O lone Ravenna! many a tale is told
Of thy great glories in the days of old’ (Oscar Wilde)
Wilde’s 1878 poem ‘Ravenna’, for which he won the prestigious Newdigate prize, is a celebration of the city’s rich history, and a lamentation of its decline, ‘in ruined loveliness thou liest dead’. In the poem, his 19th century experience of Ravenna is strikingly contrasted with its classical past, but the sense of loss he evokes well reflects every period of Ravenna’s history. A deathly commemoration may be one poetic step too far, but Ravenna is a city which doesn’t loom large in historical memory, despite its long term significance. Even for this history buff, Ravenna’s role at the heart of empires, especially between 402 and the end of the 7th century, was almost entirely unknown. Here, Judith Herrin seeks to fill in those gaps, charting Ravenna from its time as capital of the Western Roman Empire to the late 8th century, when it acts as inspiration for Charlemagne’s imperial and religious building projects in Aachen.
Published: 28th July 2020 by Orbit (UK) & 4th August 2020 by Ace (US)
Anthony Ryan has delivered a satisfying action-packed conclusion to Raven’s Blade while leaving room for one or two more books in the world.
“He lies. They all do, these servants of things unseen. Long ago I learned that prophecy is always built on shifting sands and destiny an illusion used to banish fear of the chaos that is life. I trust what I know. I’ve seen what waits on the other side of death so I know it’s always better to cling to life.”
Published: 10th September 2020 by Orbit (UK) & 8th September 2020 by Orbit (US)
I will make no bones about it: This brilliant fantasy debut has announced Andrea Stewart as quite possibly the best newcomer of the year.
Bone. Shard. Magic. How intriguing does that sound?!?! I’m a sucker for a cool magic system and the sound of that sold me instantly. Having finished this book speedily, I can honestly say you would be wrong if you thought that was the final mark under this book’s coolness column. We’re talking migrating islands, lost ancient civilizations, wet and dry seasons that last for years if not decades, mythical creatures, people mysteriously disappearing, and other inexplicable magic. I fully understand if you stop reading this review about now to go and place that pre-order. Excellent choice in supporting this author if I may so.
“The construct looked nothing so much as a giant spider, dark brown and glistening, as tall as my chest when it stood to attention. Human hands were attached to the end of each of its spindly legs, and an old woman’s adorned the abdomen.”
Beautiful. I had no concrete expectations for this going in, but My Favorite Thing is Monsters is hands down the most unique graphic novel I’ve ever read. The story, the art style, and the character development where all absolutely brilliant. I was incredibly moved by it.
“Never let anyone’s darkness provoke you into your own midnight.”