Tag Archives: the fire sermon

The Map of Bones Paperback Release | Extract

Related Posts: Book Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

Tomorrow, The Map of Bones is being released in Paperback! It’s the thrilling sequel to The Fire Sermon, a fantastic fantasy debut I enjoyed a while back. To celebrate the second book’s paperback release, here’s a sneak peek inside the book if you haven’t delved into it yet – an extract I posted last year for the blog tour.

Spoilers for Book One

Piper and I sat near the entrance to the cave, watching the sun shrug off the night. More than a month earlier, on the way to the silo, we’d slept in the same hidden cave, and perched on the same flat rock. Next to my knee, the stone still bore the scuff-marks from where Piper had sharpened his knife all those weeks ago.

I looked at Piper. The slash on his single arm had healed to a pink streak, the scar tissue raised and waxy, puckered where stitches had held the wound closed. At my neck, the wound from The  Confessor’s knife had finally healed, too.

26174866In the deadlands, it had been an open wound, edged with ash. Was the ash still there, inside me, specks of black sealed beneath the scar’s carapace?

Piper held out a piece of rabbit meat skewered on the blade of his knife. It was left over from the night before, coated with cold fat, congealed into grey strings. I shook my head and turned away.

‘You need to eat,’ he said. ‘It’ll take us three more weeks to get to the Sunken Shore. Even longer to get to the west coast, if we’re going to search for the ships.’

All of our conversations began and ended at the ships. Their names had become like charms: The Rosalind. The Evelyn. And if the hazards of the unknown seas didn’t sink the ships, then sometimes I felt that the weight of our expectations would. They were everything, now. We’d managed to rid the Council of The Confessor, and of the machine that she was using to keep track of all Omegas – but it wasn’t enough, especially after the massacre on the island. We might have slowed down the Council, and cost them two of their most powerful weapons, but the tanks were patient. I’d seen them myself, in visions and in the awful solidity of reality. Row after row of glass tanks, each one a pristine hell.

That was the Council’s plan for all of us. And if we didn’t have a plan of our own, a goal to work for, then we were justImage result for the fire sermon scrapping in the dust, and there’d be no end to it. We might forestall the tanks for a while, but no better than that. Once, the island had been our destination. That had ended in blood and smoke. So now we were seeking the ships that Piper had sent out from the island, months  before, in search of Elsewhere.

There were times when it felt more like a wish than a plan.

It would be four months at the next full moon since the ships sailed. ‘It’s a hell of a long time to be at sea,’ Piper said as we sat on the rock.

I had no reassurance to offer him, so I stayed silent. It wasn’t just a question of whether or not Elsewhere was out there. The real question was what it could offer us, if it existed. What its inhabitants might know, or do, that we couldn’t. Elsewhere couldn’t just be another island, just place to hide from the Council. That might offer us a respite, but it would be no solution, any more than the island was.

There had to be more than that: a real alternative.

The Map of Bones paperback edition is released tomorrow (January 26th) from Harper Voyager.


COVER REVEAL: The Map of Bones by Francesca Haig

Related posts: Book Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig | Event Recap and Book Haul: The Fire Sermon’s bloggers event

It’s taking me a while to write coherent sentences for this post. I’m SO EXCITED GAAAHHHH. 

Around this time last year a mysterious looking proof copy arrived at my house; branded with an A on the front, for Alpha. I still think the proof copy campaign for Alphas and Omegas is the coolest thing I’ve seen a publisher do, and The Fire Sermon was definitely a hugely talked about (and brilliant) book. I really enjoyed it. And now, the sequel is released very soon!

Today is the cover reveal for Map of Bones, out on the 7th of February. So, here it is!

091246-FCT (1)

I love it – from the Alpha and Omega symbols in the title, to the eerie skull which I’m curious to find out the meaning of!

What do you think of the cover?

Have you read book one and will you be reading the sequel?

Be sure to leave a comment with what you think! 🙂

Event Recap and Book Haul: The Fire Sermon blogger’s event

This is a kinda mish-mash of a post, because I really wanted to talk about the event I recently went to – and also I’m debating whether or not to bring back regular book hauls, which I used to do around fortnightly but haven’t done so for ages. Let me know if you’d like to see book hauls in the future!

Last Saturday, I was invited to an event at the shiny new Harper Collins office to celebrate the release of The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig (read my review here!) – a début fantasy that I’m sure is going to be talked about a lot this year. I was really excited as I knew some bloggers I know would be there and, of course, Francesca Haig would be talking about her book!

The event was really fun: The office was right by the Shard, and on the fourteenth floor, and all of the walls were windows… A little terrifying but the view was so stunning. I couldn’t get a good picture because I forgot to bring my camera’s memory card…

Sigh/facepalm/headdesk/etc etc.

Francesca read some of The Fire Sermon, and gave a talk & Q&A about her writing process. It was really enjoyable and bloggers (not me, obvs, I’m quiet and introverted) asked some really great questions – someone asked what I would’ve; there was a nod to John Wyndham in the book!!

There was a lot of time to talk to other bloggers, and it was great to talk to Andrew, Stevie, Debbie and others again. Also, it was so great to finally get to meet Charli from To Another World IRL, who is as awesome offline as she is online!

There were some very cool Fire Sermon cupcakes, and we were also given goodie bags with some books in after Francesca had signed our books. Thank you, Harper Voyager, for hosting a really fun event! (:


Fire Sermon cupcakes!


Book received from HarperVoyager – Birdbox sounds especially awesome.

After the event, I went to Waterstones Piccadilly to go buy more books. Heh. WHAT BOOK BUYING BAN. While in the YA section I bumped into Sophie, from A Day Dreamer’s World – I’ve known Sophie and loved her blog for a long time so it was crazy to finally meet her in person! We spent a while in there discussing booooks. And I ended up buying these:


Also, on Friday I received this in the post and it looks fantastic – The Bell Between Worlds by Ian johnstone. I’m 90% sure this is a paperback release and that it was published last year in hardback, originally – I think I remember checking the hardback edition out in a store! I’m really excited to start it, so thanks to HarperCollins.


 That’s all!:D Have you read any of these? What do you recommend I start first?

Book Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

Published 23rd February 2015 by Harper Voyager.

23849652Goodreads Synopsis: When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. We were perfect. They would have been disbelieving: nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega.
They were born together and they will die together.
One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.
The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.
The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they’re free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.
Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.
The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.

My Review: From her début novel, I can already tell that Francesca Haig is already a rising star of fantasy: I’m sure I’ll be reading a great many more books from her. The Fire Sermon was an incredibly inventive and original work: I’ve never read anything quite like it.

The world-building was stunning. I found the idea behind the novel actually plausible – after a nuclear war, dubbed ‘the Before,’ the leftover radiation has tampered with the evolution of the human race, and now newborns always come as twins – one stronger Alpha and one weaker Omega. It was such a great premise.

I’ve been really interested in reading about dystopian societies recently, and The Fire Sermon has such interesting politics on the Mainland, where the book is set. I found the way the Alphas and Omegas interacted very thought provoking; as not only is the segregative behaviour very shocking, but it can be compared and related to real life past – and current – situations, and I think that brings a further sense of realism to the novel.

I really enjoyed the plot of the novel, for the most part, as Francesca Haig wrote some awesome plot twists. I can’t wait to see how the situation develops further in the next book. The beginning and the ending were enthralling, but I did feel like parts, especially towards the middle of the story, got a little dragged out – much of the book was the protagonists just running!

The main protagonist, Cass, was really likeable and I did enjoy her story but I don’t think I warmed to her as much as I thought I would. Her background was so interesting; Cass was born the Omega, but she suffered no visible affect. Instead, she has a different kind of mutation… and it made the story so so tense and gripping! The other main character of the story is Kip: and though the reveal of his past was really great I got so tired of his dialogue. I’m not sure if this was just me but he seemed to almost always talk in a really sardonic way. His frequent sarcastic remarks towards everything did irk me a little.

Overall, I think The Fire Sermon was a very stunning début novel. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of fantasy – or if you’re like me and love a book with an inventive world and a societal focus. Admittedly I did find some parts a little repetitive where it was just walking/running away/etc etc… But The Fire Sermon was most definitely an incredible and thought provoking debut.

My Rating:



Also: In this post I wanted to take a moment to highlight the amazing Advanced Reading Copies / publicity campaign for The Fire Sermon! It was so cool. The premise of the book is that people are born as twins, either Alpha or Omega – so proof copies were labelled as one of the two, and numbered. It was really fun finding my twin Shannon!


I received a copy of The Fire Sermon from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

 BBC pointed shaded