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She Returns From War by Lee Collins (Book Review)

Lee Collins’ She Returns From War is the sequel to his 2012 debut The Dead of Winter and it continues the adventures of Wild West spook-hunter Cora Oglesby. After the strong debut, I expected and wanted Lee Collins to do a similarly grand job with the sequel, which is exactly where is excelled at since She Returns From War is a great follow-up to The Dead of Winter. It starts off many years after the evens of The Dead of Winter, and charts Cora’s return to spook-hunting, after she gave up following the events of that first novel, wherein she learned a terrible secret about herself. And just like its predecessor, She Returns From War also made it to one of my “best of…” lists, this time for the “Best of 2013 Part 1“.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins (Book Review)

One of the many debut writers to get their start in 2012 with Angry Robot Books was Lee Collins, who arrived on the scene with his western urban fantasy novel The Dead of Winter, the first in his Cora Oglesby duology. When I picked up the novel, I didn’t really know too much about it, but by the time I was done with it, I was hungry for more. Lee mixed in western and urban fantasy really well in this novel and in Cora Oglesby he created a great female character that I wanted to see  a lot more of. The Dead of Winter, aside from being one of my top favourite debuts of 2012, was also one of my top favourite reads of the year.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher (Book Review)

Adam Christopher had two novels published through Angry Robot Books in 2012. The first was his debut Empire State which was a really strong novel in most respects. The second was Seven Wonders, a very involved and interesting superhero novel with a great cast for the most part. I was expecting the novel to be as good as Empire State but it turned out to be even better. In fact, Seven Wonders even made it to my “Best of 2012 Part 2” list as well, and it is a novel that I can recommend highly.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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The Age Atomic by Adam Christopher (Book Review)

The sequel to Adam Christopher’s 2012 debut Empire State didn’t arrive until much later in 2013, and it was a rather frustrating wait since I really liked the first novel and wanted more of the same from someone I considered to be among the best debut writers of 2012. But unfortunately, The Atomic Age seemed to exemplify the faults and negatives of Empire State far more it did the good things. The difference between the two is a phenomenal one for me and I was extremely disappointed by it.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Empire State by Adam Christoper (Book Review)

One of the very first books I read back in 2012, and my very first Angry Robot book too I think (might have been Matt Forbeck’s Carpathia actually!), was Adam Christopher’s debut novel Empire State, which mixed in several different genres together to create a really fun narrative. It could even be described as superhero noir-steampunk I suppose, which sounds awesome when you think about it and Adam definitely delivered on the promise as well.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu (Book Review)

In a rather surprising move, and owing to the popularity of Wes’ debut novel The Lives of Tao, Angry Robot fastracked the sequel for an end-of-the-year release date, instead of putting it out a few months back. It was a great move as far as I’m concerned since based on my reading experience Wes improved quite a bit in the sequel and delivered a much better novel. In fact, The Deaths of Tao would have made it to my end of the year “best of…” list, but it was unfortunately narrowly beaten out. Suffice to say, if you liked The Lives of Tao, then you are definitely going to love The Deaths of Tao as well.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu (Book Review)

Another one of my great finds last year was SF author Wesley Chu, who debuted in the Spring with The Lives of Tao, a contemporary SF novel about long-lived, body-hopping aliens who have been guiding the course of Humanity’s development for thousands of years. The Lives of Tao was one of the better debuts that I read last year, and I’d certainly recommend that everyone read the first novel at least. It is fun, it is serious, it has great action, great characters, and what more can you want?

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Obsidian and Blood by Aliette de Bodard (Book Review)

Before I started reading Angry Robot novels back in 2012, I hadn’t heard of Aliette de Bodard. And then in June of that year I read her Aztec mysteries trilogy Obsidian & Blood back-to-back in a single week. The trilogy was my first proper taste of non-Anglophone fantasy, and he experience was both surreal and amazing. I loved the books of course, and the short stories that were collected in the omnibus edition. Obsidian & Blood is one of a very, very small handful of trilogies that I’ve rated as high as I have, and the entire omnibus made my list of the best books I read in 2012.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Best Debuts of 2013

In a lot of ways, 2013 has been a fairly good year for debut novels, as much as 2012 was. There have been some really fantastic releases, and they have all continued an unofficial tradition of doing something different with the genres that they have been set in. I can say for certain that of all the debut novels I read this year, none of them have been quite what I expected. Some of these novels have been really, really good while a small handful have been disappointing.

I put together a list at the end of last year in which I ran through my top picks of all the debuts I’d read, and I found the experience to be quite rewarding, and a great help in figuring out just why these novels were so good beyond just writing up the reviews.

All in all, of the 20 debut novels I wanted to read this year as per my list (link), I read 18 of them. Here are the 8 books I consider to be the best of the bunch.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #10

The tenth pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is the cover for Wesley Chu’s The Deaths of Tao, the sequel to his 2013 debut from Angry Robot Books, The Lives of Tao by Argh! Oxford. The Lives of Tao is one of the best debut books I’ve read this year, largely because how approachable and… normal its protagonist, Roen Tan, is. The Deaths of Tao lives up to the promise of its predecessor and its a book that’s an adventure from start to finish and I couldn’t get enough of it. The launch of The Lives of Tao was so successful that Angry Robot pushed the release of the sequel up several months and The Deaths of Tao was released quite recently. Which is pretty frikkin’ great actually. I’m hoping that the third novel is release soon as well.

The tenth comic cover that I pick is Marc Silvestri and Sunny Gho’s jaw-dropping cover for Ron Marz and Laura Braga’s Witchblade #170, which sees Ron Marz return to the series after a long hiatus and newcomer Laura Braga join in as the artist. I’ve read a fair few Witchblade comics prior to this and I have to say that Witchblade #170 is definitely among the best by quite a margin. Now that I’m following this series regularly, I’m very excited where things are going, especially given how Witchblade #171 ended. Can’t wait for Witchblade #172, which will be coming in about 4 weeks or so. Long wait.

Without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #5

For this new seasonal end of year list, the fifth book cover that I pick is Christian Schoon’s debut novel from Angry Robot’s YA imprint Strange Chemistry, Zenn Scarlett. Launched last year, Strange Chemistry has put out some great novels and Zenn Scarlett is certainly one of the best that I’ve read. Despite being a near-future science fiction story set in the near-future on Mars, it is also quite a magical fairy tale as well. I love that dual aspect of the novel and I’d certainly recommend it.

And the fifth comics cover that I pick is the first issue of writer Brian Wood and artist Olivier Coipel’s X-Men. This series made some waves before its release because it is a book absent of any male characters in its core team of X-Men. A more appropriate title for this book would have been X-Women. As it is, many people refer to it is as such any way, typically X-(Wo)Men. This is the book that got me really started with reading the X-books, and its been a fun ride for the most part. Another recommended series to read!

Without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #1

For this new seasonal end of year list, the first book cover that I pick is the second novel in the Night’s Masque series by Anne Lyle, published by Angry Robot Books. Anne’s first novel, The Alchemist of Souls, was one of my first Angry Robot reads last year and it got me hooked on to reading more of the publisher’s output. The cover for that novel too was rather excellent and that success was repeated for the second book in the series.

And the first comics cover that I pick is the first issue of Brian Wood’s Star Wars from Dark Horse Comics. As a life-long fan of the entire setting, it is one of the best covers I’ve seen to date and its what got me started on really reading again all the different Star Wars comics, regardless of where in the setting they are set. And it also gave me a good solid taste for the kind of books that Dark Horse puts out each month.

So without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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