I remember that it was midmorning.
Gardening was my favorite task of the day. I’d had to fight for it, because my mother’s terraces were famous throughout the territory and she didn’t quite trust me with them. I couldn’t really blame her; my father still laughed over whatever I’d done to the laundry that one time I tried.
“Oree,” she would say, whenever I sought to prove my independence, “it’s all right to need help. All of us have things we can’t do alone.”
Gardening, however, was not one of those things. It was the weeding that my mother feared, because many of the weeds that grew in Nimaro were similar in form to her most prized herbs. Fakefern had a fan-shaped frond just like sweet ire; running may was spiky and stung the fingers, same as ocherine. But the weeds and the herbs didn’t smell anything alike, so I never understood why she had such trouble with them. On the rare occasions that both scent and feel stumped me, all I had to do was touch a leaf-edge to my lips, or brush my hand through the leaves to hear the way they settled into place, and I would know. Eventually Mama had to admit that I hadn’t tossed out a single good plant all season. I was planning to ask for my own terrace the following year.
I usually lost myself in the gardens for hours, but one morning something was different. I noticed it almost the moment I left the house: a strange, tinny flatness to the air. A pent-breath tension. By the time the storms began, I had forgotten the weeds and sat up, instinctively orienting on the sky.
And I could see.
N.K. Jemisin‘s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is one of my favourite books of the year. It was a haunting, original take on the Fantasy genre, and instantly catapulted Jemisin’s work to the top of my I-want-it-so-bad-it-hurts list.
After such an impressive debut, there’s a lot of pressure on The Broken Kingdoms to deliver on the promises of its predecessor. What intrigues me most about Jemisin’s trilogy is that each volume tells a complete story, expanding on the fallout from previous volume, and starring a new cast of characters. Very similar to Terry Brooks’ early Shannara novels, which feature some of my favourite inter-connected stories in all the genre.
And, hey, two books from a series in on year? Can’t complain about that one bit. Especially since she’s well into writing the third and final volume.
Reviews have started cropping up, and the release is just around the corner. Few authors have come around that can match the impact had on the genre by George R.R. Martin, Terry Goodkind or Robert Jordan, but Brandon Sanderson (with the marketing push behind him, his ties to Wheel of Time, the accessibility of his work, and, well, his popularity) seems poised to join them with the release of The Way of Kings, the first book in The Stormlight Archives.
Will he become the next Frank Herbert, and bathe in pools of hot women and gold dubloons? Or the next Robert Newcomb, subjugated to the lowest levels of hell for not being able to live up to the grandiose quotes plastering the covers of his novels? Only time will tell, but Sanderson seems to succeed at everything he sets out to accomplish. The ball’s certainly in his court.
Tor Books has released Chapters Twelve and Thirteen on their website, to go alongside the Prologue and Chapters One through Six, Nine and Eleven.
After the sublime The Lies of Locke Lamora, I was a little disappointed in Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies. That, however, hasn’t stopped me from salivating over The Republic of Thieves for the past few years. Now, it’s just around the corner and you can read the first chapter, courtesy Camorr.com. The prologue is also available via Lynch’s official website.
The wait until January, 2011 just got a little harder.
“Uh?” He opened one eye and the sun stabbed him directly in the brains. “Uh!” He snapped it shut again, wormed his tongue around his sore mouth. It tasted like slow death and old rot. “Uh.” He tried his other eye, just a crack, trained it on the dark shape hovering above him. It loomed closer, sun making glittering daggers down its edges.
“I hear you, damn it!” He tried to sit and the world tossed like a ship in a storm. “Gah!” He became aware he was in a hammock. He tried to rip his feet clear, got them tangled in the netting, almost tipped himself over in his efforts to get free, somehow ended up somewhere near sitting, swallowing the overwhelming urge to vomit. “First Sergeant Forest. What a delight. What time is it?”
“Past time you were working. Where did you get those boots?”
Tunny peered down, puzzled. He was wearing a pair of superbly polished black cavalry boots with gilded accoutrements. The reflection of the sun in the toes was so bright it was painful to look at. “Ah.” He grinned through the agony, some of the details of last night starting to leak from the shadowy crannies of his mind. “Won ’em . . . from an officer . . . called . . .” He squinted up into the branches of the tree his hammock was tied to. “No. It’s gone.”
Forest shook his head in amazement. “There’s still someone in the division stupid enough to play cards with you?”
“Well, this is one of the many fine things about wartime, Sergeant. Lots of folks leaving the division.” Their regiment had left two score in sick tents over the last couple of weeks alone. “That means lots of new card-players arriving, don’t it?”
“Yes it does, Tunny, yes it does.” Forest had that mocking little grin on his scarred face.
“Oh, no,” said Tunny.
“No, no, no!”
“Yes. Up you come, lads!”
It’s Joe Abercrombie, no mistake. With each new novel, Abercrombie seems to be further cementing his style, to the point that his writing is distinctive enough to be recognized even without his name attached. This excerpt should enough to either A. whet your appetite for The Heroes or B. make you into a slavery, bloodthirsty fool who can’t wait until the initial release of the novel. I won’t tell you which category I fall in.
Head on over the the Orion Books/Gollancz Blog for the full excerpt from The Heroes.
As the release of Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings draws near, publisher Tor Books continues to release tantalizing glimpses at the novel. To go along with the Prologue through Chapter Six, Tor has just released Chapters Nine and Eleven (along with some great interior artwork) to members of their website. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s free, only takes a moment, and is absolutely worth doing.