The Qwillery | category: Brandon Sanderson


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

TorCon 2020 - June 11 - June 14, 2020

Tor Books & Den of Geek Present:

TorCon 2020

Tor Books, in partnership with Den of Geek, is pleased to announce TorCon 2020, an all-new virtual convention that brings all the fun of a convention to the comfort of your couch. From Thursday, June 11th through Sunday, June 14th, Tor and Publishing are presenting eight panels featuring over twenty of your favorite authors across different platforms, in conversation with each other—and with you!

Join authors including Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Nnedi Okorafor, Christopher Paolini, Brandon Sanderson, V.E. Schwab, a very special screening of Night of the Living Dead, and many more for four days of pure geekery, exclusive content, sneak peeks, giveaways, and more.

Check out the lineup below and find links to all the event registrations on the TorCon Landing Page.

Let us know if you have any questions, and don't forget to tune in and geek out with us!

TorCon 2020 - June 11 - June 14, 2020

Thursday 6/11:
  • 7 PM ET/4 PM PT: Christopher Paolini and Brandon Sanderson in conversation
    Bestselling authors, SFF icons, and friends Christopher Paolini (To Sleep in a Sea of Stars) and Brandon Sanderson (Rhythm of War) chat about their upcoming projects, their writing processes, science fiction, fantasy, and everything in between. We’re taking question for this one in advance, so leave yours in the comments!
    Register Here

Friday 6/12:
  • 5 PM ET/2 PM PT: Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab in conversation
    V.E. Schwab (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue) and Neil Gaiman (The Annotated American Gods) have created some of our all time favorite worlds, and now they’re together, live and in conversation. Join in the fun and ask them your questions via Crowdcast!
    Register Here

Saturday 6/13:

  • 1 PM ET/10 AM PT: “Books & Brunch” Facebook Live Reading Series
    Nothing pairs better with brunch than books. Join Calculating Stars author Mary Robinette Kowal for a balanced brunchfest of book talk…and a sneak peek at her upcoming “Lady Astronauts” novel, The Relentless Moon.
    Register Here

  • 5 PM ET/2 PM PT: Chaotic Communal Storytime
    Authors can take inspiration from anything to write stories that move us emotionally and transport us to other worlds. Now let’s see how they do when we’re the inspiration. Join K.A. Doore (The Unconquered City), S.L. Huang (Critical Point, Burning Roses), Arkady Martine (A Memory Called Empire), and Kit Rocha (Deal With the Devil) as they use your writing prompts to create a brand new story—and talk about their craft and inspirations along the way.
    Register Here

  • 8 PM ET/5 PM PT: Nighttime Drive-In Screening of Night of the Living Dead
    George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is one of the scariest, most famous horror movies of all time. Join masters of the horror genre for a live screening of this classic and an undead celebration for The Living Dead, Romero’s forthcoming zombie novel, with his co-author Daniel Kraus and special guests Paul Tremblay (Survivor Song), Grady Hendrix (The Southern Bookclub’s Guide to Slaying Vampires), and Cassandra Khaw (Nothing But Blackened Teeth).
    Register Here

Sunday 6/14:

  • 1 PM ET/10 AM PT: “Books & Brunch” Facebook Live Reading series
    Nothing pairs better with brunch than books. Join even more authors for a balanced brunchfest of book talk…and a sneak peek at their upcoming books!
    Register Here

  • 4 PM ET/1 PM PT: Chaos & Cosmos
    Pop culture has shifted its attention to the messy, the morally ambiguous, and the weird, and we’re all in on that! Come join some of the genre’s most exciting authors as they discuss how they are breaking traditional rules of genre fiction, creating compelling and truly thought-provoking works of science fiction and fantasy – and how chaos may reign in both fantasy worlds, the cosmos, and the real world alike. Panelists include Kate Elliott (Unconquerable Sun), Andrea Hairston (Master of Poisons), Alaya Dawn Johnson (Trouble the Saints), and Ryan Van Loan (The Sin in the Steel), moderated by Kayti Burt of Den of Geek.
    Register Here

  • 7 PM ET/4 PM PT: Cory Doctorow and Nnedi Okorafor in conversation
    Technology. Science. Politics. Their books touch on all of these, and now…they’re talking about it. Join critically acclaimed, award-winning authors Cory Doctorow (Attack Surface, Little Brother) and Nnedi Okorafor (Binti, Remote Control) for a discussion moderated by Kayti Burt of Den of Geek.
    Register Here

The Stormlight Archive 4 Coming in November 2020


Tor Books is thrilled to announce the on-sale date for #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson’s long-awaited new book in The Stormlight Archive. This exciting all-new novel in the beloved epic fantasy series will go on sale November 17, 2020, and is now available for pre-order.

Fans across the world have been eagerly awaiting the release of this next thrilling chapter in Sanderson’s saga that began with the bestselling The Way of Kings (recently named one of the Best Fantasy Novels of the 2010s by Paste), and continued with the #1 New York Times bestsellers Words of Radiance and Oathbringer.

Together, The Stormlight Archive books have sold 4 million copies in all formats, speaking to their wide-reaching appeal and Sanderson’s devoted legions of readers.

Sanderson has been widely praised for the world-building and magic system he has created in this epic fantasy series: welcome to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

Of this new entry in the saga, Sanderson says, “It has been almost twenty years since I first outlined The Stormlight Archive.  Back then, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in this crazy epic I’d devised--and it’s been so thrilling to see enthusiasm for it grow to such heights over the years.  Book four finally gets to one of the foundational scenes I conceived from the beginning. In fact, it might be the very first big scene I imagined, and my favorite in the entire series.  A part of me can’t believe people are finally going to be able to read it. Less than one year now! Life before death, Radiants.”

Visit for exciting updates and news about The Stormlight Archive and Brandon Sanderson.

About Brandon Sanderson
BRANDON SANDERSON grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. He lives in Utah with his wife and children and teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University. He is the author of such bestsellers as the Mistborn trilogy and its sequels,The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, and The Bands of Mourning; The Stormlight Archive novels The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and Oathbringer; and other novels, including The Rithmatist, and Steelheart. In 2013 he won the Hugo Award for The Emperor’s Soul, a novella set in the world of his acclaimed first novel, Elantris. Additionally, he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time® sequence. For behind-the-scenes information on all his books, visit

About Tor Books
Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, is a New York-based publisher of bestselling and critically acclaimed fiction in all formats. Founded in 1980, Tor publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of award-winning science fiction and fantasy, with its books receiving every major award in the SF and Fantasy field. Tor has been named Best Publisher 30 years in a row in the Locus Poll, the largest consumer poll in SF.

Melanie’s Month in Review - November 2018

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018

Well hello again.  I can’t believe another month has passed me by and that there are only a few more weeks left in 2018! Does time really fly? Or at least it seems to. Well I won’t delay any further and let you know what I have been reading.

So I am going to start this post with a song...lucky for you that you will be reading it rather than listening to me sing! This was one of my favourite songs from Sesame Street. I am not sure they still sing it but here is the first verse and then by the end let’s see if you can figure out why I have been singing it in my head throughout November!

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things just doesn't belong
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
The first book I am going to tell you about is Cogheart, the first in the Cogheart Adventures by Peter Bunzl. Set in a clockwork England, Lily’s life has been turned upside down when her father - the renowned inventor of automatons and other mechanical inventions - has gone missing. Lily finds herself on the run from the very men that caused her father’s disappearance. Luckily for Lily she is joined on her dangerous adventure by the son of the local clockmaker and her father’s mechanical fox Malkin. Together they take a hair raising trip across the country to find her father and save the day.

This is the perfect book for 8-12 year olds. It has adventure, humour, cool clockwork automatons and a mystery to solve. There is a murder of one of the secondary characters so if the reader is especially sensitive then maybe skip by this one scene. Otherwise, it has the correct pitch for a younger reader and pace. It is however a tad long, even for an alleged grown up reader such as myself! This would be a great gift for a girls as Lily is a strong and brave female lead.

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Brandon Sanderson’s new series - Skyward (the first instalment is of the same name) is set in space on a near barren planet where the remainder of humanity have been trapped. They are under constant attack by an alien race called the Krell. The teenager Spensa has spent her young life in the shadow of her father’s life. He was a fighter pilot and a hero until during one battle he fled was killed by his squadron and branded a coward. Spensa and her family suffered with the stigma of father’s cowardice yet she wants nothing more than to follow him into the skies. As luck turns out Spensa is given the opportunity to learn how to be a fighter pilot and prove her father wasn't a coward. When she discovers an abandoned ship buried in a cave she knows that this ship, a sentient ship no less, is her escape and her way to see the stars.

Sanderson’s fantastic imagination is evident in his description of the debris laden planet Detritus. He does borrow from human folklore, history and literature as a frame of reference for the teenage Spensa - she wants to be a warrior like Boudicca or Genghis Khan. She acts in almost every way like typical teenager - impulsive, quick to temper, a bit self-centered. I did have to keep reminding myself that Spensa was a teenager every time she did something impetuous or immature....which was quite often. I found her a bit irritating towards the end. While Skyward is aimed for the younger reader the pace was a bit slow in parts and it was quite long. At a guess 80% of the story sets up the last few chapters and that is why I felt it dragged along. While I am unlikely to continue with this series because of the pace I would still recommend it for young adults.

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Diamond Fire, by Ilona Andrews is a novella set in the Hidden Legacy world. Nevada Baylor and Connor Rogan are about to get married and her sisters Catalina and Arabella have taken responsibility for organising the wedding.  No mean feat especially when the extremely valuable diamond tiara, handed down by Connor’s mother, has gone missing and someone has poisoned the wedding cake. Catalina is tasked with not only ensuring the bride makes it down the aisle but also to figure out who has stolen the tiara, get it back and all without Nevada finding out.

I enjoyed this novella and enjoyed the development of Catalina as a character. I even bought the Audible version (preferred the narrator for this one). I don’t want to say too much other than if you enjoy the series then don’t miss out on Diamond Fire.

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
The final books I am going to tell you about are The Horn trilogy by J. Kathleen Cheney. I have only shown one of the book covers Oathbreaker (all covers below), but in fact I read all three including Original and Overseer. This series is set in the same world as Dreaming Death where families live in underground fortresses and the children grow up and marry into their own age groups. Oathbreaker focuses on Amal Horn who is the leader of the Horn fortress and what happens when her year group - the twenty-sevens -  come across a stranger who is searching for the long ago abandoned Salonen fortress. If the fortress falls into the wrong hands it might have to be destroyed. The stranger Daylan upsets the close knit Horn community not just by being there but what he represents. Book 2 - Original is told more from Daylan's perspective and the Horn's plan to find the Salonen fortress. By this novel Amal and Daylan are a couple and part of the plot centres on their relationship and what it means for the community. It's not until Overseer that the lost fortress even features as a mainstay of the plot. Daylan's 'relatives' turn up at the Horn fortress and it is clear how far the Cince (the enemy) are prepared to go to get their hands on the Salonen fortress.

I enjoyed these novels for the most part but the characters aren't as interesting as those in Cheney's other novels. They are a quick and easy reads and I had the whole series finished in just a few days. The abandoned fortress - according to the description  - doesn't really feature until the end of book 3 which I thought was a bit odd. The series is really more about the love story between Daylan and Amal. If you need something to read then give The Horn trilogy a go, but see my reviews of Cheney's other novels too.

Well that is it for me for November. Have you guess why I have been singing songs from Sesame Street? Can you tell which book is not like the others?  Leave me a comment with your guess. Until December Happy Reading!

Cogheart Trilogy 1
Jolly Fish Press, February 12, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368
  8 - 12 Years
  (Published in the UK by Usborne, Sept. 1, 2016)

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Thirteen-year-old Lily Harman always dreamed of adventure. A strong-willed girl, Lily felt trapped in a life of Victorian stuffiness at her prim boarding school. But after her father-a famous inventor-disappears on a routine zeppelin flight, Lily's life gets turned upside down.

Now cared for by her guardian, the heartless Madame Verdigris, Lily is quite certain that she's being watched. Mysterious, silver-eyed men are lurking in the shadows, just waiting for their chance to strike. But what could they possibly want from her?

There are rumors, Lily learns, that her father had invented the most valuable invention ever made-a perpetual motion machine. But if he made such a miraculous discovery, he certainly never told Lily. And all he left behind is a small box-with no key, no hinges.

With the help of a clockmaker's son, Robert, and her mechanimal fox, Malkin, Lily escapes London in search of the one person who might know something about her father's disappearance-and what he left behind.

Skyward 1
Delacorte Press, November 6, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 528 pages
  Young Adult (Ages 12 and Up, Grades 7 and Up)

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
From Brandon Sanderson, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the internationally bestselling Mistborn series, comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity’s future.

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s–a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa’s chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

Diamond Fire
A Hidden Legacy Novella
Avon Impulse, November 6, 2018
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 160 pages

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle.  Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan's extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her sister's happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

The Horn 1
EQP Books (December 12, 2016)
eBook, 326 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
The chief of the Oathbreakers, Amal Horn is one of only a handful of people aware of the true power the abandoned underground Fortress of Salonen holds. The Cince Empire wants its secrets, though, and will do anything to get someone inside. When the Horn find a stranger trespassing on the glacier below it, they realize the Cince have formulated a new plan of attack. Now the Horn Family must decide whether to wake the sleeping Fortress so it can defend itself against the Cince…or kill it forever.

Horn 2
EQP Books, April 27, 2017
eBook, 268
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Amal, Lady Horn, has always been called rash. She makes decisions far too quickly for the elders of the Horn Family. Bringing home a mysterious foreigner—one who has ties to her people’s ancient enemies, the Cince—is bad enough, but now she’s taken him as her lover. She might even want more from him.

Dalyan is an Original, a copy of a man long dead. The elders of the Horn Family thought they could use his singular knowledge to resurrect an ancient Fortress, a sentient underground city long abandoned by its people. But when Dalyan can’t access the memoires of the man from whom he’s copied, the elders begin to ask whether he’s an unfortunate liability instead. For Amal’s sake, Dalyan is determined to prove them wrong.

Together Amal and Dalyan work to build a coalition to raise the hidden Fortress, but they’ll need the help of Amal’s friends, of the Oathbreakers spread across the country, and—if possible—the king himself.

The Horn 3
EQP Books, October 19, 2017
eBook, 328 pages
  Also available in Trade Paperback

Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018
Those who hold the secrets of the Fortresses can remake the world...

A new player has arrived at Horn Keep, and it’s up to Amal to decide whether he’s the key to keeping her people safe, or the threat they’ve feared the most. Aulis is, like Dalyan, a version of the same long-dead engineer, a Founder of the Salonen Fortress. That alone should make him worth keeping alive.

But he’s served the Cince Empire for almost two decades, the very people who want to steal Salonen Fortress. Now Amal is faced with the task of deciding whether he’s even capable of telling the truth, whether he can lie to Dalyan. The question is…are they the same man or not?

And is buying Aulis’ loyalty worth the risk of giving him the one thing he wants more than life itself? It’s within Amal’s power, but she knows that doing so will forever change her people’s world…

Review - Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection

Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection
Author:  Brandon Sanderson
Publisher:  Tor Books, November 22, 2016
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 672 pages
List Price:  $27.99 (print); $14.99 (eBook)
ISBN:   9780765391162 (print); 9780765391179 (eBook)

Review - Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection
An all-new Stormlight Archive novella, "Edgedancer," will be the crown jewel of Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection, the first book of short fiction by #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson.

The collection will include nine works in all. The first eight are:

“The Hope of Elantris” (Elantris)
“The Eleventh Metal” (Mistborn)
“The Emperor's Soul” (Elantris)
“Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Episodes 28 through 30” (Mistborn)
“White Sand" (excerpt; Taldain)
"Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” (Threnody)
“Sixth of Dusk” (First of the Sun)
“Mistborn: Secret History” (Mistborn)

These wonderful works, originally published on and elsewhere individually, convey the expanse of the Cosmere and tell exciting tales of adventure Sanderson fans have come to expect, including the Hugo Award-winning novella, “The Emperor's Soul” and an excerpt from the graphic novel "White Sand."

Arcanum Unbounded will also contain the Stormlight Archive novella "Edgedancer," which will appear in this book for the first time anywhere. It is a story of Lift, taking place between Words of Radiance and the forthcoming Oathbringer.

Finally, this collection includes essays and illustrations for the various planetary systems in which the stories are set.

The Cosmere

The Mistborn series

Mistborn: The Final Empire
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages
Alloy of Law
Shadows of Self
Bands of Mourning

The Stormlight Archive
The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance
Edgedancer (Novella)
Oathbringer (forthcoming)

Arcanum Unbounded

Other Cosmere Titles

The Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
The Scrivener's Bones
The Knights of Crystallia
The Shattered Lens
The Dark Talent

The Reckoners

Qwill's Thoughts

Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection is the first story collection by Brandon Sanderson. The Collection is broken into 6 sections dealing with the Selish System, the Scadrian System, the Taldain System, the Threnodite System, the Drominad System, and the Rosharan System. Each of these systems is the setting of novels or future works in the broader Cosmere or simply places that Sanderson wanted to write about that may never see treatment in a novel. These works have been previously published save for "Edgedancer"- a Stormlight Archive novella.

This is a stunning collection, which not only includes stories, but has beautiful illustrations, maps of the Systems and even a comic. Each section is prefaced by notes from Khriss (who writes the Ars Arcanum appendixes at the end of the novels) and is followed by a postscript by Brandon Sanderson giving some history of the story - when it was written and why.

Of the 9 stories (some of which are novella sized) my three favorites are the the "The Emperor's Soul" set in the Selish System, "Mistborn: Secret History" set in the Scadrian System and "Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell" set in the Threnodite System. There is no weak story in this collection; these are just my favorites. Each story provides new information and insights into the Cosmere in general and into specific events or persons.

Can you read this collection before reading any of the novels set in the Cosmere? Absolutely yes. There is enough information in the stories to keep you from being lost especially if you pay attention to Khriss' notes. For fans of the Cosmere this is a must have addition to your Sanderson collection. These stories, which vary in point of view and style, are all deeply engaging, beautifully written, and highlight the depth and breadth of the Cosmere and Sanderson's writing. I fervently hope that this is just the first collection of Cosmere stories that Sanderson will share with us.

Review: The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

The Bands of Mourning
Author:  Brandon Sanderson
Series:  Mistborn 6
Publisher:  Tor Books, January 26, 2016
Format:  Hardcover and eBook,
List Price:  $27.99 (print); $14.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780765378576 (print); 9781466862678 (eBook)

Review: The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
The #1 New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of Mistborn with the follow-up to Shadows of Self

With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

Qwill's Thoughts

I have a confession to make - I have never before read a novel written by Brandon Sanderson. After reading The Bands of Mourning I know what I've been missing. I will be reading the prior two adult books in the Mistborn series - The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self because I have fallen very deeply in like with Sanderson's writing and characters and worldbuilding. Confession over.

Waxillium Ladrian, Wayne and Marasi, along with Steris (Wax's betrothed) and MeLaan (a kandra) are off on a dangerous mission to find the Bands of Mourning, if they exist. This takes them from the comforts of Elendel to New Seran and beyond.

Waxillium (Wax) Ladrian, head of the House Ladrian, Twinborn, and lawman is a marvelous character. He is headstrong, yet understands some of his limits. He is tenacious, courageous, and brave. He can follow a clue with an almost uncanny ability. He's also a decent man, who can learn from others.  He's about to be married to Steris Harms in an arranged marriage that will benefit both of their Houses.

Wax's interplay with Steris is one of the highlights of the novel for me. It reminded me of the interplay between Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (or Cary Grant) in some of their wonderful films. Steris more than held her own against the larger than life Waxillium and then some. She is quirky and brilliant.

Wayne is altogether a unique character and a wonderful partner for Wax. The two work extremely well together and I'm not sure that Wax could be as successful a lawman without Wayne's help. Wayne has his own quirks that often bring moments of levity to the story. He's also adept at accents which often is useful.

Marasi Colms is a constable and Steris' half-sister. She feels somewhat overshadowed by Wax, which is understandable, but she is a strong and extremely intelligent, and very, very good at what she does.

MeLaan does her part too and fits in with the group. She has skills that are indispensable to the work they are doing and has a very different view of the world.

Being completely unfamiliar with the Mistborn series and its mythos Sanderson provides enough well-placed backstory in The Bands of Mourning that I had absolutely no trouble understanding the history mentioned in the novel, the way things work and who the historical characters are. This is done extremely well and does not bog down the narrative in any way.

In addition to the wonderful characters, the story itself is incredibly engaging. There is sleuthing, action, and unexpected turns as Wax, Wayne, Marasi, MeLaan, and Steris try to figure out where the Bands of Mourning are, if they even exist. The action sequences are often breathtaking. The warmth between the main characters is genuine and heartfelt.

The Bands of Mourning is beautifully written. This is a fabulous novel with great action and pacing, politics, a quest, a very well developed mythology, and thoroughly memorable characters. Highly Recommended!

Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014

As I am writing this post I can't help but think of one of my favourite Sesame Street songs - One of These Doesn't Belong Here. I am sure I have you singing along with me right now. It will make more sense why I reminded of this childhood tune so read on. I was feeling rather sorry for myself and really needed a little 'happily ever after' so I turned to a genre I have a love/don't love relationship with  - PNR.  I am mega fussy when it comes to PNR and whether I like it depends very much on how strong the heroine is or how early the romance/sex starts. If the hero and heroine are getting their clothes off too early then I am not interested. Likewise, if the leading lady is a bit of a wimp then I tend to lose interest quickly. I usually rely on Amazon recommendations to pick up cheap PNR novels and have come across a couple of good series this way. So enough waffle...what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014I quite like Lilith Saintcrow novels and I spotted Taken on my Amazon Recommendations list. I read the book summary I thought it was going to be the book to just hit the spot. This is one of Saintcrow's stand alone novels and tells the story of Sophie who discovers that she isn't just another 'plain Jane' after witnessing the cruel murder of her best friend at the hands (or teeth) of a vampire. Unfortunately for Sophie, this discovery is revealed when she is kidnapped by Zach who is the reluctant head of what's left of his werewolf family. Zach wants to keep Sophie who he thinks will save his family but all she wants to do is go back to her ordinary life. Nothing is as straightforward as it seems as Sophie becomes the vampires' next target and it's up to Zach to prove he is a leader and win her affections. I liked this novel. Taken had just the right mix of action and romance. Saintcrow really likes to write damaged heroines and Sophie is another example of her portrayal of an abused female lead character. I think there is more of a story to tell for these characters but I don't believe this was part of a series. Luckily, Saintrcrow is a rather prolific writer so I have a lot of books to choose from.

Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014
Next to catch my attention was Dannika Dark's Seven Years which was the first in the Seven series. I have tried Dark's other novels and haven't enjoyed them, but this one came with a disclaimer that said it wasn't 'shifter erotica' so I thought it was worth a chance. Seven Years is the story of Lexi who is stuck in the same rut she was in as a teenager -  having fun and working in a candy store. Her beloved brother died 7 years earlier and she realises that not much in her life has changed since her brother's death. Everything changes when she runs into her brother's best friend, Austin, who she hasn't seen since the funeral. She had always fancied Austin and now he was back in town looking more handsome than ever. When her Mom and little sister are kidnapped she turns to Austin to help her find them before it's too late. I also enjoyed Seven Years but I thought it was your fairly standard shifter story. I did think that Lexi was realistically written and she had a normal life, for a paranormal. She didn't have everything sorted and had been in a rut since her brother died. This was a refreshing change from the heroines who were either really successful or who had fled some terrible thing in their past. I also thought there was the right level of romance between Lexi and Austin and there was a definite evolution from childhood crush to hot, shifter love. This is great book for a cold and dreary day and when I need another PNR fix I may go for book 2.

Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014
Another PNR novel I came across was Bloodsworn by Stacey Brutger. In this story Trina is a witch who has been forced to eek out a life in the human world with her powers stripped away from her. When her sister is kidnapped by vampires Trina she is prepared to do anything to save her....even prepared to be the concubine to the local shifter lion. Merrick is more than intrigued when he discovers Trina hiding on his land. When he discovers that her blood may have the power to save his pack from a debilitating disease he doesn't want to let her go. I had high hopes for Bloodsworn as it had some quite positive reviews and I thought it sounded like an interesting twist on the traditional paranormal tale of girl witch meets boy shifter. However, I found both Trina and Merrick quite dull. I kind of felt let down by the lack of chemistry between these two characters and Trina hardly did anything to be considered Merrick's concubine. Plus, Brutger broke one of my PNR rules - if you are in the midst of a life or death situation you aren't going to be getting all sexy with your shifter honey. I am sorry but nearly getting killed by blood thirsty vampires and rogue shifters is a real romance killer! You also need both feet on the floor to dodge the next attack. I should count myself lucky that I liked 2 out of the 3 PNR books I just came across.

Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014The fourth and final book I would like to tell you about is Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. This is my 'one of these things doesn't belong here' as this the only non-PNR book I read that week. I really enjoyed Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy and I was eager to read something else of his. It was a toss up whether I would read the Rithmatist or Steelheart but opted for the latter. This is the first in the Reckoners series and is set in a dystopian/alternate reality world where the 'Calamity' turned ordinary men and women into Epics - who each had weird and wonderful superpowers. Rather than using their powers for good the Epics oppressed everyone around them and treated anyone normal like slaves......well everyone but the Reckoners who were an group of renegades who wanted to take down the Epics. In the midst of this is David who witnessed the death of his father at the hands of the king of the Epics  - Steelheart. He is resourceful and dedicated to bringing down his father's murderer. Revenge is the name of the game and David wants to be the winner. I enjoyed Steelheart but unlike 'the Hubinator' I wasn't enthralled. Where the Mistborn series was also YA fantasy this felt like it was written for a much younger audience and, therefore, I guessed at what was going to happen and what secrets the characters were trying to hide. Sanderson excels at world building and Steelheart is no exception. Despite a few misgivings this is a good start to what I hope is going to be a great series.

Well I am sure you have started to nod off at the length of this post but I had sooo much to say. I hope I have given you a few ideas of what you can read next and that I haven't cursed you with singing Sesame Street songs for the rest of the day. Until next week Happy Reading.

TorCon 2020 - June 11 - June 14, 2020Melanie’s Month in Review  - November 2018Review - Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere CollectionReview: The Bands of Mourning by Brandon SandersonMelanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014

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