Category Archives: New books

His Dark Materials Wallpaper

The Secret Commonwealth, The Book of Dust volume 2

Hello Wottareaders, great news for those who all those who are fond of Phillip Pullman’s work. The Secret Commonwealth, the long-awaited second volume of The Book of Dust trilogy, is coming out soon! Let’s know more about Philip Pullman’s new book, this upcoming novel will be published soon.

 What is The Book of Dust?

The Book of Dust trilogy is an expansion of the most acclaimed fantasy series by Phillip Pullman: His Dark Materials. The first novel of The Book of Dust trilogy, La Belle Sauvage, is set twelve years before the first book of His Dark Materials.

You might have noticed that I haven’t said that The Book of Dust trilogy is a prequel despite the fact that as previously said is connected to His Dark Materials trilogy. The Book of Dust first novel, La Belle Sauvage, being set years before the original series. There is a reason for that, this series is actually not a prequel, as Phillip Pullman himself stated:

“In fact, The Book of Dust is… an ‘equel’. It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognise, and characters they’ve met before.”

An equel then, as the author says. As you see The Book of Dust saga takes place before, meanwhile and after His Dark Materials events, quite an interesting approach.

What is The Secret Commonwealth about

Like the original trilogy, the story of The Book of Dust centers on Lyra Belacqua (also known as Lyra Silvertongue). While in the first novel, La Belle Sauvage, Lyra is a baby who will be protected by Alice and her dæmon,  in the second volume Lyra is already 20 years old.

In The Secret Commonwealth Lyra will travel with her daemon Pantalaimon and other companions across Europe and Asia,  searching for a city haunted by dæmons. As you see, the second volume takes of The Book of Dust trilogy takes place after the events in His Dark Materials. This is why before reading this second book you might want to read Lyra’s Oxford. This is a short novel telling the story of Lyra Belacqua being 15 years old, that is, two years after the end of the original trilogy and at the same chronologically preceding the events occurring in The Secret Common Wealth.

The Secret Commonwealth release date

If you are wondering when The Book of Dust volume 2 will be released here you have the answer, The Secret Commonwealth will be published on 3 October 2019.

About the author Philipp Pullman

Philipp Pullman is an English writer, his most notorious work is his fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. Philipp Pullman is considered by The Times The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. Maybe know His Dark Materials saga as The Golden Compass,  the title under which this series was adapted as a film.

This book series, as the original series, are great to introduce kids into books! For more book suggestions for kids just check these books for kids.

Take a look at His Dark Materials reading order.

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Skyward wallpaper

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Hello Wottareaders!  today I’m introducing Brandon Sanderson’s latest novel: Skyward. The American sci-fi and fantasy writer introduces us to a new world full of fantasy and spaceships. Let’s know more about Skyward by Brandon Sanderson.

Skyward is a young–adult science fiction novel, spiced up with fantasy. This is the first novel of a series, which was released in October 2018, this will be followed by Starsight, which is expected to be published in November 2019. After this, two more books will come, making this saga a tetralogy, there are no release dates for these novels yet. Wanna hear a funny thing? Sanderson wrote this tale in only three months, which is really impressive!


Skyward book cover

Skyward book cover

What is Skyward about?

This story is set in a distant future, humans no longer live on Earth but in the world called Detritus where they try to survive. What is left of the human race is stuck on a lost planet, being continually attacked by aliens known as Krellers. The main character is a  young girl, Spensa, who lost his father fighting against the enemy.  The girl dreams to be a pilot like his father, she wants to fight and prove she is worthy to fight like any other. In order to fulfill her dream, she will have to join the flying academy, her first challenge in order to claim the stars.

Is this series connected with Cosmere?

Most of the popular stories written by Brandon Sanderson are set in the Cosmere universe, this is the case for Mistborn (a must read trilogy about which you can get more info here), Elantris or The Wax and Wayne Series.  The author had the magnificent idea of setting most of his stories in the same universe, Cosmere, therefore making all those tales have the same fundamentals of magic and cosmology even though if the stories are separate. Skyward nonetheless is a non cosmere story,  set in a different universe, the same as the short story that preceded this book: Defending Elysium.

Funnily, this novel was originally announced as a Cosmere story, but at some point, Brandon Sanderson changed his mind. As Branderson himself stated on an interview this was due to two main reasons.  First, while in the Skyward universe it is possible to time travel this is not possible in his created universe. And second, this novel is related to the history of the Earth, while Cosmere is a totally distinct and separated universe.

Defending Elysium is a short story Brandon Sanderson wrote in 2008 which can be read on his website for free. But careful, you shouldn’t read 

What will you like about Skyward?

This is a story surrounded by a lot of action, fun and spaceship battles. Sanderson got inspired by all those stories about a boy and his dragon companion, he always wanted to write something like that, about that kind of particular relationship:

 “I love this archetype of story, and I’ve always wanted to do one, but I held off until I could find a new direction in which to approach it. Eventually, it drifted away from “a boy and his dragon” towards “a girl and her spaceship.”

As it happens with the Cosmere universe, Skyward’s worldbuilding is rich and compelling making you want to know more. His usual rules for magic and cosmology are somehow present, but instead of wizardry, you will face a world full of high technology.

This novel is easy to read, full of characters you will love and plot twists that will leave you with your mouth open. Be careful, maybe you will cry a little too.

Girls rarely have a protagonist role in this kind of books. But in Skyward we have girls and boys flying spaceships since they are very young. It is an encouraging story, that will surely motivate women in order to pursue their dreams. If you are looking for other inspiring women in sci-fi and medieval literature you will love this article.

How has this book been received by fans?

Skyward has been generally appraised by both critics and fans.  This novel is rated as five stars (89% of its rating) on Amazon.  Most of the readers agree this story is compelling, well written and thrilling. People mostly stated they couldn’t stop reading, they were turning pages like crazy since the story was fascinating.

Hope this article made you curious about this novel, keep reading!

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Fire and blood book cover

Fire and Blood George R.R Martin new novel

Amazing news! George R.R Martin recently published his new book. No, I’m afraid it’s not the long-awaited book The winds of winter (the planned sixth novel in the series A Song of Ice and Fire, which the author revealed wouldn’t be published in 2018) but it’s really close. Instead, the American author has published Fire and Blood (A Song of Ice and Fire). By the way, if you haven’t started reading this series, here you have a good reason not to read them yet…

What is Fire & Blood?

This new book is actually a prequel, telling a story 300 years before A Song of Ice and Fire plot (also known as Game of Thrones, if you are a fan of the TV series). This will be the first volume of two-part history, the second volume publishing date to be determined. It is 640 pages long, and it also eighty black and white illustrations by Doug Wheatley (a veteran comic book artist, concept designer, and illustrator) which, allow me to say, are astonishing.

Fun fact, this book is known as the GRRMarillion, a joke comparing this book to J.R.R Tolkien’s prequel of Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion.

Buy Fire & Blood

If you want to buy Fire & Blood by George R.R Martin here you have a link to purchase it  (This is an Affiliate Links since Wottaread is an Amazon Associate):

Fire & Blood

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What is this book about

The cover already hints what this novel is about “300 years before A game of thrones dragons ruled Westeros”. Dragons, Westeros… Targaryen!

Exactly, this novel tells the fascinating story of The Targaryens. Remember them? the noble family who reigned for almost three hundred years in Westeros.

This saga will reveal some of the mysteries already introduced in A Song of Ice and Fire such as what happened in Valyria to be so deadly after the doom or what crimes Maegor the Cruel’s did to get such a name? But that’s not all, if you ever wondered how it was when Dragons ruled the skies now you will able to satisfy your curiosity!

Dragons wottaread

Dragons in Fire & Blood? tell me more!

Do I have to read it before A Song of Ice and Fire?

No, definitely not. But considering how long it is going to take until that saga is finished this book is a great way to make the wait shorter. This book provides really interesting information that was only slightly introduced in the original saga and also tells the story about such an acclaimed family as the Targariens are.

Of course, if you are a fan of the saga this book is just a must read.

How has this book been received by fans and critics?

For such a famous and loved saga the critics have been quite more diverse than one would expect.

Hugo Rifkind, published in his review for The Times the following:

“Hugo Rifkind adores the Game of Thrones novels but this book is a yawn”

While Dan Jones wrote in his review for The Sunday Times:

Fire & Blood by George RR Martin — the Game of Thrones prequel is a masterpiece of popular historical fiction

Regarding the fans, opinions are pretty similar. Lots of readers love this book while others (I would say the less) think it’s boring. Seems like either you love this book or you hate it. If you ask my opinion, so far I`m loving it (I haven’t finished it yet). But also, I think this book should have been published after A song of Ice and Fire saga was fully written.

In conclusion, if you are a fan you must read this book. Dragons, Targaryen and mysteries resolved, what else you need to start reading Fire and Blood?

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