I'm having an amazing week of writing news, gearing up for the release of The Scorpion Rules in September. Some blurbs are trickling in -- I think I'm supposed to sit on those a bit -- but also arriving are the first big pre-publication reviews. There are two so far: Kirkus and Publishers' Weekly.
They are both stars.
There are half a dozen big publications that review books before they come out. These pre-publication reviews are like your book's SAT score. Stars are rare and Very Good News. Getting two -- I was bouncing aroudn the hosue like a spaniel.
Kirkus especially ... well, they scare me. If they don't like you, they let you know. But guess what, they liked me:
Once there was war, until an artificial intelligence named Talis took over the world.
Four hundred years later, Talis still rules; he has made the world peaceful, but the price is the blood of children. Should a government declare war, its heir, raised in a U.N.– (and Talis-) controlled Precepture, a monasterylike enclave, dies. Greta, Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy, is one of those Children of Peace. When war claims classmate Sidney and his replacement appears in chains, obedient Greta finds herself questioning everything. This is no cookie-cutter dystopia. Talis (whose voice lends a sharp, outsize, and very dark humor to his every word and scene) may not be a bad supreme ruler. [BIT WITH SPOILERS] and anyway the love story is only a piece of a much larger story about love and war, forms of power, and the question of what is right when there is no good answer, all played out on a small and personal stage. Bow’s writing never falters, from the vivid descriptions of the Precepture goats to the ways in which her characters must grapple with impossible decisions, and she is equally at home with violence and first kisses.
Slyly humorous, starkly thought-provoking, passionate, and compassionate—and impeccably written to boot: not to be missed. (Science fiction. 13 & up)
I don't know if Publishers' Weekly likes me, but they like Talis. And, apparently, pain.
In this gripping dystopian adventure, Bow (Sorrow’s Knot) explores the price of power.
Four centuries after an AI known as Talis took over the world to prevent humanity from wiping itself out, civilization has splintered into smaller territories, held in line through Talis’s orbital cannons, AI agents, and one simple philosophy: make it personal. Every would-be ruler must send a child to one of Talis’s Preceptures as a hostage, to be slain if his or her country acts up.
One such hostage is Greta, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy. Her daily routine is thrown into confusion when a new hostage joins her Precepture. Elián has no intention of playing along, and his arrival threatens to change everything. Greta’s pragmatic, reserved, yet passionate voice commands attention from the start, but in many ways it’s Talis, an AI with a sense of humor and a flair for the dramatic, that makes the story.
Bow continually yanks the rug out from under readers, defying expectations as she crafts a masterly story with a diverse cast, shocking twists, and gut-punching emotional moments.
So, you know. If you like getting punched in the gut, or possibly goats, then I am the author for you.