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These are the chronicles of a book addict, a photo junkie, and an aspiring author, rewriting the very fabric of reality one page (and one snapshot) at a time. From the strange to the unusual; the abandoned to the abnormal; the haunted to the historic; the supernatural to the surreal; the forests of dark fantasy, the cemeteries of gothic horror, and the post-apocalyptic ruins of science fiction are the landscapes of my imagination.
A busy (and very popular) week in the Ruins, with some guests, our WOW feature, and a pair of reviews:
While I haven't abandoned my cold turkey resolution to requesting any new review titles, some surprise titles landed on my doorstop, and a pair of ARCs became available that I already sort of accounted for, taking it for granted that they'd find their way to me.
First up, the gang at Skyhorse Publishing were very good to me this week, sending along finished copies of Shower of Stones by Zachary Jernigan (which I reviewed last month) and The Dangerous Type by Loren Rhoads (which I also reviewedlast month).
Solomon's Arrow by J. Dalton Jennings is a novel I already had as an ARC, but I'm sure having a finished copy on-hand will push me to get it read a bit more quickly - especially since it has such a kick-ass cover. It looks (and sounds) to have a bit of a Battlestar Galactica influence, but with enough of a twist to keep it original.
New to me in this batch was a print ARC of Bat out of Hell: An Eco-Thriller by Alan Gold, which sounds right up my alley. A bat-borne illness with a 100% fatality rate sets up a conflict between UN scientists who are prepared to kill off the species, animal rights activists who disapprove of the genocide, a madman who would rather kill government officials than see one bat die, and terrified members of the public who soon turn to vigilantism.
Empire Ascendant (Worldbreaker Saga, #2)
by Kameron Hurley
When the dark star of the cataclysm ascends, one empire will rise... and many will perish.
Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the night sky, bringing with it a tide of death and destruction. Tattered rifts open between worlds; great empires are born, and mighty rulers die. Whole nations succumb to madness. And those who survive must contend with friends and enemies newly imbued with bloody powers.
The kingdom of Saiduan already lies in ruin, decimated by invaders from another world who share the faces of those they seek to destroy. Now the nation of Dhai is under siege by the same force. Their only hope for survival lies in the hands of an illegitimate ruler warring with his consort and former lover for control of the nation's allegiance.
As the foreign Empire spreads across the world like a disease, one of their former allies takes up her own Empress's sword again to unseat them, and two enslaved scholars begin a treacherous journey home with what they hope is the key to the Empire's undoing.
But when the enemy you must overcome shares your own face, who can be trusted?
The Dragon Engine (The Blood Dragon Empire, #1)
by Andy Remic
Five noble war heroes of Vagandrak get drunk one night and sign a contract – to journey to the Karamakkos in search of the Five Havens where, it is written, there is untold, abandoned wealth and, more importantly, the three Dragon Heads – jewels claimed to give unspeakable power and everlasting life to those who wield them.
But the Dragon Heads aren't what they think, and the world has not encountered their like in generations!
Think Smaug was fierce? You ain't seen nothing!
I also indulged myself in a few weird, twisted, completely inappropriate purchases this week. It's been an incredibly stressful, emotional few months (for multiple reasons), so I decided to throw caution to the wind and audition a few potential WTF Friday reads.
I've really only scratched the surface of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu, so I can't say too much about it yet, but the opening chapters are solid action, and it's long since time I finally gave Bradley a read.
As for Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb . . . what can I say, other than "WOW." It's no secret that I had issues with the first book, but this one is downright perfect so far. I am so well-and-truly hooked, and while I won't spoil anything, I will say it's done a lot to redeem/explain that first book.
On the personal front, I'm still working on Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson (deep, dark, heavy stuff - but fascinating, as always), and I'm still enjoying77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz (an odd mix of haunted-house horror and in-depth character studies).
On top of all that, as if there already weren't enough hours in the day, I'm almost through the penultimate batch of titles for the Great Self-Published Fantasy Blog-off. Watch for an update coming later in the month.