Friday, 3 August 2012

Blog Tour: The Spiral Horizon by Benjamin J. Myers

Title: Twisted Symmetry
Author: Benjamin J. Myers
Author Info: Website
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: January 8th 2009

Tell Me About It
Chess Tuesday and her brothers, Box and Splinter, are street rats; outcast children who live on the fringes of society. They know nothing of their past but now they are being tracked by two powerful, rival sides - the Twisted Symmetry and the Committee. They don't know why - but it soon becomes clear that they possess a terrifying legacy for their future.

My Thoughts
I had not heard of this series prior to being contacted by the publisher about the newest addition, book 6, The Spiral Horizon, so as part of the blog tour I have a review of the first book, Twisted Symmetry, with a guest post and giveaway.
When I got the book in the post and I got a better look at the cover I loved it. The cover is black and white, with just the book title in colour and I think what makes it stand out is how different it is from other books out at the moment. I loved the drawings of the Tuesdays on the front and having the visual made it easier to picture them in my head.

We are quickly introduced to Chess and her brothers Box and Splinter.  They were abandoned outside an orphanage, taking their names for what they had with them. Chess for a chess piece, Splinter for a splinter in his finger, and Box for carrying a wooden box.  This small family are street rats and they live by the wharf in a tunnel.  The Tuesdays are constantly looking out for Hunters, who catch street rats and once captured they are never seen or head of again, and now they are after Chess.  Now Chess, Box and Splinter have been unwillingly drawn into this war and it's just a matter of survival of the strongest.

The title of the book, Twisted Symmetry, takes it's name from the enemy that has Spindle Rippers, Traders, and many more unimaginable things, that hunts down and steals children, primarily off the street, and uses them for their own devices. Just the description alone of some of the things used by Twisted Symmetry is enough to make me glad that this world Benjamin has created is not real and that I can safely close the book at night.  The Committee are working against Twisted Symmetry to keep the children safe. They may not have Spindle Rippers or Hunters, but they seriously know how to kick some butt.

From the moment I began Twisted Symmetry I was hooked and I found it really hard to put down. The steady build up to explain what is going on and who is who, then a great fast paced action near the end of the book that had me on the edge of my seat. The explanations given about what was happening and who was who, were just enough to keep you wanting to know more, but not too overwhelming. The worlds Benjamin has created are filled with so much creativity and imagination, even down to the smallest detail of a small weapon, you can picture everything vividly in your mind.

I instantly love the Tuesday's, they may not be a happy go lucky family, but they know their own reality and don't expect too much of the world, which made me sad to see them live the way they do. But being street rats doesn't stop them and they fight tooth and nail for what they believe in. I loved how they fought between each other, sly digs and kicks and always having to have the last hit back. This reminded me so much of myself and my siblings growing up, and even now with my brother.

I was so emotionally invested in these characters I did not want their story to end and as I got closer to the end I found myself reading just a little bit slower and making every page last. Twisted Symmetry is a great start to a series that I can't wait to dive into and follow the Tuesday's on their next adventure.

The sixth book in this series has just been released, and as part of the blog tour I have a guest post by Benjamin and a giveaway.

Can three children save the Universe against impossible odds?

Children everywhere are disappearing. Orphan, Chess Tuesday, and her brothers, Box and Splinter, don't want to be next. But they are being tracked by two powerful enemy organizations, each intent on destroying the other.

The time when the twelve suns become one is drawing closer and it could mark the end of all things. Only Chess Tuesday can prevent destruction…or make it happen.

She has a choice to make, but there are powerful forces trying to influence her decision and Chess isn't sure who the enemy is any more. Is it Splinter, who betrayed her, and who is now falling for ever through time and space?

What happens when nobody’s watching?
A guest post by Benjamin J. Myers

I’m staying in a hotel in Bristol, in a room on the 14th floor. I’m looking down on the gulls that are wheeling over the streets and I’ve got a great view of the city, a view of all the bits that we aren’t meant to see: lichen-grimed skylights, a spider’s web of narrow alleyways, decaying rafters, rusty fire escapes and ancient balconies camouflaged by vegetation. All of this, tucked in the spaces between a high-rise world of steel and glass.

I’m fascinated by the hidden views of towns and cities, the bits we can see from canals, when we’re riding through in trains, when we get lost. This great urban decay is too good for no one to inhabit and it’s perfect for those who don’t want to be seen.

Our technology is astonishing and it develops swift as a virus. It’s the technology, the science, that drives the world of The Bad Tuesdays, but what about everything that went before? All those spirits, those heroes and creatures from our myths and folklore, from those depths of our culture that aren’t soldered to mother boards? They can’t just have packed up and vanished. So they must be out there still, watching. Waiting.

I wanted to write about a world where extraordinary technology existed alongside the spirits and powers that pre-date our cities: a world where that ancient dimension was ready to break out into the modern at any time. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that our world was surrounded by endless conflict between angels and demons. When this warfare broke through we were confronted with disaster in our world and had to live with the consequences. Just because most people now choose not to see the world like this doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening still : how perfect it must be for the hidden powers to remain hidden – until it’s too late.

There’s plenty of weird science in The Bad Tuesdays, and there’s plenty of myth too. But the myth is well hidden, as the battle-worn heroes of that spirit world are bound to be. And what better place to be hidden than within our huge cities with their urban wastelands?

Some of the characters from our ancient cultures are easier to spot than others. Ethel’s cats, Argus and Sekhmet appear in the first book in the series, Twisted Symmetry. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Greek and Egyptian mythology will guess who they must actually be. But by the time we get to Anna’s sword masters, Kinuq in The Nonsuch King and Kusanagi in A Crystal Horseman, it might not be so obvious. But there’s a reason why Kinuq would have preferred to work with polar bears than monkeys. He didn’t say that just because I had a moment of madness: it’s what he would have preferred. Take a look at where he comes from.

It’s not just the characters that I’ve drawn upon: there’s a good deal of symbolism too. The number twelve recurs in The Bad Tuesdays in various configurations: twelve Crystal Priests, twelve Blood Sentinels, twelve suns. Twelve appears in various, significant ways in our world too. This isn’t a random link between the books and our world. I wanted the stories to be set in a universe (or universes) where reality was inextricably meshed with the fantastic. So, just as I relied upon the more extraordinary regions of modern physics and bio-engineering to provide me with a reality that was nevertheless fabulous, I was able to draw upon our myth and symbolism to provide a more ancient dimension which was nevertheless part of our reality.

Which brings me back to cities. For all of this hidden action to be teeming, it has to happen in places which people see all the time, but they don’t actually look at: derelict factories; perpetually closed tourist information centres; boarded-up warehouses; smashed tower blocks. It’s all out there. In The Bad Tuesdays, events of multiversal significance occur in the most unlikely places, involving powers who prefer to remain hidden, until they strike. It’s as well to remember Ethel’s words of caution: Trust no one.

BENJAMIN J. MYERS was born in the Potteries in 1967. After studying Philosophy and Psychology at Leeds University, Myers attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He saw active service as a Troop Commander in the First Gulf War and is a qualified battlefield survival instructor.
In 1993, he attained his Diploma in Law from the University of London and subsequently has been a barrister in a busy practice in Manchester, specialising in serious crime, often representing vulnerable defendants, in particular juveniles. He also lectures other legal professions on mentally disordered offenders and human rights.
Married with three children, Benjamin Myers lives in North Cheshire.

Below is a rafflecopter form to enter for a chance to win The Spiral Horizon. 
 Orion Books is kindly allowing me to hold this giveaway so only UK address please. 
 Giveaway will run for TWO WEEKS and winners will have 48 hours to respond.
Please ensure you leave an email address that your regularly check.
If you have not read this series then you can choose the first book as your prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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