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Friday, June 21, 2013

Spotlight On Some Recent and Upcoming SFF Titles of Interest (with comments by Mihir Wanchoo)

I haven’t been able to get much reading done in the past few months due to a family medical situation and now I’m slowly trying to get back into the reviewing mode. While that hasn't gone as smoothly as I hoped and so as in the past I’m doing a quick spotlight on four titles that have pegged my interest along with a few comments. I will be trying my best to review them in the coming months over here so until then be sure to take a look at them.

Inheritance (Heir to the Blood Throne duology) by Tim Marquitz

Book blurb - What's a vampire to do when he's afraid of the dark and passes out at the sight of blood?

These are but two of the problems that face thirteen year old Rupert Bartholomew Cooke. After growing up in England's Foster Care System, Rupert is at last adopted. Then what should be the happiest moment of his life turns into the most terrifying day imaginable. His adopter, the same man whose bite turned Rupert into a vampire, is none other than the infamous Jack the Ripper.

To make matters worse, Rupert is left to watch over Jack's mansion, under which is buried a portal that leads to the Source of all magic. Untrained and coping with the stresses of his new and terrible existence, Rupert is forced to defend the Source against Jack's enemies, the necromancer Mobius and his secret accomplice.

With his newfound friends, Lorelei the thrall, Alistair the diminutive werewolf, and Horatio the gruff housekeeper, Rupert must battle Mobius and preserve the fragile truce between the Vampire Nation and the Legions of the Dead; all without giving Jack a reason to kill him when he returns home.

Thoughts: Tim Marquitz tries his hand at the YA genre and with his comedic writing skills, this book is one that figures quite high on my TBR list. The story while being YA will still have a touch of the weird as well as more than a spot of darkness to it. I've yet to be disappointed by any of Tim’s works and so I’ll be starting this one soon to see how he fares in this genre.

City of Scars (The Skullborn Trilogy, #1) by Steven Montano 

Book blurb - It’s been three decades since the Blood Queen led her legions on a brutal campaign of conquest and destruction, and the Empires are still struggling to rebuild. Now, in the distant aftermath of the war, the real battle is about to begin.

Haunted by the crimes of his past, fallen knight Azander Dane ekes out a mercenary existence as he drifts from one city to the next. His latest job is to hunt down Ijanna Taivorkan, a powerful outlaw witch desperate to escape her destiny.

Dane and Ijanna find themselves in Ebonmark, the City of Scars, where deadly crime guilds and shadowy agents of the White Dragon Empire prepare for a brutal confrontation. Pursued by apocalypse cults, mad alchemists, exiled giants and werewolf gangs, Dane and Ijanna soon learn a deadly lesson – in Ebonmark, only the cruelest and most cunning can survive.

Thoughts: With Steven Montano, one can never be too sure as to what genres the story will mix and how will it all end. After five volumes in his terrific Blood Skies series, he turns his mind towards dark, epic fantasy and this is the result. Steven has blogged a bit about the series setting as well as the characters and the magic system. After reading all about this new series, I’m very excited to see what the author has planned in this new series of which the first book will release on June 28th. So be on the lookout for its review soon.

The Life and Times of Emperor Croesus Black: Volume One: Exodus (The Emperor's Journals) by Matthew B. Wolcott 

Book blurb - I feel I must begin with an apology, but not an apology for the cities I have razed, the men I have killed, or the children I have left fatherless. No those things, while they weight heavy on my mind some nights, needed to be done. This apology is to you: the potential reader, I apologize because I have lived an incredible life and wish to tell you this amazing story but sadly I lack the skills to do it justice. My writings in the past were hurried notes to battlefield commanders, orders to underlings, perhaps a note to an old friend, and an occasional letters professing my love to a woman of incredible beauty and character who I had the fortune to know and love. I am not a wordsmith; I lack the prose of a poet, the rhythm of a bard, and the smooth continuity of a novelist.

As I have gotten older my stories take a meandering jaunt that jumps from one event to the next. In my mind these stories are crystal clear and make perfect sense, but I fear my listeners are often left scratching their heads and looking for a polite way to exit the room, and trust me it is no easy feat to excuse yourself from a rambling Emperor. So it is with a good deal of trepidation that I put these words to paper to tell a tale that should not be left to legend and speculation. Already I hear deeds and stories attributed to me that make me sound like a god on earth. Some consider me a savior, others a devil. Neither is the case; I am merely a man who continually tried to make the best out of the situations I found myself in. Sometimes I failed; many times I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. It is these successes that have bought me the throne I now sit in, but it is the failures that taught me the most. 

Fate has been exceedingly kind to me and on occasion remarkably cruel. I in turn have been the same. As you can see I wandered a bit from my apology here. This marks the fifth attempt I have made to put my story to paper and I lack the energy to try again if I fail this time. I hope that you walk away from these pages with a better understanding of me and the empire I have built and the man who built it. I have consulted the best writers I could find and all tell me to simply start at the beginning. So with an apology for my less then skillful scribbling, I give you the autobiography of... Emperor Croesus Black.

Thoughts: This one was a review request and the blurb while a bit profuse, seemed very K. J. Parker-ish which snagged my interest. I read the first two chapters from the kindle sample and requested the book based on all the aforementioned reasons. I have high hopes from this one and only time will tell how it pans out, but based on the blurb and the sample I read, it seems to be a good read. Watch out for the review next month.
Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff 

Book blurb - Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school, in a new town, under a new name, makes few friends and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die -- of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, and moves on to the next target.

When his own parents died of not-so-natural causes at the age of eleven, he found himself under the control of The Program, a shadowy government organization that uses brainwashed kids as counter-espionage operatives. But somewhere, deep inside Boy Nobody, is somebody: the boy he once was, the boy who wants normal things (like a real home, his parents back), a boy who wants out. And he just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's next mission.

Thoughts: I would have missed this title if it were not for Maja of The Nocturnal Library, it’s entirely due to her smashing review that Boy Nobody came on to my reading horizon. Firstly go read her review as it very strongly explains why this book is not to be missed. I've followed her recommendations for the past some time and they have been spot on. So this book instantaneously became a must read for me after reading her review and I’ll be doing my best to review it ASAP.


Anonymous said...

I'm really looking forward to reading "Inheritance." It looks like it'll be a welcome break from a lot of the usual vampire fare that I keep seeing!

John said...

What's up with Liviu ? He hasn't posted since May 30.Hope he's ok.

Unknown said...

Hey, I just found your blog and I wanted to say that it's very interesting. I love books and I'm always on the lookout for something new to read. I look forward to what you'll post next!
(First time leaving a comment on a blogspot blog. Hahah, I'm a little new to blogging.)

~E. L. Mendell

Liviu said...

very busy moving house again...


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