Category Archives: Angry Robot Books

James A. Moore’s New Series is Off to a Great Start

The Last Sacrifice
James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books
US/Canada Trade Paper $14.99/$18.99
UK Medium (B-format) £8.99
ebook £5.49 / US$6.99 / CAN $7.99

I really enjoyed James Moore’s previous fantasy series, Seven Forges AKA The Blasted Lands (I’ve seen it called both; individual novels in the series are reviewed here, here, here, and here).  His new series, called The Tides of War, starts with The Last Sacrifice.

The book opens with Brogan McTyre and a band of companions returning from a stint of acting as caravan guards.  Before he even gets home, Brogan is met on the road by a man bearing bad news.  Bad news and four gold coins.  The coins were left by The Undying, raiders who sweep through and take people as sacrifices to the gods.  They’ve take Brogan’s entire family. Continue reading

Promises of Copper

TheCopperPromise-144dpiThe Copper Promise
Jen Williams
Angry Robot
paperback $14.99
ebook $4.99

Wydrin and her companion, the disgraced knight Sebastian, are adventurers for hire.  When they take a contract from a nobleman who has been overthrown, they get a little more than they bargained for.  The Citadel is rumored to contain vast treasures, but no one has ever lived to find out.  They intend on being the first.  What that don’t know is that there is something imprisoned in the Citadel and imprisoned for a very good reason.  Before they’re done a whole lot of people will wish they hadn’t survived. Continue reading

The Silent Army Takes on the Gods of War

TheSilentArmy-144dpiThe Silent Army
James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books
UK Print
Date: 7th April 2016
Format: Medium (B-Format) Paperback
R.R.P.: £8.99
North American Print
Date: 3rd May 2016
Format: Small (Mass-Market) Paperback
R.R.P.: US$7.99 / CAN$9.99
Ebook
Date: 5th April 2016
Format: Epub & Mobi
R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99

The fourth volume in James A. Moore’s Seven Forges series hits shelves in the US today May 3.  [After I posted the review Angry Robot informed me the release date in the US has been moved back, so you’ve got time to get caught up on the series in need be and can preorder the book.  Meanwhile, I’m going to taunt you because I’ve been able to read this book and you have to wait.]  If you’ve been reading this blog long, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of this series.  (See reviews of the previous volumes here, here, and here.)  I’d like to thank Angry Robot Books for providing me the review copy.

The Silent Army has a lot to live up to from the previous volumes in this series.  I’m glad to say that it does.  The Fellein Empire has been losing every battle in the war with the Sa’ba Taalor.  Things are about to change.  The question is will it be enough or will they go down in defeat.

Moore pulls a few tricks out of his sleeve.  One thing about this series is that it keeps you on your toes.

I don’t want to give too much away, especially if you haven’t read the series.  (And if not, why not?  C’mon, what’s the matter with you?)  I will say this.  The silent army is awesome.  They’re stone warriors who protect the City of Wonders.  The first time one of them comes out of a wall to engage in combat, it’s one of the best, most exciting scenes in the book.

Which brings me to something I would like to point out.  At the risk of sounding like I’m sucking up, James A. Moore keeps getting better.  The cast of characters expands.  Moore juggles them with ease, giving each one some background so that they don’t all run together.

And the battle scenes, whether it’s individual combat or armies clashing, are riveting.  Plus the intrigue keeps on getting more complex.

The silent army has their work cut out for them.  They’re fighting a war against gods who are gods of war.  The Sa’ba Taalor are only the soldiers, they’re not the ones calling the shots.  What chance do stone and human armies stand against gods who can reshape the landscape and the armies that serve them?

The ending has some surprises in it.  My take on it is that The Silent Army is the end of an arc but not the end of the story.  The last few pages fairly say as much.

I don’t know if we’re going to see another volume in the Seven Forges series anytime soon or not.  I hope it won’t be long.  But if it is, or if The Silent Army wraps things up for good, it’s been a great ride with a good conclusion.

This is one is highly recommended.

War Comes to the City of Wonders

CityOfWonders-144dpiCity of Wonders
James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books

UK Print
Date: 5th November 2015
ISBN: 9780857665041
Format: Medium (B-Format) Paperback; R.R.P.: £8.99

North American Print
Date: 3rd November 2015
ISBN: 9780857665058
Format: Large (Trade) Paperback OR Small (Mass-Market) Paperback; R.R.P.: US$7.99 / CAN$9.99

Ebook
Date: 3rd November 2015
ISBN: 9780857665065
Format: Epub & Mobi; R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99

With all the fantasy on the market today, it’s hard to know who to read.  That’s why I’m here.  I aim to help in that regard.  For instance, if you’ve not been reading James A. Moore’s Seven Forges series, you’ve been missing out.  (The first novel Seven Forges is reviewed here, and the second, The Blasted Lands, is reviewed here.)  There’s time to get caught up, because the next installment, City of Wonders, is out in North America two weeks from the day I write this.

I’d like to very much thank Angry Robot Books for the review copy.  Let me sum up my reaction to the book this way:  I WANT MOAR!

Wait, what’s that?  You want details?  Well, I’ll try.  (Geez, how am I going to do this without spoilers?)  Here goes: Continue reading

Cover Reveal for James A. Moore’s City of Wonders

So here it is.  The cover for the forthcoming third volume in James A. Moore’s epic fantasy series that began with Seven Forges.  The artist is Alejandro Colucci, who did the first two covers.  Mr. Colucci was nominated for a Gemmell Award for his cover of The Blasted Lands.  Well deserved, I say.  I also think he’s outdone himself with this one.

CityOfWonders-300dpi

I’d like to thank Penny Reeve of Angry Robot Books for providing me a copy of the cover and inviting me to participate in the cover reveal.   I’d also like to thank her for providing 5 copies of the first two books (that’s 5 copies of both Seven Forges and The Blasted Lands) as a giveaway.  To get in on the goodness of this series, email me at the email address at the top of the page (keith [at] adventuresfantastic [dot] com) and tell me which book you want, Seven Forges or The Blasted Lands, and why.  (Sorry, only one title per person.)  I’ll forward the email to Angry Robot, and they’ll contact you about where to send the book.  That will be faster than Angry Robot sending me the books to mail to you.  This is, of course, first come, first served.

Here’s the cover copy:

Old Canhoon, the City of Wonders, is having a population explosion as refugees from Tyrne and Roathes alike try to escape the Sa’ba Taalor. All along the border between the Blasted Lands and the Fellein Empire armies clash and the most powerful empire in the world is pushed back toward the old Capital. From the far east the Pilgrim gathers an army of the faithful, heading for Old Canhoon.

In Old Canhoon itself the imperial family struggles against enemies old and new as the spies of their enemies begin removing threats to the gods of the Seven Forges and prepare the way for the invading armies of the Seven Kings. In the distant Taalor valley Andover Lashk continues his quest and must make a final decision, while at the Mounds, something inhuman is awakened and set free.

War is Here. Blood will flow and bodies will burn.

City of Wonders goes on sale in November.  Remember in yesterday’s post how I said I hated waiting.  That’s especially true here.

Angry Robot Sold

Angry Robot has been sold.  The publisher reports on its website that American entrepreneur Etan Ilfeld bought Angry Robot along with two other publishers, Watkins Publishing and Nourish, from “administration”.  I think that’s British for bankruptcy, but I could be wrong.

Regardless, I find this to be concerning.  Earlier this year, Angry Robot canceled their YA line (Strange Chemistry) and their mystery/crime line (Exhibit A) with little warning.  When that happened I was afraid something like this would follow.  Angry Robot has been one of the top publishers in the field IMO.  They’ve certainly published some new and innovative voices and brought a number of authors from outside the US and England to the attention of a wider readership. Their titles show much more variety than those of some of the bigger publishers.

According to Mike Underwood, Angry Robot will resume publishing in March.  I hope so, but I’m skeptical.  Things can happen.  The new owner plans to form a new media company.  I hope it works out for him.  And I especially hope it works out for the Angry Robot authors.

The Blasted Lands by James A. Moore

TheBlastedLands-144dpiThe Blasted Lands
James A. Moore
Angry Robot Books
Mass Market Paperback US$7.99 / CAN$9.99
UK Medium (B-Format) Paperback £8.99
Epub & Mobi £5.49 / US$6.99

I really liked the first volume of this series, Seven Forges. The Blasted Lands is at least as good, if not better.

In order to avoid spoilers to Seven Forges, I’m going to be a little vague on plot details since The Blasted Lands opens days after the previous book closed.

Merros Dulver finds himself General of the army of the Empire of Fellein, an army that is ill equipped to fight. The enemy they are facing, the Sa’ba Taalor may well be undefeatable. Desh Krohan has received a vision warning him that the summer capital will soon be destroyed. The new Empress doesn’t realize that as dangerous as the Sa’ba Taalor are (and make no mistake, they are very dangerous indeed), the members of her own family may be just as dangerous.

There is plenty of action and intrigue in this novel, but I suspect there will be a great deal more in the next volume. Oh, and we find out why the Sa’ba Taalor wear those veils on their faces. Talk about creepy.

Moore did something that few writers can do. He kept me interested in all the players. In most epic fantasies, the storyline will become complex, with numerous people doing different things in scattered places. I usually will become more interested in one or two sets of characters and wish the author would get one with it when I’m not reading about those few.

That wasn’t the case in this book. Moore kept my interest. I think the was he was able to do that was by not giving me every detail of every character’s back story. Rather he gave what details were necessary at that time in the story, only those details. The result was a story that moved, and moved quickly.

This is a pretty dark novel, but it didn’t feel that way. I think it was because so many of the characters, in spite of some flaws, were good people trying to do the right thing, which usually ended up with some type of heroics. They were well fleshed out, and were the types of folks you wanted to spend time with.

Which brings me to another point. The Sa’ba Taalor are a nation of warriors, which includes women warriors. There’s been a lot of noise manifestos screaming and yelling polite and reasoned discussion about the need for strong women characters in fantasy.  This has too often come to mean women fighters who are as good or better than every man in the book.  In other words, Conan with boobs.  To the exclusion of other types of women and other types of strength.

That’s not the case here.  Moore balances out his characters, both women and men, but I want to focus on how he handles women, many writers could learn a thing or two here.  There are women warriors.  There are schemers.  There are sex-pots, or at least former sex-pots.  There’s a description, brief though it is, of the wife of the commander of the City Guard which makes her sound like an interesting and unique woman.

And then there’s Dretta March, who quickly became one of my favorite characters in the book.  She never lifts a sword or any other weapon, but she’s (IMO) the toughest woman in the book.  She isn’t afraid to confront the general in charge of the Empire’s armies (that would be Merros) about how he took her husband from her and lead him to his death.  She is capable of forgiving Merros and feeding him on a regular basis and befriending him.  (There are hints that they are growing to love each other.)  And she doesn’t take any of his BS when she questions him about rumors that the city is going to be evacuated.  Rather she gives him some good advice, whether he wants it or not.

In short, she came across as a real person.  That’s the thing that makes this series such a strong one.  The characters are all individuals.  Moore’s fantasy world feels more real than many, and more real than the real world as it’s often presented in books, movies, and TV shows.

I recommend The Blasted Lands without reservation.

I’d like to thank Angry Robot for the review copy and apologize for taking so long to get to the book. Below is an excerpt.


 

Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A Cease Publication

Angry Robot Books announced earlier today that their YA imprint Strange Chemistry and their mystery imprint Exhibit A will both be ceasing publication immediately.  The announcement is here.  There was no word on what would happen to ebooks.  Hopefully they won’t disappear from your ereader.

Angry Robot also announced that they will increase their output from 2 books a month to 3.  This may be a cost saving measure in which the company moves assets from poorer performing units to strengthen its core business.  I hope it works out for them.

My sympathy is for those who have lost their jobs, especially the authors with books under contract.  If there’s a title from either Strange Chemistry or Exhibit A  you’ve had your eye on, now would be the time to pick it up.  I especially recommend the Emilie series by Martha Wells.  My review of Emilie and the Hollow World is hereEmilie and the Sky World is in the TBR pile.

Reading Plans for 2014

This post is a continuation of the thoughts expressed in the previous one.  If you haven’t read it yet, you might want to just to understand the context.  Here I’m going to discuss my reading plans for the year.  They’re going to be a bit different than they’ve been.

I don’t make resolutions, but I do believe in setting goals, whether I reach any of them or not.  I know from experience if I don’t set some sort of a goal, then I won’t get anything accomplished.  Think of this post as a series of goals, goals that are flexible and highly subject to change. Continue reading

Chuck Wendig Pulls Out All the Stops

TheCormorant-144dpiThe Cormorant
Chuck Wendig
Angry Robot Books
UK Print
Date: 2nd January 2014
ISBN: 9780857663375 Format: Medium (B-Format) Paperback
R.R.P.: £8.99
North American Print
Date: 31st December 2013
ISBN: 9780857663382 Format: Mass-Market Paperback
R.R.P.: US$7.99 / CAN$9.99
Ebook
Date: 31st December 2013
ISBN: 9780857663399 Format: Epub & Mobi
R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a fan of Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black series. (Reviewed here and here.) Frankly, I find it one of the most compulsively readable series in any genre.

Things take a darker turn in this one. That’s saying something since the whole premise of the series, the hook upon which all things are hung, is Miriam’s ability to see how anyone she touches is going to die. Until now, Miriam has mainly used her abilities to rob people at the time of their deaths.

This time she’s graduated to killer. It isn’t working out as well as she’d hoped. Granted, she’s only killed to save someone’s life, but it’s taken a toll on her psyche.

Miriam is on her own again, and she ends up in Florida, lured their by a lucrative opportunity. When she touches the man she’s about to make a deal with, she sees his murder a year later. In the vision, she sees a message the killer has left her. Continue reading