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Trent Jamieson

The Nightbound Land book 2

Angry Robot (2012)

ISBN 978 0 85766 187 6

Reviewed by Jason Nahrung

This is the second, concluding title, of the story that began with Roil. And what an intriguing read The Nightbound Land duology has been.

Thing is, from the first few chapters of Roil, we know what’s going to happen at the end. You can’t have those excerpts from various histories and memoirs of the unfolding action without someone surviving, can you? And this is the key to the books’ tension: who survives, and how? And what shape is the world in when the dust settles?

Jamieson’s hero is David, drug-addicted and now somewhat possessed by the spirit of an immortal, on a mission to save the world from the Roil: an all-consuming wave of darkness inhabited by wonderfully fantastical creatures including a version of zombie. Elsewhere there are analogues of vampires and dire wolves, romping through a landscape of steampunk technology enhanced with the likes of organic and jet-powered aircraft. It’s a fascinating and well-drawn world, and in this second volume the truth of its creation is revealed – I wasn’t carried away by the deeper cyclical nature of it all, but the promise of being able to break the cycle adds interest to the final denouement.

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Jo Anderton

The Veiled Worlds, book 2

Angry Robot (2012)

ISBN: 978-0-85766-156-2

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack

Lorraine Cormack is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. This review is the personal opinion of the writer, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team.

Suited is the second in a trilogy, the sequel to last year’s Debris. It continues a strong story and good character development, as well as significantly expanding our understanding of the world in which it is set. It’s a strong novel; like its predecessor, it is something of a cross-genre novel, although Suited skews more towards science fiction than the first novel did. Unsurprisingly, it has most to offer people who have read the first novel, but many readers new to the series will also enjoy Suited.

In Debris, Tanyana fell from her privileged position as a talented and strong pion builder. Well respected and financially well rewarded, she had a comfortable life with access to the higher echelons of society in Movoc. When a dreadful accident robs her of all this, she discovers undercurrents to her society she had previously been unaware of. Specifically, she discovers that not everyone can see pions, the elements of matter that everyone manipulates without a second thought every day. Except not everyone can; some people can’t see pions and thus can’t use them; they can see only the waste they leave behind. And although these people are vital – if debris collectors don’t do their job, the unseen debris builds up and causes all kinds of malfunctions – they are nevertheless despised. Scorned by society, paid barely enough to live on, treated as little more than slave labour.

And now Tanyana is one of them.

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Jo Anderton

Veiled Worlds, book 1

Angry Robot (2011) 

ISBN: 978-0-85766-154-8

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack

Debris is the debut novel from Australian writer Jo Anderton, and it is remarkably good. Although it is not without flaws, it may be that most of those are due to it being the first in a trilogy; they may be resolved when we have the rest of the series in front of us. In the meantime, this is an exciting, engrossing novel.

Debris is set in a far future world, one in which people called pionners manipulate the particles that hold all matter together to create; pions are used to build, to decorate, to run almost all forms of technology. Although only a very talented few can manipulate pions with great skill, most people can see them and use them to some degree.  The very few people unable to see pions at all are outcasts; viewed as not only disabled but somehow distasteful. They are relegated to a life one step above the gutter, collecting the dangerous waste products created by manipulating pions. For some reason those who can see pions can’t see the waste; and those who can’t see pions can see the waste.

Kaaron Warren

Angry Robot (2009)

ISBN: 9780007322428

Reviewed by Martin Livings (this review was first published in November 2009)

Stevie is a young woman with some issues. Her beloved policeman father was killed in the line of duty when she was just a little girl, her mother died in a car accident while Stevie was driving, and her brother is a self-help guru and aspiring politician whose ambitious wife loathes her.

Oh, and in her spare time, she occasionally kills people to find out where they go when they die. You see, Stevie herself has nearly died a number of times, sometimes by accident, sometimes … not. And every time she has, she’s found herself in a dark place, trapped in a room and surrounded and tormented by the people she’s slighted in her life. She wants to know why that is, both horrified and strangely attracted to it. And she also wants to know why she keeps finding bones in her backyard, along with trinkets that may have belonged to people who’ve gone missing over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

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