Monday, November 07, 2011

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 11/5

I've got something to admit: most of the books I've been writing about here, every Monday morning for the past few years, didn't actually come in "the mail" -- they arrived by various private carriers, from DHL to FedEx to those guys in brown. (Oh, sure, a few of them did come in mail trucks, but that's a small fraction.)

But "Reviewing the Variously-Sourced Packages" just doesn't have the ring to it that I'm looking for, so this post will keep its name, even if that's slightly inaccurate.

Speaking of inaccuracies, what I'm about to tell you concerning these books might not be the absolute truth. Oh, I'm going to try to get it all right, but I haven't read any of these books yet, and it's entirely possible that I'll trip up somehow. If I do, I'm sure someone will gloat loudly in comments, so you have that to look forward to. But you're probably here to find out about new books, so let's have a look at this pile to my immediate left:

Princess Knight, Part One collects the first half of a well-known Osamu Tezuka manga series from the mid-'50s (as revised and re-serialized in the mid-'60s), about a princess born with two hearts -- male and female -- who thus is both an expert fencer and gorgeous. I've never read this one -- and I'm more familiar with Tezuka's later work, aimed more squarely at adult audiences -- but it looks like swashbuckling fun, with a side order of gender comedy. Vertical published this first volume last week -- and the second half of the story will be coming next month.

DAW will publish its usual three mass-market paperbacks in the month of December, and those are:
  • Under the Vale, edited by -- who else? -- Mercedes Lackey, with seventeen new stories of those magical talking horsies and their buddies (I kid), from Tanya Huff, Fiona Patton, Rosemary Edghill, Elisabeth Waters, and Lackey herself with Larry Dixon.
  • Human for a Day is the monthly Tekno Books anthology -- this time with sixteen original stories (from Jay Lake, Seanan McGuire, Anton Strout, Tanith Lee, Jim C. Hines, and others) about "what it means to be human" -- edited by the late Martin H. Gerrnberg and Jennifer Brozek.
  • And then there's Gini Koch's Alien Proliferation, fourth in a romantic-comedy SF series about a CIA agent, her alien now-husband, and various dangerous complications.
Autumn: Disintegration is the third (of four) novels in a zombie series by David Moody; it was originally self-published (along with a slew of other Moody horror books that are coming out really quickly), but is being reprinted by one of those old-fashioned real publishers, Thomas Dunne Books (part of St. Martin's Press), this month. It's a zombie novel, so don't expect me to read it or say anything positive about it.

Stands a Shadow is the second novel by epic fantasy writer Col Buchanan, and, as fate would have it, it is the second book in the series ("The Heart of the World") that began in that first novel, Farlander. It's the kind of book that has a Holy Matriarch, Free Ports, a fortress city called Bar-Khos, and a Roshun assassin named Ash -- if you like that sort of thing, this looks just like the sort of thing that you'll like. It's a Tor hardcover in November.

Also from Tor in hardcover in November, also in a big fantasy series (fourth in "The Imager Portfolio"), but from a writer who's been around slightly longer, is Scholar, the new L.E. Modesitt, Jr. novel. This is the fourth in the series, but it seems to be a distant prequel, set hundreds of years earlier.

I'm pretty sure I read and enjoyed Yves Menard's first novel in English, The Book of Knights -- it came out in my book-club days, when I had people reading books for me and I read bits of dozens of books a month, so I can be a bit fuzzy sometimes -- so I'm happy to see another one, the multiple-universe fantasy novel Chrysanthe, in which a young woman learns that her entire life is a lie, that she's the true heir to the titular fantasy kingdom, and (of course) heads home to take what is rightfully hers. It's coming from Tor as a hardcover in March.

To change gears entirely, Mush!: Sled Dogs with Issues is a graphic novel about (yes!) sled dogs, who talk to each other and have complicated internal lives and conflicts like any workplace. It's written by Glenn Eichler -- a TV writer whose previous graphic novel was Stuffed! (my review) -- with art from Joe Infurnari, whose name I know, though I'm not sure from what. This is coming from First Second in December, just in time for the big dog-racing season for those of you who live in very snowy places.

Also from First Second is The Silence of Our Friends, which looks much more serious: it's a story of the civil-rights era 1960s, written by two comics-connected friends (who don't seem to have written comics before), Mark Long and Jim Demonakos, with art from the excellent Nate Powell. (Powell's Swallow Me Whole -- see my review -- was one of the very best books of any kind of 2008, and his new Any Empire -- also see my review -- is also quite good.) This one is coming in January.

Last for this week is Jasper Kent's The Third Section, the third novel -- after Twelve and Thirteen Years Later -- in his giant vampires-in-19th-century-Russian-history series. (I have to admit that I haven't read these, but they look really good.) This one brings the story up to 1855 and the Crimean War, and it's a trade paperback from Pyr that was just published at the end of October.

1 comment:

Paul D said...

I thought Farlander was actually quite good. A guild of assassins sounds pretty cliched, but he sets them up in an interesting way. The end was good too.

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