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What to say? Another Pyr release; another steampunk book; another highly enjoyable read... The Horns of Ruin, Tim Akers’ second novel after the apparently brilliant Heart of Veridon, cannot be justly summed up by the sentence above, but for those of you familiar with Pyr titles, I think that statement can give you a pretty good indication of what to expect from this book. In general, much more can be said about The Horns of Ruin, and it’s mostly good things. An engaging and eventful blend of the sword and sorcery tale told with elements of steampunk, this is perhaps one of the most original books to come out this year. And that’s saying something - the year is almost over.

As I was browsing catalogs for upcoming SFF releases in 2011, I came across this little surprise on Headline's (the publisher) website. Yes, it's the UK cover art for Dan Wells' I Don't Want to Kill You, third and final volume in his creepy, comic and all-around awesome John Cleaver books. I previously blogged about the US cover art for this book (in this post) to be released by TOR Books in April, and so I'd assumed, wrongly as it turns out, that the book would be published at a similar time in the UK - the publication date that most matters to me as it is the UK editions I read. Well, that's not true at all, I Don't Want to Kill You UK edition will be published with the attractive artwork on the right on the 6th of January 2011. Hell yeah!

John Scalzi’s The Last Colony is the final ‘official’ volume in his Old Man’s War series begun in the title novel (review here) and then continued in The Ghost Brigades (review here). Those of you that have been keeping up will know that I read and loved both of those, the first to a slightly greater degree than the second. Upon completing that second volume a couple of weeks back I came to realize that The Last Colony saw the return of John Perry, my favorite character in the series, so without leaving as a big a gap between the my readings of the series, I very soon jumped right back in to Scalzi’s work and man, is this ever a conclusion to this series.

It's not secret that I loved Mark Hodder's first book, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (read me gush about it here) and so by extension it should come as no surprise that I've been seeking out any news on the forthcoming second book, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, the second Burton & Swinburne. I happened upon this. This cover art is the one that will be displayed on the Pyr (US) edition of the book (UK info can be found here). Already the art Jon Sullivan had created for the first novel was great but I think he has outdone himself with this second piece of art. It is at once grabbing, mysterious and certainly makes me want to pick the book up (though less would convince me, so this might not mean much). The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man will be published in the UK by Snowbooks this coming March and will also appear from Pyr in the US at the same time.

Thanks to Aiden at A Dribble of Ink for posting the artwork.

The Greyfriar, first of three in the Vampire Empire Series, is the newest steampunk release from Pyr Books, though this also happens to be vampire-centric. Vampires and steampunk - good mix, no? One might think such a mix would be difficult to mesh together but Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith manage it splendidly, bringing the reader an invigorating reading experience. Folks, this one is full of action, adventure, myth, rousing emotions and characters which there’s a good chance you’ll grow to love - be prepared to add it to your reading lists.

More and more as I’ve immersed myself in blogging and reading a vastly greater proportion of SFF titles than I used to, I’ve found that the occasional break from the genre -even if only for a book or two and no further genre-wise than, say horror - can be one of the most welcomed things. A book like Darkly Dreaming Dexter is exactly what I look for in to fill those shoes, and it just so happened that the Dexter books had been on my radar for quite some time partly because of the acclaim they’ve received and the acclaim the television adaptation has also received. I know, I know, you’re thinking, ‘fine he can read that if he likes, but why’s he reviewing it on his SFF blog?’ Well, first of all: shut up, my blog, and I’ve allowed myself the right to digress genres for the simple reason that this is a great book and therefore, as a reviewer I feel it’s my responsibility to tell you about it. So let’s move along...

I wasn’t the biggest fan of James Enge’s first novel-length offering (Blood of Ambrose; review here). A few particularly nasty flaws made impossible for me to make it an affirmative recommendation. But thankfully, the changes he worked with his second novel, This Crooked Way, made it a much stronger and more fun (to keep to simple terms) read. Opting this time to recount the adventures of Morlock Ambrosius in an episodic-novel format, Enge gives readers an exciting, mystifying sword and sorcery read much more like Blood of Ambrose should have been.

The Ghost Brigades is the 2007 sequel to John Scalzi’s stunning debut, Old Man’s War (see my review here). Back when I read Old Man’s War I promised myself that I would get around to reading the rest of the books in this series. After all, the first book had did appear to make it very worth it. I forged on, perhaps a bit later than I thought I would, but I’m glad I did. The Ghost Brigades is more of a pseudo-sequel as it centers around a new character, though with many familiar faces from the first book, but it retains all the intelligence, wit and intensity that made Scalzi’s debut such a hit.

James Enge’s Blood of Ambrose, recently nominated for a World Fantasy Award, has been a book on my radar for a while now. It was originally his short story in last summer’s Swords & Dark Magic that got me interested in Morlock Ambrosius and his universe, but it wasn’t until not so long ago that my reading schedule afforded me the opportunity to dig into Enge’s debut.Having finally read it I think it’s fair to say that while Enge shows great potential as a writer, this first book is not quite as good as it could have been. It’s a very decent offering, but a few non-negligible flaws do come in the way of the enjoyment of Blood of Ambrose. Nevertheless, the solid prose and the all-round quirkiness of the book still make it a book worth giving a look at.

After reading his excellent The Half-Made World (review here) I felt the need to ask Felix Gilman a few questions. He graciously accepted and so below are the few inquiries I had for him. For those who would like to know, Mr. Gilman is and American fantasy writer, also the author of two other novels, Thunderer and Gears of the City. Those two books garnered him quite a bit of praise and I dare say, his third novel certainly seems to hold up to that. So anyways, scroll down or click-through to peruse his answers. Enjoy.