I'm back! This is my first WIR since last January. Did you miss me? I have been reading debuts and they get full reviews and I have been a bit slow at reading other books. Although I am back now with the books I have read in between debuts. Let's get to it. What did I read?
I received Kelley Armstrong's novella Lost Soulsfrom the publisher via NetGalley a few weeks go. This story is set in the world of the author's Cainsville series with Gabriel on the case to debunk a popular urban legend of a girl in a white dress hitchhiking on a quiet back road. Gabriel is a lawyer and wants to solve the case but his investigator (and love interest?) Olivia is out of town. Determined the solve the mystery Gabriel has to face his past in order to find the clues that leads him to the woman in white.
I haven't read any of the book from the Cainsville series but I still enjoyed this novella. The story was told through POVs from two of series' characters - Gabriel and the supernatural Patrick. Through their inner dialogue we get to learn both about the opposite character but also about the background characters such as Olivia and her boyfriend Ricky. I really enjoyed how the urban legend played out and thought it had just the right amount of creepy....just like a good urban legend. Fans of this series need to check out Lost Souls.
Another book I received from NetGalley was The Turn by Kim Harrison. This is the prequel to The Hollows series and set in the late 60's. Trisk is a woman and dark elf trying to make a name for herself in a male, light elf dominated world. When her genetically modified tomato gets hacked and becomes the carrier for a virus that kills off hundreds of thousand humans Trisk is left on the run in order to save herself, her race and humanity.
I really liked The Hollows series with Rachel, Ivy and the caustically funny fairy Jenks. I am not sure what I was expected with The Turn but I really struggled to finish it. Many of the characters were back as their younger selves but almost unrecognisable. Trent was particularly loathsome. I kept trying to find out if it was the same Trent from the original series as I couldn't believe how horrid he was and wondered how he could actually become Rachel's love interest 30-40 years later. I think that Harrison spent too much time building up the conditions to have the virus released via tomatoes and could have spent more time after the tomato induced apocalypse. For big fans of the Hollows series I wouldn't be in a rush to read this one. If you haven't read any of the series then maybe start with The Turnwhich will make the other books all that much better.
That is it for me this week. Fingers crossed with more for me to tell you about next week.
A Cainsville Novella
Subterranean Press, December 15, 2016
eBook, 192 pages
Subterranean Press, March 31, 2017
Hardcover, 192 pages
Cover by Xaviere Daumarie
The disappearing hitchhiker is one of the hoariest urban legends, and no one knows that better than Gabriel Walsh, a lawyer who grew up on folklore and myth. When author of books on the supernatural Patrick brings Gabriel a case of a hitchhiking woman in white who vanished on a country road after accepting a ride from a businessman, Gabriel knows the Cainsville elder is just trying to wheedle into his good graces. But Gabriel is a man in need of a mystery, one that will get him back into someone else’s good graces. His investigator, Olivia Taylor-Jones, has blown town supposedly on a simple vacation. But when she left there was a rift between them and…he misses her.
Gabriel is well aware the only thing Olivia loves more than a good mystery is a weird one, and this hitchhiker case more than fits the bill. As Gabriel digs into the story, he’s forced to face ghosts of his own and admit that the woman in white isn’t the only one who has lost her way.
With Lost Souls, New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong weaves an unmissable novella-length tale connected to her fan-favorite Cainsville series.
The Hollows Begins with Death
Gallery Books, February 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison returns to her beloved Hollows series with The Turn, the official prequel to the series that will introduce you to a whole new side of Rachel Morgan's world as they've never seen it before!
Can science save us when all else fails?
Trisk and her hated rival, Kal, have the same goal: save their species from extinction.
But death comes in the guise of hope when a genetically modified tomato created to feed the world combines with the government's new tactical virus, giving it an unexpected host and a mode of transport. Plague rises, giving the paranormal species the choice to stay hidden and allow humanity to die, or to show themselves in a bid to save them.
Under accusations of scientific misconduct, Trisk and Kal flee across a plague-torn United States to convince leaders of the major paranormal species to save their supposedly weaker kin, but not everyone thinks humanity should be saved, and Trisk fights the prejudices of two societies to prove that not only does humanity have something to offer, but that long-accepted beliefs against women, dark magic, and humanity itself can turn to understanding; that when people are at their worst that the best show their true strength, and that love can hold the world together as a new balance is found.
Please welcome Arianne 'Tex' Thompson back to The Qwillery!
TQ: Welcome back to The Qwillery. Your newest novel, Dreams of the Eaten (Children of the Drought 3), was published on December 26, 2016. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote One Night in Sixes (Children of the Drought 1) to Dreams of the Eaten?
Tex: I’m so glad to be back! And I would really like to tell you that I’ve become a much more stable, productive writer since my first book came out. Unfortunately, here in one handy visual chart was my word-count progress on Dreams of the Eaten. (It was due on October 21st).
As you can see, my process is apparently an exponential growth-curve of procrastination and deadline panic. Remember, kids: the only minute that counts is the last one!
TQ: What do you wish that you knew about book publishing when One Night in Sixes came out that you know now?
Tex: You know, I cannot think of a single “overnight success” who has not been writing, publishing, and working in the community for at least a decade. Not even the so-called debut authors. It’s really easy not to realize that when all you see is their giant award-winning bestseller splashed everywhere you look. If I had, I would have stopped comparing myself to them a long time ago, and saved myself a lot of unproductive angst.
TQ: Tell us something about Dreams of the Eaten that is not found in the book description.
Tex: Y’know, when you’re trying to wrap up a trilogy and make it sound properly epic, all the packaging has to talk up the world-ending cataclysm. You don’t get to say, “by the way, there’s some funny stuff in here too. It isn’t all doom and gloom.” I wish the fantasy market in general was more tolerant of that kind of thing: I feel like we’re at our best (authors, publishers, and readers alike) when we don’t let the genre disappear up itself.
TQ: Which character in the Children of the Drought series surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?
Tex: This is an odd thing to admit, but my principal female character was the hardest one to write. Whenever I’m out in public, I’m usually operating half a dozen layers of empathy, situational awareness, and self-analysis, and it feels REALLY good to turn off one or two of those to write or roleplay a character, usually male, who doesn’t depend on them to navigate their world. Día is hard for me to write because she has to be even more vigilant and thoughtful than I am: as an outsider, a woman alone, and a visible minority, she has to walk through the world more carefully than I ever have. As it turns out, turning off a couple of your own mind-layers is easy – but adding temporary ones is tricky, intricate business.
TQ: Please tell us about your fabulous covers!
Tex: Oh, what covers they are! That is the work of the brilliant Tomasz Jedruszek, a professional artist from Poland whom Solaris commissioned to paint the covers for this series. I was very happy to be able to ask him for certain images and scenes, and happier still that they did not turn out exactly how I’d pictured them. For example, the town of Sixes is a mishmash of adobe buildings built over an old military fort – but what’s on the cover of One Night in Sixes looks more like a medieval European village.
That juxtaposition of old-world architecture with new-world landscapes and figures is a huge part of the cover’s appeal, I think, and perfectly reflects the idea of a ‘patchwork’ fantasyland. I love it, and am so lucky to have Tomasz’s beautiful work on my books!
TQ: Why have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in the Children of the Drought series?
Tex: Honestly, sticking my sheltered nose into a political anthill was the last thing I wanted to do with my first novels - but I just couldn’t avoid it. The minute I chose to write a historical American setting, considering race and colonialism and identity became a moral mandate: to include people who have been misrepresented or left out, to build the fantasy world in a way that reflects the struggles of the real one, and (most importantly) to give the characters in that world access to the better future that we’re trying to create right now. I am the least-qualified person to judge how successful I’ve been in that effort, but it would have been tremendously irresponsible not to try.
TQ: Which question about Dreams of the Eaten do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!
Tex: “Tex, did a fan really actually make this incredible handmade doll version of your main character and make you cry when she surprised you with it at your launch party?”
Yes. Her name is MaryLou Condike, and yes. Yes, she did.
TQ: Please give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Dreams of the Eaten.
Tex: Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Tolkien, it’s that you can’t finish a fantasy trilogy without someone climbing a mountain. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from hiking the Sandias in Albuquerque for research, it’s that that is WAY harder than the hobbits make it look.
Elim had never had much of an opinion about mountains. He could approve of them on principle, in much the same way as he would lend his endorsement to petticoats, libraries, and the moon.
That was before he’d tried to climb one.
Now, he’d decided, mountains were awful – just the most horrible, hateful, unnatural piles of shameless man-eating lies. And about the only thing worse than the rocks – the ones in his shoes, the ones in his path, the ones hanging down overhead waiting to crush him like a lizard under a dropped brick – was the nauseating drop mere inches from his feet, the yawning abyss of scrubby red earth just waiting for him to put a foot wrong, just waiting to receive his broken body like a window-pane whacked by a cross-eyed idiot pigeon.
“Hell,” he swore as he inched past. “I was tired of living anyway.”
TQ: What's next?
Tex: I don’t get a chance to mention it much, but I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett for all kinds of reasons, especially his Discworld publishing model: one big sandbox with multiple sets of characters, and lots of entry-points into the world and the series. I would like to do something similar: put these characters down for awhile and pick up a new set in some other corner of Droughtworld, for even more rural fantasy adventures. Stay tuned!
TQ: Thank you for joining us again at The Qwillery.
Tex: Thank you for having me!
One Night in Sixes
Children of the Drought 1
Solaris, July 29, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages
The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day. Still, Appaloosa Elim has heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight.
And the daylight is running out. Elim's so-called 'partner' - that lily-white lordling Sil Halfwick – has disappeared inside the old adobe walls, hell-bent on making a name for himself among Sixes' notorious black-market traders. Elim, whose worldly station is written in the bastard browns and whites of his cow-spotted face, doesn't dare show up home without him.
If he ever wants to go home again, he'd better find his missing partner fast. But if he's caught out after dark, Elim risks succumbing to the old and sinister truth in his own flesh - and discovering just how far he'll go to survive the night.
Medicine for the Dead
Children of the Drought 2
Solaris, March 31, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
The story of Appaloosa Elim continues.
Two years ago, the crow-god Marhuk sent his grandson to Sixes.
Two nights ago, a stranger picked up his gun and shot him.
Two hours ago, the funeral party set out for the holy city of Atali'Krah, braving the wastelands to bring home the body of Dulei Marhuk.
Out in the wastes, one more corpse should hardly make a difference. But the blighted landscape has been ravaged by drought, twisted by violence, and warped by magic - and no-one is immune. Vuchak struggles to keep the party safe from monsters, marauders, and his own troubled mind. Weisei is being eaten alive by a strange illness. And fearful, guilt-wracked Elim hopes he's only imagining the sounds coming from Dulei's coffin.
As their supplies dwindle and tensions mount, the desert exacts a terrible price from its pilgrims - one that will be paid with the blood of the living, and the peace of the dead.
Dreams of the Eaten
Children of the Drought 3
Solaris, December 27, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
As the funeral cortege draws near, the crows begin to gather...
The stunning conclusion of this extraordinary trilogy.
After trials by fire and thirst, Appaloosa Elim's quest to bring home the body of the crow prince is finally nearing its end.
But the coffin is missing, the funeral party is hopelessly scattered, and the fishmen are hell-bent on revenge. Worse yet, the pilgrimage has disturbed an ancient power – and the earth is crumbling in its grip.
As the ground shakes and the crows gather, the final reckoning promises to unite the living and the dead in a battle for the land itself. One way or another, blood debts will come due, Elim will face his judgment, and the World That Is will be forever changed.
Arianne "Tex" Thompson is home-grown Texas success story. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in literature, she channeled her passion for exciting, innovative, and inclusive fiction into the Children of the Drought – an internationally-published epic fantasy Western series from Solaris. Now a professional speaker and writing instructor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex is blazing a trail through conferences, workshops, and fan conventions around the country – as an endlessly energetic, relentlessly enthusiastic one-woman stampede. Find her online at www.TheTexFiles.com and on Twitter as @tex_maam!
Collecting issues #1-4 of Brandon Graham and Marian Churchland’s
Fan-favorite comics creators Brandon Graham (KING CITY, PROPHET, ISLAND) and Marian Churchland (FROM UNDER MOUNTAINS, BEAST) will release a trade paperback collection of the first four issues of their dream-like fantasy series ARCLIGHT this March from Image Comics.
Sharp genderqueer knights, blood magic, death gods, astral projection, and a goose: ARCLIGHT has it all. Her mind trapped in a strange alien body, a lady of the blood house hides on the outskirts of her kingdom, until she learns that an alien monster pretending to be her has taken her place.
ARCLIGHT TP (Diamond code: DEC160751, ISBN: 978-1-5343-0097-2) hits comic book stores Wednesday, March 22nd and bookstores Tuesday, March 28th. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, February 20th.
“ARCLIGHT seems to be an attack on the binary—an exploration of conformity and
identity—and those themes carry the material past its shared universe setting. It’s a
slow, more deliberate burn; it’s the kind of book you linger with rather than tear through.” —Multiversity Comics
“In only a few panels, Graham and Churchland suggest an ancient world, rich in its own
customs and history, with a unique flora and fauna as well as its own systems of
governance and magic.” —CBR
“ARCLIGHT is a story of solemn grace that gently pulls you into its story, titillating your imagination, and makes you want more.” —AiPT!
ABOUT IMAGE COMICS Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com
Powerhouse creative team Jonathan Luna (ALEX + ADA, THE SWORD, Spider-Woman: Origin) and Sarah Vaughn (ALEX + ADA, Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love, Ruined) return with the monthly epic fantasy series ETERNAL EMPIRE, coming this May from Image Comics.
The Eternal Empress has waged war against the countries of Saia for over one hundred years, and now her sights are set on the last country left standing. Within the brutal Empire’s workforce, a young woman receives strange visions that give her the courage to escape her fate...or run straight toward it.
“I’m very excited to finally release this series,” said Luna. “Sarah and I have spent the past year immersed in building this story and world. It’s on an epic scale I’ve never attempted before. Ever since my teenage years, I’ve desperately wanted to create a fantasy story. This has been a long time coming.”
“I am passionate about fantasy,” said Vaughn. “It feeds my soul and it’s what I reach for when I need comfort and restoration. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be working with Jonathan again on this book, and to dive into ETERNAL EMPIRE’s world and its characters.”
ETERNAL EMPIRE #1 arrives in comic book stores on Wednesday, May 3rd.
ABOUT IMAGE COMICS Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.