Monday, November 26, 2012

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 11/24

I hope my American readers had a pleasant and calorie-filled long Thanksgiving weekend (or, at worst, didn't have to work too many hours at retail this Black Friday), and that the rest of the world had a week not too much worse than normal. I say that because it's a social nicety, and because -- after doing these posts weekly for several years -- I've run out of on-topic, coherent things to say to begin them, and so have a tendency to just babble randomly for the first paragraph.

With that out of the way: this is a new week, with new books, all sent to me by the wonderful Publicists of Publishing. I haven't read any of these books yet, but I can tell you some things about them anyway, an those things (which are guaranteed to be as true as possible) are:

The Price of War is a handsome paperback repackaging of the back half of Daniel Abraham's acclaimed fantasy series "The Long Price Quartet" -- that would be the novels An Autumn War and The Price of Spring -- as a follow-up to the similar omnibus Shadow and Betrayal, which came out last year. Price was published by Tor earlier this month, and comes with encomiums from Jay Lake, George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Jo Walton, S.M. Stirling, Paul Di Filippo, and (unexpectedly) Junot Diaz. I haven't read the series myself, but who am I to quibble with such a line-up?

To see how much my manga-reading has deteriorated in the past year, I'll point to the next book: Is This a Zombie?, Vol. 3by Sacchi, the latest in the manga series based on the light-novel series by Shinichi Kimura (with art by Kobuichi and Muririn, who therefore designed all of the characters). I have the first two volumes sitting on my shelf to read, so I can't say a whole lot about this one -- I believe it's a shonen harem story (the M-rating tends to agree with me) with one shlubby boy and a bevy of busty supernatural girls (at least one vampire, I'm sure, though the Japanese don't go in for werewolves the way we do in North America) who fall all over him and/or beat him up for perceived bad behavior. This one, like the first two volumes, is from Yen Press.

Joanne Bertin -- author of The Last Dragonlord and Dragon and Phoenix, which I acquired for the SFBC way back in my prior life in the last century -- is back with a new novel in that series after more than ten years of silence. Bard's Oath is a hardcover from Tor on November 27th, continuing the high-fantasy story of shape-shifters and dragons than I vaguely remember liking at the time. (Hey, it's been thirteen years! I've read a lot of other things since then. If it weren't for the flood last year, I'd be able to pull out my old reports and see what I said about the old books at the time, but those were yet more things I lost last year.) Anyway, if you remember the old books, or just want a big fantasy in the McCaffrey mode, check this out.

Hannu Rajaniemi, the latest wide-screen-SF wunderkind and author of The Quantum Thief (see my review) is back with the second novel in the trilogy -- did you really think any mildly successful SFF book would avoid becoming at least a trilogy? you are so silly! -- The Fractal Prince, a Tor hardcover also coming on the 27th. Quantum Thief was big, bold, and almost too zippy for words -- so much so that less-experienced SF readers have reported having trouble comprehending it -- so I'm happy to see Rajaniemi back for another go, and not quite as happy to keep trying to teach my fingers how to spell his name correctly.

And last for this week is The Bones of the Old Ones by Howard Andrew Jones (also known as the managing editor of Black Gate), the sequel to The Desert of Souls and thus the second of "The Chronicles of Sword and Sand," a pseudo-Arabian fantasy series. I understand that this is an old-fashioned sword-and-sorcery style series, meaning that each novel and story stands alone (and, I dearly hope, that Jones's heroes at no time attempt to save the world), so a reader could easily begin with this volume, in which scholar Dabir and swordsman Captain Asim head out into the worst winter in history to battle an evil cabal and save a beautiful noblewoman. Bones is a hardcover from St. Martin's Press, coming December 11.

1 comment:

James Davis Nicoll said...

encomiums from [...](unexpectedly) Junot Diaz.

You know this, of course, but for those of your readers who do not, the suspiciously literary Pulitzer Prize winning, MacArthur Fellow Junot Diaz is a huge SF fan, well versed in the classics.

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