It’s been a while since we’ve had a newborn in the family, and we couldn’t be happier. After experiencing first-hand the joys of parenthood, Robert Pattinson seems to have gone back in time and delivered us some fantastic baby and children’s books. Though he’s mostly written contemporary YA fiction, his extensive backlist boasts a diverse array of characters and storylines that are guaranteed to entertain younger readers while providing an engaging and entertaining glimpse into the author’s work habits and inspiration.
It’s the beginning of 1988, and Oliver Rawlins, a 17-year-old student at Bromfield Grammar School, is on trial for the murder of his landlord, Jonas Pennyfeather. The case against him seems strong: he was seen arguing with Pennyfeather over rent payments, he had recently been released from prison for a similar crime, and he had been caught in the act of breaking into another tenant’s home.
However, Oliver insists that he is innocent and sets about proving it. As the story opens, we find the precocious and headstrong teenager has been locked up in Wandsworth Prison for the past year, where he has been engaged in a program focused on literacy and numeracy. Working through the considerable task of learning to read, Oliver has learned to meticulously plan his trials and to present his case in the proper legal manner. While this in itself might make for a compelling story, it is the author’s handling of English prose and his acute observations of human nature that elevate this novel to a higher level. It is a triumph of storytelling.
The Wasting Game
The year is 2029. The world is on the brink of catastrophe thanks to the pandemic known as the Flare. People have lost the ability to feel joy, and the ones who remain struggle with a reduced mental capacity that makes it difficult to maintain a functioning grasp of reality. Those who can afford it hide in gated communities, protected by armed bodyguards.
In the midst of this chaos, 16-year-old Genevieve DeWitt is arrested for the murder of her cousin and charged with felony murder. She had been set up by a jealous step-sister, who wanted the boy’s inheritance. The story follows Genevieve as she attempts to prove her innocence while struggling with feelings of guilt and shame.
It is the year 3317, and the peaceful kingdom of Valkenburg has been torn apart by civil war. As tensions mount, 18-year-old Princess Cleo seeks to assert her claim to the throne. She summons a meeting with her step-grandmother, Queen Isobel, asking for her support in uniting the kingdom once more. But Isobel is guarded in her response, fearing that Cleo’s youth will unbalance the political scales and lead to disastrous consequences. This is a story of power and ambition, and there is a whole lot more going on beneath the surface than initially meets the eye.
The Rover King
Earl Grey is a city boy turned adventurer who inherited his fortune and has dedicated himself to helping others. When his company goes bankrupt and he finds himself at loose ends, he decides to explore the world and see it in a fresh light. This sets the stage for Grey’s travels across Southeast Asia, where he meets and befriends a band of brothers known as the Wild Brawls. When one of the members of the Wild Brawls is murdered, Earl decides to avenge his friend’s death and follows the leads up until they track him down, intent on killing him and securing his treasure.
This is a story of danger and excitement, as Grey delves deeper and deeper into the jungle, risking his life and limb to discover its treasures. The Earl Grey that we meet here is an entirely different character to the one we met in The Rover King. This is an older, more seasoned adventurer who has seen the world and survived its ravages. One of the most interesting things about this novel is how it explores the idea of masculinity in an age of rapid social change. Though a staple of speculative fiction for years, gender roles have recently begun to shift in popular culture, causing many men to feel uncomfortable with their newfound feelings of insecurity. This is represented in the text through Grey’s struggle to reconcile his own desires with the responsibilities that come with being a man.
In the final year of its fifth season, Game of Thrones is responsible for one of the greatest television phenomena of all time. The series finale was watched by over 100 million people worldwide, and it achieved record numbers even in countries that are not typically found on television.
This is a story of House Reyne, a noble family from the Kingdom of Pentos, who travel to the Seven Kingdoms to try and reclaim their lost fortunes. They visit the capital, King’s Landing, to offer their services to the king, who requests their help in retrieving a notorious pirate named Blackwater. When they arrive, however, they find the city in a state of anarchy and realize that things have taken a turn for the worse.
In order to restore order to the city and pull it out of the darkness, House Reyne offers to serve as rulers in the land, raising an army to combat the widespread lawlessness. In the time that follows, they hold court in the city and act as rulers, dispensing justice and security. But the cost of maintaining authority is high, and the story explores the toll this takes, both on the individuals involved and on the kingdom as a whole. Though there is plenty of action and tension to hold the reader’s attention, this is a story about much more than adventure. Themes of inheritance and family are woven deeply into the narrative, as House Reyne looks to the future and questions whether or not they have what it takes to keep what they have built. An engrossing examination of political and economic power in a time of global instability, this is one of the most ambitious and complex novels that we have ever published. The amount of research that went into its creation is considerable, and we are very proud of it.
The Light Between Oceans
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was first published nearly 200 years ago, and though it is one of the most famous and best-loved books of all time, it is far from the first story of science-gone-wrong that she penned. Her next novel, The Last Man, was an attempt to ‘save’ Jack the Ripper, and it is a story that she revisited almost a decade later, in what is perhaps her greatest work, and one of the greatest post-apocalyptic stories of all time. In this case, the damage is not brought about by science, but by nature: an awful plague known as the Blight is ravaging the population of Australasia.
20-year-old Tom Sherbourne is living his dream as a fisherman in a small town on the coast of Australia when he comes across a boatload of survivors from a ship that had been trapped in a monsoon flood. The government has moved to contain the virus, and the survivors have been quarantined on a nearby island. Tom helps them navigate the dangerous waters and introduces them to the possibility of a normal life again, away from the ravaged mainland. He soon discovers that his new friends harbor a darker secret: a baby son who was accidentally born infected. This is a story of loss and darkness, but it is also one of the most moving and uplifting tales that you will ever read.
The Sea of Monsters
It is the late twentieth century, and the world is a dangerous place. The Cold War has deepened, and superpowers clash in the shadows. In the middle of all this, a strange and beautiful woman named Clea arrives on the scene, challenging everything that the reader thought they knew about the world and its inhabitants. Her story is one of espionage and intrigue, of monsters and men who wear masks, and it is as terrifying as it is exhilarating.
The Sea of Monsters is both Part 1 and Part 2 of a linked trilogy that also includes The Lighthouse and The Dark Tower. The entire trilogy is narrated by the young and curious Kailey Rowan, Clea’s grand-daughter, who sets the stage for the adventures that await in each installment. It is, quite simply, one of the greatest accomplishments that we at Audible could ever dream of, having an author as prolific and accomplished as RPattz deliver four novels in one complete audio-book. It is a feat that will surely go down in literary history.