Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear

Publisher: Tor Books - Pages: 432 - Buy: Book/eBook
Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear

Steles of the Sky, like its two preceding volumes in Elizabeth Bear’s outstanding Eternal Sky trilogy, proves that room remains in fantasy for fresh ideas, unique world-building, hearty characterization and high-stakes magic and warfare. Bear’s trilogy pushes the genre forward, challenging her contemporaries to write tighter, more inclusive and creative fantasy, while also paying homage to many of the genre’s oldest roots.

Bear fills Steles of the Sky, and the entire trilogy, with a masterfully crafted meld of Asian and Middle Eastern mythology, legend and history with the wholly unique and deeply considered secondary world she has created. Shedding the tried and true landscapes and politics of faux-medieval western Europe, Bear introduces readers to a diverse world and political landscape that avoids feeling like the same ol’, same ol’, despite readers a story that uses many of the genre’s most recognizable tropes—ancient magic; an exiled youth of royal blood; a journey from one side of the map to the other; evil sorcerers; dragons; clashing armies. Read More »

Rising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie DillonRising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie DillonRising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie DillonRising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie Dillon

When Kate Elliott, author of The Spiritwalker Trilogy, approached me about the idea of debuting artwork from Julie Dillon, who’s just about the greatest thing going in fantasy and science fiction art at the moment, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. For all of genre’s current obsession on gritty-grimdark-[insert buzzword here], Dillon is a shining beacon of colour, imagination and diversity among the drab, grey-cloaked and tired masses.

Last week, I gave a sneak peek of the art on A Dribble of Ink’s new Tumblr page (check it out, yo.), and today I’m proud to debut “Rising from the Sea of Smoke,” artwork by Julie Dillon, inspired and commissioned by Kate Elliott. Read More »

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

In a post-Wheel of Time world, Brandon Sanderson is king. Hot off the heels of A Memory of Light, the final volume of Robert Jordan’s long-running series, Tor turned to Sanderson to fill the huge, gaping void left behind. Jordan’s are big shoes to fill, but Sanderson already proved his gumption, and cemented his place as Tor’s successor to Jordan, by completing the Wheel of Time to much critical success after Jordan’s passing in 2007. Words of Radiance the second volume in Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archives is set for release on March 4th, 2014, and promises to be one of the biggest (literally, critically and commercially) fantasy releases of the year.

Tor.com reveals what Stormlight fans have to look forward to with the upcoming sequel to The Way of Kings:

In The Way of Kings, we were introduced to the remarkable world of Roshar, a land both alien and magical. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic Parshendi, who have been at war with each other for five years. The war has revealed the worst of humanity to Dalinar Kholin, a powerful general, and Kaladin Stormblessed, a troubled slave. But there is more at stake in this conflict than the fate of the peoples involved. As Jasnah Kholin and her ward Shallan Davar discover, their entire world is rushing towards a cataclysm, one that only a long-lost order called the Knights Radiant could possibly prepare them for.

In Words of Radiance these stories will intertwine and develop in thrilling and unexpected directions. The war with the Parshendi will move into a new, dangerous phase, as Dalinar leads the human armies deep into the heart of the Shattered Plains in a bold attempt to finally end it. Shallan is set on finding the legendary and perhaps mythical city of Urithiru, which Jasnah believes holds a secret vital to mankind’s survival on Roshar. Kaladin struggles to wear the mantle of the Windrunners as his old demons resurface. And the threat of the Voidbringers’ return hangs over them all.

Additionally, Tor.com has published the prologue and first two chapters of Words of Radiance for eager fans to read, read again, devour, and analyze. March 4th can’t come soon enough, can it?

Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

Publisher: Doubleday - Pages: 384 - Buy: Book/eBook
Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

Full of Pratchett’s trademark wit and humor, Raising Steam is a tour de force of comedic fantasy and proves that despite recent health issues and uncertainty about his future as a novelist, Terry Pratchett is still a wordsmith and storyteller at the top of his game.

Steam power has come to Discworld and caught in the middle of it all is the irascible (but oh-so-lovable) Moist von Lipwig, the golden-tongued swindler and conman. As if running the Royal Mint, Royal Bank and Post Office of Ankh-Morpork wasn’t enough, Moist is quickly thrown to the wolves after being named (err… forced) by Lord Venitari to the role of civil representative for the new railway system as it spreads its tendrils through Discworld, maneuvering between mountains of trouble (literal, figurative and, well, always enormous) at every turn.

Moist von Lipwig, who should be recognizable to Discworld fans for his appearance in some of Pratchett’s most loved novels, returns to the Ankh-Morpork’s spotlight after being handed the responsibility of handling the next great invention on Discworld: the steam engine. As expected, hilarity and much fuss ensues, leaving Moist to navigate the politics and fast-moving (no pun intended) world of steam-powered locomotion. Add to this a civil war among the dwarfs, who are none-too-fond of the new-fangled railway, and you’ve got a story that’s chockfull of amusing misadventures, hair raising escapes and, as Pratchett fans will expect, a few genuinely tender and perceptive moments, too. Read More »

the-desolation-of-tolkien

Lightning in a Bottle, an unfilmable story.

Last year, after a decade of speculation, failed starts and mountains of expectation, Peter Jackson released The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first in a trilogy of films adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel, The Hobbit, for the big screen. Following in the footsteps of its bigger brother, Jackson’s adaptation of Lord of the Rings, a modern film classic in its own right, The Hobbit was almost destined to disappoint. With his first trilogy, Jackson captured lightning in a bottle. He took the movie industry by storm, and revitalized mainstream excitement for fantasy to a level not seen since the ’80s. He did so, somehow, by executing an enormous passion project that seemed almost impossible under the circumstances: no major stars, a production and special effects company that no one had heard of, a story deemed unfilmable by many fans, and a film industry that had not seen anything of its scale since Lucas’ Star Wars (which, in itself, faced many challenges and doubters before it found success.)

When Jackson first approached New Line Cinema, he pitched them on an adaptation of The Hobbit, with a two-film adaptation of Lord of the Rings to follow. As these things go, film rights to The Hobbit were split between two companies (which would again later impede production of The Hobbit trilogy we know today), while Lord of the Rings was entirely under the umbrella of New Line Cinema’s owner, Saul Zaentz. Jackson, a relative unknown in the world of big budget Hollywood films, was given the reigns to one of the most revered entertainment properties in the world. Read More »