Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Little Brother - Cory Doctorow - Scifi light on the fiction

Little BrotherFinished reading Little Brother last night and boy was I impressed. This book is going to deservedly win some awards. I have not read anything that presents the erosion of civil rights in the US as well as this book. The teenage angst/love story sub-plot is necessary but gives the book the aura of the YA novel.

The sequel is coming out February 5th and, as usual, Mr. Doctorow is doing what he can to market and distribute his works as fairly as possible.

via BoingBoing:
Teachers, librarians, etc: sign up for free copies...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig - Urban Fantasy or Horror?

MockingbirdStayed up until the wee hours to finish Mockingbird, the second of the Miriam Black series. The action is fast paced and explicit and the superb character development makes what happens to primary and secondary characters matter. A fast paced ending was a satisfying payoff for a story that started off a bit slowly. Well-written gore and violence with clever twists and turns. The supernatural framework and the level of violence tilts the book a bit toward the horror genre.

Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

BlackbirdsYou will definitely want to read the first book, Blackbirds, before reading Mockingbird. Flashbacks that reveal more and more of what makes Miriam tick need to be read as the author intended. The main characters are changing in significant ways throughout both books. Miriam is not the typical private-eye/good Samaritan with special powers found in many urban fantasy series. Her gift has (so far) been truly a curse to her - leaving her alone and bitter. Learning to use her 'gift' is essential to holding on to her humanity.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

Finished reading The Black Prism by Brent Weeks last night.

Its the first book in the Lightbringer series. Its in the high fantasy genre with a few interesting twists. The magic system is based on the light spectrum with each primary color representing a different flavour of magic that manipulates the raw energy of magic called luxin. The system is seems internally sound and not overly complicated. There is a fair bit of color-based wordplay but not to the point of being annoying (with one exception).

Kip looked, torn. Lord Omnichrome was disappearing up the hill, rejoining his entourage. He was the heart of this; Kip knew it. He should kill him. Orholam, his chance was passing through his fingertips. But to the south, Karris was charging to her death, and to the east, that snake Zymun was stealing the only thing Kip had to remember his mother by. Kill Lord Omnichrome and stop the war. Kill Zymun and take the knife. Or save Karris and have a chance at King Garadul.

All the major players are introduced and the table is set for the conflicts to follow. The Man in the Iron Mask aspect is a sharp twist to the standard underdog youth becoming a heroic figure. Some of the characters are a bit flat, but there are at least two more books to flesh them out (or kill them off). As always (read Weeks's Night Angel Trilogy) the action scenes are gory and well choreographed.

Looking forward to the rest of the series.

P.S. Exercise your vocabulary building skills and look up "promachos". Brent Weeks is quite enamored with the term and Wikipedia doesn't do the word justice.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The 47 Books I Read in 2012

Here are the books I read in 2012. The list is in chronological order. My favourite read of the year was Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy. Best Urban Fantasy was Mike Carey's Felix Castor series. Best Sci-fi novel was David Brin's Existence.

1) Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton
2) Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding
3) Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
4) Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
5) Vicious Circle by Mike Carey
6) Dead Men's Boots by Mike Carey
7) Thicker Than Water by Mike Carey
8) The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
9) The Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey
10) The Quiet War by Paul McAuley
11) Soulless by Gail Carriger
12) Dead To Me by Anton Strout
13) The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde
14) The Bride Wore Black Leather by Simon R. Green
15) Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith
16) His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
17) Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
18) Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
19) Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
20) Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
21) Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
22) Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
23) Feed by Mira Grant
24) Deadline by Mira Grant
25) Blackout by Mira Grant
26) Tricked by Kevin Hearne
27) Redshirts by John Scalzi
28) Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
29) The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett; Stephen Baxter
30) Changeless by Gail Carriger
31) 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
32) The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross
33) Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore
34) Blameless by Gail Carriger
35) Gardens of the Sun by Paul McAuley
36) The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis
37) The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde
38) Existence by David Brin
39) Dodger by Terry Pratchett
40) Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
41) Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
42) Heartless by Gail Carriger
43) The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
44) The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
45) Railsea by China Mieville
46) Cold Days by Jim Butcher
47) Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey