Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Corpse-Rat King Cover Revealed

Angry Robot just recently revealed the new cover and synopsis for what will be a debut novel from author Lee Battersby. Titled The Corpse-Rat King, when AR first made the announcement that they had signed Battersby on, without even knowing what the book was about, I was all in. With a kick ass name like The Corpse-Rat King, how can you not be?

And once again, AR has put my uneasy feelings at rest with providing Mr. Battersby with a kick ass cover (but, then again, aren't all of Angry Robot's covers pretty B.A.?). It definitely has a medieval plague meets Dante's Inferno feel to it. And why shouldn't it, especially with a synopsis like this:

Marius dos Hellespont and his apprentice, Gerd, are professional looters of battlefields. When they stumble upon the King of Scorby and Gerd is killed, Marius is mistaken for the monarch by one of the dead soldiers and is transported down to the kingdom of the dead.
Just like the living citizens, the dead need a king -- after all, the King is God's representative, and someone needs to remind God where they are.
And so it comes to pass that Marius is banished to the surface with one message: if he wants to recover his life he must find the dead a King. Which he fully intends to do.
Just as soon as he stops running away.
With a release date of August 28th, I'm sure readers could start looking a few days before that for this awesome novel to hit the shelves of their local bookstore. And around the same time look for a review of The Corpse-Rat King.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sela Book Review

Title: Sela
Author: Jackie Gamber
Publisher: Seventh Star Press
Pages: 308
ISBN: 9781937929893

Sela is the sequel to Jackie Gamber's first young adult novel Redheart, which began the Dragons of Leland series published through Seventh Star Press. From the back of the book, here's the synopsis for Sela:
Peace was fleeting. Vorham Riddess, Venur of Esra Province, covets the crystal ore buried deep in Leland's mountains. His latest device to obtain it: land by marriage to a Leland maiden. But that's not all.

Among Dragonkind, old threats haunt Mount Gore, and shadows loom in the thoughts of the Red who restored life to land and love. A dragon hunter, scarred from countless battles, discovers he can yet suffer more wounds.

In the midst of it all, Sela Redheart is lost, driven from her home with only her uncle to watch over her. As the dragon-born child of Kallon, the leader of Leland's Dragon Council, she is trapped in human form with no understanding of how she transformed, or how to turn it back.

Wanderers seek a home, schemes begin to unfurl, and all is at risk as magic and murder, magic and mystery strangle the heart of Esra. A struggle for power far older and deeper than anyone realizes will leave no dragon or human unaffected.

In a world where magic is born of feeling, where the love between a girl and a dragon was once transformative, what power dwells in the heart of young Sela?
When I first started reading Sela, one of the things that I noticed about it almost immediately: it's ability to stand alone. Although Sela is part of a series, first and foremost it's a coming of age/young adult on the cusp of finding herself story. Gamber does an incredible job in highlighting and primarily focusing on Sela's story, while progressively interweaving the themes and major plotlines of the series, as an ideal middle book should do.

I was surprised to pick up Sela and find that not a few, but several years have passed since the events in Redheart. Leaving all of the main cast from Redheart older; something that Gamber managed to write very well, and used to the stories advantage several times throughout Sela, including suppressing the characters that readers have grown to know, using them as a supportive cast for Sela.

For those that have enjoyed Redheart, the return to Leland will be a familiar one, especially for younger readers. Although I haven't read many young adult novels, Sela ranks at the top for YA novels I would recommend. The language is sparse, what magic there is is simple enough to understand, and the story is appropriate for anyone to understand. And it's all written in Gamber's remarkable, clipped and to the point prose.

 Whether you're looking for a book for your kid, grand kid or just want something interesting to read, I can't stress enough how fitting and stunning Sela is, that's why I'm giving it 9.0 out of 10 TARDIS'.

 Like I said before, Sela works well as a stand alone, but if you want to start from the beginning (my personal recommendation), start with Redheart. You won't be disappointed!