Monday, January 16, 2017

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 1/14

Another week has come and gone, and it's Monday once again. For Americans of my age, today is the unexpected holiday -- surprisingly soon after Christmas and not a day we got off as kids -- and could be unexpectedly pointed this year. But I'm here to write about the books that showed up in my mail, so let's get into that.

These two books arrived unannounced on my doorstep, and I don't know much about them. But let me poke at them a bit, and tell you what I find.

First up is a new epic fantasy novel from Terry Goodkind, whom you might have heard has been very popular and successful at doing that very thing. Death's Mistress is particularly interesting, since it begins a new sub-series -- or maybe an entirely new series, depending on how you look at it -- in his same very popular world. (Which I don't think has an overall name -- correct me in comments if I'm wrong.) After fifteen novels basically about Richard Rahl, plus his girlfriend and obvious the various Dark Lords he had to defeat along the way, Goodkind's original main character may perhaps have gotten slightly overpowered and somewhat encumbered by responsibilities to keep running around saving the world.

So this book launches the adventures of Nicci, who I gather was a secondary character in some of the earlier books. (I started the series, way back when, but only got through the first three or so.) Nicci is off to map the edges of Rahl's kingdom in this book, which sounds like it could be the basis for a great picaresque adventure series. And those who want more traditional epic fantasy should be happy to note that the description declares that "the future of life itself ... is at stake."

Death's Mistress is a Tor hardcover, on sale on January 24th -- look for it to start climbing bestseller lists soon thereafter.

The other novel I have this time around is from an author I'm less familiar with, Paul Crilley. Department Zero is  the story of Harry Priest, a much put-upon man: he's divorced and has to jump through hoops just to see his daughter, and he also has a messy dead-end job cleaning up crime scenes in LA. But then he accidentally gets caught up in a case of the Interstitial Crime Department -- the cops of all of the alternate worlds -- and learns that magic, Lovecraftian monsters, and much worse really does exist out there. This is a trade paperback from Pyr, coincidentally also coming out on January 24th.

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