Sunday 5 August 2018

Event Report: Orion Blogger Brunch #OrionBloggerBrunch

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited the the Orion Blogger Brunch to find out all about some of the fantastic titles they have coming out throughout the rest of 2018. I can tell you right now they have some super exciting books to look forward to and my wishlist practically exploded while they were talking to us! They mentioned too many for me to list them all here so I'm just going to talk about the books I'm most excited about (although to be honest even then this is still going to be a looooong post LOL).

Award-winning author Ellen Kushner's classic of modern fantasy, set in a world of unforgettable characters whose political ambitions, passionate love affairs and age-old rivalries collide with deadly results.

On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless- until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead a of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye . . .

First up was Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, this is actually a rerelease of a modern fantasy classic and it sounds wonderful! To be honest this is one of those books I should probably have read years ago but it's definitely on my radar now and I'm hoping to buy a copy soon.

Feminist Fairytales for Young and Old

Reimagining traditional tales, this empowering collection of stories, poems and beautiful hand-drawn illustrations gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover.

Gone are the gender stereotypes of obliging lovers, violent men and girls that need rescuing. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains and you'll meet brave princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle and a courageous Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.

'Await no princes to save you
through their lips touching yours
whilst you are in unwilling slumber.
Wake each other up instead.'

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill is an illustrated, modern, feminist twist on fairytales we know and love and it sounds like my perfect read. I love fairytales and retellings so I'm sure I'll love this book. I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Nikita Gill's poetry collection Wild Embers at the event so I have something to tide me over until Fierce Fairytales releases in September!

Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. When they were angry, mirrors shattered, and when they were happy, flowers bloomed. It was a magic they cherished - until the day a terrible accident took Essie's life and trapped her soul in this world.

Dax - the heir to Firgaard's throne - was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa's people had suffered. Roa made him a deal: she'd give him the army he needed if he made her queen.

Together with Dax and his sister, Asha, Roa and her people waged war and deposed a tyrant. But now Asha is on the run, hiding from the price on her head. And Roa is an outlander queen, far from home and married to her enemy. Worst of all: Dax's promises go unfulfilled. Roa's people continue to suffer.

Then a chance to right every wrong arises - an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Relinquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa can reclaim her sister for good.

All she has to do is kill the king.

Next up is The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli, I absolutely loved the first book in this series (read my review of The Last Namsara here) so I can't wait for the sequel!

A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man's journey to find his destiny.

Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He's never questioned it; that's just the way things are. But then his father is executed for treason, and he and his best friend Cade are thrown into a prison mine, doomed to work until they drop. Unless they can somehow break free . . .

But what lies beyond the prison walls is more terrifying still. Rescued by a man who hates him yet is oath-bound to protect him, pursued by inhuman forces, Aren slowly accepts that everything he knew about his world was a lie. The rules are not there to protect him, or his people, but to enslave them. A revolution is brewing, and Aren is being drawn into it, whether he likes it or not.

The key to the revolution is the Ember Blade. The sword of kings, the Excalibur of his people. Only with the Ember Blade in hand can their people be inspired to rise up . . . but it's locked in an impenetrable vault in the most heavily guarded fortress in the land.

All they have to do now is steal it . . .

I love fantasy and at over 800 pages this is going to be pretty epic! The Ember Blade is the first book in a new trilogy by popular author Chris Wooding and it sounds brilliant.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the timeless and beloved A Wizard of Earthsea - '...reads like the retelling of a tale first told centuries ago' (David Mitchell) - comes this complete omnibus edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles, including over fifty illustrations illuminating Le Guin's vision of her classic saga.

Contains the short story, 'The Daughter of Odren', published in print for the first time, and her last story 'Firelight'.

Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea novels are some of the most acclaimed and awarded works in literature-they have received prestigious accolades such as the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, the Nebula Award, and many more honors, commemorating their enduring place in the hearts and minds of readers and the literary world alike.

Now for the first time ever, they're all together in one volume-including the early short stories, Le Guin's "Earthsea Revisioned" Oxford lecture, and new Earthsea stories, never before printed. With a new introduction by Le Guin herself, this essential edition will also include over fifty illustrations by renowned artist Charles Vess, specially commissioned and selected by Le Guin, to bring her refined vision of Earthsea and its people to life in a totally new way.

Stories include: 'A Wizard of Earthsea', 'The Tombs of Atuan', 'The Farthest Shore', 'Tehanu', 'Tales From Earthsea', 'The Other Wind', 'The Rule of Names', 'The Word of Unbinding', 'The Daughter of Odren', and 'Earthsea Revisioned: A Lecture at Oxford University'

With stories as perennial and universally beloved as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of The Rings-but also unlike anything but themselves-this edition is perfect for those new to the world of Earthsea, as well as those who are well-acquainted with its enchanting magic: to know Earthsea is to love it.

- 1,008 pages
- 56 illustrations (including seven lavishly coloured plate sections)
- maps of Earthsea
- stunningly beautiful endpapers
- Six novels
- 4 short stories
- An essay

I don't think there are many fans out there who haven't heard of Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle, I'm actually pretty ashamed to admit that I haven't read it! To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this classic series Gollancz are publishing this fantastic looking hardback which collects all six novels, four short stories and over 50 gorgeous illustrations from Charles Vess. I think this book is going to be a must have for fans of the series but it will also be the perfect place to start for people like me who have never read the books before.

Spensa's world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity's only defense is to take to their ships and fight the enemy in the skies. Pilots have become the heroes of what's left of the human race.

Spensa has always dreamed of being one of them; of soaring above Earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father's - a pilot who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, placing Spensa's chances of attending flight school somewhere between slim and none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is still determined to fly. And the Krell just made that a possibility. They've doubled their fleet, making Spensa's world twice as dangerous . . . but their desperation to survive might just take her skyward . . .

A new YA sci-fi from the king of fantasy Brandon Sanderson, hell yes, sign me up for Skyward!!

An earthly nourris sits and sings
And aye she sings, "Ba lilly wean,
Little ken I my bairn's father,
Far less the land that he staps in.
(Child Ballad, no. 113)

So begins a stunning tale of love, loss and revenge, against a powerful backdrop of adventure on the high seas, and drama on the land. The Blue Salt Road balances passion and loss, love and violence and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless, wild young man.

Passion drew him to a new world, and trickery has kept him there - without his memories, separated from his own people. But as he finds his way in this dangerous new way of life, so he learns that his notions of home, and your people, might not be as fixed as he believed.

Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.

The Blue Salt Road is a new modern fairytale from Joanne Harris set in the same world as A Pocketful of Crows (another book that has been on my wishlist forever!) and once again illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins. I'm going to try and read A Pocketful of Crows before this releases in November because both books sound fabulous.

In his much-anticipated debut novel, Hank Green - co-creator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers and SciShow - spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realising she's part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship - like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armour - April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world - everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires - and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the centre of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric and radicalisation; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring from the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. This edition includes beautifully designed endpapers and is definitely not one to miss out on.

I have to tell you about Hank Green's upcoming debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, which is being published in September. I have to confess I've not read anything by John Green (sacrilege I know but I'm not really a big reader of contemporary YA) but Hank's debut sounds much more like my kind of thing. We got to watch a video of Hank talking about the book at the event and it sounds like such a brilliant read, this isn't the actual video but it does tell you more about the story so I thought I'd include it here:

After teasing us with all their upcoming books it was time for Orion to introduce us to a couple of their authors, Ed McDonald, author of Blackwing and Ravencry, and Catriona Ward, author of Rawblood and Little Eve. We got to listen to them talk about their books and the difference between writing a first and second novel. I wish I'd known Ed was going to be there because I'd have brought my copies of Blackwing and Ravencry to get them signed but it was great to meet both authors and we got a chance to mingle with them while we took a break for pizza and cupcakes - just have a look at these delicious little beauties:

After out break it was time for Orion to taunt us with some books that we're going to have to wait until 2019 to get our hands on, oh the cruelty LOL.

Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this sweeping tale of ambition, sacrifice and betrayal for readers of Sabaa Tahir and Alwyn Hamilton.

All hail the Girl King.

Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty's first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min's hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set's reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters' greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.

First up was The Girl King, a deput fantasy from Mimi Yu inspired by East Asian mythology! You should all know by now what a huge fantasy fan I am so this sounds right up my street and it's going to be sheer torture waiting until January next year to read it!

'Inspirational, funny and wise' - Kit de Waal

Queenie Jenkins can't cut a break. Well, apart from the one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That's definitely just a break though. Definitely not a break up. Stuck between a boss who doesn't seem to see her, a Carribbean family who don't seem to listen (if it's not Jesus or water rates, they're not interested), and trying to fit in two worlds that don't really understand her, it's no wonder she's struggling.

She was named to be queen of everything. So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life?

A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on modern life, QUEENIE will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity, and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way.

Perfect for fans of Dolly Alderton, Bryony Gordon and Dawn O'Porter, and anyone who loved Fleabag and Dear White People.

Last but definitely not least we got to hear Candice Carty-Williams talk about her March 2019 debut Queenie. I don't read much contemporary but this sounds like such a funny read that I'm definitely going to make an exception!

I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Orion for inviting me to a fabulous event. It was wonderful to spend time chatting with the authors, publicists and other bloggers about all these exciting books and I can't wait to start reading them!

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