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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

More Recent/Upcoming Books of Interest, Dan Simmons, Donna Tartt, Adam Bodor and Brian Staveley (with comments by Liviu Suciu)

"It's 1926, and the desire to summit the world's highest mountain has reached a fever-pitch among adventurers. Three young friends, eager to take their shot at the top, accept funding from a grieving mother whose son fell to his death on Mt. Everest two years earlier. But she refuses to believe he's dead, and wants them to bring him back alive.

As they set off toward Everest, the men encounter other hikers who are seeking the boy's body for their own mysterious reasons. What valuable item could he have been carrying? What is the truth behind the many disapperances on the mountain? As they journey to the top of the world, the three friends face abominable choices, actions--and possibly creatures. A bone-chilling, pulse-pounding story of supernatural suspense, THE ABOMINABLE is Dan Simmons at his best."

I finally got a copy of The Abominable and while I browsed the ending just to make sure people were not jesting when they were telling what the title referred to (hint: it's not the yeti and the rumors are true, but I do not mind that) I really like how Dan Simmons writes, so I am thinking of reading this seriously as I am in the mood for epic storytelling of a kind or another, though of course serious competition comes soon with the release of David Hair's The Scarlet Tides.

Immersive and absorbing stuff so far.


"A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo scrambles between nights in friends’ apartments and on the city streets. He becomes entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother, a small, mysteriously captivating painting that soon draws Theo into the art underworld."
The Goldfinch was a gripping novel but it left me with a "so what" feeling of contrived plotting and utter implausibility in its resolution of the main issue, not to speak of the overall message - you are traumatized as a child/teen, feel free to break the law and you will be rewarded rather than punished, message that in the end was starting to become very annoying when Theo confronted with consequences, gets the expected "get out of jail card" by authorial fiat.

The first few parts detailing Theo's childhood and the first few months "after" - when he was 13 - were awesome as they were relatively reasonable in content and the voice was superb, but after his deadbeat dad shows up and takes him to Vegas, the book turns into another "destined boy" who will manage despite the odds and the book starts becoming wish-fulfillment rather than literary fiction, only to later turn into another "lives of beautiful people" through the eyes of an outsider, combined to the same "destined" boy grown up now and somehow evading consequences of his constant law breaking - or more precise, the hero is written by the author really above the law and morality of "regular people' as the trauma of his childhood entitled him to that.

With constant references to popular sff like Harry Potter and with a lot of similarities in its "destined boy" stuff, the book reads very much like a novel of the present cultural trends and overall it has great narrative momentum and it is well written as style goes, but it is ultimately empty.


"Lyrical, surreal, and yet unsettlingly realistic, The Sinistra Zone swims in the totalitarian backwaters of Eastern Europe

Entering a weird, remote hamlet, Andrei calls himself "a simple wayfarer," but he is in fact highly compromised: he has no identity papers. Taken under the wing of the military zone's commander, Andrei is first assigned to guard the blueberries that supply a nearby bear reserve. He is surrounded by human wrecks, supernatural umbrellas, birds carrying plagues, albino twins.

The bears - and an affair with a married woman - occupy Andrei until his protector is replaced by a new female commander, "a slender creature, quiet, diaphanous, like a dragonfly," and yet an iron-fisted harridan. As things grow ever more alarming, Andrei becomes a "corpse watchman," standing guard over the dead to check for any signs of life, and then

With a huge reading pile and I still cannot resist when I hear about a book that may sound interesting like the recently translated The Sinistra Zone by Adam Bodor.  As I have just found out about it last night and liked the excerpt, I immediately got myself a copy and I will fit it in when in the mood for such.


"When the emperor of Annur is murdered, his children must fight to uncover the conspiracy—and the ancient enemy—that effected his death.

Kaden, the heir apparent, was for eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, where he learned the inscrutable discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power which Kaden must master before it’s too late. When an imperial delegation arrives to usher him back to the capital for his coronation, he has learned just enough to realize that they are not what they seem—and enough, perhaps, to successfully fight back.

Meanwhile, in the capital, his sister Adare, master politician and Minister of Finance, struggles against the religious conspiracy that seems to be responsible for the emperor’s murder. Amid murky politics, she’s determined to have justice—but she may be condemning the wrong man.

Their brother Valyn is struggling to stay alive. He knew his training to join the Kettral— deadly warriors who fly massive birds into battle—would be arduous. But after a number of strange apparent accidents, and the last desperate warning of a dying guard, he’s convinced his father’s murderers are trying to kill him, and then his brother. He must escape north to warn Kaden—if he can first survive the brutal final test of the Kettral."

Another much hyped fantasy debut upcoming in January 2014, The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley came a little surprisingly as an advanced review copy in my mailbox a week or so ago and while the first impression, was "look more later as on first glance it is not the disaster of Malice but not the compelling, cannot put down Blood Song either", I finally had the time to take a careful look and as the book moved into the "forget it, not for me" category, I will record here my thoughts and then as mentioned above, just forget about it...

"the writing just didn't resonate and I browsed through the book and read the ending which failed to interest me in what came before or what may come next; from my point of view, I would say the writing style is pretty nondescript, without emotion or narrative power to absorb a reader, while the content could have been interesting if the style worked out

if there is a book this reminded me of, it is the Acacia trilogy of David Durham, but there I quite liked the style, though the content veered into stuff I had no real interest in by the third book..."


Anonymous said...

You MUST add Tower Lord, sequel to Blood Song! Author Anthony Ryan

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