Love & Fantasy: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

  • Posted by Nova on Feb 15 2017
by Pam J.
Source: amandabouchet.com

Source: amandabouchet.com

Every now and then, we get to take a mini-vacay from Nova’s incessant fiction addiction, and read outside the Voyager pantheon. (gasp!)  So this starts one of a few new readings series on the blog, with bookish musings, pulled from our own personal bookshelves. Because reading = escapism = important!

Long before binge watching was a thing (thanks, Netflix), I’ve been a serial binge-reader.  Series at a time, over and over.  More often than not, I’ll return to fantasy with romantic elements (the “Kate Daniels” and “Mercy Thompson” series are chronic re-reads; Sarah J. Maas’ novels are newer, but no less tattered for multiple re-readings at this point); strong female protagonists are a must.

My latest indulgence is Amanda Bouchet’s “The Kingmaker Chronicles” (a Rothfussian reference?).  I loved the first book, A Promise of Fire, so much, that I ran into an editor’s office and basically forced her to buy a copy, just so I’d have someone to gush with.  Then came the second book, Breath of Fire, and I had…issues…so I immediately re-read the first, and maybe we’ll just start there.

What’s not to love about A Promise of Fire? It incorporates (albeit loosely) elements of Greek mythology.  There’s a fantastic cirque.  Our heroine has a dark, tortured past.  And a wicked sense of humor.  (Which comes out more frequently when she’s not jammed into a pair of ill-fitting leather pants. C’mon. Haven’t we all been there?)  Hero is a warlord, with, er, barbarian tendencies.  Yassssssss.  Big, burly, gruff.  Oddly into personal hygiene and has a thing for the heroine’s citrus soap, which is decidedly un-barbaric.  But…he can be a bit of a Neanderthal.  Like abduct woman first, ask questions later, Neanderthal.  I definitely have some issues with consent, and the extent of his alpha male-ness; he’s intent upon binding Cat to him, in varied fashions, but Cat seems to have him well in-hand.

Heh.

Now, we spoke about Cat’s dark and mysterious past, briefly. She is actually Catalia Fisa, second in line for the Fisan throne.  Her mother, a.k.a. Alpha Fisa, is “mommy dearest” in the scariest sense of the reference.  This queen is bloodhungry as hell, and so determined to keep her throne that she continually throws her eight children at each other in battles-to-the-death.  (About half of them remain, at least midway through A Promise of Fire.)  Cat got the heck out of Fisa, travelled across the kingdom of Tarva, to finally find sanctuary and anonymity in a circus in Sinta, the southernmost country on this continent plagued by power-hungry magical despots.  Sinta is the only one of the three countries ruled by Hoi Polloi. (Look it up; it means just what you always thought it might.)

The definition. In case you were curious... (Thank you, Google.)

They won the throne by might, not magic.  So, the new ruling family are basically….Muggles in a land filled with Slytherins.  (Sorry for the cross-series lexicon pollination.  It just worked.) Presents problems….especially since Cat is a magical vacuum, who can absorb power from any “Magoi” she comes in contact with.  Our Hulky hero is her opposite: his secret is that magic bounces right off of him.

(Unofficial) Footage of the new ruling family:

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

So, the warlord.  He is, of course, Beta Sinta.  I love that she calls him that, instead of by his first name, Griffin (mythological beast, half lion, half eagle, totally top of the food chain), just to piss him off.  Griffin conquered the heck out of Sinta, sent the magic-users packing, and popped his lovely older sister on the throne.  He is thus free to go about his business, which one might think is plundering and pillaging, given his propensity towards kidnapping innocent circus folk.  But he’s a noble sort, and immediately bonds with Cat, who is certainly NOT going to tell him she’s just as Beta as he is.  In a totally Alpha way.  (These two are the original power couple.)

So, they adventure. There are dragons and drownings and fireworks (metaphorical) and, for the most part, it’s just amazingly romantic and wonderful and epic.  The gods make appearances.  Cerberus shows up, and is a pretty cool guard dog.

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

The book is definitely filled with difficult consent issues, and it’s something that numerous GoodReads users have groped with in their reviews.  He’s a soap-stealing barbarian, all tough on the outside with a melting softspot in his heart for Cat (which doesn’t excuse the “magic rope” incident).  She’s intent on saving/redeeming him, a validation of her Alpha nature.

By the final turn of the page, we are well aware that Cat is the original empowered heroine…but one who is riddled with angsty self-esteem issues.  Those issues of worth come into play in the opening salvo of Breath of Fire, but that is a story for another day…

Reading these books like Source: Giphy

Reading these books like ^^^
Source: Giphy

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This Week in Geek

  • Posted by CPerny on Feb 10 2017

ThisWeekInGeek2

Hello, from the frozen wilderness of New York? Okay, so it’s not exactly a “wilderness,” and it is somewhat more “slushified” than frozen at this point, but I’m going with it. Is your body ready for what happened this week in geek? (Fair warning: this was a good week for comic book adaptation situations)

Chang My Body Is Ready

COMIC BOOK ADAPTATION SITUATIONS GEEKING:

I love comic book adaptations more than Damian Wayne secretly loves kittens. They’ve done a lot to bring nerd culture into the pop culture spotlight in the past few years, and I like that. From Iron Fist to “Strange” dance moves, some good stuff happened:

  • THE FIRST COMPLETE TRAILER FOR IRON FIST WAS RELEASED AND I AM SO EXCITED!!! First, go and watch it HERE. Okay, now we can talk. Did you see Colleen Wing? She fights martial arts like a champ and totally DGAF what anyone thinks! And The Hand–the evil group of ninja villains, for those who need a refresher–is back! Also, I think Ser Loras Tyrell makes a pretty great Danny Rand. Of course, Claire is a constant gem. Basically, I’m stoked for this show, and I can’t wait to see all the different things that will be punched into explosions, but am waiting to see Finn Jones sport that amazing green spandex body suit of a costume.
Iron Fist Wall Punch

This is actually just how Danny Rand enters every room. Source: Giphy

  • In other exciting trailers” news, the trailer for the new Teen Titans: The Judas Contract flick dropped this week (see it here), and it also looks excellent. Deathstroke is there being a meanie, Raven does some super-powered sorcery (she’s my fav, tbh), Nightwing is there (another fav), and Robin admits to rarely bathing (I relate to that small murderous child more than I should admit). In short, it’s gonna be good.
  • News I did not expect to hear this week: Coolio has confirmed that he would have played Scarecrow in the next Joel Schumacher Batman movie, if only the studio hadn’t scrapped it. I have a soft spot for those 90’s-tacular films, so I would not have minded seeing another one just to get a few scenes of Coolio as a villain based around a farmhouse prop to scare birds away…
Coolio Batman

Source: Twitter

  • Lastly, some of the Doctor Strange gag reel was revealed on Nerdist.com, and while Benedict Cumberbatch does bust out some fantastic dance moves, I still have a tough time getting used to hearing him speak in an American accent. That said, this seems like a good time to remind everyone that Harper Voyager author C. Robert Cargill (The Queen of the Dark Things) was one of the script writers of Doctor Strange.
Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

 

NETFLIX GEEKING:

Henceforth, Netflix shall be known as The Home of the Geeks

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

AWARD GEEKING:

  • Congratulations to Richard Kadrey’s THE EVERYTHING BOX! It was nominated for a 2017 Audie Award, and we are so proud!

SWEEPSTAKES GEEKING:

  • In case you hadn’t heard, we’ve partnered up with several extremely cool organizations to launch this equally extremely cool sweepstakes, to give one lucky winner a chance to go to a fan convention in Orlando Florida, and have a one-on-one meeting with Becky Chambers. More details here.

Thus concludes the latest This Week in Geek. Not with a bang, but with a bunch of Storm Troopers dancing for some reason.

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

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The Ultimate “Out of This World” Prize Package

  • Posted by CPerny on Feb 06 2017

“The Force is strong with this one” —Star Wars, “A New Hope”

TWITTER-VOYAGERSPACE-20161208-1529

 

Harper Voyager, With Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Launch the Ultimate “Out of This World” travel sweepstakes

Exclusive opportunity to celebrate outer space

 

NEW YORK, NY, February 3, 2017 – This February, Harper Voyager, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is celebrating space in all its factual and fictional forms, by teaming up with Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR and B Resort & Spa to give one reader the chance to experience the best of our solar system (and beyond) with the chance to win an “out of this world” experience. Since millions looked on in awe as Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon, pop culture has reflected a boundless fascination with space, the final frontier. Now, Harper Voyager and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex are offering the chance to get up close and personal to the past, current and future of space.

 

From now through February 17, enthusiasts can enter The Ultimate “Out of This World” Sweepstakes for a once-in-a-lifetime, space-age adventure. The prize package is a trip to Florida April 13-16, and includes passes to a popular fan convention. In addition to tickets for that event, the trip includes tickets to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex which features a VIP tour, an on-site meet and greet with bestselling author and space enthusiast Becky Chambers, and a complete library of Harper Voyager books, including a signed copy of A Closed and Common Orbit. Winners will enjoy deluxe accommodations for two at B Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista as well as $500 toward airfare for the trip to Orlando. To enter, visit http://harpervoyager.hc.com/starwars/.

 

From the dawn of space exploration to current and ongoing missions, visitors can get an up-close, hands-on feel for the story of humans in space at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex located east of Orlando, FL . Experiences  include tours going behind the gates into Kennedy Space Center, seeing Space Shuttle Atlantis® and meeting a veteran NASA astronaut, along with an overview of the history – and future – of American spaceflight.  Visitors can even enjoy astronaut training simulators, the exciting Shuttle Launch Experience®, and the recently opened Heroes & Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®.

 

Harper Voyager is known for its variety of space opera and science fiction novels that transports readers to worlds far beyond their own. “Science fiction has always been about two things: the unknown, and the ‘what if?’ By asking questions about the future, we not only get to explore our imaginations, but also take a hard look at the present,” says David Pomerico, executive editor of Harper Voyager. “Once more, space has captured the nation’s (and world’s) attention, and the lure of the stars has once again ignited the fantasies of readers young and old. Science fiction and science fact have been in partnership for a long time, and I can’t think there’s a fan of either that wouldn’t be delighted with the opportunity to win this experience.”

 

The Ultimate “Out Of This World” Sweepstakes is sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007.  Must be legal U.S. resident 18 or over. Sweepstakes begins January 17, 2017, and ends on February 17, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. (ET). Offer void in Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island and all U.S. territories and possessions, and wherever prohibited or restricted by law.  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. For more information and Official Rules visit http://harpervoyager.hc.com/starwars/.

 

Publicity Contacts:

Caroline Perny | caroline.perny@harpercollins.com | 212-207-7531

Lauren  Eisele Walbert | lwalbert@hillmanpr.com | 410-616-8943

 

ABOUT OUR PARTNERS:

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun, inspiration and educational activities, including its newest attraction, Heroes & Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, presented by Boeing, which opened November 11, 2016.  Other highlights include the Kennedy Space Center Tour featuring the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, Space Shuttle Atlantis®, Shuttle Launch Experience®, IMAX® A Beautiful Planet 3D and Journey To Space 3D films, Astronaut Encounter, Journey To Mars: Explorers Wanted, Science on a Sphere®, Rocket Garden, Cosmic Quest, and many other exhibits. Only 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. with closing times varying by season.  Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $75 + tax for adults and $60 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

As the most discerning, up-to-the-minute voice in all things travel, Condé Nast Traveler is the global citizen’s bible and muse, offering both inspiration and vital intel. Condé Nast Traveler is the most trusted and celebrated name in travel with 6 National Magazine Award wins and 26 nominations in its 28-year history. Advertising Age named Pilar Guzmán Editor of the Year in 2014 and CNTraveler.com attained 4 Webby Awards since 2015. www.cntraveler.com

 

AFAR is the multi-platform travel media brand that inspires and guides those who travel the world to connect with its people, experience their cultures, and understand their perspectives. Its platforms include the award-winning AFAR magazine; AFAR.com, recently named a Top 10 site That Makes Travel Easier; the non profit foundation Learning AFAR; and immersive travel series AFAR Experiences.

 

B Hotels & Resorts® has defined and established the new generation of Lifestyle Hotels, inviting guests to revel in Self-Expression Hospitality™ and to tailor experiences how they want them to B.  Our DNA – D (Destination) / N (N’vogue) / A (Approachability) – defines the identity, character, and programming of every hotel – with no two B Hotels & Resorts being alike.  Working in synchronized rhythm, the brand and hotels generate a fresh, approachable setting that welcomes today’s business and leisure travelers.  Core B Signature Elements further define and enhance offerings, services and our guest-centric culture igniting a genuine emotional connection to our hotels and the brand itself.

 

ABOUT HARPERCOLLINS:

HarperCollins Publishers is the second largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 18 countries. With nearly two hundred years of history and more than 120 branded imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year in 17 languages, and has a print and digital catalog of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins, headquartered in New York, is a subsidiary of News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) and can be visited online at corporate.HC.com.
# # #

 

 

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This Week in Geek

  • Posted by CPerny on Feb 03 2017

ThisWeekInGeek2

Oh hai! Pull up a chair. Let’s talk about what happened This Week in Geek, because that’s always a fantastic thing to do!

Always Fantastic

Yes, you do, Jason. Source: Giphy

ROGUE GEEKINGS:

Last week, Emily B. Martin, author of Ashes to Firewrote a vignette in honor of badass National Parks Rangers. Well, this week, Laura Bickle also wrote one called “Haunted”–and here’s the cool thing: it’s set in the world of her Wildlands series. It involves Yellowstone Park, Ranger Mike, an old flame, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, Sig the Coyote making tiny adorable snow angels. If all of that can happen in a National Park, what more do you need to prove that they are amazing, and should be protected? Check it out HERE.

 

SILVER SCREEN GEEKING:

This week, The DC Comics Universe’s first comedy premiered. Powerless is about the scientists working for Wayne Enterprises to create technology meant to protect ordinary people from the destructive fallout that comes from superheroes trying to bust each other up all over the place. I have not yet watched this, but if you did, tweet @HarperVoyagerUS to share your thoughts. I do think that the show features some of my favorite TV geeks, Danny Pudi and Alan Tudyk (who also played best droid ever K2SO). So that sounds promising.

Tudyk Dinos

Source: Giphy

Abed Cool cool cool

Source: Giphy

Also, Nintendo is apparently so jazzed for the Switch that it’s devoting a Super Bowl ad to it, which is an unprecedented move on their part. I don’t know much about sportsball, but I do know that the Superb Owl commercials are my number two reason for watching it (the shiny spandex tackles being number one). Get the deets on the Switch commercial here.

AWARD GEEKING:

Locus released their Recommended Reading List for 2016, and we’re so happy to say that Richard Kadrey and Beth Cato made the list. Additionally, some great authors from William Morrow also made the list: Tim Powers, Joe Hill, Neil Gaiman, Paul Tremblay, and Stephen Graham Jones.

Congratulatory Sloth

FELLOWSHIP GEEKING:

Controversial geek opinion coming right up: the Lord of the Rings trilogy is my favorite movie ever (I count them all as one, deal with it). Moreover, I vastly prefer the movies to the books. Sorry guys. Anyhow, be that as it may–this week, my favorite hobbit/rockstar island castaway, Dominic Monaghan, posted pics of a get together with five of the nine O.G. members of the Fellowship. When I saw these, I had less chill than Gimli does when he thinks about red meat right off the bone.

LOTR Reunion

Look at those cuties! Source: Instagram

Anyhow, you (definitely) want to go to Isenguard–I mean Entertainment Weekly–to check out further images of this great gathering. It is even more spectacular then a ton of Ents going to beat up some wizards, and that’s saying something.

 

That’s about it, but because I feel this post should be more Jason Momoa-heavy, let me leave you with this great image that’s been making the internet rounds. Yep, that’s right, that’s the man himself, with two adorable little bodyguards. Drogo needs no bodyhuards, and Aquaman protects himself with the majesty of the seven seas!!!

Momoa Bodyguards

Source: Mashable 

Keep it Geeky, y’all!

 

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This Week in Geek

  • Posted by CPerny on Jan 27 2017

ThisWeekInGeek2

Aaaand we’re back for the third This Week in Geek. It is cold, mostly dreary, and I think we can all agree that the post-holiday vacation buzz is beginning to wear off. BUT, having said that, it’s Friday, and some cool geeky things happened, so let’s talk about that instead!

Friday

Source: Giphy

ROGUE GEEKINGS:

We’re so loving the activism going on in the scientific community right now, and salute the people behind the rogue government twitter accounts, including the National Parks Service, NASA, and the EPA, to name a few. We found ourselves especially inspired by this tweet from romance author Elizabeth Hoyt:

ranger

  • In addition to being a writer, Emily B. Martin, author of Ashes to Fire (1/31), is an interpretive park ranger with the National Park Service – she has the hat and everything! She wrote an amazing vignette that shares her love of America’s national parks, and all of the great outdoors. Read it for the feelz, and also look at the beautiful pictures Emily took while serving as a ranger (and also of one gorgeous watercolor she painted)!
Watercolor_Sketch

Credit: Emily B. Martin

  • BONUS: Keep your eyes peeled next week for another vignette piece from author and Yellowstone Park enthusiast Laura Bickle!

SILVER SCREEN GEEKING:

This week, two significant geeky things happened on our televisions (or laptop screens): Supergirl returned with episode nine of season 2, entitled “Supergirl Lives,” and Riverdale, the show based on the Archie comics, premiered on the CW. Don’t worry, geeks. Harper Voyager has fans of both shows on the case.

  • Angela Craft, our digital marketing expert, is also our in-house super-fan of Supergirl. She did a fantastic live tweet of the episode premier. I confess, I’ve not yet watched any Supergirl, so all I learned from reading this live tweet is that lizard people are real? I am concerned, but definitely intrigued. However, I will say that I love Melissa Benoist with all my heart, because she brought an excellent sign to the Women’s March in DC:
supergirl

Source: Instagram

  • Jessie Edwards, a senior publicist on Team Voyager, also happens to be one of the most dedicated shippers out there, so it should come as no surprise that she’s a longtime fan of Archie, and that she watched the premier of Riverdale with great excitement. Here’s what she had to say: Shipping potential abounded in the Riverdale pilot–Archie/Betty, Archie/Veronica, Betty/Veronica, Moose/Kevin–take your pick! Moody and atmospheric, the tone of the show is a 180 from that of the comics, and like any good CW show, there’s lots of drama. I’m intrigued!

BOOK GEEKING:

  • The first time I read George Orwell’s dystopic lit classic 1984, it left me shook. It seems like questioning everything and being in a constant state of anxiety is something that many people are relating to these days (can’t imagine why), and as a result, Amazon sold out of the book earlier this week.

AWARD GEEKING:

  • You may have noticed that it’s award season in the SFF community. In case you were wondering which of our books were eligible for award, we created this handy dandy blog post, for your kind consideration.
  • 10 million billion congratulations to our fantastic author, Becky Chambers, for her RT Readers Choice Award nomination for The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet!

NAZI PUNCH GEEKING:

Indiana Jones Hates Nazis

  • I do not agree with Nazis. I do agree with the many great nerd icons who have punched Nazis, like Captain America, Indiana Jones, and my fav Doctor Who companion, Rory Williams, to name just a few. Another thing that I agree with is that video games are awesome. After the epic face-punching of Richard Spencer, the internet had a field day, turning it into pure meme gold. Kotaku has an especially wonderful roundup of video game themed riffs on the punch that was heard round the web.

 

That’s about it, for now. In what I suspect is going to become my weekly tradition, I leave you with a cute GIF. This one is of multiple baby sloths eating a lot, and it turns my heart into a feather pillow. Stay Nerdy, pals!

Eating Sloths

Source: Giphy

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