Tuesday, August 14, 2012

While I was Out… (Books Received)

Things have been pretty great on the book front recently, so I wanted to share some thoughts and info on some of the new novels that arrived while I was up in Durham for the last few weeks. Here’s the pile:


The top seven on the stacked pile were sent to New York, and Alyssa kindly forwarded them on to me. However, it’s entirely possible that I’ll be sending them right back, if all goes well on Thursday…


Well, not all of them will go back – James Swallow’s Fear to Tread and at least one more of the Black Library books will be read over the next three weeks. Probably the short story collection, Shadows of Treachery. They’ve become a little battered in transit, but if I get them both read, I’ll offer them and Know No Fear and Deliverance Lost together as a special Horus Heresy giveaway. Darius Hinks’s Orion is also very high on the t0-read list, so I’ll be trying to get to it quite soon.

Pollock-TheCitysSonUKThat’s actually my third copy of Tom Pollock’s The City’s Son (got him to sign a US copy at BEA, got the UK ARC, and that’s the UK final). I’m going to get in touch with him, and see if he can think of a good competition/giveaway. Here’s what it’s all about:

Hidden under the surface of everyday London is a city of monsters and miracles, where wild train spirits stampede over the tracks and glass-skinned dancers with glowing veins light the streets. When a devastating betrayal drives her from her home, graffiti artist Beth Bradley stumbles into the secret city, where she finds Filius Viae, London’s ragged crown prince, just when he needs someone most. An ancient enemy has returned to the darkness under St Paul’s Cathedral, bent on reigniting a centuries-old war, and Beth and Fil find themselves in a desperate race through a bizarre urban wonderland, searching for a way to save the city they both love.

The City’s Son is the first book of The Skyscraper Throne trilogy: a story about family, friends and monsters, and how you can't always tell which is which.

Tregillis-2-TheColdestWarUSIan Tregillis’s The Coldest War will be read very soon as well. I loved his debut, Bitter Seeds, and can’t wait to get my teeth stuck into this novel. Very much looking forward to it. Here’s the synopsis:

For decades, Britain’s warlocks have been all that stands between the British Empire and the Soviet Union – a vast domain stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel. Now each wizard’s death is another blow to Britain’s national security.

Meanwhile, a brother and sister – the subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary people with superhuman abilities – escape from a top-secret facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. They head for England, because that’s where former spy Raybould Marsh lives. And Gretel, the mad seer, has plans for him.

As Marsh is once again drawn into the world of Milkweed, he discovers that Britain’s darkest acts didn’t end with the war. And while he strives to protect queen and country, he is forced to confront his own willingness to accept victory at any cost.


Lev Grossman’s The Magicians and The Magician King are also high on my list, and have been for a good long while. I have no idea why I haven’t got around to them, but I intend to get to them soon-ish. In the meantime, I should point out that Mr Grossman’s answered some interview questions for me, and they’ll go up on August 22nd.

RyanFP-3P1-SnowmeltRiverThe Snowmelt River, the first in another new fantasy series published by Jo Fletcher Books (who seem to be going gangbusters at the moment), written by Frank P. Ryan, sounds quite interesting:

On the summit of the fabled mountain Slievenamon in Ireland there is a doorway to an ancient land of terrible power. The gate of Feimhin has lain closed for centuries, the secret of its opening long lost. But now four orphans drawn together by Fate must pass through the portal to face their destinies. What they find beyond is the enchanted but war-ravaged world of Tír, a strange land peopled by beings of magic. Here death waits at every corner and they must learn to fight if they are to survive. And they’d better learn quickly, because their enemy, the Tyrant of the Wastelands, is growing in power.

When will I get to it? We’ll see. It’s not at the top of my list, I have to admit, but it does sound pretty cool. If you have an interest in reviewing it for CR, then feel free to drop me a line/email, and maybe we can get it reviewed quicker than if it was just up to me.


From two of Prometheus Books’ imprints (Pyr and Seventh Street – the latter of which I’ve written about before), we have E.C. Myers’s Quantum Coin, the sequel to the well-received Fair Coin (one of the novels that opened my eyes to how good YA fiction can be); and also two debut thrillers – The Bookseller by Mark Pryor, and The Ragnarok Conspiracy by Erec Stebbins. All three of these are pretty high-priority for me, but they may end up being some of the ones that get sent back to New York.

Stroud-NicevilleCarsten Stroud’s Niceville, a new horror-thriller, sounds pretty good, too:

When ten-year-old Rainey Teague disappears on his way home from school in idyllic Niceville, Detective Nick Kavanaugh traces the boy to his last sighting – staring into the window of old pawn shop in town. CCTV shows Rainey there one minute and then gone the next. In the days that follow, any hope Rainey’s family has of finding him alive starts to fade but then Rainey is found – alive but in a coma, and there's no telling when, or if, he’ll ever wake up...

One year on, Kavanagh is still haunted by the case. And now another member of the town – this time an elderly woman – has been reported missing. It’s as though she vanished into thin air. Once again, Kavanagh’s on the case and, as he starts to dig back through the town’s history, he can’t help but notice that Niceville has a much higher than average number of stranger abductions...

I’ll try to get to this one ASAP, too, but it’s going to be a very difficult month for choosing next reads, so I make no promises…

Keller-KillingInTheHillsNext up, at the bottom of the stack, is Julia Keller’s A Killing in the Hills, is the start of a new US crime series. And it sounds pretty cool, so I hope to read it sometime in between the speculative stuff:

The first in a new series featuring prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins – set in the beautiful crime-ridden town of Acker’s Gap.

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, visitors see only its stunning natural beauty. But for those living there it's a different story. The mountain roads harbour secret places, perfect for making the prescription drugs that tempt its desperately poor.

Bell Elkins left a broken teenager, savaged by a past she couldn't forget. But, as prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, Bell is back and determined to help clean up the only home she has ever known.

As winter sets in and her daughter is witness to a shocking triple murder, Bell finds her family in danger. Can she uncover the truth before her world is destroyed again?

Kristoff-1-StormdancerOh, and one final addition (it was on a different shelf, so I didn’t see it early enough to include it in the photo: Jay Kritoff’s debut, Stormdancer, which I have been eagerly awaiting for well over a year, ever since Chloe Healy announced on Twitter that Tor had purchased UK right for the series. Japanese steampunk? Count me in.

Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father are sent to capture one for the Shōgun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects.

Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu form a surprising and powerful bond.

Meanwhile, the country verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shōgun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko uneasy, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shōgun’s crimes, both against her country and her family. Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu are determined to make the Shōgun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?


  1. Nice haul! I've been meaning to read the Horus Heresy novels (just as soon as I can see a crack of light beyond the TBR pile). I have Grossman a read, but didn't like his style or plotting at all.

    Stormdancer sounds interesting . . .

    1. The Horus Heresy novels are great - there was a slight wobble early on, when they seemed to lose focus, but they've rallied extremely well. I think they're among the best series novels I've read, actually. Definitely worth your time.

      I've only read Grossman's CODEX, which was a little weird for my tastes at the time. But, also very different from the Magician series, so I'm hoping I'll like these a lot more.

  2. Wowza! That's one hell of a haul! I've got Stormdancer on my TBR pile too; but first I've just started reading Tomorrow the Killing :)

    1. I can't stop reading Tomorrow the Killing - it's superb. Builds perfectly on the first novel, and is just great. A must read, and definitely a contender for my favourite novel of the year. Tough competition, but it's definitely up there. Top 5 at the very least.

  3. From the cover it looks like Shadows of Treachery is yet ANOTHER anthology of shorts. Meh...I really wish they'd just skip it and get the full books written. I'm rereading the Heresy books[in order of course] right now. I'm back up Nemesis. I've still got to pick the ones from Know No Fear, on.

    1. It is another anthology, yes. Apparently, only two of the pieces in it are 100% new, which is a little disappointing. However, seeing as I haven't heard the audiobooks that are reproduced as prose here before, it should all be new for me.

      Keep an eye out this weekend/next week for a Horus Heresy giveaway... ;)

    2. Well i for one am a deaf reader of the HH series so the audio books will be completly new to me.