City of Hope & Ruin Blog Tour + Review

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What are you currently reading?

I just started Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. I belong to a speculative fiction Twitter book club, and this was our pick for June. But apparently everyone else also wanted to read it, because it took me two months to get it from the library. I’m also reading Georgiana Darcy’s Diary by Anna Elliott because I’m a Pride and Prejudice addict and occasionally feel the need to read more in that world.

Do you have a favorite author? Who is it?

I wouldn’t say I have a favorite author. It’s kind of like choosing a favorite child, isn’t it? I have go-to authors when I’m various moods, and authors where I’ll buy almost anything they put out, and authors that I like as people and authors that I admire as craftpeople. It’s a lot of different people. I probably shouldn’t start a list because we’ll be here all day.

When did you start writing?

I think I was 8. My first project was a collection of truly terrible short stories collectively entitled The Seven Special Princesses or something along those lines, and each princess had a talent, except they were mundane things like hair braiding (which still eludes me, which is probably why I thought that was a pretty neat skill) and painting. I don’t really remember a lot more, and I destroyed all copies of the stories at age 14 in a pique of self-criticism.

Why do you write?

I’ve always loved stories, and I love the way you get to see characters, places, and story lines evolve and grow as you write. There’s always surprises along the way.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

For City of Hope and Ruin, our intended audience is adult, female fantasy readers. And they should read our book because we have awesome, diverse characters, two unusual settings, creepy antagonists, and a whole lot of secrets. Oh! And some romance.

If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be? Why? What would you say to them?

I’ve always been partial to meeting Albert Einstein. He seems like such an awesome guy—a nonstandard thinker, brilliant scientist, appreciative of the arts, and who can forget that hair? I dressed up as him once in 8th grade for a school assignment but my mustache kept falling off when I talked.

I don’t know that I would say anything specific to him, but I think it would be interesting to talk with him and see how his brain worked.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Well, the Fractured World universe is intended to eventually be a shared world project, with other Turtleduck Press authors behind able to come in and write their own stories. So all of us did a brainstorming session where we settled on genre and what sorts of elements we wanted to have included, and then Siri and I, as the guinea pigs, as it were, took all those elements and made a cohesive world/story out of it.

Tell us about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Our cover was designed by Deranged Doctor Design, which was recommended to me on some writing forums. They specialize in modified photo art, which seems to be the theme in covers at the moment. We went with a setting/symbol cover because they had issues finding people that could properly represent Briony and Theo, who are both women of color, to put on the cover.

Who would you cast for the main characters if your book became a movie?

Oooh, that’s hard. I’ve never been too good with matching character images in my head to actors. And I always feel like my knowledge of who’s out there just isn’t very complete.

How about an excerpt from your book meant to capture our imagination and make us want to read more?


Briony closed her eyes. Please, she prayed to the Old Ones, as bad an idea as that might be, please, I just need some magic to save my family.

“What the fuck?” said a voice from behind her. There was an accent to it. When Briony turned, she found herself looking at a strange, ethereal woman who glowed blue in the fading sunlight. Briony’s breath caught in her throat. A spirit, Old Ones, a spirit. She hadn’t even considered spirit talking in her magic list—it was said the spirits couldn’t be trusted, and that people who consorted with them sought forbidden knowledge to sow evil and mayhem—but it was a sign of magic within her somewhere, and maybe she could use that to transition to something the Academy would accept.

The spirit was beautiful, a tall, statuesque woman who had a hard glint in her eyes. Her hair was short, indigo blue through the glow and tightly curled, her skin a lighter shade over wiry muscles. One hand clenched a smallish item made of metal, the other a long tube with some kind of blade on the end. Briony had never seen anyone like her. Though she glanced around and held her body like someone expecting danger, her bearing was proud and strong, and every inch of her spoke of power and competency. A warrior. Briony had heard stories of them, left over from the Great War, but had never seen one herself.

Was that when this woman was from? The War?

“The trio—the monsters—where am I?”

Briony realized she hadn’t responded, and that perhaps this spirit had been looking for someone to talk to for a very long time, and maybe she would assume Briony couldn’t see or hear her either. “Don’t be afraid,” she said.

The spirit’s eyebrows rose. “That’s a…never mind. What is this place?”

“Well,” Briony started, taking a step forward. But her ankle buckled and she stumbled, managing to catch herself before she fell.

“You’re injured,” said the spirit. “Were you attacked?”

“Yes—you see, there was a Fracture back there, and—” Confusion crossed the spirit’s face. Maybe she was even older; maybe she didn’t know about the War. “There was a war, many generations ago, and the Old Ones, though I don’t know if it was ours or theirs or both, created creatures and plants that looked normal but weren’t. Fractures. Because they…fractured some part of the creature. I don’t know.” Briony was aware she was not being clear, though the woman just watched her intently. “Anyway. There were these people—they were supposed to save us. But they abandoned us and left us on our own. And we drove off the other side—the Scarred—eventually, but we couldn’t get rid of the Fractures. If that makes any sense.”

“A Fracture is…a monster?” the spirit asked. The idea seemed to mean something to her, though Briony could not imagine what.

“Yes, you could say that.”

The spirit raised the long tube with the blade, glancing around with hard eyes. “Is it still here?”

“No, no. I outran it. We’re safe now.”

The spirit gave her an odd look. “Safe,” she echoed.


Every night the monsters hunt.

A city that is the whole world: Theosophy and her companions in the City militia do their best to protect the civilians from the monsters, but they keep crawling from the Rift and there’s nowhere to run. Theosophy knows she’ll die fighting. It’s the best kind of death she’s seen, and at least she can save lives in the meantime.

They say the Scarred carve you up while you’re still alive.

A village in the shadow of a forest: Refugees from the border whisper about the oncoming Scarred, but Briony can’t convince her brother to relocate his children to safety. Briony will do anything to protect them. She owes them that much, even if it means turning to forbidden magic.

When Theosophy and Briony accidentally make contact across the boundaries of their worlds, they realize that solutions might finally be within reach. A world beyond the City would give Theosophy’s people an escape, and the City’s warriors could help Briony protect her family from the Scarred. Each woman sees in the other a strength she lacks—and maybe something more.

All they need to do is find a way across the dimensions to each other before their enemies close in.

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Coffee Cup On Wood Table At Sunset Or Sunrise Beach

5**** Not your usual fantasy read – much better than that. 

For starters, I’d like to say I love reading fantasy books but I avoid YA as much as I can. In this case, I wasn’t aware City of Hope and Ruin was a Young Adult title because it’s not described as such in the blurb and it’s not placed in that Amazon category. However, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and that’s why I wanted to make my aversion to YA clear from the beginning. This is a very good book regardless of genres.

I don’t like reading spoilers so I don’t write them in my reviews. With this book, that makes writing about it quite hard. LOL

My favorite kind of fantasy story is the one which puts the reader right in the middle of the action and presents the world and its characters indirectly from their interactions and descriptions of the settings. For me it feels like putting together a puzzle, which is one of my favorite leisure activities. I’m sure this was one of the reasons I enjoyed City of Hope and Ruin so much. You literally land in the middle of a chase through the rooftops of the City and it can only get better than that. It’s like starting an action movie with a huge car chase scene. Throw in some magic, monsters, and menaces and you have a recipe for a great read.

Alternative POVs make my day when they’re well written and don’t seem like ‘head-hopping’. It seems having two different authors writing this book might have helped with that as I’m guessing each wrote one POV because they’re distinctively different as are the characters. That added quality to the experience of reading the story. Finally, the many twists and turns in the plot keep the reader engaged and looking forward to the story’s resolution, which the reader will find by the end of the book. But that doesn’t mean one will want to stop reading. *winks* Although there’s no indication of this being a first novel in a series, I do hope to read more about these worlds.

The authors also did a great work building the distinct worlds where the main characters live, their personalities, and characteristics. Theo is a trained warrior in the City while Briony is a healer in Westenaedre. They are both strong and capable young women; however, they couldn’t be more psychologically different and physically apart. Yet they kind of complete each other. Besides, they need to find a way to work together to save both their worlds. Not an easy task; but it wouldn’t be a fantasy book otherwise. LOL




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$50 Amazon/BN GC

AUTHORS Bio and Links:

ABOUT KIT AND SIRI It is a little known fact that Kit was raised in the wild by a marauding gang of octopuses. It wasn’t until she was 25 that she was discovered by a traveling National Geographic scientist and brought back to civilization. This is sometimes apparent in the way that she attempts to escape through tubes when startled.

Her transition to normalcy has been slow, but scientists predict that she will have mastered basics such as fork use sometime in the next year. More complex skills, such as proper grocery store etiquette, may be forever outside her reach.

Kit can be found cavorting about the web at her blog or website, on Pinterest, and even occasionally on Twitter.

Siri Paulson writes all over the fantasy and science fiction spectrum, including (so far) secondary-world fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, Gothic, historical paranormal, and YA with spaceships. She is also the chief editor at Turtleduck Press ( Siri grew up in Alberta, Canada, but now lives in an old house in Toronto. By day, she edits non-fiction for the government. Her other current passion is contra dance, a social/folk dance done to live Celtic and roots music. Her favourite places in the world are the Canadian Rocky Mountains and a little valley in Norway.

Siri’s short fiction and the anthologies she has edited can be found on Turtleduck Press. She blogs here and tweets @Siri_Paulson.

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22 thoughts on “City of Hope & Ruin Blog Tour + Review

  1. For me, YA is more about the character’s maturity than chronological age. But, then again, as I stated in my review: first, I’m not an expert in YA; second, I’m into fantasy books and City of Hope and Ruin rocks and that’s why I rated it as 5 stars. It’s an awesome book. 😀


  2. Thanks for hosting!

    I did have a question, though, Liz–what says YA to you about the book? YA typically has characters between the ages of 15-20 and explores themes of finding one’s place in the world. Theo is 24 and Bree is 25 and both have established places/careers. But you’re not the first person that’s called it YA, so I’m interested to see what’s pointing that way.

    Liked by 1 person

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