Mark Lawrence's name springs to mind, two of the bloodiest and the most enthralling protagonists sketched in modern fantasy. Jorg, the prince of thorns, a cunning and deadly player of politics and Jalan, the laid-back self-centered young man forced to the ways of magic and politics to save an empire.
Both these series are very dear to me. For numerous reasons but the special manner in which Mark writes about the grim truths of life laced with dry acerbic wit and fantastically violent action is just amazingly compelling. And it's his dramatic departure from using the tropes of this genre, spinning his own original stamp on the twists and turns of the events in these remarkable stories that makes him stand tall above others writing today.
With Red Sister, the first in the Book of Ancestors, Mark's chosen protagonist is a young girl, growing up in a convent, learning the ways of faith and war simultaneously and also discovering truths about herself amidst all the brutal cold …
So this weekend I was spoilt for choice when it came
to the movies. Seriously, weekends like this haven’t happened in a long while.
First up – was of course the legendary star-lord and his ragtag bunch of
misfits out to save the galaxy from itself, the sequel to the wildly popular
and absolutely brilliant first part, Guardians
of the Galaxy from Marvel. Next
on the plate, was the Alien prequel
which is going to be a mindfuck, I can guarantee. With Ridley Scott spinning the wheels crazy in the first prequel to the
original Alien series in Prometheus
that gave us a twisted convoluted legend of the Aliens ‘origin’ story, the
trailer looked mind-boggling. But the movie that I finally settled on, of
course was the return of my all-time movie director: Guy Ritchie stamping his
unique signature on the much loved legend of the “The Man who would be King”. In
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, one of the oldest
legends is re-imagined in signature Guy Ritchie fashion – complete with a non-linear
I make no bones about announcing that Brian Staveley is my go-to-author when it comes to reading some seriously crunch-worthy fantasy books, that are original, thought-provokingly jarring ( and I mean like bone-deep!) and swathed in enough grim-dark to keep it dialed way beyond 'just interesting' for me. His first series, that started with The Emperor's Blades was suitably epic but didn't exactly set things on fire. But the amazing follow up in the next couple of books, really blew things over in a true-blue kettral-style explosion, concluding a fantasy series in one of the best possible manners.
His writing is modern in it's sensibilities. With the first series books that feature an expansively rich world with a hefty twist to it's history, epic in it's sheer scale (Gods, men both mortal and immortal, empires clashing and the world balanced on a knife's edge), we knew there were more stories lurking in the depth of this beautiful world.