Turning Point (Steph Swainston)

Turning Point is a collection of short stories set in the Fourlands, written by Steph Swainston.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 15.7.2018

Turning Point collects four short stories set in the Fourlands told from different perspectives and about different people, plus there are two maps and a family tree to provide more details about the Fourlands. It’s a very nice collection for fans of the Fourlands.

The book cover with the letters of Turning Point stretched out over the entire page in front of a red background with black smoke. The Ns are facing the wrong way.

Read more about each of the stories after the jump.

Continue reading

Wrought Gothic and Other Scenes (Steph Swainston)

Wrought Gothic and Other Scenes is a collection of moments, scenes and vignettes that are part of the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 29.1.2017

“Plot”:
Wrought Gothic collects various glimpses into the background of the Fourlands in differing forms. There are some outtakes, a few descriptions from a tour guide, a history essay by Simoon, and a look at Jant’s past.

Wrought Gothic and Other Scenes provides us with some nice background information of the world of the Fourlands and some of its characters, but not everything worked all that well for me. Still, as a supplement of this complex world, it was nice.

Continue reading

Aftermath (Steph Swainston)

Aftermath is kind of a novella in the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston. It’s actually a first look at the next novel in the Series, The Savant and the Snake which hasn’t been released yet, and includes some bonus material.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 27.1.2017

Plot:
After the events of Fair Rebel, there are a lot of pieces to be picked up. When Gayle, the Castle’s Lawyer, wakes up from her injuries, Simoon, the Castle’s Treasurer, is already waiting for her. He is deeply unsettled by events and tries to find his footing again. He talks things through with Gayle, trying to figure out how to go on from there.

Aftermath is short and probably mostly for more committed fans of the series, with the background information and the glimps of what’s to come it provides. I really enjoyed it.

Continue reading

Fair Rebel (Steph Swainston)

Fair Rebel is the fifth novel in the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston.
[Here are my reviews of the others.]
Finished on: 18.4.2017

Plot:
15 years have passed since the Emperor San and the Vermiform clashed. By now the Fourlands have discovered gunpowder and are ready for a last big strike against the insects. But before they can actually carry it out, it turns out that the gunpowder has been tampered with and has been liberally mixed with sand. This discovery sends Jant, the Emperor’s messenger, on a chase to find the culprit and the missing gunpowder – before things are blown up that aren’t insects.

Fair Rebel finally returns to the Fourlands (although it wasn’t that long of a wait for me because I was a little later in discovering the series, but the last one before this one was a prequel, so anyway) and it does so with a bang – quite literally. As usual, I very much loved reading about this world and was excited about the new twist and turns the story makes.

Continue reading

Above the Snowline (Steph Swainston)

Above the Snowline is the fourth novel in the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston. It’s a prequel, set before all of the other books.
[Here are my reviews of the others.]
Finished on: 26.12.2016

Plot:
Jant Shira is new to the Emperor’s circle of immortals. Being half Rhydanne, half Awian on top of his novice status, he often feels like an outcast and is eager to prove himself. The opportunity arises when Rhydanne Dellin comes to the Castle, seeking an audience with the Emperor. Dellin’s living space in the mountains is severely encroached upon by Awian settlers and she is here to ask for help. Jant gets sent to the mountains with Dellin to check out the situation and thus has to confront his own heritage.

I enjoyed Above the Snowline very much, and I continue to be a fan of the series. Above the Snowline offers some interesting takes on the Fourlands and on colonialism, but mostly, it provides great background information on Jant himself.

Continue reading

The Modern World (Steph Swainston)

The Modern World (aka Dangerous Offspring in the US version) is the third novel of the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston.
[Here are my reviews of the others.]
Finished on: 1.8.2016

Plot:
The circle’s architect Frost has a plan to get quite a bit of land back from the insects. So the Fourlands are at work building a huge dam, to then flush out the insects. The people not occupied with that are busy fighting the insects in combat, led by quite a few of the circle’s immortals. Among them is Lightning, the archer, but Lightning is otherwise occupied: his daughter Cyan is missing. What he considered simple teenage rebellion so far has him more concerned. So he asks the circle’s messenger Jant to find her and bring her back to him. But Jant’s search brings him right back to his own past.

The Modern World is an exciting continuation of the Fourlands series and simply a great book in its own right. Again I can only say that I loved it.

swainston_modernworld[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

No Present Like Time (Steph Swainston)

No Present Like Time is the second novel of the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston.
[Here’s my review of The Year of Our War.]
Finished on: 6.5.2016

Plot:
A few years have passed since the last big success against the Insects and things are pretty much back to normal, with the big difference that Jant, the Emperor San’s Messenger, is actually clean at the moment. But the calm is disrupted when a challenger to the Emperor’s Swordman appears – and actually manages to take his spot in the circle of immortals. At the same time, Mist – the Emperor’s Sailor – is charged with sailing to an heretofore unknown island and to try and convince them to join the Fourlands ruled by the Emperor. San also orders Lightning (his Archer), the new Swordsman Wrenn and Jant to accompany Mist – much to Jant’s terror as he fears water above all.

No Present Like Time was another wonderful read. The plot may not be the strongest, but I loved the characters, the world-building and the prose. And that is more than enough for me to love the book.

swainston_nopresentliketime

[Slight SPOILERS]

Continue reading

Re-Read: The Year of Our War (Steph Swainston)

The Year of Our War is the first novel by Steph Swainston and the first book in the Fourlands Series.
Finished on 18.3.2016
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
The Fourlands are at war with the (man-sized) Insects that threaten to overrun the entire kingdom. King Dunlin leads the attacks, supported and advised by the Emperor and his group of 50 Immortals, all the best in their respective fields. One of said Immortals is Jant, the messenger – a position he has because his father was Awian and his mother Rhydanne, which gives him wings and a light enough frame to actually fly, the only person to be able to. But by now, it is the only reason he still has the position as he is also incredibly self-centered and addicted to the drug cat and the Shift to another world that comes with it. As things become worse, Jant will have to make some choices.

Since it took me a little longer to get to the sequel to The Year of Our War (and to acquire the third and fourth Fourlands books as well, since they’re sadly out of print), I decided I’ll just see it as the perfect opportunity to re-read the first one again. And I still loved it.

theyearofourwar

[Slight SPOILERS] Continue reading

The Year of Our War (Steph Swainston)

The Year of Our War is the first novel by Steph Swainston and the first book in the Fourlands Series.

Plot:
The Fourlands are at war with the (man-sized) Insects that threaten to overrun the entire kingdom. King Dunlin leads the attacks, supported and advised by the Emperor and his group of 50 Immortals, all the best in their respective fields. One of said Immortals is Jant, the messenger – a position he has because his father was Awian and his mother Rhydanne, which gives him wings and a light enough frame to actually fly, the only person to be able to. But by now, it is the only reason he still has the position as he is also incredibly self-centered and addicted to the drug cat and the Shift to another world that comes with it. As things become worse, Jant will have to make some choices.

The Year of Our War is very much unlike any fantasy novel I read so far and I really, really loved it, despite the fact that it took me a while to get into it.

theyearofourwar

Continue reading