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Embassytown, like previous China Miéville novels before it, is a bold piece of fiction. Bold in the goals it sets for itself, bold in the expansive literary boundaries within which it exists and bold in terms of the type reading experience it delivers, but ultimately because of this it’s a successful novel. Successful because Miéville knows how to achieve his goals, knows how to push, explore and create new boundaries and knows how to deliver some of the most wholly satisfying and entrancing reading experiences. The man’s got talent, you can’t deny it. And when he packs that into one of the most intricate and daring science fiction novels of the decade it becomes work of fiction of transcendent quality.

This is what you might call a ‘vintage’ review seeing as Tim Powers’ On Stranger Tides is not by any stretch a new book. But what it does have to draw attention to it at this time is a new edition from Corvus in the UK and a Hollywood adaptation in the form of the fourth incarnation of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, adequately subtitled On Stranger Tides. My aim here is simply to share with you my opinion of this not-so-recent novel and draw attention to it, as I too must admit that I hadn’t cared for it - hell, even known of it - before the movie news. What I can say for it now, though, is that it is an all-encompassing, enjoyment-driven swashbuckling adventure told in a careful, masterful voice.

It is entirely justifiable to call Leviathan Wakes one of the most hotly anticipated titles of the year. Touted by George R.R. Martin as a ‘kickass space opera‘ James S.A. Corey’s debut is a return to the old-school form of space opera, but souped up to satisfy modern tastes. Delivering on Martin’s promise of a kickass story, Corey makes every effort to mix together a crime plot with that of a tense struggle and an armed interplanetary conflict.This sprawling start to the aptly named ‘The Expanse’ is a triumph of science fiction entertainment and fine writing.

Ben Aaronovitch took the world - or at the very least me - by surprise with his first original novel, Rivers of London, when it was released in January, establishing itself on many a bestseller list and receiving positive reviews across the board. Unexpectedly and truly fun, Rivers of London promised many great things for the further adventures of Peter Grant. Moon Over Soho constitutes the second of these adventures, one just as entertaining and just exciting as the first, with added depth to boot. The Peter Grant books are quickly establishing themselves as a reference in fun-driven Urban Fantasy and Moon Over Soho is proof of why that is.

The Ritual comes to us from the keyboard of Apartment 16 writer Adam Nevill, who in that previous novel displayed deft skill in making use of each and every essential element of the horror writer’s palette: a tense and appropriately austere setting, mystery-shrouded and terrifying supernatural elements, fast pacing, engaging characters and a knack for keeping the reader in a constant state of delightful apprehension. Nevill hits those same right notes again in The Ritual in an even more honed manner than before. This dazzling horror tale is continuing proof that Nevill is here to stay - upon completing it I could only sit, amazed, at the horrifyingly excellent tale he had spun.




This artwork was posted a few days ago on Rowena Cory Daniells' website, so I apologize for my lateness in posting about it now but I only just stumbled across it. This cover is for the first volume of Daniells' next series, The Outcast Chronicles, entitled Besieged. Like the artwork for her King Rolen's Kin series, this cover art is from artist Clint Langley. Though I can't say this is my favorite artwork or even type of artwork, the work Langley has done here is quite good - the detail is impressive and though it screams fantasy a bit too much (in a bad way), it does increase my interest in this forthcoming novel. There is no word yet on a publication date for The Outcast Chronicles, but you can be sure I will let you know when there is.

The first of the ‘Metrozone’ books, Equations of Life, surprised me in its overbearingly-fun nature and I expected much of the same from the second installment, Theories of Flight. Thankfully, Morden delivers once again a thrilling novel, filled with smart plots and science fiction galore. Samuil Petrovitch returns in fine form to save the day and you should be glad for it. His sharp wit and un-paralleled resourcefulness return also and it is a joy once more to see him put them to use unravelling conspiracies and battling his way through every and all situations to achieve his desired goal. Clearly, this series is shaping up to be a light-hearted staple of the science fiction genre.

Last month was a bit hectic for me, what with a trip to Togo which left me cut off from the internet for two weeks and a lot going on outside of my blogging. Nevertheless I was able to get enough reading done before I left to have some reviews up for you in the time I was gone. But my trip also meant a lack of opportunity to read... so I have a bit of catching up to do. Much like April, May is a month full of great SFF releases, including the new China Miéville, the conclusion to Stephen Deas' A Memory of Flames and Adam Nevill's latest horror scare to name but a few. You will find these titles amongst those in the list below as well as one or two books I will be catching up on from April. And, as always, this list is subject to change with both additions and subtractions possible.