Posts Tagged: Fantasy

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

I wasn’t too impressed with the cover for Words of Radiance, the second volume in Brandon Sanderson’s mega-series, The Stormlight Archive. Despite being a big Michael Whelan fan, the cover felt phoned in, like it had gone through the ringer with the most vanilla focus groups ever.

I was doubly disappointed when the book released with a gorgeous painting from Whelan featuring Shallan, who features most prominently in the novel. Even the usually hyper-masculine /r/fantasy sub-reddit agreed. Why wasn’t that the cover? Sanderson answered that question today on Reddit’s /r/fantasy sub-forum: it wasn’t created until the cover was finished.

“Michael Whelan, the artist, is one of the few in the business who likes to read every book he does a cover for, if possible,” Sanderson explained. “In this case, he had to start working on the illustration before the book was actually done. So I sent him a description of the ending sequence, and he started sketching out the scene that eventually became the cover.” Read More »

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As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Poppy Drayton has landed the role of Amberle Elessedil in MTV’s adaptation of Terry Brooks’ The Elfstones of Shannara. Amberle is an elvish princess in exile after refusing her duties as a Chosen, caretakers of the mystical Ellcrys tree. Her past catches up to her, however, when she is swept away with young Wil Ohmsford on a quest to save the Elvish people from a demonic threat.

I’ve no real objections to Drayton’s casting, though my one bit of exposure to her, Downton Abbey, left me a lukewarm. The Elfstones of Shannara is a novel that relies heavily on the relationships between its myriad characters, and finding other actors that fit well alongside Drayton, and create a natural camaraderie and chemistry with her will be very important.

Like all Shannara fans, I’m most eager/interested/terrified to see who MTV chooses to cast as the looming Druid, Allanon.

Entertainment Weekly also reports that, “Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) will direct the first two episodes. He’ll also executive produce the series alongside Gough, Millar, Brooks, Dan Farah, and Jon Favreau (Iron Man).”

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The first season of the Game of Thrones adaptation will take place in parallel with events that occur near the end of the television show’s third season and the beginning of its fifth season, and the plot will revolve around the Forresters, vassals of House Glover of Deepwood Motte, and their seat in Ironrath.

The Forresters are a minor house in Martin’s series, only mentioned briefly in A Dance with Dragons, according to Adam Whitehead. He also points out that Telltale’s adaptation is based on the television show, and not directly on Martin’s novels, so events in the game will not influence or necessarily be influenced by Martin’s future novels. The first episode, called “Iron from Ice, after the Forresters’ words, will be released sometime before the end of the year.

Despite its impending release, there are no official screenshots, though those below recently leaked via Twitter user @Lifelower, and give us a first glance at Telltale’s take on Martin’s popular universe.

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For being a minor house, the Forresters certainly role with a who’s who list of Westeros celebrities if the leaked screenshots are anything to go by, including Tyrion and Cersei Lannister, and Margaery Tyrell. Whitehead speculates that the plot of the series’ five episodes appears “to revolve around both the Forresters’ involvement in the War of the Five Kings (presumably in which they support Robb Stark) and their rivalry with House Whitehill.”

The Game of Thrones videogame will be available on PC and all major home consoles when it’s released later this year.

Price of Valor Red

In the wake of the King’s death, war has come to Vordan.

The Deputies-General has precarious control of the city, but it is led by a zealot who sees traitors in every shadow. Executions have become a grim public spectacle. The new queen, Raesinia Orboan, finds herself nearly powerless as the government tightens its grip and assassins threaten her life. But she did not help free the country from one sort of tyranny to see it fall into another. Placing her trust with the steadfast soldier Marcus D’Ivoire, she sets out to turn the tide of history.

As the hidden hand of the Sworn Church brings all the powers of the continent to war against Vordan, the enigmatic and brilliant general Janus bet Vhalnich offers a path to victory. Winter Ihernglass, newly promoted to command a regiment, has reunited with her lover and her friends, only to face the prospect of leading them into bloody battle.

And the enemy is not just armed with muskets and cannon. Dark priests of an ancient order, wielding forbidden magic, have infiltrated Vordan to stop Janus by whatever means necessary…

Price of Valor is the third volume of Wexler’s Shadow Campaigns series, which has been popular among readers and critics alike. Reminiscent of the Orbit Books’ covers for Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage series, the covers of all three novels embrace the themes of colonialism that run through Wexler’s series.

As a proper English-speaking blogger, I am, of course, upset that they forgot the ‘U’ in the word ‘Valour,’ but I shall let it slide, forgiving the transgression as a result of the overall Ammmmuuurrriccaaannnaaaa design of the cover. And so, as a cold-blooded Canadian, I’d have much preferred to see the Eagle on the flag replaced with a piece of bacon, the sabre with a wood axe, and the military uniform tossed aside in favour of a nice Canadian Tuxedo. ‘Cause, hey, there can never be enough Canadiana in the world, right?

The cover art for The Price of Valor is by Paul Youll.

Price of Valor is coming from Roc Books in July, 2015.

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It’s not often that an independent new science fiction and fantasy magazine coalesces with as much enthusiasm and pedigree as Lynne and Michael Damian Thomas’ Uncanny, which debuted its first issue this past Monday, featuring content from some of genre’s best names, such as Neil Gaiman, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Christopher Barzak, and Amal El-Mohtar.

I caught up with the Thomases to chat about Uncanny, their successful Kickstarter Campaign, and launching a magazine into competitive field of online science fiction and fantasy magazines.

Uncanny launched via a very successful Kickstarter campaign, buoyed in part by Lynne and Michael’s previous successes, and also by a science fiction and fantasy community hungry for a new online magazine that focuses on the vast diversity and endless opportunities possible in speculative fiction. This early success gave Uncanny a leg up over similar magazines that have to start building an audience from scratch. “It gives Uncanny the ability to provide a whole year’s worth of the best fiction, poetry, and nonfiction we can find,” Michael said. “Over 1,000 people believed in us enough to fund this project. We owe it to them to make it the best possible magazine that we can. We have a lot of goodwill right now; it’s time to deliver.” Read More »