More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Alastair Reynolds' scifi classic, Revelation Space, for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The highly-acclaimed first novel in the Revelation Space universe.

When human colonists settled the Amarantin homeworld, few of them bothered to question the disappearance of its native population almost a million years before. But in the year 2551, one man, Dan Sylveste, is convinced that solving the riddle of the Amarantin is vital to human survival. As he nears the truth, he learns that someone wants him dead. Because the Amarantin were destroyed for a reason. And if that reason is made public, the universe—and reality itself—could be forever altered. This sprawling operatic novel ranges across vast gulfs of time and space to arrive at a terrifying conclusion.

Alastair Reynolds, who holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy, has written a vivid and action-packed story that will linger in the minds of its readers.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Brent Weeks' The Way of Shadows for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

The first novel in the Night Angel trilogy, the breakneck epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Brent Weeks.

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art--and he is the city's most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly--and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics--and cultivate a flair for death.

Devour this blockbuster tale of assassination and magic by Brent Weeks, which has delighted readers all over the world--with over one million copies in print!

Musical Interlude

A classic from Beck!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

For a limited time only, you can download Helene Wecker's excellent The Golem and the Jinni for only 2.99$ here!

Here's the blurb:

Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their neighbors while masking their true natures. Surrounding them is a community of immigrants: the coffeehouse owner Maryam Faddoul, a pillar of wisdom and support for her Syrian neighbors; the solitary ice cream maker Saleh, a damaged man cursed by tragedy; the kind and caring Rabbi Meyer and his beleaguered nephew, Michael, whose Sheltering House receives newly arrived Jewish men; the adventurous young socialite Sophia Winston; and the enigmatic Joseph Schall, a dangerous man driven by ferocious ambition and esoteric wisdom.

Meeting by chance, the two creatures become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures, until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

Marvelous and compulsively readable, The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of folk mythology, historical fiction, and magical fable into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Robert R. McCammon's Boy's Life, winner of the World Fantasy and the Bram Stoker Awards, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

An Alabama boy’s innocence is shaken by murder and madness in the 1960s South in this novel by the New York Times–bestselling author of Swan Song.

It’s 1964 in idyllic Zephyr, Alabama. People either work for the paper mill up the Tecumseh River, or for the local dairy. It’s a simple life, but it stirs the impressionable imagination of twelve-year-old aspiring writer Cory Mackenson. He’s certain he’s sensed spirits whispering in the churchyard. He’s heard of the weird bootleggers who lurk in the dark outside of town. He’s seen a flood leave Main Street crawling with snakes. Cory thrills to all of it as only a young boy can.

Then one morning, while accompanying his father on his milk route, he sees a car careen off the road and slowly sink into fathomless Saxon’s Lake. His father dives into the icy water to rescue the driver, and finds a beaten corpse, naked and handcuffed to the steering wheel—a copper wire tightened around the stranger’s neck. In time, the townsfolk seem to forget all about the unsolved murder. But Cory and his father can’t.

Their search for the truth is a journey into a world where innocence and evil collide. What lies before them is the stuff of fear and awe, magic and madness, fantasy and reality. As Cory wades into the deep end of Zephyr and all its mysteries, he’ll discover that while the pleasures of childish things fade away, growing up can be a strange and beautiful ride.

You can also download Stephen R. Donaldson's The Wounded Land for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Four thousand years have passed since Covenant first freed the Land from the devastating grip of Lord Foul and his minions. The monstrous force of Evil has regained its power, once again warping the very fabric and balance of the Land. Armed with his stunning white gold, wild magic, Covenant must battle not only terrifying external forces but his own capacity for despair and devastation. His quest to save the Land from ultimate ruin is exciting and heroic as ever.

Quote of the Day

Death should be a learning experience, after all, or what's the point?

- JIM BUTCHER, Ghost Story (Canada, USA, Europe)

Even dead, it a pleasure to follow Harry Dresden's misadventures!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Jack Vance's Tales of the Dying Earth omnibus for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Jack Vance is one of the most remarkable talents to ever grace the world of science fiction. His unique, stylish voice has been beloved by generations of readers. One of his enduring classics is his 1964 novel, The Dying Earth, and its sequels--a fascinating, baroque tale set on a far-future Earth, under a giant red sun that is soon to go out forever.

This omnibus volume comprised all four books in the series, The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga and Rialto the Magnificent. It is a must-read for every Science Fiction fan.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (March 11th)

In hardcover:

George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood maintains its position at number 10. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Samantha Shannon's The Priory of the Orange Tree debuts at number 11.

In paperback

Naomi Alderman's The Power is up two spots, finishing the week at number 12 (trade paperback).

Holy Sister

As I mentioned in my last review, with well over a million copies sold worldwide and two quality trilogies under his belt, Mark Lawrence already deserved to be ranked among the best fantasy authors writing today. With each new book, he continued to make a name for himself, always pushing the envelope a bit further with plotlines that grew in depth and scope. It's no secret that "That thorn guy," as George R. R. Martin referred to him a few years back, has come a long way since Prince of Thorns was first published.

Red Sister turned out to be another good read which set the stage for yet another enjoyable and captivating series. Even better, Grey Sister was one of my favorite Lawrence titles thus far, second only to The Liar's Key in terms of quality and originality.

I was looking forward to discovering if the author could close the show with style and aplomb in this final installment. And though for the most part Holy Sister was pretty much everything readers wanted it to be, I have a feeling that the anticlimactic ending may put off certain people.

Here's the blurb:

They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.

A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.

The structure of the novel is a bit unusual. Indeed, we follow two separate timelines, one that occurs in the present and another one that recounts the aftermath of Grey Sister three years before. Holy Sister is split more or less evenly between the two timelines. Understandably, the one taking place in the past tends to move faster than the other, for it needs to bring the reader up to speed with the events whose repercussions engendered what is transpiring in real time. And yet, important details which probably deserved more focus were glanced over while others simply don't appear in the narrative because they would have spoiled important plot points. Ultimately, this prevents the timelines from joining one another in seamless fashion when all the threads come together in the last portion of the book. These three years will have a dramatic effect on Nona, forcing her to change somewhat profoundly from the girl we used to know. Trouble is, those changes are not apparent until the very end, which feels decidedly discordant. There are a few hints that Nona has evolved in the the timeline occurring in the present, of course. But not enough, in my humble opinion, for the ending to have the sort of impact that Lawrence likely aimed for.

As mentioned in my reviews of Red Sister and Grey Sister, all of the author's novels to date have been character-driven works. Still, worldbuilding played a relatively important role in both The Broken Empire and The Red Queen's War series, and it felt as though it would be the case in The Ancestor as well. This new trilogy features a dying sun and a planet left with only a 50-mile wide corridor running along the length of its surface heated by a focus moon that allows mankind to survive from the ever-encroaching ice that covers the globe throughout both hemispheres. I found this fascinating and it was obvious that control of the focus moon would become an integral part in the resolution of this series. Little is known and/or remembered of what has been trapped under tons of ice over the centuries, and I thought it would be interesting to see if the hints of hidden and nefarious powers from the deep will continue to come into play as the tale progresses. As was the case in the previous two trilogies, it appeared that age-old technology would once again come into play before the end. Well, I can now confirm that it is indeed the case, about the focus moon and everything else. When you reach the end of Holy Sister, it's evident that The Ancestor series resounds with as much depth as its predecessors. Which bodes well for the upcoming sequence of books set in the same universe!

As a matter of course, Nona's perspective takes center stage and she is once more the only POV of the story. With war devastating the land and enemy troops appearing on the doorsteps of the Convent of Sweet Mercy, it seems that Nona and her friends may not even get the opportunity to complete their training and choose their orders before facing the inevitable. And yet, Abbess Glass has been playing the long game for decades and has countless pieces strategically positioned on the board. Will it be enough to save the Emperor's dwindling forces from both the Scithrowl and the Durns? With everything on the line, a lot of familiar faces from the first two installments make appearances throughout Holy Sister. I don't want to spoil anything, but this final volume may feature the best supporting cast yet. Needless to say, Lawrence has quite a few surprises up his sleeve.

In terms of rhythm, other than the timeline focusing on the past that kept moving a bit too rapidly for its own good, this book did not suffer from pacing issues. There is never a dull moment and the action-packed endgame is thrilling. Which is why some readers might find the anticlimactic ending a little offputting. Following all those battle scenes and the blood and the gore and the sacrifices and destructive magics unleashed, if I'm honest the resolution of the war storyline and all that it encompasses left a little to be desired. Again, some hints foreshadowed such an ending, true, but I still maintain that the timeline transpiring in the past should have elaborated more on the events that altered Nona so deeply.

All in all, though it wasn't quite as good as Grey Sister, this final volume is darker and more ambitious than its predecessors and is a worthy conclusion to a superior fantasy series. Moreover, Holy Sister leaves the door open for so many possibilities that I'm looking forward to the forthcoming series to see what Mark Lawrence now has in store for us.

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Neal Stephenson's Seveneves for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes an exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years.

What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .

Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Guy Gavriel Kay's Children of Earth and Sky for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world…

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

Today only, you can download Jacqueline Carey's Starless for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Jacqueline Carey is back with an amazing adventure not seen since her New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series. Lush and sensual, Starless introduces us to an epic world where exiled gods live among us, and a hero whose journey will resonate long after the last page is turned.

Let your mind be like the eye of the hawk…Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.

In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.

If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (March 4th)

In hardcover:

George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood is down two positions, ending the week at number 10. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback

Naomi Alderman's The Power returns at number 14 (trade paperback).

New inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Guy Gavriel Kay's The Summer Tree for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The Summer Tree is the first novel of Guy Gavriel Kay’s critically acclaimed fantasy trilogy, The Fionavar Tapestry. Five university students embark on a journey of self-discovery when they enter a realm of wizards and warriors, gods and mythical creatures--and good and evil…

It all began with a lecture that introduced five university students to a man who would change their lives, a wizard who would take them from Earth to the heart of the first of all worlds--Fionavar. And take them Loren Silvercloak did, for his need--the need of Fionavar and all the worlds--was great indeed.

And in a marvelous land of men and dwarves, of wizards and gods, five young people discovered who they were truly meant to be. For they are a long-awaited part of the pattern known as the Fionavar Tapestry, and only if they accepted their destiny would the armies of the Light stand any chance of surviving the wrath the Unraveller and his minions of darkness intend to unleash upon the world…

You can also download Alastair Reynolds' Elysium Fire for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Elysium Fire is a smoldering tale of murderers, secret cultists, tampered memories, and unthinkable power, of bottomless corruption and overpowering idealism from the king of modern space opera.

Ten thousand city-state habitats orbit the planet Yellowstone, forming a near-perfect democratic human paradise.

But even utopia needs a police force. For the citizens of the Glitter Band that organization is Panoply, and the prefects are its operatives.

Prefect Tom Dreyfus has a new emergency on his hands. Across the habitats and their hundred million citizens, people are dying suddenly and randomly, victims of a bizarre and unprecedented malfunction of their neural implants. And these "melters" leave no clues behind as to the cause of their deaths...

As panic rises in the populace, a charismatic figure is sowing insurrection, convincing a small but growing number of habitats to break away from the Glitter Band and form their own independent colonies.

Finally, you can also get your hands on the digital edition of Julian May's Conqueror's Moon for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

From the author of The Many-Colored Land comes the saga of a land beyond the horizon, where the quest for power is eternal, where magic and mystery are feared above all, and one man sought to reign.

On a remote island, far in the Boreal Sea, four kingdoms have struggled against one another since time out of mind. Most mysterious is the marshland kingdom of Moss—feared by the others and ruled by the Sorcerers. Soon, all will be put in peril’s way.

In recent years, three of the kingdoms have suffered fearsome volcanic eruptions that choke crops, famine among people, and an ailing leader on his deathbed. Only Moss, poverty-stricken and desolate at the best of times, seems untroubled.

But Prince Conrig of Cathra, who waits patiently as his father, the king, wastes slowly away, is in league with his lover, the seductive sorceress Princess Ullanoth of Moss. And if their secret alliance succeeds in its goal, the warring kingdoms of High Blenholme will be united once and for all—under the iron hand of one supreme rule.

Game of Thrones, Season 8, Official Trailer

Given how crappy season 7 turned out to be, I'm not sure how I feel about this one. . . :/

Quote of the Day

Words spoken should not be a death sentence, but they can be, they have been.

- GUY GAVRIEL KAY, A Brightness Long Ago, (Canada, USA, Europe)

Needless to say, you can safely pre-order this one. . . =)


Very rarely, there comes a novel so vast in scope, so rich in historical details, so vibrant, so engrossing, that you basically lose track of everything else around you. James Clavell's international bestselling masterpiece Shogun was one such novel. Indeed, it made for the ultimate reading experience. Awesome doesn't even begin to describe the book.

Unfortunately, Tai-Pan, the second installment in the Asian Saga, did not live up to the lofty expectations generated by its predecessor. Though it was a good and entertaining read, it failed to capture my imagination the way Shogun did. Which is why, I reckon, it took me so long to finally read the third volume.

Gai-Jin was released in 1993. And though chronologically it is the third book in the sequence, it was the last to be published before Clavell's death. The tale unfolds about two decades following the events of Tai-Pan and it chronicles the story of Malcolm Struan, the eldest son of Culum and Tess Struan.

Here's the blurb:

The heir to the magnificent English trading company, the Noble House…the direct descendant of the first Toranaga Shogun battling to usher his country into the modern age…a beautiful young French woman forever torn between ambition and desire…Their lives intertwine in an exotic land newly open to foreigners, gai-jin, torn apart by greed, idealism, and terrorism. Their passions mingle with monarchs and diplomats, assassins, courtesans and spies. Their fates collide in James Clavell’s latest masterpiece set in nineteenth-century Japan—an unforgettable epic seething with betrayal and secrets, brutality and heroism, love and forbidden passions.

Malcolm Struan is a protagonist based on the real-life Jardine tai-pan William Keswick. The Noble House is based on Jardine Matheson and Co., a major Scottish trading company which was known as the Jardine Matheson Holdings at the time of the founding of Hong Kong. As was the case with both Shogun and Tai-Pan, the narrative is filled with a wealth of historical details. Once more, the author managed to imbue Gai-Jin with an encyclopedic knowledge pertaining to the culture and history of 19th century Japan. The novel starts with a fictional rendition of the Namamugi Incident. The main theme explored throughout the book has to do with the hostility Westerners faced everywhere in Japan, hence the title. Gai-Jin means "foreigner" in Japanese. The multilayered political intrigue is based on the Namamugi Incident and its aftermath, which will lead to the subsequent Anglo-Satsuma War. Political and social upheavals in England and elsewhere in the Empire also have repercussions throughout the tale. In terms of worldbuilding, even though it is almost as dense and sprawling a novel as Shogun and Tai-Pan, which turned out to be a vast, dramatic, and marvelously crafted works of fiction, Gai-Jin doesn't work as well as its predecessors. The plot and the characterization are subpar, and no amount of historical details can save this novel.

In the past, James Clavell had a veritable knack for creating memorable characters. As is usually the author's wont, a panoply of points of view from several characters, great and small, add layers upon layers to a very complex story. Trouble is, this time around the characterization is particularly weak and comprised of a lot of lame protagonists. The recipe that worked so well in other books fails rather spectacularly in Gai-Jin. The main characters suck for the most part, which makes this novel a slog to get through. Angélique Richaud, especially, who begins as a clueless dumbass bimbo, and becomes a devious force to be reckoned with in the space of a chapter or two. It often felt as though Clavell wasn't even trying to come up with authentic and genuine men and women. Rampant sexism aside, which was a sign of the times, the storylines are decidedly flat and lackluster.

Weighing in at 1236 pages, Gai-Jin is another huge book. One would have thought that previous Clavell titles would have suffered from occasional pacing issues. And yet, there was enough suspense and unexpected surprises to keep you hooked from start to finish. No doubt about it, Gai-Jin is another door-stopper work. Sadly, it is often tediously boring and uninspired. Truth be told, at least a third of the pagecount could likely have been excised without losing anything important as far as the plot is concerned. Things do get better in the last 200 or 300 pages, but it's a case of too little, too late. By then the harm is done and there was no way to save this book.

As was the case with Tai-Pan and King Rat, the ending is anticlimactic. The lack of resolution leaves you hanging high and dry, which makes for a big disappointment.

Gai-Jin is by far the weakest of the four Asian Saga installments that I've read thus far. An unworthy sequel, to say the least.

The final verdict: 6/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Jim Butcher's Death Masks for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But now he’s getting more than he bargained for.

A duel with the Red Court of Vampires’ champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards…

Professional hit men using Harry for target practice…

The missing Shroud of Turin…

A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified…

Not to mention the return of Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan, who’s still struggling with her semivampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man in her life.

Some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you’re charging.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (February 25th)

In hardcover:

George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood is up one position, ending the week at number 8. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Jasper Fforde's Early Riser debuts at number 10.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

I don't know for how long, but right now you can download Guy Gavriel Kay's excellent Sailing to Sarantium for only 3.99$ here! Don't miss out on this amazing two-volume series!

Here's the blurb:

Sarantium is the golden city: holy to the faithful, exalted by the poets, jewel of the world and heart of an empire. Artisan Caius Crispus receives a summons from the emperor and sets off on a journey toward the Imperial city. But before Crispin can reach Sarantium, with its taverns and gilded sanctuaries, chariot races and palaces, he must pass through a land of pagan ritual and mysterious danger.

In Sailing to Sarantium, the first volume of the brilliant Sarantine Mosaic, Guy Gavriel Kay weaves an utterly compelling story of the allure and intrigue of a magnificent city and the people drawn into its spell.

Quote of the Day

He is thinking of a story from when he was learning the world and his place in it. He cannot tell all the tale, and he won't. We see only glimpses of history, even our own. It is not entirely ours--in memory, in writing it down, in hearing or in reading it. We can reclaim only part of the past. Sometimes it is enough. . .

- GUY GAVRIEL KAY, A Brightness Long Ago, (Canada, USA, Europe)

Finally, a new Kay book!!!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

I wasn't aware of this, but Ian McDonald's best science fiction titles are now available in digital format at affordable prices in North America! =) These three scifi yarns are must reads and should be part of any speculative fiction fan's collection! I'd tell you to get all three ASAP. But if you can only afford one, I'd go for either River of Gods or The Dervish House.

You can now download River of Gods for 7.99$ here. Same price in Canada and £3.99 in the UK.

Here's the blurb:

As Mother India approaches her centenary, nine people are going about their business--a gangster, a cop, his wife, a politician, a stand-up comic, a set designer, a journalist, a scientist, and a dropout. And so is Aj--the waif, the mind reader, the prophet--when she one day finds a man who wants to stay hidden.

In the next few weeks, they will all be swept together to decide the fate of the nation.

River of Gods teems with the life of a country choked with peoples and cultures--one and a half billion people, twelve semi-independent nations, nine million gods. Ian McDonald has written the great Indian novel of the new millennium, in which a war is fought, a love betrayed, a message from a different world decoded, as the great river Ganges flows on.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Brasyl for 7.99$ here. Only 7.19$ in Canada and a vulgar £1.99 in the UK.

Here's the blurb:

Think Bladerunner in the tropics...

Be seduced, amazed, and shocked by one of the world's greatest and strangest nations. Past, present, and future Brazil, with all its color, passion, and shifting realities, come together in a novel that is part SF, part history, part mystery, and entirely enthralling.

Three separate stories follow three main characters:

--Edson is a self-made talent impressario one step up from the slums in a near future São Paulo of astonishing riches and poverty. A chance encounter draws Edson into the dangerous world of illegal quantum computing, but where can you run in a total surveillance society where every move, face, and centavo is constantly tracked?

--Marcelina is an ambitious Rio TV producer looking for that big reality TV hit to make her name. When her hot idea leads her on the track of a disgraced World Cup soccer goalkeeper, she becomes enmeshed in an ancient conspiracy that threatens not just her life, but her very soul.

--Father Luis is a Jesuit missionary sent into the maelstrom of 18th-century Brazil to locate and punish a rogue priest who has strayed beyond the articles of his faith and set up a vast empire in the hinterland. In the company of a French geographer and spy, what he finds in the backwaters of the Amazon tries both his faith and the nature of reality itself to the breaking point.

Three characters, three stories, three Brazils, all linked together across time, space, and reality in a hugely ambitious story that will challenge the way you think about everything.

And finally, you can download The Dervish House for only 7.55$ here. 7.99$ in Canada and only £3.99 in the UK.

Here's the blurb:

It begins with an explosion. Another day, another bus bomb. Everyone it seems is after a piece of Turkey. But the shock waves from this random act of twenty-first-century pandemic terrorism will ripple further and resonate louder than just Enginsoy Square.

Welcome to the world of The Dervish House—the great, ancient, paradoxical city of Istanbul, divided like a human brain, in the great, ancient, equally paradoxical nation of Turkey. The year is 2027 and Turkey is about to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its accession to the European Union, a Europe that now runs from the Arran Islands to Ararat. Population pushing one hundred million, Istanbul swollen to fifteen million, Turkey is the largest, most populous, and most diverse nation in the EU, but also one of the poorest and most socially divided. It's a boom economy, the sweatshop of Europe, the bazaar of central Asia, the key to the immense gas wealth of Russia and central Asia. The Dervish House is seven days, six characters, three interconnected story strands, one central common core—the eponymous dervish house, a character in itself—that pins all these players together in a weave of intrigue, conflict, drama, and a ticking clock of a thriller.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (February 18th)

In hardcover:

George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood is down three positions, ending the week at number 9. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Gwenda Bond's Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds debuts at number 11.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download the omnibus comprised of all three volumes of Katherine Kurtz's The Legends of Camber of Culdi for only 2.99$ here. It's the perfect starting point for anyone interested in discovering the Deryni saga!

Here's the blurb:

Three fantasy novels of intrigue, betrayal, and magic in medieval Gwynedd by the New York Times–bestselling author of the Deryni series—bonus story also included.

Camber of Culdi: Long before Camber was revered as a saint, he was a Deryni noble, one of the most respected of the magical race whose arcane skills set them apart from ordinary humans in the kingdom of Gwynedd. Now, the land suffers under the tyranny of King Imre, whose savage oppression of the human population weighs heavily on Camber’s heart—a heart that is about to be shattered by a tragic loss that will lead him to confront the usurpers whose dark magic haunts the realm.

Saint Camber: The yoke of tyranny has finally been lifted in Gwynedd, but Camber’s job remains unfinished. The dangerous remnants of a conquered enemy still mass at the borders, and the new ruler is desperately unhappy wearing the crown. With the stability of a fragile kingdom at stake, its greatest champion must make the ultimate sacrifice: Camber of Culdi must cease to exist.

Camber the Heretic: The king’s heir is a mere boy of twelve, and the malevolent regents who will rule until young Alroy comes of age are determined to eliminate all Deryni. Suddenly, the future of Gwynedd hangs in the balance, and Camber—once adored as a saint, but now reviled as a heretic—must find a way to protect his people before everything and everyone he loves is destroyed in the all-consuming flames of intolerance and hate.

Filled with mysticism and magic, these sagas reminds us that “Kurtz’s love of history lets her do things with her characters and their world that no non-historian could hope to do” (Chicago Sun-Times).

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Marjorie B. Kellogg's The Book of Earth for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Follow the adventures of the four elemental dragons and their human guides in the first book of the history-spanning Dragon Quartet fantasy series.

"In the beginning of the World, four dragons were raised from elemental energies and set to work creating a climate and atmosphere. They were called Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. When their job was done and the World was set in motion, the four found lairs where they expected to sleep out this particular world's history and not rise again until World's End."

But long before World's End something has begun to go horribly wrong, and Erde, only daughter of a powerful lord, is the one person who seems able to sense it.

With her mother and grandmother dead, and no one left to protect her from the madness being spread by a priest ready to sacrifice anything and anyone to his cause, Erde flees her father's castle. In her flight, she stumbles across the dragon called Earth.

Drawn together by their mutual peril and need, Erde and Earth have no choice but to join forces on a quest to find Earth's mage, the one human who, perhaps, can set the World back on its proper course.

The Labyrinth of the Spirits

Back in 2008, when I first read Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind, it simply blew my mind. To this day, it remains what just might be the best novel I have ever read. And although the sequel, The Angel's Game, could never hope to live up to the lofty expectations generated by its predecessor, it was nevertheless an awesome read in its own right. The third installment, The Prisoner of Heaven, was too short and nowhere near as good as the first two books, yet it turned out to be a touching and remarkable tale that made you beg for more.

The Labyrinth of the Spirits was years in the making and I must admit I have seldom been so excited to read a novel! I've been cursing myself for not being able to read in Spanish for months as I waited for the English translation to be released.

I was a bit disappointed by the fact that this would be the last installment in this memorable series, and I was looking forward to see how the author would connect the dots and tie up all the loose ends. I enjoyed the way Zafón linked The Angel's Game to The Shadow of the Wind at the end of the second book. It was done subtly and poignantly, and it was a very satisfying way to bring the story to an end. The Prisoner of Heaven acted as some sort of bridge between the first two installments and what would come after. The author claims that one can read the books in whatever order they choose, that each book is a self-contained tale, but I feel that one must read them in the order they were released to catch all the nuances so that you can only shake your head in wonder when you realize how various things are connected.

Here's the blurb:

The internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author returns to the magnificent universe he constructed in his bestselling novels The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game, and The Prisoner of Heaven in this riveting series finale—a heart-pounding thriller and nail-biting work of suspense which introduces a sexy, seductive new heroine whose investigation shines a light on the dark history of Franco’s Spain.

In this unforgettable final volume of Ruiz Zafón’s cycle of novels set in the universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, beautiful and enigmatic Alicia Gris, with the help of the Sempere family, uncovers one of the most shocking conspiracies in all Spanish history.

Nine-year-old Alicia lost her parents during the Spanish Civil War when the Nacionales (the fascists) savagely bombed Barcelona in 1938. Twenty years later, she still carries the emotional and physical scars of that violent and terrifying time. Weary of her work as an investigator for Spain’s secret police in Madrid, a job she has held for more than a decade, the twenty-nine-year old plans to move on. At the insistence of her boss, Leandro Montalvo, she remains to solve one last case: the mysterious disappearance of Spain’s Minister of Culture, Mauricio Valls.

With her partner, the intimidating policeman Juan Manuel Vargas, Alicia discovers a possible clue—a rare book by the author Victor Mataix hidden in Valls’ office in his Madrid mansion. Valls was the director of the notorious Montjuic Prison in Barcelona during World War II where several writers were imprisoned, including David Martín and Victor Mataix. Traveling to Barcelona on the trail of these writers, Alicia and Vargas meet with several booksellers, including Juan Sempere, who knew her parents.

As Alicia and Vargas come closer to finding Valls, they uncover a tangled web of kidnappings and murders tied to the Franco regime, whose corruption is more widespread and horrifying than anyone imagined. Alicia’s courageous and uncompromising search for the truth puts her life in peril. Only with the help of a circle of devoted friends will she emerge from the dark labyrinths of Barcelona and its history into the light of the future.

In this haunting new novel, Carlos Ruiz Zafón proves yet again that he is a masterful storyteller and pays homage to the world of books, to his ingenious creation of the Cemetery of Forgotten, and to that magical bridge between literature and our lives.

Once again, Zafón's Barcelona setting offers a wealth of insight into those troubled times that comprised the decades between the 30s and the 60s. The author's evocative prose effortlessly transports the reader into that rich milieu, and at times it feels as though the city becomes a character in and of itself. Zafón brings Barcelona to life in a manner that few others have been able to do with any city. Those who have been to Barcelona will once again fall in love with the city and wish to revisit it, while those who have never been there will feel the need to rectify the situation.

The timeline of The Labyrinth of the Spirits spans decades. The novel begins by taking us back to the night Julián was born and the emotional impact this had on poor Daniel. Then we go back in time, to the Barcelona air raids that destroyed parts of the city in 1938. We're introduced to a young girl who will become the femme fatale Alicia Gris, the protagonist who lies at the heart of this book, and we learn how her tale is linked to that of Fermín, who is trying to escape the vicious Francisco Javier Fumero. Fast-forward to 1959, when an important minister disappears and Juan Manuel Vargas and Alicia Gris must investigate and solve the case. During the course of this investigation, Alicia and her partner will uncover the secrets that link the previous three installments and provide the answers to all the questions raised before, chief among them what happened to Daniel's mother. But as the truth is unveiled, high-placed officials get nervous and the lives of the investigators might be in danger. Spain will never be the same, and the same can be said of the Sempere family. The novel ends in the summer of 1992, as the Olympics come to an end.

A lot has been said about this series' complex and multilayered plot. When Stephen King claims that even the subplots have subplots, you better believe it. Still, no matter how deftly plotted the books turned out to be (and you have no idea how intricate the storylines are), it's the way so many of those plotlines are touching that makes reading these novels such an unforgettable experience. Zafón writes with intelligence, humor, wit, and a dexterous human touch that will warm your heart one moment and break it the next. What makes The Labyrinth of the Spirits so satisfying is that it clarifies and provides answers to all the mysteries found within the pages of The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game, and The Prisoner of Heaven. Everything comes full circle in the sort of grand finale that will mesmerize you.

The characterization is once again where Zafón excels in a manner seldom achieved in literature today. Seemingly effortlessly, the author can, in a paragraph or two, introduce you to a three-dimensional character that echoes with depth. I have no idea how he does it, but it's uncanny. Zafón's deeply-realized cast comes alive and leaps off the pages. As a matter of course, Alicia's plotlines takes center stage. But in order to connect all the dots and tie up all the loose ends, the author brings back a lot of familiar faces from the first three volumes. As is often the case when he's in a scene, Fermín manages to steal the show most of the time.

Once more, Zafón's narrative sucks you right into those convoluted tales of love, deceit, mystery, and betrayal from the get-go. There are a few pacing issues throughout the book, most of them due to the fact that the author must bring together all these complex storylines in a spectacular endgame and a finale that knocks it out of the park.

Simultaneously funny, tragic, and moving, Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Labyrinth of the Spirits is an amazing and spellbinding final volume that brings the Cemetery of Forgotten Books sequence to a memorable ending.

If you have yet to give this series a shot, these books deserve the highest possible recommendation.

The final verdict: 10/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

Quote of the Day

Some lessons must be written in scars.

- MARK LAWRENCE, Holy Sister (Canada, USA, Europe)

All but done with this novel and it's pretty damn good!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Frank Herbert's Dune Messiah for only 1.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Book Two in the Magnificent Dune Chronicles—the Bestselling Science Fiction Adventure of All Time.

Dune Messiah continues the story of Paul Atreides, better known—and feared—as the man christened Muad’Dib. As Emperor of the Known Universe, he possesses more power than a single man was ever meant to wield. Worshipped as a religious icon by the fanatical Fremens, Paul faces the enmity of the political houses he displaced when he assumed the throne—and a conspiracy conducted within his own sphere of influence.

And even as House Atreides begins to crumble around him from the machinations of his enemies, the true threat to Paul comes to his lover, Chani, and the unborn heir to his family’s dynasty...

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of David Walton's The Genius Plague for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:


In this science fiction thriller, brothers are pitted against each other as a pandemic threatens to destabilize world governments by exerting a subtle mind control over survivors.

Neil Johns has just started his dream job as a code breaker in the NSA when his brother, Paul, a mycologist, goes missing on a trip to collect samples in the Amazon jungle. Paul returns with a gap in his memory and a fungal infection that almost kills him. But once he recuperates, he has enhanced communication, memory, and pattern recognition. Meanwhile, something is happening in South America; others, like Paul, have also fallen ill and recovered with abilities they didn’t have before.

But that’s not the only pattern–the survivors, from entire remote Brazilian tribes to American tourists, all seem to be working toward a common, and deadly, goal. Neil soon uncovers a secret and unexplained alliance between governments that have traditionally been enemies. Meanwhile Paul becomes increasingly secretive and erratic.

Paul sees the fungus as the next stage of human evolution, while Neil is convinced that it is driving its human hosts to destruction. Brother must oppose brother on an increasingly fraught international stage, with the stakes: the free will of every human on earth. Can humanity use this force for good, or are we becoming the pawns of an utterly alien intelligence?

Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker contest winner!

This lucky winner will receive my copy of Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker's Dracul! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Joan Carter, from Austin, Texas, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne’s Kill the Farm Boy for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Terry Pratchett novels and The Princess Bride, the New York Times bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes.

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told.

This is not that fairy tale.

There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.

And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.

There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (February 11th)

In hardcover:

George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood is up two positions, ending the week at number 6. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

Naomi Alderman's The Power is up one spot, finishing the week at number 11 (trade paperback).

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch for only 3.49$ here.

Here's the blurb:

They are the "Others," an ancient race of supernatural beings—magicians, shape-shifters, vampires, and healers—who live among us. Human born, they must choose a side to swear allegiance to—the Dark or the Light—when they come of age.

For a millennium, these opponents have coexisted in an uneasy peace, enforced by defenders like the Night Watch, forces of the Light who guard against the Dark. But prophecy decrees that one supreme "Other" will arise to spark a cataclysmic war.

Anton Gorodetsky, an untested mid-level Light magician with the Night Watch, discovers a cursed young woman—an Other of tremendous potential unallied with either side—who can shift the balance of power. With the battle lines between Light and Dark drawn, the magician must move carefully, for one wrong step could mean the beginning of annihilation.

Musical Interlude

Another blast from the past, this time from the Cult!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Joel Shepherd's excellent Crossover, opening volume in the Cassandra Kresnov sequence, for only 1.99$ here. Follow this link to read my review from 2006.

Here's the blurb:

Crossover is the first novel in a series which follows the adventures of Cassandra Kresnov, an artificial person, or android, created by the League, one side of an interstellar war against the more powerful, conservative Federation. Cassandra is an experimental design — more intelligent, more creative, and far more dangerous than any that have preceded her. But with her intellect come questions, and a moral awakening. She deserts the League and heads incognito into the space of her former enemy, the Federation, in search of a new life.

Her chosen world is Callay, and its enormous, decadent capital metropolis of Tanusha, where the concerns of the war are literally and figuratively so many light years away. But the war between the League and the Federation was ideological as much as political, with much of that ideological dispute regarding the very existence of artificial sentience and the rules that govern its creation. Cassandra discovers that even in Tanusha, the powerful entities of this bloody conflict have wound their tentacles. Many in the League and the Federation have cause to want her dead, and Cassandra’s history, inevitably, catches up with her.

Cassandra finds herself at the mercy of a society whose values preclude her own right even to exist. But her presence in Tanusha reveals other fault lines, and when Federal agents attempt to assassinate the Callayan president, she finds herself thrust into the service of her former enemies, using her lethal skills to attempt to protect her former enemies from forces beyond their ability to control. As she struggles for her place and survival in a new world, Cassandra must forge new friendships with old enemies, while attempting to confront the most disturbing and deadly realities of her own existence.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of George R. R. Martin's Nightflyers and Other Stories for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

From #1 bestselling author of A Game of Thrones: Nightflyers, coming to television on SyFy, is an epic story of space exploration and cosmic horror, plus five George R. R. Martin classic science fiction tales.

On a voyage toward the boundaries of the known universe, nine misfit academics seek out first contact with a shadowy alien race.

But another enigma is the Nightflyer itself, a cybernetic wonder with an elusive captain no one has ever seen in the flesh. Soon, however, the crew discovers that their greatest mystery – and most dangerous threat – is an unexpected force wielding a thirst for blood and terror….

Also included are five additional classic George R. R. Martin tales of science fiction that explore the breadth of technology and the dark corners of the human mind.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Ian McDonald's Time Was for only 3.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

A love story stitched across time and war, shaped by the power of books, and ultimately destroyed by it.

In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers. Brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar, the two founded a love that could not be revealed. When the project went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found.

Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their desperate timelines overlap.

Quote of the Day

One doesn’t become aware of the emptiness in which one has allowed time to go by until one truly lives. Sometimes life—not the days that have burned away—is just an instant, a day, a week, or a month. One knows one is alive because it hurts, because suddenly everything matters, and because when that brief moment is over, the rest of one’s existence becomes a memory to which one tries in vain to return while there is some breath left in one’s body.

- CARLOS RUIZ ZAFÓN, The Labyrinth of the Spirits (Canada, USA, Europe)

Almost done with this novel and it's great!