Throwback Thursday : The Winnowing Flame Trilogy by Jen Williams

IMG_5545

ThrowbackThursday.pngThrowback Thursday, is a new feature created by Tenacious Reader with the aim of  highlighting books from your reading past. This can be virtually anything, a book that you previously read and loved, a book that you want to highlight again, maybe it’s a book in a series and the next book is due out shortly so you want to focus some attention on the series.   Anything goes – so long as your book isn’t a current release as there are already plenty of ways to highlight the latest books.  

Today I’m highlighting the first two books in the Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams.  Here are the two beautiful covers:

This series is certainly epic in scope.  It’s packed with originality and fantastic characters and it’s written with flair.  I’ve just finished the final instalment The Poison Song – and my review will follow later but for now suffice to say that fantasy lovers should be reading Jen Williams.  She’s a tour de force who is carving her own spot in the world of speculative fiction.  Her books are a delight and I highly recommend them.

The third book is due out today so if you’ve not yet started now is the perfect time.  And, because I’m just really nice here’s the cover for Poison Song so you can see the full set.  this one is a real beauty and my favourite (although it is difficult to choose):

PoisonSong

Advertisements

Friday Face Off :  “How sweet to be a cloud, floating in the blue”

IMG_5545

(May is the month of Wyrd and Wonder – details here, Twitter: @wyrdandwonder)

FFOHere we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – the list has been updated to help out those of you who like to plan ahead – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

 “How sweet to be a cloud, floating in the blue” – A cover that is predominantly blue

Blue covers – I’m looking forward to everyone’s covers this week – there were quite a few out there but the book I’ve gone with is : The Iron Ghost (The Copper Cat #2) by Jen Williams. I loved this series and it’s a great fantasy series to begin my first FFO for Wyrd & Wonder – if you haven’t read it I highly recommend you do so.

My covers this week – only two but they both fit the theme :D:

My favourite:

Iron1

I love these covers.  Which one is your favourite?

Like last week I’ve added a Mr Linky here so that you can leave a link if you wish or please leave me a link in the comments so we can all visit and check out each others covers.  Thanks

I’ve updated the list and included themes through to the end of 2019 – I’ve also included events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share that let me know in the comments).  I also have a list prepared for 2020 and so will set up a separate page soon for forthcoming themes.  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment.

Next week – A cover featuring a festival/party/celebration

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ of one of your favourite covers)

2019

(May is the month of Wyrd and Wonder – details here, Twitter: @wyrdandwonder)

10th May  – “As full of spirit as the month of May” – A cover featuring a festival/party/celebration

17th May –  “The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow!” – A cover featuring a fantasy beast

24th May – “bibbity, bobbity, boo” – A cover that features ‘magical things’

31st May –  “simples” – A favourite fantasy cover 

7th June  – “One swallow does not make a summer” – A cover that makes you think of Summer 

14th June – “Coraline opened the box of chocolates. The dog looked at them longingly.” – A cover featuring something sweet

21st June – Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year – Pagan rituals/standing stones/blazing suns – a cover with your own interpretation

28th June – “And who decided which people wore the striped pyjamas” – A cover that is striped

5th July – “The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe… has been answered” –  a cover featuring something/somebody historic 

12th July – A wrap around cover

19th July – “You can’t choose between life and death when we’re dealing with what is in between.” – A cover that is grainy or looks like ‘white noise’

26th July – “Ludo ….. down” – A cover that is Upside Down

2nd August – “There are children here somewhere. I can smell them.” A cover featuring children

9th August – “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request.” – A cover featuring Pirates

16th August – “The haft of the arrow had been feathered with one of the eagles own plumes” – a cover featuring feathers

23rd August – A cover that is a movie tie in

30th August – “I wandered lonely as a cloud” – a cover that is predominantly yellow

6th September “Warm September brings the fruit” – a cover that is seasonal for Autumn/Fall

13th September – Friday the 13th – unlucky for some!  A cover with ‘curse’ in the title

20th September – “Your hair is winter fire,January embers.” – A cover featuring hair

27th September – Freebie

4th October – “Feed me Seymour” – A cover that is 60s horror

11th October – ““And, though there should be a world of difference between the smile of a man and the bared fangs of a wolf, with Joss Merlyn they were one and the same.”  – a cover featuring an Inn

18th October – “It’s your favorite scary movie, remember? He had on the white mask, he stalked the babysitters.” – A cover featuring a scream

25th October – for Halloween – pick any scary cover you like

(I’m hoping that November will once again bring to us SciFiMonth – Twitter @SciFiMonth)

1st November – A cover that is predominantly grey

8th November – “big badda boom” – a cover that features an explosion

15th November – “No thinking thing should be another thing’s property, to be turned on and off when it is convenient.” – a cover featuring a robot

22nd November – A cover that is Futuristic

29th November – “When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” – a cover that is 60s sci fi

6th December – Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this sun of York”  – a cover that puts you in mind of winter

13th December – A cover that features a temple/or religious icon

20th December – Longest Night –  a dark and foreboding cover

27th December – the festive season – a cover that is glittery or sparkling

(2020 – January is Vintage SciFi month so I’ll be including possible themes to take that on board.)

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy #3) by Jen Williams

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy #3) by Jen Williams.  The conclusion to the series – I can’t wait and check out that cover:

the poison songFrom Jen Williams, three-time British Fantasy Award finalist, comes the electrifying conclusion to the Winnowing Flame trilogy. Exhilarating epic fantasy for fans of Robin Hobb.

Jump on board a war beast or two with Vintage, Noon and Tor and return to Sarn for the last installment of this epic series where the trio must gather their forces and make a final stand against the invading Jure’lia.

Due for publication :  May 2019

The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy #2) by Jen Williams

bitterThe Bitter Twins is the second instalment of Jen Williams’ Winnowing Flame Trilogy and is an excellent second in series that demonstrates William’s ability to create a richly woven world, full of history and religion and characters that are a delight to read and fall in love with.

Before reviewing The Bitter Twins I would point out that it is necessary to read the Ninth Rain first.  The story picks up immediately after the conclusion of No.1 and there is no recap of previous events so if you haven’t read the first book then I strongly recommend you stop right here, don’t read this review, simply go and pick up the first book.  The other thing that I would mention is that this is a book that is a little difficult to review without giving away spoilers for the first book or indeed for the content of The Bitter Twins so I’m really going to avoid discussion of the plot and limit my review to the writing, characters and world building.

Once again the story brings our favourite characters to the table.  Lady Vincenza, or Vintage, again plays a key role.  Not to be deterred by her lack of either magic or super strength Vintage isn’t prepared to take a back seat but once again manages to find herself in the thick of things.  Finding herself at the heart of Ebora and with her long missing love interest returning to the scene Vintage has a few harsh truths to face, not least of which is her own mortality and the knowledge that whilst she has physically aged her lover has not.  What I love about Vintage is she brings her own brand of upbeat realism to any situation.  She’s intelligent enough to be able to work things through sensibly and resourceful enough to not panic when faced with danger.  Alongside Vintage we share a few moments when all the characters are briefly reunited before they split into different groups each with important quests.  Noon and Tormalin go in search of ancient knowledge that might assist the war beasts who are suffering from memory loss.  Their adventure leads them to discover an archipelago of small islands some of which are more dangerous than first glance reveals.  They go in search of artifacts but instead find much more uncovering an astonishing revelation regarding Eboran history and finally coming to terms with their feelings for each other.

Aldasair and Bern have their own mission which involves a good deal of drama and the discovery of Hestillion aboard the Corpse Moon.  What a storyline this is.  I read it in mounting disbelief.  I wanted to shout at Hestillion and at the same time I just couldn’t believe half of what I was reading.  Hesillion what are you thinking?  I can’t say more other than that this is one of those parts of the story where you can’t but help be riveted to the page and your horror is only matched by your desire for the character in question to snap out of it.

We have the addition of a number of other excellent characters.  Eri, a young Eboran boy who has been living in seclusion and the arrival of a group of characters that seemed to have their own agenda.  Again, I’m amazed at how well developed all of these characters are, they may have secondary roles and in some cases not much page time but I felt myself really caring for them.

What really surprises me again and again with Williams is her ability to make you love her characters.  Even the ones that you only briefly meet or are newly introduced to – they’re just so very well drawn and display all sorts of emotions that make them jump off the page with anger, passion and self doubt.  It’s easy to fall for these characters and it makes the switch between different storylines incredibly easy to to enjoy because each story is equally heart wrenching.

The other thing that totally blows me away about Williams writing is the way she is able to create such an amazing world using both fantasy and science fiction to give it a different twist.  It reminds me a little of Anne McCaffrey who also conjured remarkable worlds by marrying epic fantasy with science fiction to create something incredible.  It gives the world such a wide range of possibilities.

In terms of criticisms.  I would mention that I thought the first half of the story was a little slower in terms of pace, of course this really helps in terms of character development and also in forging relationships that are believable but be aware of this when you start.  I find, and I think I mentioned this when I reviewed the Ninth Rain, that the plot isn’t really the main focus of the story, which isn’t to say the plot isn’t good but just that there’s such a lot of depth, not just to the characters, but to the world itself.

There’s a lot of history explored in this instalment and some of it I think will have a big impact on the final book of the series.  And then of course there’s the conclusion – which is a thrilling, action packed ride that really packs an emotional punch.  I didn’t see some of that coming and it really hit me I must confess.

The Bitter Twins is an excellent second in series, it may have had a measured start but the tension steadily grew and eventually culminated in an explosive finale.  And, of course, no review would be complete without mentioning the war beasts.  Such magnificent creatures, I absolutely love them.

If nothing else, I hope I’ve convinced you to read this series.  This review feels a little light on information but that’s simply a reflection of my desire not to give away spoilers.  Put simply, if you love epic fantasy you simply have to read The Winnowing Flame trilogy.  It’s an absolute must read series.

I received a copy from the publisher, through Netgalley, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday : The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy #2) by Jen Williams

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy #2) by Jen Williams:  

bittertwinsThe Ninth Rain has fallen, the Jure’lia have returned, and with Ebora a shadow of its former self, the old enemy are closer to conquering Sarn than ever.

Tormalin the Oathless and the Fell-Witch Noon have their hands full dealing with the first war-beasts to be born in Ebora for nearly three hundred years. But these are not the great mythological warriors of old; hatched too early and with no link to their past lives, the war-beasts have no memory of the many battles they have fought and won, and no concept of how they can possibly do it again. The key to uniting them, according to the scholar Vintage, may lie in a part of Sarn no one really believes exists, but finding it will mean a dangerous journey at a time of war…

Meanwhile, Hestillion is trapped on board the corpse moon, forced into a strange and uneasy alliance with the Jure’lia queen. Something terrifying is growing up there, in the heart of the Behemoth, and the people of Sarn will have no defence against these new monsters.

I’ve enjoyed all of Jen Williams books and I simply can’t wait to read this one – plus – just check out that gorgeous cover.

Expected publication : March 2018

Next Page »