Via the Barnes & Noble Sci Fi & Fantasy Blog, Angry Robot Books and Kameron Hurley revealed the cover art for Empire Ascendant, the sequel to 2014’s The Mirror Empire, and one of my most anticipated novels of the year. As is typical for Angry Robot and artist Richard Anderson (responsible for many great recent covers, including “The Builders” by Daniel Polansky, The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley, and Time Salvager by Wesley Chu), it’s absolutely gorgeous.
“I was floored when I got the sketch for the cover of Empire Ascendant, and blown away by the final version,” Hurley told Joel Cunningham of the Barnes & Noble Sci Fi & Fantasy Blog. “It’s an extraordinary piece of art that perfectly captures the high stakes of the book and its key characters.”
“[I wanted] to contrast the massive, cold, army invading, with the calmness and strength of the two main characters at the table,” Anderson added.
About the Book
Loyalties are tested when worlds collide…
Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the sky, bringing with it a tide of death and destruction. And those who survive must contend with friends and enemies newly imbued with violent powers. The kingdom of Saiduan already lies in ruin, decimated by invaders from another world who share the faces of those they seek to destroy.
Now the nation of Dhai is under siege by the same force. Their only hope for survival lies in the hands of an illegitimate ruler and a scullery maid with a powerful – but unpredictable –magic. As the foreign Empire spreads across the world like a disease, one of their former allies takes up her Empress’s sword again to unseat them, and two enslaved scholars begin a treacherous journey home with a long-lost secret that they hope is the key to the Empire’s undoing.
But when the enemy shares your own face, who can be trusted?
The Mirror Empire was one of my favourite novels of 2014, and, no pressure, I expect the sequel to continue Hurley’s trend of pushing the boundaries of epic fantasy. Empire Ascendant will hit shelves on October 6, 2015 and is available now for pre-order.
Yesterday, via CBC Books, Guy Gavriel Kay revealed new details about his upcoming novel, The Children of Earth and Sky, including its setting. Kay has a penchant to explore human history while building his fantasy worlds, delving deep into our planets’ myriad cultures and histories, and turning the stories we know slightly towards the fantastic. Fans always have fun speculating, so where’s The Children of Earth and Sky drawing inspiration from? The Mediterranean regions of Europe during the Renaissance.
“In The Children of Earth and Sky Kay returns to the familiar territory established in several earlier works,” said Oliver Johnson of Hodder & Stoughton, the novel’s UK publisher. “[It’s] a reimagining of the melting pot of the medieval Mediterranean. In his hands well-known places and events are transformed into the wonderful and strange through the lens of fantasy, and brought to life with brilliantly drawn characters and the most graceful of styles, which will seduce his many fans and new readers alike.” Read More »
Yesterday, Orbit Books announced Shades in Shadow a collection of three short stories from N.K. Jemisin. Each of the three stories in the collection is set in the same world as Jemisin’s Hugo Award-nominated Inheritance Trilogy.
From the shadows of the greater stories, away from the bright light of Sky and wending ’round the sagas of the Arameri, come three quieter tales. A newborn god with an old, old soul struggles to find a reason to live. A powerful demon searches for her father, and answers. And in a prequel to the Inheritance Trilogy, a newly-enslaved Nahadoth forges a dark alliance with a mortal, for survival… and revenge.
The fantasy world can never have too many stories from Jemisin, who’s one of the brightest and most talented writers in the genre, and returning to the world of the Inheritance trilogy is just icing on the cake. Can’t wait to get my hands on this.
I adore this cover. For being bold, and putting focus on what makes the character interesting (his wings), rather than trying to create a clear image of the character himself. Lovely, simple typography (including the stylized R), and Arnold’s soft, impressionistic style are perfect for bringing together a cover you just can’t ignore.
“Skyborn is about the Seraphim, an elite military force protecting a floating island of Weshern,” said Kirk Benshoff, Art Director at Orbit Books. “The Seraphim guard the remnants of mankind, defying gravity using ancient wings and mastering powerful elements to wage war in the skies.” Starring militarized sword-wielding soldiers with huge metal wings, Skyborn begs for a cover that shows off Daglish’s unique denizens of Weshern. Artist Tommy Arnold was the perfect fit, says Benshoff.
“In what I would call serendipitous timing, the work of Tommy Arnold came across my desk as we were discussing the covers,” he said. “His style just hit the nail on the head for this project. His ability to illustrate characters was spot on. He could also handle textures beautifully: fabrics, metals, flames, etc. And most importantly, his illustrations really pull the viewer in and engage you. It was a no brainer in reaching out to get Tommy on board.”
This book just landed pretty high atop my fall “to-read” pile. Skyborn will be released by Orbit Books in November, 2015.
Today, Gollancz revealed the cover art for the UK edition of Bradley P. Beaulieu’s Twelve Kings, the first volume of the Songs of the Shattered Sands trilogy. I had a chance to read some early drafts of the novel, and readers are in for a treat. I also had the opportunity to see a few early sketches of this cover, and it’s fun to see Gollancz take a lot of the early feedback and create a cover with a lot of impact. I’m particularly impressed by the way they’ve focused on Ceda, the novel’s protagonist, making her identifiably badass and female (without over-sexualizing her, or falling back on the usual cover tropes applied to female characters.) It’s a nice compliment to the US cover.
Note, the title of the novel in the UK is Twelve Kings, versus the US title, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai. They both have their strengths, but I think I prefer the US version. There’s something about made-up fantasy names that resonates with the 16 year old in me.