Monday, April 18, 2011

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 4/16

Another week has come and gone, bringing us that much closer to our inevitable deaths. But why think about that when there are new books in the world!?

These are the new books that showed up in my mailbox over the course of the last week. I haven't yet read any of them, but, using my incredible blogging powers, there are some things that I can tell you about them:

Tor is reissuing two Christopher Pike novels for a new generation of teens -- if you're not aware, Pike has been a major writer for the Young Adult market (variously defined, and variously named, over his career) since I was a Young Adult, back in the misty dawn of time. First, and oldest, is The Season of Passage, which has a 1992 copyright date, but which a short note from Pike explains was written in the late '70s. It's about the second manned mission to Mars, which, in best Bradburyian fashion, is hoping to find out what happened to the first manned mission to Mars, which disappeared ten years ago. (Complicating the picture -- and this will mean little to The Kids These Days -- is the fact that the first mission was Russian and the second is American.) Season of Passage's back cover promises fantasy, horror, and suspense on top of the expected science fiction, so you'll definitely get your money's worth with this trade paperback, which went on sale at the end of March.

The other Pike reissue is Sati, a parable about a girl who claimed to be God that was originally published in 1990. Pike has a note in this one, to clue in the new kids about the technological deficiencies of that era, but I'm sure they can figure it out without much trouble. (My own ten-year-old son has been rampaging his way through "A Series of Unfortunate Events" recently, and there's no technology higher than an elevator in those books.) Sati also hit stores as a trade paperback at the end of March.

I saw The Cardinal's Blades -- a historical fantasy by French writer Pierre Pevel, set in a 1633 when Paris is menaced by dragons and Cardinal Richelieu must save it with the aid of his crack squad of adventurers -- a few months ago, though it looked like a lot of fun, and put it aside to read. Before I managed to get to it, the sequel has come along: The Alchemist in the Shadows, in which Richelieu finally gets a solid lead about the mastermind behind the secret Black Claw organization that has been trying to destroy France. Both books are from Pyr and have been translated by Tom Clegg; Alchemist hit stores last week, and Blades has been available for some time. If you're looking for swashbuckling, this looks like a great choice.

And last for this week is Alexey Pehov's Shadow Chaser, which I saw previously as an advance proof but has now become a real book. (Tor publishes it in hardcover this month.) It's the sequel to Shadow Prowler and the continuation of the Chronicles of Siala, which has been a massive hit in Pehov's native Russia and elsewhere. The series looks to be modern epic fantasy, of the small-band-of-tough-men subgenre, and I suspect that "Russian" is here meant to be a marker for "dark, bloody, and large-scale."

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