First Chapter, First Paragraph – The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

“You’re some kind of thief, then?”
“That a very narrow-minded way of looking at it. I prefer to think of myself as a merchant of delicate tasks.”

About

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Library Journal | Vulture | The Verge | SYFYWire

Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty perfect for fans of The Golem and the JinniThe Grace of Kings, and Uprooted, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts.

On the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, Nahri is a con woman of unsurpassed skill. She makes her living swindling Ottoman nobles, hoping to one day earn enough to change her fortunes. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, during one of her cons, she learns that even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

Forced to flee Cairo, Dara and Nahri journey together across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are more than what they seem, to Daevabad, the legendary city of brass.

It’s a city steeped in magic and fire, where blood can be as dangerous as any spell; a city where old resentments run deep and the royal court rules with a tenuous grip; a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound—and where her very presence threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries. 

*Finalist for the World Fantasy Award: Best Novel

*Nominated for the Locus Award: Best First Novel

*Finalist for the British Fantasy Award: Best Newcomer

Featuring a stepback and extra content including a bonus scene and an excerpt from The Kingdom of Copper.


“Can I swim?” he snapped, as if the very idea offended him. “Can you burn?” 
― S.A. Chakraborty, The City of Brass

First Chapter, First Paragraph

He was an easy mark. Nahri smiled behind her veil, watching the two men bicker as they approached her stall. The younger one glanced anxiously down the alley while the older man— her client—sweated in the cool dawn air. Save for the men, the alley was empty; fajr had already been called and anyone devout enough for public prayer—not that there were many in her neighborhood—was already ensconced in the small mosque at the end of the street. She fought a yawn. Nahri was not one for dawn prayer, but her client had cho- sen the early hour and paid handsomely for discretion. She studied the men as they approached, noting their light features and the cut of their expensive coats. Turks, she suspected. The eldest might even be a basha, one of the few who hadn’t fled Cairo when the Franks invaded. She crossed her arms over her black abaya, growing intrigued. She didn’t have many Turkish clients; they were too snobbish. Indeed, when the Franks and Turks weren’t fighting over Egypt, the only thing they seemed to agree on was that the Egyptians couldn’t govern it themselves. God for- bid. It’s not as though the Egyptians were the inheritors of a great civilization whose mighty monuments still littered the land. Oh, no. They were peasants, superstitious fools who ate too many beans. 

First Chapter, First Paragraph – It by Stephen King

“Eddie discovered one of his childhood’s great truths. Grownups are the real monsters, he thought.” 
― Stephen King, It

About

Welcome to Derry, Maine …

It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real …

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them back to Derry to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.


“Come on back and we’ll see if you remember the simplest thing of all – how it is to be children, secure in belief and thus afraid of the dark.” 
― Stephen King, It

First Chapter, First Paragraph

“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years—if it ever did end— began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain. The boat bobbed, listed, righted itself again, dived bravely through treacherous whirlpools, and continued on its way down Witcham Street toward the traffic light which marked the intersection of Witcham and Jackson. The three vertical lenses on all sides of the traffic light were dark this afternoon in the fall of 1957, and the houses were all dark, too. There had been steady rain for a week now, and two days ago the winds had come as well. Most sections of Derry had lost their power then, and it was not back on yet. “

This is one of those books that I have never made it through. I have tried twice now and started having nightmares. This horror is potent stuff.

First Chapter, First Paragraph – Little, Big by John Crowley

Synopsis

John Crowley’s masterful Little, Big is the epic story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous young man who travels by foot from the City to a place called Edgewood—not found on any map—to marry Daily Alice Drinkwater, as was prophesied. It is the story of four generations of a singular family, living in a house that is many houses on the magical border of an otherworld. It is a story of fantastic love and heartrending loss; of impossible things and unshakable destinies; and of the great Tale that envelops us all. It is a wonder.

First Paragraph, First Chapter

Men are men, but Man is a woman. —Chesterton  

On a certain day in June, 19—, a young man was making his way on foot northward from the great City to a town or place called Edgewood, that he had been told of but had never visited. His name was Smoky Barnable, and he was going to Edge- wood to get married; the fact that he walked and didn’t ride was one of the conditions placed on his coming there at all.

My Thoughts

This is one of those stories that has been on my list forever, but I have never got around to reading. The story has a misty quality to it that is almost as if you are peering at the narrative through a fog. From what I have read of it, is beautifully done. I am looking forward to finishing it up one of these days. If you are new to this story, give it a read.

First Chapter, First Paragraph – The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey

Synopsis

2000 B.C. 
A beautiful, ambitious angel stands on a mountaintop, surveying the world and its little inhabitants below. He smiles because soon, the last of humanity who survived the great flood will meet its end, too. And he should know. He’s going to play a big part in it. Our angel usually doesn’t get to do field work, and if he does well, he’s certain he’ll be get a big promotion. 
And now it’s time . . .
The angel reaches into his pocket for the instrument of humanity’s doom. Must be in the other pocket. Then he frantically begins to pat himself down. Dejected, he realizes he has lost the object. Looking over the Earth at all that could have been, the majestic angel utters a single word.
“Crap.”

2015 
A thief named Coop-a specialist in purloining magic objects-steals and delivers a small box to the mysterious client who engaged his services. Coop doesn’t know that his latest job could be the end of him-and the rest of the world. Suddenly he finds himself in the company of the Department of Peculiar Science, a fearsome enforcement agency that polices the odd and strange. The box isn’t just a supernatural heirloom with quaint powers, they tell him. 

It’s a doomsday device. They think. . .
And suddenly, everyone is out to get it. 

First Chapter, First Paragraph

THE ANGEL, MAJESTIC IN GOSSAMER ROBES, STOOD ON a mountaintop, taking it all in. The sky was clear and a few minutes earlier he’d been poking the car- cass of a dead whale with a stick. The way he understood things, whales didn’t nor- mally spend a lot of time five thousand feet up the side of a mountain, which was probably why this one was so dead. It was the angel’s first trip to Earth and every- thing was so exciting and new. Especially the destruction. A whole planet drowned. A damned clever way to clean up the whole “humanity mess.” Of course, the flood made a different kind of mess, what with cities, people, and animals smashed willy- nilly across the land. And now that the rains had stopped, it was all getting a bit, well, ripe. But none of that was his problem. God got things rolling, and now he’d take care of the rest.


Richard Kadrey has written some of my favorite stories: Sandman Slim, Another Coop Heist, and Lucifer Comics. Both include antiheroes, acerbic wit, fantastic plots, and great imagery. If you are looking for a bit of an asshole protagonist check out these series.

First Chapter, First Paragraph – Thad Saves the Galaxy – An Outrageous Space Adventure by C.T Fleck

About

When adventure calls, sometimes it’s best to send it to voicemail. 
If you like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with a bit of Dude, Where’s My Car? sprinkled in, you’ll love Thad Saves the Galaxy!

When an alien named Zinka drops into Thaddeus Kinglsey’s life, he finally gets the adventure he’s been waiting for. Zinka’s being pursued across the Milky Way by the evil galactic tyrant, Derask and needs help repairing her ship. Thad jumps at the chance to do something extraordinary and begins an adventure he will never forget. Unfortunately, helping Zinka has some unintended consequences.

With the Earth a smoldering cloud of dust, Thad and Zinka begin a quest across the galaxy to put an end to Derask’s tyranny. This dynamic twosome recruits a colorful cast of characters to their cause: Tik, a mighty Demerian with a penchant for mind altering substances, Pangaea, a sarcastic humanoid who is more then she seems, Danny, the only other Earthling left who happens to be a dreadlocked pot dealer, Leonidas, a lovesick Voltan hero, and Preet, the shapeshifting Queen of the Mercenaries. But they need more than a gang of friends to defeat Derask. They need ships, and lots of them.

Can this oddball team find a way to take down the galaxy’s most powerful dictator? Does ‘winging it’ ever really work? Can you find love on a planet full of mercenaries? These questions and more are answered in this whimsical romp across the Milky Way.

Thad Saves the Galaxy is a humorous galactic adventure with a vibrant cast of human and alien characters, space battles, and outrageous good times.

Download Thad Saves the Galaxy and join the valiant crew of the Gravity Bong today!

First Chapter, First Paragraph

The sun peeks through the blinds of my bedroom windows. I get out of bed and check the clock. Why the hell did I wake up at seven in the morning on a Saturday? Why does morning have to exist? Oh well, bitching does nothing productive. I get up and head to the bathroom. Time to get ready for the day. I shower in my ordinary shower. I dress in my ordinary clothes. I brush my ordinary teeth.

At least I don’t have to g to work today. My job is one of the most loathed occupations in existence. Probably should have tried harder in school so I wouldn’t be stuck in a shitty fast food job. I can’t tell you the place I work for, you know, lawsuit reasons. I will say this, though: I’m not lovin’ it.

lol bitter aisle 1. I think this story is going to go from ordinary to extraordinary. Probably much like Author Dent, the narrator is about to go on an adventure. Probably sans towel though.

What do you think?

First Chapter, First Paragraph – Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore

About

In San Francisco, the souls of the dead are mysteriously disappearing—and you know that can’t be good—in New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore’s delightfully funny sequel to A Dirty Job.

Something really strange is happening in the City by the Bay. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone—or something—is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Death Merchant Charlie Asher is just as flummoxed as everyone else. He’s trapped in the body of a fourteen-inch-tall “meat” waiting for his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, to find him a suitable new body to play host.

To get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall death merchant Minty Fresh; retired policeman turned bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; and Lily, the former Goth girl. Now if only they can get little Sophie to stop babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind…


First Paragraph

“It was a cool, quiet November day in San Francisco and Alphonse Rivera, a lean, dark man of fifty, sat behind the counter of his bookstore flipping through the Great Big Book of Death. The old-fashioned bell over the door rang and Rivera looked up as the Emperor of San Francisco, a great woolly storm cloud of a fellow, tumbled into the store followed by his faithful dogs, Bummer and Lazarus, who ruffed and frisked with urgent intensity, then darted around the store like canine Secret Service agents, clearing the site in case a sly assassin or meaty pizza lurked among the stacks.”


My Thoughts

If you have read any of my reviews or follow my twitter account than you should know of my deep and unabiding love for Christopher Moore’s writing. I am a fan of a good, strong and, acerbic wit and Mr. Moore has it in spades. This book the the next in the series for his Grim Reaper books, the first of which was hilarious and I whole heartedly recommend it. This looks like it will be just as funny and inline with his style and fun.

First Chapter, First Paragraph – The Bastard From Fairyland by Phil Parker

Synopsis

The world’s sea levels have risen and washed civilisation away. Survival is a constant compromise, made worse when the Fae invade; a cruel and sadistic race eager to turn humanity into slaves. Robin Goodfellow is an elite Fae warrior with a long life steeped in blood and his loyalty rewarded by betrayal. Now he lives among humans, growing bitter and lonely, and wants no part in the war. 

But Robin holds the key to victory for the Fae, the man who betrayed him demands his help and he’s brought Robin’s ex-lover along to ensure his cooperation. Trapped in the middle of the conflict and despised by both sides, Robin races across a flooded English landscape to rescue the two children who can help him make a difference. 

What he doesn’t know is that powerful members of the Fae are manipulating him to succumb to his psychotic alter-ego, Puck, who’s ready to cause even more bloodshed.


First Chapter, First Paragraph

There were fairies at the bottom of my garden and they were torturing someone.

Technically they weren’t fae, my people didn’t like to bloody their hands , they preferred to use sadistic bastards like Spriggans. Their seven foot height and ape-like limbs made them ideal fighters, it also made them easy to spot through the spy-hole in my boarded windows. What bothered me was why they’d chosen my garden to have fun with their latest victim, currently screaming a high falsetto. It had to be deliberate provocation.


Wow. All I know is I really don’t want to screw with a Spriggan, whatever that is. I love the writing thus far.

About the Author – Phil Parker

Phil Parker used to be an English and Drama teacher but now lives in a fantasy world with occasional forays into the real one. Teaching can do that to you.
Now he loves writing, eating pizza and visiting Italy (mainly for the pizza).

The Knights’ Protocol is his first self-published work of fiction, a dark fantasy based on Arthurian legend and Celtic mythology with a few faeries for good measure. 
He’s also written three books for the education market and wrote a regular monthly column in a national education magazine for three years. There weren’t any faeries in these though.