will stop at nothing to end the human-sanctioned apartheid against her kind.

When Scylla’s inhuman forces invade New York City, the Supernatural Operations Corps are the only soldiers equipped to prevent a massacre. In order to redeem himself with the military, Harlequin will be forced to face off with this havoc-wreaking woman from his past, warped by her power into something evil…

Interview with Amber Benson

Please welcome Amber Benson to The Qwillery. The Last Dream Keeper, the 2nd novel in the Witches of Echo Park series, was published on January 5th by Ace.

Interview with Amber Benson

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. You've written or co-written over a dozen novels. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote your first novel to The Last Dream Keeper? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Amber:  It's not that my writing process has changed so much over the intervening years between book 1 and book (whatever # The Last Dream Keeper is - my brain has fallen out), it's that I've been beaten into submission and have accepted the fact that any good writing I do is actually rewriting. I wish I was one of those people who could birth a book fully borne - like Athena from Zeus's head - but sadly that is not my jam. I'm a journeyman writer like so many others. I have to put in the work and hope that it gets better with each subsequent draft.

TQWhat has influenced/influences your writing?

Amber:  I'm influenced by everything I read - even the back of the cereal box. It's a real problem. I tend to read a lot less when I'm writing because the tone of whatever I'm reading hijacks what I'm working on. You definitely don't want want to be writing like Dostoevsky if you're in the middle of a genre/urban fantasy book. Those names in The Brothers Karamazov can be kind of unwieldy...makes for a much higher word count than I need for an urban fantasy book.

TQDescribe The Last Dream Keeper in 140 characters or less.

Amber:  Moves really fast/might make you cry/spoiler alert/someone must die

TQTell us something about The Last Dream Keeper that is not found in the book description.

Amber:  There is some multi-verse theory action and some interesting gender stuff - won't go into too much detail, but I wanted to represent characters that don't always get their due.

TQWhat appeals to you about writing Contemporary Fantasy?

Amber:  You get to weave your story in a (usually) quasi-familiar world, so that the worldbuilding has a bit of a jumping off point. You still have a lot of heavy lifting to do, but it's easier to start things off in the familiar - I think the majority of people are cool with the concept of a skyscraper or have a pretty good idea what the word 'car' means.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Last Dream Keeper?

Amber:  I had my tarot cards read. I wanted to make sure it was still a propitious time to be writing this series of books. I was assured it was. I was NOT assured that I would meet a tall, dark and handsome man who would take me on a long trip to an exciting locale. I don't think I got my money's worth.

TQIn the Echo Park Coven series so far who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Amber:  Lyse (the protagonist) is hardest to write. She is definitely the most like me. I have a hard time because I am a big dork in real life and I don't want Lyse to be too dorky - it's a real fine line.

Eleanora (Lyse's Great Aunt and maybe more) is the easiest to write. She just flows on the page - I don't know why - isn't that funny? Some characters show up raring to go and they make the whole writing process a dream.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues your novels?

Amber:  This book in particular plays with the fluidity of gender. I feel like there are a lot of people who don't get represented in fiction and I wanted to encourage a sea change...I personally think it's important for us all to feel like someone out there is telling our story.

TQWhich question about your The Last Dream Keeper do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Amber Benson, where do you get your ideas? AB: I buy them from the little lame balloon man from the E.E. Cummings poem, [In Just-]. He drives a hard bargain and he always makes you take home a balloon with you, too.

TQGive us one or two favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Last Dream Keeper.


"I am dead.

It’s strange to think those words and feel nothing. One spends an entire lifetime pushing the thought from one’s mind, pretending it doesn’t exist, and then suddenly it’s over: Your partner whirls you off the dance floor and you are no longer among the quick . . . now the dead beckon you to their side of the ballroom."

TQWhat's next?

Amber:  I'm working on the final book in the witches series, tentatively titled: The End of Magic. I'm also working on a thriller about female serial killers.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Amber:  Thank you so much for asking fun questions and letting me babble on about E.E. Cummings and female serial killers!

The Last Dream Keeper
Witches of Echo Park 2
Ace, January 5, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Amber Benson
In the second Witches of Echo Park novel, one coven must keep the world in balance and stand against a rising darkness.

Lyse MacAllister did not step into an easy role when she took over as master of the Echo Park coven of witches after her great-aunt Eleanora’s death. As she begins to forge the bonds that will help her lead her sisters, she struggles to come to terms with her growing powers. And she soon faces a deadly new threat. A group of fanatics intent on bringing about the end of times has invaded the witches Council—but the Council is turning a blind eye to the danger growing in its midst.

Only one witch is prophesied to be able to stop the encroaching darkness. And if Lyse and her blood sisters are to have any chance at protecting all we know from being lost forever, they must keep her safe—no matter what the cost…


The Witches of Echo Park
Witches of  Echo Park 1
Ace, December 29, 2015
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Trade Paperback and eBook, January 6, 2014

Interview with Amber Benson
First in a “spellbinding”* new series about a coven of witches living in L.A., from Amber Benson, author of the Calliope Reaper-Jones novels.

Unbeknownst to most of humankind, a powerful network of witches thrives within the shadows of society, using magic to keep the world in balance. But the witches are being eliminated—and we will all pay if their power falls…

When Lyse MacAllister’s great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping extraordinary secrets from her.

Not only is Lyse heir to Eleanora’s Victorian house; she is also expected to take her great-aunt’s place in the Echo Park coven of witches. But accepting her destiny means placing herself in deadly peril—for the world of magic is under siege, and the battle the witches now fight may be their last…

About Amber

Interview with Amber Benson
Photo by Andrew Orth
AMBER BENSON co-created, co-wrote, and directed the animated supernatural web-series Ghosts of Albion with Christopher Golden, followed by a series of novels including Witchery and Accursed, and the novella Astray. Benson and Golden also co-authored the novella The Seven Whistlers. As an actress, she has appeared in dozens of roles in feature films, TV movies, and television series, including the fan favorite role of Tara Maclay on three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Benson wrote, produced, and directed the feature films Chance and Lovers, Liars, and Lunatics.

Facebook  ~  YouTube
Website  ~  Twitter @amber_benson

Review: Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan

Queen of Fire
Author:  Anthony Ryan
Series:  Raven's Shadow 3
Publisher:  Ace, July 7, 2015
Formats:  Hardcover and eBook, 656 pages
List Price$28.95 (Hardcover); $14.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780425265642 (Hardcover); 9781101612989 (eBook)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Author
Trade Paperback to be published on June 7, 2016

Review: Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan
In the thrilling conclusion to the “deftly and originally executed” (Booklist) New York Times bestselling trilogy, Vaelin Al Sorna must help his Queen reclaim her Realm. Only his enemy has a dangerous new collaborator, one with powers darker than Vaelin has ever encountered…

“The Ally is there, but only ever as a shadow, unexplained catastrophe or murder committed at the behest of a dark vengeful spirit. Sorting truth from myth is often a fruitless task.”

After fighting back from the brink of death, Queen Lyrna is determined to repel the invading Volarian army and regain the independence of the Unified Realm. Except, to accomplish her goals, she must do more than rally her loyal supporters. She must align herself with forces she once found repugnant—those who possess the strange and varied gifts of the Dark—and take the war to her enemy’s doorstep.

Victory rests on the shoulders of Vaelin Al Sorna, now named Battle Lord of the Realm. However, his path is riddled with difficulties. For the Volarian enemy has a new weapon on their side, one that Vaelin must destroy if the Realm is to prevail—a mysterious Ally with the ability to grant unnaturally long life to her servants. And defeating one who cannot be killed is a nearly impossible feat, especially when Vaelin’s blood-song, the mystical power which has made him the epic fighter he is, has gone ominously silent…

Trinitytwo's Point of View

Queen of Fire is the third and final book in the Raven's Shadow series by Anthony Ryan. Blood Song, book one, and Tower Lord, book two, should definitely be read first. If you haven’t had the
chance, start there. They are remarkable epic fantasies.

Queen Lyrna awakes to find she is miraculously healed through the power of one of the Gifted. Realizing these people are to be valued, not put to death as wielders of the Dark, she rescinds the old law at an assembly of her supporters and her newly unified army. There, she rallies her people to march to Varinshold and retake the Unified Realm's capital from the Volarian invaders, seeking justice for the death and torture inflicted upon them through the malignant machinations of the Ally . Lady Governess Reva Mustor, has warily accepted the mantle of Blessed Lady by the masses and makes plans to lead a contingency of her own to join the Queen's crusade. Meanwhile Frentis and his group of fighters also make for Varinshold, continuing on their quest to retake cities lost to the Volarian invasion along the way. Frentis is haunted by dreams of his former master, the woman who through a dark binding forced him on a rampage of murder that culminated in the assassination of King Malcius and his family and the horrific burning of Lyrna. He is well aware that when he reaches Varinshold and the Queen, he will face judgment for the crimes he committed, albeit against his will. Vaelin, the queen's Battle Lord, receives instructions to seek the Song of a man who cannot die, to learn the true nature of the immortal Ally in order to defeat him and bring balance back into the world. Since he no longer has a Song of his own, he must now rely on the aid of other Gifted to find the answers he seeks and his mission takes him on a hazardous journey far to the east. All paths are fraught with peril and bloodshed and ultimately lead to a final showdown at the great arena in Volar with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance.

Finishing Queen of Fire, the epic conclusion to Anthony Ryan's high fantasy trilogy, left me with a mixed bag of thoughts and feelings. Truth be told, I was slightly let down. Not because it was a bad book, or had a bad ending but because by the conclusion, many of the characters didn't matter to me. They seemed to have lost their heart and soul. Part of the problem was that there were so many characters that I had a hard time keeping track of who I was reading about. I understand why multiple POV's were introduced; the scope of this novel necessitated it. But when they died or suffered I felt no connection or loss. They failed to matter to me. Another problem was the war itself. Ryan did a fantastic job of describing the brutality and waste of human life that is war, but after a while it became business as usual. The shock value was lost to me, and so it seemed, to some of the story's characters.

That being said I was truly impressed with the novel's complexities and Ryan's masterful orchestration of its considerable characters and events. I loved the complicated relationship between Frentis and the horror show of a woman who was once his master. Their connection through dreams ranged from uncomfortable to perverse, but ultimately it was inspired. I found Queen Lyrna's inner dialogue fascinating as she experienced the power rush of her newly minted monarchy. I also really enjoyed Reva's story arc, and her character's strength of will and legendary fighting skills kept me rooting for her. On the other hand, I was disappointed that Vaelin, the darling of Blood Song, who after being sent out to the frozen wastelands to discover more about the Ally, became simply another ensemble player.

However, even with all my complaints I still think it's quality reading. Anthony Ryan will draw you into the world he created and it will hold you in its thrall. Ryan truly is a brilliant writer; Vaelin will always remain high on my list of favorite all-time literary characters. I would definitely recommend the series to lovers of high fantasy although, at 637 pages for this book alone, be prepared to invest a good chunk of time. I am truly looking forward to reading more from Anthony Ryan in the future.


Blood Song
Raven's Shadow 1
Ace, February 3, 2015
Trade Paperback, 592 pages
Previously published in Hardcover and eBook, July 2013
Previously published in Mass Market Paperback, June 2014

Review: Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan
“Fans of broadscale epic fantasy along the lines of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels should find this debut much to their liking.”—Library Journal
The first in the “powerful” ( New York Times bestselling series

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order—a caste devoted to battle. Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate and dangerous life of a warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the Unified Realm—and Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright knows no bounds. Even his cherished memories of his mother are soon challenged by what he learns within the Order.

But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the Realm but the world.

See Trinitytwo's review here.

Tower Lord
Raven's Shadow 2
Ace, June 2, 2015
Trade Paperback, 624 pages
Previously published in Hardcover and eBook, July 2014

Review: Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan
New York Times bestselling author Anthony Ryan returns to the “wonderful universe” (Fantasy Book Critic) of Blood Song, as Vaelin Al Sorna continues on his inevitable road to destiny…

King Janus’s vision of a Unified Realm has failed, drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause that was forged from a lie. Sick at heart, Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, returns home, determined to kill no more, seeking peace far from the intrigues of a troubled Realm.

But those gifted with the blood-song are not destined to live quiet lives. Vaelin finds himself a target, both for those seeking revenge and those who know about his gift. And as a great threat once again moves against the Realm, Vaelin realizes that when faced with annihilation, even the most reluctant hand must eventually draw a sword.

See Trinitytwo's review here.

Interview with Erin Lindsey, author of the Bloodbound series

Please welcome Erin Lindsey to The Qwillery. The Bloodforged, the 2nd novel in the Bloodbound series, was published on September 29th by Ace.

Interview with Erin Lindsey, author of the Bloodbound series

TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, The Bloodforged (Bloodbound 2), was recently published. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when the first Bloodbound novel was published to now?

Erin:  I guess the main difference would be the amount of planning that went into Book 1 versus the later books. THE BLOODBOUND was really a classic panster; I started off with only the roughest of ideas where the story would take me. THE BLOODFORGED is a more ambitious narrative, so it needed an outline. And by the time I got to Book 3, I found I needed to do quite a detailed outline, just to make sure I’d wrapped up all the loose threads.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Erin:  I find that I work best when I have a certain amount of momentum going, and it can be tough to sustain that for any period of time. Life just keeps intruding, you know? Things crop up in the middle of the day that break your rhythm, and sometimes you have to be away from the manuscript for days or weeks at a time. It can be tough to get back into the swing of things after that. On the flip side, when you are in the zone, it can be tough to get a good night’s sleep, because your brain is constantly churning out new ideas, playing out scenes, etc.

TQWhat have you learned about publishing since your first novel, Darkwalker as E.L. Tettensor, was published?

Erin:  Oh, loads. I actually didn’t know all that much about the process before I got started. I had my sights set on landing an agent, figuring the rest would sort of take care of itself after that. So one of things I had to come up to speed on quickly was the importance of marketing your own books – what you, the author, can do to make sure your work finds its audience. That’s by far the toughest part of the gig, and there’s no magic answer. It’s really trial and error, and I’ll always be learning.

TQTell us something about The Bloodforged that is not found in the book description.

Erin:  THE BLOODFORGED dials the action/adventure side way up, while the romance is handled differently than in THE BLOODBOUND. This time, the romance element is more about dealing with the consequences of Alix’s choice in Book 1. We don’t often get to see the aftermath of a resolved love triangle, and that’s something I really wanted to look at in this book. That undercurrent of tension between the main characters continues to influence their behavior in ways that have consequences for the main action of the story.

TQWhich character in the Bloodbound series (so far) has surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

Erin:  I think the most surprising character has been Alix’s big brother, Rig. He gets his own point of view chapters in this book, and he ended up being quite the scene-stealer. Rig has an easy charisma that’s pretty irresistible, and his scenes always flowed so well and were just a joy to write. That’s pretty true of all the characters, actually. For some reason, I find them all easy to write, much more so than in my other series. They’re such distinctive, three-dimensional people to me that I don’t have any trouble figuring out how they’ll react in a given situation, or how they’ll express themselves.

TQThe Bloodbound series is Fantasy. What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Erin:  I like the high adventure of it. You can subject your characters to epic life-and-death situations without having to jump through too many hoops to make it plausible. And I like not being constrained by someone else’s version of reality. I can invent history and geography and cultures and infuse it with my personal experience in ways that make the world truly my own. That’s a lot of fun.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues the Bloodbound series?

Erin:  I’m not sure I consciously chose to include social issues in the book, but they’re definitely there. One of the ethnic groups in the series, the Onnani, were mentioned in passing in Book 1, but they play a much bigger role in THE BLOODFORGED, with several major characters being Onnani. There’s a lot of social friction between the Onnani and other races, and that comes up quite a bit in Liam’s and Rig’s chapters. I wasn’t looking to make a point, particularly; I guess I just wouldn’t find the world to be very realistic if it didn’t have its social tensions and historical controversies. So I included some that made sense to me – and they ended up taking on a life of their own.

TQPlease give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Bloodforged.


Your Majesty.

Okay, that was the easy part. Now what? Liam glanced down at Rudi for inspiration, but the wolfhound just yawned, showing off a mouthful of wickedly curved teeth.

My enquiries are progressing. That wasn’t really true, though, was it?

I regret to inform you of my abject failure. Accurate, but maybe a touch melodramatic.

I have decided that I would rather be bound naked to the prow of a merchant schooner touring every harbour of the known world than continue in this capacity. “Yes,” Liam said, tapping his quill against his chin, “I think I’ll go with that one.””

TQWhat's next?

Erin:  I’m just wrapping up THE BLOODSWORN, Book 3 of the Bloodbound series. At the same time, I’m kicking off a new project, a standalone epic fantasy romance. Expect lots of adventure and plenty of swoons!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Erin:  Thanks for having me!

The Bloodforged
Bloodbound 2
Ace, September 29, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Erin Lindsey, author of the Bloodbound series
The epic saga that started in The Bloodbound continues…

As war between Alden and Oridia intensifies, King Erik must defend his kingdom from treachery and enemies on all sides—but the greatest danger lurks closer to home…

When the war began, Lady Alix Black played a minor role, scouting at the edge of the king’s retinue in relative anonymity. Though she’s once again facing an attacking Oridian force determined to destroy all she holds dear, she is now bodyguard to the king and wife to the prince.

Still, she is unprepared for what the revival of the war will mean. Erik is willing to take drastic measures to defend his domain, even if it means sending Prince Liam into a deadly web of intrigue and traveling into the perilous wild lands of Harram himself.

Only the biggest threat to the kingdom might be one that neither Alix nor Erik could have imagined, or prepared for…


The Bloodbound
Bloodbound 1
Ace, September 30, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Erin Lindsey, author of the Bloodbound series
Of all those in the King of Alden’s retinue, the bloodbinders are the most prized. The magic they wield can forge invaluable weapons, ones that make soldiers like Lady Alix Black unerringly lethal. However, the bloodbinders’ powers can do so much more—and so much worse…

A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.

Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.

But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…

Review here.

And writing as E. L. Tettensor

Nicolas Lenoir 1
Roc, December 3, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 360 pages

Interview with Erin Lindsey, author of the Bloodbound series
He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted...

Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.

When Lenoir is assigned to a disturbing new case, he treats the job with his usual apathy—until his best informant, a street savvy orphan, is kidnapped. Desperate to find his young friend before the worst befalls him, Lenoir will do anything catch the monster responsible for the crimes, even if it means walking willingly into the arms of his own doom…

Master of Plagues
Nicolas Lenoir 2
Roc, February 3, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Erin Lindsey, author of the Bloodbound series
“A dark fantasy detective story that takes readers on a dark, sometimes disturbing journey. E.L. Tettensor crafts a tale that makes you think even while you shudder—a delightful combination.”—Fresh Fiction on Darkwalker

Unraveling a deadly mystery takes time—and his is running out…

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Darkwalker, Inspector Nicolas Lenoir throws himself into his work with a determination he hasn’t known in years. But his legendary skills are about to be put to the test. A horrific disease is ravaging the city—and all signs point to it having been deliberately unleashed.

With a mass murderer on the loose, a rising body count, and every hound in the city on quarantine duty, the streets of Kennian are descending into mayhem, while Lenoir and his partner, Sergeant Bran Kody, are running out of time to catch a killer and find a cure.

Only one ray of hope exists: the nomadic Adali, famed for their arcane healing skills, claim to have a cure. But dark magic comes at a price, one even the dying may be unwilling to pay. All that’s left to Lenoir is a desperate gamble. And when the ashes settle, the city of Kennian will be changed forever…

About the Author

Interview with Erin Lindsey, author of the Bloodbound series
Erin Lindsey is on an epic quest to write the perfect vacation novel for fantasy lovers. THE BLOODFORGED, Book 2 of the Bloodbound trilogy, releases on September 29. She also writes fantasy mystery as E.L. Tettensor. You can find her on her website:, or on Twitter @ETettensor.

Interview with Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown

Please welcome Zen Cho to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Sorcerer to the Crown was published on September 1st by Ace.

Interview with Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown

The Qwillery (TQ)Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Zen Cho (ZC):  Thanks! I started when I was six, but I didn't figure out how to finish stories till I was 16. I started writing for publication when I was 24, so it's taken a while.

I started writing because books made me. So I wanted to make books of my own.

TQAre you a plotter or a pantser? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

ZC:  Plotter. Especially for longer works, I outline in detail: it means that when I get home from my day job in the evening, I don't have to think about what happens next. I can just look at my outline and bash it out.

The two most challenging things are time – there never seems to be enough, and because writing is the hardest thing I have to do on a regular basis (though it's also the most rewarding), it can end up going to the bottom of the to-do list if I don't force myself to move it up. And I also have a lot of self-doubt, which I'm sure all writers have. A small amount is healthy but too much can stop you from doing the work.

TQYou edited Cyberpunk: Malaysia, which was published in 2015. How has your editing experience affected or not your own writing?

ZC:  It was a very interesting experience! I'd known in theory that (good) editors only want to help you improve your work, and they don't critique to hurt your feelings or because they think you're an idiot. But doing editorial work myself made me really get that. I hope it'll make me better at dealing with the editorial process as a writer.

I'm more sensitive about the stories I've edited than my own work, even. I can't read negative reviews of Cyberpunk: Malaysia because I get so defensive on behalf of the writers.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

ZC:  I'm very much influenced by the authors I read as a child and teenager, so Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, Georgette Heyer, Patrick O'Brian and Jane Austen. When it comes to more recent authors, I love the work of Susanna Clarke, Naomi Novik, Geoff Ryman and Karen Lord. I've jokingly said that as a writer I'd like to be a combination of Pankaj Mishra and Edith Nesbit.

TQDescribe Sorcerer to the Crown in 140 characters or less.

ZC:  In Regency London, England's first black Sorcerer Royal doesn't need any more problems, but female magician Prunella Gentleman disagrees ...

TQTell us something about Sorcerer to the Crown that is not found in the book description.

ZC:  The blurb has a lot about English magic, but the book's really interested not in England, but Britain – the United Kingdom – and its connections with the wider world. There are a couple of appearances of magicians from the sorts of countries that don't usually appear in Regency novels!

TQWhat inspired you to write Sorcerer to the Crown? What appealed to you about writing Historical Fantasy?

ZC:  I really love Regency romances and like genre crossovers, so a Regency fantasy is my idea of a good time. I'd written two novels before Sorcerer to the Crown and had to chuck them and I was ready for a good time!

My interest in historical fantasy specifically comes from all the period fiction I read as a kid, by 19th century British writers. To a child in 20th century Malaysia Jane Austen's world might as well have been a fantasy world. I really enjoy playing with the different social norms in historical settings, and the language is such a delight. The fantasy element is because I just really like dragons. I go to fiction for things that couldn't happen in real life.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Sorcerer to the Crown?

ZC:  I read a lot of nonfiction about Georgian Britain, including the history of black people in Britain. I also read about India, China and Southeast Asia in that period. With fiction I was reading a lot of Georgette Heyer novels and the more obscure books written during the period – Maria Edgeworth, Mrs Inchbald, Pierce Egan's Real Life in London.

TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

ZC:  Prunella Gentleman was both the easiest and the hardest! She's the ambitious runaway orphan and female magical prodigy who vexes the protagonist, Zacharias Wythe. She writes herself because, to me, she has such a strong voice – I know exactly who she is. But in the course of revisions with my agent and editor it became evident that she wasn't really coming across to others as I'd imagined her, so I had to do a lot of work to get my understanding of her down onto the page.

TQWhich question about Sorcerer to the Crown do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


     Q: What does the name of Malayan witch Mak Genggang mean?

     A: It means "Mother Gingham" and I stole it from Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals, a historical/legendary work about the Melaka Sultanate).

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Sorcerer to the Crown.

ZC:  "The women of Janda Baik are not mild. Blood, and not milk, flows in our veins."

TQWhat's next?

ZC:  I'm working on Book 2 of the Sorcerer Royal trilogy. I've never worked on a second book before and it's both nervewracking and exciting.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

ZC:  Thank you for having me!

Sorcerer to the Crown
Sorcerer Royal 1
Ace, September 1, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown
In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite…

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

About Zen Cho

Interview with Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown
Darren Johnson / IDJ Photography
Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia. She has lived in three different countries and speaks around two and a half languages. She began publishing short stories in 2010 and has since been nominated for the Selangor Young Talent Awards, the Pushcart Prize and the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and honour-listed for the Carl Brandon Society Awards. Her short story collection Spirits Abroad, published by Malaysian indie press Buku Fixi in 2014, was a joint winner of the Crawford Fantasy Award, along with Stephanie Feldman’s novel The Angel of Losses. She occasionally writes romance as well as speculative fiction, and has self-published a historical romance novella set in the 1920s, The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo.

Cho is the editor of anthology Cyberpunk: Malaysia, also published by Buku Fixi. She was a juror for the Speculative Literature Foundation 2014 Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds grants. She also co-organised Nine Worlds Geekfest’s first Race & Culture track.

Her debut novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, is a historical fantasy set in Regency London, published in September 2015. It follows the adventures of Britain’s first African Sorcerer Royal, Zacharias Wythe, whose many problems are compounded when he meets runaway orphan Prunella Gentleman — a female magical prodigy, of all things. Sorcerer to the Crown is the first in a trilogy published by Ace/Roc Books (US) and Pan Macmillan (UK and Commonwealth).

Cho has a BA from Cambridge University. She lives in London with her partner and practises law in her copious free time. The two things she loves most in the world are books and food, but she also enjoys travel, shoes and lively conversations.

Website  ~   Twitter @zenaldehyde  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest  ~  Instagram

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown
Sorcerer Royal 1
Ace, September 1, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite…

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Magic Shifts
Author:  Ilona Andrews
Series:  Kate Daniels 8
Publisher:  Ace, August 4, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:   $25.95 (print); $12.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780425270677 (print); 9780698136779 (eBook)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Kate and Curran know that separating from the Pack completely is a process that will take time.

But when they learn that their friend Eduardo has gone missing, Kate and Curran shift their focus to investigate his disappearance. Eduardo was a fellow member of the Mercenary Guild, so Kate knows the best place to start looking is his most recent jobs. As Kate and Curran dig further into the merc’s business, they discover that the Guild has gone to hell and that Eduardo’s assignments are connected in the most sinister way…

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece.

Doreen’s Thoughts

This is the eighth book in Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, and the stories just get better and better. From the writing team of Ilona and her husband Gordon, Kate Daniels is a kick-ass warrior in a post-apocalyptic Atlanta, Georgia, where magic fluctuates with technology in unpredictable waves. In the former stories, Kate and Curran flirt and fight beside each other before becoming partners and mates. In the last novel, Kate claimed the City of Atlanta as hers against her father, Roland, and Curran was forced to step down from his role as the Beast lord of the Pack if he wanted to remain with Kate.

Magic Shifts starts several months after the last book, with Kate and Curran setting up their new life in a new home and separating their business lives from the Pack. They work together in the Cutting Edge business eliminating unwanted magical predators and solving magical mysteries. Their friend and comrade, Eduardo, apparently has disappeared, and Curran’s step-sister, George, hires them to track him down since no one in the Pack will bother.

I love the interaction between Kate and Curran and their overall irreverence towards the many problems that face them. In the first chapter, Kate is teasing the Master of Vampires Ghastek by implying that they will face Curran’s wrath for meeting secretly without him. Poor Ghastek is not amused, not only by Kate’s gentle ribbing, but by the knowledge that the God of Vampires, Roland, is actually Kate’s father.

As part of separating his finances from those of the Pack, Curran receives an offer to take over the Mercenary Guild, which has been in major disarray for several novels. While everyone agrees that the Guild is currently a bad bet, when Curran and Kate visit them for the first time, Curran is challenged by the various mercenaries who have no interest in letting anyone run their business. You can almost see Curran drooling over the challenge that they offer him because he thrives on taking a poorly run business and making it over into a thriving one. You just know that running the Guild will be a major topic in one of the two remaining books in the series.

I also appreciate the research that the writers do in obscure mythology from different parts of the world. While they have addressed Russian and Egyptian myths in past stories, this time they face Arabic creatures and mythology – as from Ali Baba stories. These are not just the lamps and genies that you might expect, but rather flesh-eating unicorns and giant sand scorpions.

Kate started out as a solitary character who had been raised to avoid any and all extraneous relationships. Now she has a mate as well as a foster child, and a whole group of friends willing to leave the Pack in order to continue to work with her. She also has a complex relationship with her father, Roland, who actually killed her mother in an effort to prevent herself from living. Now, Roland seeks a relationship with the only other godlike entity in the world, Kate herself. She has grown and evolved in relation to her friends and family, and it has made her a stronger character.

What has not changed has been her willingness to sacrifice herself for others. In this particular story, she injures herself more seriously than she ever has before and there is some question about what damage, if any, might remain after the intense healing that may or may not work. I appreciate a character who is willing and able to change in most ways, but stubbornly refuses to lose that one characteristic that may ultimately be the end of her.

I cannot recommend the Kate Daniels series enough. I love the characters, the stories, and the mythology – everything about it. The week of August 4th was a great book week, with Magic Breaks being one of my favorite books published!

Interview with Christina Henry and Review of Alice

Please welcome Christina Henry to The Qwillery. Alice, Christina's most recent novel, was published on August 4th by Ace.

Interview with Christina Henry and Review of Alice

TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. In a prior interview you stated that
I would love to write a historical novel. I’ve started writing a historical mystery. It’s a very different process. Since the BLACK WINGS novels take place in a contemporary period I don’t have to worry about language that I use or the geography of the city, since I live here and know it very well. But when writing a historical you have to think about so many details, down to whether or not certain terms were in use during the time period in which you are writing. It’s a challenge, but a fun challenge.
Alice, your newest novel, is a dark historical fantasy based on the works of Lewis Carroll. Was writing Alice a fun challenge? How much of a departure is Alice from your Black Wings series?

Christina: It is a tremendous departure. Interestingly, the book I was writing during that last interview was not Alice. Alice is not set in a specific time period or in a real place. In making up my own place I was able to create my own geography and my own language and my own rules for the world. This was obviously different from the Black Wings series because that series was set in contemporary Chicago, and I felt I had to maintain the Chicago I live in.

I wrote Alice partially because I wanted to be a better writer. It was so different from anything I’d written before and I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone.

TQDescribe Alice in 140 characters or less.

Christina:  This is not Wonderland.

TQTell us something about Alice that is not found in the book description.

Christina: Alice’s companion throughout the book is Hatcher, a murderer who is in the room next to hers in the asylum. Hatcher doesn’t really remember what he did to end up in there, and there is a tension throughout the story because of that. Who is Hatcher? And will he turn on Alice?

TQWhat inspired you to write Alice?

Christina: I had been thinking for some time that I wanted to write a story inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. There is a kind of quality of myth about Alice and Wonderland that lends itself to interpretation. Then I woke up one morning thinking about a girl under glass. That led to a key scene in a brothel that became the driving force behind the whole book.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Alice?

Christina: I confess to being a bad (or possibly lazy) researcher, which is one reason why I decided to place Alice in its own unique world. I reread the original Carroll stories, but after that I didn’t do any more research. I wanted Alice to be inspired by the original but to also be its own unique work.

TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Christina:  This was actually a book that was easy to write from start to finish. I never struggled with the plot or characters the way I have with other books. It’s written in third person but stays very close to Alice, and the only other character that is with her throughout the book is Hatcher. They are both extremely damaged people but I always felt like I understood them.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Alice.

Christina:  From Chapter 1: “Someone had given her a cup of tea once, someone with blue-green eyes and long ears. Funny how she couldn’t remember his face, though. All that part was hazy, her memory of him wrapped in smoke but for the eyes and ears. And the ears were long and furry.”

TQWhat's next? Will you be writing more novels based on Carroll's works?

Christina:  There will be a sequel to ALICE called RED QUEEN. It will be released in July of 2016.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Christina:  Thanks for having me!

Author:  Christina Henry
Publisher:  Ace, August 4, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $15.00 (print); $9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780425266793 (print); 9781101618189 (eBook)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Interview with Christina Henry and Review of Alice
A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll…

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.

Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.

And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.

Qwill Thoughts

Alice by Christina Henry puts an entirely new and unexpected spin on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. The events in Alice take place after the Carroll stories. Henry links familiar events in those stories to the events happening in Alice, but this is not Carroll's Alice and nothing is at all as innocent as it seemed.

The novel starts with Alice in an insane asylum. She has been there for 10 years since her trip to the Old City with a friend. She returned to the New City covered in blood with no real memories of what happened save for something about a rabbit. Her parents committed her. In the asylum her only friend is Hatcher who she can see through a small hole in the wall to his adjoining cell. Fire breaks out and Alice and Hatcher escape, but so does something very evil - the Jabberwocky

Since Alice does not fully remember what happened to her at the beginning of the novel, we also know little of what happened and learn as she does. Hatcher is mad, but over the years in the asylum Alice has gotten to know him and his moods. Together they must stop the Jabberwocky before he destroys the Old and New Cities.

Henry includes many of the characters from the classic tales - they are familiar yet are recast as much more sinister and evil. There is blood and gore and darkness in Henry's novel. Throughout the novel Alice and Hatcher face old foes and their pre-asylum memories until the inevitable showdown with the Jabberwocky.

Henry gives plenty of information about the Old City and New City - class distinctions, women's place in society, and the way the Old City works with its gangs and bosses, for example. While this is not the focus of the novel it provides a rich backdrop for the story.

I really enjoyed seeing Alice change throughout the novel as she recovers her memories and develops inner strength. She and Hatcher make a terrific team and are an unusual duo. Hatcher is very protective of Alice, though he is the more unstable of the two. They are both fighters who won't give up on each other or on defeating the Jabberwocky.

Alice moves at a quick pace from start to finish. Henry deftly creates a new story for Alice that is both familiar and frightening, twisted and tantalizing, menacing and magic. Alice is a fabulous novel!

About Christina

Interview with Christina Henry and Review of Alice
Photo by Kathryn McCallum Osgood
Christina Henry is the author of the national bestselling Black Wings series featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle, Beezle. She lives in Chicago.

Website  ~  Twitter @C_Henry_Author  ~  Facebook

Melanie's Week in Review - July 26, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review  - July 26, 2015

Sorry folks I was AWOL again from my Week in Review. This lack of commuting business means I am not reading as much as I normally do.

Melanie's Week in Review  - July 26, 2015
I am going to focus this WIR on 1 book for no other reason than it deserves your (almost) full attention. Breakout the final book of The Dred Chronicles will be out on the 25th of August from Ace.

You only have 30 more sleeps until you get to find out what happens to Dred and her friends aboard the Predition but until then I will give you a non-spoilery review.

Book 3 starts almost immediately after the events of book 2  - Havoc. The many battles on board Perdition have whittled down the the Dread Queen's soldiers and this has driven her to make an uneasy alliance with the mercenary Vost and the few remaining members of his crew. All that remains of Queensland are Jael, Tam, Martine, Calypso and the Queen herself. Vost has offered them a way off the ship but Silence and her tongueless horde have other ideas. Its all hands on deck to try to build a way off Perdition and not get killed in the process. 

Breakout takes nail biting to a whole new level. This final instalment of the trilogy is very exciting...well the first 3/4 is very exciting. Will they escape? Will they all escape? What will become of them if they do? Aguirre really ramps up the tension while at the same time continues to fully develop her remaining characters. We learn more about Jael's previous life in the lab, about what Tam did to earn a life sentence on the ship, and bit more of the circumstances around Dred's path to her undoing. These experiences described through POV chapters gives the reader a full picture of what the characters are like and why they have made the decisions they have. I think that Jael's POV chapters are the most compelling and as his memories merge with current events they become especially chilling. Be sure not to be eating dinner when you are reading these! Aguirre also gives us a mystery to enjoy when Dred discovers a video diary of a young woman who was on Perdition before it became a prison ship. This was quite predictable but I enjoyed it all the same. The last 1/3 of the book is much closer to romance than it has been so far and it almost came across as being a bit self indulgent. Aguirre leaves nothing to chance with the ending and everything is tied up quite nicely. I was just a tiny bit disappointed with the ending as I thought the author would be a bit 'meaner' to her characters. I LOVE this cover although I think I have loved them all. Overall, I was still satisfied with the conclusion of the trilogy if not just a tiny bit predictable.

Melanie's Week in Review  - July 26, 2015I had a little unexpected trip down memory lane in the last few weeks. I was thinking about Harry Dresden and found Cold Days on Amazon. I couldn't remember if I had read it and searched my Kindle for the book. As I couldn't find it I bought the book and after about page 3 I remembered the plot and figured I must have had a hard copy in the past. If only I had checked Goodreads I would have realised I read it back in 2013. OOPS! Oh well. I read it again and still enjoyed it. I would like to read book 15  - Skin Game but alas I avoid buying books on Kindle that cost more than £5. I will have to wait awhile for this one to go on sale I guess. (You can see Qwill's review of Cold Days here.)

Apart from that I have only read the third part of the Lost City series by Kelley Armstrong. I am loathe to tell you much more about it as unless you live in the UK you have to wait until next year to find out what I am talking about. I am not that much of a tease.

That is all for this week. I am doing some travelling this week so hopefully I will have a chance to get through a few more books. Until then Happy Reading.

The Dred Chronicles 3
Ace. August 25, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook,  336 pages

Melanie's Week in Review  - July 26, 2015
All hell is breaking loose in the edge-of-your-seat follow-up to Havoc and Perdition from New York Times bestselling author Ann Aguirre…

The prison ship Perdition has become a post-battle charnel house with only a handful of Dred’s soldiers still standing and now being hunted by Silence’s trained tongueless assassins. Forging an uneasy alliance with mercenary commander Vost—who is their only chance at escape—the Dread Queen will do whatever it takes to end her life sentence on Perdition and keep the survivors alive long enough to cobble together a transport capable of getting them off station.

If Dred and her crew can win the deadly game of cat and mouse, the payoff is not only life but freedom—a prize sweeter than their wildest dreams. Yet the sadistic Silence would rather destroy Perdition than let a single soul slip from her grasp…

Review: Javelin Rain by Myke ColeGuest Blog by S. K. Dunstall, author of the Linesman seriesInterview with Amber BensonReview: Queen of Fire by Anthony RyanInterview with Erin Lindsey, author of the Bloodbound seriesInterview with Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen ChoReview: Magic Shifts by Ilona AndrewsInterview with Christina Henry and Review of AliceMelanie's Week in Review  - July 26, 2015

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