The Hanged Man (Tarot Sequence 2) Promotion Extravaganza

Happy Samhain, New Atlanteans!!

The hotly anticipated sequel to K.D. Edwards’ The Last Sun is arriving on December 17th, and KD, Sia, and I want to make the next two months a fun, exciting, and involved affair for everyone.

We have some seriously cool events planned–for current fans of the series and readers who aren’t familiar with it but would like to be–and today we’ll be giving you an overview of what’s to come (we’ll get into the heavier details of specific events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

But first, if you want to know how #HangedManPromo got started…

 

ORIGIN STORY

I had the chance to read The Hanged Man in September, and predictably I was obsessed with it. And when I get really obsessed about something, like a-dog-trembling-with-a-bone-in-its-mouth obsessed, I try to funnel that energy into activities. Which often means writing, gaming, drawing, dancing, making a playlist and going for a hike…Or, as in this case, creating an extensive project. Because otherwise the excitement settles into a cloying, negative thing–a kind of congealed anxiety with no outlet–which doesn’t rate super high on my Fun Scale. And as anyone who’s read The Tarot Sequence knows, it’s got a +100 to “Obsession Inducer”, which equals to a lot of anxiety.

So that’s the selfish reason.

The not-quite-as-selfish reason is that my grandmother had passed away from cancer in July, and I’d spent most of the summer months thinking about–well, life, to sound cliche. About pushing past doubt and just doing things because you may not have another chance.

And after finishing THM, there was this sense of “I’m feeling everything and I need more people to read this so they can feel it with me.” And, “I can do that, so what’s stopping me?” That would normally mean writing a review and making fanart (which I still plan to do!) But I also wanted to do something bigger, more wide reaching, something that could be accessible to newcomers of the series. The publication date for THM got delayed again, and no one was very happy, and I wanted the months leading up to its release to be as festive as I could make it.

And…here we are.

I asked two of my favourite people in the world to join me, Sia and KD–well, we obviously can’t do it without the damn author–who I’m convinced are actual superheroes and/or angels (I mean, they’re not even hiding it very well *rolls eyes*). Together we polished this into something AWESOME. And do you know the best/scary part? We’re not done brainstorming.

This event is a love letter to a series that celebrates the families we make for ourselves.

It’s a love letter to four people–two fictional, two very real–who have become bright stars in my orbit.

And it’s a love letter to you–the fans, both present and future.

We’re going to have so much fun with this.

 


So here’s what’s definitively on the schedule. MARK. YOUR. CALENDARS.

Hanged-Man-Promo-Poster

Nov 2nd – January 1st:
Creative Tarot Sequence Project

What it says on the tin. I wanted to do a contest to celebrate creativity and specifically, Tarot Sequence creativity. We’ll be talking more about it on November 2nd, and revealing the VERY cool prizes involved.

 

Nov 3rd – Dec 17: Giveaway (INTL)

Giveaway of what, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to see on November 3rd!

 

Nov 16 – Dec 16th: Last Sun Readalong

Perfect for those who haven’t read The Last Sun yet, and for those who want to refresh their memories and get reacquainted with the characters before Book 2 drops. We’ll be doing weekly discussions and K.D. will answer any questions you have regarding the text. More info to come tomorrow! (#LastSunReadalong)

 

Nov 6th – January 1st: Street Team (#ScionsOfAtlantis)

This is our biggest event, and also my favourite (just barely passing Creative Tarot Project), as it allows for roleplay–for us and for you. Do you like roleplay? Quests? Competitions? Letters that may or may not hide clues to special secret content? Then come pledge your allegiance.

As a Scion-with-amnesia, you’ll align with one of four courts (Sun, Justice, Tower, Death) and complete quests and collect points along with your teammates in preparation for the Hanged Man’s arrival. Glory will be heaped on the winning court, along with some very cool rewards.

By joining you also get a chance to participate in The Convocation of the Traveling Last Sun. The idea is that we send a physical copy of The Last Sun to North American and European members, and you get to scribble, doodle, and highlight the book to your heart’s content. Leave messages to your team members! Point out a favourite passage! Then you take pictures and post them on social media, and pass the book to the next person.

(You can read more about the Sun and Justice courts HERE, and Tower and Death courts HERE) Also, we would LOVE it if a couple of more people joined Sun and Justice!

 

☀️ SIGN UP HERE ☀️

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DATES TBA:

We also have a challenging quiz for The Last Sun planned (plus a raffle), blog posts, including a discussion about the series’ worldbuilding, and MORE.

If you have an idea that you think would be a good fit for the campaign, or if you want to pitch in some prizes (we would love you forever), contact us on Twitter or email us at hangedmanpromo@gmail.com.

 

Join The Hanged Man Street Team (#ScionsOfAtlantis) | A Tarot Sequence Promo Event

Street-Team-Banner3

☀️ SIGN UP HERE ☀️

 

Welcome to New Atlantis. An island once known as Nantucket, now a happily stitched-up landscape of skyscrapers and historical buildings stolen borrowed from all over the globe. A place where modern capitalism walks hand-in-hand with old world sensibilities. It’s also home to a kitchen sink of magical beings (if you imagine a kitchen sink the size of five football fields), including the most powerful and deadly entities on the planet: the Arcana.

Now, let’s zoom in on this map.

We come to an unremarkable little district at the heart of the city, and within that, an apartment nestled between a bookstore and a coffee shop. It’s a cute place, really. The perfect marriage of self-assured bohemia and “I have anxiety and decimal figures in my bank account.” Dilapidation with a wary, crooked charm.

Zoom in a bit more, a couple of floors up, to a painfully generic bedroom–and that, my friend, is where our story begins. That’s where you woke up this morning not knowing who you are.

No, not in an existential sense (though that will probably come later), but rather in the sense that you can’t recall one damn thing about yourself. Your name. Your age. Your past. Your lot in life. Nothing. If blankness had a shape, it’d look exactly like you.

So you did what any amnesiac in a fake RPG intro would do: hit the streets and start asking invasive questions to strangers.

Now here you are, going through the “Please Tell Me Your Life Story So I Can Figure Out Mine” routine–and it doesn’t take long for you to realize that something is very, very off. I mean, other than your memory situation.

New Atlantis is not unlike most big cities in the world, so there’s no shortage of billboards and posters and graffiti plastered across your view every dozen steps. That in itself isn’t strange. What is strange, however, is how those billboards and posters and graffiti are all saying the exact same thing:

Scion-wait.png

Yeah. Not creepy at all.

The words also come with a little symbol at the corner: sometimes it’s a SUN, other times a SCALE, a TOWER, or a SKULL.

And the strangest bit? It seems that you’re the only one who can see them. You confirm this when you grab a flyer and thrust it at a person nearby, asking, “Are you seeing this?” To which they reply, “Uh. Fifty percent off on large pizza?” before sidestepping away.

So you do a little digging–you’re getting to be quite good at that–and you begin to find out some things. You find out that the Arcana are the de facto rulers of New Atlantis. You find out that “Scions” are the children of such Arcana, all with varying degrees of entitlement and magical powers. You find out that those four symbols represent four of the major Arcana Thrones: Sun, Justice, Tower, and Death. You find out that what you’re seeing is essentially a recruitment call.

And this is what you find out about the Thrones:

 


(The following are overviews of Sun and Justice. To read about Tower and Death, hop on over to SIA’S BLOG! Tarot Meanings written by Sia; Court Details written by K.D.)

The Sun Throne

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Image source: biddytarot.com

Modern Family Name: Saint John
Notable Members: Rune, Brand

Tarot Meaning:

In a tarot deck, the Sun card represents strength and fierce, bright joy. It is a sign that things are about to change for the better, and a reminder that you contain immense light and power within you. In fact, it often appears in a reading as a message that it is time for you to share your light with others—to step up to the plate and let the whole world see you blaze bright.

 

Court Details:

The former Lord Sun rose to power in the golden era of Atlantis, well before Atlantean society was revealed to the human world. His was a court of artists and musicians, scientists and philosophers. The Sun Throne has always been invested in research and discovery, in the exciting evolution of culture and civilization. To a certain extent, though, this was a facade. The Tower speaks of Lord Sun as an ally–which has always indicated to Rune that his father had a much deeper connection to the running of New Atlantis.

 

The Crusader Throne (Justice)

MA-11-justice.png

Modern Family Name: Saint Nicholas
Notable Members: Addam, Quinn

Tarot Meaning:

If you are currently seeking justice, the Justice card appearing in a reading means it will be served. But it can also mean that you must face justice—for your wrongdoings against others, or against yourself. Justice is fair and unbiased, and if you have worked for the greater good, the judgement will reflect that. If you haven’t, however, you will have to own up to your actions and face the consequences. Justice seeks out the truth, and that isn’t always an easy path—or one with simple and obvious answers. Bear that in mind if you are to walk Justice’s road.

 

Court Details:

Four major Arcana—sometimes called the Moral Certainties or Moral Virtues—have always formed a power bloc in Atlantean society, including Justice, Strength, Temperance and the Hermit. Justice is the traditional patron of judges; the others are patrons of religious leaders and the guarda. They are the Arcana who broker peace talks and ceasefires, and are heavily represented in the elected Convocation. Their carefully-constructed neutrality and piety translate well into the larger Corporate world; they are also among the most globally wealthy courts.

 


As you learn more and more, there’s a steady feeling rising in your bones-a primal radar we’re all born with–screaming that yes, this is what you are. Scion.

You can, of course, ignore it. That is absolutely a choice you can make. Life isn’t a reel of heroic action scenes, no matter what the stories say, and we’re not obligated to charge headfirst into every firefight that comes our way.

However.

There’s a rumbling along the fault lines of New Atlantean society, and it tells you of a storm brewing on the horizon. You don’t know when it’ll arrive, or how big it’ll be, but you know it will test everything you have.

And the glory? The glory will be monumental.

 

Sun. Justice. Tower. Death. They’re ready for you, Scion.

Are you?

 

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Hello, hello, everyone!

Thank you so much for indulging that intro. I’ve been in a major RPG mood lately (well, more so than usual) and you can blame Disco Elysium for the inspiration (an incredible game, go play it). And you can thank Sia and K.D. for writing those wonderful Tarot and Court descriptions!

So. Street team.

The street team is part of The Hanged Man Promo Event that Sia, K.D, and I will be running from November to December. We’ll be officially announcing the whole affair on October 31st. I’ll explain then what inspired me to create the event and what I’d hoped to get out of it, and give you an overview of what you can expect in the next two months.

Now, the goal of any street team is to promote something through virtual and/or physical means. As a member, you’ll help spread the word about K.D. Edwards’ The Hanged Man, and the Tarot Sequence series in general, through reviews, word-of-mouth, social media posts, distribution of physical swag to friends and acquaintances, and whatever else you can think of.

It’ll be a small but firm commitment on your part, and there are going to be awesome rewards for your efforts, including:

  • special access to deleted scenes & behind-the-scenes content from the series
  • stickers of your Court emblem
  • a special letter of welcome from your Court’s head
  • AND MORE

You’ll “align” with one of four courts–Sun, Justice, Tower, and Death–and we’re hoping to make this into a fun competitive affair, where each team can earn points by completing tasks (which we’ll send and explain via email), with the winning team getting something special.

And I KNOW you all want to join the Sun Court and become a Saint John–I totally get that–but for the competition system to work, the team distribution has to be fairly equal (or at the very least, not overly skewed). So please consider Justice, Tower, and Death as well! They’re all exciting Courts, and each come with interesting, lovable characters.

Sign-up form will be open until November 5th, and the street team campaign will officially close in January 2020.

I’m so ridiculously excited for this, and for everything that’s to come later this week, and I hope you can join us!

 

☀️ SIGN UP HERE ☀️

 

An Interview With K.D. Edwards, Author of The Last Sun…After a Brief Infomercial

[BLACK-AND-WHITE FILTER]

Me (in a diabetes-inducing tone):
They say laughter is the best medicine, but do you find yourself going day to day and struggling to find even a smile?

Are you tired of fantasy books that feature muscly macho men doing muscly macho things? Sick of strong and competent characters that are always strong and competent?

Have you ever read something and thought, “Man, I like this but I wish it was 500% more queer”?

Well, INTRODUCING….THE LAST SUN, the first book in The Tarot Sequence by K.D. Edwards!

the last sun

It features:
– Hilarious banter
– Competent but beautifully flawed characters
– A brilliantly intricate world based around a reimagined Atlantis
– And 1000% more queerness

Voices In My Head: Wow, that sounds amazing! When can I get my hands on this gem?

Me: Well, my friend, this is your lucky day because the book is out TODAY.

Voices: Today?!

Me: TO.DAY. So you can skip on out to your local bookstore and buy or order a copy right now. Or put in a request at your library and you get to read the book for free (I always joke that I’m on my library’s blacklist because of the mountain of requests I make each month, but honestly, all the librarians I know love them–so go for it).

Voices: Can this book fix my crumbling relationship?

Me: Um…y–yeah, definitely! It’ll fix your relationships, water your crops, and probably eventually ignite world peace.

And if you don’t believe my words, I’ll let the author himself speak, as we awkwardly segue into the interview segment!

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1) Hi, K.D! Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself and your book, The Last Sun

Absolutely. Well, maybe. I deliberately chose an initial-only penname so that I’d be able to vanish into my novel. I’ve never been as concerned with making a reputation for myself, as I am in making my stories known. But I’m a native of the East Coast, and spent the first half of my life bouncing around the northern latitudes – Central Mass, up to Maine and New Hampshire, back down to Boston for 5 years, over to Colorado for 1, back to Central Mass, then over to Montana for 5 years, then over to Washington State (Spokane) for a few years, and finally to North Carolina, where I’ve more or less settled in the last 10 years.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer – always. I even used to write a serial soap opera in high school for a bunch of people. But about 7 years ago I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Time to fish or cut bait.” So I wrote a horrible contemporary coming of age novel. And then a less-horrible gay mystery. And then a borderline-passable YA post-post apocalyptic superhero novel. And by that point I realized I’d leveled up as a writer, so I started TAROT, the book I’ve always wanted to write.

2) The Houses of New Atlantis are named after tarots, and their powers are associated with tarot imagery and meanings. What made you decide to go down this direction? 

I’ve always been fascinated with Tarot cards, as an individual; and deep world-building, as a reader and writer. This is the best combination I’ve achieved yet. The Tarot mythology is just so damn rich with archetypes. I love taking them as a starting point, and building a game of courts around them.

3) Your magic system and some of the worldbuilding reminded me quite a bit of role-playing games. Were video games and/or pen-and-paper RPGs sources of inspiration for the book?

Oh absolutely. I plot and plan in terms of RPG. I would LOVE to turn the world of New Atlantis into a sprawling RPG like DRAGON AGE or WITCHER, with the heart of LAST OF US. The magic system in LAST SUN is so RPG – the way Rune’s abilities are limited by sigils, and the way he’s clever enough to use a single elemental power in several ways (like turning Fire into fireballs or walls of fire).

I should have had him smash more crates and fight more rats, and given gaming companies more of a wink…

4) Rune differs from many urban fantasy protagonists in that he’s not human. But his struggles are nothing if not human. I’d love to know more about your decision and process in creating an MC who is powerful–and has potential to become even more so–yet also powerless in many respects. 

I’ve always told people that TAROT was the first book I wrote that contained my darkness. And, indeed, as funny as I try to make the banter between Rune and Brand, the backdrop of the story – Rune’s past – is chilling. And I tried to be true to it. I believe that when you’re writing about abuse, whether physical or sexual, you damn well better respect it. That’s why it’s not simply backstory: Rune’s past, and the violence he encountered the night his court fell, informs all of his decisions, in one way or another. It’s why he can be such a force of nature in a fight, yet have no idea at all how to make small talk. It affects his ability to trust, to invest himself, to commit.

Plus, the fall of Rune’s court affected his supply of magical instruments. It limits his ability to be a constant bad ass – there are constraints on him, and it forces him to be very clever and resourceful. One of the things I like best as a writer is honoring those restraints, and forcing Rune to come up with different ways of extracting himself from a bad situation when his sigils have run dry.

5) Rune and Brand. Their bond forms the heart of the story. Did you have any specific inspirations for their relationship or did it just kind of write itself? 

It writes itself. It just does. I love writing their dialog. I love how much they mean to each other, and how they express that love – caring, caustic, and clever. I am so lucky they’re in my head.

6) One of things I love about The Last Sun is the way it showcases so many different shades of masculinity. Your characters are everything from sarcastic and grumpy, to gentle and virtuous, to awkward and whimsical, and more. And it’s wonderful to see this variety in a genre that often veers toward a testosterone-laden brand of masculinity. Was this a conscious decision on your part? And why do you think it’s important to explore these avenues in fantasy stories? 

It was a very conscious decision. I set out to make a modern fantasy with a main character who just happens to be gay, and I think gay men are fortunate to operate without a lot of hang-ups that are coded into straight men. Not to make generalizations, I say, generalizing.

7) In recent years we’ve seen a surge of diverse books in the YA scene, and it’s also slowly starting to catch on in adult SFF, with awards like the Hugos reflecting that. But to see an ownvoices adult fantasy with a full queer cast and a m/m romance plot is truly inspiring and exciting, not to mention groundbreaking. At what point did you decide, “These are the kinds of stories I want to write”? 

Back when I committed to really producing a finished, marketable novel, I had a tough conversation with myself about what type of characters I wanted to create. In the end, I realized that I had a certain luxury most writers don’t: I have a good day job. I’m not struggling. If I don’t become a commercial success, it won’t affect my ability to put food in my fridge. That decision gave me even more latitude to be true to myself and take chances.

I want to write mainstream fiction, and urban fantasy, and high fantasy, and YA, and zombie stories, and post-apocalyptic stories….. And I want it all to center around a queer main character, or at least with strong queer representation among a cast of main characters. That is my goal. To give certain young people a better reflection of who they are – something I didn’t have growing up.

8) Now for something refreshingly short! What was your favourite part about writing the book? 

The research. I loved researching abandoned human ruins, which were used to create the patchwork city of New Atlantis.

And I also love going back to my notes — I’m a HUGE outliner – and finding a one-liner that Brand is going to say that I’d forgotten about. I love making myself laugh with something I forgot I wanted him to say.

9) Do you have any recommendations for books and authors? Especially for those who have read your book and are now experiencing severe withdrawal? 

Robin Hobb is a master. No author has ever dug under my skin like her. I once sobbed so hard reading one of her novels that the collar of my sweater was soaked.

Graphic novels are a HUGE influence for me. Gaiman, Ellis, Ennis, Carey. And I like the early days of urban fantasy – Hamilton, Briggs, Harris, Butcher, Armstrong, Caine. I’m reading JK Rawlings’ (as Kenneth Galbraith) mystery series right now, and LOVING IT. Later in life, I started reading the really, really, really excellent YA SFF that was coming out – Armstrong, Black, Marr, Clare, Brennan. Oh, Brennan – IN OTHER LANDS is a riot. I just re-read that.

I could go on forever. Reading every day is important to me – I can’t imagine ending a day without it. I need to start a review column on my website; I keep meaning to….

10) If you could have any three people–real, fictional, historical and deceased or otherwise–in your adventuring party, who would you pick? And what would your classes be? 

Hah! I like balance. Definitely a glass cannon mage; a holy fighter who can tank and heal; and a ranged/melee rogue-assassin.

But if I were being creative…. Three people…. Oh, man, I’d definitely want Rune and Brand – there’s your combo of mage, rogue, fighter. And I suppose I’d want someone like Fitz’s Nighteyes. Perfect scout, good in a fight….

11) Thank you so much for your time, K.D! I can’t say enough good things about The Last Sun. If you have any last words you’d like to say to my readers, the bookish world, or the universe in general, you’re welcome to do so!

 

Am I allowed to tell people about the fan art you did for me? If so, I’d tell people that if they work hard & get published, I hope they have readers like you waiting on the other side of the door. People like you have made this experience of getting published a true joy.

And I suppose I’d say thank you to all my future readers. Above all else, I want to share this series with people. I hope I get the chance to write as much TAROT as everyone is willing to read – and that I entertain the hell out of you along the way.

Thank you so much for asking these questions! I’ve enjoyed answering them.

 

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In all seriousness, this book is the best piece of fiction I’ve read this year and it deserves all the success in the world. I can’t begin to express what it means to see bisexuality, and queerness in general, depicted in such a casual yet heartfelt manner in my favourite genre.

So take a chance and go check it out. You won’t be disappointed. (You can see my 1200-word gushfest of a review here.)

And for those curious, this is the first fanart I made for K.D.:

Rune Collage 6(7)

 

Most Anticipated Scifi & Fantasy: May – July 2018

Most-Anticipated-Books-scifi-fantasy-(new)

I’m back! The good news is that the anxiety has subsided with the help of good books, sun, and my decision to start drawing art again. The not-so-good news is that the anxiety has morphed into abdominal issues, a light fever, and the possibility of an ulcer or appendicitis. Which is…fun. So I need to be monitoring that for the next few days. Meanwhile, I’ve really missed writing blog posts! So here’s one that I probably should have posted a week ago.

For those who haven’t seen my first Most Anticipated posts, I decided to split my lists into genre and months because if I were to fit them all into one giant post you’d be scrolling down this blog for days. This one covers Scifi and Fantasy releases from May to July.

MAY

May-to-July-books1

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (May 1st)
I’m reading through this right now and it’s very good. The hype is well-deserved.

The Rig by Roger Levy (May 8th)
I already sampled the first couple of chapters and it’s as wonderfully strange as I’d hoped it would be. I can see why Ladie Tidhar was asked to blurb it–it’s very reminiscent of Central Station.

Armistice (Amberlough Dossier 2) by Lara Elena Donnelly
(May 15th)

The sequel to Donnelly’s dazzling art deco debut, Amberlough, which featured strippers, smugglers, spies, fascism, and a whole lot of heat. Here’s to hoping Armistice isn’t quite as heart-shattering as the first. I’m not opposed to some shattering, but the glue that’s holding together the pieces of my heart from the last shatter still hasn’t fully dried yet. So be gentle, Lara. Please.

JUNE

May-to-July-books2

 The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence 1) by K.D. Edwards (May 8th)
I already read and adored this, so here the “most anticipated” equates more to “I can’t wait to get my hands on multiple physical copies so I can annotate the hell out of them. And snuggle them. And have candlelight dinners with them.”

Ravencry (Raven’s Mark 2) by Ed McDonald (June 14th – UK; August 21st – NA)
I loved the Noir-feel of Ed McDonald’s grimdark debut, Blackwing, and the world he created manages to be bleak and wondrous at the same time. Suffice to say, I’m very much looking forward to seeing where the story goes from there.

Witchmark by C.L. Polk (June 19th)
A historical fantasy set in Edwardian England with exploration of queer relationships against a World War I backdrop. I mean…what more incentives do you need?

 

May-to-July-books3
The Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (June 26th)
A Native American urban fantasy. Enough said.

A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White (June 26th)
A Borderlands-esque world and a plot that features treasure hunting and two women on the run from space cops? And an f/f romance to boot? Hell yes.

JULY (AKA Hello-Bankruptcy Month)

May-to-July-books4

Empire of Silence (The Sun Eater 1) by Christopher Ruocchio (July 3rd)

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (July 10th)

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne (July 17th)

 

May-to-July-books5
One of Us by Craig DiLouie (July 17th)
Claire North calls this book “The Girl with All the Gifts meets To Kill a Mockingbird.” Well, sign me up.

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins (July 17th)

This is a graphic novel based on the McElroy brothers’ The Adventure Zone podcast and I am super stoked to see these beloved characters and their shenanigans in illustrated form. For those who are unaware of the podcast, I highly, HIGHLY recommend you go check it out. Even if you don’t know who the McElroys are. Even if you don’t know a single thing about D&D or RPGs. These guys have created an unforgettable journey chock full of silliness and poignancy, and their characters will stay with you for a long, long time.

Annex (The Violet Wars 1) by Rich Larson (July 24th)

 

May-to-July-books6

 

Hard in Hightown by Varric Tethras with Mary Kirby (July 31st)

Does this count? This is a book that exists in the world of the Dragon Age games, written by one of its characters Varric Tethras and thus written by Mary Kirby, who is Varric’s writer. Very meta. Despite what the title might suggest (Varric has a tendency to assign risqué titles to his crime/adventure books and serious titles to his romance books), this is a crime story featuring the city guardsmen of Kirkwall. Dragon Age is my favourite game series of all time and I’m super excited to add this to my collection of DA swag.

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April Wrap Up – Books, Games, and Ninja TED

I finally got around to doing a monthly wrap-up. I read 10 books (and short stories) this month, which wasn’t as many as I’d hoped, but still not too shabby!

Novels and Graphic Novels:

April-books1

  • From Unseen Fire by Cass Morris (5/10): This was a bit of a disappointment. I couldn’t connect with the characters and the setting was more historical fiction than alt-history/fantasy, which . Review here.
  • Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence (7/10): Though I had problems with Nona’s character in this sequel to Red Sister, it was still an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to seeing how things will conclude in Holy Sister. Review here.
  • The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards: Review to come…
  • Fire Dance by Ilana C. Myer (9.5/10): I absolutely loved it. The writing is gorgeous, the characters are complex, and the worldbuilding is fascinating. Review here.

April-books2

  • The Lost Path by Amélie Fléchais (4/10): This was a weird, weird graphic novel. I was expecting something similar to Over the Garden Wall, but that wasn’t at all the case. Though the artstyle is nice, the plot is just absolutely nonsensical.
  • This I Know by Eldonna Edwards (3/10): A big resounding NOPE. It started out with a lot of promise and then just took a nosedive. Review here.
  • Algeria is Beautiful like America by Olivia Burton (7/10): This was the first autobiographical graphic novel I’ve ever read and I actually quite enjoyed it! It
  • Dragonoak by Sam Farren (8/10): An f/f fantasy romance featuring a necromancer and a knight. It’s chock full of diversity, the worldbuilding is interesting and fun, and the romance was just so sweet.

Novellas and Short Stories:

All Systems Redground floor

  • All Systems Red (Murderbot 1) by Martha Wells (7.5/10): This was a fun read. Murderbot should be relatable to anyone who is an introvert and/or has social anxiety.
  • Ground Floor, Second Room to the Left by Chris Srantopoulos (6.5/10): An atmospheric horror short story that had some interesting moments but ended a little prematurely.

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Games:

For the past week and a half, I’ve been thoroughly obsessed with this obscure little indie game called God of War. I’m not even halfway through and it’s already shaping out to be one of the best games I’ve ever played. It’s a fun, glorious romp through Norse mythology, but it’s also an incredibly personal tale of parenthood and the legacy that we pass on to our children. The relationship between Kratos and his son Atreus is utterly compelling and played out by the two actors to perfection. I’m very excited about finishing it but also scared about finishing it.

Atreus1

Ninja TED:

amanda
So I went to my fourth annual NinjaTED on April 11, hosted by the one and only Amanda Palmer, who is one of the most brilliant and passionate artists I know and also happens to be married to Neil Gaiman (I honestly don’t know which of the couple I’m more jealous of). What is Ninja TED, you ask? The whole thing started out in 2014 at the last minute (you can read more about its inception here) and it’s a way for Amanda to bring the TED people to the plebians of Vancouver who can’t afford to shell out $6000 for the actual thing. And to help out the local food bank in the process. It’s since become one of my favourite annual events.

We get performances from various musicians, poets, dancers, scientists, and magicians. A glorified talent show for nerds, basically–with more swearing and casual talks about genitals. This years roster included Adam Savage, Sarah Kay, Maria Popova, Neil Gaiman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a surprise last-minute Riz Ahmed (cue screaming), and more. (If you’re interested, you can watch the recorded Facebook stream of the whole show here.)

And I just about fell out of my chair when Neil and Joseph Gordon-Levitt started performing the Morpheus vs. Chronozon scene from Sandman vol. 1.

For those who are unfamiliar, Morpheus is the Lord of Dreams and Chronozon is a demon of Hell. Chronozon has possession of Morpheus’ helm and so they both decide on  a little game. If Morpheus wins, he gets his helm back; if Chronozon wins, Morpheus becomes a slave to Hell. The game? One person says “I am ____” and the other person has to counter it with another thing. For example, Chronozon says, “I am a snake, spider-devouring, poison-toothed,” and Dream’s response is, “I am an ox, snake-crushing, heavy footed.”

They go back and forth, with no one having the advantage of the other, until Chronozon smugly comes up with his trump card: “I am anti-life, the beast of judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything, the end of universes, gods, worlds…of everything.”

To which Dream answers: “I am hope.”

And wins.

And I think that’s an appropriate ending to a monthly wrap-up.

Here’s to books and hope.

 

The 20 Questions Book Tag

I was tagged by Amy from A Court of Crowns and Quills for this, so thank you, Amy! She takes the loveliest book photos and her reviews are just as wonderful. Plus, she’s a former aviator, which is the coolest thing in the world, so go check her out!

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1. How many books is too many books in a book series?

If I love the books, then infinite. Okay, no. With trilogies I often find myself craving just a bit more, so my sweet spot is around five. Eight is where things start to get a little too much. Then again, it really depends on the quality and the genre of the series. With urban fantasies, I will happily read 8+ books, no problem.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

If they’re placed in the middle of an ongoing series, I’m perfectly fine with it. If they’re placed at the end of a series, and the author’s intention is to follow it up at the start of their next series, then there will be smoke pouring out of my ears.

3. Hardback or paperback?

Hardbacks for collecting and looking pretty on my shelves. Paperbacks for absorbing tears, scribblings, and just general abuse.

Harry Potter Goblet of Fire
Here’s an example of such abuse! My first copy of The Goblet of Fire has been through several continents, a bathtub dunking, dozens of falls–and all before I graduated middle school. (I swear, not all my paperbacks are like that, please don’t call book protection services.)

4. Favorite book?

Fool's Fate
Fool’s Fate
by Robin Hobb, just narrowly edging out Fool’s Quest. It’s got everything I love in a book: snowy/icy landscapes, an expedition to find a legendary creature, prophecies, and brilliant, heartrending character interactions.

 

 

 

 

5. Least favorite book?

I don’t know if I can pinpoint my least favourite book of all time, but Ready Player One is a hot topic lately so I’ll talk about that. I get why people love it–nostalgia trip and mindless fun and such. But for me, it’s a regurgitation of 80’s pop culture at best. At worst, it’s a book with an annoying protagonist, bad attempt at diversity, and casual transphobia and sexism. And like Clockwork Orange and Fight Club, I side-eye dudes who call it their favourite book of all time.

6. Love triangles, yes or no?

Generally, no. I hate seeing someone getting rejected and left out.

7. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton. I know a lot of people loved it, but the prose was just a little too florid for me (and I generally love poetic prose), and I didn’t think I could handle 400 more pages of it. It was like trying to eat an entire dark chocolate cake all by myself.

8. A book you’re currently reading?

Just started Fire Dance by Ilana C. Myer! I loved her first book, Last Song Before Night, so I’m very excited for this one.

9. Last book you recommended to someone?

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett to a friend’s mom!

10. Oldest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

The Tale of GenjiI want to say Iliad and The Odyssey, except I haven’t read them completely from start to finish. So either The Tale of Genji (written early 11th century) or Beowulf, which is placed at sometime between late 10th to early 11th century.

11. Newest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards. So new it hasn’t been released yet! It’s also my newest obsession and, I think, my favourite book of 2018 so far. I will most definitely be yelling about it for the rest of the year.

12. Favorite author?

Robin Hobb. Hands down. No questions. I will happily perform blood rituals in her name.

13. Buying books or borrowing books?

I’m greedy and materialistic when it comes to owning physical copies of things I enjoy–whether it’s books or video games or film/TV–but my bank account doesn’t always agree with me. Plus, I love my local library, and borrowing books is a surefire way to sample more books while dodging buyer’s remorse.

14. A book you dislike that everyone else seem to love?

A recent one? Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence, which is the second book in the Book of Ancestors trilogy. Everyone’s showering it with 5 stars and I’m the only one in the corner mumbling, “Um, yeah, it just wasn’t as good as the first…” You can see my review here.

15. Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Bookmarks. I form habits with disturbing ease, so once I start dog-earing books I’ll probably start doing it with all of them, including hardbacks, so I’ll stick with post-its, scraps of paper, tissues (yes), and more conventional bookmarks. 

16. A book you can always reread?

Fitz-Cover-CollageI’m a broken record, but The Realm of the Elderlings. I can read those books again and again, consecutively even, and never, ever get tired of them. How can I, when reading them is like coming home to a best friend?

17. Can you read while hearing music?

Instrumentals or quiet acoustic/indies, yes. I love making fan playlists for books, so listening to a bunch of OSTs while reading helps me find inspiration. 8tracks is a great site for finding music that suit the mood of a book.

18. One POV or multiple POV’s? (POV’s = Point of views)

Usually one. I’m a sucker for first person POVs, and with multiple POVs, I sometimes find myself skipping chapters to get to the POVs that I actually like.

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

Multiple days! (Unless it’s a novella or a children’s book.) It just doesn’t feel right finishing a book whose story spans months (or years) in 24 hours.

20. A book you’ve read because of the cover?

Incarceron
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. The hardcover of this just looked so gorgeous so I nabbed it immediately at the bookstore. This was back when I’d bought books impulsively without checking out any reviews. Thankfully, the story wasn’t too shabby, either!

 

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I TAG:

The Book Nook UK
Lost In A Good Book
Arisutocrat

A Science Girl in a Fantasy World
Alex Reads and Blogs

(If you do the tag, please link directly back to this post! ❤️)