Books I’m Eyeing is going to change a little bit. Instead of just books I’m eyeing, I’ll also touch on the books I’m working on this week. As with all things, my full reviews of these books will drop as soon as I finish them, or closer to publication date. You’ll also get to see just how much I flit from book to book all week. I usually read about five books at the same time, but I have so many good ones landing on my doorstep right now, I’m floating between more than I usually read at once. I love it, but I think some people think I am insane regarding how much I read at once.
I haven’t done as much reading as I’d like this past week. it has been insanely busy recently, and my website and my Special Needs in Strange Worlds column has paid for it with a sharp decline in content. I truly apologize for that. I don’t mean to slack off, but by the time Tuesday hit this week, I was a drooling mess. I’m just now starting to feel like I have time to breath a little bit. I love three day weekends and I plan to spend as much of it in my pajamas with a book as possible.
Bonus: I’ve started writing my next Special Needs in Strange Worlds column, as well as a few reviews, so content should pick up here, and hopefully I’ll start being “regular” on SF Signal again. I truly feel horrible for letting that website down with my slacker-ish ways. On a side note, I’ve had absolutely horrible luck having authors pull through with guest posts that they offered to write for Special Needs in Strange Worlds. Actually, I’ve not yet had an author actually send me a guest post that they offered to write for Special Needs in Strange Worlds. This really, really disappoints me and it kind of makes me wonder what I am doing wrong. So, if you want to guest post for me over on SF Signal, please email me at Sarah (at) bookwormblues (dot) net and we can talk details. I’d love to have someone write something about disabilities in SFF related TV, and comics/graphic novels. However, I’ll take anything, and I’d LOVE anything. I really want that column to explore many different aspects of disabilities in SFF as possible.
Anyway, here’s your post. Enjoy!
Here are the books I’ve been working on:
Traitor’s Blade – Sebastien de Castell
This book has truly surprised me. I first ran across it on someone else’s website, and it immediately made it onto my Books I’m Eyeing post. Luckily for me, the people at Jo Fletcher Books took pity on my soul and have put me on their reviewer list. This was the first book they sent me and I want to fly over to England and kiss them all. This book has honestly surprised me. I can’t put it down. From the mixture of fascinating politics, dark personal stories, and wry humor, I’m pretty much sold. Mix into that some stunning writing and fantastic world building with shocking depth and you’ve really got something special here. It has already been published in the UK, and the US publication date is set for July 1, 2014. Keep your eyes out for it. This book is… just wow.
Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson
This book has been harder for me to read, not because it’s bad, but because it is so huge. I can’t take it to work with me like I usually do (I read on my breaks). I can’t really read it when my kid is around because she likes to sit on my lap and “read” books with me. However, I have had some time alone where I’ve been able to put this hell of a heavy book on my lap and read, and I love every minute of it. This one will take me a while to read, but it will be completely worth it. Words of Radiance is, so far, far and away better than The Way of Kings, which is saying something because that book was absolutely enthralling. I am loving the continued world building, and the twisting and often surprising politics. There is a lot of depth here, and I really feel like Sanderson poured a lot of his soul into this book. It’s a true treat. I recommend you read the first book before you start on this one, but really, why wouldn’t you want to? You can’t go wrong with The Stormlight Archive series. I also need to mention that the artwork inside the book is just about as good as the book itself. I absolutely love it. The illustrations aren’t just pointless to add some ‘ta da’ to the pages. They actually help the readers visualize the world or various subtleties of the world better (for example, runes). Very, very well done in every respect.
Night Owls – Lauren M. Roy
I’m almost done with this one, and my review (and a giveaway) will be dropping very soon. Suffice it to say, if you’re sick of the same-old-same-old urban fantasy tropes, this is one of those books you’ll want to pick up. Fast paced, well written, engrossing, and a lot of fun. Night Owls is unique in a lot of ways. Told from a few different perspectives, this book somehow manages to remain intimate despite that. Fast paced, absorbing, and lacking any real romantic tension (which is a pet peeve of mine, so I was kind of sold right there). Roy does some interesting things with the typical urban fantasy baddies (vampires, etc) that makes them feel fresh and revived, while steeping them in popular lore so they don’t feel unrecognizable to the readers. Lots of fun and a very fresh punch to a genre that can easily feel way too stale.
Unwrapped Sky – Rjurik Davidson
To be fair, I just started this one last night but I feel like I should mention it here because the writing is absolutely gorgeous. While I’m so fresh into it I can’t really say anything about the plot or characters yet, I can say that the world seems to be absolutely unique and I feel like this book might turn into something special. Also, minotaurs. How many books with minotaurs have you read? For me, I can probably count them on one hand. I like fresh, new things and I like beautiful writing, so I have high hopes for this one.
Tropic of Serpents – Marie Brennan
This book arrived at my house on release day. I love Brennan’s writing, and how she shows this Victorian-style society from the point of view of a capable, strong, and out-of-the-box female. I’m enjoying this book quite a bit, but I’ve just started it. I’ve just started this one as well, but so far I don’t seem to feel as captivated as I did with the first. That’s not saying it is bad, but I think this book might have a slower start than I expected. As with the first, I absolutely love the cover art, and Brennan’s writing has a flowing grace that makes me love the stuffy Victorian setting more than I anticipated.
Here are the books I’m eying.
Lagoon – Nnedi Okorafor
Discovery blamed on: Civilian Reader
About the Book
When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.
At its heart a story about humanity at the crossroads between the past, present, and future, Lagoon touches on political and philosophical issues in the rich tradition of the very best science fiction, and ultimately asks us to consider the things that bind us together – and the things that make us human.
Malediction – Lisa Morton
Discovery blamed on: Dark Wolf’s Fantasy Reviews
About the Book
In 1863, a young woman’s heritage is stolen from her, and she lays a terrible curse on the City of Angels. Now, in the 21st century, a teenaged girl with lethal psychic abilities arrives in Los Angeles, ready to ally herself with vengeful spirits of the past to feed her insatiable appetite for destruction. Only Gwen Michaelson, a natural healer afraid of her gifts, and Sam West, a broken amnesiac who was once a brilliant historian, stand against the psychotic and increasingly powerful May Blanco. Will Gwen be able to use her skills to restore Sam’s mind, which holds the key to the mystery of May’s unearthly companion? Together, can they find a way to stop May before she unleashes a wave of death?
MALEDICTION is a novel about magic and darkness, power and lust, folklore versus fact, love against rage, and the secret history of Los Angeles.
The Enchanted – Rene Denfeld
Discovery blamed on: Fantasy Book Critic
About the Book
A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.
“This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it, but I do.”
The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.
Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners’ pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.
Beautiful and transcendent, The Enchanted reminds us of how our humanity connects us all, and how beauty and love exist even amidst the most nightmarish reality
What books are you eyeing?
Hyde – Daniel Levine
Discovery blamed on: The Ranting Dragon
About the Book
A reimagining of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the monster’s perspective, Hyde makes a hero of a villain. As a bonus, Stevenson’s original novel is included at the back.
Mr. Hyde is hiding, trapped in Dr. Jekyll’s surgical cabinet, counting the hours until capture. As four days pass, he has the chance, finally, to tell the story of his brief, marvelous life.
We join Hyde, awakened after years of dormancy, in the mind he hesitantly shares with Jekyll. We spin with dizzy confusion as the potions take effect. We tromp through the dark streets of Victorian London. We watch Jekyll’s high-class life at a remove, blurred by a membrane of consciousness. We feel the horror of lost time, the helplessness of knowing we are responsible for the actions of a body not entirely our own.
Girls have gone missing. Someone has been killed. The evidence points to Mr. Hyde. Someone is framing him, terrorizing him with cryptic notes and whisper campaigns. Who can it be? Even if these crimes weren’t of his choosing, can they have been by his hand?
Though this classic has been often reinvented, no one ever imagined Hyde’s perspective, or that he could be heroic. Daniel Levine changes that. A mesmerizing gothic, Hyde tells the fascinating story of an underexamined villain.
I haven’t taken Words to work to read on lunch breaks for the same reason you aren’t, Sarah.
Yeah, it’s a BIG book.
While my general preference is always physical copies, I was happy to have been sent a PDF of Radiance. Made life a whole lot easier.
I think a digital copy would have been nice, but I do love having the physical one. Living in the same state as Sanderson, I have a pretty high likelihood of getting it signed. I already have the first book signed… running into him and getting this one signed too would be awesome.
I bought both a Kindle version and hard cover version of Words of Radiance for that very reason…far too unwieldy to take back and forth to work.
I’m going to crack into Unwrapped Sky here soon myself. I have wanted to read it from the moment I saw the cover and was so thrilled to get a review copy of the book. Can’t wait to see Allen Williams at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live to tell him in person how much that cover rocks.
I’m looking forward to Lagoon to. Sounds very, very good.
Who Fears Death is my first book by Okorafor, and it put her solidly on the map of authors-I-must-always-read. She’s incredible, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
As for Words, not only is the novel very unwieldy, but I’m kind of in awe of the mind that can write a book that long.
Did you read this post by Sanderson?:
Seriously, it’s a fantastic cover. Reminds me of Elizabeth Bear’s trilogy.
Heh, Words of Radiance might be huge but it didn’t stop me taking it to work so I could read it on the train and during lunch. 😛
I also started Unwrapped Sky last night. Only about a 1/4 of the way through, but I think it’s going to be amazing. Curious to see what you think about it.
“Traitor’s Blade” is such a fun book! Not perfect, but definitely impressive!
And I have seriously envy of your copy of “Tropic of Serpents.” I sadly wasn’t able to get a review copy of it, so now I have to wait until I can afford to buy a copy instead (which I have no problem doing, of course, but the impatient reviewer in me wants to read it now now now, and has been wanting that for months :p).
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