The Completist: CASSANDRA KRESNOV by Joel Shepherd

Joel Shepherd’s Casandra Kresnov novels were originally published in the Australia, beginning in 2001 with his debut Crossover. When Pyr launched, as I indicated in my column on David Louis Edelman’s Jump 225 trilogy, part of editorial director Lou Anders’ mission was to bring non-US books to a US audience.  With Shepherd’s future-SF action series, he did just that.
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SFF readers can be cautious when it comes to reading series novels.  While a fair amount of us like to read the series books as they publish, a corresponding percentage of readers wish to wait until a series is published in full before diving head into what they hope to be an immersive experience.  That and the wait between volumes can lead to reader frustration and/or forgetting some of the events of the previous novel.

I’ve read a lot of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror over the years and my aim with this feature is to examine those SFFH series which have concluded. In short, all books of the series are available to be read in some format, electronic or print, but ideally both.

In 2005, Prometheus launched Pyr, their imprint dedicated to Science Fiction and Fantasy. Editorial Director Lou Anders brought genre savvy, industry experience and passion to the imprint. The imprint was built through a combination of fresh original voices and import titles – titles initially published overseas from the US and making their first US appearance with the Pyr fiery label on the spine. One of the early new voices Lou Anders published was David Louis Edelman, a computer programmer and marketing guy who worked for several dot-coms with a great passion for the genre. In 2006, Infoquake, the first volume of The Jump 225 Trilogy published.  In it, Edelman spins technology advancement through the lens of a marketing executive, providing a new and fresh view on a SF-nal element familiar to many – virtual reality and cybernetic enhancements.  In Edelman’s realistic and plausible future, this technology goes by the name of bio/logics.  According to one of the many appendices in the book, bio/logics is “The science of using programming code to extend the capabilities of the human body and mind.”
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Publisher Pyr and miniature games manufacturer Privateer Press have teamed up to publish novels based on Warmachine steam-powered fantasy wargame and the world of the Iron Kingdoms Role Playing Game: in Thunder Forged: The Iron Kingdoms Chronicles by Ari Marmell and Big Iron: The Iron Kingdoms Chronicles by C.A. Suleiman.

Press release follows…
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BOOK REVIEW: Lance of Earth and Sky by Erin Hoffman

REVIEW SUMMARY: Erin Hoffman continues the story of Captain Vidarian Rulorat, as the consequences of his fateful decision ripple across his entire world.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: After Vidarian’s opening of the Gate, the consequences of letting loose unpredictable magical forces play out across the entire world.

MY REVIEW:
PROS:More inventive worldbuilding, and a good exploration of theme of exploring the long range consequences of a world-affecting decision.
CONS: The frantic pace continued from the first novel definitely does not work here. Too often the book rushes where it should tarry. Novel could sorely use a summary of prior events or other aids.
BOTTOM LINE: A sophomore effort that doesn’t live up to the promise of the first novel.

In Sword of Fire and Sea, Vidarian, a ship captain on Andovar, — a world with decaying elemental magic, Gryphons and more — has a request to escort a Fire Priestess. It turns into a world-changing event when he chooses to open up a long-closed portal to another, richer magic realm, allowing its magic and inhabitants to flow into his world. The second novel, Lance of Earth and Sky, explores the consequences of that fateful action, as the appearance of lost races and lost magics threaten to topple kingdoms and remake the world.

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Book Review: False Covenant by Ari Marmell

SYNOPSIS:
Widdershins next adventure has the rags to riches to rags thief face off against a strange supernatural foe that threatens an already stressed and threatened city of Davillon

MY RATING:
MY REVIEW
PROS: Widdershins remains an interesting and engaging heroine. Good use of consequences of first novel in developing events in this one.
CONS: The writing isn’t quite as crisp and bright as the first novel.
VERDICT: A solid followup to Thief’s Covenant and second YA novel from Marmell.

In Thief’s Covenant (My SF Signal Review here) we were introduced to Adrienne Satti, aka Widdershins. Thief. Last worshiper of the small God Olgun. Rags to Riches to Rags story. The first novel was very much an origin story, as the jumping timelines gave us a sense of who she was, and how she obtained her unusual background and abilities.

Now, in False Covenant, Ari Marmell moves forward with Widdershins.  Six months have passed since the events of the first novel. Davillon has not been doing well, and neither has our heroine. In a case of kick-them-when-they’re-down, a new threat looms over Davillon, and given her abilities and connection to Olgun, Widdershins may be the only person able to combat it. But even as this occurs, Widdershins has her own personal struggles to deal with as well. Widdershins is finding out that growing up is NOT easy.

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Pyr is celebrating its 5th Anniversary! To celebrate, they are sharing the love by holding a writing contest.

Pyr invites readers and fans to submit a short essay on the theme: Five reasons why science fiction and fantasy is important to you.

The prizes for the best 3 essays are:

  • 3rd Place – a commemorative Pyr 5th anniversary keepsake and five complimentary books of their choice from the Pyr catalog.
  • 2nd Place – a complete set of Pyr books as published by the contest end date of June 1, 2010 (one copy of each title, without duplicating those that appear in more than one binding) and a commemorative Pyr 5th anniversary keepsake.
  • The Grand Prize Winner will embark on a “Pyr and Dragons Adventure: that includes:
    • A round-trip flight to Atlanta, GA during Dragon*Con, one of the largest multi-media, popular culture conventions focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the US. Dragon*Con 2010 will be held September 3 – 6, 2010 (Labor Day weekend).
    • Two nights hotel accommodation in Atlanta, GA, Sept. 3 and 4, 2010.
    • Dragon*Con membership/entry badge.
    • Dinner with Special Pyr Author Guests and Pyr Editorial Director Lou Anders–details to be announced!

Be sure to check Pyr’s website for rules and details.