Pile by the Bed reviews The Rich Man’s House the final novel by award winning Australian novelist Andrew McGahan
Pile by the Bed reviews The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar an alternate twentieth century history with X-men style powers that asks what it means to be a hero.
Pile by the Bed reviews Lost Acre, the last volume in Andrew Caldecott’s very English fantasy Rotherweird trilogy
Pile by the Bed reviews Shadows of the Short Days by Alexander Dan Vilhjalmsson – grimdark, urban fantasy based in Icelandic mythology.
Pile by the Bed reviews and recommends Jade War by Fonda Lee, second book in the Green Bone trilogy.
Pile by the Bed reviews Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff using pulp horror and science fiction tropes to explore racism in America in the 1950s.
Pile by the Bed reviews the novel version of Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke – a “stunning work of fantasy”.
Pile by the Bed reviews The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch a stand alone novella set in his Rivers of London universe
Pile by the Bed reviews Crossings by Alex Landragin, a body hopping romp across the centuries.
Pile by the Bed reviews Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey – a post Harry Potter magic academy / noir crime fiction mash up.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Ice House by Tim Clare, follow up to his 2015 fantasy debut The Honours.
Pile By the Bed reviews the Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the new fantasy novel by Booker Prize winner Marlon James
Pile by the Bed reviews String City by Graham Edwards
Pile by the Bed reviews The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, a stand alone epic fantasy.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, a book that reinvents the ground rules of the fantasy genre.
Pile by the Bed reviews Someone Like Me by M R Carey
Pile by the Bed reviews Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch, Book 7 of the Rivers of London Series
Paraic O’Donnell’s debut novel The Maker of Swans was one of the standout fantasy novels of 2016. In a genre that often deals in warmed over tropes, The Maker of Swans was a work of beguiling originality. So the question was, how would O’Donnell follow this debut up. Much like another debutant of the previous year, Natasha Pulley, he does so with an emphatic change in direction which maintains the features that made his debut so enjoyable. The Maker of Swans was set in a more contemporary time but always had the feel of a more Victorian novel. The House on Vesper Sands is Victorian so allows O’Donnell more licence to lean into period flourishes (also drawing further comparisons with Pulley’s works which are both set in this era). In the cold open a seamstress, suffering from some undisclosed medical condition, who is brought to the house of Lord Strythe late at night to complete a secret commission commits suicide. The story proper opens with young Gideon Bliss coming down from Cambridge to see his uncle and failing to find him runs into a young woman from his past. At the same time, society reporter Octavia Hillingdon has happened on…
You could imagine the elevator pitch for Patrick Ness’s new novel And the Ocean Was Our Sky: “Think Moby Dick, but from the whale’s point of view”. But while Moby Dick is a touchstone, fantasy writer Ness, responsible for A Monster Calls, the Chaos Walking trilogy and the Doctor Who spinoff Class, takes this well known story into new territory. The book opens with “Call me Bathsheba” a riff on that famous opening line. Bathsheba is a whale who has been told that she has a destiny as a hunter of men. In Bathsheba’s world, whales hunt humans as much as humans hunt whales in a war that seems to never have an end. The whales carry harpoons and drag boats behind them underwater as a way of storing and transporting human bodies which they use as resources. These whales have developed an underwater civilization and have a breathing technology that enables them to only venture to the ocean’s surface, known as the Abyss, infrequently. Bathsheba’s story centres around a hunt for the great white ship of legendary whale killer Toby Wick. After picking up the lone survivor of a massacre of humans which hints at the work of Wick,…
People have been disappearing in the Australian fictional landscape for years. In Picnic at Hanging Rock, the disappearance and of a group of girls is seen through the eyes of those left behind, having to deal with the “menace” of the unknowable bush. Wintering starts with a similar premise. Jessica is a PhD student researching glowworms in the far south of Tasmania. She lives with Matthew, a local who, it emerges fairly quickly, completely dominates her life. But then Matthew disappears in mysterious circumstances, his car abandoned by the side of the road, impenetrable forest on either side and a strange video on his phone. With his disappearance, Jessica finds herself both trapped by grief and free at the same time. Krissy Kneen sets the creepy tone of this book early with Jessica’s discovery of a possum corpse impaled on a stalagmite in a tourist cave. After Matthew’s disappearance the creepiness ratchets up as Jessica finds herself isolated in her shack, unable to shake the feeling that she is being watched by something malevolent. Once she starts to establish a connection with the local townsfolk she also learns that she is the thirteenth “widow” whose husband or boyfriend has vanished…