Archive for the ‘Dust Jacket’ Category

Welcome to the tenth instalment of Dust Jacket and the fifth and final review of the 2011 Hugo Award nominees. This week, we delve into mystery, court intrigue and a healthy dose of mythology as we look at N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, book one of The Inheritance Trilogy.

We’re in the home stretch now, wrapping things up in anticipation of Saturday night’s awards ceremony. I’m joined by my co-conspirator and world’s harshest critic, Luke.


Yeine Darr is ruler of the northern barbarian lands of Darr, an area isolated both politically and physically from the rest of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Her mother, Kinneth, was a member of the ruling Arameri family and former heir to the throne of the Kingdoms, who abdicated to marry her father. This led to a shism between Kinneth and Dekarta, Yeine’s grandfather and ruler of the world, who disowned her.

Shortly after Kinneth dies under mysterious circumstances, Yeine is summoned by her grandfather to the majestic floating city of Sky, where she is named heir to the throne. There’s a catch, however; her two cousins, the sadistic Scimina and the inebriated Relad, are also heirs, and only one can ascend to throne. Yeine is suddenly fighting for her life in a dangerous three-way power struggle.

Sky is not merely home to the ruling class of the Kingdom; the Gods themselves are imprisoned there, forced to serve as slaves to the ruling Arameri family. These Gods have a plan for Yeine, something they’ve been building to for decades.

Yeine wants nothing to do with the Kingdoms, the throne or the machinations of the Gods. She merely seeks the truth about her mother’s death. As she struggles to survive, she draws ever closer to learning not only the secrets of her family history, but also the truth about herself.


Welcome to the ninth instalment of Dust Jacket and the fourth in our month-long look at the 2011 Hugo Award nominees. This week, we’re travelling to exotic Istanbul in the near future in Ian McDonald’s The Dervish House.

My co-conspirator Luke is flying solo this week, so let’s see how the world’s harshest critic goes when he’s left to run rampant on his own. Take it away Luke….


Istanbul, Queen of Cities, wakes with a shout. Almost unnoticed, under the hustle and bustle of a mecca beginning its morning, a tram is bombed in the region of Necatibey Cadessi. For the city, it is a minor act of terrorism, not even enough to disturb the Metropolis. For six lives- Necdet, survivor of the bombing, witness to the terrorists suicide act, and now suffering mystical hallucinations; Can Durukan, a nine year old suffering from Long QT Syndrome where a sudden noise will kill him; George Ferentinou, an old Greek with a hand in one of the most terrifying stock market schemes of all time; Adnan, a young stockbroker trying to climb the corporate ladder; his girlfriend Ayse, an antiques dealer hired an ancient mystical artefact; and Leyla, who was just running late for a job interview- it is the start of week where the whole world will change.


Hugo Month – Week #3 – Blackout

Posted by Richo On August 13, 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Welcome to the eight instalment of Dust Jacket, and the third in our series reviewing the 2011 Hugo Award nominees. This week, we’re travelling back in time to WWII London in Connie Willis’ Blackout.

I’m flying solo this week, as Luke prepares for our frenetic final week of Hugo reviews.


Blackout is the third in a series of novels about time travelling historians from Oxford University in the year 2060.  The first two novels were Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. The fourth novel in the series, All Clear, is the sequel to Blackout and was also published in 2010.

Three time-travelling historians from Oxford University in the year 2060 are sent back in time to WWII London to document the historical events of the time. Mike Davies is meant to be at Dover, documenting the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk. Polly Churchill is sent to Blitz-era London to catalogue the experiences in the bomb shelters. Merope Ward (calling herself Eileen) is a servant in an English manor in the countryside, where child evacuees from London have been sent.  Each has been sent to their location due to last-minute changes in the Oxford time-travel program, leaving them less than fully prepared to handle the time and location they find themselves in.

Arriving at different times during the war, they each find themselves stranded and unable to return to the present, while war rages around them.


Hugo Month – Week #2 – Feed

Posted by Richo On August 5, 2011 1 COMMENT

Welcome to the seventh instalment of Dust Jacket, and the second in our 5-week series reviewing the 2011 Hugo Award nominees. This week, we’re stepping into the realm of zombie fiction with Mira Grant’s Feed.

As always, I’m joined by Luke, the world’s harshest critic.


The year is 2039, twenty odd years after the zombie rising. In curing both cancer and the common cold, scientists had unwittingly created a new, more deadly virus, one that resulted in the dead reanimating as mindless undead zombies. Within walled-in communities, humanity continues to survive and go about living their lives, while outside, the threat of zombie incursion remains.

Into this new world has emerged a new breed of online journalist. Georgia Mason is one such journalist, maintaining an online blog and website detailing her adventures. Alongside her brother Shaun and friend Buffy, Georgia is driven by an ongoing quest for truth.

Assigned to the Presidential campaign of Senator Peter Ryman, Georgia and her team discover a conspiracy to assassinate the Presidential candidate. Only George can uncover the truth behind the conspiracy.


Hugo Month – Week #1 – Cryoburn

Posted by Richo On July 27, 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Welcome to the sixth instalment of Dust Jacket, and the first of 5 reviews in five weeks highlighting this year’s Hugo Award nominees. We’re opening up Hugo month with a look at Lois McMaster Bujold’sCryoburn, book 14 in her highly praised Vorkosigan saga.

This week, my co-conspirator Luke is in control. So take it away, Luke!


Drugged and alone on the streets of Kabou-daini, Lord Miles Vorkosiganfinds himself trying to evade capture at the hands of a local terrorist cell. Only a few hours on the planet and already somebody wants him dead.

They’d have succeeded too, if not for the timely intervention of Jin Sato. Against his better judgement, the twelve-year-old takes the rambling madman to his sanctuary. As the drugs pass, Vorkosigan finds himself in the care of a boy whose mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances, who himself is in the reluctant care of Suze, a woman with connections to the cryocorps that keeps the planets economy afloat.

After Jin goes missing running a message to Vorkosigan’s embassy, Miles uses all the resources at his command to track the boy down. After all, he has suspicions that the disappearance of Jin’s mother may be tied up in Vorkosigan’s mission. The cryocorps of Kabou-daini have begun trading in the Barrayan Empire. Cryogenics is now a tradeable commodity. But where there’s commerce, there’s takeover. Emperor Gregor has dispatched his most trusted agent to investigate a threat to the empire. And Lord Vorkosigan, the Imperial Auditor, will put his life and those around him in danger to uncover such a conspiracy.