SPFBO 6: Finalist Review Black Stone Heart

Black Stone Heart


A Wind from the Wilderness by Suzannah Rowntree – SPFBO #6 Finals Review

A Wind from the Wilderness

SPFBO #6 Finals Review

Fantasy-Themed Cookbooks

Fantasy-Themed Cookbooks

Multi-Book Review


Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – Cover Reveal

Wayyyyyyyyyyy back in 2012 I was lucky enough to be sent an advanced copy of a strange fantasy/martial arts/steampunk-hybrid called Stormdancer. I enjoyed that book and gave it a favourable review, but the beautiful prose, the complex story, the kickass female lead and Jay Kristoff’s seamless ability to merge/cross genres led me to believe he would go on to do even grander things in the years to come. Indeed, the series got better and better with the two sequels, Kinslayer and Endsinger.

Then last year Mr Kristoff released an incredible YA science fiction with Amie Kaufman called Illuminae. Not only did it go on to become a NYT bestseller, but Warner Bros is working working with Brad Pitt on a movie adaption. It’s something I’m incredibly happy to hear, because there are few people in the world as humble, friendly, and motivational to talk to as Jay. If you’ve not heard him chat before, check out the interview we did around the time he completed his Lotus War trilogy and pay special attention to the question about what wisdom he has to offer potential writers.

Anyway, I could talk about how great Jay and his already-releasedbooks are all day. BUT, I’m going to talk a bit about me for a second. Because, when I heard that Jay’s young adult science fiction novel was selling incredibly well, in addition to being really happy for him I was kind of sad for me. I enjoy science fiction and I enjoy young adult, but I’m definitely more about the fantasy and I knew Jay still had so, so much more to give in our genre. As incredible as the Lotus War novels were, I always found myself wondering what would happen if Jay turned his hand to something a little darker, a little more grey and gritty, something for the fans of authors such as Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch or Brent Weeks.

Well, a few months back Jay and his publishers got in touch to tell me about Nevernight, a fantasy novel about a young killer who attends a school of assassins with vengeance in mind. I genuinely wondered if it was a windup in response to a tweet I’d made or something. Then Jay and Harper Voyager sent over a blurb and offered me the exclusive cover reveal – with the promise it would be done by Jason Chan – and I began to think that if this was a trick they were going to pretty extraordinary lengths to fool me. So, check this out, my friends:


Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s quite obviously done by Jason Chan – who also did the Lotus War covers and award winning Broken Empire covers – but you can certainly see the influence Jay’s prose had. Here’s the official blurb that will take your excitement levels up another notch:

The first in an epic new fantasy series from the New York Times and international bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, a sixteen-year-old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.


Still not enough? Well, how about some words from Jay about why the cover looks the way it does and what he thinks about the finished piece:

Jason Chan is one of my favourite fantasy artists, and I was lucky enough to have him illustrate the covers for my LOTUS WAR series. So when my editor informed me we were saddling up together again on NEVERNIGHT, cue the air guitar.

Jason and I chatted for a while about ideas, and we kept circling back to the work he’d done on Mark Lawrence’s BROKEN EMPIRE trilogy—a triptych showing the evolution of the central character over the course of the series, growing from a neophyte into a fully-fledged badass. But unlike BE, NEVERNIGHT is set in a land of perpetual sunlight, where one of three suns is burning almost constantly in the sky. So the palette needed to be stark, burned, more white than black, with some cool shadowplay and splashes of red to hint at the carnage to be found within the pages. Hey, it’s about an orphan girl’s induction into a cult of assassins, you know there’s going to be bloodshed.

I think Jason killed it. No pun intended.

Nevernight is set for release on August 9th 2016. I know you’re excited already, but I’m going to leave you with the phrase: “Lies of Locke Lamora meets Harry Potter“.




  1. […] Fantasy Faction – Cover reveal and interview. […]

  2. Avatar Yora says:

    Letting the author explain to the artist what the cover should look like certainly has big advantages.

  3. Avatar proliar says:

    Beautiful cover, and how awesome is “The Red Church” as a name for a group of assassins.

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