- The Tainted City is now available as an audiobook! (Looking forward to giving it a listen myself, since I'll be doing a reading at MileHiCon weekend after next and I'd like to listen to how the scene I choose is narrated so I can crib a few tips.)
- The first part of the interview I did for Stumptown Books is now live - in this bit I talk about the reception for Whitefire Crossing and Tainted City, the cover art for the books, and give a spoiler-free look at what readers can expect from book 3 (The Labyrinth of Flame). (Two more interview sections will be posted later on this week, covering everything from whether I considered changing narrators in the Shattered Sigil books to my favorite peak climb.)
- Liz Bourke reviews The Tainted City at Tor.com. My favorite bit of the review is where she says "And yes, I'll admit it: the tension was such that I checked the final pages in advance, to spare my stomach some clenching." As someone whose first drafts always inspire moans of "But *where* is the tension?" from my critique group, I call that a total victory.
And lest you think I only ever read about myself on the internet, here's a few links to posts I read over the last week that I found interesting and/or thought-provoking:
- Sarah of Bookworm Blues talks about realism, true strength, and narrow portrayals of women in urban fantasy over at Bastard Books' blog. ("You don't need a weapon strapped to your leg to be strong. You don't need cut abs, or some horrible past to be strong. Some people fight silent battles.")
- At the Book Smugglers, author Cat Valente talks about childhood, growing up, and the terrible message of Peter Pan. (And yes, "Growing up is the beginning of the end" is a terrible message - and sadly, one I bought right into as a kid (damn you, James Barrie). I long ago determined I'd do my best to show my son that adulthood can be fun and magical and full of wonder, so he won't dread growing up the way I did.)
- Another post at Bastard's blog (the first in his ongoing series on why some people don't care for urban fantasy): Paul Weimer discusses the problem of lazy worldbuilding, and shares his picks of urban fantasies that do worldbuilding right.
- Teresa Frohock, author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale (a terrific book!), talks about how she chooses names for characters and places in her novels. (This is part of Abhinav Jain's ongoing series on his blog on "Names: A New Perspective." I love names and language, so I've been reading all the posts with interest!)
Last but not least, I've a couple book recs to share from my recent sleepless nights:
The Spirit War (Rachel Aaron)
This is the fourth novel in Aaron's Eli Monpress series. I read the first three books in omnibus form (The Legend of Eli Monpress) a week or two ago, and enjoyed them as light, breezy, fun caper fantasy. (Eli is a terrific character if you're into charming rogues.) But The Spirit War, I loved. It's a little darker and a little more serious (even while indulging in some spectacular magical battles), and fulfills a lot of things that were only hinted at in the earlier books. And yeah, there's one plotline that pretty much pushes all of my buttons (in a good way!) as a reader - I can't wait to see how it plays out in Spirit's End, the final book in the series, forthcoming in November.
Unspoken (Sarah Rees Brennan)
I was quite fond of both Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon's Lexicon trilogy and her co-authored novel with Justine Larbalestier, Team Human (which was a hilarious send-up of vampire dramas even while telling a surprisingly serious story), so I was delighted to find that this first novel in her new Lynburn Legacy series is another great read. Funny and dark by turns, featuring a female teen protagonist who's strong and determined without needing to be some kind of super ninja girl, and more of the difficult family relationships that Brennan excels at exploring - this is the kind of YA I love.
Wonders of the Invisible World (Patricia McKillip)
I don't read many short stories, but for some authors I instantly make an exception - like Patricia McKillip. I can't think of another author who matches McKillip for sheer beauty and economy of prose; and she's one of the few who can pull off the numinous in fantasy, making the Otherworld feel truly Other. I'll admit I love her novels even more than her short stories, but I still devoured this collection. "Bittersweet, bewitching, and deeply intoxicating," says the book description - and I totally agree. If you like short stories at all, go forth and read.