My short story The Clash at Jagged Canyon is included in the Beyond the Shadows grimdark fantasy short story anthology.
Matthew Johnson, my fellow short story author – also known by the moniker Professor Grimdark – kindly agreed to answer some of my questions about his story in the anthology, his latest writing projects and just who is Professor Grimdark.
“You stink. You could do with a wash.”
Captain Breeya stood next to a glistening swimming hole and undid her sword belt. Captain Sanya didn’t move, didn’t reply. Instead, she pursed her lips and stared at Bree. San held up her fist to the six warriors behind her. None moved.
Book Review: We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire #1) by Devin Madson
Well. This is by far my favourite read of 2018. It was B R I L L I A N T. It knocked the socks off everything I’ve read this year, and that’s saying something as I’ve read a lot of great books in the past 12 months. So, why was We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson that good? Let me explain…
Book Review and Author Interview: Paternus: Wrath of Gods (Paternus Trilogy #2) by Dyrk Ashton
The author Dyrk Ashton kindly agreed to answer some of my questions! So, below is my review and following is the interview.
I listened to the audiobook of the first book in the trilogy, Paternus: Rise of Gods, and absolutely loved it (read my review here), so I was super excited for book two. I read this one as an ebook and absolutely loved it too. Hurrah!
Book Review and Author Interview: Darkmage (The Rhenwars Saga #1) by M.L. Spencer
The author M.L. Spencer kindly agreed to answer some of my questions! So, below is my review and following is the interview.
This grimdark fantasy book follows the story of Darien Lauchlin, a rebellious but honourable mage who returns to his hometown to take his official mage oath only to see the city, and his loved ones, destroyed by his wicked brother. Said brother opens a portal to the netherworld and unleashes all kinds of hellish creatures on the real world. Darien must regain control, even if that means he has to break the oath he holds so dear…
The Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) is in it’s fourth year. It is a contest hosted by author Mark Lawrence that brings together 300 self-published fantasy books and ten book blogs. Each blog (which may have more than one reviewer) receives 30 books to read. They must choose one from their batch that goes into the finals.
Book Review: The Green Unknown: Travels in the Khasi Hills by Patrick Rogers
This travel memoir details one man’s adventures in the Khasi Hills in Meghalaya in north east India. This is a rainy land of dense jungles, waterfalls and where many ancient living bridges can be found. These living bridges have been grown from the roots of trees and bound and manipulated by the ancestors of those who currently live there to provide crossing places during the rainy season floods and over deep ravines.
Book Review: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
The Poppy War is an Asian-inspired epic fantasy that is influenced by the real-world events of the Second Sino-Japanese war and the 1937 Rape of Nanjing. It tells the story of Rin, a war orphan fostered by the local drug dealers in a country town, and her remarkable journey from there to the number one military school, and after as a soldier.
Book Review: The Court of Broken Knives (The Empires of Dust #1) by Anna Smith Spark
The Court of Broken Knives is an excellent grimdark fantasy book which I found super intense to read and left me feeling a bit overwhelmed – in the best possible way!
It follows the story of a group of mercenaries employed by a bored noble with grand ambitions to kill his Emperor and court to usher in a ‘better rule’. One of the fighting men turns out to be rather more than anyone expected and then with double crosses and triple crosses (and maybe even quadruple crosses), the assassination attempt goes tits up and everyone has to deal the best they can with the fall out.
Book Review: I Was a Teenage Weredeer (Bright Falls Mysteries #1) by C.T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus
This is a fun urban fantasy murder mystery which follows the adventures of 18-year-old Jane Doe in the Michigan town of Bright Falls as she hunts for the killer of her best friend’s sister, Victoria, after the murder is pinned on Jane’s brother.
Book Review: Godblind (The Godblind Trilogy) by Anna Stephens (published by Harper Voyager)
Godblind is a grimdark fantasy novel that has been on my ‘to be read’ list since it came out this time last year. I was first attracted by the gorgeous cover, then read lots of rave reviews and added Anna Stephens to my must-read female grimdark fantasy authors list. But a year after it released, I still hadn’t quite got around to reading Godblind.
Then I read two of the author’s short stories in two different places: Flesh and Coin in Art of War anthology and Just a Little Murder in issue 15 of Grimdark Magazine and was completely sold. Godblind got bumped up my TBR pile!
Recently I read fantasy novel The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley and was intrigued by the gender systems of the different cultures in the world.
In one country, Dhai, there are five genders and each person gets to pick theirs: female-assertive, female-passive, male-assertive, male-passive and ungendered. In Saiduan there are three: male, female and ataisa.
Book Review: Knee-Deep in Grit short story anthology from Grimdark Magazine
Grimdark Magazine is an excellent digital publication chock-full of articles, reviews, discussion and short stories all focused on the darker and grittier side of fantasy and science fiction. This collection of 25 stories has been collated from tales that have appeared in the mag over the past two years. And WOW, there’s been some good’uns!
Book Review and Author Interview: Song (The Manhunters Book 1) by Jesse Teller (published by Jesse Teller)
The author Jesse Teller kindly agreed to answer some of my questions! So below is my review and after is the interview.
Song is a dark fantasy that follows the story of a thousands-of-years-old wizard called Rayph Ivoryfist in a world called Perilisc. Rayph is a powerful guy and, before the novel starts created a magical prison that could hold some of Perilisc’s most vile villains. He rounded up said villains and put them in prison. So confident is Rayph in his prison that he leaves it to travel, only to find out that there’s been a prison break. This is where the book opens, as Rayph discovers that the dangerous inmates are on the loose once again and a couple are out to get their revenge on the wizard, as well as take control by doing away with the King.
Many epic fantasy worlds are loosely based on medieval Europe – for example the bulk of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. There’s lots of reasoning for this, and, personally, I like reading this type of setting. However, it’s always refreshing to read fantasy worlds set in, or inspired by, non-western settings such as Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
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