Monday, March 04, 2013

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 3/2

It's late Winter here in New Jersey -- the dull, boring kind of Winter, where it's pretty cold but not ridiculously so, any snow is in shrinking grey piles at the ends of large expanses of parking spots, and it's as likely to rain as anything else -- but perhaps it's more pleasant wherever you are. But, if not, it's a great time of year to stay indoors and read, and perhaps one of these books will be just what you're looking for.

I have four books this week, all of them sent by proficient and perspicacious publicists, which I have not read. I may yet read any or all of them, but that will happen later -- right now, though, here's what I can tell you about these new/upcoming titles, in hopes one of them will be Your Favorite Thing Ever:

Deep Down is the second in Deborah Coates's contemporary fantasy series -- though it seems to tend more to the Graham Joyce arena rather than Laurell Hamilton --  after Wide Open. First of all, it's set in South Dakota, so it's not "urban" fantasy. Second, I can detect no vampires or werewolves (sparkly or otherwise), and our heroine (Hallie Michaels) does not seem the type to breathe heavily about same if they did show up. Lastly, the supernatural element is that Hallie can talk to the dead -- an ability she gained after nearly dying herself while serving in Afghanistan. It looks moody and smart and specific, and Deep Down -- in which Hallie, having left the army and not seen ghosts for weeks, gets involved with an elderly neighbor stalked by spectral black dogs -- comes out from Tor in hardcover tomorrow.

Every successful property will be adapted to every media possible: that's one of the mantras of our age. And so Beautiful Creatures, the popular YA novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, not only became a movie that you might have noticed recently, but also a "manga" adaptation (presumably because, for the target audience, manga are what they call comics that they actually read) by freelance illustrator Cassandra Jean, which hit stores last month from Yen Press. The cover oddly doesn't say "manga" or "adaptation" or comics, and looks like a fancier edition of the original novel, but I can assure you that it's all panels on the inside. I'm still bemused by the existence of a comics adaptation of a widely-available novel (particularly when, like now, there's also a movie with its own visual look), but they don't make these things for me, do they?

Elspeth Cooper has a name made for epic fantasy, and she clearly knows it: she's back with Trinity Rising, the second book in her "Wild Hunt" series. It's about one of those young men (this one is named Gair) who has incredibly powerful, unexpected magic, which will sunder him from everything he ever loved before he finds his True Destiny. In this book, the sundering is well underway, but the True Destiny is still murky. Trinity Rising is a Tor hardcover.

And last for this week is the latest in the series of graphic-novel adaptations of classic stories edited by Tom Pomplun and published by his Eureka Productions, Native American Classics. This edition contains ten stories and eight poems, all by Native authors, and Pomplun was joined by two Native associated editors (John E. Smelcer and Joseph Bruchac) for this volume. I hope this series is finding its way into a lot of classrooms and school libraries -- it's a great way to introduce anybody to great literature, and especially kids. Native American Classics is already available.

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