Monday, March 30, 2015

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 3/28

It's Monday once more, and I have a few books to tell you folks about. As usual, these arrived, semi-unexpectedly, over the past few days, and they're all newly published or just about to come out from their various houses. I haven't read these books, but I have perfected a mixture of the quick glance and the unsupported assumption over my nine years of blogging, and I will use those awesome powers to describe these books to you now.

First up is Melanie Rawn's new fantasy novel Window Wall, the fourth in her Glass Thorns series that started with Touchstone. This time out, we've still got a pseudo-Elizabethan world with many fantasy races and ubiquitous magic, but our young hero, Cade, is finally accepting his magical visions and trying to figure out what potential future events they're showing him. And, since prophetic visions of breakfast are very rare in fiction -- sadly so, keeping mundanity and everydayness carefully corralled in the real world -- those visions are of course about devastating, horrible explosions. (And I suppose he should be happy they're not of The End of All Things, the traditional wellspring of fantasy visions.) Window Wall is a Tor hardcover, arriving April 14.

I've seen several editions of James Dashner's very popular YA novel The Maze Runner over the past couple of years, both before and after the recent movie. And I now have a new one at hand: The Maze Runner/The Scorch Trials: Collector's Edition, which collects the first two books in the series along with some new "bonus content." [1] Coincidentally, The Scorch Trials is turning into a movie as well, and will reach theaters in mid-September. If you don't know the series, it's yet another near-future dystopia, where teens are cruelly sorted and tormented by the nasty oppressive adults who don't understand anything and can't see The Truth -- which is not at all a metaphor for actual teenage life, no sirree -- until the main kid rises up to lead the revolution and start down the path to Logan's Run. This particular series has a whole bunch of boys stuck in a death-trap maze, because that's what you do with the next generation of workers in your society: try to murder them all off early. This edition gives readers two whole novels for one price, and is available on April 14th.

Now, this is interesting. Tor is bringing out Peter Orullian's 2012 novel The Unremembered in a new, somewhat rewritten edition as The Unremembered: Author's Definitive Edition on April 7th as a trade paperback. If I'm reading the description right, this isn't a case where the first edition had some errors, or extensive cuts, but instead that Orullian was working on the sequel and realized he had painted himself into too many corners "some core truth was missing." That core truth -- not sure what it is, exactly, but it is definitely core and truthful -- is now included. I do wonder if Orullian will discover yet more "core truths" are missing when he comes to write book three -- or five, or twelve -- and I hope he'll realize that going much further down this path will quickly lead to The Prelude syndrome: rewriting over and over the beginning and never getting to the big thing originally planned. This new core truth edition also contains a exclusive short story set in the same world -- it looks like Orullian has been writing a whole bunch of stories in that world for -- and the first chapter of the second novel, Trial of Intentions, which itself will be coming in May. And one certainly hopes that "core truth" will be included in Trial of Intentions from its first edition.

DC Comics sent me a couple of hardcovers from their ongoing reprints of the "New 52 initiative" -- just as it's ending, to be replaced with whatever comes out this this year's big events -- but I will note that these will probably be the last DC books showing up in my mail. I let the very nice publicity people at DC know that they might possibly have conflated me -- Eisner Judge class of 2009, ex-ComicMix reviewer, ex-Realms of Fantasy reviewer, general smart-alec -- with the Andrew Wheeler who recent became editor in chief of the major website for comics news, Comics Alliance. (We're not the same person; amusingly, we've never even met.) They didn't quite admit that's what they did, or declare that they'll never send me any further books, bu I have a highly developed ability to read between the lines.

Honesty is the best policy, but sometimes it's tough.

Anyway, here's Harley Quinn Vol. 2: Power Outage , written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, with art by Chad Hardin and John Timms, collecting the second clump of issues from what I think is a popular, funny series. (I am way outside of the superhero-comics loop these days, mostly by choice.) In this volume, Harley finds an amnesiac Power Girl in Coney Island and claims they are a long-time crime-fighting duo, and then takes a trip to the San Diego Comic-Con, because comics aren't nearly self-referential enough.

And I also have Wonder Woman Vol. 6: Bones, written by Brian Azzarello with art by Cliff Chiang and Goran Sudzuka, which ends their run on this book. (I don't remember if there was a recent relaunch before the big linewide crossover event, or if this was the run-up to the event. And, honestly, I don't really care: contemporary superhero comics are just a blur of relaunches, linewide crossover events, and shocking changes these days, and I'm much happier not bothering to pay attention.)

[1] As a marketer myself, I'm very prone to using the word "content" to describe written stuff, though I hope I'd think twice before putting it on a book cover. It's a very marketing-sounding word, and not customer-friendly.

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