Books you should buy for Christmas (and not just mine!) :D

It’s that time of the year again: the weather gets a little rougher, the nights are seeping into our days, and you start saying things like ‘I can’t believe it’s dark at four o’clock!’ even though you have experienced this strange phenomenon every year of your life… It’s actually my favourite time of the year, being an Autumn/Winter person rather than a Spring/Summer type person, and this is despite the looming stress of Christmas – what to buy? What for dinner? Who are we eating dinner with? What lingering family resentments need to be avoided? Posting cards this year or just pretending that I did?

So this year I offer the following to help with some of the Christmas stress. Have a fantasy reader you need to buy for? Or just need to alleviate the pain of buying presents with buying some for yourself? (I do this a lot). Then may I recommend, um, my books?

Here are some excellent reasons to buy the Copper Cat books:

The covers are really very beautiful and feature dragons. They will beautify anyone’s bookshelves and immediately convey a sense of good taste and gravitas.

posting cover

The books themselves are quite hefty, so you are a) getting good value for your money b) could potentially use them to batter an intruder with.

Some quotes from people who have enjoyed the Copper Cat books:

‘Tolerable. Needed more elves.’ – Aragorn, son of Arathorn*

‘I liked the bit with all the horses. Wait, which book was this again?’ – Shadowfax

‘There’s fighting, dragons, treasure. What’s not to like?’ – Beowulf

Alright, okay, some quotes from people who have actually read the books (and do really exist):

‘Near perfect fantasy-adventure… read it and remind yourself what made you fall in love with fantasy’ – Starburst Magazine

‘Williams has thrown out the rulebook and injected a fun tone into epic fantasy without lightening or watering down the excitement and adventure… Highly recommended’ – The Independent

‘Highly inventive, vibrant high fantasy with a cast you can care about’ – The British Fantasy Society

The Copper Cat books are sword and sorcery with a modern edge – adventure, snark, terrible dark deeds done in the name of magic, and a sprinkling of sexy times. You can buy The Copper Promise and The Iron Ghost right now, and even pre-order the final volume in the trilogy, The Silver Tide. However, if chunky sword and sorcery books aren’t your thing, then here are some other fantastic books from across the genre spectrum, all of which would be spectacular additions to the space underneath your Christmas tree:

The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick – a darker shade of fantasy, with delicious gothic horrors and lashings of swordfights. The sequel, The Boy Who Wept Blood, is also available.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik – a gorgeous fairy tale with probably the most beautiful depiction of magic use I’ve ever read. Also, it’s quite sexy.

Battlemage by Stephen Aryan – like magic that punches you in the face? This is the book for you.

Banished by Liz de Jager – if you have young people to buy for (or you just fancy a bit of ass-kicking adventure yourself) then may I introduce you to Kit Blackhart? She is going to knock your socks off. The sequel, Vowed, is also available now.

The Vagrant by Pete Newman – a book that defies description, but it’s likely you won’t have read another fantasy book like it.

Anything by Robin Hobb – You’re a person of taste and distinction, so you don’t need me to recommend Robin Hobb to you, but perhaps you know a burgeoning fantasy fan who hasn’t read Assassin’s Apprentice yet. You know what to do.

The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder – a sudden horror/crime recommendation for you. If you like unreliable narrators and unspeakable evil (and who doesn’t, at Christmas?) I can’t throw this book at you fast enough.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky – a science-fiction reader you need to buy for? Expand their minds with this and never look at spiders in the same way again.

I hope that one of the books I’ve banged on about here will tickle your fancy, and remember that the greatest present you can give an author is a photo of you gleefully hugging their book you have just willingly purchased with actual money in a bookshop, or even, praise be to all the little goblins, a review.

Wishing you the best of times at the best time of year,

Jen x


*please note, there are no actual elves in the Copper Cat books.


Ooo, I’ve been sitting a bit funny and my leg’s gone a bit achey. Ow.

In the spirit of my aching self, I feel incapable of writing a comprehensible blog today, so instead I think I will make a small collection of thoughts. Sorry.

1) Chris Moyles- I do not like him. A very brief note, but jesus christ, have you listened to Radio 1 in the mornings lately? I had the misfortune to do so, because I had grown so sick of the appalling fetid-brained sock-people that present breakfast tv and decided to try the radio. I should have known that Radio 1 was not for me; Radio 4 is my natural home, and I shall never leave it again. The Chris Moyles Breakfast radio show is essentially an hour (how long does it go on for? I’ve no clue. How could I possibly find out without wanting to end it all?) where Chris Moyles makes vague references to something funny he said down the pub last night, while a gang of sycophantic jibberers squeel themselves silly about how fucking funny he is. Underneath it all, a constant jingle plays, like we’re all having a fucking jolly time, because Chris Moyles is so fucking funny. Christ.

2) I watched around half an episode of Supernatural last night. This is a series I’ve utterly failed to get into, mainly because it’s shown in a fairly random fashion late night on ITV2 (I think) and may turn up on any night, and at any time. I’ve always been a little intrigued, mainly due to its huge following on fandomsecrets, from which I have learned all sorts of interesting facts about the Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean. Mainly, that if they had sex it would apparently be really, really hot.
So I finally saw some of it and was rather disappointed. To be fair, I’m coming rather late to the party, and my paltry plot knowledge gleaned from poorly constructed jpegs containing such wisdom as “I would hit that!” and “Ruby sucks!” was hardly likely to give me the best preparation. But still. What mainly happened was a number of devastatingly attractive people hung around looking devastatingly attractive, whilst giving the sort of moody glances that indicate rumpy pumpy might be on the cards at any moment. True, there was a woman there in a mental institution who could hear the voices of angels and demons, but even she was distractingly beautiful. Despite being loopy, she still apparently had time to nip out and get her hair dyed “Mystic Plum”. Oh, someone had a nosebleed too, and someone tried to stab someone else. But that was largely it. And not once did those two brothers have sex. Disappointing.

3) Fantasy trilogies: I am in the middle of one at the moment. This is rare for me, because the sort of fantasy that comes in trilogies (and higher numbers) is normally the sort of fantasy I’m rubbish at finishing. No reflection on the books themselves; I still love sword and sorcery fantasy and all it is and all it stands for. When I was a kid I was obsessed with The Lord of the Rings, but since then I think my attention span has shrunk, and proper po-faced fantasy has me running for something a bit more funky, with a little more humour in it; The Lies of Locke Lamora, for example, or The Book of Lost Things.
So the Trilogy I am currently slogging through? Robin Hobb’s Soldier’s Son sequence. And I am enjoying it; I’m just not sure I can tell you why. The set up is very similar to her previous series, the Assassin’s Apprentice (which I loved) where a young male character grows up with an unwanted magical “gift”, has all sorts of shit happen to him because of it, and generally has a fairly rotten time. The AA series had dragons and pirates going for it, and intrigue and castles, but Soldier’s Son… well. It has the army. Uh. And spotty magical people. And stately balls (ahem). And the most interesting thing to happen so far happened in the first 100 pages, which is a little annoying when you’ve read around 800 pages so far.
But, it is a testament to Hobb’s writing that she can take the pace this slow, have no dragons in it and still have me balancing the book on the washing machine while I try to turn the burger’s over one handed. The woman writes characters you grow to love, and you learn a lot of patience that way.