Beautiful Redemption: International Giveaway

OK, so I tried doing an SA blogger giveaway of my review copy of  Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and sadly it seems that none of my fellow SA bloggers want it either 🙂 Or they already have copies. So I’m making it an international giveaway for both bloggers and non-bloggers. I’ll also extend the cut-off date to Monday 15 April. Here are the details (again).


Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is the fourth and final book in the Caster Chronicles, also know as the Beautiful Creatures series. The series began with Beautiful Creatures.

The blurb (may contain SPOILERS for the previous novels)

Ethan Wate always dreamed of leaving the stifling Southern town Gatlin.

But he never dreamt that finding love with Lena Duchannes would drive him away. Lena is a Caster girl whose supernatural powers unveiled a secretive and cursed side of Gatlin, so powerful it forced him to make a terrible sacrifice.

Now Ethan must find a way to return to Lena – and Gatlin – as she vows to do whatever it takes to get him back. Even if it means trusting old enemies or risking their loved ones’ lives.

Can Ethan and Lena rewrite their fate and their spellbinding love story in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series?

I received Beautiful Redemption from Penguin SA. It was published on 23 October 2012.

To win my copy, follow me via WordPress, email or Twitter and leave a comment below.

Terms and Conditions:
 – This giveaway is open internationally.
 – The giveaway will run for one week, from now until midnight GMT+2 on 15 April 2013. 
 – I will choose the winner using on 16 April, and will post the book once I have the winner’s address.

Good luck!

Winners! – Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

And the winners of the two copies of Revenge by Yoko Ogawa are:

Bontle (international) and Widdershins (USA/Canada)!

Congratulations guys, your prizes will be on their way to you soon 🙂 Thanks again to Picador for sponsoring a giveaway, and to everyone who entered. I hope you’ll get another chance to read Ogawa’s work.

Jeyn Roberts on her debut Dark Inside and a giveaway!

Jeyn (pronounced “jen”) Roberts grew up in Saskatoon, Canada. She started writing at an early age, but when she was twenty-one she moved to Vancouver with dreams of being a rock star. For the next several years she played in an alternative/punk band called Missing Mile. A former singer, songwriter, actress, bicycle courier, tree planter—Jeyn graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Writing and Psychology. Shortly afterwards, she moved to England, where she received her MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. An avid traveller, she’s been around the world, including teaching in a high school in South Korea and writing novels in her flat in Vancouver. She’s taken some time out to chat with me about her latest addition to the YA dystopian genre, Dark Inside.

Welcome Jeyn, and thanks for joining me on Violin in a Void.
You’re a new writer on the YA scene, but there already seems to be a lot of excitement about Dark Inside. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the novel?

Sure. What can I say about myself? I love to travel and explore. I’ve been lucky enough to live in three different countries in the past decade. I’m hoping that number grows because I love learning about new cultures. I hate to sit still. I love being outdoors. And I like to do animal rescue work when I have free time.

Dark Inside is my first novel. One day everything is normal. Then the earthquakes begin and a terrible evil is unleashed. Overnight, the darkness inside is released and people are turned into crazy killers. No one is safe. Mason, Aries, Clementine and Michael are four teenagers who are just trying to stay alive. This is their story.

Macmillan is marketing Dark Inside as dystopian fiction, although I would call it apocalyptic, as it’s not about a dystopian society but rather about the destruction of society altogether. What drew you to this genre, this kind of story?

I think it’s very terrifying. For me, isolation is quite possibly the scariest thing around. It’s even scarier when there’s nowhere to run and hide.  What happens when the people who are supposed to keep you safe are gone? It’s also the sociological aspect. How will people behave when there are no more rules? I find it all fascinating.

The catastrophic earthquakes and psychological changes of Dark Inside leave behind survivors of all ages. However, the story is told from the perspectives of teenagers and almost all the major characters are adolescents as well. What made you choose their perspectives, their experiences over other possibilities?

I really just like writing for teens. There are so many great YA books on the market right now. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of it? One of my teachers once summed it up perfectly. She said there will always be someone inside of us, pushing towards the surface, with a story that needs to be told. I guess all my inner voices are teenagers.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing style and the structure of the novel? For example, the narrative is composed of five voices – Mason, Aries, Clementine, Michael, and a mystery voice whose chapters are labelled ‘Nothing’.

I don’t particularly think I have a certain writing style. I tend to write in all styles. Currently I’m working on a first person/present novel.  But when I was in the early stages of Dark Inside, this is what felt right. ‘Nothing’ was the first character I created. But then Mason and Aries came along. Clementine and Michael followed. I liked being able to have them in all parts of North America because I felt their journey would be the most important part.

With its mass destruction coupled with tragic but hopeful human stories, I think Dark Inside would be an incredible experience on the big screen, especially for YA fans. Would you be interested in a film adaptation?

I sure would! Currently I have a film agent (the same agent who sold The Hunger Games).  So hopefully there will be a movie in the future.

The novel leaves a lot of unanswered questions about the how, why and what next of this apocalyptic scenario, and the ending feels like another beginning. Does this mean that there’s a sequel in the works? If so, is there anything you can tell us about it?
There is indeed a sequel in the works.  It will be out next spring. I’m currently working on the final edits. Personally I think it’s even better than the first book. You’ll get to learn a lot more about each character, and quite possibly learn the identity of Nothing. There are some great new characters including a university student named Raj and a failed leader called Ryder. But that’s all I’m giving away. Don’t want to spoil it!

Will the next novel pick up where Dark Inside ends? Should readers get ready to witness the rise of a new, dystopian society created by the humans who’ve been transformed by the darkness within them?

The next book picks up three months after Dark Inside ends. It’s close to Christmas but no one is feeling very festive. Everyone is trying to adjust to this brand new world. The Baggers are starting to rebuild society and forcing survivors to work for them. They are rounding up people into camps and killing everyone who refuses to obey. Relationships are being formed and broken. There’s even a bit of romance.

Thanks so much for the interview Jeyn!

Jeyn’s been on a blog tour since 22 September, and if you want to know more, take a look at the tour schedule, where you’ll find all the relevant dates and the urls of some great YA blogs.

You can also find Jeyn online:


Dark Inside is out now. US readers will have to wait until 1 November before they can buy it in print, but the Kindle edition is already selling on Amazon. If you’re interested, you can read my review of the novel here.

And now for the bit you’ve all been waiting so patiently for – the giveaway! Macmillan Children’s Books is giving away two copies of Dark Inside to Violin in a Void readers.

To enter:
1. Follow Violin in a Void via WordPress, email (sign-up in the sidebar) or Twitter (@Violin_InA_Void).
2. Leave a comment on this post.

Terms and Conditions
This competition is open internationally.
Entries close on Sunday 9 October at 12pm GMT+2. The winners will be announced on Monday, after being selected using
Following by any means other than the three listed above doesn’t count, and I check all entries.
The prizes are sponsored by Macmillan Children’s Books, and as a result I will be passing the winners’ postal addresses on to my contact there so that they may send you your books. Distribution of the prizes is therefore the responsibility of the publisher.

Good luck everyone!

Giveaway! Embassytown by China Miéville

Embassytown is an amazing book. I don’t expect you to be convinced by that one sentence alone, so please read my review so you know what I mean. Because I think Embassytown is so awesome, I’ve decided to give a copy away. And because this is a new book and the paperback isn’t available yet, I’ll be springing for the hardcover edition. 

Yes, that’s right, one hardcover edition of Embassytown by China Miéville is up for grabs.

To enter:
1. Follow Violin in a Void via WordPress, email (sign-up in the sidebar) or Twitter (@Violin_InA_Void).
2. Leave a comment on this post.

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open internationally, to any region as long as Book Depository delivers there. The giveaway will last for 1 week, and entries close on Thursday 15 September at 12pm GMT+3. I will announce the winner shortly thereafter, after being selected using
Following by any means other than the three listed above doesn’t count, and I check all entries.
I use Book Depository to acquire and deliver prizes, and the availability of the hardcover edition depends entirely on them. Should it be out of stock when this giveaway ends, I will pursue other means of getting one, depending on your region, but if that doesn’t work out I will have to pre-order the paperback for you instead. But let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Good luck everyone!

Review & Giveaway of The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar

Title: The Bookman
Author: Lavie Tidhar
Published: 2010
Genre:  steampunk, metafiction, science fiction
Source: electronic ARC from publisher
My Rating: 8/10

“The Bookman’s only a myth,” Orphan said. Beside him, Gilgamesh slowly smiled.
“A myth,” he said. “Oh Orphan. This is the time of myths. They are woven into the present like silk strands from the past, like wire mesh from the future, creating an interlacing pattern a grand design, a repeating motif. Don’t dismiss myth boy. And never, ever, dismiss the Bookman.”

Gilgamesh is right – the Bookman is not to be dismissed, especially when he starts putting bombs in books for an unknown scheme.  And Orphan is a poet, so he of all people should understand the power of myth. Then Orphan’s fiancé Lucy is killed when the Bookman uses ones of his bombs to sabotage the launch of a Martian space probe, and Orphan goes looking for the mysterious terrorist after being told that the he can bring Lucy back to life. Somehow, the Bookman is tied up with Les Lézards, the reptilian royals who sit on the throne. Yes, the British Royal Family are giant lizards. In this alternate vision of Victorian England, the lizards supposedly evolved separately on a remote island (called Caliban’s Island), and now they rule the Everlasting Empire. But the reptilian royals don’t rule without dissent; rebel factions quietly but vehemently oppose the monarchy, and the novel sees London the verge of revolution. Orphan’s journey plunges him into the rebel underground, sends him on an ocean voyage and finds him on a pirate ship as he tries to reach the half-mythical Caliban’s Island. As he travels, he learns disturbing truths about who and what the Bookman is, as well as unravelling the mystery of who is own parents are and why he’s an orphan.

I worry that the bit about the lizards might make this sound like a silly book, but please believe me when I say it’s not. Because it’s awesome. The Bookman has a rich, metafictional steampunk world that I fell in love with in the opening chapter when Orphan reads Gilgamesh a news article about a notorious terrorist group called The Persons of Porlock who dressed up in clown outfits and shouted fragments from Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense at Oscar Wilde who had been “engaged, in his own words, in a work of composition of the highest order”. “[A] confused Wilde said the title of his new play was to be called The Importance of Being Something, but for the life of him he could no longer recall what that something was.”

The book is laced with literary references like this, which is something I always enjoy, but since I am no expert on the classics, I know that every literary reference that amuses me, I know there is at least one that I don’t get. Which is fine. It just means that a re-read a couple of years down the line will be that much richer, with all those lovely “Oh! Now I get it!” moments.

Included in the cast of characters are literary figures such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, Irene Adler and Moriarty; authors Jules Verne and Karl Marx; and Tom Thumb. A hundred others pop up in minor roles or brief mentions, such as when Orphan is described as having “once met, by chance, the ancient Wordsworth, as the great man was leaving a coffee house in Soho”.

Not surprisingly then, The Bookman reminds me of Jasper Fforde’s Bookworld series, featuring literary detective Thursday Next. It’s also alternative history, set in a world where literature, especially classic literature, is much more pervasive than usual, forming the basis of society’s culture and entertainment. The Bookworld series however, has a very oddball, mostly humorous world and plot. It’s light-hearted, with serious moments. The Bookman on the other hand is darker, edgier, more intense with a strong sense of the epic lurking below the surface. Which for me means it’s simply a whole lot cooler.

One thing in particular that I like is that there’s a touch of cyberpunk to this steampunk tale (actually I’m not that familiar with steampunk; forgive me if cyberpunk themes are common). Among the competing political forces of London are the automatons – the steampunk version of cyborgs – who are fighting for the right to be treated like humans. Some of them are clearly machines, while others are so perfectly crafted to look human that it’s hard to see the difference. Identities are further complicated by the fact that there are machines who don’t even know they’re machines, living under the belief that they’re flesh-and-blood humans. As in the cyberpunk genre, the novel poses question of what it is to be human, and the disturbing notion that humans and machines are not so very different as people like to think. “What do the automatons want?”, Orphan asks one of them.

The artificial eyes blinked at Orphan. “The right to exist. Freedom.”
“But you are machines,” Orphan said, and the Turk’s head turned in a slow odd shake, left to right to left.
“So are you,” it said.

Later Orphan encounters another automaton, and his reaction is to ask who owns or controls him. The automaton laughs at him and protests “Can I not be of my own party? […]Am I a machine, to be used and owned?” Orphan begins to understand their plight when he starts to feel more and more like a machine himself, realising how much he is being manipulated, how he has become the tool of people more powerful than himself.

As a character, Orphan is an archetypal orphan of myth and folklore with a mysterious but great destiny. He is also an incarnation of Orpheus, the poet and musician of Greek mythology. When Orpheus lost his love Eurydice to a snake bite, he was so overcome with grief that he descended to the underworld to plead with Hades and Persephone for her return. Like Orpheus, Orphan is a poet who lost the woman he loves, and he goes on a quest and bargains with a powerful otherworldly being to bring her back to life. In the Greek myth, Orpheus is told that he may lead Eurydice out of Hell, but he must not look back at her or he will lose her again, this time forever. In The Bookman, Orphan is often compared to a pawn on a chessboard, and “[p]awns can never go back. They can only move forward. To capture or be captured.”

Orphan may lack the power to control his fate, but that didn’t make his adventure any less exciting or the novel’s world any less fascinating. Admittedly, you might feel that certain aspects of the world could be been better explored and that the book leaves too many loose ends dangling. Quite a few reviewers have complained that there are too many ideas in this book, making it chaotic and unsatisfying. While I’ve had this problem in other novels, I didn’t find it here at all. Instead I found the flood of ideas captivating and loads of fun. And as far as exploring the world further and resolving plotlines goes, The Bookman is the first in a trilogy called The Bookman Histories. The second book, Camera Obscura was released this year, and the final instalment, The Great Game is due in 2012.

Since it’s been quite a while since I’ve had a giveaway and because I liked this book so damn much, I decided that I should do the decent thing and buy someone a copy of The Bookman.

To enter, please do the following:

  1. Follow my blog via email (subscription box in sidebar), WordPress, or Twitter @Violin_InA_Void.
  2. Leave a comment on this review.

Following via RSS feed and any method other than those listed above will not count. I will be using Book Depository to send the prize, so this giveaway is international, open to any area where Book Depository delivers. Entries will stay open until Tuesday 2 August, and I will announce the winner on Wednesday 3 August. Good luck!

Greg X. Graves giveaway winner

The winner of Bears, Recycling and Confusing Time Paradoxes by Greg X. Graves is:

Mcchots from South Africa!*

Congratulations mcchots, you won’t ever need to worry about what to do if zombies form a union and protest against the rising cost of burial plots :)

1889 Labs will be announcing the rest of the winners for this week’s giveaway later today, and the grand prize winners will be announced at the end of the month, so keep an eye on their site to see if you’ve won, and to find more opportunities to enter!

*The winner was chosen using and has been notified.