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An Accident of Stars (Manifold Worlds 1) Paperback – 4 Aug 2016
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'An Accident of Stars' interwoven, beautifully rendered cultures are filled with rich details, complex family bonds of all kinds, and deeply layered politics. To enter Kena and the surrounding lands is to be irrevocably and powerfully changed. Foz Meadows has created an epic adventure unlike any I've read before.' - Fran Wilde, Nebula- and Norton-nominated author of Updraft and Cloudbound 'A portal fantasy for grownups, with grit and realism, and characters I loved from the first page.' - Trudi Canavan, author of the Black Magician trilogy 'Fantasy readers who appreciate strong characters and excellent worldbuilding will immerse themselves in this tale.' - Publishers Weekly, starred review 'It's quite lovely… The main strength of this is its cast, which walks off the page - there's characters of all ages, all walks of life and all sexual orientations-and its gut punch ending.' - Aliette de Bodard; 'Reminiscent of Ursula K LeGuin, An Accident of Stars will take you to a lush, magical new world.' - Laura Lam; 'I very much enjoyed this. The main character falls out of our world into a life-changing adventure, with compelling characters and a fascinating world. I can't wait to read the next book.' - Martha Wells, author of The Books of Raksura; 'An Accident of Stars is anchored in dozens of complex women, driven by the rooted, deep relationships they have with each other. It's a wonderful, rich, feminist book, and I loved it.' --B. R. Sanders, author of Ariah
'This fabulous story bowled me over with a compelling blend of intimacy, danger, twisty politics, believably imperfect characters, and a fascinatingly complex universe.' - Kate Elliott, author of Black Wolves and Cold Magic; 'Richly imaginative world building with delightfully complex and diverse characters; a joy to read!' - Ann Lemay, videogame writer; 'This is the portal fantasy I've spent my whole life waiting for.' - Liz Bourke for Tor.com; 'So this was basically all the things I'd enjoyed about portal fantasies as a younger reader, with the dubious gifts the suck fairy might have bestowed either questioned or removed.' - Ann Leckie; 'Beautiful storytelling, a stunning world and concept.' - Shelf Inflicted; 'An exquisite fantasy novel that you can't afford to miss! 5/5 stars!' - Bibliotropic; 'An Accident of Stars is one of the most promising starts to any series right now, and I can't wait to see where it goes.' - The Illustrated Page; 'I loved this book. It had great representation all around, the world building was spectacular, and the characters were distinct, diverse, and interesting.' - PopCultureBeast; 'Fantasy readers will all find something to like in the wonderful tale. Book 2 better arrive really soon!' - Bull Spec; 'Sometimes I see books described as portal fantasy, and it just seems… insufficient. Not inaccurate, but in cases like this one, it's like trying to describe a beach by using adjectives that only apply to a couple of pebbles in the sand. An Accident of Stars is a lot more than a magic wardrobe.' - Fat Robot; 'This books is great. I loved it.' --Properly Lex
'If you enjoy well-written, character driven fantasy with strong women featuring throughout, a cracking plot and beautifully constructed plot, then go looking for this book. I will be eagerly awaiting the sequel.' - Brainfluff; 'Superb.' - Popverse; 'I could say that the above is a delightful breath of fresh air, but 'delightful breath of fresh air' seems far too tame a phrase to describe the utter joy I felt reading about this world.' - FanGirl Nation; 'An Accident of Stars is the portal fantasy for the 21st Century.' - Strange Charm; 'It truly brings epic and portal fantasy to life.' - The Conversationalist; 'This story did so many things that ticked all of my boxes!' - Starship Library; 'An Accident of Stars is a joy to read, and manages to be exciting, thought provoking and intensely moving all at once.' - Fantasy Faction; 'An Accident Of Stars stands head and fabulous shoulders above most fantasy books I've read, not just this year but in recent years.' - Over The Effing Rainbow; 'This book is such great fun you'll want to take a sick day to finish it in one sitting.' - Pop Verse; 'Words can't begin to properly express how awesome Meadows is at creating complex and realistic fantasy worlds and the cultures and people that dwell within.' - Bibliotropic - Top Eleven Outstanding Books of 2016; 'One of my favorite books I read in 2016. The book was super women and femme focused, and I loved that.' - Odd Leopards, Strange Cats; 'An Accident of Stars is a refreshing, feminist fantasy with an incredible cast of complex, dynamic characters and spectacular worldbuilding.' - Suicide by Books; 'I love the world-building - it made me feel nostalgic for all the questionable-quality epic fantasies I read in high school, in the best way. If anyone is looking for an epic fantasy with an old-school vibe that has a more modern approach to societal world-building, An Accident of Stars is worth looking into.' - Alive and Narrating; 'I highly recommend An Accident of Stars to fans of portal fantasy and to any readers looking for a feminist fantasy read.' --Tsana's Reads & Reviews
About the Author
FOZ MEADOWS is a genderqueer author, blogger, essayist, reviewer and poet. In 2014, she was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer for her blog, Shattersnipe; she is also a contributing writer for The Huffington Post and Black Gate, and a contributing reviewer for A Dribble of Ink, Strange Horizons and Tor.com. An Accident of Stars is her third novel, and her first with Angry Robot. An Australian expat, Foz currently lives in Scotland with not enough shelves, her very own philosopher and their toddling spawn. Surprisingly, this is a good thing.
Top customer reviews
Anyway, the premise of An Accident of Stars is that it's possible to travel between worlds in a multiverse and one of our main characters, a teenager called Saffron, ends up following someone through a portal to a place called Kena. The woman she follows, Gwen, previously got involved in a spot of king-making in Kena, only to discover that the man she'd helped take over was not what he seemed to be, and now she's on the run from him and his generally nasty ways. Gwen is involved with a ragtag bunch, mostly people who are refugees or in disgrace for one reason or another, and bad things happen to Saffron almost as soon as she steps foot in Kena.
And then it started heading into three stars territory instead of four because of the amounts of info-dumping that happen along the way, which made the plot drag a bit at times. I think in a month where I'd had more impetus to read stuff, I probably would have given up partway through, so maybe the author got lucky with me in terms of timing? Anyway, there's more portal travel, Saffron and her new friend Zech (whose name I had to just go and check, which isn't a great sign) go through a magical ritual and efforts are made to depose the unworthy king. Zech's actions also cause some future problems, as she makes promises she shouldn't have and I fully expect that to come back and bite everyone in the future.
In some ways, the most interesting thing about the book was about Saffron's plans and thoughts on how to deal with returning home. She's been physically mutilated while in Kena, so it's not like she's going to be able to hide that something bad has happened. So, not a bad book but not as gripping as it probably should have been and I can't say I'll be pre-ordering the inevitable next book in the series (A Tyranny of Queens).
Meadows also ensures the violence has real consequences – people get hurt. And while there are magical healing spells, the damage doesn’t take away scarring or grow back limbs, or remove the trauma. I’m conscious that this sounds like some really grimdark, bleak trudge – and it’s nothing of the sort. The action kicks off rapidly with an engaging, sympathetic young protagonist, who finds herself unexpectedly dropped in the middle of another world. There is plenty of sharp humour as egos clash, along with lots of excitement and adventure. I stayed awake into the early morning to discover what would happen next to Saffron, Gwen and young Zech.
The worldbuilding is deftly done through the characterisation and we get a sense of Saffron’s bewilderment as she grapples with different food, different clothing and different standards of hygiene. There are layers in this world that are uncovered as the incipient conflict forces old enemies to band together in the face of the threat that Leoden poses. I like him as an antagonist – he is personable, charming and completely amoral. The women are furious that they were so completely taken in by him and Gwen feels guilty and ashamed.
And then comes the final act – the defining climax that wraps up this tale and moves the story along for the next book in the series to resume… I was stunned at the sudden shift in the tale. I certainly wasn’t expecting THAT. Or the heartbreaking poignancy surrounding Saffron’s storyline that had me blinking back tears – and I don’t cry often over books.
If you enjoy well-written, character driven fantasy with strong women featuring throughout, a cracking plot and beautifully constructed plot, then go looking for this book. I will be eagerly awaiting the sequel.