Monday, April 02, 2012

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 3/31

The last books from the Mighty Month of March! This is so intensely exciting that I can barely type out these words! Dispatches from the realms of the written word -- all freeze-dried between covers and sold for a pittance to anyone who can find them in the few outlets remaining! Can you understand how earth-shattering these volumes are?! You must imagine that I am screaming all of this at you at the highest possible volume!

First up, since it's on top of the pile [1] is Rhiannon Frater's Siege, which is the third book in her cheerily-titled series "As the World Dies." (I will be so happy when this current boom of kill-everyone-in-the-world-except-my-perky-protagonists books ends; I much prefer speculative fiction when it tries to imagine solutions and possibilities, rather than mega-death and misery.) I saw but did not read the first two books in this series -- I'm really, really not the best reviewer for zombie books, so I'm sure Frater would be happier if I didn't review her books -- but, for those you who like the unquiet dead chewing on flesh while plucky female protagonists try to save civilization somewhere in the wilds of post-apocalyptic Texas, this one (which appears to be the finale of a trilogy) hits retailers on April 24th as a trade paperback from Tor.

And then there's Brian Evenson's Immobility, which I'm afraid is another apocalypse novel. (This one has something that I'm doubly afraid is called the "Kollaps," implying that spelling rather than civilization may have taken the first hit.) The flap copy is in second person, but, thankfully, the book itself does not seem to be. Evenson is a respected writer in the horror community -- his last novel, Last Days, was well-reviewed, and he has won at least one IHG award. Anyway, this book is about one paralyzed guy, after that "Kollaps," who is dragged off somewhere by some people to do something -- the letter and flap copy is all mysterious, tarting up its lack of specificity in that flashy second-person style -- and, one presumes, it will all be Meaningful and also Horrifying. So far, I'm not convinced. Immobility comes from Tor as a hardcover on April 10th.

I saw A.M. Dellamonica's new novel Blue Magic as n advance review copy back in January and wrote about it thusly:
My first sequel this week is A.M. Dellamonica's Blue Magic, which follows last year's contemporary fantasy Indigo Springs and continues the story of the underground river of pure magic (Vithagua) and the two people who found it: one of whom wants to rule the world, the other to heal it. This one is a trade paperback from Tor in April.
It's now a real book, and I still haven't read it.

I've seen good interesting reviews of the manga series called The Drops of God -- by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto, about wine and wine-lovers, which has been a huge hit in France, unsurprisingly -- but I've never read it. What I have here is the third volume, which is probably not the place to begin. This volume, like the ones before it, is published by Vertical in the USA, and is now available.

Forged in Fire is the third volume in an urban fantasy series by J.A. Pitts about Sarah Jane Beauhall, blacksmith turned dragon slayer -- the first was Black Blade Blues -- and it's coming from Tor as a hardcover in June. The magical background of this series looks to be more Wagnerian than usual -- those dragons, and a reference to the god Odin, and dwarves in previous books -- but it's set in the Pacific Northwest (home of sparkly vampires), in case that rings anyone's bell.

And last this time out is Paul Melko's novel The Broken Universe, also coming from Tor as a hardcover in June. (I read Melko's first novel, Singularity's Ring, in 2008, and liked it, but I seem to have missed his in-between book, The Walls of the Universe, which I suspect may be related to this one.) It's a SFnal adventure novel of multiple universes, possibly the distant spawn of Fred Pohl's great The Coming of the Quantum Cats, in its multiple-versions-of-the-same-person cast and fate-of-the-worlds stakes.

[1] I used to carefully organize the stack of books for "Reviewing the Mail" each week, to have a book I really liked first, another one last, and then try to shape the middle somehow. But, like anything else you do regularly for several years, that plan has mutated, and now they mostly get covered in whatever order the pile stands on Sunday morning.


RobB said...

I stick with the tried and true alphabetical order.

Paul said...

Yep, The Broken Universe is a sequel to The Walls of the Universe.

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