Monday, December 30, 2013

So That Was Christmas

'Tis done and dusted  - apart from the decorations which tradition decrees come down the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6). More miraculous is the fact there actually are any Christmas decorations at all given the year we've just lived through. I'll do a proper review of the year later - maybe - but for now I simply want to celebrate the fact that we have made it through a time that, like some psychic black hole, tried to suck all joy out of us for months. Please don't think that it was full of fearful horrors - it wasn't -but that doesn't mean it didn't drain us in so many ways.

Never mind. The time for New Year's resolutions is upon us and I'm off to ponder. I may even share some of them later.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Crows are Smart

Need a cheer up? Have a look at this. I found it on Jim C. Hines' blog.

I knew crows were clever and playful but this is even better than I expected.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

AWWC 2013: Shadow Bound by Deborah Kalin

Book 2 of The Binding, Shadow Bound is a worthy sequel to Shadow Queen.

Matilde of the House of Savanaten may have regained her throne and managed to rid herself of Dieter, the husband who slaughtered her family, but it came at a terrible cost. The Empire, under brutal general and one time slave, Sidonius, has overrun her country and her power is limited to that of a vassal. Determined to free her country but a virtual prisoner, Matilde needs all her skill to stay alive and forge the new alliances she needs. Meanwhile Dieter continues to attack the Imperial forces, making her task ever more difficult. But one certainty is that no-one should underestimate Matilde.

This book is full of strong, well drawn characters. Matilde in particular, always under threat and often misunderstood, struggles to survive and do her best for her country. She makes mistakes but she learns from them and retains the reader's sympathy as a result. Even the villains have depth and believability, something that's not always the case but which elevates a book in my opinion.

The storyline is unpredictable and its twists and turns kept me guessing right up to the end. The author says on her website that The Binding was written as a duology but the unexpected ending leaves the way open for another instalment that I for one would love to read.

Published by Allen & Unwin in July 2010, Shadow Bound is still available in printed form while the e-book is available worldwide from the publisher and

Deborah Kalin's website is