It's the beginning of a new month again! February was not a bad month for reading despite the disappointing Demi-Monde: Winter (which I will eventually talk about in more detail) or Cherie Priest's somewhat lackluster Boneshaker. The coming month, though, is looking far stronger with at least two of my most anticipated novels being published as well as two more I am choosing to review this month. So please be aware that not all the books listed below will be published in March, I am simply including them because I have picked them to be reviewed on LBR this month.

The Wise Man's Fear, Patrick Rothfuss (Gollancz/Roc)

Did anyone really think that this book wouldn't be featured in this post? With a single novel, The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss established himself as one of the 'big' newcomers in the fantasy genre. After some delays due to the novel not being perfect in it's author's eye, the anticipated sequel to that phenomenal debut, The Wise Man's Fear is finally being released... today! Fortunately, I was not one of those that had to wait for the book, having only come to The Kingkiller Chronicles just last year, but that does not make this release any less exciting. You can expect a review as soon as humanly possible.

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, Mark Hodder (Pyr/Snowbooks)

Mark Hodder's second book is very much a contestant capable of toppling The Wise Man's Fear as my most anticipated March release. In fact I think it is the book I'm most excited about this month. The preceding novel in the Burton & Swineburne, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack was a superb novel, a truly intoxicatingly-fun piece of steampunk. I featured in my list of the top ten 2010 releases and I expect no less of The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man. Now to see if I read this or The Wise Man's Fear first...

The Heir of Night, Helen Lowe (Orbit)

To be truthful, I don't know much about this release other than its cover and its blurb, but those two pieces of information alone were enough to get me interested in the first of Helen Lowe's The Wall of Night Series. Also, that small quote from Robin Hobb on the cover helped my decision along. From the look of things this appears to be a run-of-the-mill secondary world fantasy story with the promise of war, magic and a fair bit of intrigue - all elements that could well make for a very good read.

Up Against It, M.J. Locke (TOR Books)

It's a sad truth that I probably don't read as much science fiction as I should or as I would want to so Up Against It is my effort to push myself to read at least one book this month in that genre. M.J. Locke's debut has not been the most hyped book around, but perhaps that's for the best. Up Against It is a hard SF novel set on a colony at the edge of the solar system where some young adults have to deal with all sorts of trouble and which promises, according to G.R.R. Martin, 'characters you can care about, and clean, lean, muscular prose.' Sounds good to me!

The Winds of Khalakovo, Bradley P. Beaulieu (Night Shade)

This book's sublime cover art is what first drew me to it but then its premise hooked me in. I've already begun reading this one and it is very promising. Beaulieu delivers an engaging story set in a vividly detailed world. Full review to come soon, but as it stands right now, this is one I'll probably recommend without hesitation. The Winds of Khalakovo is set to be published in April, though has it listed with a publication date of March 15th... not quite sure why that is.

The Company Man, Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit)

Robert Jackson Bennett's Mr. Shivers was an unbelievably polished piece of fiction an utterly gratifying reading experience - all the more spectacular for a debut novel. The Company Man is Bennett's second book and after Mr. Shivers I was expecting nothing less than quality. I've had the chance to read this one already and can say that though it's a slow-burner, this is one damn-fine read, an impressive mix of noir, alternate history, crime mystery, horror and science fiction. I'm not sure yet whether I'll post my review this month or will hold out until April, either way I've included it here because it is well worth reader's attention.