Friday, May 02, 2014

Books Received (End of April/Beginning of May)…


Featuring: Jim Butcher, Trudi Canavan, Stephen Hunt, Kameron Hurley, Richard Kadrey, Stephen King, Shane Kuhn, Mark Lawrence, Sarah Lotz, Elizabeth Moon, & Graphic Novels

Butcher-DF-SkinGameUKJim Butcher, Skin Game (Orbit)

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day. As Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.

This time, it’s worse than that. Mab’s involved Harry in a smash-and-grab heist run by one of his most despised enemies, to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure horde in the world – which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the Underworld.

Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess – assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance…

A series that seems to be going from strength to strength with each new novel. And yet, I’m now so far behind, I have no idea when I’ll get around to reading this. Thankfully, a friend loves this series, and will hopefully review it for the blog.


CanavanT-1-ThiefsMagicTrudi Canavan, Thief’s Magic (Orbit)

In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.

Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it – should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.

But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands.

Not even the people they trust.

This is the first in a new series from Trudi Canavan, an author I have always wanted to read, but never got around to. Partly, this is because I always seem to find middle-series titles, and promptly forget to pick up series openeres. Now, though, I have this, so I shall do my damnedest to get it read! It sounds pretty cool, too. It is published in the UK on May 15th.


HuntS-FCS1-InDarkServiceUKStephen Hunt, In Dark Service (Gollancz)

Carter has been kidnapped. Enslaved. But he’s determined to fight to the end.

Jacob is a pacifist. His family destroyed. He’s about to choose the path of violence to reclaim his son.

Their world has changed for ever. Between them, they’re going to avenge it.

Jacob Carnehan has settled down. He’s living a comfortable, quiet life, obeying the law and minding his own business while raising his son Carter… on those occasions when he isn't having to bail him out of one scrape or another. His days of adventure are – thankfully – long behind him.

Carter Carnehan is going out of his mind with boredom. He’s bored by his humdrum life, frustrated that his father won’t live a little, and longs for the bright lights and excitement of anywhere-but-here. He’s longing for an opportunity to escape, and test himself against whatever the world has to offer.

Carter is going to get his opportunity. He’s caught up in a village fight, kidnapped by slavers and, before he knows it, is swept to another land. A lowly slave, surrounded by technology he doesn't understand, his wish has come true: it’s him vs. the world. He can try to escape, he can try to lead his fellow slaves, or he can accept the inevitable and try to make the most of the short, brutal existence remaining to him.

… Unless Jacob gets to him first and, no matter the odds, he intends to. No one kidnaps his son and gets away with it – and if it come to it, he’ll force Kings to help him on his way, he’ll fight, steal, blackmail and betray his friends in the name of bringing Carter home.

Wars will be started. Empires will fall. And the Carnehan family will be reunited, one way or another…

That is one long synopsis (from Gollancz)… This is the first in Hunt’s new series, and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in to it. As the author’s first with Gollancz, it is included in their £1.99 eBook deal, which includes all of their other 2014 debuts.


Hurley-InfidelUKKameron Hurley, Infidel (Del Rey UK)

No matter where you go, the Bel Dames will find you

Nyx used to be an assassin, part of the sisterhood of the Bel Dames. Now she’s babysitting diplomats to make ends meet and longs for the days when killing was a lot more honorable. So, when her former “sisters” lead a coup against the government, she‘s the perfect choice to stop them.

In a rotten nation of giant bugs and renegade shape shifters, Nyx must forge unlikely allies and rekindle old acquaintances if she is to survive. Otherwise, this time, the bodies she leaves scattered across the continent may include her own...

It feels like ages since I read God’s War, the critically-acclaimed first novel in Hurley’s Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy. This is the second novel (followed by Rapture), and I hope to read it relatively soon. Infidel was published in the UK on May 1st, 2014.

Also on CR: Guest Post (Gritty vs. Classic/Traditional Heroes); Review of God’s War


Kadrey-6-GetawayGodUSRichard Kadrey, The Getaway God (Voyager)


Sandman Slim must save himself – and the entire world – from the wrath of some enraged and vengeful ancient gods…

Being a half-human, half-angel nephilim with a bad rep and a worse attitude – not to mention temporarily playing Lucifer – James Stark aka Sandman Slim has made a few enemies. None, though, are as fearsome as the vindictive Angra Om Ya-the old gods. But their imminent invasion is only one of Stark’s problems right now. LA is descending into chaos, and a new evil – the Wildfire Ripper – is stalking the city.

No ordinary killer, The Ripper takes Stark deep into a conspiracy that stretches from Earth to Heaven and Hell. He’s also the only person alive who may know how to keep the world from going extinct. The trouble is, he’s also Stark’s worst enemy… the only man in existence Stark would enjoy killing twice.

The sixth Sandman Slim novel! Can’t wait to get stuck in!


Kadrey-MetrophageUS2014Richard Kadrey, Metrophage (Voyager)

Welcome to the near future: Los Angeles in the late 21st century – a segregated city of haves and have nots, where morality is dead and technology rules. Here, a small group of wealthy seclude themselves in gilded cages. Beyond their high security compounds, far from their pretty comforts, lies a lawless wasteland where the angry masses battle hunger, rampant disease, and their own despair to survive.

Jonny was born into this Hobbesian paradise. A street-wise hustler who deals drugs on the black market – narcotics that heal the body and cool the mind – he looks out for nobody but himself. Until a terrifying plague sweeps through L.A., wreaking death and panic. And no one, not even a clever operator like Jonny, is safe.

His own life hanging in the balance, Jonny must risk everything to find the cure – if there is one.

This is the re-issue of Kadrey’s long-out-of-print, 1988 cyberpunk thriller. Having really enjoyed everything else Kadrey’s written, I’m really looking forward to trying Metrophage. It is due to be published in November 2014.


KingS-DoctorSleepUKStephen King, Doctor Sleep (Hodder)

King says he wanted to know what happened to Danny Torrance, the boy at the heart of The Shining, after his terrible experience in the Overlook Hotel. The instantly riveting Doctor Sleep picks up the story of the now middle-aged Dan, working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire, and the very special 12-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep”. Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival…

Last year, I finally read a novel by Stephen King: The Shining. I thought it was very good, and was therefore interested in reading Doctor Sleep (which came out at around the same time). Hopefully won’t be too long until I get around to this.

Also on CR: Review of The Shining


Kuhn-KillYourBossUKShane Kuhn, Kill Your Boss (Sphere)

A cool, clever and classy Tarantino-esque thriller from a unique new voice in fiction, American screenwriter Shane Kuhn.

If you’re reading this, you’re a new employee at Human Resources, Inc.

Congratulations. And condolences. At the very least, you’re embarking on a career that you will never be able to describe as dull. You’ll go to interesting places. You’ll meet unique and stimulating people from all walks of life. And kill them. You will make a lot of money, but that will mean nothing to you after the first job.

Assassination, no matter how easy it looks in the movies, is the most difficult, stressful, and lonely profession on the planet.

Even when you’re disguised as an intern.

John Lago is a hitman. He has some rules for you. And he’s about to break every single one.

I read the prequel short story to this, Casual Friday [review pending]. It was fun. Not amazing, but certainly amusing and a nice bit of modern-day-assassin escapism. I’m looking forward to giving the full-length novel a try. Kill Your Boss – published as The Intern’s Handbook in the US – is published in July 2014 (the eBook is available already).


Lawrence-RQW1-PrinceOfFoolsUKMark Lawrence, Prince of Fools (Voyager)

The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire fear her as they fear no other.

Her grandson Jalan Kendeth is a coward, a cheat and a womaniser; and tenth in line to the throne. While his grandmother shapes the destiny of millions, Prince Jalan pursues his debauched pleasures. Until he gets entangled with Snorri ver Snagason, a huge Norse axe man, and dragged against his will to the icy north.

In a journey across half the Broken Empire, Jalan flees minions of the Dead King, agrees to duel an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath, and meets the ice witch, Skilfar, all the time seeking a way to part company with Snorri before the Norseman’s quest leads them to face his enemies in the black fort on the edge of the Bitter Ice.

Experience does not lend Jalan wisdom; but here and there he unearths a corner of the truth. He discovers that they are all pieces on a board, pieces that may be being played in the long, secret war the Red Queen has waged throughout her reign, against the powers that stand behind thrones and nations, and for higher stakes than land or gold.

The start of a new trilogy by Mark Lawrence, the author of the superb Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns and Emperor of Thorns. This is set in the same world as his first trilogy. Prince of Fools is due to be published in the UK on June 5th, 2014.

Also on CR: Interview with Mark Lawrence; Reviews of Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns


LotzS-TheThreeSarah Lotz, The Three (Hodder)

“They’re here… The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many… They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to—” – The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961-2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.

The message is a warning.

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this. It is easily one of my favourite books of the year so far, and even one of my favourite in the past five-to-ten years, too. This is brilliant. At the risk of creating over-hyped expectations, this is a superb novel. A lot of my fellow reviewers have also praised the novel, so don’t just take my word for it. The Three will be published in the UK on May 22nd.

Also on CR: Interview with Sarah Lotz


Moon-PL5-CrownOfRenewalUKElizabeth Moon, Crown of Renewal (Orbit)

Eight kingdoms in danger, an enemy that cannot die…

Count Jeddrin has received a grisly message. His son, Filis, is dead, brutally killed by Alured the Black – the first move in his plan to take the eight kingdoms.

But Filis managed to send his own message, telling of the dark forces that control Alured, warning of something more than human behind the man's eyes…

Meanwhile, Dorrin Verrakai, last of a long line of magelords, must forever leave the home she loves in order to protect powerful magic relics created by her ancestors. For their power is desired both by Alured, and by the dark elves infesting the kingdoms. Searching for answers, her friend and King, Kieri, considers waking the magelords from their ancient slumber…

This is the fifth novel in Moon’s epic fantasy saga, Paladin’s Legacy. I’m quite sad to report that I have never read anything by the author – despite being friends with her agent in New York. In fact, I had a nice, long chat once with him about his favourite Moon novel. I really need to get my butt in gear and read her work – I’ll probably start with a stand-alone, though – Speed of Dark or Remnant Populations, I expect.



Moon-SpeedOfDarkElizabeth Moon, Speed of Dark (Orbit)

Lou is different to ‘normal’ people. He interacts with the world in a way they do not understand. He might not see the things they see, however, but he also sees many things they do not. Lou is autistic.

One of his skills is an ability to find patterns in data: extraordinary, complex, beautiful patterns that not even the most powerful computers can comprehend. The company he works for has made considerable sums of money from Lou’s work. But now they want Lou to change – to become ‘normal’ like themselves. And he must face the greatest challenge of his life. To understand the speed of dark.

… This arrived the day after I wrote the comment above. (I put these posts together as-and-when the books arrive.) Originally published in 2002, this is one of the modern classics of SF. It arrived as part of the Hodderscape Review Project (something I am unforgivably behind on, for which I apologise profusely), and I’m hoping to read it very soon. Maybe even next, as I haven’t decided yet (I’m experiencing some acute book-funk again…)


Graphic Novels

Damian-SonOfBatmanDamian: Son of Batman Deluxe Edition (DC)

Damian Wayne, the son of Batman, has adopted the cape and cowl as his own… but what horrific events set this troubled hero on the path of his dark destiny? It’s a possible future that may never be in this epic written and drawn by one of Damian’s co-creators, Andy Kubert!

Plus, in a tale written by Grant Morrison, Damian Wayne is the Batman of Tomorrow in a story set 15 years from now in a nightmarish future Gotham! In a world torn apart by terrorism, plagues, rogue weather and bizarre super-crime, only 24 hours are left before the climactic battle of Armageddon – and only one man who might be able to stop it.

Collects: Damian – Son of Batman #1-4, Batman #666

I’m a fan of pretty much everything Batman-related, so I was happy to get approval for my NetGalley request. Didn’t realise it contained work by Grant Morrison (one of the most over-rated comics writers, in my opinion), but I shall go in with an open mind. Damian: Son of Batman is due to be published on July 29th 2014.


Trillium-TPB-ArtTrillium (Vertigo)

It’s the year 3797, and botanist Nika Temsmith is researching a strange species on a remote science station near the outermost rim of colonized space.

It’s the year 1921, and renowned English explorer William Pike leads an expedition into the dense jungles of Peru in search of the fabled “Lost Temple of the Incas,” an elusive sanctuary said to have strange healing properties.

Two disparate souls separated by thousands of years and hundreds of millions of miles. Yet they will fall in love and, as a result, bring about the end of the universe. Even though reality is unraveling all around them, nothing can pull them apart. This isn’t just a love story, it’s the LAST love story ever told.

Collects: Trillium #1-8

Written and drawn by Jeff Lemire? Count me in. Heard a lot of great things about this title, so I’m really looking forward to giving it a read. May even start it tonight, if I finish my current book. This isn’t due for publication until August 2014, which makes the review embargo until release date a little annoying… (And inexplicable, given that plenty of people will have reviewed the component issues – either individually or as a bunch.)


Unwritten-Vol.9The Unwritten, Vol.9 – The Unwritten Fables (Vertigo)

The worlds of THE UNWRITTEN and FABLES collide in the epic comic event by Mike Carey and Bill Willingham!

Tommy Taylor is thrust into the world of Vertigo's hit series Fables! But a dark and terrible foe has seized the fairy-tale homelands and our world. In desperation, the witches of Fabletown gather to summon the greatest mage the worlds have ever seen. But they are in for an unpleasant surprise.

Collects: The Unwritten #50-55

I have a bit of catching up to do before I can read this, but I have been loving The Unwritten so far (on volume six at the moment), and have really enjoyed the first five Deluxe editions of Fables. This is one crossover I am eager to get around to reading! Also not out until August 2014.



  1. Trillium is sooo good. One of my favourite Vertigo reads - and I'm jealous of you getting your copy of Skin Game. Hopefully I'll be able to get a review copy but if not, no big deal - I'm behind on the series as well having only got up to Small Favour. Looking forward to seeing your review of Mark Lawrence's novel as well - I was lucky enough to get a review copy of it and really enjoyed it.

    1. I'll be sure to read Trillium ASAP, then. :)
      I've only read the first three Dresden File novels. I didn't love them, I must admit. I've been told that they get MUCH better after that point, but I just never felt invested enough to soldier on. I know lots of people who love the series, though.
      Mark L's novels I've really enjoyed - I think Prince of Thorns is one of the most assured, best-written debuts I've read in a while (read it in two glorious sittings). King of Thorns was rather different, and while I enjoyed it a lot, too, I felt that it wasn't as focused or streamlined. Emperor of Thorns I tried to read at a time when I really wasn't in the mood for fantasy. And then I left it at my sister's house, just before she promptly moved and packed it... I know not where it is any more... :s Given that Prince of Fools is set concurrently as the first trilogy, I'll probably be reading this before I get back to Emperor of Thorns.