Category Archives: Jo Spurrier

A Review of Jo Spurrier’s Second Novel, in Which I Taunt You Again

Black Sun Light my WayBlack Sun Light My Way
Jo Spurrier
Harper Voyager
trade paper, 473 p., $29 AU

The “you” in the title doesn’t refer to Ms. Spurrier. Rather it’s to all you readers in the US. I’m taunting you because I got to read this book and you don’t. This is NOT a good thing. (More of this later.)  The novel, however, is quite good.

Some of you may be wondering how I got to read it.  Would you believe I had my agents scouring the globe…No.  Okay, would you believe I have a coworker from Australia who had his wife pick up a copy for me while she was home on a visit?  I’d like to thank Dr. and Mrs. Maurice Clark for getting the book for me.  See, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

This trade paperback cost me more than a hardcover would here in the US (and I didn’t have to pay shipping), but it was worth it.  I liked the first book in this series, Winter Be My Shield, very much.  Black Sun Light My Way is even better. Continue reading

A Review of Winter Be My Shield

Winter Be My ShieldWinter Be my Shield
Jo Spurrier
Harper Voyager

This is going to be a review of one of the best books you probably won’t be able to read (at least if you live in the US) by an author you’ve probably not heard of. The reason is that the book is by an Australian writer and published by an Australian publisher. At the moment it hasn’t been published in the US. Hopefully that will change, but the vagaries of publishing aren’t rational.

Winter Be my Shield is the debut novel by Jo Spurrier.  (I love that title.)  Aside from a tendency in the first 50 pages to give infodumps, you can’t tell it’s a first novel. I found this novel to be a fresh, original, and dark read. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

The story is set in the land of Ricalan, which has been settled by the kingdom of Mesentreia. Ricalan was inhabited before the settlers arrived, and there’s quite a bit of tension. At the moment, Ricalani and Mesentreians have a common enemy. They’re being invaded from the west by the Akharian Empire. The Empire has an economy built on slavery, and to keep it running they need a fresh supply of slaves.

The story revolves around Sierra, a Ricalani who is a mage. A century before, a Ricalani queen destroyed all the mages as revenge for her daughter’s death in a mage war. Since then, mages have been feared and hated, none more so than those of Sierra’s ability. She draws her power from the suffering of others. There’s a death sentence hanging over her head just because she exists. Continue reading