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Read the First Excerpt from Game of Thrones Sequel ‘The Winds of Winter’ by George R.R. Martin

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When it comes to Game of Thrones, nobody is more enthusiastic about new information than the book fans. The fans who have read through thousands of pages and still not been satisfied with an ending in over two decades. It has been three years since we have heard anything about when The Winds of Winter will be released. While we still don’t have that information (SORRY!) but we do have an excerpt from this writer’s personal favourite character – Tyrion!

Check it out below:

TYRION

Somewhere off in the far distance, a dying man was screaming for his mother. “To horse!” a man was yelling in Ghiscari, in the next camp to the north of the Second Sons. “To horse! To horse!” High and shrill, his voice carried a long way in the morning air, far beyond his own encampment. Tyrion knew just enough Ghiscari to understand the words, but the fear in his voice would have been plain in any tongue. I know how he feels.

Many thanks to Entertainment Weekly who shared the quotes. They also report that the whole chapter will be available in March through Random House’s A World of Ice and Fire app.The chapter will feature Tyrion and be available even in the free version of the app, along with new location descriptions and character profiles.

The release date for Winds of Winter has yet to be determined but I’m willing to be that 2015 will be the year. Martin likes to take his time writing the books but he has a new motivation to complete the books faster now that the TV series is already up to Book 3. The last Game of Thrones book,  A Dance with Dragons, the fifth in the series, was published in 2011. While we eagerly await a release date you can be sure that the exclusive chapter in March will be a big tease!

Game of Thrones Season 4 will premiere on Sunday, April 6, at 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on HBO.

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‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’ International Trailer

The International trailer for Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has just been released on the internet via MSN. This all new trailer is visually exciting, and takes you deeper into the plot of the movie with many new scenes that we have not seen before!

The film will hit theaters on August 7th, 2013, and stars Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, Brandon T. Jackson as Grover, Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth, and Leven Rambin as Clarisse. The film will follow the events of the second novel in the Percy Jackson series by the same name, which chronicles the adventures of thirteen-year-old demigod Percy Jackson as he and his friends rescue his satyr friend Grover from the Cyclops Polyphemus and save the camp from a Titan’s attack by bringing the Golden Fleece to cure Thalia’s poisoned pine tree.

‘The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’: New look at Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly and Lee Pace

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, has a lot to live up to in the second of three films depicting J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Many fans were disappointed by the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey , so director Peter Jackson and his team are going to really have to push out something spectacular this December. Today we have yet another new look at Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, and Lee Pace.

The three actors play Legolas, Tauriel, and Thranduil in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit sequel The Desolation of Smaug. They will appear on the cover of the new Empire Magazine which will go on sale June 27.

Check it out below:

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Tauriel (Evangeline Lily) is an entirely new character created by Jackson and his team. I think many true to the book fans are worried about this clear diversion from Tolkien’s original material but I am looking forward to seeing a strong female character inserted within Tolkien’s classic story.

These three actors are currently in New Zealand filming additional scenes for The Desolation of Smaug and the third Hobbit movie There and Back Again.

Check out the trailer for The Desolation of Smaug right here! 

The Desolation of Smaug opens in theaters December 13. The titular role is played by Martin Freeman.

Thanks, Empire.

Pottermore Plans Major Site Change to Attract New Fans

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In a new interview, Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne has revealed that a complete overhaul of the website is in development to expand their audience.

Redmayne told The Bookseller that various changes are in the works that will appeal to more casual fans of the Harry Potter series. For example, the new Pottermore will allow you to cast spells, take part in wizard duels, and get sorted into your Hogwarts house before even registering for the website.

Another big change: You will no longer have to go through the chapters in sequential order. You will now be able to browse any chapter you want if it’s available for the public. (Not sure if this is really that great of an idea…)

In a clear attempt to appeal to even the most basic reader, the site will boast new, basic information like, “Who is Harry Potter?”

“As it stands, if you don’t know the books you won’t get much out of it,” Redmayne told The Bookseller. “What we want to do is open it out for those people who haven’t read the books, or who haven’t seen the films, but perhaps come to it via the Lego, or the Harry Potter computer games.”

Other new features include the ability to “interact with their houses, or visit specific areas such as Diagon Alley without becoming engaged with the story,” but at this time we’re not sure what that particularly means and how it’s an improvement over the current website.

Elsewhere in the interview Redmayne rattled off a few interesting numbers about Pottermore’s usage: The site has hosted 45 million unique users and users have cast/brewed 180 million spells/potions.

Pottermore is currently in the midst of unveiling the Prisoner of Azkaban chapters. The remaining batch of chapters in the third Harry Potter book will open sometime in the next couple months.

J.K. Rowling conceived Pottermore as a thank you to fans of the series. The website’s best feature is the new writing about the Harry Potter series from the author herself.

Personally I loved Pottermore when it was first opened, but I still feel like it’s missing the magic that the books had, but hopefully some of these changes will improve the site and its interactivity with fans!

Cassandra Clare Plans Fifth Shadowhunter Series

clareCassandra Clare has slipped some interesting information about a certain future series while answering some questions on Tumblr yesterday.

Yes she is planing to write a fifth Shadowhunter series, which she referred to only as TWP. She listed all her series in what seems to be the internally chronological order:

“The five Shadowhunter series are TiD, TLH, TMI, TDA, and very far down the road, TWP. Don’t even ask about that one! It’s too far in the future!” (Clare’s Tumblr)

For fans who may not be familiar, the series referred to are The Infernal Devices (a recently completed prequel trilogy), TLH (we only know that it follows the next generation after The Infernal Devices), The Mortal Instruments (the six books that started it all, with the final book “City of Heavenly Fire” coming out next March), The Dark Artifices (trilogy set 5 years after TMI, with Book 1 – “Lady Midnight” – due in 2015), and now TWP.

Keeping in mind how many of these books Clare has yet to write, we won’t see nor hear of TWP for at least another six years; if Clare takes a year per book as usual, then not until 2021. That is quite a long time but I am sure that fans will hear more details about this new series much before 2021!

Once this fifth trilogy is complete, that will put the total number of Shadowhunter books at eighteen, not counting the Magnus Bane Chronicles, nor the Codex. Do you feel another series would be too much? Should Clare stop while she’s ahead?

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Trailer Released!

The long awaited trailer for The Hobbit sequel The Desolation of Smaug has been released today and it gives us our first look at Smaug the dragon.

In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey we were shown the snout and one eye of Smaug, but now we see his entire head and Bilbo looking quite scared of this magnificent beast. Watch as the crew battles their way to their home of Erebor where Smaug has now awaken. Watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug trailer below:

We’ve recently seen the first poster featuring Bilbo (played by Martin Freeman) at the edge of the entrance to Smaug’s cave, which was unveiled by director Peter Jackson late last week. Fans of Lord of the Rings may be most excited to see  Orlando Bloom back as Legolas in this trailer. (Perhaps more exciting than seeing Smaug? 😉 )

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug trailer will be in theaters this Friday along with Warner Bros.’ Man of SteelThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theaters December 14, 2013. It is the second movie in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy based on the books by J.R.R Tolkien.

The final movie in The Hobbit trilogy, There and Back Again, will hit theaters December 2014. Jackson had intended for the story to be only two films, but he decided last year that it would become a three-part series.

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Poster Released and Trailer Coming Tuesday

The first Desolation of Smaug teaser poster has been unveiled by Hobbit trilogy director Peter Jackson on his official Facebook page today. The poster depicts Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) at the entrance to the area where Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) lives.

The trailer will be released on Tuesday and is reportedly to be two minutes long so be sure to visit YABR to see it!

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The Desolation of Smaug is the second film in director Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. The first film, An Unexpected Journey, opened in theaters last December and made $1 billion worldwide. The third film, There and Back Again, hits theaters December 2014.

The cast and crew of The Hobbit are currently filming pick up scenes for the two upcoming films in New Zealand. Jackson told fans last month that it is the last time he will ever be shooting a Tolkien movie.

Personally I loved An Unexpected Journey and can’t wait to see the next one when it’s released in December!

What do you think of the poster?

Nebula Award Winners

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This year’s Nebula Awards are here and the winners have been announced! The Nebula Awards cover the best Science Fiction and Fantasy books published in the previous year.

Check out the list of winners below:

Novel:

2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)
Ironskin, Tina Connolly (Tor)
The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)

Novella:

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
“The Stars Do Not Lie,” Jay Lake (Asimov’s 10-11/12)
“All the Flavors,” Ken Liu (GigaNotoSaurus 2/1/12)
“Katabasis,” Robert Reed (F&SF 11-12/12)
“Barry’s Tale,” Lawrence M. Schoen (Buffalito Buffet)

Novelette:

“Close Encounters,” Andy Duncan (The Pottawatomie Giant & Other Stories)
“The Pyre of New Day,” Catherine Asaro (The Mammoth Books of SF Wars)
“The Waves,” Ken Liu (Asimov’s 12/12)
“The Finite Canvas,” Brit Mandelo (Tor.com 12/5/12)
“Swift, Brutal Retaliation,” Meghan McCarron (Tor.com 1/4/12)
“Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia,” Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 8/22/12)
“Fade to White,” Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld 8/12)

Short Story:

“Immersion,” Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)
“Robot,” Helena Bell (Clarkesworld 9/12)
“Fragmentation, or Ten Thousand Goodbyes,” Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld 4/12)
“Nanny’s Day,” Leah Cypess (Asimov’s 3/12)
“Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream,” Maria Dahvana Headley (Lightspeed 7/12)
“The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species,” Ken Liu (Lightspeed8/12)
“Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” Cat Rambo (Near + Far)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin (director), Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Abilar (writers), (Journeyman/Cinereach/Court 13/Fox Searchlight)
The Avengers, Joss Whedon (director) and Joss Whedon and Zak Penn (writers), (Marvel/Disney)
The Cabin in the Woods, Drew Goddard (director), Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (writers) (Mutant Enemy/Lionsgate)
The Hunger Games, Gary Ross (director), Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray (writers), (Lionsgate)
John Carter, Andrew Stanton (director), Michael Chabon, Mark Andrews, and Andrew Stanton (writers), (Disney)
Looper, Rian Johnson (director), Rian Johnson (writer), (FilmDistrict/TriStar)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

Fair Coin, E.C. Myers (Pyr)
Iron Hearted Violet, Kelly Barnhill (Little, Brown)
Black Heart, Holly Black (McElderry; Gollancz)
Above, Leah Bobet (Levine)
The Diviners, Libba Bray (Little, Brown; Atom)
Vessel, Sarah Beth Durst (S&S/McElderry)
Seraphina, Rachel Hartman (Random House; Doubleday UK)
Enchanted, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
Every Day, David Levithan (Knopf)
Summer of the Mariposas, Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books)
Railsea, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
Above World, Jenn Reese (Candlewick)

Solstice Awards were awarded to editor Ginjer Buchanan and astronomer and entertainer Carl Sagan, the latter of which was accepted by his son Nick Sagan.

The Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service Award was awarded to Michael Payne.

(The list above borrowed from this Tor.com posting. You may also see results on SFWA’s own site.)

Jo Rowling loves Jo March in NY Times Interview

One of the wonderful aspects of a new book being published by an author is the fascinating facts we can learn about them through their promotional tour. Today another great interview with Rowling has surfaced from the New York Times. When the New York Times asked J.K. Rowling, “Did you have a favorite character or hero as a child? Do you have a literary hero as an adult?” she admitted that her “favorite literary heroine is Jo March. It is hard to overstate what she meant to a small, plain girl called Jo, who had a hot temper and a burning ambition to be a writer.” I’m sure many readers, concur with Rowling’s favourite character, especially me since I’m also a Jo!

The interview is filled with interesting tidbits but one other piece of information I found intriguing was Rowling admitting to not reading, ““chick lit,” fantasy or science fiction”. While I’m not surprised about the chick lit, I am surprised that she doesn’t read fantasy, given that she is the author of one of the most incredible fantasy series ever written.

Visit the New York Times to read the full interview.

[Review] Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Published: 1 July, 2012

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Edition: Australian Paperback

Summary: “The people of Alban are afraid. The tyrannical king and his masked Enforcers are scouring the land, burning villages and enslaving the canny. Fifteen-year-old Neryn has fled her home in the wake of its destruction, and is alone and penniless, hiding her extraordinary magical power. She can rely on no one – not even the elusive Good Folk who challenge and bewilder her with their words.When an enigmatic stranger saves her life, Neryn and the young man called Flint begin an uneasy journey together. She wants to trust Flint but how can she tell who is true in this land of evil? For Neryn has heard whisper of a mysterious place far away: a place where rebels are amassing to free the land and end the King’s reign. A place called Shadowfell. A story of courage, hope, danger and love from one of the most compelling fantasy storytellers.”

***

I should preface this review with my love for Juliet Marillier’s writing. I have been a fan of her books ever since I picked up a second-hand copy of Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters #1). The way she built an intricate fantasy world and filled it with complex characters spawned my desire to write. In fact I wrote my one and only fan letter to Juliet when I was 15 years old. She responded kindly and told me to continue to write while also pursuing a career such as teaching or editing. Wise words for any young budding writing. I’ve gone on to read several of her other published works but my favourites are her young adult books: Wildwood Dancing and its sequel Cybele’s Secret. So needless to say when I learnt that Marillier was writing not one, but three new young adult books I was very excited.

From the very first chapter the reader becomes immersed in a corrupt world where magic has been suppressed, killed and forced into hiding while the King surrounds himself in a protection of the magic that he has sought to destroy. It is an interesting concept to think about. While Rowling’s magical world brought to life a dark group of wizards who wanted to use their powers to control and suppress non-magical folk, Marillier’s world has evil controlling magic as a safety measure against people who never sought to overthrow the King. The reader learns of this world through the eyes of Neryn, whose magical abilities are revealed gradually through the book. The first chapter deals with the repercussions of the destruction the King has made to families throughout the Kingdom. Neryn’s father, the only family she has left in the world, has been driven mad by the loss of his son and wife. The King is burning villages to the ground and hunting any person found to be consorting with magical creatures or possessing magical abilities themselves. Throughout Neryn’s journey we learn that there can only be two resolutions for this kingdom: death or a war using magic to save the existance of magic. Ironically this means that the King will have created the path to his own destruction. (Or perhaps his followers will have the ability to overthrow the rebellion.) In any case Shadowfell was a compelling story that I look forward to reading again before the sequels are published.

As with most young adult book we have a small love story that also spices up the plot. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but the last few pages of Shadowfell will get some hearts thumping and craving the next book in the Shadowfell series. (Next year!!)

At the moment Shadowfell has a 4.04 Goodreads star rating. I give it a 5. It’s a beautiful book that has all the elements of a proper fantasy novel without the sappy shortcomings of some YA books, a page-turner to give your imagination a hearty stir and a plot that’ll keep you interested until the very last page.