Monday, April 11, 2016

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 4/9

Someday I'll actually decide if Antick Musings will go back to being a book-review blog (which would require me, y'know, reviewing books) or if it will be something else. But, for now, it'll stay as it is.

The good news with that is that you get a brand-new Reviewing the Mail post for this week, with seven varied books that arrived in my mailbox last week. They're all interesting for different reasons, each will definitely be someone's favorite book this year -- and that could just be you.

As always, I haven't read any of these yet, and I make no promises as to when or whether I will read any of them. But here's what I can tell you about them right now.

First up is the new raksura novel from Martha Wells, The Edge of Worlds, which follows three earlier novels (first was The Cloud Roads) and two books of short stories. (And I used to read all of Wells's books, but I see I've fallen really far behind -- don't take that as any judgement on her work, since I still want to read them; I'm just that far behind on everyone these days.) This one is a hardcover coming April 19th from Night Shade, and it begins a new series in this world -- so it would be a great place to start reading Wells, if you haven't before (or have been away for a while, like me).

Log Horizon, Vol. 2: The West Wind Brigade is the second in a manga series about gamers trapped in an online game (yes, another one of those), adapted from the light novels of Mamare Touno by Koyuki. Despite the cover, this one does not seem to be mostly about scantily clad young women frolicking in the water, which may disappoint some of you. It's available from Yen Press right now.

Also from Yen is the hardcover omnibus Emma, Vol. 4, collecting what I think was originally two paperback volumes of Kaoru Mori's series together. And I keep hearing that this story of a maid in Victorian England is one of the better manga stories -- and Mori is definitely well-respected -- so I might have to see if I can find the earlier omnibuses and just read the darn thing.

Vertical tends to do quirkier manga than the bigger houses -- more to my taste, usually, than the standard shonen fare of teenagers battling demons between classes at the greatest magic school in Tokyo -- and so I have hopes for Riichi Ueshiba's Mysterious Grilfriend X, Vol. 1, which otherwise looks pretty standard. (Regular-guy high school hero, odd girl transfers to his school, and it turns to romance in a weird way.)

Also from Vertical is Kaori Ozaki's The Gods Lie, which is another semi-romance story about young people, though these two are slightly younger (middle school), it's a one-volume story (refreshing!), and there's a "dark secret" ominously mentioned on the back cover.

I am not generally the audience for self-published books -- being a publishing professional for many years, I have a vested interest in the vetting process of Real Publishing -- and self-published books by two authors that sound like minor '80s teen comedies are only slightly closer to my style. So I'm probably not the right person to convince you to read Practical Applications for Multiverse Theory, by Nick Scottt and Noa Gavin. But it's from Inkshares, and it's about two teens -- he's a geek! she's a cheerleader! together, they save all of the parallel worlds! -- who realize that universes are collapsing into their high school, and that they're the ones who need to do something about it. Practical Applications is a trade paperback, officially available on April 19th.

Last up for this week is the new fantasy novel from Steven Erikson, whom I'm also horribly far behind on. (He does write gigantic complex books, so I have an excuse.) Fall of Light is the middle book of his current fantasy trilogy, which reminds me that I'm still only about halfway through his gigantic ten-book Malazan Book of the Fallen, which I want to finish someday before I die. Fall is a Tor hardcover, available April 19th. And Erikson is probably the most epic fantasy writer imaginable -- his characters start at Elric-level and get more tormented, powerful, and complicated from there.


Anonymous said...

Martha Wells is one of my favorite authors. The Raksura series has very interesting worldbuilding and, well, at least to me, very engaging characters.

Anonymous said...

I started Emma, but after 4 or so volumes decided to quit as there was no end in sight. I'm not sure why I was able to read unending western comics (graphic tales) but kick at seemingly unending manga (price differential, maybe? seem to move even slower than, say, X-Men?)

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