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

The City Stained Red (Bring Down Heaven Book 1) By Sam Sykes: Review

 

 

The City Stained Red-

 

If you are not already familiar with the “fantasy legend” that is Sam Sykes, then get thee to a book shop! I had previously read the Aeons Gate trilogy by the same author so was very pleased to hear that another series was to be expected and with the same characters.

Sam Sykes weaves a gritty, twisting and winding staircase of a story. And this novel is no exception. There are dark moments, there are moments in which there is enough destruction to rival the explosions of a Michael Bay picture, and of course all of this sprinkled with a delicious frosting of Sam Sykes humour.

                  “You can’t lie to a sword.”

But more importantly to all of this, its about the characters. And as previously mentioned, The City Stained Red sees the Lenk, Kataria, Asper, Dreadaeleon, Gariath, and Denaos tracking down the priest who owes the adventurers gold. And to do this they must enter Cier’ Djaal, the City of Silk. Oh, and do it without killing each other first.

Sam Sykes has taken a city that in theory sounds wounderful in name, but is hell in so many ways. The spiders are the main source of income to the city’s fashas and the poor are very poor. The city devours its own and spits their carcasses into the Souk. There is tension everywhere, on a knife’s edge ready to fall one way or the other, and thats just a glimpse of the Cieer’ Djaal! Oh, and to add a very dangerous weight to tip the balance, a demon by the name of Koth Khapira is trying to return, and his cultist followers are making way for his impending arrival.

“I cant imagine any God would be boring enough to want to know how everything ends.”

The story takes place completely in the confines of Cier’ Djaal and is a very engaging read.  The character POV switches keep the pacing nice and quick and this book definitely had a real nice pace to it. The timing of fight scenes and of the humour is absolutely bang-on. At times there are moments after a bloody big scrap (and I mean bloody) where all seems to be calm-ish and something particularly funny will be said. And this one thing I wanted to mention the humour from the characters is done in an incidental manner i.e no one is trying to be funny. When Gariath says something that could come across as humorous, he isnt doing it because he thinks its funny, he is doing it because he is a large, red dragonman who has little patience for humans and their conversational behaviours, and saying one thing but meaning the opposite. Now to the reader his impatience and abrutness can come across as funny in the way that he does things.

                  “Moustaches are inherently villainous.”

Sam Sykes has crafted a splendid adventure story here, and I really had times where I could not put the book down and forced myself with eyes so tired to read one more chapter, and then another. The diversity between the characters and their voices is fantastic and I noticed that my favourite character changed constantly, (right now its Gariath … Or, Kataria. Doh!) Im very much looking forward to what happens in book two, and as for The City Stained Red there are some moments that you will really not see coming and some that will leave the reader wondering how the characters are going to get through it all. Alive.

 

The City Stained Red is out now from Gollancz and you can find more about the author from his website http://www.samsykes.com also on twitter where is tweets are rather brilliant, so if you are not already following him he is @SamSykesSwears

The Moustached Man talks to Edward Cox author of The Relic Guild: Interview

So this is a first for me. Edward Cox, author of the debut novel The Relic Guild agreed to do an interview with me and I never had to bribe him in cake or nothing. Its a pleasure to have Edward as my first vic- I mean Interview-ee type person.

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(Q1) Tell us a bit about the Relic Guild

Ok, I’ve been working on a pitch, here goes: At the centre of an endless labyrinth, in a city trapped behind walls one hundred feet high, young Clara is about to become the unwitting participant in the machinations of higher magic. It falls to her to reunite the last of a secret band of magickers called the Relic Guild. Together they must find a way to save one million humans from an age old menace that is about to return.

(Q2) How did the Relic Guild start forming as an idea in your head? In other words what was it about this story that made you think, “I have to write this.”

It has been a gradual process, resulting from years of hoarded ideas and inspirations. It just all seemed to come together when I hit upon the idea for a forbidden city at the centre of a gigantic labyrinth. And the book The Relic Guild became is based upon the original version that I wrote for a Master’s degree. There’s been a lot of build-up and development on this project.

(Q3) In terms of world building, the Relic Guild is vast. Is there anything that you really wanted to feature but for one reason or another couldn’t?

The worlds outside the city’s boundary walls. We hear a lot about the doorways that used to exist in the labyrinth that led to strange and mysterious Houses, but we don’t get to see them in book 1. There wasn’t room for them. However, this means that I got to play with these Houses in book 2, which will expand the universe quite considerably.

(Q4) In your Bio it states that you are a bit of David Gemmell fan. Are there any other authors that you are influenced by, and what is it about their writings that influence you?

How long would you like this list to be? There’s Michael Moorcock, who taught me to never fear my own imagination; Tad Williams, for letting a story be what it wants to be; Angela Carter and Neil Gaiman, who taught me to look at stories from different angles. There are more…so many more J

(Q5) One of your main characters is an Empath. Which I find fascinating. What was it about Empaths that made you want to feature them in your novel?

You know, this is an interesting one. We’re used to empathy being a positive thing, but I wondered what empathy would really mean to an empath, to someone who uses it as a magical ability. Truly feeling someone else’s emotions, and being able to manipulate those emotions, sort of puts you in a powerful position. It can be handy to calm dangerous situations, but what if you could also convince a person to ‘feel’ that letting someone drown, for example, was a good thing to do? It’s the scope of empathic magic that intrigues me, and gets explored more in book 2.

(Q6) The Technology in the RG is very advanced. What is your personal favourite touch of tech featured?

The spirit compass. It’s one Samuel’s favourite toys, and a handy device for a bounty hunter to have. If you feed a hair or piece of skin into the compass, then it will track the spirit of the donor. I like it because it’s a mix between tech and magic, which fits well in the world of The Relic Guild.

(Q7) Can you tell us anything about the sequel or possible sequels? And is there anything that you really want to focus on within your world that you havent done yet?

Well…exploring the worlds outside the Labyrinth, which I’ve said. We also get to see some of the war between Spiral and the Timewatcher. Being so afraid of spoilers, I don’t really want to say too much. But I will say this: all things are known in the end.

(Q8) In three words sum up the experience of writing, completing, and releasing your first novel?

Amazing. Terrifying. Joyous.

(Q9) Cake is possibly one of, if not, your most favourite edible thing. Whats your favourite and why?

Cake. Because cake.

(Q10) Can I join the Relic Guild? And is there a badge?

Of course you can join the Relic Guild. And NO! There’s no badge, Mr Silly Bear. Your identities are secret! (oh, you also have to give up everything else in your life. You still in? It’s for a good cause…)

Thanks Ed for conducting the first interview on SMOAWGMM.

The Relic Guild is available now from Gollancz and all good book shops you can follow Ed on twitter @Edwardcox10

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UPDATED: Hi everyone, I have been speaking to Ed via the twittersphere and He would personally like to thank all of yourselves for the cool, kind comments! And to let all of you lovely people know that currently there is no US release date, however, the good news is that those wonderful Gollancz folk are working on it. Yayy!!!

The Moustached Mans Reading Plans.

This might be a new feature on the blog or it might just be a whimsical flash in the pan (Oh the suspense.)
Sometimes there are a lot of books that I read that I dont actually get around to reviewing, these are mainly competition wins or books that have been sitting on my shelf and on Mount-to-be-read, which seems to grow constantly.

So this is what I have been reading lately and what I am reading now:

Extinction Game by Gary Gibson – published by Tor Uk
Extinction-Game Parallel apocalyptic worlds, some awesome twists and turns. Extinction Game is fast paced enjoyable SF read.

Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor – published by Penguin Books
9780140371741H Not an SFF novel but a heartbreaking tale of racism, family life in the American Depression, and standing up for your rights.

Dune by Frank Herbert published as part of the SF Masterworks series by Gollancz
isbn9780575081505-detail I am finally reading Dune and It really is a wonder why I havent read it before it has everything that I love in SFF.

And thats that for the minute. Soon I shall be planning to read the Honorverse books by David Weber et al and probably a re-read of The Iron Elves by Chris Evans

The Relic Guild by Edward Cox: Review

A great evil, a vast town in a strange world, a changeling, and a rather cool bounty hunter.
mixed all together these create some of the elements that are part of the The Relic Guild. The reader will notice that when you read this book, the featured complicated architectural and world building constructs make you feel a part of Labrys Town and as the pages turn one can see how these all function in Edward Cox’s vast and expanse universe.
Now, I love a maze. And reading The Relic Guild is like walking through a super cool maze. Discovering hidden passages, finding dead ends, not knowing where on earth you are going to end up, and then being chased by Jack Nicholson. Except that The Relic Guild doesnt have Jack Nicholson chasing people through Labrys Town (Although we can but hope for such in the sequel. Fingers crossed.)
In all seriousness Cox has created a superb maze-like and labyrinthian novel.

The reader will discover the world and its intricate inner workings through the eyes of some very interesting characters. Marney the empath, Old Man Sam the bounty hunter, and Peppercorn Clara a prostitute who can also change into a wolf. These three characters we meet at the start of the novel as well as the Illusionist Van Bam who is the Resident of the Timewatcher’s construct ‘The Nightshade’ which is a source of fear amongst the residents- or denizens as they are referred as in the story. The Timewatcher is the creator of magic and pure magic is wielded by the Thaumaturgists who are the most loyal subjects to the Timewatcher. The Timewatcher and her subjects were caught up in a war forty years ago with the Genii who are renegade Thaumaturgists and believe themselves to be the ones who should be calling the shots in the world.
The story takes place forty years on from the Genii War and then a series of flashbacks takes us back to see some of the characters overcome the trials of love and war. Also Old Man Sam is not so old.

The flashbacks are really written and give the reader a deeper understanding of the characters and the Labyrinth and how Labrys Town worked in the past and the comparisons that are drawn but with the focus being our main characters, as they are the magickers keeping everything safe or at least trying to. The book ends with the flashback guild and the current guild both in dangerous situations and leaves a very tasty cliffhanger.
With an ever-looming threat re-emerging the Relic Guild really do have their work cut out for them.

The Relic Guild leaves questions that will hopefully be answered in the sequel/s and there is one character I would really like to have seen more of.
Summed up The Relic Guild is like a twisting, looping, and flipping ride of a cosmic roller-wonder coaster and who knows where the author is going to take us in future books. I found that there was touches of an almost 2000AD influence with The Retrospective (a dangerous no mans land outside the labyrinth) being a kind of Cursed Earth and the novel did, at times, have a Doctor Who feel to it. See what you think.

The Relic Guild is out today (18th sept 2014) and is available from Gollancz Edward Cox is also on twitter @EdwardCox10 and keep an eye out on the blog for an upcoming interview with the author himself.the-relic-guide-cover1