Nightborn has been named a Staff Pick by Nicola's Books of Ann Arbor, Michigan. And their Staff Reviews, Nathan, who is entering the fifth grade, gives it a wonderful review.
"I think the amount of fighting and the love for games in the book is amazing! It even comes with instructions on how to play the game they play throughout the book. The game is called charioteers, and they play it to win information from people. But Karn likes games, so he plays charioteers for fun also. It is based on racing in a hippodrome, which is a racing track for chariots.
It is a good book, a little bit like The Percy Jackson series. It is definitely like the book 'Thrones and Bones: Frostborn.'
I would recommend it if you like strategy and action."
Last Saturday, July 18th, was the launch part for Nightborn. We held it in the afternoon at the Barnes & Noble at the Summit Shopping Center in Birmingham, Alabama. Despite the best efforts of the weather--there were reports of hail!-- we had a great turn out. Thanks to all the booksellers who worked to make this happen and to everyone who came. Here are some of the pictures from this wonderful event.
In New York City?
Then come see me, and two other wonderful authors, this Sunday at Books of Wonder!
FANTASTIC MIDDLE GRADE READS
Sunday, July 26th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Books of Wonder is thrilled to invite your middle grade readers to meet and
hear from Newbery Honor Author, GAIL CARSON LEVINE, LOU ANDERS,
and SARAH MLYNOWSKI! Your young readers won't want to miss out on an
afternoon of filled with magic and adventure as these talented authors talk
about their latest books.
My editor at Random House Children's Books, the wonderful Phoebe Yeh, conducted a three-part interview with Yours Truly to celebrate the release of Nightborn. Part one, "On Norse Mythology, Strong Female Heroines, and Gaming," debuted on the website Brightly. Part Two, "On World Building," appeared on Suvudu. Part Three covers my research trip to Norway, and what being an editor taught me about being a writer. You can read it on SF Signal.
Today is the day that Nightborn is unleashed on the world! The second book in my Thrones & Bones series of middle reader adventure is now published! And I am thrilled.
Here is an amazing trailer to show you what the book is about:
And here is a ridiculously long list of fantastic endorsements already in from the critics:
"A winning testament to the value of friendship and to a surly dragon’s power of persuasion." Kirkus Reviews
"Good pacing, well-drawn characters, and engaging action scenes. And yes, there’s the promise of more to come." Booklist
"A highly enjoyable, fast-paced read." Joseph Mallozzi, co-executive producer of Dark Matter
"I thoroughly enjoyed both the books in these series, and am positive that young middle grade readers everywhere will get caught up in this action filled adventure. With characters that are easily likeable (or easy to hate), and a storyline that will grip you from the very beginning, there is a little bit of something for everyone!" Chapter by Chapter
"Nightborn was even better than Frostborn, which I didn't think would be possible!" Downright Dystopian
"I absolutely adored Nightborn....a really fun series that I think adults will also enjoy as well as younger readers." Winter Haven Books
"The author does an amazing job at grabbing your attention and keeping it." Lovely Reads
"My latest young reader obsession." All About Romance's Blog
"I went into reading this book thinking it would be a great read for my kids and I would pass it on. Little did I realize that I would fall in love with it myself. This book had everything a fantasy lover could want in a book." Seeing Double in Neverland
" I highly recommend Nightborn to everyone and can't wait to read the next book!" Short & Sweet Reviews
"I was never bored reading Nightborn! In fact, I was on the edge of my seat, following Desstra and Karn on their various (mis)adventures. The fast pace had me turning page after page, eager to see what was next." Books and Whimsy
"I love the pacing. You’re never really bored reading it, nothing is too short or too long, it’s just perfect." Words We Heart
"The climax is awesome!" Not Actually Hermione, But Pretty Close
"There’s plenty to enjoy about Nightborn, with new cities to explore and new characters, particularly the conflicted Dark Elf, Desstra, to meet. More importantly, Lou brings a sense of wonder to proceedings that often gets forgotten in many fantasy books." Sci Fi Pulse
"I highly recommend this serious to children looking for something similar to Rick Riordan’s series but meets a Lord of the Rings for kids fantasy. They won’t want to put the book down!" Twining for Books
"I loved every second of it!" Nightly Rendering
"A terrific fantasy adventure that promises much more to come, I can't wait to get my hands on the third." Children's Atheneum
"Fun, engaging, and the characters are great." Great Imaginations
"A great read for young minds looking for adventure." Reach Reads and Reviews
"This is a great series for younger readers especially if you are looking for a book that boys and girls can both enjoy." On Starships & Dragonwings
"Anders does a wonderful job of creating a vivid world, rich in detail, that makes the reader feel they are seeing it with their own eyes. The diverse cast of characters in the book resemble something from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Dragons, elves, giants, gnomes and other creatures abound, making it a great introduction to the fantasy genre for any MG reader." Middle Grade Mafia
"It is perfect for middle graders, teens, and even adults. There is action and mystery. It shows how true friendship is meant to be." Mind-Ventures
"The world that Anders created is so cool. We got to see a lot more of it in this book, and I absolutely loved it! I can't wait to see more! Overall, Nightborn is a fabulous addition to the THRONES & BONES series! I highly recommend starting this trilogy!" Marie Loves Books
"I think that this is an amazing series!" This Kid Reviews Books
"This novel is a wonderful adventure for readers of all age; it is not just for middle grade bookworms. Because of the adventures that friendship tends to bring in this series, I greatly enjoyed this book, and I am very excited to read more exciting novels that Anders has written." Cavalier House Books
"Heavy on the Lloyd Alexander when sharpened with Rowling, Lou Anders has hit his follow-up to Frostborn right out of the park. With a new games, challenges, and adventures, Thianna and Karn have returned for a rollicking good time in Nightborn!" Sit.Write.Bleed
"I adored these books." The Lovely Books
"The sense of adventure never slows down, teetering from challenging riddles and games (this book introduces the game called Charioteers) to battles and sieges and even a manticore driven chariot race that would impress and amuse Ben-Hur." The Bibliosanctum
"Mr. Anders has written a good story. A very good story. A really, really very good story. You get the point." View from Valhalla
"Nightborn is a fun middle grade adventure in a rich fantasy world and great for those young readers sick of gendered books. There are also instructions for board games at the end of each book, which sounds like a great afternoon activity wink emoticon. If you’re looking for a light and fun fantasy adventure or something to give to a young reader after they finish the popular middle grade fantasies, Nightborn is a great choice." On Starships & Dragonwings
"With Nightborn not only has Lou Anders told a thoroughly entertaining story, he is starting to reveal a long game for these characters and this world." SF Signal
"I highly recommend this book to every fan of fantasy books, no matter the age... Nightborn is a great fantasy adventure both for boys & girls, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series!" Aleksandra's Corner
I've tracked 28 reviews for Nightborn prior to this one, and they are all enormously positive. However, this review on Cavalier House's website, from fifteen year old Caitlin G. of their "Read & Review Club" sure is special!
"Nightborn is the enjoyable, fast-paced second book in the Thrones and Bones series written by Lou Anders. Once again I was able to lose myself in the words that Anders spun onto the page, words of friendship, betrayal, and of course adventure! Throughout the novel the characters grow immensely through every event that they encounter and become closer to discovering who they are as people. This novel teaches both the reader and the characters that anyone can become a friend. People with different places of origin, people with different viewpoints, and people with different personalities all have one thing in common: no one wants to be alone. Readers of the Magyk series by Angie Sage, and of the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull will enjoy this series not only because of the amazingly awesome magical beings but also because of the dangerous adventures that the characters venture into. This novel is a wonderful adventure for readers of all age; it is not just for middle grade bookworms. Because of the adventures that friendship tends to bring in this series, I greatly enjoyed this book, and I am very excited to read more exciting novels that Anders has written."
Caitlin G. previously reviewed Frostborn for Cavalier House Books here.
The third and final installment of RPG Gamer Dad's live Thrones & Bones role playing game (powered by Evil Hat's Fate Accelerated RPG) has gone up today, along with an interview with Yours Truly! I cannot tell you how cute RPG Gamer Boy is, nor how utterly honored, flattered, and tickled I've been by this whole thing. I'm truly grateful to the RPG Gamer Family for all they've done.
Meanwhile, for those coming in late, part one can be found in episode 35 and part two in episode 37. And for those wanting to play in the Thrones & Bones world themselves, RPG Gamer Dad and RPG Gamer Boy's character sheets for Karn and Thianna can be found here.
The Thrones & Bones website is undergoing an expansion in anticipation of Nightborn's release. One of the first bits of new content is the addition of four new maps by amazing cartographer Robert Lazzaretti (of Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder fame). This bring the total number of maps on the site to six, all by Lazzaretti. He and I have worked very closely together to get the details of the world of Thrones & Bones exactly right (called the world of Qualth, with our focus thus far being on the continent of Katernia and the neighboring island-continent of Thica). I'm so fortunate to work with such a talented artist. Check out his gorgeous work and see more of the world of the Thrones & Bones series!
Last week, I interviewed Lazzaretti for Mundie Kids about his work on the T&B series. You can read our interview here.
Earlier this week, I posted my interview with author Lindsay Cummings. Now, she has posted her Interview with Lou Anders. We talk about world-building, board games, Norse culture, my Top Five Books of All Time, and the perfect cup of coffee.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Everyone is chasing after a powerful artifact known as the Horn of Osius, an ancient relic capable of controlling dragons. Who is everyone? The Dark Elves; Desstra, a conflicted Dark Elf training to join their elite ranks; and Karn Korlundsson, an avid gamer and adventurer who learns that his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, disappeared when trying to find that very same relic.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Nightborn offers a carefully constructed and believable world populated with handfuls of imaginative and well-realized fantasy creatures. Plus, like Frostborn, the previous book in the Thrones and Bones series, Nightborn comes with a nifty extra: instructions for playing the board game Charioteers, highlighted in the novel.
After reading Nightborn, Winter Haven Books asked me “Which group of elves would you belong to, the Dark Elves or the Wood Elves and why?” My response is the guest post " Would You Rather Be a Hammer or a Nail?" Check it out and see if you agree!
LA: Your fourth book is coming out in a few months, and you are in your early twenties. What was your path to publication like, and what is your writing life like these days?
LC: Pretty crazy, isn’t it? I wrote my first book at eighteen, and it wasn’t really all that great. It was rejected by 120 agents, and then I went on to write another book, where I took my time and really focused on editing. That one was finally picked up, and it took about nine months to sell. Overall, I’ve learned that editing is incredibly important! Without edits, a book doesn’t do as well as it could.
LA: You’re writing two series simultaneously, the Balance Keepers series of middle-grade fantasy books and the teen Murder Complex series. How is switching gears between two series, and what differentiates writing middle grade from young adult?
LC: It’s a little strange sometimes, having to balance two completely different series. One is very dark, and the other is very fun and lighthearted. My YA series is in first person, and my middle-grade series is in third person, so that sort of “tricks” my brain into switching when I sit down to write. But mostly, it’s the darkness and light that set the two apart.
LA: I think I spot some of your influences in Balance Keepers: The Fires of Calderon, and wasn’t surprised to see Harry Potter mentioned in your bio. Growing up, what were your favorite stories—not just books, but films, comics, etc.? What sort of narratives did you gravitate toward?
LC: I loved Harry Potter so much, I think I read them all about five times growing up. I also loved the Chronicles of Narnia. And of course, I have always been a big Marvel fan. I love superheroes, and always wished someday I’d get bitten by a radioactive spider or something. ☺
LA: I love maps of fantasy worlds, and The Fires of Calderon has two! How did you build the three worlds of the Realm? Did the world come first or the story? (And I guess a related question would be “Are you a plotter or a pantser?”)
LC: I love the maps in BALANCE KEEPERS! The artist did a fantastic job of bringing my Realms to life. I imagined the coolest, most extreme settings on earth: volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, jungles, oceans, etc. And then I just made them magical, and added in super-cool creatures that I wouldn’t mind owning myself. ☺ I’m a MAJOR pantser, but since I started writing BALANCE KEEPERS, I’ve become a plotter. I just think plotting saves me from writing myself into too many holes later on during the drafting stage!
LA: I love that the magical tiles in Balance Keepers don’t just grant our protagonist powers—they can be used to play games as well! Are there rules for the game of tiles? Are you a gamer yourself?
LC: There are totally rules—but I’m too lazy to actually sit down and plan the real game myself. (That’s pathetic, I know!) I’m a huge board game and card game player, and growing up I used to love this marble/board game called AGGRAVATION. Also, Monopoly never gets old. (Until you hit the three-hour mark, and then it totally does get old.)
LA: Finally, do you have any particular ritual or funny requirement that you have to do to write? A space, a song, a snack to have on hand?
LC: I love hot Cheetos!! They are my writing fuel. Also, I drink a fancy energy drink called Spark, and that keeps me from falling asleep on my keyboard.
LA: Thank you, Lindsay. Book 2 in the Balance Keepers series, The Pillars of Ponderay, will be released September 22nd. You can learn about all of her work and stay up on news by visiting her website.