Due to the uncountable amounts of rave reviews and multiple award nominations/wins that Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker garnered it was on my watch list for a very long time. Having finally given it a go I can only express disappointment. Despite a creative and exciting premise, Boneshaker was not the fun and original novel I expected, being bogged down by inconsistent pacing and poor characterization. This steampunk adventure does have its strengths, but it somehow failed to get me to invest in its characters and stories.
The title to Hannu Rajaniemi's second book, and sequel to The Quantum Thief (LBR review here, has just been confirmed. The follow up to the science fiction debut phenomenon of last year will bear the title of The Fractal Prince. That's quite a good title - it follows the same scheme as the first (some scientific/mathematical term + title) and has got me quite intrigued. Along with this news comes a small blurb-like teaser of the second novel from Rajaniemi himself. Check it out below or after the jump.
Jon Couternay Grimwood is a well known name in the science fiction field, though before now he had never given voice to a fantasy story. I’ll admit, The Fallen Blade was the first of Grimwood’s books I’ve read and the experience has deeply impressed me. Grimwood offers up a personal, well told story that incorporates familiar fantastical elements and blends them with a rich historical background, compelling characters and intrigue. The novel is not without fault - indeed the slow start, if nothing else, sees to that - but it is an enjoyable read and a solid start to the Assassini Trilogy.
Six books down the line and Tchaikovsky is still delivering. While managing an incredible output of novels, he has continued to make his Shadows of the Apt series one of the very best fantasy series on the market. The Sea Watch continues this with flourish. As the second novel of the second internal ark of the series (complicated, I know - that tends to happen after five books) it ramps up the action and takes things, once again, in directions I, as a reader, could never have foreseen. From a Shadows of the Apt volume, though, I wouldn’t have expected anything less.
Ben Aaronovitch's first original novel, Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot to those in the US) has been making the rounds of late. It is a bestseller in the UK and I can see why (LBR review here). This fun-filled tale of a magical London is certainly one of the better Urban Fantasy books I've read and it's engaging plot holds appeal for a broad audience. Having been so taken by his novel, I decided to contact Aaronovitch to ask him a few questions. What you will find bellow is the result of this exchange. Enjoy.
I’ve been a fan of Abercrombie since first reading Best Served Cold last year, and my admiration of his work continued when I retrospectively read his First Law Trilogy. Most fans will say that Best Served Cold was not quite the equal of its predecessors, and I would respectively disagree. But whatever anyone can say about that book I think there is no denying that The Heroes is an improvement in all the vital areas - prose, character development and plot - over any of Abercrombie’s novels that came before it. This un-restrained war (battle?) saga brings together all the features of Abercrombie’s writing that readers have come to love and dishes out an extra portion of mordant, epic, fantasy-storytelling.
Despite being quite the enigmatic character, K.J. Parker’s books have become well-known for their intelligence and for their tendency to stray from the beaten path in terms of fantasy-genre literature. These aren’t books infused with magic or fantastical elements but novels that feature a very real-appearing, if secondary, setting, clever characters and more depth by half than your average fantasy novel. I can only speak from what I’ve read, which is Parker’s three latest standalone novels, but I think it’s fair to say that this is something that works quite well. The Hammer, emerges in my mind as the best from Parker yet, being an intriguing, powerful and deceptively deep novel in its own right.
The Chosen Few is one of the new features to come to LBR that I've been talking about. This one will come around at the start of every month, and will be a short preview of the books that will be read and reviewed on LBR for the coming month. I only include in these new releases, but older books will also feature on the blog alongside new ones. So without further ado, let's begin.
Fun books - truly fun books - don’t often come around very often. Usually, these are not books that can be praised for their originality or their literary value but more for things such as their entertainment value or their capacity to keep you coming back for more. Ben Aaronovitch’s first, non-tie-in novel, Rivers of London, is one such book that can be deemed a fun book. The adventures of Peter Grant, police constable and newly-appointed wizard apprentice, are a pleasure to read, the pages of the book being filled with quick pacing, intriguing characters, a gripping wit, and the odd wild card that will throw you off. This is the start of a promising new Urban Fantasy series.