More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can get your hands on the digital edition of Glen Cook's The Chronicles of the Black Company for 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead.

Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more…

This omnibus edition comprises The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose—the first three novels in Glen Cook's bestselling fantasy series.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (June 29th)

In hardcover:

Stephen King's If It Bleeds is up one position, ending the week at number 6. For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

Max Brooks' Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre debuts at number 10.

The Diamond Age


Oh boy, The Diamond Age was a veritable chore to get through. The forced isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic has pushed me into depression and I needed something that would allow me to regain a more positive outlook on life. Neal Stephenson has always managed to entertain me, so I elected to finally give The Diamond Age a shot. It had been sitting on my shelf for years and it felt like the perfect opportunity to read it.

Alas, after a fun and interesting start, the author loses control of his story and the second half of this novel is an awful mess. So much so that it took everything I had to simply finish the book. This works weighs in at 499 pages and it took me six weeks to read it. You do the math. . .

Here's the blurb:

Vividly imagined, stunningly prophetic, and epic in scope, The Diamond Age is a major novel from one of the most visionary writers of our time.

Decades into our future, a stone’s throw from the ancient city of Shanghai, a brilliant nanotechnologist named John Percival Hackworth has just broken the rigorous moral code of his tribe, the powerful neo-Victorians. He’s made an illicit copy of a state-of-the-art interactive device called A Young Ladys Illustrated Primer Commissioned by an eccentric duke for his grandchild, stolen for Hackworth’s own daughter, the Primer’s purpose is to educate and raise a girl capable of thinking for herself. It performs its function superbly. Unfortunately for Hackworth, his smuggled copy has fallen into the wrong hands.

Young Nell and her brother Harv are thetes—members of the poor, tribeless class. Neglected by their mother, Harv looks after Nell. When he and his gang waylay a certain neo-Victorian—John Percival Hackworth—in the seamy streets of their neighborhood, Harv brings Nell something special: the Primer.

Following the discovery of his crime, Hackworth begins an odyssey of his own. Expelled from the neo-Victorian paradise, squeezed by agents of Protocol Enforcement on one side and a Mandarin underworld crime lord on the other, he searches for an elusive figure known as the Alchemist. His quest and Nell’s will ultimately lead them to another seeker whose fate is bound up with the Primer—a woman who holds the key to a vast, subversive information network that is destined to decode and reprogram the future of humanity.

As is usually his wont, Neal Stephenson came up with another innovative book, whose backdrop is a meticulously researched premise on the potential utilizations of nanotechnology and the eventual social ramifications they would have on the world as we know it. How would society at large react and evolve if the economic and political underpinnings holding our countries together began to unravel and governments became obsolete? The author also explores themes such as education, sexism, social standing, and ethnicity. All of which made for a somewhat grand and fascinating beginning.

Unfortunately, for some reason everything goes down the crapper around the midway point and the author is never able to bring the train back on track. Never tries, really, if truth be told.

The characterization is quite uneven. Some protagonists are fleshed out and genuine, while others are cardboard cutouts that could have used a bit more work. John Percival Hackworth, the creator of the primer, was an interesting man to follow until his quest brought him in contact with the Drummers. Everything that followed that plotline was quite ridiculous and killed the novel to a certain extent. Miranda, the ractive actress who narrates most of the primer's stories, was by far the most compelling character, but she disappears at some point on a quest of her own and her reappearance does nothing to improve the tale. Nell, the little girl at the heart of this book, was also interesting in the first half, but the narratives within the narratives used to recount the stories from the primer gradually become a bit redundant and I lost interest. The same goes for Judge Fang and Dr. X. It's a major disappointment, because this cast had great potential.

The Diamond Age suffers from pacing issues, especially in the second half of the novel. While Stephenson kept things moving at a very good clip in the first part, the rest of the book gets bogged down by weird and often boring scenes featuring the Drummers, the many stories from the primer, the Fists of Righteous Harmony's revolt, and that over-the-top and ludicrous interactive boat theater play.

The second portion is such a chore to go through that whatever resolution results from the endgame and the finale is almost completely lost on the reader. Basically, I was just happy it was finally over. Everything about the ending was forgettable.

Very disappointing.

The final verdict: 5/10

For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (June 22nd)

In hardcover:

Stephen King's If It Bleeds is up one position, ending the week at number 7. For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

Swan Song


Robert R. McCammon's Swan Song is often compared to Stephen King's The Stand. And though both novels bear similarities, they're also quite different in several ways. They are both post-apocalyptic reads with huge page counts, though this particular apocalypse is nuclear in nature instead of viral.

Both books recount the tales of those unlucky souls struggling to survive in a world where civilization has been brought on the brink of extinction. Both novels also feature a devil-figure antagonist bent on destroying what little is left of mankind. As a matter of course, factions will be created and a good vs evil showdown will be the culmination of each title.

And yet, though their premises are similar, Swan Song and The Stand have very little in common as far as their storylines are concerned. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but I felt that The Stand has aged a lot better than McCammon's bestseller.

Here's the blurb:

Swan is a nine-year-old Idaho girl following her struggling mother from one trailer park to the next when she receives visions of doom—something far wider than the narrow scope of her own beleaguered life. In a blinding flash, nuclear bombs annihilate civilization, leaving only a few buried survivors to crawl onto a scorched landscape that was once America.

In Manhattan, a homeless woman stumbles from the sewers, guided by the prophecies of a mysterious amulet, and pursued by something wicked; on Idaho’s Blue Dome Mountain, an orphaned boy falls under the influence of depraved survivalists and discovers the value of a killer instinct; and amid the devastating dust storms on the Great Plains of Nebraska, Swan forms a heart-and-soul bond with an unlikely new companion. Soon they will cross paths. But only Swan knows that they must endure more than just a trek across an irradiated country of mutated animals, starvation, madmen, and wasteland warriors.

Swan’s visions tell of a coming malevolent force. It’s a shape-shifting embodiment of the apocalypse, and of all that is evil and despairing. And it’s hell-bent on destroying the last hope of goodness and purity in the world. Swan is that hope. Now, she must fight not only for her own survival, but for that of all mankind.

A winner of the Bram Stoker Award and a finalist for the World Fantasy Award, Swan Song has become a modern classic, called “a chilling vision that keeps you turning pages to the shocking end” by John Saul and “a long, satisfying look at hell and salvation” by Publishers Weekly.

Robert R. McCammon's Swan Song was published in 1987 and is a product of the Cold War. The threat of nuclear warfare between the USA and the USSR was a constant premise in various works of fiction, movies, games, etc, throughout the 70s and the 80s. The world's socio-political landscape has changed a lot since then, and I'm not sure if someone who didn't live through those times will get as much out of Swan Song as someone who did. As mentioned, this novel hasn't aged as well as Stephen King's classic and it might appeal less to a younger crowd for whom the Cold War is just something they read about in their history class back in high school.

Although there are quite a few fantasy elements that allow McCammon to push the envelope, there are a couple of plot holes as well, mainly how most of the protagonists are not much affected by radiations and fallout. Still, these are minor nitpicking issues that don't take anything away from the overall reading experience.

Characterization is where the author truly shines, especially where the forces of good are concerned. A more likable yet disparate trio you can never hope to find. Swan is a little girl who has the power to make plants grow. Running away with her mom from an abusive boyfriend when the bombs start to fall, little does she know what destiny holds in store for her. Josh Hutchins, a down-on-his-luck professional wrestler on his way to his next gig, will be given the task of keeping the child safe. And Sister, a crazy homeless woman from NYC, who has found a gorgeous glass ring filled with jewels which seems to possess magical powers. Wandering across the country and looking for fellow survivors, they will cross paths with the Army of Excellence. Sadly, the forces of evil are not as well-drawn. Though they started off as more genuine protagonists, Colonel Macklin, a deranged Vietnam war veteran, and Roland Croninger, a teenage RPG enthusiast, grow into more caricaturesque characters.

Weighing in at more than 900 pages, Swan Song is a doorstopper of a novel. As such, it does indeed suffer from occasional pacing issues. Some portions drag more than others, and I have a feeling that certain scenes could have been removed completely without the book losing much. Having said that, the author keeps the tale moving at a relatively good clip and those rough areas are few and far between for the most part.

Even if it hasn't aged as well as I would have hoped and even if it's not exactly the classic that King's The Stand is, Robert R. McCammon's Swan Song remains one of the very best post-apocalyptic novels ever written. Compelling, vast in scope, and featuring an unforgettable trio of protagonists, I commend this one to your attention.

Highly recommended.

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associates links: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Kameron Hurley's The Stars Are Legion for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Somewhere on the outer rim of the universe, a mass of decaying world-ships known as the Legion is traveling in the seams between the stars. For generations, a war for control of the Legion has been waged, with no clear resolution. As worlds continue to die, a desperate plan is put into motion.

Zan wakes with no memory, prisoner of a people who say they are her family. She is told she is their salvation - the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, a world-ship with the power to leave the Legion. But Zan's new family is not the only one desperate to gain control of the prized ship. Zan finds that she must choose sides in a genocidal campaign that will take her from the edges of the Legion's gravity well to the very belly of the world.

Zan will soon learn that she carries the seeds of the Legion's destruction - and its possible salvation. But can she and her ragtag band of followers survive the horrors of the Legion and its people long enough to deliver it?

In the tradition of The Fall of Hyperion and Dune, The Stars are Legion is an epic and thrilling tale about tragic love, revenge, and war as imagined by one of the genre's most celebrated new writers.

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If you missed it last time, you can once again download Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (June 15th)

In hardcover:

Stephen King's If It Bleeds is down three positions, ending the week at number 8. For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

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You can now download Peter F. Hamilton's Salvation for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

Humanity's complex relationship with technology spirals out of control in this first book of an all-new trilogy from "the owner of the most powerful imagination in science fiction" (Ken Follett).

In 2204, humanity is expanding into the wider galaxy in leaps and bounds. A new technology of linked jump gates has rendered most forms of transporation--including starships--virtually obsolete. Every place on earth, every distant planet mankind has settled, is now merely a step away from any other. And all seems wonderful...until a crashed alien spaceship is found on a newly-located world 89 light years from Earth, harboring seventeen human victims. And of the high-powered team dispatched to investigate the mystery, one is an alien spy...

Bursting with tension and big ideas, this standalone series highlights the inventiveness of an author at the top of his game, as the interweaving story lines tell us not only how humanity arrived at this moment, but also the far-future consequences that spin off from it.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers

In hardcover:

Stephen King's If It Bleeds is down two positions, ending the week at number 5. For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Marlon James' Black Leopard, Red Wolf for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

In this epic, internationally bestselling novel from Marlon James, the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, myth, fantasy and history merge in the stunning story of a mercenary's quest to find a missing child.

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Hired to find a mysterious boy who has disappeared, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group assembled to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as the Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy's scent, he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he fights for survival, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep the boy from being found? And perhaps most important of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all.

US cover art for Joe Abercrombie's THE TROUBLE WITH PEACE


Joe Abercrombie just unveiled the US cover art for his forthcoming The Trouble With Peace.

Here's the blurb:

Savine dan Glokta, once Adua’s most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way.

For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye . . . before it kills her.

The Breakers still lurk in the shadows, plotting to free the common man from his shackles, while noblemen bicker for their own advantage. Orso struggles to find a safe path through the maze of knives that is politics, only for his enemies, and his debts, to multiply.

The old ways are swept aside, and the old leaders with them, but those who would seize the reins of power will find no alliance, no friendship, and no peace, lasts forever.

For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

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You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Mark Lawrence's One Word Kill for only 1.99$ through the following Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA.

Here's the blurb:

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons and Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (June 1st)

In hardcover:

Stephen King's If It Bleeds maintains its position at number 3. For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


Just realized that you can download Peter McLean's Drake, which I reviewed recently, for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Hitman Don Drake owes a gambling debt to a demon. Forced to carry out one more assassination to clear his debt, Don unwittingly kills an innocent child and brings the Furies of Greek myth down upon himself.

Rescued by an almost-fallen angel called Trixie, Don and his magical accomplice The Burned Man, an imprisoned archdemon, are forced to deal with Lucifer himself whilst battling a powerful evil magician.

Now Don must foil Lucifer’s plan to complete Trixie’s fall and save her soul whilst preventing the Burned Man from breaking free from captivity and wreaking havoc on the entire world.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Leigh Bardugo's Ninth House for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

The mesmerizing adult debut from Leigh Bardugo, a tale of power, privilege, dark magic, and murder set among the Ivy League elite.

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Neal Stephenson's excellent Quicksilver for only 4.49$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

Quicksilver is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe, in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight.

It is a chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of "Half-Cocked Jack" Shaftoe -- London street urchin turned swashbuckling adventurer and legendary King of the Vagabonds -- risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox.

And it is the tale of Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent Europe through the newborn power of finance.

A gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive novel that brings a remarkable age and its momentous events to vivid life, Quicksilver is an extraordinary achievement from one of the most original and important literary talents of our time.

And it's just the beginning ...

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

In hardcover:

Stephen King's If It Bleeds maintains its position at number 3. For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

Stephen King's The Outsider maintains its position at number 15 (trade paperback).

UK cover art and blurb for Joe Abercrombie's THE TROUBLE WITH PEACE


Joe Abercrombie just unveiled the UK cover art and blurb for his upcoming The Trouble With Peace on his website.

Here's the blurb:

Savine dan Glokta, once Adua’s most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way.

For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye . . . before it kills her.

The Breakers still lurk in the shadows, plotting to free the common man from his shackles, while noblemen bicker for their own advantage. Orso struggles to find a safe path through the maze of knives that is politics, only for his enemies, and his debts, to multiply.

The old ways are swept aside, and the old leaders with them, but those who would seize the reins of power will find no alliance, no friendship, and no peace, lasts forever.

For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Guy Gavriel Kay's A Brightness Long Ago for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

International bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offers an extraordinary cast of characters whose lives come together through destiny, love, and ambition.

In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man looks back on his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra’s intelligence won him entry to a renowned school even though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a ruling count–and soon learned why that man was known as the Beast.

Danio’s fate changed the moment he saw and recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the count’s chambers one autumn night–intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen, instead of a life of comfort, one of danger–and freedom. Which is how she encounters Danio in a perilous time and place.

Vivid figures share the unfolding story. Among them: a healer determined to defy her expected lot; a charming, frivolous son of immense wealth; a powerful religious leader more decadent than devout; and, affecting all these lives and many more, two larger-than-life mercenary commanders, lifelong adversaries, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance.

A Brightness Long Ago offers both compelling drama and deeply moving reflections on the nature of memory, the choices we make in life, and the role played by the turning of Fortune’s wheel.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Ursula K. Le Guin's groundbreaking work of science fiction—winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

A lone human ambassador is sent to Winter, an alien world without sexual prejudice, where the inhabitants can change their gender whenever they choose. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the strange, intriguing culture he encounters...

Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.

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

In hardcover:

Stephen King's If It Bleeds is down one position, ending the week at number 3. For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

Stephen King's The Outsider returns at number 15 (trade paperback).

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


Today only, you can download Carlos Ruiz Zafon's excellent The Shadow of the Wind, for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

This could well be the best book I've ever read!

Here's the blurb:

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragons of Autumn Twilight for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

Once merely creatures of legend, the dragons have returned to Krynn. But with their arrival comes the departure of the old gods—and all healing magic. As war threatens to engulf the land, a group of lifelong friends reunite for an adventure that will change their lives and shape their world forever . . .

When Tanis, Sturm, Caramon, Raistlin, Flint, and Tasslehoff see a woman use a blue crystal staff to heal a villager, they wonder if it's a sign the gods have not abandoned them after all. Fueled by this glimmer of hope, the Companions ban together to uncover the truth behind the gods' absence—though they aren't the only ones with an interest in the staff. The Seekers, a new religious order, wants the artifact for their own ends, believing it will help them replace the gods and overtake the continent of Ansalon. Now, the Companions must assume the unlikely roles of heroes if they hope to prevent the staff from falling into the hands of darkness.

The Light Brigade


Given how much I enjoyed Kameron Hurley's Apocalypse Nyx in 2018 and her collection of short stories, Meet Me in the Future, in 2019, I was eager to sink my teeth into the author's latest novel-length project. Both of these works demonstrated yet again just how gifted and unique an author Hurley truly is, so I was looking forward to reading The Light Brigade.

And I'm pleased to report that the novel is another gritty and quality science fiction yarn with its own take on time-travel.

Here's the blurb:

From the Hugo Award­­–winning author of The Stars Are Legion comes a brand-new science fiction thriller about a futuristic war during which soldiers are broken down into light in order to get them to the front lines on Mars.

They said the war would turn us into light.
I wanted to be counted among the heroes who gave us this better world.

The Light Brigade: it’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back…different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief—no matter what actually happens during combat.

Dietz, a fresh recruit in the infantry, begins to experience combat drops that don’t sync up with the platoon’s. And Dietz’s bad drops tell a story of the war that’s not at all what the corporate brass want the soldiers to think is going on.

Is Dietz really experiencing the war differently, or is it combat madness? Trying to untangle memory from mission brief and survive with sanity intact, Dietz is ready to become a hero—or maybe a villain; in war it’s hard to tell the difference.

A worthy successor to classic stories like Downbelow Station, Starship Troopers, and The Forever War, The Light Brigade is award-winning author Kameron Hurley’s gritty time-bending take on the future of war.

Mega-corporations now rule the Earth. Known as the Big Six, they are at war with colonists from Mars. These Martians, human beings whose separatist movement saw them go their own way years before, have rebelled and returned home to our planet, only to unleash a shocking attack that vaporized Sao Paulo. Countless young men and women are being recruited into the corporate armies to be turned into light and transported to Mars and various locations on Earth to engage the enemy. Such is the premise of Hurley's military science fiction tale.

The Light Brigade features the first person narrative of Dietz, a typical idealistic female recruit. She's a girl from Sao Paulo with a troubled background who wants to go to war to make a difference and make the Martians pay for destroying her home. Every soldiers experiences the light jumps in his or her own way, but things are radically different for Dietz. Her first drop with earn her the nickname Bad Luck Dietz and subsequent jumps only get weirder. As impossible as it sounds, it appears that she is getting beamed to different futures and at disparate spots across the war's timeline. As she begins to question her sanity, it also dawns upon her that there is more here than meets the eye.

The first portion of the novel focuses on the recruitment and then the basic training of Dietz. To a certain extent, that part reads like a more modern version of Heinlein's Starship Troopers. The second portion focuses more on Dietz's many jumps and their repercussions on her and her fellow soldiers. Little by little, we start to get a better understanding of what could be the bigger picture. That there is more to the war than the corporations let on and that everything is more complex than first believed. And with each new light jump, Dietz gets a bit closer to the truth.

Hurley explores a number of themes and issues that are relevent in the real world today such as the futility of war, the evils of corporate culture, propaganda in the media and fake news, social standing based on race and culture and education, the atrocities soldiers are forced to go through in the name of a false greater good, etc.

The pace may lack fluidity in certain portions of the book, yet the rhythm remains good throughout. Hurley brings all the different timelines together in a clever and satisfying finale, closing the show with aplomb. The Light Brigade is another solid effort and a terrific read.

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


For a limited time, you can download Joe Abercrombie's A Little Hatred for only 3.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever.

On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal’s son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specializes in disappointments.

Savine dan Glokta – socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union – plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.

The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another…

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can get your hands on the digital edition of Scott Hawkins' The Library at Mount Char for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe.
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.

Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.

After all, she was a normal American herself once.

That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.

In the years since then, Carolyn hasn't had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient customs. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing—perhaps even dead—and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own.

But Carolyn has accounted for this.

And Carolyn has a plan.

The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she's forgotten to protect the things that make her human.

Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and propelled by a plot that will shock you again and again, The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.

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

In hardcover:

Stephen King's If It Bleeds is down one position, ending the week at number 2. For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

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You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Seth Dickinson's The Monster Baru Cormorant for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Her world was shattered by the Empire of Masks.
For the power to shatter the Masquerade,
She betrayed everyone she loved.

The traitor Baru Cormorant is now the cryptarch Agonist—a secret lord of the empire she's vowed to destroy.

Hunted by a mutinous admiral, haunted by the wound which has split her mind in two, Baru leads her dearest foes on an expedition for the secret of immortality. It's her chance to trigger a war that will consume the Masquerade.

But Baru's heart is broken, and she fears she can no longer tell justice from revenge...or her own desires from the will of the man who remade her.

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

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You can now download Peter McLean's Priest of Bones for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

It's a dangerous thing, to choose the lesser of two evils.

The war is over, and army priest Tomas Piety finally heads home with Lieutenant Bloody Anne at his side. When he arrives in the Stink, Tomas finds that his empire of crime has been stolen from him while at war. With his gang of Pious Men, Tomas will do whatever it takes to reclaim his businesses. But when he finds himself dragged into a web of political intrigue once again, and is forced to work in secret for the sinister Queen's Men, everything gets more complicated.

When loyalties stretch to the breaking point and violence only leads to violence, when people have run out of food, and hope, and places to hide, do not be surprised if they have also run out of mercy. As the Pious Men fight shadowy foreign infiltrators in the backstreet taverns and gambling dens of Tomas's old life it becomes clear; the war is not over.

It is only just beginning.


You can also download David Mack's The Midnight Front for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

On the eve of World War Two, Nazi sorcerers come gunning for Cade but kill his family instead. His one path of vengeance is to become an apprentice of The Midnight Front—the Allies’ top-secret magickal warfare program—and become a sorcerer himself.

Unsure who will kill him first—his allies, his enemies, or the demons he has to use to wield magick—Cade fights his way through occupied Europe and enemy lines. But he learns too late the true price of revenge will be more terrible than just the loss of his soul—and there’s no task harder than doing good with a power born of ultimate evil.

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You can get your hands on the digital edition of Anthony Ryan's Blood Song for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm."

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order—a caste devoted to battle. Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate and dangerous life of a warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the Unified Realm—and Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright knows no bounds. Even his cherished memories of his mother are soon challenged by what he learns within the Order.

But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the Realm, but the world.


You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Kristen Britain's Green Rider, first volume in the NYT bestselling Green Rider series, for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G'ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by a galloping horse bursting from the woods, its rider impaled by two black-shafted arrows.

As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of King Zachary. Before he dies, he makes Karigan swear to deliver the "life and death" message he’s carrying and to complete his mission "for love of her country." The man gives her his green coat, with the symbolic brooch of his office, bestowing upon Karigan the title of Green Rider and changing her life forever. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

Green Rider is the first installment of the acclaimed Green Rider series.

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You can download Mark Lawrence's Red Sister for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

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Today only, you can download Cormac McCarthy's The Road for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.


You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Stephen King's The Shining for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

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

In hardcover:

Stephen King's If It Bleeds debuts at number 1. For more info about this title, follow these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe.

Drake


When I interviewed Peter McLean last year to help promote the release of the second volume in the War of the Rose Throne series, we talked about his other works and I was intrigued by the premise of his first trilogy. Thanks to the folks at Angry Robot, I was able to get my hands on Drake, first installment in the Burned Man series.

And I'm sure glad I gave the book a shot, because it was a fun and entertaining read!

Here's the blurb:

Hitman Don Drake owes a gambling debt to a demon. Forced to carry out one more assassination to clear his debt, Don unwittingly kills an innocent child and brings the Furies of Greek myth down upon himself.

Rescued by an almost-fallen angel called Trixie, Don and his magical accomplice The Burned Man, an imprisoned archdemon, are forced to deal with Lucifer himself whilst battling a powerful evil magician.

Now Don must foil Lucifer’s plan to complete Trixie’s fall and save her soul whilst preventing the Burned Man from breaking free from captivity and wreaking havoc on the entire world.

A dark and lugubrious London is the backdrop for this novel. The veil between the British capital and the underworld is relatively thin in certain areas and creatures of the night can often be found lurking around. Calling Drake a hitman is a bit of a stretch, however. He's more of an alcoholic deadbeat magician whose powers come from a small animated idol which is in truth a bound archdemon called the Burned Man. Drake must feed the idol with his own blood and with its help he summons demonic entities from hell to dispatch his victims. Hence the label hitman, even though he kills his targets without dirtying his own hands with their blood. But when a job goes awry and results in the shocking death of an innocent child, Drake finds himself consumed with grief and guilt. This finally convinces him that it is high time to leave his bloody line of work forever. Alas, the demon he's indebted to is not a compassionate and understanding soul.

Drake is a fast-paced and witty urban fantasy novel. Noirish in style and tone, it makes for a compelling read. The only thing that some readers might find a bit offputting is that the book is filled with lots of British slang. Nothing to worry about, as you always get the gist of it and the story takes place in London, after all. But given that Angry Robot publishes works on both sides of the Atlantic, I would have thought that they might have downplayed this aspect a little.

The story is told from the perspective of Don Drake. First person narratives can be tricky things, but witnessing events unfold through the eyes of such a flawed protagonist makes for an enjoyable reading experience. Like Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden, Don Drake is not always the sharpest tool in the shed. However, Drake has a veritable knack for always making the wrong decisions and seldom learning from his mistakes. In that regard, he makes Harry Dresden look like the soul of wisdom. Drake has his heart in the right place, but he is a coward and can't seem to find the strength to ever do the right thing. Until everything is on the line and he has no choice. The supporting cast is comprised of violent femmes fatales, over-the-top villains, and everything else in between.

Drake is an urban fantasy work that reads like a classic noir mystery. The pace is fluid throughout and there is not a dull moment between its covers. The novel works as a stand-alone, but it sets the stage for what should be equally entertaining and hilarious sequels.

If you are looking for a fun page-turner featuring a lovable dumbass protagonist to help you cope with confinement during this pandemic, Peter McLean's Drake might just be what the doctor ordered!

The final verdict: 7.5/10

For more info about this title, check out these Amazon Associate links: Canada, USA, Europe

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (April 27th)

In paperback:

Stephen King's The Outsider is up three positions, ending the week at number 12 (trade paperback).

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You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Jeff Somers' The Electric Church, first installment in the Avery Cates series, for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada. Don't miss out on this quality series!

Here's the blurb:

Avery Cates is a very bad man. Some might call him a criminal. He might even be a killer - for the Right Price. But right now, Avery Cates is scared. He's up against the Monks: cyborgs with human brains, enhanced robotic bodies, and a small arsenal of advanced weaponry. Their mission is to convert anyone and everyone to the Electric Church. But there is just one snag. Conversion means death.

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You can now download Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

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You can now get your hands on The Bone Season series bundle by Samantha Shannon, comprised of The Bones Season, The Mime Order, and The Song Rising, for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

London, 2059. In the Republic of Scion, clairvoyance is illegal, but a criminal underworld thrives in its shadows. Unique among clairvoyants, Paige Mahoney is a dreamwalker, capable of possessing other people – and under Scion law, she commits treason simply by breathing.

Elsewhere, however, there is a seat of power even greater than Scion. And they have a different design for Paige and her uncommon abilities . . .

In these sweeping, extraordinary books, Paige will rise to become the leader of a revolution like no other, determined to bring justice to a world that will stop at nothing to destroy her.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (April 20th)

In paperback:

Stephen King's The Outsider is down five positions, ending the week at number 15 (trade paperback).

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You can now download all nine installments of The Collected Stories of Robert Silverberg for 2.99$ each by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb for the first volume, To Be Continued:

First in a projected eight volumes collecting all of the short stories and novellas SF Grandmaster Silverberg wants to take their place on the permanent shelf. Each volume will be roughly 150,000-200,000 words, with classics and lesser known gems alike. Mr. Silverberg has also graced us with a lengthy introduction and extensive story notes for each tale.

The Subterranean Collected Silverberg will vary greatly from the UK trade paperback series published in the 1990s. Due to the publisher's desire to limit the series to six volumes, many stories and, especially, novellas, could not be included. The Subterranean Collected Silverberg will be the definitive set.

Limited: 125 signed numbered hardcover copies, bound in leather and cloth

Trade: fully cloth bound edition

Table of Contents

Introduction
Gorgon Planet
The Road to Nightfall
The Silent Colony
Absolutely Inflexible
The MacAuley Circuit
The Songs of Summer
To Be Continued
Alaree
The Artifact Business
Collecting Team
A Man of Talent
One-Way Journey
Sunrise on Mercury
World of a Thousand Colors
Warm Man
Blaze of Glory
Why?
The Outbreeders
The Man Who Never Forgot
There Was an Old Woman
The Iron Chancellor
Ozymandias
Counterpart
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