Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Freya Robertson's Top 6 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Recommendations

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Author Freya Robertson to the blog today to share her Top 6 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Recommendations. 
I have not had the opportunity to read her debut, Heartwood yet but as fan of fantasy novels I'm pretty excited for it!
So without further ado let me turn the blog over to Freya....

Kia ora (that’s Kiwi or New Zealand-ish for hello!)

You asked me for my top six science fiction and fantasy recommendations, and I thought it might be interesting for readers to hear about books that were an inspiration to me while writing Heartwood.

In my teens I went through a period where I was fascinated by the legend of King Arthur. I loved the film Excalibur, and adored Bradley’s book with its historic elements matched by just the right amount of magic. I’ve been to Glastonbury, and liked Bradley’s idea that the isle could be revealed and hidden by the mists that only a few dedicated priestesses could control. The connection of the king to the land and his people is definitely an element that I enjoyed exploring in Heartwood.

We all stand on the shoulders of giants, and I am happy to admit that Brooks’s fascination with trees and the themes of sacrifice and rebirth that he explores in his novels were a great influence on me. The character of Willow in Magic Kingdom is a lovely one, but this book is magical for more than that. I love Ben Holiday’s connection with the Paladin and the way that Brooks always makes the characters’ internal journeys as important as their external ones. This series is fun and light-hearted, but it’s one of my all-time favourites.

This series emphasises my interest in reincarnation and the ideas of resurrection and rebirth. The Deverry Cycle is a series of Celtic fantasy novels in which the story moves back and forth in time, exploring the various incarnations of characters and how one impinges on the other. It features many of the traditional elements of epic fantasy such as elves and dwarves. I haven’t read it for a long time, but it definitely had an impact on my love of epic fantasy.

This is the first in Pratchett’s Discworld novels featuring Rincewind the magician. I read the first half a dozen or so of this series and loved Pratchett’s irreverent, humorous approach to fantasy. I can’t say hand on my heart that they had a direct influence on Heartwood, but this book had to make my top six!
This is described as an urban fantasy novel, and it also features elements of Celtic and Native American folklore. It reminds me a lot of Brooks’s Magic Kingdom novels in that characters cross between the “real” world and a magical fantasy world, a notion that definitely plays a part in Heartwood, not in a magic realism sense, but in the sense that the people of the land come to understand that there is another world beneath the one they perceive. There are elements of English folklore in Heartwood, such as the myths of King Arthur and Robin Hood and their connection with the Green Man and pagan worship, and this part of the story was definitely influenced by Moonheart.
It may be odd to finish with a children’s book. But Prince Caspian includes a wonderful section where the children—having returned to Narnia to find hundreds of years have passed—discover that the stone tablet on which Aslan was sacrificed is now buried beneath a tumulus (a burial mound). The tunnels into the mound contain ancient carvings, and the children are shocked to realise they actually pre-date these carvings. I loved the idea of a land having a real history, and this played a very important role when I was creating Heartwood and especially its sequel, Sunstone. Tolkien also suggests this when describing Rivendell, portrayed so wonderfully in the movie with its autumn colours and its sense of decay that suggests its best time has passed.

Hopefully these six books give you a tiny insight into Heartwood. I hope you’ll join the hero Chonrad and I on his epic adventure!


AuthorFreya Robertson
PublisherAngry Robot
Release Date: October 29th 2013 
Series: Elemental Wars #1

Chonrad, Lord of Barle, comes to the fortified temple of Heartwood for the Congressus peace talks, which Heartwood’s holy knights have called in an attempt to stave off war in Anguis. But the Arbor, Heartwood’s holy tree, is failing, and because the land and its people are one, it is imperative the nations try to make peace.
After the Veriditas, or annual Greening Ceremony, the Congressus takes place. The talks do not go well and tempers are rising when an army of warriors emerges from the river. After a fierce battle, the Heartwood knights discover that the water warriors have stolen the Arbor’s heart. For the first time in history, its leaves begin to fall…
The knights divide into seven groups and begin an epic quest to retrieve the Arbor, and save the land.

Meet The Author:

Freya is a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, as well as a dedicated gamer. She has a deep and abiding fascination for the history and archaeology of the middle ages and spent many hours as a teenager writing out notecards detailing the battles of the Wars of the Roses, or moping around museums looking at ancient skeletons, bits of rusted iron and broken pots. She  also has an impressive track record, having published over twenty romance novels under her pseudonym, Serenity Woods.
She lives in the glorious country of New Zealand Aotearoa, where the countryside was made to inspire fantasy writers and filmmakers, and where they brew the best coffee in the world.
You can find Freya online at her website, www.freyarobertson.com, as well as on Twitter @EpicFreya.

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Thank you so much to Freya for stopping by and huge thanks to Leah of Angry Robot Books for giving me the opportunity to participate in this wonderful blog tour!


Want to take a sneak peek into the world of Heartwood? Check out this FREE prequel on Amazon-Click on the cover to download it to your Kindle for free!
So over to you guys! What do you think of Freya's recommendations?
Do YOU have any EPIC Sci-Fi & Fantasy recommendations? 
Any thoughts on Freya's debut, Heartwood?


  1. I may sound childish nothing can beat Narnia and Harry Potter in the fantasy genre.For a lot of people,they are the books that introduce the fantasy world.
    Mists of Avalon sounds interesting.I am a huge fan of King Arthur's story myself,and I love books based on it.

    1. There's nothing childish about Narnia and Harry Potter-I'm sure the fandoms will attest to that! ;)
      I love Arthurian novels too-If you do give Heartwood try I hope you enjoy it! :)

  2. Children's fantasy is some of the best. C S Lewis' books were among my first introductions to the genre, so needless to say, I'm definitely a fan! I also really need to check out Moonheart as I love the sound of it. A brilliant guest post! Thanks so much for sharing. :)


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