Redemption, Remaking, and Revolution: Natalie C. Parker’s Steel Tide


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Caledonia Styx returns knife-quick and bright as ever in Steel Tide, the thrilling, propulsive second installment of the Seafire trilogy. The novel picks up right where the first left off, Caledonia’s seafaring sisterhood pitted against the drugged and manipulated Bullet army, which is led by the vicious Aric Athair. A failed plot to destroy Aric and the murderous Bullet, Lir, leaves Caledonia horribly wounded and, worse, separated from her crew. She wakes to find herself recuperating in a camp of unlikely allies: former Bullets.

They call themselves Blades, and they hate Aric and the Bullets just as much as Caledonia—they know his tyranny firsthand. It’s not easy at first for Caledonia to trust a former Bullet—the first time she did, it cost her nearly everything. The second time, though, it gave her Oren, who became invaluable to the crew of the Mors Navis, and to Caledonia herself. She can’t ...

A Quiet Hero’s Journey: Processing Trauma in Fantasy


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In The Goblin Emperor an airship explodes, killing the emperor and his three eldest sons. We later learn that this was not an accident, but the work of assassins. Later still, we learn that those assassins have been apprehended. Why am I telling you all of this? Doesn’t this ruin the book?

Not remotely, because the book isn’t about any of that. All of those action scenes, the scenes that would be in the trailer for Goblin Emperor: The Movie, happen off-page. Rather than showing us action sequences we’ve seen a thousand times, the book spends its time dealing honestly with aftermaths. As I read it I was reminded of another book that, on the surface, is quite different: Jo Walton’s Hugo-winning Among Others.

When the twins Morwenna and Morganna engage in magical battle with their mother, a witch who wants to destroy the world. It works, but at ...

Revealing the Cover for Alina Boyden’s Stealing Thunder — Plus Read Chapter One!


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We’re thrilled to reveal the cover for Alina Boyden’s Stealing Thunder, an immersive epic fantasy inspired by the Mughal Empire. Stealing Thunder publishes with Ace in May 2020—check out the full cover and preview an excerpt below!

In a different life, under a different name, Razia Khan was raised to be the Crown Prince of Nizam, the most powerful kingdom in Daryastan. Born with the soul of a woman, she ran away at a young age to escape her father’s hatred and live life true to herself.

Amongst the hijras of Bikampur, Razia finds sisterhood and discovers a new purpose in life. By day she’s one of her dera’s finest dancers, and by night its most profitable thief. But when her latest target leads her to cross paths with Arjun Agnivansha, Prince of Bikampur, it is she who has something stolen.

An immediate connection with the prince changes Razia’s ...

Sleeps With Monsters: Is This the Book I Wanted to Read?


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A difficulty haunts me, now, when I’m reviewing or otherwise critiquing books: am I judging the book I in fact read, or the one I wanted to read? Sometimes they’re the same thing. Often they’re not, and the question of how much I resent the novel in front of me for not being different in these specific ways becomes a live and pressing issue.

Part of that’s because I need to reconcile myself to living with my brain on some degree of burnout for the foreseeable future. (It’s dreadfully frustrating to feel duller and more stupid than one used to be all the time.) Part of it, though, is that I’ve been spoiled in the past while by the number of books I’ve read in which queerness was both present (prominent) and unremarkable. It seems I’ve come to expect an acknowledgement that people like me can (do more than ...

Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 62 and 63


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CAKE OR DEATH, Tor.com? Cake? Well, we’re OUT of cake! So instead, have a RROK Goddess of Death with your afternoon tea, won’t you? I thought you would!

This blog series will be covering The Ruin of Kings, the first novel of a five-book series by Jenn Lyons. Previous entries can be found here in the series index.

Today’s post will be covering Chapter 62, “The Gryphon Ring”, and Chapter 63, “Tea with Death.” Please note that from this point forward, these posts will likely contain spoilers for the entire novel, so it’s recommended that you read the whole thing first before continuing on.

Got that? Great! Click on for the rest!

 

Chapter 62: The Gryphon Ring (Talon’s story)

[In which a boy, a thief and an expository interlude walk into a bar, and stop me if you’ve heard this one]

You probably haven’t heard this ...

You Wouldn’t Believe How Lonely You Get: Five Terrible Ways to Live Forever in SFF (And One That’s Actually Pretty Good)


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Science fiction and fantasy are full of horrible ways you can die, but the genre has also been pretty inventive in horrible ways to live forever. There’s something about the fantasy of never dying that brings out the pedant and the cynic in us all. What would you do with all that time? Wouldn’t you lose your humanity? Surely there’d have to be an awful downside? And, of course – what terrible thing would you do to get it?

In Greek myth, Tithonus asked for eternal life, but forgot about eternal youth, and shriveled up into a grasshopper. Immortality always has a gotcha clause. Maybe it’s just too good to be true, or too painful to imagine, given that it’s not something we’re ever going to get. Either way, if you really want to live forever you’d better read the small print.

 

The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones

...

Reading the Wheel of Time: The Rise of the Evil Bubbles in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 4)


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Reading The Wheel of Time on Tor.com: The Shadow Rising

Perrin and Faile find the halls of the Stone surprisingly busy with both off-duty Defenders as well as servants making their way to and fro. Perrin keeps his head down unless he is right in the light of a torch, not wanting people to observe his eyes glowing gold in the dim parts of the hall. No one has mentioned his eyes, of course, not now as servants bow as they pass or at other times—not even Faile has asked him about them—but Perrin still feels uneasy whenever someone seems to notice his golden gaze, and when they don’t say anything, it reminds him of how apart he is from other people.

The Defenders mostly bow when Perrin and Faile pass, but they also start or give them suspicious looks before hurrying away as if they are afraid of Perrin, which puts him on edge. He wonders aloud to Faile ...

An Introduction to the Worlds of The Witcher


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A warrior roaming the lands has gained notoriety among the commonfolk. Word of his deeds has spread far, and his approach strikes fear at the heart of the most formidable opponent. Known as the “Butcher of Blaviken” or the “White Wolf,” Geralt of Rivia’s reputation as a killer of men and monsters has earned him appreciation and disdain in equal measure. Better known by his famed moniker The Witcher, Geralt goes where no man dares. He answers bounties and notices posted by the citizens of the continent, calls for aid in ridding their towns of haunting menaces or in breaking curses that trouble the innocent: blood for coin. And in his mastery of the sword— rumours telling of a steel blade for men, a silver blade for non-humans—he is almost unrivaled.

Geralt hails from Kaer Morhen, a once-formidable fortress that in ages past served as a witchers’ settlement. It ...

Five Forgotten Swordsmen and Swordswomen of Fantasy


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Howard: I suppose the first thing we should do is lay the groundwork. This is about FORGOTTEN fantasy swords, people—that doesn’t necessarily mean so obscure that no one’s ever heard of them, and it also doesn’t mean every sword-wielding character ever created. I’m thinking we should focus on neglected characters that ought to get discussed, celebrated, or read more often. Especially read more.

Todd: S’right.

Howard: I also think we ought to avoid characters who aren’t forgotten. Conan, say.

Todd: Dammit, there’s too many rules already. Let’s just get started.

Howard: All right then, I’ll cheat and nominate a character who’s not even technically a fantasy character. The trick is that he was created by Harold Lamb, who had a huge influence on sword-and-sorcery prior to its invention by Robert E. Howard, creator of the aforementioned Conan. Howard named Harold Lamb as a favorite author, and it’s easy to see ...

Continue Jin Yong’s Kung Fu Wuxia Epic A Hero Born: “Swirling Sands” (Part 5)


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Jin Yong’s A Hero Born is a fantastical generational saga and kung fu epic, filled with an extraordinary cast of characters. This Chinese classic—coming to the U.S. for the first time on September 17th as translated by Anna Holmwood for St. Martin’s Press—is a tale of fantasy and wonder, love and passion, treachery and war, betrayal and brotherhood.

Want to start reading now? Tor.com is serializing selections from A Hero Bornyou can find all the previous chapters here! And check back every morning this week for another installment of the third episode: “Swirling Sands”.

 

CHAPTER TWO
“Swirling Sands”

 

5

 

One day, Guo Jing was playing with some of the other children when two riders came galloping into the encampment with urgent news for the Khan. They rushed to Temujin’s ger and within moments the horns were sounded and soldiers ran from their tents. ...

Continue Jin Yong’s Kung Fu Wuxia Epic A Hero Born: “Swirling Sands” (Part 4)


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Jin Yong’s A Hero Born is a fantastical generational saga and kung fu epic, filled with an extraordinary cast of characters. This Chinese classic—coming to the U.S. for the first time on September 17th as translated by Anna Holmwood for St. Martin’s Press—is a tale of fantasy and wonder, love and passion, treachery and war, betrayal and brotherhood.

Want to start reading now? Tor.com is serializing selections from A Hero Bornyou can find all the previous chapters here! And check back every morning this week for another installment of the third episode: “Swirling Sands”.

 

CHAPTER TWO
“Swirling Sands”

 

4

 

Guo Jing waited until darkness had fallen and the soldiers charged with clearing the battlefield had left, before emerging from his bush and starting back.

It was well past midnight by the time he arrived home, where Lily Li had been waiting with ever ...

Lore Over Love: The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga


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The book begins in a suitably disconcerting setting: a Victorian-style graveyard in the mysterious city of Caligo. A young man, Roger X. Weathersby, is stalking the dead. Roger is the titular Resurrectionist—a grave-robber who seeks out just-barely-cold bodies to sell to institutions of science and learning. Caligo is made up of a fictional London mixed with a dash of New Orleans houdou, a blend of deeply ingrained classist institutions and social ranks mixing alongside a royal pantheon of blueblood sorcerers, all said to be descended from… a selkie?

Well, if we’re going to go there, I suppose we should go there. The book has a huge amount of lore stuffed into its pages, and it seems like each chapter introduces a new royal connection, magical ability, cultural critique, or social norm. The mythology of the world is expansive, and the strange magical gifts are both bizarre and unexplained, in a ...

Continue Jin Yong’s Kung Fu Wuxia Epic A Hero Born: “Swirling Sands” (Part 3)


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Jin Yong’s A Hero Born is a fantastical generational saga and kung fu epic, filled with an extraordinary cast of characters. This Chinese classic—coming to the U.S. for the first time on September 17th as translated by Anna Holmwood for St. Martin’s Press—is a tale of fantasy and wonder, love and passion, treachery and war, betrayal and brotherhood.

Want to start reading now? Tor.com is serializing selections from A Hero Bornyou can find all the previous chapters here! And check back every morning this week for another installment of the third episode: “Swirling Sands”.

 

CHAPTER TWO
“Swirling Sands”

 

3

 

Years passed. Lily Li named the boy Guo Jing as Qiu Chuji had suggested. He was a slow developer, speaking his first words only at the age of four, but he was strong and able to herd cattle and sheep all by himself. Mother ...

Revealing the Cover to Kathleen Jenning’s Debut Novella Flyaway


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We’re thrilled to share the cover for Kathleen Jenning’s Flyaway. Transformation, enchantment, and the emotional truths of family history teem in this stunning debut novella. Check out the full cover below!

Flyaway arrives July 2020 from Tor.com Publishing.

In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers—a note that makes question her memories of their disappearance and her father’s departure.

A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose search for the truth throws her into tales of eerie dogs, vanished schools, cursed monsters, and enchanted bottles.

In these pages Jennings assures you that gothic delights, uncanny family horror, and strange, unsettling prose can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun.

Holly Black describes as “half mystery, half fairy tale, all exquisitely rendered ...

“We Are Each Other’s Harvest”: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi


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Before Jam was born, the world went to war. Not against each other but against monsters, people who did terrible things to others and those who permitted them to operate. A few people, later called angels, led the revolution and destroyed or locked up the monsters, often having to act monstrously themselves. Now there is peace and happiness.

In the town of Lucille, Jam, a selectively mute transgender Black girl grows up believing everything is perfect. After all, the town slogan is “We are each other’s harvest. We are each other’s business. We are each other’s magnitude and bond,” taken from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem Paul Robeson. There is no hatred, no bigotry, no abuse. Or so they say. But Lucille isn’t a utopia for everyone. For some it is a monster’s playground, for others their own private hell. The monsters aren’t gone, they just learned to hide.

When Jam accidentally ...

Read the First Two Chapters From Steel Crow Saga


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Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle. Paul Kruger’s Steel Crow Saga is available September 24th from Del Rey—read the first two chapters below!

Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and against her own flesh and blood.

Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.

Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of ...

Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 60 and 61


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I never really cared until I met you, Tor.com! Have a post in token of how I Heart you!

This blog series will be covering The Ruin of Kings, the first novel of a five-book series by Jenn Lyons. Previous entries can be found here in the series index.

Today’s post will be covering Chapter 60, “The Invitation”, and Chapter 61, “Guardians of the Cage.” Please note that from this point forward, these posts will likely contain spoilers for the entire novel, so it’s recommended that you read the whole thing first before continuing on.

Got that? Great! Click on for the rest!

 

Chapter 60: The Invitation (Talon’s story)

[In which Galen and Kihrin hear an unexpected conversation they probably shouldn’t, and receive an unexpected warning they definitely should.]

So You’re Summoning A Demon; ask Darzin how!

At this point in the story the reader ...

Continue Jin Yong’s Kung Fu Wuxia Epic A Hero Born: “Swirling Sands” (Part 2)


This post is by Jin Yong from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Jin Yong’s A Hero Born is a fantastical generational saga and kung fu epic, filled with an extraordinary cast of characters. This Chinese classic—coming to the U.S. for the first time on September 17th as translated by Anna Holmwood for St. Martin’s Press—is a tale of fantasy and wonder, love and passion, treachery and war, betrayal and brotherhood.

Want to start reading now? Tor.com is serializing selections from A Hero Bornyou can find all the previous chapters here! And check back every morning this week for another installment of the third episode: “Swirling Sands”.

 

CHAPTER TWO
“Swirling Sands”

 

2

 

Justice Duan grabbed at Lily Li, slipped out of the temple and began running. Some distance thence, he looked back, and was relieved to see no one following them. He slowed the pace and made for the river. There he spotted a small boat, ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: The Boys Confront Themselves (Kind of) in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 3)


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Reading The Wheel of Time on Tor.com: The Shadow Rising

Welcome, everyone, to chapter two and week 3 of The Shadow Rising.

I loved this chapter. It might be one of my favorite chapters to date, in fact. Meeting up with Perrin, Mat, and Rand both serves to remind us where they are and also show us how they’ve grown since the end of The Dragon Reborn (looking at you, Perrin). And then of course there’s the attacks, which are beautifully imaginative and described in perfect, vivid detail. It’s very cinematic, this chapter, and I could picture everything as though I were watching it on a big screen.

I have a lot of feelings and compassion for all three of our Emond’s Field boys this week, and I am so curious as to what could have caused these strange occurrences. Perrin and Mat believe it was Rand, while Rand thinks it was an attack by one of the Forsaken. Perhaps ...

Are You The One? Exploring The Chosen One Trope in SFF


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The Chosen One is a trope that predates the genre of fantasy and even literature itself. It certainly pops up in just about every religious scripture, Arthurian legend, most mythologies, and seems to permeate our modern day media, from fantasy books to anime, video games, and popular TV shows. You could even say that this trope occurs in the real world, when we hold up some politician or leader as the one that’s going to solve all our problems and save the world. Chosen Ones can be chosen by another person or entity, their lineage, a prophecy, some particular trait they possess (i.e. being “pure of heart”), or some action that they themselves take.

It’s become such a staple of the fantasy genre in particular that nearly all fantasy stories incorporate or invoke the trope in some manner. It can also be pretty lazy storytelling. It can override the ...