Archive for March, 2015

The Death House

March 31, 2015 - 12:31 pm No Comments

The Death House
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: Gollancz
Release date: 26th February 2015
Page count: 286pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

No one ever comes back from the sanatorium. One day, Toby believes he will be the kid who vanishes from the house. The Death House. He was taken from his home and brought to the house where he now lives with the other boys, watched over by the Matron. He is there because the tests have proved that with him the Defective gene is active. The stability of Dorm 4 is interrupted by the arrival of new boy Tom. Tom nearly got there. He’s seventeen and a half and if it doesn’t happen by age eighteen it isn’t going to happen. The other arrival, unusually is a girl, Clara, who has captured the imagination of the other inmates.
Sitting in the dining room, Toby watches as Ellory sits sniffling, unable to eat. He knows they will come for Ellory tonight.
“Angels of death who only appear in the night to collect sleeping, sick children.”
As he watches, he sees another person awake, Clara, who has also not taken the ‘vitamins’ the children are forced to take at night. His nights are no longer his own.
This quite simply, is an amazing book. Fraught with tension, poignancy, humour and a strange aura of dystopia, The Death House is the most significant YA book to be released this century. Toby is full of anger, his narrative cold, yet emotional all the same as he tries no to remember the good times, the times before. And he’s boss of Dorm 4, determined to hold onto his position of power, protector of the younger boys and role model for them too. The new arrivals are messing with his new world order, the order he has had to accept since being thrown into a van, drugged, and dragged to the house. But strangely, amidst the fear, anger and power plays, there blooms a youthful, touching romance between Toby and Clara. Night-time co-conspirators. Yet Toby doesn’t want to hope for anything because it might just fracture him.
Set amidst the death, and the children’s fear that they too, will get sick, are delightfully innocent moments, such as when the group plays ‘Hide n Seek’ and the brewing relationship between Toby and Clara, which offsets the inherent darkness of this novel. And the touching moments as Clara and Toby try to save the sick bird they’ve found, who they name Georgie.
This is a powerful book; emotional and frightening with a killer ending. An absolute must read.

Death’s Dark Wings announcement

March 24, 2015 - 8:25 pm 1 Comment

The following is a press release from Telos Publishing:

Deaths Dark Wings

We’re proud to announce the release date of Raven Dane’s new book, Death’s Dark Wings, a bold and visceral revisiting of the story of 1066, in a world where magic and technology clash.

Raven Dane is an award-winning fantasy author based in the UK. Her published works include the highly acclaimed Legacy of the Dark Kind series of dark fantasy/sci-fi vampire crossover novels (Blood Tears, Blood Lament and Blood Alliance).

From deep within a dark dimension beyond all that is known by the world of men, the soul of a great raven broke free, tearing through the Veil between worlds. The brutal rent in the Veil gave out a scream of warning resonating through the minds of human and Sidhe alike. The eerie sound tainted all souls, though only a few could hear it, and even fewer understood its meaning.
The raven’s cold, jet eyes took in the world of the living beneath the steady beat of its great wings. Its time was near.

Death’s Dark Wings will be released on the 3rd April and I should have review copies available for all reviewers very soon, so please let me know if you want a copy for review for your website/magazine.

Gollancz Giveaway

March 15, 2015 - 4:47 pm No Comments

Free Gollancz Books

Gollancz March Releases

Dear all, want something to read this month? Fancy some great fantasy or Science Fiction? Well, my blog is the place to go! Courtesy of Gollancz I have a selection of free paperbacks to give away this month, including one of the greatest Science Fantasy epics of all time; ‘The Book of The New Sun: Vol 1: Shadow and Claw’ by Gene Wolf. I’m also giving away two books by Nebraska author Brandon Sanderson; ‘Words of Radiance’ Book Two, parts one and two respectively. To finish off the giveaway, I’m offering ‘The Splintered Gods’ by Stephen Deas.

So, what do you have to do to get your mits on one of these fantastic epic books?

Write to me at theresa.derwin@yahoo.co.uk by 31st March and promise me an AMAZON review, then post your review, sharing it with me on FB or this blog within one month (say by 30th April).

I will select a reviewer/reader at random and post you out the book.

It doesn’t have to be War and Peace; just a few words about what you thought of the book. Alternatively, if you like writing reviews and it’s good, I’d happily post the review on my blog.

So get emailing me now!

You have to be in it to win it

Half-Off Ragnarok

March 8, 2015 - 12:22 pm No Comments

Author: Seanan McGuire
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: March 2014
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

“I voluntarily chose a profession where running toward screaming is considered a good idea.”
The third in the Incryptid series features Cryptozoologist and Ballroom Dancer Verity’s brother Alexander Price. The Price family live to protect the Cryptids of the city and Alex is normally found hunting through the swamps. He has his own Church Griffin, Crow as a pet and his assistant is a gorgon called Dee (handy when it comes to petrifying eighteen feet reptiles). The day job is as a researcher at Ohio’s West Columbus Zoo for the reptile department, but it’s easy for Alex to get distracted by the beautiful Shelby Tanner who works with the tigers. In between trying to date Shelby and examining Ohio Cryptids Alex lives with his grandparents; Angela a predatory Cuckoo and Martin a Revenant. But apart from that they’re a pretty normal family. His cuckoo cousin Sarah is still recovering from the events in the second book, Midnight Blue-Light Special. Like Verity, Alex looks after his own contingent of the Aeslin mice colony; talking, intelligent mice that help the Price family, worshipping them as gods, and undertaking duties in exchange for cake and cheese. In the meantime, Alex is concerned about the growing fricken population (feathered frogs), and the impact that would have on cryptozoology. He’s also on alert when the shoe of one of the zoo workers turns up attached to a foot – and a dead body, a body that has been petrified by an unknown cryptid. Thankfully for his assistant Dee he doesn’t believe it’s here and he’s also not a member of the Covenant, who kill Cryptids on sight and have a grudge against Alex’s family. There’s a lovely Jim Butcher/Dresden vibe to Alex’s adventures, a wry tone of voice and the acknowledgement that he’s constantly getting himself into trouble. All together this makes for a fast paced, fun, and exciting adventure. And though I missed Verity this time around we’ve been assured she’s just taking a break and will be back soon.

Supernatural: Carved in Flesh

March 8, 2015 - 12:18 pm No Comments

Author: Tim Waggoner
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date 6th June 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Sam and Dean Winchester, characters in the hit TV series Supernatural, are Hunters. Trained by their deceased Dad John Winchester, Sam and Dean travel the back roads of America chasing strange cases and deaths, battling all manner of monsters; vampires, werewolves, Wendigo, zombies, skin walkers and demons. As the series has progressed, various story arcs have developed, turning this from a ‘monster of the week’ programme into an addictive, intelligent, witty and moving series.
Set during mid-season seven, with Sam battling potential lunacy after his soul stashed in hell for a year, rejoined his body, and both brothers grieving the recent loss of Bobby whilst trying to evade the Leviathans, Carved in Flesh is set in the strongest season so far and is a cracking addition to the Supernatural canon.
The novel has the boys tracking a mutant feral dog/monster in a small town. It’s pretty much, plot wise one of the standard mid-season episodes but it’s what Waggoner does with it, that makes this novel stand out from the norm. He has completely captured the essence of Sam and Dean; the heavy weight of the last seven years encompasses them, but Dean, despite his alcohol binging and grief, is still a sarcastic wise ass and Sam is still the messed up, emotional little brother, but the heart of the duo. From the cracks Dean makes, to the research Sam does, their portrayal is spot on, to the extent I suspect Waggoner is a big Supernatural fan, or binge-watched tonnes of episodes on the Internet.
What adds to the novel’s power is the other characters within the story. In particular the memories involving Trish are emotionally resonant and the boy’s first experience hunting is prescient of their adult roles. And the plot rattles along at a good pace spiced with adventure and danger, and a Frankenstein inspired narrative.
I’ve read a number of the Supernatural spin-off novels, but this is without doubt the best so far; a truly entertaining romp laced with poignancy and darkness, despite the underlying sense of humour. If you’re hankering for more Sam and Dean during a season break, or want to hark back to season seven, you could do no better than to pick up this novel.