Friday, May 1, 2015

Cover art - "Sorcerer to the Crown" by Zen Cho

Aliette de Bodard’s “The House of Shattered Wings” is not the only title coming at the end of summer/the beginning of autumn from the science fiction and fantasy imprints of the Penguin Publishing Group that I am looking forward to read, Zen Cho’s “Sorcerer to the Crown” caught my attention as well. I first discovered Zen Cho’s fiction in Jonathan Oliver’s anthology, “End of the Road”, her story “Balik Kampung (Going Back)” was one of the highlights of that collection for me. That short story led me to “The House of Aunts” published on GigaNotoSaurus in December 2011 and to my desire to read more of Zen Cho’s fiction. Sadly, the fulfillment of my wish got postponed, I lost Zen Cho’s collection of short stories, “Spirits Abroad”, among the tangles of my to-be-read pile of books. I am confident I will correct that, perhaps not before “Sorcerer to the Crown” is released, but someday soon for certain. As it is certain that I’ll be reading “Sorcerer to the Crown” when it is published this autumn. At a first glance Zen Cho’s debut novel doesn’t sound exactly right up my alley, but her two short stories I read convinced me that “Sorcerer to the Crown” deserves a fair chance. Not to mention that going outside the safety box of my usual readings proved on several occasions to hold plenty of benefits. Still, looking over Zen Cho’s guest post on the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog I discovered further points of attraction for me at “Sorcerer to the Crown”.

“But there are also stroppy magicians enmeshed in intrigues, dragons in disguise, foppish fairies, giant mermaids, and people flying around on clouds. Characters cast spells that go wrong and find themselves hopelessly entangled in hijinks. Women of various descriptions harangue other people at hilarious length. I was thinking about power when I wrote the book, but I wrote it mostly to entertain and comfort myself, as a prophylactic against loneliness. I hope it serves that purpose for others too.”

I like the cover quite a lot too, the color appeals to me and the sensation of bas-relief is excellent, while the dragon looks great. It doesn’t say much about the actual novel, but I still like it.

With all these in mind I am waiting with great interest the release of Zen Cho’s “Sorcerer to the Crown”, on September, 1st by Ace Books in the US and on September, 10th by Pan Macmillan (cover not yet revealed) in the UK.

In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite…

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

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