Monday, February 11, 2008

Reviewing The Mail 2/11: Mass-Markets

This second of three posts today will list and comment on the mass-market paperbacks I received last week. With all of the doom and gloom surrounding this format, I'm thrilled to say that there is a nice-sized pile of them; I might not be able to get all of the covers in. Most of them are from the Penguin empire, but that's just the luck of the boxes this week.

(And I expect I'll have less to say about most of this stuff, but let's see.)

Unquiet Dreams is the second book in an urban fantasy series by Mark Del Franco, who was very polite and well-spoken just about a year ago, when Elizabeth Bear and I kept talking and talking on a Boskone panel about urban fantasy. (We did let him get a word in edgewise, now and then, but he had to work hard for it.) It's set in Boston, it's the sequel to Unshapely Things and the hero (Connor Grey) is what appears to be a consulting druid. (Nice work if you can get it.) It's from Ace, and it's already published.

Garden of Darkness is by Anne Frasier, and is the sequel to Pale Immortal. It's set in Wisconsin -- and sounds like it has at least one vampire in it -- but it looks and sounds a lot like a Southern Gothic. So, if anyone out there is looking for a Northern Gothic, this just might be it. This one is from the Onyx imprint, which is down the hall from Ace (or maybe on a different floor -- I don't know 375 Hudson street as well as I could).

The Watcher is the third in an urban fantasy series -- "Anna Strong, Vampire" is the name on the box -- by Jeanne C. Stein, continuing Ace's domination of that area. Anna is a new vampire, a former bounty hunter, and a supernatural enforcer. From the back-cover copy, she only has one boyfriend, which makes her positively grandmotherly for this genre.

Airs and Graces has a cover with a woman in pseudo-Victorian clothes (but with split skirts) holding the reins of a horse with wings. I predict it will sell a bajillion copies. It's the second in a series about a wild country girl who accidentally bonded with a winged foal to become one of the best students at the Academy of the Air. Oh, yes -- make that two bajillion copies; I can see a lot of people really liking this. It's by Toby Bishop, also published by Ace, and has a quote from BookLoons on the front cover. Really, folks, I can't make these things up.

From Berkley -- Ace's older stepsister -- is Yasmine Galenorn's Darkling, which proclaims itself to be paranormal romance. (And what's the difference between "urban fantasy" and "paranormal romance?" Either nothing or everything, depending on who you ask -- and you'd better back up from the ones who say "everything," since they'll probably start gesturing wildly.) This one is the third in a series, and its cover features a bit of cleavage, but otherwise gets across the desired "tough chick" attitude without any of the usual markers (back to the camera, tattoos, leather, whips, and so on) -- good work from Tony Mauro there.

You may have heard of Patricia Briggs's Iron Kissed already -- it was a #1 bestseller for much of the past month -- and I hope my former compatriots at That Place are paying attention. This one is the third book in a series about a werewolf mechanic, and it's also from Ace.

Moving away from the shores of girls in tight leather and the vampires that love them, The Lost Fleet: Courageous is the third in a Military SF series by Jack Campbell. (And I seem to remember that "Jack Campbell" was someone else, once upon a time, but I forget who. And if you have to choose a pseudonym for your fighting-in-space books, "Campbell" is a great choice.) This is also from Ace, and it's also already published.

Keeping in the MilSF line (though not from Ace) is Robert Buettner's Orphan's Journey, third in his space adventure series. (It's been a few years since the first two -- which I thought were great, fast-paced fun -- but the card page of this book lists two more future titles, so I hope that means Buettner has been busy in the meantime.) Orbit publishes Orphan's Journey in April.

Also from Orbit is a bugcrusher of a paperback, Karen Miller's Empress. It's the first in the "Godspeaker" trilogy, with which she's following up the surprising (to me, at least -- I'm surprised by a lot of things) success of her first books, the "Kingmaker, Kingbreaker" duology. This is also coming in April. I see from the About the Author page that Miller lives in Australia, which explains much -- there's been a flood of female fantasy writers from Down Under over the past decade, from Sara Douglas and Jennifer Fallon to Margo Lanagan and Elizabeth Knox.

And last for this batch is yet another Ace book, Anton Strout's Dead To Me. It's urban fantasy, male protagonist subdivision, featuring a psychometer who works with the NYPD. The back cover doesn't mention any romantic entanglements, but those usually take longer to develop in male-protagonist UF than the ones with the leather-clad chicks. (And I'm sure a theory on that subject would be good for an MA somewhere moderately reputable.) This seems to be Strout's first novel, and it's publishing at the end of this month.


Anonymous said...

I believe Jack Campbell is John G. Hemry.

Anton Strout said...

I swear there's some sweet, sweet lovin' in Dead To Me! It just might be awkward what with the ghost woman and the forces of darkness putting the moves on him!

Di Francis said...

Toby Bishop is Louise Marley.


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