Monday, April 27, 2015

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 4/25

Welcome back to another week's worth of mail -- it's another interestingly diverse collection of stuff, mostly vaguely connected to SFF and comics. As always, I haven't read these books, but I'll tell you what I can about them anyway, because that's the kind of guy I am.

First up is the most diverse: the book I was least likely to see in the first place. Alexandra Robbins is the author of several previous well-researched, bestselling nonfiction books, mostly in the modern oral history style: she investigates a particular subculture or group of people, profiles a few of them at length, and turns her results into a book. (She could be seen as this decade's Tracy Kidder, maybe.) Her new book is The Nurses, a look at a year in the professional lives of four women who work in four different hospitals in one unnamed American big city. It was published in hardcover by Workman on April 14th, and I expect you'll be seeing Robbins on a number of TV shows talking about it over the next few weeks.

Where is the new novel from Kit Reed, about the sudden, inexplicable disappearance of everyone on small coastal Kraven Island one morning -- from the point of view both of the disappeared, in their strange new place, and those left behind. It's a Tor hardcover, coming May 12th.

Jack Campbell's popular military SF series -- in its current incarnation as The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier -- continues in the new novel Leviathan, in which series hero Admiral John Geary pursues a deadly force of entirely AI-controlled warships to their secret base to finally put an end to them. It's an Ace hardcover, coming May 5th.

Mary Robinette Kowal is back with the fifth, last, and longest book of her Austen-inspired historical alternate history series: Of Noble Family, in which the protagonists travel to Antigua to do some work connected with a family estate. And, of course, situations there are much more complicated, and much worse, than they thought back in England. It's a Tor hardcover, available this very Tuesday -- which is to say tomorrow. (I reviewed the first two books in this series, Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass.)

Seriously Wicked is a novel about teenager Camellia -- adopted by a witch, and not happy with her demands to begin with -- and about what happens when that witch-mother summons a demon that accidentally gets free into Camellia's high school. It's from Tina Connolly, author of the Ironskin trilogy, and it's coming from Tor on May 5th. And it looks like the fun here shouldn't be left to just teenagers.

Lincoln Child is a dependably bestselling author of thrillers with scientific and supernatural elements -- not quite science fiction, but definitely the next genre over -- both on his own and in a long series of collaborations with Douglas Preston. He's back with a new solo novel, The Forgotten Room, about a hidden chamber at one of the country's top think tanks and the old top-secret experiment that was carried out there -- and what it may still be doing today. Forgotten Room is a hardcover from Doubleday; it's hitting stores on May 12th.

And now we get into the manga -- this week I've got a small pile of pretty early books in their respective series, meaning there's a lot of new-reader friendliness right here. They're all from Yen Press, and all hitting stores right around now.

First up from Yen is Trinity Seven, Vol. 1, by Kenji Saito and Akinari Nao. It's about a boy who goes to magic school after a strange phenomenon whisks his cousin away -- but what seems more important is that it turns into a harem-manga at that school, with "seven beautiful girls -- each a master of her own magical art" as what seem to be his fellow students.

Next is the manga of IIs It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Vol. 1, adapted by Kunieda from the light novel by Fujino Omori. Our hero lives in a world out of a MMORPG, with a city of busybody gods up top and a gigantic dungeon filled with monsters below -- and, like so many manga protagonists, he wants both to become rich and famous and to get as many girls as possible.

Suu Minazuki's series is back as well, with Gou-dere Sora Nagihara, Vol. 3. I believe this is another harem manga, more or less, with the usual schlubby teen hero who accidentally got a literal fantasy girl zapped into his life and the wacky hijinks that inevitable ensue from that.

And then there's Hiroji Mishima's High School DxD, Vol. 5, adapted from the original light novels by Ichiei Ishibumi. See my review of the first volume, from last year. It sounds like it's only gotten more complicated -- and full of girls -- since then.

And last for this week is the first volume a new big reprinting of an acclaimed story by Kaoru Mori: Emma, Vol. 1. This time out, it's in a hardcover, and contains two of the earlier paperback volumes. I've never read this series, but I've heard good things about it: it's a down-to-earth story about ordinary people in late-Victorian England, focused on the title maid.

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