Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: Crash by Guy Haley

"Dariusz is an engineer whose career ended years ago; now, a man he’s never met sits in a bar that doesn’t exist and offers him a fresh start... at a price. Cassandra – ‘Sand,’ to her friends – is a space pilot, who itches to get her hands on the controls and actually fly a ship, rather than watch computers do it for her.

The ‘Pointers’ – the elite 0.01% who control virtually all wealth – have seen the limitations of a plundered Earth and set their eyes on the stars. And now Dariusz and Sand, and a half-million ambitious men and women just like them, are sent out to extend the Pointers’ and the Market’s influence across the galaxy.

But the colony fleet is sabotaged and the ESS Adam Mickiewicz crashes, on an alien planet where one hemisphere is seared by perpetual daylight and the other shrouded in eternal night. The castaways have the chance to create society from scratch... if they're not destroyed by the hostile planet – or their own leaders – before they can even begin."

"Why do you read fiction?" When I turned the barrel of this question to myself, my immediate answer was: "to be entertained". In fiction, entertainment is what I'm looking for and the overall experience is what I value the most. To qoute Jojen Reeds from Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire: "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." So, when I turned the first page of Crash, I was looking to put another notch on the hilt of that sword.

Crash opens with a prologue that immediately hooks the reader.
"At first, Dariusz Szczeciński was dead, then he was not.
Machines hurried him to life more quickly than they should. Preservative fluids were sucked from his circulatory system with haste, warmed blood pumped in their place..."

The main protagonish, Dariusz Szczeciński, wakes up after, what appears to be, a crash. The dozen-page prologue is perfect to whet the reader's appetite.

Then, the author takes us to 22nd-century Earth where the reader remains throughout the first quarter of the book. Here Haley paints a very probable picture of our hurting planet that is damaged beyond repair. In that future, a handful of people forming the elite of the society, the pointers, live a dream life while 99% of the human population can barely survive. In this first part, the reader gets to know the backstory of the main protagonist Dariusz as well as some other important characters.

Maybe it comes with the age but as I grow older I lose my faith in humanity. We are not doing enough to protect our planet, we are wasting precious resources, in the name of dogma we are not educating our people in family planning. And one of the projections of our planet's current state could very well match what Haley describes in this first part of Crash. That probable realism glued the book to my hands.

And in the second part of the book the reader find herself back to the crash and the very important events surrounding it. That's where the story picks up more speed.

Unfortunately I hadn't read any of Haley's work before therefore I won't be able to compare Crash to his previous novels however I really liked his smooth, flowing style. The structure and the construction of the story is skilfully realised and Crash is somewhat reminiscent of some of Eric Brown's work. One or two characters failed to make an impression on me however, in general, I didn't have much difficulty in relating to them.

Crash is an action-packed, enthralling novel. I loved Guy Haley's storytelling and in Crash he gives us an adventure well-worth following. I am really looking forward to reading the sequel. And when I turned Crash's last page I knew I was going to read one of Haley's previous works very soon, while waiting for its sequel to be published. A copy of Champion of Mars is already waiting for me on my desk.

Plot: ............. 8
Characters: ... 7
Style: ............ 8

Overall: ....... 8.5/10

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cover Art: The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley

We keep saying "don't judge a book by its cover" and we strive to be less superficial. Nevertheless, a first impression remains a very strong feeling. The covers that have the power to move each individual may be different but they are still powerful.

Obviously I missed the cover reveal a while back. But when I first saw the cover of The Emperor's Blades, I felt I had to drop everything I was doing to read the book. It seems to me that the cover alone wants to tell us a story that is worth listening to. Needless to say, I was very disappointed to see that we were 6 months away from the publication date (14 Jan 2014). Well... That's something to look forward to in the new year.


When the emperor of Annur is murdered, his children must fight to uncover the conspiracy—and the ancient enemy—that effected his death.

Kaden, the heir apparent, was for eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, where he learned the inscrutable discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power which Kaden must master before it’s too late. When an imperial delegation arrives to usher him back to the capital for his coronation, he has learned just enough to realize that they are not what they seem—and enough, perhaps, to successfully fight back.

Meanwhile, in the capital, his sister Adare, master politician and Minister of Finance, struggles against the religious conspiracy that seems to be responsible for the emperor’s murder. Amid murky politics, she’s determined to have justice—but she may be condemning the wrong man.

Their brother Valyn is struggling to stay alive. He knew his training to join the Kettral— deadly warriors who fly massive birds into battle—would be arduous. But after a number of strange apparent accidents, and the last desperate warning of a dying guard, he’s convinced his father’s murderers are trying to kill him, and then his brother. He must escape north to warn Kaden—if he can first survive the brutal final test of the Kettral.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Best Foreword Ever Is In Unfettered

Before asking you whether you read forewords or not, I'd like to say I do read them. I probably get that habit from reading technical books (mostly for work).

In my humble opinion they are important. A foreword is usually not my first impression of a book because that burden falls on the cover and the blurb. However it sets a certain tone, gives the background of the book that we're holding in our hands and, in a way, completes the book's own story.

Now... the main reason why I'm here is to tell you about the brilliant foreword that Patrick Rothfuss wrote for Unfettered edited by Shawn Speakman. I'm probably not allowed to copy it fully here but you can, as I did, go on Amazon and Look Inside.

While we're all here, I'd like to point out that the stories in Unfettered are all donated for a great cause.

Lacking health insurance and diagnosed with Hogdkin’s lymphoma in 2011, Shawn quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he did not have the ability to pay. That’s when New York Times best-selling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story Shawn could sell toward alleviating those bills—and suggested Shawn ask the same of his other friends.

Unfettered is the result, an anthology built to relieve that debt, featuring short stories by some of the best fantasy writers in the genre.

Any one of the contributing authors' names would easily justify the purchase of a bestseller but bringing them altogether in one book makes Unfettered inescapable. Just check the list below. I bet you're going to go and order your copy ;).

  • The Shade of Allanon by Terry Brooks (a Shannara tale)
  • Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks (a precursor to the Word/Void trilogy)
  • How Old Holly Came To Be by Patrick Rothfuss (a Four Corners tale)
  • River of Souls by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (a Wheel of Time tale)
  • The Old Scale Game by Tad Williams
  • Martyr of the Roses by Jacqueline Carey (a precursor to the Kushiel series)
  • Dogs by Daniel Abraham
  • Mudboy by Peter V. Brett (a Demon Cycle tale)
  • Nocturne by Robert V. S. Redick
  • The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian (a Vault of Heaven tale)
  • Untitled by Geno & R.A. Salvatore
  • Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood (a Summer Dragon tale)
  • Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn
  • The Lasting Doubts of Joaquin Lopez by Blake Charlton
  • The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne (an Iron Druid tale)
  • Select Mode by Mark Lawrence (a Broken Empire tale)
  • All the Girls Love Michael Stein by David Anthony Durham
  • Strange Rain by Jennifer Bosworth (a Struck epilogue tale)
  • Unbowed by Eldon Thompson (a Legend of Asahiel tale)
  • Untitled by Naomi Novik (a Temeraire tale)
  • The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan (a Riyria Chronicles tale)
  • The Duel by Lev Grossman (a Magicians tale)
  • The Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman (an Annwn Cycle tale)