Monday, August 10, 2015

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 8/8

I'm back again, and here are the books that arrived over the past week. As long as publishing companies continue to think that sending free books to some random guy in North Jersey is a good idea, I'll continue to write about them here every Monday morning -- this my pledge to you the home viewer.

I do not, however, pledge to be perfectly accurate or fair, though I do try. So if I insult your favorite author, either inadvertently or on purpose, I hope you won't take it personally.

First up is the new Mistborn book from Brandon Sanderson, Shadows of Self, which is coming as a hardcover from Tor on October 6th. (Sanderson gets to go first because my younger son -- the one who plans to be an evil, world-conquering genius one day -- picked up one of his YA books at the library yesterday. This clearly proves Sanderson is a great writer, since all of the Wheelers have impeccable taste.) Shadows of Self is set in the steampunky end of the Mistborn timeline, I think -- I'm not entirely clear on this series, though I'm pretty sure it spans several centuries and different tech levels -- and focuses on a guy named Waxillium Ladrian, who I don't think is a series hero.

I have a couple of manga volume from the fine folks at Vertical, a scrappy and smart company that focuses on translating Japanese books for a US audience (fiction, non-fiction, and manga). Witchcraft Works, Vol. 6 is the latest in Ryu Mizunagi's series, about a school for witches -- yes, yes, another one of those.

Vertical also has Gamon Sakurai's Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 6, continuing that series about unkillable demi-humans and how they are exploited and tormented.

Updraft is the first novel from Fran Wilde, a YA in which a young protagonist is forced to give up her dreams, join a secretive governing organization, and confront the horrible secrets that underpin her world. Oh, wait -- I said "YA" already. (Actually, wait: it's priced at $25.99 and isn't from an official YA imprint, so maybe it's an adult novel along the exact same lines.) It's coming from Tor on September 1st in hardcover.

Judd Winick, whom I will always think of as that guy from the first season of The Real World -- I'm old, and that's about the last reality show I watched -- is back with a new series of graphic novels for those shorter people who live among us. (No, not gremlins -- kids.) Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth is about a sunny, blond-haired kid with great powers and very little knowledge about our world, because he's not from here. Wacky, kid-friendly hijinks ensue. This one is from Random House's Young Readers imprint on September 1.

Here & There is a big fat first novel from playwright/screenwriter Joshua V. Scher -- who I suspect was thrilled to be freed by the limitations of people in space actually saying his words and that drove him to write 650-plus pages -- which looks like the thriller-y end of SF or the SFnal end of the thriller. A teleportation experiment went badly wrong, and then the author of the secret government report about that experiment went missing -- so now one man must Find the Truth, No Matter What the Cost. It's from Amazon's 47North imprint, available November 1st.

Nightwise is the third novel from R.S. Belcher, in which he turns to urban fantasy after two weird westerns. It's got the usual tough protagonist and the usual world full of supernatural stuff. But it also has a great first sentence:
The banker was crucified on the wall of his Wall Street office, fountain pen jammed through both wrists, an Armani Jesus.
It's a Tor hardcover, coming August 18th. And I might just read this one -- I think I still have one or both of his Westerns sitting around on the why-don't-you-read-me shelves.

And last for this week is The Fall of the House of West, a new Battling Boy graphic novel and the direct sequel to The Rise of Aurora West. Like Rise, Fall is written by JT Petty and Paul Pope with art by David Rubin. (The original Battling Boy was by Pope alone, and there are supposed to be direct sequels to that coming also from his own pen.) Like the others, this is from First Second, and set in a giant city where humanity is menaced by all kinds of horrible child-stealing monsters and protected by a very few champions. I'd start with one of the other books -- either one would do -- but this is fun stuff, so I do recommend it.

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