Angry Robot Double Cover Reveal: Prince Thief by David Tallerman & All Is Fair by Emma Newman

I'm happy to bring you two newly released covers this morning from my besties over at Angry Robot. One is for the third book in Emma Newman's Split Worlds parallel faerie world series and the other is the third in David Tallerman's Tales of Easie Damasco fantasy series.

First All Is Fair by Emma Newman, cover designed by Sarah J Coleman:

In love and war nothing is safe.

William Iris struggles to keep the throne of Londinium whilst hated by his own court and beset by outsiders, while Cathy discovers the legacy of her former governess. But those who dare to speak out about Society are always silenced. Sometimes for good.

While trying to avoid further torments from the mercurial fae, Sam finds himself getting tangled in the affairs of the Elemental Court. But an unexpected offer from the powerful and enigmatic Lord Iron turns out to be far more than Sam bargained for.

Max and the gargoyle are getting closer to uncovering who is behind the murder of the Bath Chapter and the corruption in London and Max finds the gargoyle’s controversial ideas harder to ignore. Can he stay true to his sworn duty without being destroyed by his own master, whose insanity threatens to unravel them all?

You can learn more about All Is Fair, which comes out in October, and the rest of the Split Worlds trilogy at Emma's website.

And here is the cover for Prince Thief by David Tallerman, cover designed by Angelo Rinaldi:

Altapasaeda, capital of the Castoval, is under siege by its own King.

Far to the north, rebels have set a bastard prince up as a figurehead.

Yet again, Easie Damasco finds himself roped into a desperate scheme to preserve the Castoval, And kidnapping the Prince seemed like such a good idea at the time…

You can learn more about Prince Thief, which also comes out in October, and the rest of the Tales of Easie Damasco series at David's website.

Interview: Emma Newman, Author of Between Two Thorns

A few weeks ago I reviewed Emma Newman’s Between Two Thorns, the first in her Split Worlds series. I had previously been unfamiliar with the parallel universes Emma had created in a series of short stories online, but I quickly became a huge, obsessive fan. Luckily Emma was kind enough to take some time out of her day filled with writing, tea and facilitating crowd-sourced magic to answer a few questions for us here at Working for the Mandroid.

***

First of all, any advice for someone trying to find their way back to the real world after spending time in the Split Worlds? It's been three weeks and I still haven't found my way back to the real world!

You're asking me? I have no idea. I've been half here and half there for years now! 

 

How would you describe your Split Worlds series to someone who has no idea what a faerie is?

Blimey, I find it hard enough explaining it to people who do know what a faerie is! A review said it was JK Rowling meets Georgette Heyer and I thought that was pretty cool. I've described it as the aristocratic side of Downton Abbey but with mad sorcerers and evil faeries. Whoops… erm… how about: A man without a soul and a woman rebelling against her family and the supernatural beings who control it try to solve a mystery set in the real world and its magical reflection. 

(Note: The review Emma is referring to was a really great write up in The Guardian newspaper.)


 If you could choose, would you prefer to stay in Mundanus, join the Faerie touched Great Families in the Nether or prance around with Fae royalty in Exilium?

Well there's a question! I've never been very satisfied with Mundanus. It simply doesn't have enough magic in it. However, living in the Nether would be awful. No sunshine, no rain, just mists. Urgh. It's a sure recipe for depression when you consider how women are treated there too. Exilium is truly beautiful but absolutely terrifying to me. Can I stay in Mundanus but have a friend from the Nether who sneaks me into the parties? 

 

If the Shopkeeper of the Emporium of Things in Between and Besides allowed you one item, what would you ask him to take from the shelves?

This is officially the best question I've ever been asked in an interview! I'd be tempted to purchase a luck egg – because who doesn't need a huge dollop of luck once in a while? – but I think it would have to be a Persuasion Pearl with a delicate filigree setting, threaded onto a strand of silk. I would then seek opportunities to speak to male-dominated organisations to expound upon the valuable role women can play in business, government and scientific research. Whilst I don't think the arguments need magical aid – they can stand up on their own after all – I would be a lot more effective with a little bit of magic behind me. There are several other things I can imagine using it for, but they would be rather unethical!  

 

Which Fae overlord is your favourite?

Lord Poppy. He is deliciously insane and makes the most awful threats in the same tone as one would use to offer ice-cream to a child. I wouldn't want to meet him though; it would be so easy to get something wrong and end up with an appalling curse. 

 

What made Angry Robot the perfect publisher to bring the Split Worlds into book form?

There are several reasons. One is that they specialise in fiction that has a healthy disregard for strict genre boundaries. The Split Worlds series is broadly speaking urban fantasy but has noir elements and Austen-esque alt-historical society politicking alongside real world computer programmers getting tangled up in fairy curses. I guess I'm saying it's a bit weird and Angry Robot gets that.

 The other reason is that Angry Robot does a grand job of being responsive to readers and quick to adapt to changes in the market. For example, they've been selling DRM free e-books for ages and are pioneering a scheme to give paperback buyers in independent bookshops the e-version of the book for free. The way they keep in touch with reviewers and readers is great too.

Thirdly they are just fabulous to work with. My editor, Lee Harris, not only knows his stuff but also handles my anxiety brilliantly and is very understanding. For example, he knows that phone calls out of the blue freak me out, so he texts beforehand to let me know he's going to call and that there is nothing to worry about. He also makes me laugh and he really gets what I'm trying to do with the Split Worlds. He and my agent Jennifer Udden (DMLA) have both helped me make the series what it is now and improved my writing too.

Lastly, Angry Robot commissions some of the best covers out there.

 

Was it your idea or Angry Robot's to publish all three books in the series within nine months? Will the series continue after book 3, All Is Fair?

When I planned to self-publish the series I intended to release on that schedule and was delighted when Lee wanted to follow that plan too. As a reader I hate long gaps between books in a series and by the time the contract was on the table with Angry Robot I had a fairly polished first book and the first draft of the second novel, so we were hitting the ground running.

All I can say about whether the series will continue after All is Fair is that the Split Worlds contains a lot of stories and there are more I'd love to tell. I've written 55 short stories set there as well as the three novels and there's still stuff left to explore. (Note: You can find links to the short stories set in the Split Worlds on Emma’s website here.)

 

Where did the idea of Three Wishes come from and why start crowd sourcing magic now?

I think I had it when I was writing the first book and it was probably because Cathy has to deal with being granted three wishes by Lord Poppy. I love the idea of crowd-sourcing funding for creative endeavours and simply mashed the two up. I wanted to wait until enough people had read Between Two Thorns to have a decent shot at building a community large enough to be able to help each other's wishes come true. It's been running for a week at the time of writing this and two wishes have been granted and I've heard from others saying they're getting help to make theirs come true.

 

What would be one of your wishes?

You know, I've been struggling to come up with my three wishes since I launched it! The first one was easy, however: to meet Stephen Fry and have the opportunity to thank him for instilling me with an adoration of language, frivolity and surreal humour. He is one of my heroes and if that opportunity also involved a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake, I'd be in heaven.

 

You mention that the Split Worlds will be joining the real world starting in August. What should unsuspecting citizens of Mundanus expect? Should we be worried about Fae kidnappings?

I've got all sorts of ideas in development but I don't want to give anything away at the moment. I've been a role player for many years, so it feels like a natural progression to me. Some things have already been seeded in the Split Worlds stories. I can say that, all being well, the first real world stuff will be happening at the Nine Worlds convention in August and that there's no need to worry about kidnappings!

 

Thank you so much to Emma and the wonderful people at Angry Robot, who hooked me up with this interview. The Split Worlds series is utterly delightful and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Any Other Name, which comes out next week on May 28 in the US and June 6 in the UK. You can learn more about the crowd source magic of the Three Wishes project on Emma’s website here, and she recently started a podcast called Tea and Jeopardy, which you can download from her website here.

You can also find more of Emma around the internet at her personal website, at the official Split Worlds website, on Twitter, and Facebook.

To learn more about the awesome Angry Robot, visit their website and check out their catalog. It’s full of crazy, unusual and fascinating things.

 

About the Author

Emma Newman was born in a tiny coastal village in Cornwall during one of the hottest summers on record. Four years later she started to write stories and never stopped until she penned a short story that secured her a place at Oxford University to read Experimental Psychology.

In 2011 Emma embarked on an ambitious project to write and distribute one short story per week – all of them set in her Split Worlds milieu – completely free to her mailing list subscribers.

A debut short-story collection, From Dark Places, was published in 2011 and her debut post-apocalyptic novel for young adults, 20 Years Later, was published just one year later – presumably Emma didn’t want to wait another nineteen… Emma is also a professional audiobook narrator.

She now lives in Somerset with her husband, son and far too many books.

Review: Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

Between Two Thorns (The Split Worlds #1)
Emma Newman

Angry Robot
Released February 26, 2013
384 pages
Urban Fantasy / Faeries / Mystery

Find out more on Goodreads

Order it from Amazon

Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.

The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.

There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.

But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?

Sometimes I come across books where I just don’t seem to have words to review them. Often it’s because they left me in a quivering mess of raw emotion that I will wallow in for days. Other times it’s because the world is so well built, so vivid, so complex that pushing it to arm’s length to analyze it is near impossible. Between Two Thorns was the later, making it difficult to go to bed at night because I needed to read just one more chapter. Making me crave reading time at incredibly inappropriate times of the day, like sitting in a meeting with my boss or on a call with a client. I expected withdrawal shakes to set in at any moment.

Emma Newman has created a world where faeries make sense, one that I want to crawl in and sit in a corner as all the madness unfolds. It’s filled with characters both odd and oddly human though at its core, it’s just a who-done-it with a lot of growingly complex character interactions laid over top. In The Split Worlds, there are essentially four sets of people, a concept that, having started reading the book in a near comatose exhaustion, was a bit hard to follow until about 50 pages in. There’s the real world, the one we mundanes trudge through everyday life and the place the Arbiters – humans with their souls detached from their bodies and stored elsewhere – assist magicians from the whims and tricks of faeries.

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Review: Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

Innocent Darkness
Suzanne Lazear

Flux (2012)
408 pages
YA / Fantasy / Faeries

See it on GoodReads

Purchase it from Amazon

Wish. Love. Desire. Live.

Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.

Oh, boy. I’ve had a bad day. People kept saying things that, for the sake of avoiding an argument, kept me biting my tongue and stewing in my incredulous grumpiness for most of the day. But now I am home and I have to let that go. Deep calming breaths, let go of the crazy. Moving on.

Innocent Darkness is not steampunk. There’s a moment at the beginning with a flying car, the occasional appearance of a clockwork dog and talk of airships and aether, but this is not steampunk. There are no gadgets or science fiction. This is pure fantasy from beginning to end, a modern faerie tale even because it’s predominantly about faeries, romance and politics. There are hints that this story might be taking place in a steampunk world somewhere, outside the story of Noli Braddock and her adventures, but the screen of this book stays firmly in fantasy land.

With that said, had I not felt I’d been falsely advertised a steampunk adventure, I probably would have loved this book. It is a solid faerie tale with great characters and a fun, developed alternate world full of magic and war and oddness. Noli is a headstrong, smart heroine though she does cry a little more than I would have liked. I didn’t quite understand her attraction to faerie baddie, Kevighn, who might have his redeeming qualities, but regularly has outbursts of rage that end in momentary physical abuse. But overall, she’s a sympathetic character, who shows initiative though often placing her trust too easily in the hands of others. Her best friend V is both nerdy and heroic in his own way, and I adored him, especially after his sword pen gag.

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Author Tour Guest Post: Megan Curd, Author of Traitor

I'm honored to host a stop on author Megan Curd's blog tour for Traitor, the sequel to her faerie adventure tale Bridger. Today Working for the Mandroid is hosting an excerpt from Traitor and I reviewed the first book in the series last week. If you'd like to see all the stops on the tour, visit the tour's webpage.

Also Megan Curd is giving away 19 ebook bundles that include both Bridger and Traitor. Stay tuned after the excerpt to enter to win. But first, the excerpt from Traitor.

 

Traitor
Megan Curd

Ignoring his mother’s question, Liam didn’t even bother to wipe off the green glob of spit that was now sliding down his nose. He instead brought the blade within an inch of the Changeling’s forehead right between its eyes. “Would you like to die, or do whatever it is that you Changelings do? All I require is a simple apology, one for Ashlyn and now one for me.”

A maniacal grin overtook Fred’s purpling face. “I give you nothing, but I will take your offer of death. An t-áadh na nGael tu.

Before anyone could react, Fred thrust his head forward with a sudden jerk and connected with the worm blade Liam threatened him with. Liam jumped back and dropped the Changeling from shock as Fred writhed on the floor from the worm blade that now burrowed its way into his body.

“Way to put the whole plan arseways, Liam!” shouted Desmond as he bounded forward and tried to stop Fred’s flailing motion. The Changeling wailed in agony as we watched the blade scuttle under its skin, leaving what looked like crimson contrails in the blade’s wake. Desmond grabbed the chair and lifted the Changeling and the chair in the air and frantically tried to untie him. Fred lunged forward and bit Desmond’s arm, drawing blood. Desmond yelled and let go of the chair, clutching his forearm. “Bloody hell, the little wank bit me!”

Fred flopped like a fish out of water still tied to the chair as he banged into the table and then the small hatch along the wall, causing it to crash to the floor. Plates and cups shattered as they connected with the grey stone floor and scattered across the room. A moment later he burst into dust, nothing but a pile of ashes remaining on the floor. The now still worm blade lay innocently among the ashes, broken plates scattered across the stone floor as well. One plate still bobbled back and forth as it came to a rest. It was the only sound in the room until it stopped its motion.

An t-áadh na nGael tu,” Liam whispered while everyone else remained silent, repeating what Bob had said. The way it rolled easily off his tongue made me think it was Gaelic, and I turned out to be right when Liam spoke once more. His voice was tired and strained as he gazed at the mess that littered the kitchen floor. “If the luck of the Irish is that we end up with a bunch of stinking Changelings in our kitchen, then we’ve hit the fekkin’ jackpot.”

 

If you'd like to learn more about the Bridger series and Curd, you can visit her website or check her series out on Goodreads, chat with her on Twitter at @MeganCurd or on Facebook here.

And now the giveaway! Enter to win Bridger and Traitor below.

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Review: Bridger by Megan Curd

Bridger
Megan Curd

Soul Fire Press (2011)
258 pages
YA / Faeries / Fantasy

You can purchase a e-book copy here for just $2.99

Ashlyn McVean doesn't believe in fairy tales. That is, until Ashlyn is thrown into the crosshairs of grudges her grandmother created long ago. After finding out she is one of two people able to cross between faerie realms, Ashlyn is faced with trying to understand her abilities, along with navigating a new relationship with her boyfriend, Liam. As if being on a centuries old hit list and dealing with crazed pixies isn't enough, her new abilities mean trouble for Liam. Knowing her new life puts everyone she loves in danger, Ashlyn must decide what's most important in her life between friends, family, love, and ultimately, realms.

I fear this might devolve into a rant, so I want to state upfront that Traitor has a lot of great ideas, particularly the way the faerie realm works and the whole plotline of Ashlyn’s grandmother. The plot is also pretty sold. The problem with Traitor is that the author integrates three of the things I hate most in YA (or any genre, really). The following three qualities were important parts of this book and made me cringe:

  1. Insta-love – Lead character Ashlyn falls into immediate and all-consuming love with Liam moments after she meets him. It’s a fated love written in the stars or something.
  2. Ashlyn is the best at all the things! – Our lead character doesn’t know anything about faeries or her family legacy. She sees herself as completely ordinary and unattractive, only to turn out to be the best at everything she tries.
  3. Just when the story feels like it’s hitting a climax, it stops. – I don’t mean this in the sense that there was a cliff hanger and I’m upset that it ended where it did. It felt more like we were finally hitting stride, about to reach the big battle that would cap off an interesting story, only for it to stop short before we got to the best part. It didn’t feel like the story had a natural conclusion, but rather stopped short right when things were getting started.

While not one of my key triggers, Traitor also features a normal human boy claiming to be the protector of a girl with superhuman strength. That’s a quality in a story that I have never understood, though in this case it followed along with insta-love. Basically Liam spends most of the book following Ashlyn around, warning her to stay out of trouble, then getting in the way when trouble found them when Ashlyn was actually the stronger of the pair.

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Review: Tithe by Holly Black (audiobook)

Tithe
Holly Black

Simon Pulse (2002)
331 pages
YA / dark fantasy / faeries

Purchase it from Amazon

Upon putting the first disc of the audiobook version of Tithe into my car stereo, I became very confused.  For some reason it sounded like a robot was reading the book.  Having a recently acquired fear of robots, this freaked me out at very early in the morning.  I don’t know why, but narrator Kate Rudd had a strange way of modulating her voice during the third person narration portions of the book that made her sound like a robot at times.  But then she started doing character voices and I decided that Rudd should be the narrator for all fantasy audiobooks.  She rocked those faerie voices.  Anyway…

Tithe is about sixteen-year-old Kaye, who grew up with a wannabe rocker mom and no parental boundaries.  She dropped out of school years before to work full time in order to support herself and she starts the book stuck in Philadelphia.  When her mother’s boyfriend attempts to knife her in a bar, the two head back to their hometown in New Jersey.  Kaye quickly resumes her position as the resident weirdo, seeing things that aren’t there, doing weird things that don’t make sense to those around her and basically being an odd duck because she can see all the crazy faerie things in Jersey that others can’t.  She soon gets drawn into a power struggle between three factions of faeries and terrible things start to happen.

Kaye is an interesting character.  She’s a girl who talks to little sprites and saves an odd faerie knight from bleeding out during the middle of the night in a rain storm.  She’s free-spirited (as one probably would be if they were friends with faeries) and impulsive, often getting herself into situations with dire consequences.  But mostly she’s a sixteen-year-old girl who gets her life twisted around when she learns the reason why she can see and communicate with faeries so easily.  Yes, she did some stupid things that, had she stopped to think about the consequences, would have made her life easier not doing, but she never struck me as overly selfish or weak.

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