This weekend, Comic-Con refused to be stopped by the pandemic and instead chose to hold remote panels. They are free to watch on their Youtube channel if you’re interested! Some of the high-profile presenters included Noelle Stephenson, L. L. Kinney, and yes, V. E. Schwab! She already had a comics background, having written a Shades of Magic prequel, The Steel Prince. As such, it initially seemed like her panel would only be about the final installment in the series. However, there was something else in the last few minutes of the panel!
Yes, it was an announcement of one more collaboration between the fast-growing fantasy author and Titan Comics! In the panel itself, V. E. Schwab discusses her interest in the “cinematic aesthetic” that the visual format would bring to superpowers described in the book series. However, she did not discuss the actual plotline of the announced spin-off to the Villains series. Instead, she later posted it on her Instagram.
Per the post, the comic will be set between Vicious and Vengeful and will star an entirely new protagonist. Her name is Charlie, and she gains the ability to see people’s deaths and futures in reflective surfaces after a near-death experience. This ability apparently works on her as well, since she predicts her death at the hands of Eli, who is the series’ main antagonist. Not content with dying at the hands of the man who views all people with superpowers as monsters that must be exterminated, she leaves for Merit, the city where the books take place, to avert this.
No information on the art team was provided yet, although we do know that the comic will be out next year. Plenty of time to read both of the books, which are about 1000 pages combined (in paperback format)!
Each week Bookstr is going to be highlighting your favorite Bookstagrammers. A Bookstagrammer is someone who shares all of their literary interests, ranging from book reviews and aesthetically pleasing book pictures to outfit pictures featuring their current reads. Anything that evokes bibliophile feels is on their Instagram pages. Make sure to give these Bookstagrammers the love they deserve! This week we are getting to know a Bookstagrammer, blogger, and book lover: Beth, or as you would know her on Instagram, @booksnest.
Beth, a Bookstagrammer from Berkshire in the South of England, joined the Bookstagram community purely for her love of books and as a personal goal for herself.
I loved following other book accounts so I started my own in 2013 as a New Year’s resolution. I took photos I loved and have continued to do so ever since. I wanted to feel part of this community and that is exactly what I have achieved.
She can describe her Bookstagram aesthetic in one word:
Beth adjusts her schedule to her followers’ activity in order to determine what times she should post. She rightfully takes pride in the followers she has.
I always post around 8pm GMT during the week and sometimes in the morning around 10am GMT at the weekends. I either post daily or every other day, I base this on how well my last post did and if I want to give it more time to grow. I get these times by looking at my Instagram insights and seeing when my followers are more online.
When I hit 10k in May of 2019 I felt a real sense of pride and accomplishment and I felt really happy. That was a big day for me and really hit home that my hard work had paid off.
Beth’s Bookstagram page is a beautiful representation of her favorite reads, but what does it mean to her personally, and what does she hope it means to other people?
Bookstagram is living proof of my dedication and motivation to grow and develop a space to create my content. It shows my love of reading and photography, but also somewhere for me to fuel my creativity and that means an awful lot to me!
I want to offer a cosy and happy space for people to come to enjoy both the photos and the books I feature. I also love being able to offer help and advice to other Bookstagrammers.
She also has some advice to offer aspiring Bookstagrammers.
Building up an audience takes time, but as long as you’re doing what you love and learning and developing each day, you will grow. Don’t take it too seriously, have fun with it and keep putting in the effort. With persistence, you will see growth, but it does take time.
Featured image via @booksnest
Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community. Become a Patron!
A truly expert worldbuilder is hard to come by in fiction. Many try their hand, but few rise through the ranks. Of course when we think of worldbuilding, we think of Tolkien’s extensive maps of Middle-earth, of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, of Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea. But they are not the only ones. Among fiction’s contemporary novelists are some of the greatest worldbuilders this particular world has ever produced. They are authors who draw us in to their richly imagined, vibrant, alive new worlds; worlds into which we are privileged to slip through the secret passageway of their pages. Here are five of contemporary fiction’s most exciting worldbuilders.
1. Clark Thomas Carlton
An expert builder of worlds on a micro level, Clark T. Carlton explores the intricate world of insects in his series. The Prophet of the Termite God is the sequel to Prophets of the Ghost Ants, celebrated as “exciting, visionary” and “a tour de force” by Lawrence Bender, producer of Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction, Good Willing Hunting and An Inconvenient Truth.
According to his FantasticFiction profile, Clark was “inspired to begin writing the seriesduring a trip to the Yucatan when he witnessed a battle for a Spanish peanut between two different kinds of ants. That night he dreamed of armies of tiny men on the backs of red and black ants. After doing years of research on insects and human social systems, Clark says that “the plot was revealed to me like a streaming, technicolor prophecy on the sixth night of Burning Man when the effigy goes up in flames.”
Carlton’s latest novel tells the story of Pleckoo, once an outcast, who has risen to Prophet-Commander of the Hulkrish army. But a million warriors and their ghost ants were not enough to defeat his cousin, Anand the Roach Boy, the tamer of night wasps and founder of Bee-Jor. Now Pleckoo is hunted by the army that once revered him. Yet in all his despair, Pleckoo receives prophecies from his termite god, assuring him he will kill Anand to rule the Sand, and establish the One True Religion. Can Anand, the roach boy who worked in the dung heap, rise above the turmoil, survive his assassins, and prevent the massacre of millions?
Writing is not the only way in which Clark T. Carlton explores the worlds he creates—he is also a painter, describing his work as “Grandma Moses on acid”. You can check out his art here.
The Prophet of the Termite God is published by Harper Voyager Impulse; Paperback; June 2019; $7.99 & e-book; $2.99).).
2. V.E. Schwab
V.E. Schwab is a number one New York Times bestselling author. She has written over a dozen novels, but is best known for her Shades of Magic series, a masterful feat of worldbuilding.
Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured by EW and The New York Times, been translated into more than a dozen languages, and been optioned a number of times for television and film. The Independent praises her “enviable, almost Gaimanesque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones.”
Her Shades of Magic series is set in a number of parallel versions of London—Red London, Grey London, White London and Black London, each different, dangerous and thrilling in their own right. The series follows Kell, one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between the Londons.
Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of the All Souls trilogy says the series bears “all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy.”
“I write primarily about outsiders and in order to understand outsiders you need to understand insiders and in order to understand insiders you have to understand the world that they are inside, and so worldbuilding and setting is actually the very first thing I come up with… Understanding the rules of the world is the very, very first thing that I do. Then, in addition to figuring out the construct and the rules, I start figuring out the culture. And a lot of authors have very different ways that they do that. Some of them focus on the food, and some of them focus on the agriculture, and the geography. I focus mainly on language, and so I will include everything from fictionalized languages like in the Shades of Magic series to folkloric elements and idiomatic expressions.”
George R.R. Martin: A man who needs little introduction given the current climate (and by climate I mean the inescapable hurricane of GoT-fuelled rage that greets us every time we go online). But while the speed at which he is completing (or, indeed, not completing) the Song of Ice and Fire series has his name gracing the pages of many fans’ bad books, it cannot be denied that, whether we like it or not, we have a lot to thank him for. Martin is a master of worldbuilding, not only in the fantasy genre for which he is best known, but sci-fi too with countless Hugo and Nebula Awards under his belt for works such as Nightflyers.
Hailed by Lev Grossman (who, incidentally, appears on this list and therefore is clearly an expert on the subject) as the “American Tolkien,” Martin is one of the most popular and influential writers alive today, due in no small part to the vibrant worlds in which his stories are set. Every aspect of Westeros, based on ancient Britain and Europe, is richly imagined from its landscape and people to its climate and history.
He accomplishes this through close attention to detail. For instance, consider his depictions of the Great Houses. You may have read fantasy books where nations are defined as “the people who build ships,” or the “folks who smoke the good tobacco.” Not so in Game of Thrones. The world of the Starks is very different from the world of the Lannisters, which is very different again from the worlds of the Targaryens or the Greyjoys. Local attitudes, ways of speech, tools of war, sexual mores—they all change radically from country to country.
4. Lev Grossman
Upon the publication of Grossman’s most famous novel The Magicians, The A.V. Club called it “the best urban fantasy in years.” Writing for The New York Times, Grossman stated, “I wrote fiction for seventeen years before I found out I was a fantasy novelist. Up till then I always thought I was going to write literary fiction, like Jonathan Franzen or Zadie Smith or Jhumpa Lahiri. But I thought wrong… Fantasy is sometimes dismissed as childish, or escapist, but I take what I am doing very, very seriously.” The book follows Quentin Coldwater, “A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. Unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory…”
While The Magicians is set in a magic school of sorts, it is not to be confused with Harry Potter. George R.R. Martin notes “The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea. . . . Hogwarts was never like this.” No, this is quite a different world.
As soon as you mention that maybe, say, there’s elves and dwarves in a world, people know a lot about that world. They know that there are deep, sylvan forests with skinny, tall good looking people in them. And there are mountains, with deep mines, with sturdy, bearded dwarves chipping away at them. Those worlds are already in our heads. They’re completely built. You can do new things with them, but you’re renovating. You’re not building from scratch. There is a pre-existing structure there.
So when I approached Fillory, in a way what I was doing was, really kind of updating Narnia. [C.S.] Lewis was a great world builder, but he was incredibly sloppy by modern standards. Narnia was not up to code. [Laughs.] He’d just slap things in there. If he wanted fauns, he’d put in fauns from Greek mythology, and then here comes Santa Claus! We’ve got Santa Claus in there too. Most people have feudal technology in Narnia. They’re fighting with swords. But Mrs. Beaver has a sewing machine, which is a nice piece of Victorian era industrial technology. It doesn’t all add up and fit together.
5. Tomi Adeyemi
Nigerian-American author Adeyemi blew minds with her West African-inspired fantasy debut, Children of Blood and Bone, which became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. The first in a planned trilogy follows Zélie Adebola tasked with restoring magic to the fictional West African kingdom of Orïsha, magic that was wiped out by King Saran along with all those who possessed it. Together with her brother and a rogue princess, they embark on a terrifying quest that New York Times-bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton assures will inspire you—“You will be changed. You will be ready to rise up and reclaim your own magic!”
Refinery29 called Children of Blood and Bone “a masterpiece in world-building and story, [and] also an exploration of extremely pertinent issues,” as the book is notably an allegory for many real world issues, while still being undeniably a fantasy world of its own. Orïsha has its own clans, its own sports, languages and richly wrought landscape, and no doubt Adeyemi’s expert worldbuilding is why Ebony is calling Children of Blood and Bone “the next big thing in literature and film.”
Spring is here, the time of new life, so it’s time to spring-clean your must-watch and must-read lists before summertime! We’ve got five enchanting book series for you to read, each of which you can expect to see coming to your screens. Some will show up sooner than others (like A Discovery of Witches which premieres April 7 9/8c on AMC), but as for those adaptations without official release dates—we’re sure you’ll have fun looking forward to them!
So, without further ado, here are five magical series that are certain to enchant you.
1. Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Series / AMC’s A Discovery of Witches
Based on Deborah Harkness‘ bestselling All Soulstrilogy, AMC’s upcoming TV adaptation A Discovery of Witches follows Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch who accidentally calls up a bewitched manuscript. This mistake will propel her into a world of dark magic and forbidden love… thereby introducing her to the intriguing, mysterious geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont.
Upcoming film Chaos Walking is based on Patrick Ness‘ The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first in his bestselling YA Chaos Walking trilogy. The story is set in a dystopian future where children are raised to believe that a virus killed off all the women in their colony, which caused a mass unleashing of psychological “noise,” the ability to hear the minds of people and animals. When Todd happens upon an unknown person who is two remarkable things—silent and a girl—he realizes that the stories about the virus may not be what they seem.
The film adaptation, on its way in 2020, stars Daisy Ridley, Tom Holland, and Nick Jonas.
3. Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl Series
The Artemis Fowl franchise currently boasts no less than eight instalments in addition to a collection of graphic novels and a spin-off, The FowlTwins, in the works. The beloved and long-running series follows the adventures of a boy genius who, in the first novel, kidnaps a fairy in the hopes of extorting ransom from the Fairy People and restoring the Fowl family fortune. It gets weirder—and even more awesome—from there.
A film adaptation was first announced all the way back in 2001, but it wasn’t until Disney took over the project in 2016 that things really got moving. Starring newcomer Ferdia Shaw in the titular role, Artemis Fowlcomes out August 9th, and is sure to be worth the long wait!
4. Victoria Aveyard’s The Red Queen Series
Victoria Aveyard is only twenty-eight-years-old, but she’s the bestselling author of Red Queen, the first instalment of an amazing (and amazingly popular) fantasy series. Mare Barrow lives in a profoundly stratified society, a seemingly irreparable schism between the upper-class people with silver blood and the poorer people who have red blood. The catch? Silver blooded people have magical abilities. Poor people have nothing. That is, except for Mare, who has red blood and a superhuman power…
Universal Studios purchased the rights, and The Hunger Games‘ Elizabeth Banks has signed on to direct the movie adaptation!
5. V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic Series
A Darker Shade of Magic, the first in V.E. Schwab‘s Shades of Magicseries follows Kell as he travels through four different Londons, each of them distinct in their levels of magic. Kell is from Red London, an extremely magical city that may not be quite as safe as its residents seem to believe. When Kell, the only remaining magician who can move between these worlds, meets a human woman from our own ordinary London, they’ll have some universe-saving to do. NPR says the hit series is compulsively readable, “with the ease of a young-adult novel, with short paragraphs, quick-moving prose, and plenty of action;” at the same time, “it’s grimmer even than the current bout of post-Hunger Games YA.” We can’t wait to get our hearts crushed!
We don’t yet have a cast or official dates for the Sony Pictures adaptation, which will be produced by Gerard Butler. But hey, that just means you’ll have more time to get reading!