It’s that time again folks. Your chance to find out what we are reading this month. Have you read any of these books? What are you currently reading? Let us know below.
The Grass King’s Concubine by Kari Sperring
It was actually one of our authors, Stephanie Saulter, who recommended this title to me, so when I saw it in Forbidden Planet a couple of months back, I thought it was about time to give it a go. And I’m glad I did.
Set in a sumptuously thought-out world – the whole of which is brilliantly evoked, even when all of the action is taking place in just one setting – The Grass King’s Concubine follows a naïve woman’s journey to find the Shining Palace she once saw as a child. What she discovers is the ruined WorldBelow, where the Grass King rules with his Cadre and the land is slowly decaying due to a spell cast many years ago. Thought to be the origin of this spell, the Cadre take her prisoner. But, unknown to them, her husband follows her into the WorldBelow with the twins – two ferrets who used to be the Grass King’s favourites (and who are the actual source of the spell).
I haven’t got all the way through yet, but this is shaping up to be a very good read and one that should delight fans of the mystical realms, and of realistic characters who are not heroes, but instead normal people, who have the makings of them.
The Grass King’s Concubine is published by Daw Books, and I bought my copy from Forbidden Planet for £7.
Yet another re-read for me. I first read The Hobbit when I was 8 and I loved it! I have seen both films and left both listing the differences and additions that have been made. But as it had been so long since I read the book I found myself having to Google to check if I was right, and that’s just not good enough.
And so I vowed to re-read the book before the next installment in the film, and it is just as good as I remember (and just as much has been changed and added as I suspected.)
If you don’t know the story follows the journey of the reluctant adventurer Bilbo Baggins as he joins a company of Dwarves as the head out to reclaim their home, and the treasure it holds, from the dragon Smaug. Goblins, giant spiders, trolls, giants, heroic eagles and wargs.
If you haven’t read it stop what you’re doing and start this book now, it really is a classic.
My edition of The Hobbit is published by Collins but there are many editions available.
It’s a two-extra-curricular-book month because my ereader ran out of juice at a most inconvenient moment: I’ve just finished Mark Lawrence’s excellent Prince of Fools, the first book in his new series (and inexplicably Number One in Amazon’s Norse/Vikings section – just because it’s got a Viking character? When it’s High Fantasy (well, this being Mark, low High Fantasy!) or Heroic Fantasy (or Unheroic Fantasy), depending on where you want to position it) . . . still, the important thing is that Mark Lawrence gets better with every book, and he started with the bar set very high indeed. Instead of a psychotic 13-year-old, we have Prince Jalan Kendeth, third son of the Red Queen’s third son, a cowardly princeling interested only in wine, women and gambling – until he becomes trapped in an enchantment with Viking hero Snorri ver Snagaso
n which is going to entail them travelling to the frozen north to face their enemies at the black fort on the edge of the Bitter Ice . . . Prince of Fools is published by Voyager.
That’s the upstairs book. The downstairs book was published three years ago by Quercus, but I’d only just started JFB and so it passed me by . . . until last week when, casting around forsomething (having read the wine label, the ketchup bottle label and the local freesheet – again) I spotted The Dinosaur Feather by Sissel-Jo Gazan on the charity pile and got completely caught up the academic controversy about whether birds were originally dinosaurs – or if they are instead a completely different and unrelated species . . . Oh, and then it turns into a murder mystery. Charlotte Barslund has done an excellent job of translating from the Danish and I’m looking forward to discovering if the irascible young single mother Anna Bella Nor (named after the apple) is going to beat The World’s Most Irritating Detective in the race to discover who killed her supervisor, Professor Helland . . .