Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review: The Modern World by Steph Swainston

To say that this is a surprising, excellent book that plays with expectations and tropes is an understatement! This is easily one of the best new (well, new in my case) fantasy books I’ve read in a while and I’ll definitely be catching up on Steph Swainston’s work! :-)

Catching up? Yup, you read correctly – The Modern World is book 3 in the series, but let me tell you, I was sucked in from the first word!

That brings up my first point about the book – you don’t have to have read the two previous books in the series to enjoy and understand this book! Steph has written it in such a way so that you don’t get confused or lost, and previous events are explained well without taking up two or three paragraphs. While the previous events are important, especially with regard to character introduction and development, what takes place in The Modern World can stand on its own, too – this is definitely not a filler-volume!

Now, this book also has one of the most terrifying beginnings I’ve ever read – trust me, it’s an absolute beauty! The prologue is so full of tension that you’ll find you’re done with it and breathing like a marathon-runner before you’re actually aware that you’ve finished the prologue! :-) Steph writes the kind of battle scenes that not many working in the genre at the moment can equal!

Another thing that stood out for me about the book was the way Steph uses everyday things that we know – like denim, sunglasses, drugs, etc and weaves them into this fantastical world; it’s definitely fantasy, but a bit stranger than what we know, and also better for it! :-)

Steph’s characters are also awesome – they’re utterly alive, with their own unique mannerisms, way of speaking, complex history and psyches… I really enjoyed the characters, especially Comet and Lightning. :-)

Wait until you get to the Shift and the sentient worms – trust me, you’ll really enjoy those parts of the book! :-)

This is a must-read for fans and followers of Steph Swainston – it’s a great, strong addition to the series that raises the stakes even more for the characters and their world! But like I said, even if you haven’t read the first two books, you’ll still enjoy this!


To order your copies, click here for US, here for UK, and for those in SA, please use the link at the top of the blog. Also, don't forget to check out Steph's website here.

And, for those wanting to get into the series, an omnibus edition containing the first 3 books (that's "The Year of Our War", "No Present Like Time" and "The Modern World") will be released in December! :-) Here's the link to pre-order for US and UK. :-)

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