- - October 22nd, 2013
In 2014, we’re publishing an extraordinary novel about a girl named Melanie who is ten and a half. She loves her teacher and dreams of what she’ll do when she grows up. She also knows that some people find her presence unsettling. And soon, everyone will find out why.
Watch the official trailer above and read the beginning at The Girl With All The Gifts Facebook page.
When we get to 200 likes on Facebook, we’ll unlock another chapter, so share it with your friends if you want to read more of 2014′s most heart-stopping, page-turning thriller!
- - October 19th, 2013
Some of the characters in Amanda Carlson’s new novel COLD BLOODED ( US | UK | ANZ) may be as cold as they come, but the reviews this new book is getting are hot hot hot!
If you’re into urban fantasy and paranormal romance of any kind but haven’t yet checked out the Jessica McClain novels (which begin with FULL BLOODED (US | UK | ANZ), look below to see what you’re missing! Fans of the likes of Patricia Briggs, Rachel Caine, Ilona Andrews and Chloe Neill will love this . . .
‘Cold Blooded starts with a bang and the action keeps coming right up until the final pages. Jess now faces her most perilous journey yet, where the stakes have never been higher. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her next’ VAMPIRE BOOK CLUB
‘I’ve fallen in love with Jessica, and her loyalty to those around her and willingness to do what it takes to keep them safe. I’m thrilled to be following her as she figures out this whole werewolf thing . . . And yes, it is as hot as you were likely expecting it would be.’ ALL THINGS URBAN FANTASY
‘If you haven’t tried this series, I highly recommend it. It is great for people who like strong female leads, werewolves and a lot of action. If you’ve enjoyed Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, The Hollows by Kim Harrison, Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane and Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, then I think you’ll love this book’ HOT LISTENS
‘Cold Blooded was a fun, action-packed book with the right amount of romance, adventure, and twists to keep me firmly planted as part of the Pack’ SHE WOLF READS
‘Cold Blooded is the third book in Amanda Carlson’s Jessica McClain series and this one people is my favorite to date . . . Really cool . . . Red Blooded is up next sometime in 2014 and I can’t wait to read it’ YUMMY MEN AND KICK ASS CHICKS
‘It’s intense action start to finish and I’m ready for more’ HAPPILY EVER AFTER READS
Ever since I can remember I’ve been a lover of Westerns. From the big themes, big characters and big landscapes of John Ford, through the exaggerated sweat, filth and violence of Sergio Leone, to the used up gunmen and moral ambiguity of Clint Eastwood’s revisionist films. In fact I often site Unforgiven as doing expertly with the western what I try to do with fantasy – to present a modern, gritty, realistic take on a classic form, to perhaps say something about that form and the purposes it serves for audiences, but chiefly to present a great example of the form with all the entertainment value audiences expect.
When you ill-advisedly set out to write a trilogy of big books, finishing seems an impossible goal. You spare very little thought for what might come after. But shortly before finishing The First Law trilogy, I came to the horrifying realisation that if I was interested in writing as a career I might need to write another thirty or more books. I needed some ideas, and fast, and of course the best place to get them is to steal some that have already been successful. I wanted to write some tighter, more focused stories that continued in the same world but to some extent stood alone, and so I went to films for inspiration, and tried to work out what I liked about some of my favourites with the aim of combining my take on fantasy with some other styles of story. So BEST SERVED COLD (US | AUS) was my attempt to fuse fantasy with a gangster revenge story. The Heroes was my attempt to write a fantasy account of a single great battle. And RED COUNTRY (US | AUS) was my attempt to fuse fantasy and western.
Fantasy and westerns aren’t such obvious bedfellows as fantasy and revenge or fantasy and battles, mind you. The western is indivisibly tied to its time and place and in a way is a very strong spice for the reader, summoning up lots of powerful and specific visuals and expectations, one which has to be used with care. For me the essence of the western isn’t in the sixguns and the chaps, the stetsons and the canvas wagons, the saddles and saloons, though. It’s the wild frontier. It’s the place where civilisation and savagery mix, where the rule of law contends with the law of the jungle, where anything is possible. It’s about tough men and women pitted against an unforgiving wilderness. It’s about conflicted men and women struggling to find the right thing to do in a lawless country. And, yes, it’s about narrow-eyed stand-offs in windswept streets while coat-tails flap and terrified observers hold their breaths. In RED COUNTRY I tried to keep what was essential about the western while changing the trappings, if you like: staking out a wild frontier in a part of the First Law world where the first settlers are just beginning to seek out new opportunities in an untamed wilderness, and finding neither man nor nature especially welcoming. And, yes, there is a knife fight on the roof of a speeding wagon. Whatever could be wrong with that?”
- - October 8th, 2013
For all you urban fantasy fans out there, your week just got a whole lot better. The wait is over — COLD BLOODED (US | UK | AUS) by Amanda Carlson releases today!
If you read urban fantasy and you haven’t checked out the Jessica McClain series, I know the perfect book for the top of your “to read” pile. FULL BLOODED (US | UK | AUS) kicked off the series last year and the action has not stopped since. Jessica McClain proves that it’s not easy being a girl. It’s even harder when you’re the only girl in a family of werewolves. But it’s next to impossible when your very existence spells out the doom of your race… Meet Jessica McClain — she just became part of the pack.
The third book in the series, COLD BLOODED, takes Jessica to new heights, and combines all of the best of the genre. There are vampires, witches, and a really hot guy (oh my!). It will keep you on your toes and leave you guessing — by the end, you won’t know which way is up and you’ll be loving it the whole way!
Jessica McClain is on the run… again.
Finally reunited with Rourke, Jessica arrives home to find that her best friend has been kidnapped, her father has vanished, and the supernatural Sects — witches, demons, and sorcerers — don’t even have the courtesy to wait until she is unpacked to attack.
Now, mastering her powers as the sole female werewolf might not be enough to save them. Thrown together in a shaky truce with the Vampire Queen, Jessica must show all the different Sects what the true meaning of “the enemy of my enemy” is or her father will die…
All three books are out and available now in your local bookstores. And if that isn’t enough good news for this week, I am very excited to share that the Jessica McClain series will be continuing for two more books starting in 2014! Get a jump on the series now because I can guarantee you… you won’t want to miss what’s next.
- - October 8th, 2013
The big day is finally here, A DANCE OF CLOAKS by David Dalglish releases today! Look for it online and in stores everywhere. And if you haven’t been following along, be sure to check out the art team’s excellent behind-the-scenes look at the development of the Shadowdance covers.
In high school I devoured R. A. Salvatore’s Drizzt books. I loved the sense of adventure, the epic feel to the characters, but as is probably common when you read any author far too much, quirks here and there started to annoy me (a few of which I’m sure aren’t even Salvatore’s fault). The biggest was the sense that things were kept toned down to appeal to a wider audience. The really adult stuff was only hinted at, the darker stuff kept safely in the shadows.
That’s kind of a problem given how much I love villains. Love them. Probably too much, really. This is something the Shadowdance series actually suffers from a bit, because with so many morally gray characters I don’t have too many out and out villains to give the spotlight to (though I’m finally bringing in one such character in book 5, and by god I’m having a ball with him). For as far back as I can remember, I’ve disliked bland, two-dimensional villains. Even worse, though, are villains that aren’t really villains, just men that happen to be on the opposite side of a conflict with the heroes. Don’t mistake me here, I like it when it’s done well…but deep down I crave a villain like the Joker from the Dark Knight. I want a villain who can grab someone’s gun, put it to his head, and growl about how chaos is fair. I want a villain that everyone in the world can see is evil, yet at the same time, cannot deny the pull they have, the sheer charisma that surrounds them. Doing that means treading into the dark waters. Doing that means characters you love might stumble and fall.
While I was still in college I began what would eventually become my very raw and uneven Half-Orc books. I took everything I loved and tried to boil it all down to its very essence. I’ve never been confident in my world-building, my setting up of cities and families. But I knew what I wanted my characters to go through, the story I wanted to tell. I wanted it brutal, with characters that wouldn’t always live up to the standards they desired for themselves (kind of like, you know, real people). I had one main character’s daughter die, and there was no one at fault, and yet everyone’s at the same time. Yet no matter how grand the fights, how ridiculously over the top, I’d do whatever I could to keep the fights personal, and the reader invested.
That is what I do, what I try every time I sit down to write. When the fights begin, whether it be massive armies, assassins, paladins, or mythical creatures, I try to go to the furthest extreme of awesomeness in the conflict…yet when it all calms down, it’s about a man loving his brother, yet also hating him for the choices he’s made and the loved ones he’s hurt. Or a paladin torn over his friendship for a man his god calls for him to execute. Or in A DANCE OF CLOAKS (US | UK | AUS), it’s about a son wishing he could find approval from his father without being the monster his father would have him become.
I guess if asked what sets me apart, what makes me special, I’d say that is it. No pretention. I’ll never try to impress anyone with my vocabulary or research or ability to describe a scene. But I think I can make you care about my characters. I think I can make you hurt when one dies, and cheer when the villains get the crap beat out of them, all while blazing through my book at a breakneck pace. I’ll never treat you like an idiot, nor avoid the issues in their lives that might not have easy answers. In other words: I’ll entertain you. Honestly, if I can do that, I feel like I’ve done my job.
After devouring A DANCE OF CLOAKS, be sure to pre-order A DANCE OF BLADES (US | UK | AUS) and A DANCE OF MIRRORS (US | UK | AUS) – coming in November and December.
I decided pretty early on, when I first was playing with the elements of what would become the universe of ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK | AUS), that the Radchaai wouldn’t care much about gender, and wouldn’t mark people’s gender in their speech. Not because I wanted the Radch to be any kind of prejudice-free utopia–far from it.* But because I (somewhat naively) thought it would be interesting.
It actually took me a while to realize what a can of worms I was opening. To some extent, I’m still realizing it. But at first, I was faced with a purely mechanical problem–how to portray a society that just didn’t care about gender, while I myself was using a language that required me to specify gender at every turn. It’s pretty much built into English to specify a person’s gender, even when it’s is totally irrelevant to the topic at hand, and it’s difficult–not impossible, mind you, but difficult–to talk for very long about a person without mentioning their gender. **
At first I tried just asserting that Radchaai didn’t care about gender, and then using gendered pronouns throughout. I was unsatisfied with this. (And unsatisfied with those first couple of novels, which are in a drawer hidden from view until further notice. Only a few people have seen them.) I became more unsatisfied with it the longer I considered it, in fact. In the end I decided to pick one pronoun (at least for the sections where, presumably, my narrator is speaking Radchaai) and stick with it in all cases.
Often people assume (wrongly) that “they” as a singular pronoun isn’t “proper” English. It is in fact entirely grammatical and available to use. It’s most often used to refer to a nebulous “someone” whose ambiguous existence makes gender difficult to guess, but there are an increasing number of recent examples of singular they used in cases where gender is known and/or not a simple matter of either/or.*** I could have used it for Ancillary Justice, but it didn’t feel right. I’m not a hundred percent sure why.
I could have chosen any one of the ungendered pronouns that have been proposed over the years. This also would have been entirely workable. And inclusive–though we’re used to thinking of gender as an obvious either/or, male/female, really things aren’t always that clearcut. On the minus side, using any of those pronouns would have made getting into the story difficult for readers unfamiliar with them, at least at first. This is not a reason to never use those pronouns, of course, but I admit it was a consideration for me here.
I could have gone with the old standby, “the masculine embraces the feminine,” and just called everyone “he.” This is, in fact, the choice made by Ursula K LeGuin when she wrote The Left Hand of Darkness (Which is awesome, and if you haven’t read it, it is my considered opinion that you should.) Years later, she expressed some dissatisfaction with having made that choice. It made the Gethenians seem to be all male, which they were not, and failed to convey their non-binary nature. Read the rest of this entry »
- - September 24th, 2013
This debut introduces a self-deprecating, wisecracking, and honorable-to-a-fault hero who can stand up to such established protagonists as Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden and Seanan McGuire’s October Daye….” Library Journal (starred review)
John is not your typical prince charming figure. He’s not going to passing very many manners class, but he can kill a vampire in at least ten different ways. Which is good because he’s going to need all of those skills in CHARMING (US | UK) by Elliott James.
Bringing a unique new spin to the familiar supernatural creatures and folklore, CHARMING is the debut urban fantasy not to be missed. Want to hear more? Read an excerpt or check out this interview with Elliot James:
What made you want to become an author?
The same things that make anyone want to become an author, really. A combination of crippling loneliness, habitual lying, greed, and delusions of grandeur. I mean, I could slather it on about how the imagination is the key to freeing the mind and all that, but let’s face it, ultimately it all comes down to the wild parties, the women, and the limos full of cash. Speaking of which, when are those getting here anyway? [Looks at watch.] Plus I like to read.
When did you start writing?
At the age of five. It was kindergarten, and I penned an opus about a backward planet where cows gave chocolate milk (I’m not sure how that’s backward, but it made sense at the time) and grown-ups went to school to get away from their jobs and learn how to play from kids. The thing I still think is kind of cool about that story is that every word was spelled backward. Or misspelled backward in many cases. After that I flirted around with writing. I had a minor fling with journalism, briefly got involved with advertising, and lived with teaching English. But I didn’t really get serious about writing until a few years ago, and then writing rejected my first proposal. Rejected quite a few of my proposals, actually. But I persisted, and now I’m ready to settle down and start having kids. Or maybe writing is. OK, I kind of lost track of the half-assed metaphor I had going there.
Read the full interview here.
If CHARMING has caught your eye, be sure to check out the earlier adventures of John Charming too in these three short stories by Elliott James:
- - September 24th, 2013
Everyone’s talking about ANCILLARY JUSTICE, the brand new space opera from Ann Leckie.
We’ve collected some of the commentary for you here below!
Leckie’s fabulous debut is released 1st October, but the praise is already coming in.
You can preorder your copy today!
- - September 17th, 2013
The second volume of Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Chronicles is out today in paperback and ebook editions.
The Founding Fields writes: “Michael J. Sullivan’s The Rose and the Thorn manages to be even better than The Crown Tower, making this book, and the duology – one of my favourite reads of 2013.” And Reading Realms says “So far, all of Sullivan’s Riyria books have been very well paced, sword-and-sorcery style action with strong characters, making them fun and easy to read. I would recommend them to any fan of fantasy, new or veteran, young or old.”
You can read an interview with Michael about this prequel series at Fantasy Book Critic.
And check out the first chapter right here!
- - September 9th, 2013
As Summer comes to an end, here at Orbit we’re already looking forward to the amazing selection of books that next Spring brings. We’re very pleased to present a selection of covers for some of our exciting releases in the first half of 2014. It promises to be a very good year.
Click on each of the covers to see a larger version, and let us know your favourites.
Art Credits: Reign of Ash: Illustration by Larry Rostant; Heaven’s Queen: Design by Kirk Benshoff; Dance of Shadows: Photo Illustration by Gene Mollica & Michael Frost, Design by Kirk Benshoff; The Girl With All The Gifts: Design by Duncan Spilling; Cibola Burn: Illustration by Daniel Dociu, Design by Kirk Benshoff; Path to Power: Illustration by Raphael Lacoste, Design by Kirk Benshoff; Justice: Design by Wendy Chan; Broken Eye: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Silas Manhood, Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Ripper Affair: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Craig White, Design by Lauren Panepinto; Cursed Moon: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Don Sipley, Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Fifth Season: Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Widow’s House: Design by Kirk Benshoff