A Storm of Swords Part 2: Blood and Gold by George R R Martin

There’s just no way of getting around it. This is the fourth (second half of book three?) book in an on-going series and there will likely be something akin to mild spoilers beyond this point. At least I expect there will be, what with George R.R. Martin’s penchant for killing characters off and whatnot. As ever, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Fear cuts deeper than swords.  The Starks are scattered. Robb Stark may be King in the North, but he must bend to the will of the old tyrant Walder Frey if he is to hold his crown. And while his youngest sister, Ayra, has escaped the clutches of the depraved Cersei Lannister and her son, the capricious boy-king Joffrey, Sansa Stark remains their captive, trapped in marriage with Joffrey’s deformed uncle, the embittered dwarf Tyrion. Meanwhile, across the ocean, Daenerys Stormborn, last heir of the Dragin King, delivers death to the slave-trading cities of Astapor and Yunaki as she approaches Westeros with vengeance in her heart. Wow, time flies when you’re having fun. Has it really been a year already? For those that don’t know, I am attempting to read each book from A Song of Ice and Fire just…

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

Meet me, Jarra. Earth Girl. It’s the year 2788, and the universe is divided into two different kinds of people: the Norms, who can portal between different planets, and people like me, the one in a thousand who are born with an immune system which doesn’t allow us to leave planet Earth. Norms come back to Earth for one reason: to study human history. But only if the don’t have to interact with us ‘Neanderthals’ along the way. Well, I’ve got a plan to change all that. Call me whatever you like, I’m every bit as good as they are. And I’m going to prove it to them. Just imagine you live in an age where humanity has finally reached the stars and we are able to travel to distant planets in the blink of an eye. The whole universe is out there waiting to be explored, but by a simple twist of fate you have to stay behind. Not only that, but all those that are able to travel between worlds look down at you. To them, your kind are to be pitied like some sort of sub-human. Jarra is an excellent student and is given the opportunity to join…

The Rise of The Iron Moon by Stephen Hunt
Fantasy , Harper Voyager , Stephen Hunt / December 3, 2011

How can one plucky orphan girl save the world from ultimate destruction? Born into captivity as a product of the Royal Breeding House, lonely orphan Purity Drake suddenly finds herself on the run with a foreign vagrant after accidentally killing one of her guards. Her mysterious rescuer claims to have escaped from terrible forces who mean to enslave the Kingdom of Jackals as they conquered his own nation. Purity doubts the story, until reports begin to filter through from Jackals’ neighbours of a murderous Army of Shadows, marching across the continent and sweeping all before them. But there’s more to Purity Drake than meets the eye. And as Jackals girds itself for war against a near-indestructible army, it soon becomes clear that the Kingdom’s only hope is a strange little orphan girl and the last, desperate plan of an escaped slave from a land far, far away. Back in July, I picked up Jack Cloudie by Stephen Hunt. I had never read any of his books but I was sold on the premise by the cover alone. It was a lot of fun and afterwards, I mentally took note that I must try to pick up the other novels in the series. Jump forward a…

The End Specialist by Drew Magary
Drew Magary , Harper Voyager , Sci-Fi / September 21, 2011

If you had the chance to live forever, would you take it? It is the year 2019. The cure for ageing has been discovered. If you get the cure, you will never suffer the aches and pains of the old, you will always retain your youthful looks, you will never leave your loved ones behind. Do you… a) Get the cure b) Ignore the cure, grow old and die c) Become a licensed End Specialist for the US Government For John Farrell. It’s not so much of a choice as a mission his life depends on. Before you start reading this review do me a quick favour; go and take a good look at yourself in a mirror right now. It’s ok I’ll wait here… Good, you came back. Now, I’m looking for some honesty here. If you had the choice to stay exactly as you are at this moment in time would you take it?  I’m not worried about your weight or the colour/style of your hair. I want to know if you would be happy with your age? I’ve reached the age (thirty seven since you asked) where I sometimes wake in the dead of night and ponder my…

Jack Cloudie by Stephen Hunt
Fantasy , Harper Voyager , Historical , Stephen Hunt / August 16, 2011

LET BATTLE COMMENCE… Thanks to his father’s gambling debts, young Jack Keats finds himself on the streets trying to graft enough coin to keep him and his two younger brothers fed. When a daring bank robbery goes awry, Jack narrowly escapes the scaffold on to be pressed into the Royal Aerostatical Navy. Assigned to the most useless airship in the fleet, serving under a captain who’s is most probably mad, Jack seems to be bound for almost certain death in the far-away deserts of Cassarabia.  Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Omar ibn Barir, the slave of a rich merchant lord, is unexpectedly freed and enters into the service of the Caliph’s military forces – just as war is brewing. Two very similar young men prepare to face each other across senseless field of war. But is Omar the enemy, or is Jack’s true nemesis the sickness at the heart of the Caliph’s court? If Jack and his shipmates can discover what Cassarabia’s aggressive new regime is trying to conceal, he might survive the most horrific of wars and clear his family’s name. If not… I have to admit that prior to picking up Jack Cloudie I hadn’t…

A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin

Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men. All will play the Game of Thrones. Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where the heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues; to the vast frozen north where a 700-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. The Game of Thrones. You win, or you die. I’m not adverse to a massive doorstop of a novel. Peter F Hamilton, Stephen King, Frank Herbert have all written huge books that I have not only read but re-read numerous times. When it comes to A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin things are just slightly different. I have been promising myself that I would read the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire saga for a long time. So long in fact that it became something of a personal Moby Dick, my literary equivalent of a great white whale. It got to the stage where I was a little intimidated by the whole thing and I never thought I would get around to reading…