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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some More 2011 Books Read: Mark Newton, Joe Abercrombie, David Weber and co-authors, Alan Campbell (by Liviu Suciu)

I did one post earlier with the first two of my high expectation 2011 books, so I want to update with 4 more high expectations 2011 books that I've read. All will have full reviews here in due course, but for now just a reminder with a short comment and links to Goodreads impressions.

In order of reading:


Summer 2011: Tor.UK

The Book of Transformations by Mark Newton

#3 out of 4 in the Legends of the Red Sun series; mostly new characters and back to Villjamur

FBC Reviews Nights Villjamur (#1, LS) and City of Ruin (#2, LS) , FBC Interview with the author (2009, several FBC contributors)

A new and corrupt Emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur to give the people of the city hope in the face of great upheaval and an oppressing ice age. But when a stranger called Shalev arrives, empowering a militant underground movement, crime and terror becomes rampant.

The Inquisition is always one step behind, and military resources are spread thinly across the Empire. So Emperor Urtica calls upon cultists to help construct a group to eliminate those involved with the uprising, and calm the populace – the Villjamur Knights. But there’s more to Knights than just phenomenal skills and abilities – each have a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything they represent.

Investigator Fulcrom of the Villjamur Inquisition is given the unenviable task of managing the Knights, but his own skills are tested when a mysterious priest, who has traveled from beyond the fringes of the Empire, seeks his help. The priest’s existence threatens the church, and his quest promises to unravel the fabric of the world. And in a distant corner of the Empire, the enigmatic cultist Dartun Súr steps back into this world, having witnessed horrors beyond his imagination. Broken, altered, he and the remnants of his order are heading back to Villjamur.

And all eyes turn to the Sanctuary City, for Villjamur’s ancient legends are about to be shattered…

Short Comment: Just awesome and continues the very high level of a series that is already in my top-top level; the best characters of the author so far, especially Lan and Fulcrom.


February 2011 Orbit USA:

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

#5 in his First Law universe, standalone set ~4 years after Best Served Cold and ~8 years after the end of the First Law trilogy.

FBC Reviews of The Blade Itself (#1, RT), Before They Are Hanged (#2, RT), Best Served Cold (#4, LS), Interview with the Author (RT, 2007)

They say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they’ve brought a lot of sharpened metal with them. Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he’s far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it’s his own. Prince Calder isn’t interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he’ll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn’t have to fight for it himself. Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him? Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail… Three men. One battle. No Heroes

Short Comment: A battle is still a battle, but Mr. Abercrombie does it pretty much the best from all such fiction I've read, whether in sff or based on real battles. (Goodreads minireview)


February 2011 Baen:

In Fire Forged by David Weber with Jane Lindskold and Timothy Zahn

#5 Honorverse anthology and #21 Honorverse book, 3 novellas and one essay on starship armor in the Honorverse, e-arc available to buy now, first novella free as sample

FBC Invitation to the Honorverse, FBC Reviews of At All Costs (AAC) (HH #13, LS), Storm from the Shadows/Mission of Honor (SftS, MoH) (HH #14, #16, LS), Safehold #2(BSRA), #3(BHD), #4(AMF) (LS), standalone Out of the Dark (RT), Interview with the author, (2009 LS)

"Honor Harrington is arguably the most popular character in modern science fiction, but there are many other stories in the Honorverse besides those in which she has the central role. This fifth volume in the popular Worlds of Honor series explores some of those stories with the help of such top writers as best-selling author Jane Lindskold, New York Times best-selling author Timothy Zahn, and more—including an all-new Honor Harrington adventure, set in her younger years, when a mob of space pirates made the mistake of tangling with Commander Harrington. That was a fatal mistake—for the pirates . . . "

Short Comment: I enjoyed this a lot especially for the first two stories, while the Honor story makes a great introduction to the series, though it does not bring much new for veteran readers.
(Goodreads minireview)

April 2011, Tor.UK

Sea of Ghosts by Alan Campbell (series debut)

FBC reviews of previous author series The Deepgate Codex: Scar Night (#1, RT), Iron Angel (#2, RT), God of Clocks (#3, RT), the related novella Lye Street (RT)
Interviews with the Author (2008 RT, 2009 MW)

When the last of the Gravediggers, an elite imperial infiltration unit, are disbanded and hunted down by the emperor they once served, munitions expert Colonel Thomas Granger takes refuge in the unlikeliest of places. He becomes a jailer in Ethugra – a prison city of poison-flooded streets and gaols in which a million enemies of the empire are held captive. But when Granger takes possession of two new prisoners, he realises that he can’t escape his past so readily.

Ianthe is a young girl with an extraordinary psychic talent. A gift that makes her unique in a world held to ransom by the powerful Haurstaf – the sisterhood of telepaths who are all that stand between the Empire and the threat of the Unmer, the powerful civilization of entropic sorcerers and dragon-mounted warriors. In this war-torn land, she promises to make Granger an extremely wealthy man, if he can only keep her safe from harm.

This is what Granger is best at. But when other factions learn about Ianthe's unique ability, even Granger's skills of warfare are tested to their limits. While, Ianthe struggles to control the powers that are growing in ways no-one thought were possible. Another threat is surfacing: out there, beyond the bitter seas, an old and familiar enemy is rising – one who, if not stopped, will drown the world and all of humanity with it . .

Short Comment: While I liked this one somewhat less than I expected based on its many goodies, that is due to a very personal "author's style is at some angle with my taste"; impressive world building. Definitely in for the sequel and very high potential.
(Goodreads Minireview)


The Fantasizer said...

My God! You are like a machine; a new review everyday and that's not all, there's all this stuff which does'nt make it on FBC on a daily basis. I am
seriously impressed by your reading speed! WOW!

Liviu said...

thank you for your kind words; i wish I could a do a review every day since I have many books, especially from the past to talk and alternate with the current ones; as for reading, there are two things - book selection so I really want to turn the page in whatever book I am reading and trying to make time daily

Emphyrio said...

Hey, that In Fire Forged cover, unscathed by vignetting, is viewable at the artist Dave Mattingly's website:

Liviu said...

Great find! Loved the full picture.

W.B. said...

I've read the Sea of Ghosts and instantly fell in love with it. The way the author wrote it captivated me. I look forward to reading more reviews. :)

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