"There are images and scenes in this novel that will probably stay with me always, much as if I had dreamt them ... The writing is starkly poetic, haunting, skilfully fractured. Jo Ely certainly knows how to manifest a sense of the uncanny ..."
Mark Mayes, shortlisted for the Bridport prize, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service, & author of forthcoming novel 'The Gift Maker'
“Jo Ely has managed to write a book that creates in the reader's mind strangely exotic characters and a bizarrely futuristic setting that are as real and vivid as in any film. The cinematic effect is remarkable. I was sometimes reminded of Pan's Labyrinth, the dark fantasy film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro. At the same time she instils in us huge empathy for every creature in the multi-tiered society she's built. She brilliantly injects just enough of our world in both setting and characters for them not to be exclusively alien. The result is that we feel deeply for their dramatic predicaments ... a wild emotional ride through a maze of plot twists and jaw dropping landscapes. A truly enjoyable read.”
Independent Publishers Book Awards USA Gold Medal Award Winner, Andrew Smith, Edith's War
“Jo Ely's superb debut novel combines the vision of Russell Hoban and Ursula Le Guin with her own unique talents as a powerful and poetic storyteller.”
Oprah endorsed writer Roman Krznaric, acclaimed author of Empathy and The Wonderbox
“Ely’s fictional voice resonates with raw emotion, and her writing is as tactile as the damp walls and the crack in the ceiling of Antek’s cell. The simplest description can be imbued with a complexity of feeling and meaning. Her characters seem rendered with great tenderness, a tenderness that can only inspire in the reader empathy and affection.”
New York Times Review Notable Book of the Year author Sandra Tyler (Blue Glass)
“There is a poetic compression to this artfully simple prose with each sentence infused with the perceptions and psychology of the character.”
British Science Fiction Association Best Book of the Year nominee, CM Taylor, author of Light, Grief, Cloven and Premiership Psycho
“This is powerful, poetic prose. You display a deftness of touch and a beautiful way with words which make your talent plain. And the subject matter – the setting and emotional content of your story - is superb... Your imagination, your facility for sumptuous prose, and your deft handling of the story's psychological and emotional content are hugely impressive, and Stone Seeds is a very good book.”
MJ Hyland, the Booker Prize nominated author of Carry me Down, and Trevor Byrne, the critically acclaimed author of Ghosts and Lightning.
“Strong sensory opening... Adeptly establishes character and mood with lyrical strokes... nuanced and satisfying... Small revelations in a singular moment.”
Fish Publishing on A Godless Prayer for the Feet (taken from Jo Ely’s novel Stone Seeds). Her short story was shortlisted for the prestigious Fish Short Story Award 2012/13, an established event on the literary calendar. Fish is a small press which packs a literary punch. “Fish is doing God's own work” – Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes.
“A very distinct voice ... at times no less than stunning ... wonderful, poetic prose ... The subject matter is a stroke of genius. Fascinating.”
Bestseller Sophie King, aka journalist Jane Bidder
“A very accomplished prose stylist... Very talented.”
Acclaimed writer CM Taylor, author of Light, Grief, Cloven and Premiership Psycho
“ An intelligent, creative, imaginative, original writer.”
Guardian Book of the Year Author, Trevor Byrne
“A great debut novel. I got lost in the fantasy, but very real world, that was created. I also felt deeply connected to some of the characters ... a Hunger Games for a new generation, with a bit of Gormenghast thrown in.”
Una Devine, formerly of the BBC, LBC, ITV broadcast news parishes
“In a cruel and bullying dystopia, The General rules and everybody knows it. But as in every good tale of humanity gone wrong, three characters, Antek, Zorry, and Jengi, aren't prepared to accept it ... At times my heart was in my mouth ... Gruesome as it is in parts, it's also beautifully, poetically written.”
Author Jackie Buxton, writing in Chase Magazine (Jackie is the author of Tea & Chemo and Glass Houses, Urbane)
“Spare and taut writing that still delivers a real emotional impact ... A great debut novel.”
Amanda Saint, author of As if I Were A River (Urbane)
“I've never read anything like this novel. It is a true original ... Jo Ely is a natural talent who leaves the reader hungry for further food for thought, whilst being nostalgic for a time that never existed ... A great work of sci-fi that is relatable and out of this world. A stunning debut.”
Writer Clarissa Angus has been published in magazines and short story anthologies and been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. You can find her work at Liars League, Litro Magazine, Ether Books, ABC Tales, The Artillery of Words, and Raging Aardvark Twisted Tales.
“Jo's debut novel is a very unusual and extremely well written sci-fi novel. Her imaginative and poetic storytelling reminded me of the works of Ursula Le Guin. The realisation of her landscapes has a cinematic quality. Jo's writing is both powerful and lyrical, giving life to a very well crafted plot ... [it's a] dark fantasy set in a bizarre futuristic setting and inhabited by characters I found interesting and empathetic. I was gripped ... A very distinct voice ... Compelling, beautiful prose and her world creation is so stunning and original ...”
Sue Wrinch is a published poet, spoken word performer, and an organiser of poetry collective Loose Muse (her poetry collection 'Down by Wild Water' is published by Morgan's Eye Press)