In which we attend the Song Rising Launch Party

Song Rising Launch

Group photo was shamelessly stolen from Bloomsbury. I managed to crouch without flashing anyone, which is a victory in and of itself. Well done, Elou – you almost look graceful. Almost. Careful, people might think you’re sophisticated if you keep this up.

 

Greetings and salutations. How are we? I’m grand, I hope you’re grand.

A few months ago, I was invited to Samantha Shannon’s launch party for The Song Rising (which I have reviewed here, you should buy it) as part of Bloomsbury’s advocate scheme, and on March 7th, I had the pleasure of actually attending! The party was hosted in Edinburgh, at a fab venue called The Caves, and I am now desperate to use it as a photo shoot location. Even the bathroom was fabulous. I’d never been to Edinburgh before so I was incredibly excited to be exploring somewhere new (unfortunately, I chose completely the wrong footwear and at the time of writing, March 8th, my ankle is dying). I have a mighty need to go there again.

IMG_4713Thanks must go to the wonderful Jen, who not only came with me but let me stay in her pad (which I am horrendously jealous of and want for myself) and sleep on her bed which may as well be a cloud (I also want that). She also put up with my whining about my feet, the woman is a wonder. Thank you to Bloomsbury for choosing Edinburgh, we couldn’t have met up without you!

Anyway, onwards. After a quick meal at Wetherspoons (good ol’ Spoons), we wandered the winding streets of Edinburgh until we reached The Caves. With just that short walk, I fell a little bit in love with the city, it is one of those cities which looks like something that some extremely talented fantasy author dreamed up like somewhere trapped between several different times and yet is quite happy with its predicament. Edinburgh has such character.

The venue suited the book so well, I fell in love with it. It was a pretty chill affair, which I really liked and I think everyone got the chance to chat with Samantha. They’d laid out temporary tattoos as you entered, encouraging everyone to join the revolution, which I did with vigour (a banner hung on the wall which echoed the sentiment in a gloriously authentic-looking way). The whole set-up was incredibly inspiring, so thank you to all at Bloomsbury who organised it – top shindig, very well done.

Being the little photo-monkey that I am, I obviously took my camera, so it is without further ado that I present the best selection of images I took during the night (the light was beautiful in person but harder to work with photographically, so I hope I did it justice – it doesn’t happen often but I adore the grain in these).

I hope you enjoyed this little look into the launch party, there will be more Bone Season related goodness from me soon. I am currently in the planning stages of another Bone Season inspired photo shoot – you’re going to love it.

If you’ve never read the series, I urge you to give it a go and let me know what you think!

Until next time, bloglings!

Bone Season Giveaway Winners!

Hi, all! How are we?

I am delighted to announce the winners of my first giveaway! Thank you so much to everyone who entered, I hope you manage to get your hands on the book even if you weren’t successful this time around.

So without further ado, the winners are:

Jessica (@askewcrow) and Justin (@Justin_1889)!

I really hope you both enjoy your books, I would love to know what you think once you’ve read it. (An email is pinging your way now so that I can gather your delivery addresses.)

I hope to do some more giveaways on here in the near future, so watch this space. :)

Happy reading!

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[[CLOSED]] The Bone Season: Giveaway! (UK Only)

bone-visHello, wonderful people!

On a break from our (current) normal schedule, I give you a post on a Monday! What is this? How am I so productive all of a sudden? It’s a mystery to us all.

However, this entry is not about me, it’s about you!

As I’m an advocate, Bloomsbury have been especially lovely and given me two copies of the beautiful new paperback version of The Bone Season to give to you guys! It’s the first real giveaway I’ve done so I am very excited.

As it says in the title, it’s UK only, so please don’t enter if you’re from outside the country. You will only be disappointed. :( Booo.

If you’ve never heard of The Bone Season, read on:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The giveaway is running until February 22nd so make sure you get your entries at the link below!

 Click here to enter!

I’m so in love with this book, I am so happy to be able to share it! Comment below if you’ve entered, I would love to hear from you!

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The Mime Order Blog Tour: If I were a voyant…

On this the 4th stop on The Mime Order’s UK blog tour, as I’ve already posted a review I decided to get creative.

If you’ve read The Bone Season, there is absolutely no way you’ve not thought, if only in passing, about what kind of a voyant you may have been were you thrust head-first into its pages. My own thoughts on the matter have been fleeting, first used as a gag for a video review on my somewhat defunct (but hopefully one day revivable) youtube channel, but as the publication date of hotly anticipated book #2, I decided it was high time I considered it seriously—and photographically.

My choice was to between two obvious options (three, if there were a type of voyant whose numa were twin lens reflex cameras, or box cameras, or any cameras): firstly, bibliomancy. I work in books, I spend most of my life reading books, I design them, I devour them. It would be all too easy for books to be my numa and I thought that might be too obvious a choice to make.

Secondly, cleidomancy (which you may have guessed if you saw a certain question and answer on twitter). Though obvious to almost everyone who knows me in person, you, dear reader, may be wondering why I made this choice and rightly so.

You who read this blog probably haven’t seen my wrists or the box which sits on one of the shelves in my room, waiting for a time when I have my own walls on which I can hang beautiful display frames. You would not have seen the equally beautiful leather-bound notebook I still have not dared to use for fear of ruining it. You might, if you follow one of my tumblr accounts, have noticed my obsession with a certain key-wielding series of video games. You will definitely have noticed my usernames on almost every social media platform ever and perhaps the other URL which brings you to this website.

I am obsessed with keys. I collect them, skeleton keys mostly (currently living in the aforementioned box). I love to imagine the doors they once opened and the rooms into which those doors led, and then the people who walked through those rooms; born, grown, lived, died. It makes sense, then, that if I were to commune with the spirits of the dead I would use one or more of my collection.

The key featured in these images, newly-probably-not-quite-coined bookography (expect more, I like it), is the first I ever purchased and the key that provided the shape for the tattoo on my right wrist. I remember vividly the day that I bought it, the smell of the shop (appropriately situated in Oxford), the long walk to another which sold masks after, the walk back to college and the impending A Level exam. It is my favourite.

So there you have it.

If I were a voyant, I would be a cleidomancer. A smoky-purple aura’d soothsayer, who has a penchant for top hats and deep purple–burgundy colours.

Hop along to Curiosity Killed the Bookworm tomorrow for your next stop! But before you go…

Competition time!

Enquiring minds would like to know what type of voyant you would be and why, in return I will endeavour, with the help of my camera and my partner in crime, to turn two lucky entrants into their voyant selves! Easy peasy!

How to enter

Leave a comment below with your chosen voyant type and why – do be creative! And remember to leave your name and twitter handle (or email) so that I can contact you!

What you win

A photoshoot with myself and Dress.Simple (at a time and date discussed with you by email later) in which we will transport you, using magic, into the world created by the brilliant Samantha Shannon.

Terms and conditions

  1. To enter you must be over 18 or have written permission of a parent or guardian (who will accompany you to the shoot should you win).
  2. You must be able to get to London or Oxford for the resulting photoshoot.
  3. You must be willing to have your image displayed online (via this website and my facebook photography page) and used by Bloomsbury* should they see fit.
  4. All entries need to be in by midnight (GMT) on 18th February 2015.
  5. Winners will be announced within a week of the closing date on this blog, twitter and facebook.
  6. If you do not respond within 48 hours of the initial winners announcement, another winner will be chosen.

Judging

There will be two winners, one chosen by me and the other chosen by a mystery judge, who will be announced 1st February in another Mime Order-related blog post. We will be picking our favourites so make ‘em good!

 If you want to buy The Mime Order it is available on the Bloomsbury website, Waterstones, Amazon and all good retailers! Happy reading!


 *Please note: this competition is not run by nor affiliated with Bloomsbury beyond being a stop on the blog tour, and will only run if more than 5 entries are received

Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

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Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

Back in July, you might remember me being deliriously happy that I’d received the early sampler of The Mime Order; now, in October, I am completely and utterly ecstatic to have been able to get a hold of the uncorrected proof as part of Bloomsbury’s advocate scheme! Huzzah!

Before I get onto the actual book, I need to talk about how wonderfully packaged it was. As soon as it arrived, I posted this tweet showing off the beautifully drawn map of I -4 it had been wrapped in. This and a few more maps appear at the beginning of the book, as well as some other deliciously designed tid-bits which are placed throughout the novel. It is a beautiful object, even at the uncorrected proof stage. The map itself was printed on lovely paper too, and we all know how much I love paper.

Bloomsbury really put effort into this ARC and it was definitely worth it.

You may have seen various reaction tweets in the last hour or so of my reading. If not, you can see them here, here and here.

24 hours later, I stick to my guns. It is fan-bloody-tastic, brilliant and all sorts of other positive adjectives. The writing has gotten stronger and often left my heart pumping. When I said I was tense in that first tweet, I really meant it. Samantha Shannon is a queen when it comes to building apprehension and making it last, slowly blossoming outwards in the pit of your stomach. Even thinking about it now, my stomach does little flips and turns.

I had expected a lot of this book, even before I read the sampler – it’s a big series and as such, it has to deliver. It does not disappoint. In fact, I like it even more than its predecessor, The Bone Season, and I liked that book a lot. So much that I have been urging people to read it since before its release date and still do. I will be doing the same with The Mime Order.

It is notoriously difficult to pull off a sequel that is as good as the book that came before, let alone one which is better – it’s a fantastic achievement and I feel a readerly sense of pride.

We see a lot of character development, particularly of members of the Seven Seals who didn’t get much air-time in The Bone Season. Other returning characters offer gasp-inducing twists and have a lot more depth than I had anticipated. We are introduced to a lot of new characters, some in more detail than others and I have high hopes to see a lot more of them in book 3 (which I need, I know it’s not written yet but I need it, someone find me a time machine).

As I said when I talked about the sampler, we get a huge insight into voyant politics and this may be why I love the book so much. I love the voyant society and its workings, from penny dreadfuls and pamphlets to scrimmages and spirits. It is a society of change and intrigue and I can’t help but get sucked in by it.

I can’t go into much more detail without giving away spoilers so you’ll just have to take my word that it is fantastic; the plot is twisty, turny and mindbogglingly brilliant; the characters make me want to hug them, love them and keep them safe, and throttle them all at the same time; and the design is beautiful. You really need to buy this book when it comes out.

It is due for release on the 27th January 2015 and you can go to the Bloomsbury website to be notified when it is available, or alternatively you can preorder it from Waterstones!

The Mime Order – Advanced Preview

If you’re following my Twitter and it did not get lost in your beneath all of the inevitable post-World Cup tweets, you will have seen that I was fortunate enough to receive an early sampler of the sequel to Samantha Shannon’s bestseller The Bone Season, intriguingly named The Mime Order – a title which I am dying to discover the meaning of. I have concluded, upon reading said sampler, that January 2015 is too far away. I need that book. 

As you may have seen, the publication date was originally a more close and inviting October but to enable the production of the best book possible, it has been moved back to allow more time for the writing and editing stages. While sad, it promises to be a beautiful January.

If you want to learn more about voyant politics in SciLo, The Mime Order (at least the small portion that I have read) generously complies. I definitely have high hopes for the rest of the novel and am itching to know more about the different Mime-Lords and Mime-Queens – I have a very strong case of grabby hands.

Paige and the rest of the Seven Seals return on top form, and we are introduced to a host of new and intriguing characters. (Insert more grabby hands here.) I can’t wait to get to know them come January.

Even the sampler packs a punch with a twist which made me squeak – out loud – on a commuter train. I cannot imagine what excitement awaits but I am most definitely looking forward to it.

I am completely addicted to this series and intend to be for the duration and beyond. If you haven’t read The Bone Season, do so. Right now. If you have, you definitely need to pick up The Mime Order  when it is released in January. It is a book that already demands to be read.

The Bone Season Video Review and my Youtube channel!

Hello! This blog entry is very late but for a very good reason. I have started up a youtube channel! For all of your Elou-watching needs. I wanted to wait until I had a review on my channel before posting it on here.

The channel will have book stuff, publishing stuff, photography stuff, food stuff and silliness on it. If that seems like something you’d be interested in, hit subscribe. I have some exciting things coming up for it, including a look into the photography for my major project. I will be filming a behind the scenes video at our shoot tomorrow and another at an unrelated shoot next weekend. I have lots of ideas and lots of things to share – join me on my youtube journey.

Below is my review of The Bone Season, I highly recommend you read it. 

The Bone Season

Samantha Shannon

Release date: 20th August 2013 (Worldwide) Publisher: Bloomsbury

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

 It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

Samantha Shannon and The Bone Season

Before I launch into my belated ‘Big London Book Fair Blog Fest’ (now that I am, for the most part, out of the Master’s Assignment Bubble of Doom), I thought I would write a little blog entry about Samantha Shannon and her debut novel The Bone Season (out 20 August 2013).

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (Bloomsbury, 2013)Last week I had the pleasure of going to Samantha Shannon’s first ever bookshop event at Waterstones in Oxford, and the even greater pleasure of talking to her afterwards.

I found her first on Twitter, I can’t remember quite how but I do remember reading an article hailing her as the next J. K. Rowling so naturally I was intrigued. I found her blog, began reading and suddenly found myself getting very excited about The Bone Season. Before the event, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a proof copy of the novel – I devoured it quickly and when I was finished, I wanted more. I, for one, can’t wait until the hardback is released.

The event was relaxed, with a somewhat amusing introduction, which made me love Waterstones a little bit more than I already do. Samantha’s talk was given from a plush-looking chair to an eager audience which overflowed from the allocated seating with people dotted around the various tables on the shop floor. The talk took place almost a year exactly since she secured her book deal during last year’s London Book Fair and encompassed everything from her unsuccessful novel, Aurora, to her opinion on the New Adult genre.

The Bone Season, she said, was written across six months – a number which shocked, astounded and impressed me, how could she have enough time to have written the whole of the novel in six months? She led us through a whirlwind tour of the publishing process as it was for her; a collaborative experience, both enjoyable and challenging.

After a brief synopsis of the novel, she delved into her influences (Emily Dickinson, John Donne) and her view on the fantasy genre. A cross-genre opportunity allowing for experimentation perhaps more than any other genre. While marketed as an adult novel, she acknowledged that her novel could be classed as New Adult due to its 19 year-old protagonist, though the novel does not contain the sexual themes found in most New Adult titles. She talked of the potential of New Adult beyond the sexual themes, as a bridging genre.

Her talk ended on a note of encouragement to the budding writers of the audience, and to the readers. She confessed that it took writing a whole novel to realise that the voice she was using was not the one for her.

In the Q&A session that followed she was asked about her dream-cast, as her novel’s film rights have already been sold, a question she was asked recently by Andy Serkis, whose studio The Imaginarium Studios own the rights; about clairvoyance and how much of it she believed in; Paige, the novel’s protagonist, who she confesses to living vicariously through; how she plans her novels and her characters and how much of the series is written; Ireland; Oxford, which she beautifully called ‘a city of contradiction’ which draws fantasy authors towards it; the balance between university and authordom (a feat of time-management and non-procrastination though no English Literature student gets up early), and the supportiveness of her tutors.

Once the talk was finished I bounced my way across to introduce myself and there is one word that I feel best sums up my impression of Samantha: Lovely. She allowed me to quiz her on all the things I didn’t get to ask during the Q&A, including her involvement with the cover and covers from other territories, which was a lot more than I thought it would be. Bloomsbury, she said, have been very accommodating when it comes to getting the look of her book perfect both for them and for her. During London Book Fair she even got to put input in on the design for one of the publishers from another territory (though, I have forgotten which one). We even got some casual fangirling into our chat, always fabulous.

The event was wonderful, with friendly, smiley staff and a pleasant atmosphere. I can’t wait to see Samantha Shannon’s career progress and am eagerly looking forward to the release of the hardback (and the reviews that will follow!).