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Review: Wereworld – Rage of Lions by Curtis Jobling

I really enjoyed Curtis’ first Wereworld novel, Rise of the Wolf, and I stick to what I said in that review – that Wereworld is akin to Game of Thrones for the younger generation. The scope of the unfolding story, the relationships of the characters, the testing of loyalties and the focus on character development all came together to make Rise of the Wolf one of the best YA novels I’d read. 🙂 I’m very pleased that Rage of Lions continues this trend!

Where Rise of the Wolf introduced us to many of the main players and personalities and took us on a journey that not only covered great distances but tested and tempered many characters, Rage of Lions is similar, but this novel also has a different feel to it – it is a much more focused tale, in terms of action and characters, and takes place over a shorter length of time; this focus really got me devouring the pages, from the moment when a lone rider escapes a city that is still reeling from a battle to when Drew Ferran… Well, not going to spoil you, you’ll have to read it! Point is, I just couldn’t put Rage of Lions down – the pace was relentless and the story was incredibly engaging!

I also enjoyed what Curtis did with the characters in Rage of Lions – the title suggests a focus on the Werelions that have been the cause of so much trouble and grief for Drew, and that’s what we get, in the form of Prince Lucas, son of the deposed and embattled Werelion King. We met Lucas in Rise of the Wolf but this book really shows another side of him – he is devious and intelligent and not someone I’d like to tangle with!

We also get chapters that flesh out and further build other characters, especially Hector and the Wolf’s Council – Hector delved into some dark magic in Rise of the Wolf and Curtis takes this further while also bringing in Hector’s brother, and my sympathies were definitely with Hector, what with everything he had to go through in the book! The Wolf’s Council was really well written – these are the guys that are actually running Drew’s kingdom (understandable, since Drew is not yet quite ready to do it) and how these characters dealt not only with each other but also with the onerous task of guiding both Drew and the kingdom was entertaining and gave the novel a cool and interesting political side.

Drew really impressed me in this book, too – he’s not the ready-made and always-willing hero that will rush in and save the day and the kingdom and get the girl; he’s a hothead, he’s young, he’s feeling quite overwhelmed by the events that had pushed him into the limelight, and he’s searching for a way to just survive without being consumed. He’s got plenty of growing and maturing to do, and I really like that – it implies that we’ll be on a real journey with him as he grows as a character and king.

Action-wise Rage of Lions isn’t as big as Rise of the Wolf was – as I said before, the focus is much tighter and it’s a different kind of story; the fight scenes in the novel are still exciting and brutal and trust me, no-one emerges unscathed! We also get to see more of Lyssia and meet more Werelords, building the cast of characters nicely, and I really enjoyed the Goatlord and Onyx. And even though the tale focuses on where the main characters are, geographically, plenty is still happening throughout Lyssia, so there’s a constant sense of movement and change. And boy does this novel end with a bang! Definitely one of the best now-I-HAVE-to-read-the-next-book endings I’ve come across!

All in all, while Rage of Lions is a different kind on=f novel to Rise of the Wolf in terms of action and character-focus (the scale of the action being smaller and the focus much tighter), Rage of Lions is a worthy sequel and an excellent book in it’s own right; Curtis is showing that he’s a versatile and supremely talented writer and storyteller, and I’m completely on board with this series – just have to make time to read Books 3 and 4!

I give Rage of Lions a well-deserved 8 / 10!

To order your copies of Rage of Lions, click here for Amazon UK, here for Amazon US, and here if you’re in South Africa. 🙂 Check out Curtis’ website and blog, and check out the Wereworld site – plenty of info and updated regularly! 🙂

Until next time,
Be EPIC!

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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Reviews

 

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John Jarrold’s Corner: Curtis Jobling’s Well-Deserved *next* Two-Book Deal

Some absolutely wonderful news from John Jarrold!

Curtis Jobling has gotten a two-book deal from Puffin, due to the success of the first novel in his Wereworld series, Rise of the Wolf. 🙂 Check out my review here and then get yourself a copy!

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PUFFIN SNAPS UP A SECOND TWO-BOOK DEAL FOR THE WEREWORLD SERIES

Due to the instant success of Rise of the Wolf published on 6th January 2011, the first volume in the Wereworld series by British author and artist Curtis Jobling, Puffin is very excited to announce that they have moved fast and acquired a further two titles in the fantasy YA series.

As a result of the fantastic initial performance of the first book, shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, Puffin is moving the second volume from an early 2012 publication date to the summer of 2011. The two new novels will follow in 2012.

Following on from the initial two-book deal early in 2010, Shannon Park, Executive Editor at Puffin secured world rights for books three and four in the series from the John Jarrold Literary Agency, for a five figure sum.

Curtis Jobling says: ‘I am absolutely thrilled at the support and the belief Puffin has in Wereworld and am delighted to see how well received the first book has been. With book two already written and book three plotted, I’m looking forward to the busy adventure that lies ahead!’

‘I was delighted to hear so early in the game from Shannon with another two-book offer,’ said John Jarrold. ‘Having been a publisher for fifteen years before setting up the agency, I know all too well how unusual that is.  Congratulations to her and the team at Puffin who have got behind Curtis so strongly.’

Shannon Park, Executive Editor, says: ‘From the first moment I read Wereworld I was completely bowled over by the inventiveness of the world Curtis has created. To know that we have another two opportunities to explore it is an editor’s dream come true. I can’t wait!’

Curtis Jobling designed the Bafta winning BOB THE BUILDER and is also the creator of FRANKENSTEIN’S CAT, the BBC’s hit children’s animation series based upon his book of the same name. In addition he has numerous shows in development with Disney, the BBC and others. Please visit the Wereworld website here.

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I’m soooo chuffed with this news! That I’m looking forward to finding out what’s coming our way in book 2 is a no-brainer, and it’s great to see Curtis doing so well! A massive congrats to him, to Puffin, to John, and to all the readers out there who were sucked into Drew’s world – awesome news! 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in John Jarrold's Corner

 

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Review: Wereworld – Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling

When I was a kid I was the guy who read Hardy Boys, Famous Five, etc. My first foray into adult fiction was, as I’ve said numerous times, Pet Sematary, but there wasn’t really anything supremely awesome that I knew of back then, nothing that really fired the imagination. There probably was, I’m sure, hell, there had to be, but obviously either my parents didn’t want me to read those books (Hehehe!) or the librarians had no idea what they were doing. In any case, my point is this – I think I had a pretty cool intro to reading, but the kids who will pick up Rise of the Wolf are in for an awesome, incredible ride!

I actually don’t even know where to begin with this review – I’m scared that I won’t be able to get my thoughts into order, not enough so that I can explain to you why this novel is so damn cool. But I’ll try anyway. 🙂

The first thing that gave me pause, and a smile, was the novel’s main character, Drew. He’s definitely not the average teen-who-gets-thrown-into-a-situation-he-can-barely-handle-and-learns-he-has-a-gift. Sure, Drew is sometimes stereotypical in what he does and says, but he’s the practical polar-opposite of any other character I’ve come across in YA fiction. In fact, he’s almost a momma’s boy! You’ll see what I mean when you read the book, but Drew totally succeeded in pulling me into the world that Curtis had created. As any character should do, he is sometimes whiny, sometimes irritating, sometimes funny and sometimes serious, but instead of these personality traits detracting from the story, I feel they enhanced the story. Fiction in any genre is, after all, about how we deal with and perceive the world and the people that fill it, and goodness knows that when a character is perfect I’m the first one to think, “WTF, Dude, nono, huh-uh.” So Drew was really cool. 🙂

What Curtis also manages to do, though, is to populate his world with a great many cool characters, and he also manages to make all of them memorable. As Drew travels through the world he comes into contact with many different classes of people, from different backgrounds and with wildly varying personalities, and each of them managed to stick in my brain. It’s difficult do give you any kind of description without spoiling some of what you’ll read, but suffice it to say that I was chuckling, frowning, wide-eyed and heart-sore while I read this book; the various emotional journeys that the characters go on really helped me to connect with practically all of them. 🙂

The star of the novel, though, which didn’t detract from the characters at all, mind you, was the world itself. Curtis approached the world in such a way that it was at once intriguing, awesome, and in some cases, frightening. My belief was suspended completely, to be honest. It was also apparent to me that there’s plenty more that Curtis has got in store for us, in terms of the history of his world. Indeed, even the events mentioned in the novel could probably make an awesome novels in their own right! There was a feeling of long-range storytelling to this novel which helped me sink deeper into it, and by the end, I was honestly on the edge of my seat – some adult fantasy writers out there can learn much from the pacing and tension that lead up to and include the novel’s climax. 🙂

I’m not going to say much about the rest of the world, or its nobles and people, because to do so would really spoil the book. I will say this, however – Drew being a werewolf (and that’s not a spoiler, by the way – it’s blindingly obvious by just looking at the cover) is just the tip of the iceberg. 🙂

The way Curtis told the story was also something I enjoyed – there were enough POV characters so that I got that well-rounded melding of ideas and beliefs, and the storytelling was top-notch, with some chapters ending on a cliffhanger and others flowing along at that speedy clip that kept me reading.

All in all, Curtis did an amazing job, and I can completely understand why Puffin is so impressed and excited for this novel, and indeed, for the series. The book isn’t perfect -no book can be- but even the stereotypes that Curtis employs worked for me – I could see them coming, but when they arrived, they’d been twisted and changed enough so that I was still reading, still turning the pages, and still immersed. I’ll even go so far as to say this – looking back on how the characters were handled, the events, the scope and breadth of the world and the sheer readability of the novel, Rise of the Wolf is, in my opinion, the Game of Thrones of YA Fantasy. (I can feel your eyebrows shooting up!) I know plenty of people may disagree with me, and that’s fine, everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, but that’s how I see this novel. It has emotional intensity, some really hectic and tense moments, a sprawling history and wonderful characters. 🙂 Get a kid to read this and he or she will very probably be hooked on reading for life. 🙂

I’m really and truly looking forward to the next novel – I’ll see if I can get a title out of Curtis sometime 😉 – and I can definitely recommend this novel highly; it’s imaginative, epic, emotionally gripping and utterly exciting!

9 / 10

Check out Curtis’ website here, and his blog here; for more info about Wereworld, check out this link to the press release, and to order your copies (it’ll be available from January and is coming to South Africa, too!), click here for Amazon UK.

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2010 in Reviews

 

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John Jarrold’s Corner: Book Deals for Curtis Jobling and Suzanne McLeod

Some great news from John Jarrold: two of his clients have just received great new deals!

PRESS RELEASE – MAJOR US DEAL FOR YA FANTASY SERIES

Zosia Knopp, Rights Director at Penguin UK, has confirmed a two-book deal with Kendra Levin at Penguin US for Curtis Jobling’s new YA Fantasy series WEREWORLD, for a significant sum. World rights in the books were acquired by Shannon Park at Puffin from agent John Jarrold. Puffin will publish the first volume in January 2011.

“Curtis and I are delighted that he will be published by Penguin across the English-speaking world. This is a fantastic deal! Congratulations to all involved,” said John Jarrold.

I’m very happy for Curtis and YA readers both! I’m reading Rise of the Wolf at the moment and all I’m going to say is keep a lookout for it in Jan 2011 – I’m pretty sure it’ll be one of the big YA sellers of next year. 🙂

Next up, German readers of Suzanne McLeod’s Spellcrackers series have yet more awesomeness to look forward to:

PRESS RELEASE – GERMAN DEAL FOR THIRD SUZANNE MCLEOD URBAN FANTASY

Krystyna Kujawinska, Foreign Rights Manager at Orion, has sold German rights to THE BITTER SEED OF MAGIC – Suzanne McLeod’s third SPELLCRACKERS.COM urban fantasy – to Goldmann, who have already published the first two books in the series.

Six books in the series have been acquired by Jo Fletcher at Gollancz from agent John Jarrold.

Great news indeed! 🙂

Congrats to both authors – not only are the books kickass (going on what I’ve heard for Suzanne’s Spellcrackers here, haven’t read them yet) but they’re both awesome people, and it’s always great when kickass things happen to great people. 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2010 in Announcements, John Jarrold's Corner

 

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John Jarrold’s Corner: William King & Curtis Jobling

Some more great news from John Jarrold that most of you have no doubt already seen, but I thought I’d repost it here for those who haven’t heard the news. 🙂

First up, William King has returned to Black Library! Here are the details:

BLACK LIBRARY ARE DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE THE RETURN OF BEST-SELLING FANTASY WRITER, WILLIAM KING

William King has signed a major new deal with the Black Library, for a trilogy based on the high elf characters Tyrion and Teclis.

Twin brothers Tyrion and Teclis are the greatest heroes of an age, and their like will never be seen again. Prince Tyrion’s skill with a blade unmatched by any living swordsmen, whilst Teclis is the most powerful mage of his generation. Set over two hundred years before the current Warhammer timeline, the new trilogy tells an origin story of these two phenomenal champions.

Head of Black Library, George Mann, said of the deal: “I’m overjoyed to be welcoming Bill King back to the Black Library, particularly with such an exciting and auspicious series. Bill has a real flair for a good story and his writing really brings the Warhammer world to life. I know people are going to adore these books.”

William King was born in Stranraer, Scotland, and is one of Black Library’s best-selling authors, with sales in excess of half a million books. He started writing for Games Workshop in 1988, and later he worked in the design studio. His swords and sorcery series Gotrek & Felix and his Space Wolf novels have become a staple in the Black Library range. His short fiction has appeared in Interzone, Zenith, and a Year’s Best SF collection. He currently lives in Prague.

The deal was conducted with agent John Jarrold, and the first novel in the trilogy will be published in 2011.

Awesome stuff – I’ve still got plenty Black Library stuff to read, and I’m glad that the universe is continuously growing! 🙂

Check out more info about William here.

Next up, an intruiging-sounding YA series from Curtis Jobling:

TWO-BOOK DEAL FOR YA FANTASY NOVELIST

Puffin are very excited to announce that we have acquired two fantasy novels in a new series entitled Wereworld by British author and artist Curtis Jobling. Shannon Park, Executive Editor at Puffin secured world rights for the series from the John Jarrold Literary Agency, for an undisclosed five-figure sum. The Wereworld novels are due for publication in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

WEREWORLD follows the story of fifteen-year-old Drew, a shepherd’s son, as he comes of age and discovers he’s the last of the long line of Werewolves, and rightful (yet reluctant) ruler of the land of Lyssia, where lycanthrope ‘Werelords’ reign. Before long he’s hurtling headlong into an epic journey of fantasy and horror, from one deadly encounter to the next, meeting exotic Werelords at every turn as he’s drawn inexorably towards his destiny.

‘When Curtis approached me with the first volume of this series, I could immediately see the strength of his imagination and invention,’ said John Jarrold. ‘Much respect to Shannon for seeing how wonderful the idea was and getting it through the system at Puffin, including giving editorial guidance even before she could formally present it in-house.’

Shannon Park says, ‘I am so thrilled to sign up this series, which blends themes of traditional fantasy and contemporary horror within an action-packed story. Werewolves are hot property right now, and this series has huge appeal for the 10+ fantasy market.’

Curtis Jobling designed the Bafta winning BOB THE BUILDER and is also the creator of FRANKENSTEIN’S CAT, the BBC’s hit children’s animation series based upon his book of the same name. In addition he has numerous shows in development with Disney, the BBC and others.

The first novels in the Wereworld series are due for publication in 2011 and 2012.

Sounds interesting, right? I’ll take a look at this when the first book is released and let you all know if the kids’ll enjoy it (I’m a big kid, after all). 🙂

That’s it for now. 🙂 I’ll be back tomorrow with my review of Joe Schreiber’s Star Wars EU debut, Death Troopers! Until then,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2010 in Announcements, John Jarrold's Corner

 

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