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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Some More Upcoming Books that are Awesome: "The House on Durrow Street", "The Half Made World" and "Midsummer Night"


Since I have been away for a while and will resume regular reviews of new books on Friday at the earliest, I have decided to do a short post about three upcoming fantasy books I've recently read that blew me away. Full reviews will come in due course and I wrote some mini-reviews on Goodreads for now, but just to let you know and in two cases check the first installment, while in the third check the author's previous unrelated but similar in style duology.

September 28, 2010 sees the publication of The House on Durrow Street by Galen Beckett sequel to the superb The Magicians and Mrs. Quent.

"Her courage saved the country of Altania and earned the love of a hero of the realm. Now sensible Ivy Quent wants only to turn her father’s sprawling, mysterious house into a proper home. But soon she is swept into fashionable society’s highest circles of power—a world that is vital to her family’s future but replete with perilous temptations.

Yet far greater danger lies beyond the city’s glittering ballrooms—and Ivy must race to unlock the secrets that lie within the old house on Durrow Street before outlaw magicians and an ancient ravening force plunge Altania into darkness forever.

Another 700 page tome I hated that it ended and I wished the sequel was available now and not in 2011 or later... While the first installment had elements of both Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, this one is very original, moving away completely from the classics and into pure fantasy with magic, illusions and "witchcraft" and quite a lot of it. The House on Durrow Street is a contender for both my personal favorite book of 2010 and for a top five fantasy novel.

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October 12, 2010
sees the publication of The Half Made World by Felix Gilman, the first installment of a duology. Read Mr Gilman's Thunderer and Gears of the City for superb examples of new weird meeting more traditional fantasy; those two were top books of mine in 2008 and 2009 and this one should have been a Top 10 Anticipated one but at the time of the post I had no clue what it was about and even if it was truly scheduled for 2010...

"A fantastical reimagining of the American West which draws its influence from steampunk, the American western tradition, and magical realism

The world is only half made. What exists has been carved out amidst a war between two rival factions: the Line, paving the world with industry and claiming its residents as slaves; and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence that cripples the population with fear. The only hope at stopping them has seemingly disappeared—the Red Republic that once battled the Gun and the Line, and almost won. Now they’re just a myth, a bedtime story parents tell their children, of hope.

To the west lies a vast, uncharted world, inhabited only by the legends of the immortal and powerful Hill People, who live at one with the earth and its elements. Liv Alverhyusen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels to the edge of the

made world to a spiritually protected mental institution in order to study the minds of those broken by the Gun and the Line. In its rooms lies an old general of the Red Republic, a man whose shattered mind just may hold the secret to stopping the Gun and the Line. And either side will do anything to understand how."

The Half-Made World is quite a strange book. It is dark, dense and awesome, part steampunk, part magic, all within a wild-west kind of mythology. The world is divided between the settled East and the expanding into uncreation West. Some centuries ago the seemingly impassable mountains that formed the border of the settled world, opened and people started settling the lands beyond and in the process fixing them into reality. However un-natural or supernatural things sprung out here and there, most notably spirits, demons and "magical" engines, while the local people of the "uncreation" who may be immortal and have magic are pushed farther and farther away, with the remnants enslaved.... Read The Half-Made World if you want fantasy at the boundary between the traditional and the mind-bending.

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November 23, 2010 sees the publication of Midsummer Night by Freda Warrington which is sort of sequel to Elfland.

"sensuous, suspenseful modern fantasy of love, betrayal, and redemption

Decades ago, in a place where the veil between our world and the world of the Aetherials—the fair folk—is too easily breached, three young people tricked their uncle by dressing as the fey. But their joke took a deadly turn when true Aetherials crossed into our world, took one of the pranksters, and literally scared their uncle to death. Many years later, at the place of this capture lies a vast country estate that holds a renowned art facility owned by a visionary sculptor.

One day, during a violent storm, a young woman studying art at the estate stumbles upon a portal to the Otherworld. A handsome young man comes through the portal and seeks shelter with her. Though he can tell her nothing of his past, his innocence and charm capture her heart. But he becomes the focus of increasingly violent arguments among the residents of the estate. Is he as innocent as he seems?

Or is he hiding his true identity so that he can seek some terrible vengeance, bringing death and heartbreak to this place that stands between two worlds? Who is this young man?
The forces of magic and the power of love contend for the soul of this man, in this magical romantic story of loss and redemption."

I have just finished Midsummer Night and I need one reread for full appreciation but it blew me away quite unexpectedly. It is set in the author's Elfland universe and while not a sequel, it has some references to the first book; it takes place 16 years later and some minor characters reappear. I loved Elfland but had some issues with the soap aspect (brothers, sisters, marriages, love stories...) and the world building which was a bit sketchy and unconvincing.

Here no such issues - there is family drama, hidden identities and the like galore but they are not "soapy", while the familiarity with the Elfland world building made the additions here give more depth. And of course the superb writing style of the author makes me highly, highly recommend this one.

2 comments:

craiglaurancegidney said...

I am currently reading "Elfland" and quite enjoying it, thanks to the review on this site.

Kelly L. said...

Oh, that cover is stunning! This is the first I've seen of it.

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