Monday, August 30, 2010

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 8/28

This week, the package fairies -- of various parcel services -- brought me three books I didn't expect, which (as usual) I haven't read yet. But I can tell you something about them, from a quick glance and the exercise of my massive ratiocinative skills, plus the usual bit of pure guesswork and hope.

First is A.J. Hartley's Will Power, second in what seems to be a secondary-world fantasy with vaguely Shakespearean overtones (after Act of Will). It also looks to be witty -- not funny, in the way of wacky fantasy full of zany elfs and cheeseball dwarves, quick-talking magic swords and absent-minded wizards with very pointy hats, but smart and quick -- which would be a wonderful thing to find in the dour, serious shelves of fantasy. I haven't read this first one, but this looks like good stuff -- it's edited by Liz Gorinsky, who is both smart and has good taste. Will Power will be published in hardcover by Tor on September 19th.

Also from Tor in September -- though this one is a trade paperback -- is Marie Brennan's new novel A Star Shall Fall. It's the third in a series set in 18th century London -- following Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie -- focusing on a secret faerie court far below the city.  (I'm waiting for the book in which the faerie court isn't secret at all -- they pay their taxes, have a representative on the zoning board, and run vegetable shops or something like that -- their neighbors think they're a little weird and foreign, but never quite agree on what kind of foreign.) This time, they realize that the dragon they bound into a passing "star" -- after he caused the 1666 fire -- is on its way back, since that "star" is a comet newly traced by Edmund Halley. And we all know that dragons are quick to anger in the first place, so one that's just been on an unwanted seventy-five-year tour of the outer solar system is not the kind of guest you want to come back to your city annoyed about his reception last time.

And last this time around is the third book about drawing in a manga style from Christopher Hart, Manga for the Beginner Shoujo (following the original Manga for the Beginner and Manga for the Beginner Chibis). It's heavily illustrated -- as of course it would have to be -- with step-by-step drawings from sketchy lines all the way to finished colors of cute boys, girls in hats, demon boys and girls, lots of hair, giant eyes, and the all-important clothes. If you'd like to learn to draw in this style, you need this book -- and you get get it as soon as Watson-Guptill publishes it on September 21st.

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