where I got it: purchased new
A quick warning: this review contains unavoidable spoilers for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the first book in the series.
It’s been about a week since I finished reading The Broken Kingdoms, and it’s taken me this long to put into words what I experienced. Put shortly, I loved every word of it, and I know no review I write will come close to doing this book justice. As I neared the halfway point of the book, I began avoiding picking it up, because I didn’t want to face that moment where I’d have to turn the final page and have it be over forever. I knew the end was going to be heavy, and I wasn’t wrong.
The Broken Kingdoms picks up about ten years after the events of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Sky is now colloquially referred to as Shadow, due to the shadows caused by the huge tree that now dominates the city. When once only three enslaved gods roamed the palace, now the city is full of godlings who have returned from the realm of the gods, some of them living rather normal lives, while others still aren’t used to be being around mortals.
At the beginning of this second installment, we meet Oree, who moved to the city ten years ago, after her father died. At first blush, this sounds a little familiar – country girl moves to the city, gets very surprised by what she finds there. And that’s where the similarity ends. Oree isn’t interested in learning about the royal family, and she could care less about the differences between the gods and the mortals for the most part. Her first priority is selling her artwork and paying her rent.
Oree is an artist, and she’s blind. Well, mostly blind. She can’t see me, or you, or her mother, or the house she grew up in.What she can see, is magic, and Shadow is lush with godlings, so she can get around halfway decently most of the time. One night, she finds a dead guy outside her house. It’s a little more complicated than that, and he’s not quite dead. She takes him in, cleans him up, and lets the strange, silent man crash at her place until she figures out what to do with him. At sunrise he glows with a godling hue, and he seems to be invulnerable to pain and injury. No one knows his name or where he came from, and in an attempt to elicit a reaction from him, she starts calling him Shiny. To his face.
If you’ve read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, you know who Shiny is, and that he’s probably not all that offended by the nickname. But Oree has absolutely no idea who he is, and in all honestly she just wishes he’d stop being such a pain in the ass.
I recently reviewed King David and the Spiders from Mars, and last year I got a kick out of She Nailed a Stake Through His Head, the first two anthologies in Tim Lieder’s series of Biblical horror story collections. It’s easy to say “The Bible is full of violence”, because yes, it is. But what about the violence we don’t see? What about the horrific reasonings behind why people did the oh so strange things that they did? Is that *really* the a Temple of Dagon over in the next valley? Why yes, yes it is. This is what makes historical fantasy so much fun – the authors have free range to take the tiny details that speak to them and go crazy with them. The result? Stories that speak to me.
In my interview with Tim Lieder, we discussed lessons learned in the publishing industry, the Bible as Literature (and seeking different translations), the importance of diversity in your TOCs, and more. So let’s get to it!
LRR: Tell us a little about yourself.
T.L.: I’m a writer. I live in New York. When I was in college I decided to convert to Judaism which was a surprise to everyone, including me, especially since the original inspiration was from an academic class on Biblical literature. I did convert but it took a long time. I have four cats. I started Dybbuk Press (Dybbuk Press facebook page) back in 2004 and I have published 9 books through it. I named it after the Ansky play The Dybbuk which takes liberties with the Jewish legends of the Dybbuk put is one of the spookiest plays ever written (the movie was put on by the 1939 Warsaw Yiddish Theater so that adds even more disturbing subtext). Currently, I make a living at writing but most of the writing is freelance for several clients and includes personal statements, editing jobs and term papers. Still, I manage to sell a few stories every year and I keep working on the fiction.
LRR: How did you get involved with editing and publishing? Any big lessons you’d like to pass on to anyone thinking of a career in editing?
T.L.: Ten years ago, I thought it’d be fun to edit a multi-author anthology and stick my story in it. I was unpublished and thought that it’d be my big break. I think I made every mistake that you could make when trying to edit an anthology. I didn’t offer much money. I tried to work with friends who were also amateurs. I agreed to work with a small press publisher whose only interest was self-publishing (something I learned when I realized that he had thought that his girlfriend’s terrible vampire story was going into the anthology). I didn’t even copy edit. About the only thing I did right was naming the book Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre. I think that’s the only reason why it ever made a profit.
published March 2014
where I got it: received review copy from the editor (thanks Tim!)
I don’t know about you, but I love mythology. I especially love it when authors take liberties with unexplored details. What was the backstory of that minor character? That other person must have had a good reason to do something strange/wonderful/awful/unexpected, right? When I think “mythology”, I often think Greek, Roman, or Norse mythos. But there is a mythology that’s even closer to me. One that I grew up with. One that’s rarely referred to as mythology, but that’s what it is. The Bible: history, literature, mythology, and faith, all rolled into one, mythology in the most revered definition of the word: stories of the days that created a culture. It’s books like King David and the Spiders From Mars that make me want to open up my big fat Myths and Legends of Ancient Israel book, or go to the library and find some dusty tome that will tell me the ending of the story they only told the beginning of in Sunday school.
King David and the Spiders From Mars is the second anthology in editor Tim Lieder’s series of Biblical Horror stories. I enjoyed the hell out of the first one, She Nailed A Stake Through His Head, (read my review) and I’ve been looking forward to more of the same ever since. Same as with Nailed a Stake, you don’t need any kind of Biblical or Judeo-Christian education to enjoy these short stories. In fact, you’d be better served by being familiar with Chthulhu mythos.
Starting at the literal beginning, the first story is nicely tragic, but not end-of-the-world destructive. And then everything slowly ramps up, with the last two stories having the potential to really fuck you up.
here are my thoughts on a few of my favorites:
Moving Nameless, by Sonya Taaffe – How many wives did Adam have? According to myth, God made a woman right in front of Adam, built her from organs and bone and muscle and sinew, and Adam was so disgusted (you might be too, seeing a person built from the inside out!) that he never again looked up her. And she’s been wandering the Earth ever since, looking for an Adam who might be able to love her. Her name isn’t Eva, but that’s what her current boyfriend, Adam Loukides, calls her. He’s a book collector, has a fondness for out of print books, can’t wait to show her around his apartment, he never questions the fact that she doesn’t talk about her family. It doesn’t matter that this latest Adam doesn’t believe in God, or doesn’t believe her story, that doesn’t make her story any less true or the curse any less painful. He will come to be disgusted by her, no matter if he believes in her story or not. Shunned forever, for something that was outside of her control, it makes me wish the nameless woman got another opportunity to interact with the original Adam.
While you are waiting with baited breath for the two book reviews I’m working on, check out these give aways. Because we all need more books, right?
My Shelf Confessions is giving away a copy of The Book of Apex, Vol 4
And speaking of Apex Books, they are giving away a copy of Midnight, by Mari Adkins
In celebration of World Book Day, Over the Effing Rainbow is giving away a limited edition, signed copy of Sebastien de Castell’s debut Traitor’s Blade. an autographed, numbered copy? holy crap!
like Tad Williams? Tachyon Publications is giving away an ARC of The Very Best of Tad Williams
Win a copy of James. S.A. Corey’s Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
Over at She Wolf Reads, you can win a copy of Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong!
intrigued by A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias? I am. Let’s go win a copy over at Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing
a copy of Jaime Lee Moyer’s debut novel Delia’s Shadow is being given away at Rainy Day Ramblings
That was one helluva February, wasn’t it? I wanted to again thank everyone who was involved with our Book of Apex Volume 4 blog tour. You are the ones who made all the magic happen.
Over the Effing Rainbow
My Shelf Confessions
Two Dudes in an Attic
Lynn’s Book Blog
Books Without Any Pictures
Dab of Darkness
My Bookish Ways
Many a True Nerd
Worlds in Ink
Confessions of a Bibliomaniac
Susan Hated Literature
This Is How She fight Start
Fantasy Review Barn
Just Book Reading
The Bastard Title
published August 2013
where I got it: received review copy from the publisher
It’s no secret I was a huge fan of the first book. Prince of Thorns was unlike anything I’d ever come across before. It was everything I was looking for in the departments of grimdark and horrible things happening to people. For a short time that book polarized the fantasy fan community, with people either really loving it, or really hating it. Lawrence took risks that other authors simply would not take, and you’ve got to applaud him for that.
A year later, I kept finding reasons not to pick up King of Thorns. The first book in the series was so good, how could the second one possibly live up to my expectations? Long story short is I was lukewarm on King of Thorns. I had a tough time wrapping my head around the disparate plot lines, and found the dream transitions to be confusing and awkward, but I enjoyed Katherine’s scenes and was moved by the loss of Gog. The dog scene? Didn’t hold a candle to what I went through losing Gog. Yes, I’m heartless, we’ve already established that, I’m the kind of person who likes this kind of thing, remember?
A year later, I was again avoiding reading Emperor of Thorns. Which was it going to be? Mindblowing like Prince? Or middling like King? Or something else entirely?
no book reviews or interviews ready.
So you get photos instead. Here be book pr0n.
oh hell yeah! As a tease I had it sitting on my desk at work. SO wanted to start reading it, but had to, like, work. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the only Jemisin I’ve read so far, and thanks to that book I will forever buy anything with her name on it.
Will McIntosh has a new book coming out
soon in May from Orbit! Creative cover design of Love Minus Eighty and the unusual binding of this ARC leads me to wonder what incredible cover design is in store for the finished copy of Defenders? And speaking of Defenders, I also have
Which features McIntosh’s short story Scout, which is connected to Defenders. Also? I fucking love Robert Reed. I have an e-arc of The Memory of Sky which I can’t wait to start reading! And by the way, Scout made me cry at the end.
I’ve never read any Michael Sullivan, what does every one think of him writing scifi? This baby comes out from Tachyon in April.