Speculative Fiction Reviews, Interviews, Art and Whatever Else!
Ashley Capes is an up and coming Australian author of many publications, and has now joined up with Snapping Turtle Books to release his spanking new Fantasy novel City of Masks, the first of the Bone Mask Trilogy. He decided to put up with my crazy to do this interview for Book Frivolity, and here be the resulting insanities…
Kristy: So lets get straight into the meaty bits and talk City of Masks! The first thing the reader will notice, is that the book has a very Hitchcock-ian ‘The Wrong Man’ feel about it. What made you decide to use ‘a wronged man’ as one of you main points of view? Is it a challenge to write a character that is limited in his actions due to fear of recognition?
Ashley: I think I was attracted to the idea because it’s a classic approach but also because it allows me to hold some things back from the reader and character at the same time. Both Notch and the reader are learning the truth behind the mysteries together – when I read about a character who is trying to put everything together, I tend to become more engaged with them, it’s fun :)
And yes! There were some challenges I hadn’t foreseen – one was forcing myself to remember that Notch has to remain in disguise or at least be discreet for much of the book. It also limited how direct he could be, now and then, which even drove the plot a few times – but it was also fun to put those limits on him and watch how he handled it.
Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Angry Robot Books.
Narrative: First Person
Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.
There are a lot (ALOT) of YA fairytale re-imaginings out there at the moment, and I’ll be honest, as much as I love the fairytale feel, reading the same storyline repeatedly is getting a little snore. So, whilst suffering my ‘reboot fatigue’, The Malediction Trilogy is hitting the ground running in my little world. All the fairytale feel, with a totally fresh and original story line!
Hidden Huntress is the second instalment in Malediction, in which we see our gorgeous Troll/Witch couple separated and in their own worlds: Cécile is in Trianon singing her Songbird heart out whilst looking for a way to break Trollus’ curse, whilst Tristan is still stuck underground, shackled and tortured for being a traitor, and generally despised by all those who were once allies. A fairly ominous start, but things can only get better, right? right?!
July is fast and furious for Fantasy this year!
So, here are 10 books I have either already had the chance to peruse and recommend, or books I am looking forward to checking out in the future*!
This is only a small portion of this month's releases; I was just worried more than 10 recommendations would be too dazzling to the eyes.. I don't want to blind anybody with all the brilliance..
Start adding them to your wishlust now!
(Click on the titles for information on the books! Includes: synopsis, publication date, publisher and where you can buy it! )
*I have yet to have the joy of meeting Half a War by Joe Abercrombie and Shades in Shadow by N.K. Jemisin. However, based on previous experience, I am ready to place bets on them being awesome. I'm currently being delighted by The Price of Valour by Django Wexler.
My giddy aunt! Now THIS is what I call epic fantasy. Encompassing the word epic in every way possible. Imagine The Belgariad, The Lord of the Rings and The Farseer Trilogy meshed into one and you have Malice.
Yes, it is based around old genre stereotypes and it does feel familiar in places, but it has character coming out of it’s every fibre. I am quite happy to admit, the feeling of my old comfy shoes fit me quite well and damn it if I am going to pretend I didn’t enjoy every step!
This sums up exactly how I feel about Fantasy and it's genres, but Morgan makes it sound better than I ever could!
Image Source: The Internet, Google, Pinterest
A missing God. A library with the secrets to the universe. A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.
Narrative: Third person, Past tense.
Ok, I’ll admit when I first started ‘The Library at Mount Char’ there was a scribble in my notes that said “I don’t think I’m stoned enough to understand this..” which pretty much translates to “I have no idea how to bend my mind around everything going on here”.
It’s true, when you first start the book there is a sense of being abandoned and thrown head first into this oddity. However, whilst you sit and scratch your head thinking that Hawkins may be slightly off his rocker, the cogs start to turn, all the notches start to click into their grooves, and the true enormity of the book’s concept begins to bleed into the narrative. At some stage you will have stopped scratching and begun to flip pages at the rate of knots.
Sadly, someone has leaked a copy of the Lyre Thief online. It could only have come from a beta reader, so I won't be offering that opportunity to anyone again. Ever.
I hope whoever leaked it got something out of it, because they won't be getting any more previews from me. As I don't know the identity of the culprit, I must assume the worst about all the beta readers. Sorry to those who are innocent, but unless someone 'fesses up, you are all tarred with the same brush.
I don't often get on my soapbox, it's just too high to climb up on, but I am getting on it now!
This made me so angry, I actually had to take a few days to simmer down before writing about it, so I didn't rant like a lunatic.
As a beta reader, this post horrified me. The trust given between beta reader and author should be held sacrosanct. The author is trusting you to not only to read and report on their work honestly, but to also keep your damn mouth shut about what you have read.
Not only did this beta reader violate that trust, they also mutilated any trust Fallon has for ALL beta readers.
Authors work for months on their manuscripts, and by leaking an unpublished manuscript not only do you a) potentially minimise the likelihood of gaining a contract, and therefore earnings for those hard months of work, you also b) potentially negate any future earnings the publication may accrue.
It's kind of like your boss saying: so, I've decided to take back the last 6 months of your pay, and I won't be paying you in the future. Thanks for all your hard work though.
Now, TOR (Fallon's publisher) is trying to seek out the beta reader in question to take legal action against them, which is great. I applaud them for standing up for their authors. But, what are the real chances of finding them? And when they do, will the action be successful? As they say, you can't draw blood from a stone, and if they find a stone, well it isn't going to proffer any blood is it.
Many authors now require beta readers to sign an NDA, which is I think a really smart action to take. But, the internet is the internet, if you get my drift, and I wonder if it is enough to shield authors from anonymous postings of their work. If you can't find the culprit, you can't take action against them.
Apart from all of the legal stuff, this is about trust. Betraying somebody, that gave you the opportunity to pre-read their work, and participate in building it up is such a low act. When I first saw the post I felt sickened, and a sense of such guilt that somebody that calls themselves a beta reader, as I do, could be so callous and unrepentant.
Most of all, I feel so incredibly sorry that Jennifer Fallon has to endure not only the ramifications of such a betrayal, but the heartache of being betrayed.
*gets off soapbox*
So, I received this ARC about a month ago from John Gwynne's publicist (kind lady indeed!) and I'm finally getting a chance to dig in!
July & August are bat shit crazy in Fantasy land, (so many books being released!!) but I have a very soft spot for The Faithful and The Fallen series, so I've sneakily pushed this forward on the ole reading list, as it is being released in a week and a bit! And it's almost 700 pages to get through!!
I am envisioning Marquis (POV character) something like this in my head atm.
A fantastic second book in a seires that is turning out to be damned fine indeedy! I can't wait to devour more of the Codex Alera books..
“The Ally is there, but only ever as a shadow, unexplained catastrophe or murder committed at the behest of a dark vengeful spirit. Sorting truth from myth is often a fruitless task."