More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Brian McClellan's Promise of Blood for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.

It's a bloody business overthrowing a king...
Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

It's up to a few...
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved...
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should...

In a rich, distinctive world that mixes magic with technology, who could stand against mages that control gunpowder and bullets? PROMISE OF BLOOD is the start of a new epic fantasy series from Brian McClellan.

Winner of the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Debut Fantasy.

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

In hardcover:

Stephen King's Fairy Tale maintains its position at number 3. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

R. F. Kuang's Babel returns at number 14.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

Today only, you can download Carlos Ruiz Zafon's excellent The Shadow of the Wind, for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

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 P. Djèlí Clark's A Master of Djinn for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

2022 RUSA Reading List: Fantasy Winner
A 2021 NEIBA Book Award Finalist
A Best of 2021 Pick in SFF for Amazon
A Best of 2021 Pick in SFF for Kobo
Included in NPR’s Favorite Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books Of The Past Decade (2011-2021)

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark goes full-length for the first time in his dazzling debut novel

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world forty years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and a familiar person from her past, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city—or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…

Once again, you can download Christopher Buehlman's The Blacktongue Thief for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path.

But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark.

Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.

Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva's. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.

Quote of the Day

The living could never hurt you as profoundly as the dead. And the dead were legion.

- MICHELLE WEST, The Broken Crown

For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

Almost done with this novel and it's still very good!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Martha Wells' Between Worlds: the Collected Ile-Rien and Cineth Stories for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

This collection of short stories and novelettes includes the previously published stories “The Potter’s Daughter” (a prequel to the novel The Element of Fire), “Holy Places,” “Rites of Passage,” “Houses of the Dead,” “Reflections” (the Giliead and Ilias stories, prequels to the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy), as well as “Night at the Opera” (a Nicholas and Reynard story original to this collection, set before the Nebula-nominated novel The Death of the Necromancer).

Quote of the Day

"The desire to be loved--it is a false desire, a madness, a weakness. If you let it, it will control your life, and it will lead you down roads, in the end, that even the damned don't travel." So soft, her voice. So soft and so completely certain.

- MICHELLE WEST, The Broken Crown

For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

I'm over 450 pages into this book and it's some seriously good stuff! If, like me, you are twenty-five years late to this party, you should definitely check it out!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Margaret Atwood's The Testaments for only 3.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

Margaret Atwood's dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid's Tale, has become a modern classic—and now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel.

More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.

As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go for 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.

Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.

Quote of the Day

Silence again, heavy with the struggle to leave things unsaid. To speak things in anger gave words a power and a history that friendship weathered poorly; and for all that they disagreed, the friendship between these two men was genuine and worth much to both.

- MICHELLE WEST, The Broken Crown

For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

I'm over 300 pages into this book and it's a very good read so far. The author's prose is reminiscent of that of Guy Gavriel Kay, or Jacqueline Carey. Well worth the 2.99$ price tag for the ebook, methinks!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Mark Lawrence's The Girl and the Stars for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

You can also download Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Brandon Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own, one every bit as ambitious and immersive.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths,

Life before death.

Strength before weakness.

Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

Quote of the Day

But he wrapped his arms around her, catching her and lifting her, his hands stretching and bleeding at the motion. Because there were moments that a man must take, when he could take them--or find them--at all. And this, precious, unlooked for, was one.

- MICHELLE WEST, The Broken Crown

For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Naomi Novik's highly entertaining His Majesty's Dragon for only 3.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain’s defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future–and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Josiah Bancroft's Senlin Ascends for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya.

The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of airships and steam engines, of unusual animals and mysterious machines.

Thomas Senlin, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, is drawn to the Tower by scientific curiosity and the grandiose promises of a guidebook. The luxurious Baths of the Tower seem an ideal destination for a honeymoon, but soon after arriving, Senlin loses Marya in the crowd.

Senlin’s search for Marya carries him through madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters. He must survive betrayal, assassination, and the long guns of a flying fortress. But if he hopes to find his wife, he will have to do more than just survive. This quiet man of letters must become a man of action.

Into the Narrowdark

You should know by now that I've always been a big Tad Williams fan. Regardless of the man's shortcomings that some people find so off-putting, I've always managed to overlook them and enjoy Williams' books/series. Having read To Green Angel Tower when it originally came out, like many fans I'd been waiting for a very long time to find out what happens next. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn ended up being a seminal work of fantasy, one that many consider one of the very best of its era. Like countless readers around the world, I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into The Witchwood Crown when it was published a few years back.

Understandably, expectations were quite high for this new series. Considering how long it took for the author to finally elect to write this sequel, we could expect nothing less. It goes without saying that The Witchwood Crown had very big shoes to fill. Too big, perhaps? Could our expectations be met? Just a few chapters into the book, I realized that something was wrong. It was a slog to go through. For some reason, Williams had completely failed to recapture the magic of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. And though it did get a little better toward the end, in my humble opinion The Witchwood Crown was by far Williams' weakest work to date.

Based on early reviews which claimed that Empire of Grass was better than its predecessor, I jumped into the second installment with renewed enthusiasm. Sadly, my excitement proved to be short-lived and I soon realized that the novel suffered from the same flaws that sunk The Witchwood Crown. It was more of the same for the most part, with very little improvement to speak of. Once more, I reached the last page and could only shake my head in disappointment. There was no showdown. No big payoff. No resolution of any sort. Almost no character development. Every single plotline ended in a cliffhanger. I was so sad that Empire of Grass turned out to be another underwhelming read.

Could Into the Narrowdark somehow save this new series? I was doubtful, the more so when it was announced, to no one's surprise, that the final volume would have to be split in two. Indeed, Into the Narrowdark is just the first half of what was meant to be a novel and it reads like the first half of a complete novel. Hence, there is no saving grace, nothing which allows The Last King of Osten Ard to level up. While some storylines finally move forward a little more, most of them continue to stagnate or go nowhere.

Here's the blurb:

The New York Times bestselling world of Osten Ard returns in the third Last King of Osten Ard novel, as threats to the kingdom loom...

The High Throne of Erkynland is tottering, its royal family divided and diminished. Queen Miriamele has been caught up in a brutal rebellion in the south and thought to have died in a fiery attack. Her grandson Morgan, heir to the throne, has been captured by one of Utuk’ku’s soldiers in the ruins of an abandoned city. Miriamele’s husband, King Simon, is overwhelmed by grief and hopelessness, unaware that many of these terrible things have been caused by Pasevalles, a murderous traitor inside Simon’s own court at the Hayholt.

Meanwhile, a deadly army of Norns led by the ageless, vengeful Queen Utuk’ku, has swept into Erkynland and thrown down the fortress of Naglimund, slaughtering the inhabitants and digging up the ancient grave of Ruyan the Navigator. Utuk’ku plans to use the Navigator’s fabled armor to call up the spirit of Hakatri, the evil Storm King’s brother.

Even the Sithi, fairy-kin to the Norns, are helpless to stop Utuk’ku’s triumph as her armies simultaneously march on the Hayholt and force their way into the forbidden, ogre-guarded valley of Tanakirú—the Narrowdark—where a secret waits that might bring Simon’s people and their Sithi allies salvation—or doom.

Once again, the superior worldbuilding really shines. As was the case with the previous two volumes, in that regard Into the Narrowdark shows a Tad Williams still writing at the top of his game. As mentioned in my past reviews, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn was vast in scope and vision and this new series builds on storylines that already echoed with depth. Several new dimensions are added to what has always been a multilayered work of fiction, and on this front at least all three installments of The Last King of Osten Ard have delivered. To finally get the chance to discover more about the inner workings of the Norn society continues to be the most fascinating aspect of this new series. Three decades down the line, the plans that were put in motion in the heart of Nakkiga are now bearing fruit and we learn even more about them. Queen Utuk'ku has awakened and the world is about to find out that the Hikeda'ya are not the vanquished foe so many people believed them to be. More tantalizing hints insinuate that the Garden could have been another planet and that the Norns, the Sithi and the Tinukeda'ya are the descendants of an alien race that reached Osten Ard via space ships or other means of transportation. There might even be a robot in this one!

Geographically speaking, like its predecessors Into the Narrowdark continues to take place in various locales all over Osten Ard. It is another sprawling novel that covers a lot of ground. And ultimately, this is something that doesn't always work in the book's favor. Once more, Into the Narrowdark revisits many of the locales and events from Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, too often for little or no reason plot-wise, or for reasons that feel a little too contrived for my taste.

As was the case with the previous two volumes, as well as the Shadowmarch series, one of the most important shortcomings of this book remains the decidedly weak political intrigue. As I mentioned before, Tad Williams excels in many different aspects when it comes to writing novels, but politicking is definitely not one of them. This was true then, and sadly it remains true now. Instead of playing to his strengths, probably to have more appeal to fans of George R. R. Martin's immensely popular A Song of Ice and Fire and other politically-involved fantasy series, Williams put political intrigue at the heart of a number of major plot threads. Which, due to the clumsiness in execution of such intrigues, put the Hernystir, the Nabban, and the Thrithing plotlines on very shaky ground to say the least. Add to that the fact that Simon and Miri continue to make for particularly inept and occasionally dumb rulers who have surrounded themselves with not necessarily the brightest of people at court, and you have a recipe for disaster. In the end, since a large part of this new series hinges precisely on political intrigue, Williams continues to walk on very thin ice.

Yet what remains the novel's biggest flaw is the characterization. Which, with worldbuilding, is habitually one of the aspects in which Williams truly shines. Into the Narrowdark is another mess of points of view. I remain convinced that this series would have benefited from a lesser number of perspectives. I lost track of exactly how many POVs there were in the first two installments and it felt as though this one features even more of them. While a number storylines can be engaging, at times some perspectives are downright boring, which bogs down the narrative with pointless scenes that go nowhere. Why Tad Williams elected to introduce readers to so many disparate characters and give them their own POV, I'll never know. But it continues to kill momentum as you skip from an interesting sequence to an unnecessary conversation or info-dump that brings little or nothing to the tale. Plotlines featuring Tiamak, Binabik, Qina, Eolair, Jesa, and Princess Lillia in particular often make you want to throw the novel across the room. Once again, this poor characterization precludes any kind of tight focus on any of the storylines, and in the long run it once again hurts this book in a myriad of ways.

As far as the rhythm is concerned, the pace is atrocious for the better part of the novel. Into the Narrowdark is another tedious read. Another slog of slogs. The mess of perspectives doesn't help, true. Nor does the info-dumps or all the extraneous stuff that bogs down the narrative in many a chapter. A good chunk of pages could have been excised without the plot losing anything important. All Tad Williams novels are overwritten to some extent, but these last three have been quite problematic in that regard. Everything moves at a snail's pace, with good and exciting sequences few and far between. There are some compelling scenes and storylines, true. And yet, it's a chore to get through to them because very little actually happens in most chapters and all the good stuff is buried so deeply under superfluous scenes that it robs them of most of the desired impact. The Miriamele plotline is the perfect example of that.

The end draws near, which is the only positive thing I can say about The Last King of Osten Ard. I'm not sure I care about what happens to any of the characters at this point. The only thing that keeps me going are the possible revelations about the Garden, the Sithi, and the Norns. While Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn will always hold a special place in my heart, I just want this one to end so I can be done with it.

Another major disappointment. . .

The final verdct: 6.5/10.

For more info about this title, follow this Amazon associate link.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Jacqueline Carey's Dark Currents for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

The Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet boasts a diverse population: eccentric locals, wealthy summer people, and tourists by the busload—not to mention fairies, sprites, vampires, naiads, ogres, and a whole host of eldritch folk, presided over by Hel, a reclusive Norse goddess.

To Daisy Johanssen, fathered by an incubus and raised by a single mother, it’s home. And as Hel’s enforcer and the designated liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, it’s up to her to ensure relations between the mundane and eldritch communities run smoothly.

But when a young man from a nearby college drowns—and signs point to eldritch involvement—the town’s booming paranormal tourism trade is at stake. Teamed up with her childhood crush, Officer Cody Fairfax, a sexy werewolf on the down-low, Daisy must solve the crime—and keep a tight rein on the darker side of her nature. For if she’s ever tempted to invoke her demonic birthright, it could accidentally unleash nothing less than Armageddon.

You can also get your hands on the first volume of Jim Butcher's excellent Dresden Files series, Storm Front, for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

For Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Janny Wurts' Curse of the Mistwraith for only 3.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

The stunning first volume in Janny Wurts’s epic tale of two half-brothers cursed to life-long enmity.

The world of Athera lives in eternal fog, its skies obscured by the malevolent Mistwraith. Only the combined powers of two half-brothers can challenge the Mistwraith’s stranglehold: Arithon, Master of Shadow and Lysaer, Lord of Light.

Arithon and Lysaer will find that they are inescapably bound inside a pattern of events dictated by their own deepest convictions. Yet there is more at stake than one battle with the Mistwraith – as the sorcerers of the Fellowship of Seven know well. For between them the half-brothers hold the balance of the world, its harmony and its future, in their hands.

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

In hardcover:

Stephen King's Fairy Tale is down one position, ending the week at number 3. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

Nora Robert's The Choice is down eight spots, finishing the week at number 9.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can download Susanna Clarke's Piranesi for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality.

Piranesi's house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

For readers of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller's Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.

You can also download The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate here.

Here's the blurb:

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow's spellbinding debut--step inside and discover its magic.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale from the bestselling author of Uprooted, which was hailed as “a very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic” by The New York Times Book Review.

With the Nebula Award–winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.

When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.

But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.

Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again.

You can also download Anne Rice's bestselling Interview with the Vampire for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force–a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.

You can also download Samantha Shannon's The Priory of the Orange Tree for only 3.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction--but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Another milestone!

As crazy as it sounds, today Pat's Fantasy Hotlist turned eighteen years old! In internet years, I figure this makes me a fossil!

When I created this blog in 2005 (before Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Reddit, etc), I never would have thought that I'd still be around in 2023!

But 7998 blog posts, over 700 book reviews, plenty of other movie, TV series, and graphic novel reviews, dozens of interviews, about 24,000 comments, and in the ballpark of 20 million page views later, I'm still here.

I always believed that the Hotlist would die its own slow death and that no one would realize that I stopped blogging when I finally decided that it was over. And yet, though I'm nowhere near as active as I used to be, the Hotlist still racks up between 2000 and 2500 page views on a daily basis even if there isn't any new content.

So I wanted to thank you all for sticking with me. All of this would be meaningless without an audience. Many thanks to the SFF authors, the editors, the publicists, the directors of marketing, and everyone else who hooked me up with review copies, or set up interviews and giveaways. You guys are the best!

Thanks for the good times and the not-so-good ones!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Rae Carson's The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Witness the epic final chapter of the Skywalker saga with the official novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including expanded scenes and additional content not seen in theaters!

The Resistance has been reborn. But although Rey and her fellow heroes are back in the fight, the war against the First Order, now led by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, is far from over. Just as the spark of rebellion is rekindling, a mysterious signal broadcasts throughout the galaxy, with a chilling message: Emperor Palpatine, long thought defeated and destroyed, is back from the dead.

Has the ancient Lord of the Sith truly returned? Kylo Ren cuts a swath of destruction across the stars, determined to discover any challenge to his control over the First Order and his destiny to rule over the galaxy—and crush it completely. Meanwhile, to discover the truth, Rey, Finn, Poe, and the Resistance must embark on the most perilous adventure they have ever faced.

Featuring all-new scenes adapted from never-before-seen material, deleted scenes, and input from the filmmakers, the story that began in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued in Star Wars: The Last Jedi reaches an astounding conclusion.

'Salem's Lot

I can't quite remember which of Stephen King's novels I read first as a teenager, but I would say that 'Salem's Lot was one of the very first. As you know, I've been revisiting many of King's early works to see how well they've aged over the years. And I was surprised by how "timeless" this one turned out to be. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that it's mostly about vampires and small towns, two things that haven't changed that much since the 70s? Hard to say. Yet this novel is nearly as good now as it was then.

What shocked me the most while rereading 'Salem's Lot as an adult was the fact that King was only twenty-three years old when he wrote the book. It's not perfect, mind you, but it shows an amount of depth that is seldom seen in one so young. It's got heart and soul in abundance. In short, it showcases a young man brimming with talent and imagination who was about to become one of the most popular authors in the world. Rereading these novels allows me to see the evolution that catapulted King to superstardom and that's a pretty cool experience.

Here's the blurb:

'Salem's Lot is a small New England town with white clapboard houses, tree-lined streets, and solid church steeples. That summer in 'Salem's Lot was a summer of home-coming and return; spring burned out and the land lying dry, crackling underfoot. Late that summer, Ben Mears returned to 'Salem's Lot hoping to cast out his own devils... and found instead a new unspeakable horror.

A stranger had also come to the Lot, a stranger with a secret as old as evil, a secret that would wreak irreparable harm on those he touched and in turn on those they loved.

All would be changed forever—Susan, whose love for Ben could not protect her; Father Callahan, the bad priest who put his eroded faith to one last test; and Mark, a young boy who sees his fantasy world become reality and ironically proves the best equipped to handle the relentless nightmare of 'Salem's Lot.

While King was teaching a course on fantasy and science fiction, one of the books covered in the class was Bram Stoker's Dracula. While discussing the novel over dinner, King and his wife wondered what would happen if Dracula came back in the twentieth century, this time to America. They quickly realized that it wouldn't work in a metropolis like New York City. It was Tabitha who suggested a rural setting for the story. The author's mind kept returning to this idea in the following days. He wondered what would happen if a vampire suddenly showed up in a sleepy little country town. Unable to suppress the urge to find out, King wrote 'Salem's Lot. The original title was meant to be Second Coming, which was changed because it sounded, according to his wife, like a bad sex story. Jerusalem's Lot was then shortened by his publisher who felt that it sounded too religious.

Stephen King said 'Salem's Lot is one of his favorite books mostly because of what it says about small towns. In a way, 'Salem's Lot and the men, women, and children who make it their home are the main backdrop of this tale. This small New England town, with its idiosyncrasies, is what drives the story, not the vampires. And it's probably the one thing I didn't get about this novel as a teenager. This tapestry of POVs and relationships truly is the heart of the story. It's what makes it come alive.

Though the book is comprised of multiple points of view, the four main protagonists are Ben, Susan, Father Callahan, and young Mark. Back in town to exorcize his childhood demons  by writing a new novel set in 'Salem's Lot, strange events will soon make Ben realize that something wrong is occurring. As everything begins to unravel, with his new girlfriend Susan, Ben will seek help from an old high school teacher and the local Catholic priest to drive out the ancient evil that is rapidly consuming 'Salem's Lot. Young Mark will become an unlikely ally, though he will pay a heavy price for his involvement. In typical King fashion, this disparate group makes for a great cast of characters.

The structure of the novel is interesting, if a little puzzling at the very beginning, what with the story starting after the events that saw 'Salem's Lot become a ghost town. Then King takes readers back into the past, at the time when Ben Mears returns to his childhood home to write what he hopes will be the novel that relaunches his career. The bulk of the tale recounts the town's downfall, though certain scenes take us back to the future as Ben ponders what to do next. The epilogue brings a satisfying sense of closure, even though it's an open-ended sort of finale. The short story "One for the Road" takes place three years following the events of 'Salem's Lot and shows that danger still lurks in that part of Maine.

Definitely one of King's signature works!

The final verdict: 8/10

For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Neal Stephenson's classic, Snow Crash, for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

One of Time’s 100 best English-language novels • A mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous—you’ll recognize it immediately.

Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison—a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse.

You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Chuck Wendig's Wanderers for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For as the sleepwalking phenomenon awakens terror and violence in America, the real danger may not be the epidemic but the fear of it. With society collapsing all around them—and an ultraviolent militia threatening to exterminate them—the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart—or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Jon Sprunk's Shadow's Son for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

In the city of Othir, there are two kinds of people—the dead and those ones who made them that way.

Caim is certainly not dead. Orphaned and adrift, Caim grows up to become a cold-blooded assassin with the aid of his ethereal companion Kit—a useful-but-maddening spirit only he can see or hear. And as far as Caim is concerned, he doesn’t need anyone else getting that close to him.

But that changes when he’s betrayed on what should have been a simple job—and his only chance for survival lies with Josephine, the young daughter of the very nobleman he was hired to eliminate.

Soon Caim is caught in a wide-ranging conspiracy that stretches from Othir’s gilded halls of power to its bloodied alleyways. He must stay sharp if he is to uncover a cabal of traitors, keep Josey alive, and confront the forgotten truth of his own dark past…

You can also download Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon, opening volume in the incredible Malazan Book of the Fallen series, for only 3.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen's rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand...

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order--an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

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

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

The three next installments, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, and The Shadow Rising are also on sale.

Here's the blurb:

The Wheel of Time ® is a PBS Great American Read Selection! Now in development for TV!

Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel of Time® by Robert Jordan has captivated millions of readers around the globe with its scope, originality, and compelling characters.

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs—a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts— five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

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

Here's the blurb:

The Pariah begins a new epic fantasy series of action, intrigue and magic from Anthony Ryan, a master storyteller who has taken the fantasy world by storm.

Born into the troubled kingdom of Albermaine, Alwyn Scribe is raised as an outlaw. Quick of wit and deft with a blade, Alwyn is content with the freedom of the woods and the comradeship of his fellow thieves. But an act of betrayal sets him on a new path - one of blood and vengeance, which eventually leads him to a soldier's life in the king's army.

Fighting under the command of Lady Evadine Courlain, a noblewoman beset by visions of a demonic apocalypse, Alwyn must survive war and the deadly intrigues of the nobility if he hopes to claim his vengeance. But as dark forces, both human and arcane, gather to oppose Evadine's rise, Alwyn faces a choice: can he be a warrior, or will he always be an outlaw?

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

In hardcover:

Nora Robert's The Choice debuts at number 1.

Stephen King's Fairy Tale is up one position, ending the week at number 2. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

For those who downloaded Katherine Kurtz's The Legends of Camber of Culdi omnibus, the digital edition of the first installment in the next trilogy, The Harrowing of Gwynedd, is only 1.99$ here. And while the second volume, King Javan's Year, is not on sale, the third one, The Bastard Prince, is also 1.99$. So you can get the entire trilogy for about 12$!

The same goes for The Histories of King Kelson trilogy, with both the first and second volumes, The Bishop's Heir and The King's Justice, prices at 1.99$ here. This series is a direct sequel to the very first Deryni trilogy.

Here's the blurb for The Harrowing of Gwynedd:

In an alternate Middle Ages, a new chapter begins in the magnificent fantasy saga of the Deryni, as the magical race faces annihilation by royal enemies and a radical church.

These are the darkest days for the Deryni of Gwynedd, the magical race that once ruled this medieval kingdom but now find themselves despised and hunted by the governing regents following the death of King Cinhil. Dead also is Camber of Culdi, who served as the Deryni’s most faithful friend in the royal court. With young King Alroy too immature and weak to rule effectively, no one holds the power to halt the reign of genocidal terror that sweeps across the land—not even Prince Javan Haldane, Alroy’s twin, who recognizes the perfidy of the regents and religious zealots hovering around his royal brother. But there is an equally distressing concern for the surviving children of Camber, whose body remains uncorrupted weeks after his death, suggesting that his soul may be trapped somewhere between earth and heaven—and nothing short of the ultimate sacrifice can set Camber free.

Award-winning fantasist Katherine Kurtz continues her chronicles of an extraordinary medieval race in a magnificent series that picks up where her acclaimed Camber of Culdi trilogy left off. A story of intolerance, faith, and courage, rich in character, magic, wonder, and evocative detail, Kurtz’s brilliantly imagined alternate history is one of the shining jewels of fantasy fiction.