Friday, May 13, 2011

We finish up Giveaway Week with two - two! - books, one here on Folderol and one over at the Steampunk Librarian. Thanks to everyone who has entered the contests so far -- and if you haven't entered one yet, please do! You've got until Friday, May 27, so there's still lots of time. Thanks again! I'll be gone all next week but will be back the week of the 23rd.

Black Halo by Sam Sykes (Tor)

I first heard of Sam Sykes and his Aeon's Gate series when he wrote an entry for The Big Idea on John Scalzi's website as the first book in the series, The Tome of the Undergates, was arriving on bookstore shelves. Black Halo is the second book in the series, and continues the story of a band of adventurers on a perilous quest for a mysterious tome. (Sound rather like a Dungeons & Dragons tale? You'd be right! And this is not a bad thing!)

Sykes has created a group of personalities with different races, different religions, and entirely different views on what they should be doing at any given point in time. Washed up on an island after a battle with a sea monster, the party is split up and explores the increasingly creepy -- and populated -- landscape while figuring out a way to get back to civilization. Meanwhile, back in the city where the adventure began, Bralston the Librarian (with a capital L, for LibrarianBadAssWizardType) is sent to find the group, or what's left of them.

The Aeon's Gate series is not a typical hack & slash adventure frenzy (well, not usually. at least); it's a world in which the characters debate with each other and often with themselves via internal monologues. Black Halo ramps up this aspect with the characters meeting several of their own kind, whether in the flesh or via visions (or are they hallucinations?) and struggling with many ethical quandaries.

There's still a lot of hacking and slashing and laser-beam eyes, however, if you like that sort of thing. And there's humor, which is always welcome. And there's also a Kraken Queen. As this is only the second book, it looks as if there's a lot more to come from the Aeon's Gate series and the motley crew that Sykes has created.

We have a copy of Black Halo to give away! As my other half is the RPG expert*, I have turned over the contest rules to him on this one. He says: "To enter the contest, choose a fantasy race and occupation (Elven Ranger, Halfling Thief, Dwarven Blacksmith etc.). Tell us why you made the choices you did --exceptionally clever or creative entries may get an extra entry in the contest." All entries will be places in a top hat and the winning entry will be drawn at random, perhaps by a snarky puppet. The deadline for entering the contest is 11:59 pm EST Friday, May 27. Good luck, and thanks again!

(More information on Black Halo is available on Tor's website. Sam Sykes twitters like a maniac and has a website of his own, with a weblog and everything.)

* he is currently doing his best to get me to join his D&D group. My suggestion of a Thri-Kreen Druid character has been squashed unceremoniously, however.

1 comment:

Page Turner said...

Ah, another evening roaming Monte Haul's dungeon! I've just stepped through the door, lute at the ready (awright, so I'm a Celtic bard!) and--- sploosh! The first thing I encounter is a gelatinous cube! Awright, my trusty lute makes a splendid mandolin chopper. Jello and fruit salad tonight! But wait, something's a bit odd here-- we've been teleported to a gathering in the Kettle Moraine! Moraine? That's another turn on the Wheel of Time! Good thing we brought along the fruit salad!