Saturday, January 31, 2015
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I have to say, this isn't strictly a science-fiction book. While yes - it does feature your regular sci-fi gadgetry and terminologies - psi-marines, warp-drives, sentient aliens, shadow stars and more - It is more of the old-school creepy psychological horror story. The world is at war - with a giant sentient machine race called Spiders that can blast clean through and eat the core of a frigging planet itself. In a hopeless war, Captain Ida's act of bravery of saving an entire planet from the Spiders - earns him a Fleet Medal, the "Hero" tag and a sort of retirement - where as a final job, he has to oversee the deconstruction of a decommissioned space-ship on the outer fringes. Things get a little weird out on this space-ship - where the Commander has gone missing, the purple star next to it interferes with the communication signals and the captain seems to have a hard time fitting in. He makes no friends except for the medic - an asian woman with blue eyes called Izanami.
Adam cranks hard on the spookiness winch right from get-go - practical jokes, weird sounds, shadowy corridors, noises or echo from uncharted radio-freqs. Sadly Captain Ida as one of the central characters never really struck a chord with me. He's a hero straight out of the 90's horror movies - who brushes past incredulous happenings without a second thought. You almost take him to be slightly stupid for NOT asking those obvious questions as the paranoia rockets up on board the ship. Crew members go missing. The tension though - never really rises above to the notches of white-knuckled terror.
The plot after the first half where Adam masterfully sets out the environment kind of slows down. We're hit with repetitive scenes of crew members missing and Ida being confused and holding onto his steadfast denial mode. Also the questions that arose in my mind around "why" or "what" is happening were hurriedly dealt with in the last few chapters in a rather unsatisfactory manner. A little predictable foreshadowing of events shoehorned into the last proceedings. The action never takes off and I was left a bit frustrated.
The book doesn't do justice to the potential of Adam Christopher whose first book was such a knockout take on super-heroes and alternate reality-planes. A fine master of imagery and language, Adam is never able to really spur his literary horse into a gallop here. Instead we are left plodding through murky and boring territories that leaves the readers a little puzzled maybe but not too horror-struck or spooked out. But to give him his due, the settings are definitely rich. A sentient machine race that threatens to wallop humanity and deep space marine action waiting to be explored - hopefully in his next outing in the Spider Wars series. As for this starting book in that series, it's strictly an OK read.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Half a World by Joe Abercrombie
Half a King was Yarvi's story. Of how a cripple survives cruel violent politics in a land lashed by Mother War and comes of age to his rightful inheritance. This one, though is about Thorn.
SOMETIMES A WOMAN BECOMES A WARRIOR
Fate traps her in the schemes – and on the ship – of the deep-cunning minister Father Yarvi. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit.
SOMETIMES A WARRIOR BECOMES A WEAPON
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
I am about to wrap up this absolutely stunning sequel to Pierce Brown's winning debut, Red Rising. Ambitions are bursting beyond space-lines - this one's a big sprawling bad-ass stunner of a novel. I loved everything about this. More to come in a review !!
He must live for more.
Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch
Well, this must be on the "Anticipated" list of every Fantasy fan worth their salt. Not much details out. The release got pushed from Fall-2014 to this year and we all fervently pray that it comes out. Here's a blurb:
The Thorn of Emberlain, the fourth book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence, picks up about half a year after The Republic of Thieves and finds Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen trying to get back on their feet with a major con. They’re trying to sell the services of a non-existent mercenary company to the besieged city-state of Emberlain, hoping to escape with the hiring fees before the chaos of the Vadran civil war overruns Emberlain. Naturally, things don’t go according to plan…
Victoria E Schwab happened to me by accident last year. Vicious, one of the finest tales of anti-heroes is a unique take on "superheroes" and "morality". A hauntingly beautiful tale of weird flawed characters. This new book gives me the shivers. In a good way.
Emperor's Blades was traditional fantasy done well. Very well in fact. Tautly plotted, filled with well realized living breathing characters we cared about. And ended at a very interesting juncture where Brian is actually flexing his world-building muscles and expanding the overall story into very interesting territories. I am hooked and Book-2 is out this Jan. Say Woohoooo and do a jig with me. (oh psst..you need more excuses ? read first 7 chapters for free. And whet that appetite !! Here.
Gemini Cell by Myke Cole
I am blindly going to read anything new by Myke Cole. This is sort of a prequel trilogy to shadow ops - set in the same world. Bring it on !!
US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself—and his family—in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.
It should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty—as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark—especially about the fates of his wife and son…
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
Another author whose works are (for me) to die for. Immersive, engaging and absolutely epic. His foray into YA/Superhero was another crackler with Steelheart. Slightly breezy/predictable if you ask me but hey I am not complaining at all. I love that book two is coming out. Oh TODAY btw.
This was definitely a find for me - hitting the anticipated list of TOR UK releases. And that too a debut that's set the bells ringing and expectations soaring. The editorial team at TOR UK called it "Irresistible combination of Georgette Hayer and Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr.Norell."
Here is what is known :
So that's what 2015 looks like in terms of a wish-list. Obviously it is just the tip of an iceberg and I will dig up more and keep you guys updated !! Till then, Keep Calm. And Keep Reading.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
So I know I'm not the fastest reader on the block and I take time to really soak in and enjoy my books - and so a lot of really good titles that came out in 2014 sadly got relegated to the TBR pile - which incidentally has been growing to be higher than the Himalayas.
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
The Biggest and most anticipated book for me, like a million others was the epic continuation of the Stormlight Archive - picking up after the spectacular beginning in The Way of the Kings. I got the giant tome and I never got the courage to check it out. I know with Sanderson's incredibly engaging manner of writing the 1000-pages would fly by faster than 300. But sadly I haven't yet got a chance to crack it open. Open it I will, A promise to go back to the hopeless war against the mysterious Parshendi and the fates of Kaladdin and others entwined with that of the world on the brink of a desolation. 2015 is the year it will happen.
Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
I have a confession/fear. A somewhat unnatural one. One that stops me from reading the last volume of a series by the authors I love. Mark Lawrence is somebody I revere and completely worship. He works magic with his words - the maxims about life as is gleaned by Jorg's dark mistrusting outlook on life are absolutely stunning. Pure gold. And so the Broken Empires series - one of the best finds for me in 2013 - still remains unfinished. I was elated when I heard about the new series set in the same world as the Broken Empire. But I must get past my fears and finally bid adieu to Jorg before I embark on the Red Queen's war. So Jalan and his fate will be read only in 2015. Soon. I promise.
City of Stairs by Robert Bennett Jackson
Okay since we're in the mood to completely come clean, I might as well confess that I haven't read anything by Robert Bennett Jackson. But with City of Stairs, the highly talented author turning his hands to epic fantasy and doing so in grand resounding style and success, I must hurry and get a read. Fortunately I have a copy of this book. And it's sitting pretty right on top. another big miss from what I hear about the book. It's supposed to another game changer, like how Joe Abercrombie did with his First Law. Can't wait!!
Ancillary Justice/Sword by Ann Leckie
Another book/series that promises to burst with goodness. What with having swept every other award possible in the history of SFF genre books, I am sure it amounts to something. I dont intend to be left behind. Got a copy - somewhere buried deep within that pile. Sigh. I would think by April I should have got around. Kidding. I will read this ASAP. ( until that next big shining book snares me into a trap and I get swept away...)
The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
Another big mover and shaker in the world of SFF - with her unabashedly bold approach to writing and her tremendously well-imagined epic fantasy Mirror World having taken the world by storm - I have resolved to read this early this year. From what I hear - delicious rumors of sentient bloodthirsty plants, insane world building, blood magic - this is going to one hell of a romp. While the bug-punk fantasy series - Bel Dame Apocrypha - is something I am yet to wrap up. I liked book one. Book two holds promise. I just got Rapture. So well, It might take some time before I get to the mirror worlds.
These are the top of my anticipated list that sadly I never got around to reading. There are lots outside of this that got published in 2014 - the excellent Dagger and Coin series by Daniel Abraham - my go-to-author whenever I feel I miss GRRM is still on. I haven't gone past book 2. Widow's House came out last year, I think it being book-4.
I am on-track with the Gentleman Bastards' having read Republic of Thieves last year and waiting eagerly for the Thorn of Emberlain. So no regrets there. I haven't even got started with Elizabeth Bear's excellent eastern influenced "silk road" fantasy trilogy, Eternal Sky. So I wouldnt miss that Steeles of the Sky came out in 2014 marking an end to that. Military Fantasy being given a fillip - Black Hawk Down Meets X-men in Myke Cole's fascinating debut series, Shadow Ops concluded last year with Breach Point. I am stuck on book # 2. Luckily I got an ARC for his next, The Gemini Cell which promises to be even better. So I might cheat and start on that one.
Robin Hobb makes a winning comeback to her original series with the Fool's Assassin. I am not sure of this one. I have only started off with her original book, Assassin's Apprentice. While I found the book pretty enjoyable, it did take me ages to plod through the slow burning plot. I will let it stew on my TBR before I come back.
So there are the top few of the BIGGIES of 2014 that have made their way into my 2015-read-urgently-or-die-trying list. I hope I make good the resolutions. Wish me luck !!
Friday, January 2, 2015
So there's my top 7 books published and read in 2014. Out of the 21 in my total list of 65. The rest 44 have a few gems - and my next post will be about the Best Books Read in 2014 - not published in 2014. And the Big misses for me - which are piled up on my 2015-to-read list as well. So have great year ahead folks !!