About romeorites

Musician and aspiring sff writer.

The Blogaversary of the Moustached Man

Hello lovely people.
So, It would appear that I have been running this blog for two years. That’s right, two whole years and here’s to many more.
I would like to thank everybody who has supported the blog, whether that be through commenting, likes, tweets, retweets and just general loveliness.
You’re all cosmic!

Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book of The Fallen 2) by Steven Erikson: Review

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So its not unusual for me to be vocal whilst reading. In fact its a very common thing. Its usually in the form of things like this.

-Character gets in trouble-
Me: BLOODY* HELL!

-Something unexpected happens-
Me: Wuh! Whoa! Wow! (Not necessarily all three.)

-A particular nasty thing happens-
Me: Noooo! (Followed by yelling at the characters)

You get the Idea.

These outbursts were common and many throughout Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson.

In the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha’ik and her followers prepare for the long prophesied uprising named the Whirlwind. Enslaved in the Otataral mines, Felisin, youngest scion of the disgraced House of Paran, dreams of freedom and vows revenge, while the outlawed Bridgeburners Fiddler and Islam conspire to rid the world of Empress Laseen (although it seems the gods would, as always, have it otherwise.) And as two ancient warriors -bearers of a devastating secret- enter this blighted land, so an untried commander of the Malaz 7th Army leads his war-weary troops in a last , valiant running battle to save the lives of thirty thousand refugees.

So many revelations, twists, turns and moments of pure wow! I laughed, I cried, and was left feeling the affects of some of the books most fantastically crafted scenes, and events. Not to mention an absolutely jaw dropping ending.

When I read GoTM, Kalam the assassin was more of a prominent character than Fiddler, whom I acknowledged in GoTM but didn’t really notice much. This changed for me in Deadhouse Gates. Fiddler, the sapper Bridgeburner who has a broken fiddle on his back and shoots deadly munitions from his crossbow, has become my favorite character.
He is the everyday you can get behind, and becomes your counterpart in a wonderful but dangerous world.

Of the new characters that feature there is, Heboric the historian and ex priest of Fener, Baudin the thug, Fist Coltaine, Duiker the historian, and Icarium the Jhagut and Mappo Runt the Trell.
There are many more characters and all are listed in the book.

Erikson, once more, weaves a fantastic plot of stories interwoven surrounded by fates insurmountable. Raraku is full of many dangers if the lack of food and water dont get you, then the shapeshifting Soletaken, and D’ivers will, whose presence can be detected by a strong, spicy smell.
On the subject of which, whilst reading this I went to kitchen to fetch a snack, and upon opening the fridge I caught the smell of something spicy and Immediately thought, “D’ivers!”

The pacing of Deadhouse Gates is a lot smoother than GoTM, and DG is incredibly well written, as Erikson unveils each scene, the reader finds themselves totally immersing themselves into the world.

I dont want to spoil anything for anyone so Im going to leave it there.

Needless to say, I am so enthralled with this series so far and am now reading the third installment.

Deadhouse Gates is out now, and available from Bantam Books http://www.transworldbooks.co.uk

Folklore and Superstition: An Introduction To Cornish Folklore

Dydh da, dear folk.
Firstly allow me to introduce myself. For those of you that do not know me, my name is Romeo Kennedy and I hail from the mystical land of Kernow (Cornwall.)
Home of the legend of King Arthur, and a place that, for me, will always be full of magic and mystery.
I was born in a small fishing village not far from Lands End and from a very young age Cornish Fairytales and Legends have very much been a part of my life.

Like most fairytales, the stories that are prevalent in Cornwall have a strong dose of superstition and most come with a moral warning of such. However, superstitions also have their own place in Cornish culture and some of these then begin as the vessels to wonderful stories i.e One superstition involves telling the bees of a death, and one story that involves this superstition tells the tale of a young man who did not tell the bees about the death of his father and was then himself stung to death.
Some Cornish stories have the ‘happily ever after’ ending, and others are quite sad tales of Mermaids lamenting for the heart of their long lost lover or in the case of the Doombar Mermaid supposedly murdered by her lover.
Other tales come with a warning, for example The Many Trials of Jan Tregeagle who was said to have been handed the harshest punishment for his wickedness and was given many impossible tasks, like draining Dozmary Pool with a limpet shell that had a hole in the bottom. Dozmary Pool of course is said to be the home of the Lady of the Lake and where Arthur’s sword ‘Excalibur’ rests. It is also said to be bottomless. Tregeagle escaped this task by running away and being chased by demons he was then given another task to weave a truss of sand and spin a sand rope with which to bind it. Legend says that Tregeagle is still carrying out his final task as we speak. As a side note this is one of my favorite stories and would make an absolutely delightful film/tv series.

Cornish folklore/fairytales feature many creatures that are somewhat exclusive to Cornwall, although Irish, Scots, Welsh etc have something fairly similar if not featuring the same characteristics of those particular creatures i.e Sprites, Sidhe Brownies, Sidhichean, Piskies are usually depicted in very similar ways if not sometimes precisely

Now of the creatures that are prevalent in Cornish folktales are your usual fairytale trinity of Mermaids, Giants and Dragons. Although the stories of Dragons are not as common but the there ares some brilliant ones, but I like to think of that as they ate everyone who came close so no one could recount their tale of their encounter with the furious lizards. In a Christian Cornwall it is said that Saint Petroc confronted a marauding dragon and whispered a prayer into its ear and the dragon flew away. A story that I once heard of a pre-Christian era Cornwall recounts the tale of a dragon that rescued a village from a flood by … Um, setting fire to the village …
“Yay! We’re saved! … Oh.”
Its said that the heat from the dragons breath evaporated the water saving the inhabitants of the village whilst leaving them a little scorched. But alive nonetheless.

Giants are depicted as the usual “Fee, fi, fo fum!” lot, especially the Giant who is said to live in the cliffs of Portreath and when bored throws boulders at passing ships.
The main story of Giants is the very well known story of Jack the Giant Killer who slew the cattle devouring Giant Cormoran. Jack was then taken by another Giant named Blunderbore who vowed vengeance for the death of Cormoran. Jack was taken to an enchanted castle and eventually hung and stabbed Blunderbore and his brother Rebecks, as well as freeing three ladies from the castle. Jack also tricks another Giant into cutting its own belly open.
Of course it is also said that Giants are fantastic builders, for example, Carreg Luz en Cuz or as it is now known, St. Michael’s Mount, was built by Cormoran and his wife Cormelian. The stone was carried long distances to build the castle and sadly ended up with Cormelian’s death after another Giant threw a hammer to Cormoran, missed and accidentally hit Cormelian.
Interestingly enough, it also said that the inventor of the Steam locomotive was part giant, it was said that he could throw a boulder over the top of Camborne town clock, and he had hands the size of shovels, as well as being quite tall.

Mermaids, as I have already mentioned, are the usually the subject of sad stories. The very famous tale of An Vorvoren a Senar (The Mermaid of Zennor) tells the story of young lady who frequented the church service in Zennor. Everyone noticed how this woman never aged for all the years she had visited this church. It was said that she had the sweetest singing voice and with that voice lured the church steward Mathey Trewella away to her domain beneath the waves. Mathey Trewella was never seen on land again. The chair that the Mermaid apparently sat on is still there and is known as the ‘Mermaid Chair.’

The other creatures that are prevalent in Cornish tales are the Piskies, Spriggans, and Knockers.
Now there are plenty of stories that revolve around these creatures.
There is much dispute as to what Knockers are as in some areas they are known as the Bucca but to my experience and that of folklorist William bottrell, there are types of Bucca (good and bad) and stories depict it as a deity of the wind/storms. For example there is a place in the fishing village of Newlyn that has a bridge nicknamed Buccas pass and fishermen have been known (and still known) to make an offering of fish to the Bucca as so to get a good wind behind the sails for the morrow.

Spriggans are said to be the spirits of Giants although a lot smaller and quite ugly. Almost resembling very old men and women and dressed in a whole manner of things ranging from furs to greenery.
They are the guardians of treasure and are said to be very quick to anger and very swift with their retribution. I recently shared a story of a vengeful Spriggan with the lovely folks at The Cult Den on their Twitter page. Spriggans are also said to be ones that kidnap children and leave the parents a changeling.

Knockers on the other hand are at the root of many Miners superstitions and fears.
Knockers live within the mines and are said to be about knee height. They were rejoiced on a good mining day and cursed on a bad although very much out of earshot as an upset Knocker was likely to cause a cave-in. Miners would appease the Knockers by throwing the bit of their crowst (lunch. A pasty) to them.
There are stories that tell of the Knockers making precious gems as well as releasing, or encasing spirits within them. The name came from the sound the that Miners heard whilst working and just before a cave-in. A story by the well known folklorist William Bottrell (who studied and collected many Cornish tales) tells the tale of Tom
Trevorrow who made the Knockers rather cross by not giving them any food and so they tormented him for the rest of his life, “Tommy Trevorrow, Tommy Trevorrow, We’ll send thee bad luck tomorrow.” They stole his tin and tools and money and left him poor.

Piskies, are lucky little people but like Knockers like to play tricks on people, these tricks are usually deadly but that all depends on the Pisky. They are also said to be very kind natured, for example the tale of two Piskies that witnessed a Spriggan kidnapping a child and leaving a Changeling in its place. The Piskies were so outraged that they took the Changeling to the fabled Mên-an-Tol near Madron. The Mên-an-Tol is a large stone with a hole in the middle and the Piskies passed the baby through the hole in the middle to change it back. The stone is said to still have a Pisky guardian to this day.
If a farmer would wake to see their horses worn out, lathered with sweat and with their manes tied in an unusual braid, they were said to Pisky-ridden. As it was well known that Piskies came out to play with the stars. There are stories that involve the cows being drained of milk and sightings of Piskies riding bats in the air.
As I have already mentioned Piskies are said to be incredibly lucky and having one in your house would be the epitome of good luck and fortune as well as being the envy of your neighbors. Although there is the tale of Jowen Polglade who captured a sleeping Pisky in a butterfly net and took it home. He was quite cruel to the creature, making it dance to the point of exhaustion. Until one day the Pisky had had enough of is cruel captor and told him that his house would be forever lucky if he was to find a jeweled feather. So off Jowen went, and the unbeknownst to him the Pisky made sure that he lead Jowen Into getting very, very lost. Jowen eventually found the feather when he was a hundred years old, and the Pisky had lead him to the end of his journey. So much so that when Jowen lifted the feather in triumph through old creaking bones, the old man lost his footing, slipped and fell off a cliff.
A good tip to remember, if you find yourself lost and feel you are being Pisky-lead, always remember to turn your coat inside out.
Why this works, no one can say but it is well known that this method is one hundred per cent Pisky proof.

So there we have it. A small introduction into the wonderful world of Cornish fairytales and folklore. There are truly many, many wonderful stories out there, some that are waiting to be found and some that will always remain undiscovered.

I haven’t even mentioned Pirates, Witches, Ghosts, Smugglers, and the Cornish Gods, and so much more.
No matter where the stories are from and how they are told and whether there is a sliver of truth to them. These tales are our magic and its so important to keep the magic alive.

Many of reading this you are probably feeling like you have Déjà Vu, or suffering from a weird sort of Fae Groundhog Day. Basically this was originally a guest post that I did for The Cult Den, who this week sadly announced their closure. So I thought I would put it here for everyone to (hopefully) enjoy.

Gardens Of The Moon (Malazan Book Of The Fallen: 1) By Steven Erikson

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A few months ago I read and reviewed my first Erikson read and, as many of you who read my humble bloggage will know, I didn’t like it very much. So naturally I was apprehensive starting a massive series by the same author.
But, dear friends, I bit the proverbial bullet and ventured forth into book one of the Malazan series. And goodness me, what a venture it was.

The Malazan series has always been described to me as the height of Epic Fantasy. And the author’s Magnum Opus, so to speak.
Gardens of the Moon throws the reader into the deep and then proceeds to lead them on a vast voyage of discovery. The Empire are seeking more control and with Empress Laseen at the helm, it seems it won’t be long till the world Is in the palm of her hand.
Now, Laseen has her sight set on the City of Darujhistan, the last of the Free Cities of Genabackis. However the disbanded Bridgeburners (a veteran unit of the Malaz army) and an unlikely group of Darujhistan citizens will be moved like pieces around a board by the meddlesome Gods of the world, and Gods can be ever so unpredictable.
It has been described by many to be very much Influenced by Greek mythology.

Gardens of The Moon is the first book that I have read that has made me somewhat grateful to be a slow reader. Every detail is important and even if at first glance it doesn’t appear to be. Im telling myself that the questions I have upon finishing GoTM, will be answered in later books.
Erikson sets up a wonderful cast of characters against a backdrop that has wonderful worldbuilding, and adds a really exciting magic system to the mix. Talking of which, the system of Warrens (a source of magic among other things) felt to me, like a world within a world. And I had a horrible dream in which I was chased through one of these Warrens by a rather creepy sorcerer.
Needless to say that I was absolutely riveted by this book and the cosmic storytelling by Erikson. It has everything a fan of Epic Fantasy would love. Nuances that one will not soon forget and characters that you can really invest in and see the world through their eyes. As I write this I am reading book two (Deadhouse Gates) and I can happily say that I think I shall be spending a lot more time in Erikson’s world.
On a complete tangent, before I read this, I pronounced it Mah-lah-zahn, which makes it sound like a fantasy alternative to the clothing retailer Matalan. I don’t think that is the correct way but it made me, with my silly sense of humor, smile.
I loved Gardens of The Moon and that’s my truth.

This book is available now from Bantam Books

The Moustached Man’s Marvellous Mix of Metal Magic 2014

Yeah, I know what you are all thinking- Another list of stuff? Groan grumble groan. And yes that maybe true but this is new territory for me and I promise i wont keep you long, I’LL KEEP YOU FOREVER!

Ok, Slayer reference aside

I have listened to some cracking Metal this year and have recommended the odd one here and there to whomever wants some recommendations. So I thought i would do my top five  albums from 2014 that at present I cant live without

These are in no particular order as I really couldnt decide what I liked more as they are quite different even in subtle ways. This is the first time Ive done anything on my blog about Metal

Number #5: Archspire – The Lucid Collective 

Archspire are from Canada and i totally discovered them by accident and Im so glad that I did. This album has everything I could ever want. Musically its very technical, which is awesome but the songs are more than just clever arrangements and fantastic musicianship. Its like getting punched by the Hulk and then jumped on by Iron Man in the Hulkbuster whilst trying to keep your jaw off the floor.

Number #4: Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails 

Fallujah are from San Francisco and like Archspire I accidentally discovered them. This album blew me away and since then I have looked at their back catalogue which is just as amazing. Again this on the technical side of Metal, but with a real progressive feel that creates a rather stunning atmospherical recording. Some of the breakdowns will give you goosebumps and the riffs are just an endless onslaught of brilliance. The song in the link was my standout track, the harmonisation of the instruments is just spine tingling. Also the covers of their albums are pretty awesome too.

Number #3: Ne Oblivscaris – Citadel

This is the second album by the Australian, extreme progressive metal outift. And if you thought Fallujah was atmospheric then this album takes all that atmosphere and enhances it. Again this band is another example of fantastic musicianship, and the violin played by Tim Charles, (who also does the bands most lovely clean vocals) adds a real special layer of beauty to this wonderful album. I could talk about this incredibly melodic album for ages as it definitely one that needs to be added to your album collection, and you can slap whatever label you like on it but this is in a class of its own.

Number #2: Job For A Cowboy – Sun Eater

This is an interesting one. This is the Arizona metallers fourth album and the first one that I actually liked. With their previous albums I could never connect with it, and I didnt bother with them until this little monster. It has a rawness that the other JfAC albums dont have. The riffs are really crushing and the vocals are much improved from the bands previous efforts but this is a good thing as it is an example of a band that has evolved for the better, in my humble opinion, and It does make me want to give their previous albums another listen. Also the mix of Sun Eater is just lovely.

Number #1: Animals as Leaders – The Joy of Motion 

I adore this band and have always enjoyed their musical marvellousness and lovely time changes. For a three piece band they have such a powerful sound and probably some of the best playing I have heard. The bands lineup comprises of two guitarists (Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes) who play eight string guitars and a very talented drummer (Matt Garstka.) And their intsrumental mastery crosses the genre labels in a very cosmic fashion. Although I loved Weightless (2011) this album is something else and more.

So there we are my dear friends, my top five. All these albums are available now so treat yourself with a bit of Metal. After all, what is Christmas without it,  just ask Christopher Lee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVzOve8T39w

Mage’s Blood by David Hair (Moontide Quartet book one): Review

I do like a nice intricately woven tome now and again. I had heard a lot about this series from Steph (Aka Mogsy) who is one of the reviewers from the wonderful Bibliosanctum .

So when I finished it, my wife asks me if I had enjoyed it? My reply was full of mumbles until i finally said, “I didnt hate it.”

It was only when I let the contents of the story swim around my mind, thinking more on its finer points, did i decide that actually I had just read something that was pretty bloody special. And I stand by this.

So the basis of the story is the lands of Antiopia and Yuros are separated by what appears to be a rather large ocean. Something pretty cool happens each Moontide when the Leviathan bridge rises from the depths to connect to both of these places for trade etc. But  as with all things there are those that are not very happy and the bridge has been used for conquest. So tensions are slightly at breaking point as another Moontide is around the corner. War is at hand.

Amongst all this the story focuses on several different characters and their own trials and tribulations on the build up to Moontide. Antonin Meiros, who is a very old mage is looking for a wife, so he travels to Lakh in Antiopia where we meet his wife-to-be, Ramita but my dear friends, she is already betrothed to Kazim. And then in the North the reader meets Elena Anborn who is the bodyguard of a royal family but yet much more than just a bodyguard. And then we meet Alaron Mercer who is about to take his final exams to lawfully become a Mage in Noros. Alaron is Elena Anborn’s nephew (its worth mentioning that Alaron’s mother and Elena’s sister has a pretty cool name … Tesla. Just thought I would mention that.) And finally one of the stories main antagonists is Gurvon Gyle who seems to be in control of a lot of things and makes life very difficult for Elena and the Javon  royal family, which in turn effects everything else.

This book has been likened to A Game Of Thrones and even though I can see that link I think this is a book that deserves to be read without any preconceived ideas of GoT. As I have mentioned everything is connected and even with things that dont seem to be integral to the storys’ plot, it turns out they very much are. So In this I really applaud the attention to detail that the author has shown. I felt at times this book had elements of grimdark but it was done in a way of emphasis and not in a gratuitous manner, also, I give this book the award for “Sex-scene-that-will-put-you-off-your-dinner.”

The ending of this novel is a proper “Wow!” moment, and rather unforgettable. It really left things nicely for The Scarlet Tides to carry on with.  A smooth but powerful ending.

So if someone were to ask me if I enjoyed Mages Blood now? I would tell them that I certainly did enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone who loves Fantasy. And thats my truth.

You can find out more about the author here

Mages Blood is available now from Jo Fletcher Books 28118-mage27sblood

The Fantasy Super Wonder Group!

Now as most of you know, I do like music a bit … Ok, a lot! i listen to a lot of genres but Im mostly (and always have) been into Metal and most of its many, many different sub-genres. Be it Death, Black, Power, Tech Death, Prog, well you get the picture. Metal aside for the moment, I do listen to listen to a lot of other things. For those of you that know me, you will know that I am a massive fan of Rush, Toto, Steely Dan, Yes, King Crimson, Camel etc. I could go on and on and on. But I will leave that for another time.

So, with me and my tangent-like mind, I thought about this- What if the some characters from many Fantasy books came together and formed a band? Ok, so some of the characters that i have chosen dont actually play any instruments but lets just say that they do and it just was never mentioned or they were practicing their instrument of choice between the pages. STAY WITH ME PEOPLE! Ahem … Ok, heres what I came up with.

Name of Character – The Marquis de Carabas

Book – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Instrument – Vocals 

When I was reading this book, the Marquis reminded me of a vocalist I used to play music with. very self confident and arrogant, and a bit of a dandy. This does mean that his stage wear would be rather flamboyant, and Im sure he would give the audience a good show. As far as his vocal style goes, I imagine him to sound a little like Geoff Tate from the band Queensrÿche with a little bit of Jim Morrison from The Doors.

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Name of Character – Kvothe

Book – Kingkiller Chronicle series (The Name of The Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear.) By Pat Rothfuss

Instrument – Guitar (7 string)

But Kvothe plays a lute! I hear you cry. Yes, I know he plays a lute but in this band I thought he could play a guitar, and seven string no less. Im sure he could handle it. Yes it might seem like an obvious choice to have Kvothe in this band but personally with a musician as talented as Temerant’s own Hendrix of the lute, It would be silly not to have his string wizardry. In the Pat Rothfuss’ Kvothe is a dedicated musician and knows a wide range of songs. I decided to give him a seven string as I reckon he could handle it. As far as style goes I see Kvothe as a sort of cross between Richie Blackmore from Deep Purple and Blackmore’s night, with a little bit of virtuosity in the style of neo-classical mega shredder, Yngwie Malmsteen.

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Name of Character – Vin Venture

Book – The Mistborn trilogy (The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages.) by Brandon Sanderson

Instrument – Drums

Lets face it doing what Vin does being an Allomancer (magic through using certain types of metals when swallowed) there is something very rhythmic about the way she fights and leaps into action. So she would be a perfect drummer and with her throwing coins about the place imagine the speeds and drum fills she could do, she wouldnt even need sticks! and belonged to Kelsier’s crew she already has experience of working within a group albeit a very different type of group. I would imagine Vin playing drums in the style of say Phil Collins and his complex drum patterns from the Genesis album Selling England By the Pound, and perhaps a little Stewart Copeland from The Police with those lovely cymbal and Hi-Hat flourishes, and perhaps a touch of Neil Peart from Rush. final-empire

Name of character – Wydrin the Copper Cat of Crosshaven

Book – The Copper Promise by Jennifer Williams

Instrument – Bass

Well, there were other candidates for the bassist of this little group but my mind kept returning to the Copper Cat, the adventurer with her twin blades and one particular scene involving some rather flashy eye wear in The Copper Promise that probably makes her one of the grooviest characters ever Bass players are groovy … Im not just saying that because I am one but being a bassist is all about groove and Wydrin more than qualifies for this. Her playing style would be a cross between Doug Wimbish from Living Colour, and Martín Mendez from Opeth, a lovely mixture of funk slap style with some really rocking grooves interwoven with some lovely bass fills, as well as a lovely smoothness to her playng style and tone. posting-cover.jpg So what we have here is a band that totally defies the bounds of musical genre and would create a kind of music that would be all kinds of cosmic. Something that incoporates folk metal with lashings of prog rock, and reggae beats with a rather funky groove and soaring, gritty and yet velvet vocals. And to our next question, what does one call such a group of chart smashers? I shall leave that to you dear readers

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett: Review

I have to admit I really didnt know what to expect from this book. Its plot focuses on a lot of themes that are neatly interwoven and have some really mind blowing consequences.

I have never read anything else by Mr Bennet although after reading this Im really wanting to read American Elsewhere.

But I digress.

City Of Stairs focuses on the city of Bulikov (The City of Stairs) and Buliokov is situated in the Continent. It used to be a great power in the world, and ruled over Saypur, that was until the ‘Night of The Red Sands ‘when the Kaj ( a military leader) killed one of the continent’s six Divine Gods, thus putting Saypur in the overall position of power and ruling  over the continent and Bulikov with an iron fist. Fast forward to 1719 and the murder of Efrem Pangyui. Ashara Thivani is sent as a diplomat by the Saypur ministry to investigate the mysterious death of her mentor and friend, with her secretary Sigrud, a Dreyling ,who, lets just say, can certainly handle himself when push comes to shove. And I really dont mean with pen and paper. Through her investigation of Pangyui’s death, the City of Stairs holds many secrets, and not just to its own people.

If anyone were to ask me “Can you a suggest a good book that has fantastic world building?” I would hand them a copy of this. As Robert Jackson Bennet has painstakingly built something rather special here. The world that surrounds Shara’s investigation, has something of a European feel to it, this, I feel is in both in name and some of the ways that Bennet describes the architecture of Bulikov. To me, Bulikov is a character in this novel and its own search for its identity is quite poignant. Within this world magic, technology and political machinations are all at play, the former being very forbidden in the city but it these hidden things always have a way to burst through. As for the political goings on, in parts it reminded me of the perpetual troubles in Israel and Palestine, and that, to me didnt come across in a high handed way.

The pacing throughout is magnificent as there is so much going on, and it really is a beautifully written. The fight scenes are not done in a gratuitous way but in order to move the story forward at the lovely pace. I got half way and said to my wife, “I really dont want to finish this book … But I must find out what happens!”

This really is an exciting novel, and anything is possible, and I really do mean anything. At points I came up with my own conclusions as to what some of its points actually meant, only to discover that I really was barking up the wrong stair. I say this for many books that I review, but I really and especially do not want to spoil some of its twists and reveals, needless to say that Robert Jackson Bennett has created something that really works splendidly when all added together.

SIgrud, you are an absolute gem of a character.

(Also, I came across this earlier which I thought was beautiful and for me affirms as to what Bennett’s world looks like in my mind http://robertjacksonbennett.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/CityOfBulikov.htm)

City of Stairs is available now from Jo Fletcher books (Quercus,) so forget my ramblings and go grab yourself a copy.

The author is also on twitter @robertjbennett and to find out more about the author check out his site http://robertjacksonbennett.wordpress.com/city-of-stairs/

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The Slow Regard Of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss: Review

I recently read the first two books in Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle and loved both of them, so when I heard that Rothfuss was releasing a novella concerning one of my favourite characters I was sold.
This is Auri’s story, and this book gives the reader an insight to the inner workings of her world whilst still keeping a lot of the mystery about her. The story takes place in her home of the Underthing which is underneath the University it is as mysterious as our character with its labyrinthian corridors which lead into rooms and staircases, pools and doorways to goodness knows where. Each of these places in the Underthing has a name, and like most things in Auri’s world has a true purpose along with its true name.
I find the way Auri does things enthralling. Auri seems to be not all there but then again looking at the world through Auri’s eyes is a much nicer way to view everything, although there does seem to be part of her life that is tinged with a very deep sadness, this however, doesnt seem to show itself a lot of the time. Auri has a fragility to her but also a great strength within her soul.

In truth this is really an odd sort of story but I mean that in a good way. The main focus is on Auri and there is not a speck of dialogue to be found but it really doesnt need it. What I loved about this novella is that although it shone a light on Auri’s life it didnt ruin the mystery about her. She still remains very much an enigma and one thing this story does very well is add more mystery to her. when I was reading this I likened Auri to a sort of invisible caretaker under the University making everything just so, so that everything above is working in order. Then with this thought still in my mind I came to the conclusion that Auri may just not be an invisible caretaker, but almost an integral part of Rothfuss’ world of Temerant, making sure everything is happy and is in its rightful place, making sure that world is turning and the balance is being kept from the confines of the Underthing.

I really loved this story and It made me fall in love with Auri even more. The story is accompanied by illustrations by Nathan Taylor and they really are wonderful.

At the beginning of the book there is a disclaimer of sorts by the author which starts by saying “You might not want to buy this book.” then it goes on to explain that this is has nothing to do with Kvothe’s storyline etc. At the end of the book Rothfuss has explained how The Slow Regard Of Silent Things came to be, and at first I thought that both of these things were a little unnecessary. Then something about these two things reminded me of how I am when it comes to creating things such as a piece of writing or a piece of music. So, I’ll write something or record something then more often than not I show it to my wife as she is the most honest person I know, but before I show the writing/music to her I will explain to her my thought process behind making it, and then say things that almost defend its purpose or reasons before she has even heard/read it. The foreword and afterword by Rothfuss has an honesty to them. I think sometimes we all think that writers can craft these amazing stories as easy as breathing and already know how brilliant they are going to be even with the blank page before them but we know that that is not the case at all, and it is obvious that Rothfuss was unsure about The Slow Regard Of Silent Things, but he need not be as it really is a very special book and It is one I am going to revisit again and again.
One thing I have almost forgot to mention is that the cover for the Uk version (Gollancz/Orion) is absolutely wonderful and truly captures Auri’s free spirit and beautiful soul. TSROSTpic

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is out now via Gollancz http://www.orionbooks.co.uk to find out more about the author visit his website at http://www.patrickrothfuss.com

Your Servants And Your People (The Walkin Trilogy book 2) by David Towsey: Review

YSAYPjpg I have a lot of love for David’s debut (Your Brothers Blood) and If you have not read that then you simply must.
The basic thing to remember when reading YBB and Your Servants and Your People, is that you take everything you knew and thought you knew about Zombies and throw it out the window.
The re-imagining of the Zombie genre is something that has arisen a lot (no pun intended) some are brilliant and others fall flat on their undead behinds i.e the recent zomromcom anyone? But David Towseys creation of a Zombie-Western is truly sublime and its creation breathes new life to what can sometimes be a very tired sub-genre.

So, in Your Servants and Your People we see the Mcdermott family seven years after the events that took place in Your Brothers Blood. Thomas Mcdermott is obviously still dead and a’Walkin and himself and his family (wife Sarah and daughter Mary) are desperately trying to find and start a new life away from the troubles and prejudices from most places in Towsey’s world that dont really like a’Walkins. Thomas wants to start a farm and has set his heart on a piece of land near Fort Wilson and along the way meets a small group of soldiers who travel the rest of the way with the Mcdermott family. Strangely, it reminded me of an old episode of the old Western series Gunsmoke, except for the whole a’walkin thing.
Mr Towsey has created something very wonderful with Your Servants and Your People in the sense that although the whole tone of the book has this elegiac quality to it I personally never found it overly depressing, it instead moves with a lot of beauty and an insight to both sides of life.
About halfway through the book I wasnt sure where it was going, and I dont mean that in a bad way, I was literally on the edge of my reading spot, worrying about the futures of the characters.
Your Servants and Your People also introduces some new characters being that of the blue coat soldiers and their time at Fort Wilson. All I am going to say is Fort Wilson is not a place one would want to go and has that foreboding feeling of say the house from Amytiville Horror and like the town of Barkley in the first book, it becomes a character that in my mind plays a much bigger part in the story than what Barkley did. Towsey has offered up another helping of lovely undead goodness in his second of the Walkin Trilogy and I shall leave you with this- The third book is going to be all kinds of awesome!

Your Servants and Your People is available now via Jo Fletcher Books (www.jofletcherbooks.com) the author can be found on twitter @D_Towsey