Saturday, August 12, 2017

Anna Stephens

Anna Stephens is a UK-based author of gritty epic fantasy debut, Godblind, the first in a grimdark trilogy about a religious, political and ideological war, the people caught up in its midst, and just what, exactly, they are willing to do to win – is the cost ever too high when the fate of an entire people is at stake? She lives with her husband, Mark, an enormous book and movie and music collection, and – allegedly – too many toys.

Recently I asked Stephens about what she was reading. Her reply:
I’m slightly ashamed to admit that, other than some of her poetry when I was at school, I’d never read any Margaret Atwood, so I remedied that at the start of 2017 with The Handmaid’s Tale – before I knew it was being made into a TV series. And oh my, wasn’t I just blown away? I think what freaked me out the most about that book was how utterly plausible it is, how a version of it is happening already with so-called Islamic State – the suppression of women, of knowledge, of education, of freedom – and the reduction of women to their supposed primary function – mothers. Caregivers. Slaves. A daring, disturbing and truly frightening book, it has immediately taken its place among the pantheon of my favourite dystopian novels, which also includes Brave New World and 1984.

After that, because I thought it would be lighter (boy, was I wrong) I read Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. The school for teenage assassins may have been done before, but I’m not sure it’s ever been done quite like this – firmly fantasy and disturbingly dark, and dripping with black humour and teenage hormones, this book deserves all the accolades it has received to date, and more. The twists and turns and betrayals come straight out of nowhere and I was left speechless by some of them.

Finally, I’ve just picked up The Dragon’s Legacy by Deborah A Wolf. As one of the triumvirate of evil women – as we’ve dubbed ourselves – whose debut novels have been published this year (the other being Anna Smith-Spark and Court of Broken Knives) I’m both checking out the competition and supporting a woman who writes grimdark and is a debut novelist. I’m only just at the beginning of the book, but we’ve already got an older warrior – bonus – who’s a woman – double bonus – and the writing style is liquid and beautiful. I’m expecting to like this one a lot. Plus, dragons!
Visit Anna Stephens's website.

My Book, The Movie: Godblind.

--Marshal Zeringue