Category Archives: Angry Robot Books

Chasing Tale for November 1st, 2011: Peter Crowther, N.K. Jemison, Kelli Owen …

I am not goingto complain about the cold this year. At all. That being said, I havegotten two colds so far this fall. Maybe it’s like the recession andit was just the same one that turned into a double-dip. That,however, was my own fault. I will not blame the weather. Afterthose sweltering days of summer, I welcome the impending snow stormswith welcome arms. I’m built like a polar bear, so that helps. Allyou skin-and-bones types are on your own.
If I will complainabout anything it is that I don’t have an open fire by which to readby books. That’s something I have never done in my life. I’ve neverlived anywhere that had a fireplace, at least not a functioning one.Wood stoves, sure, but not a fireplace with a quaint mantlepiecepropping up stiffly-orchestrated family photos and darts trophies.Someday, perhaps. Until then, I’ll settle for that TV channel thatcomes on in December with the crackling fire and incessant Christmascarols.
Heading intowinter, here are some of the books I’ll be reading sans fireplace:

Darkness Falling byPeter Crowther Angry Robot Books is only acouple years old now, but they’ve already got quite an impressivelooking library. One of their most recent releases is this horrortale about a small town becoming possessed one person at a time.Sounds creepy as heck and ought to be a fun, spooky read.

The First Husband byLaura Dave -Fridays on Twitter, Iusually tweet what my #fridayreads are for that week. I had no ideathere was a book giveaway attached, so imagine my surprise when I wasannounced as a winner. The book isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I’llgive it a chance then hand it off to one of the ladies in the family.Guaranteed someone will enjoy it.

TheHundred Thousand Kingdomsby N.K. Jemisin– Kat over at No PageLeft Behind sent me a paperback of this much-heralded fantasynovel. A fantasy involving kings and gods and a power struggle thatthreatens everything. Neat. It’s the first book in a trilogy, so ifit’s good then that means I have yet another series to get hooked on.
TheNew Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn andTheGentling Box byLisa MannettiLisa sent me signedcopies of these two books, which is wonderful as I covet her work. Inow have two signed copies of TheGentling Box: myoriginal Dark Hart Press edition from 2008 and now the ShadowfallPublications edition from last year. I shall hoard them both.
TheNeighborhood byKelli Owen -I won this signed chapbook from DreadfulTales (formerly Paperback Horror). I’ve yet to read Kelli’s work, but PatDreadful and the gang approve, and I’ve heard her guest spots on GregHall’s The Funky Werepig and she is a hoot. Plus, Brian Keene put herover as a writer to watch, so there’s that too.
Demons byJohn Skipp (editor) -A big thanks to Darkeva’s DarkDelights for sending me a copy of this very cool lookinganthology. This book is brand new, but I literally hadn’t heard of ituntil Darkeva told me about it. I’m a sucker for a good themedanthology, and this one ought to be good. When the contributingauthors is as diverse as Charles Beaumont, Neil Gaiman, BentleyLittle, and Alethea Kontis, it’s gottabe good.

So there’s the new crop added to my reading pile. What did you snag this past month?

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Filed under Angry Robot Books, books won, Chasing Tale, e-books, John Skipp, Kelli Owen, Laura Dave, Lisa Mannetti, N.K. Jemison, Peter Crowther

Rabid Reads: "King’s Justice" by Maurice Broaddus

King’s Justice (The Knights of Breton Court II)
by Maurice Broaddus
Angry Robots (2011)
416 pages
ISBN 9780857660824
I missed out on reading the first book in Broaddus’ Knights of Breton Court series, King Maker, so when I won this ARC copy of the sequel via Goodreads, I wondered if I was going to be stepping into a book with no idea of the backstory. Thankfully, Broaddus sets the stage early on in the book by re-introducing the major players and the stakes leading from the first book into this one.
It also helps that the series is a non-too-subtle Arthurian legend with a modern day backdrop, so a little familiarity with who some of the characters represent and their relationships was a nice break.
Instead of King Arthur, we have King James White (I wonder if he is inspired from author Wrath James White, a collaborator with Broaddus on a novel called Orgy of Souls), along with his girlfriend, Lady G, and mentor of sorts and resident crazy man, Merle. The kingdom, as it stands, is a drug-infested section of Indianapolis called Breton Court. Gang violence has escalated to a degree that White has stepped in as a would-be peacemaker, but forces are at play to sabotage his efforts.
The cast of characters is a bit lengthy, but Broaddus kindly offers a list of the players at the beginning of the book, reminiscent to the start of stage plays. Definitely comes in handy when scenes switch and a new character enters, and I’m left wondering, “Wait, who is that again and in which gang or alliance are they connected?”
The fantasy element is a more understated than I had anticipated, but it is there and used to great effect. I mean, you can’t have a real world setting and then have mystical battles waged in the middle a major American city. People might notice. Those with the magical abilities are relatively few, seemingly extensions from a bygone era with faeries and dwarves also making appearances.
Colvin, as the lead villain was an intriguing nemesis for King, as well as the contentious relationship he had with his sister, Omarosa (I still can’t read that name without thinking of the crazy lady from The Apprentice). And some of the supporting characters are real treats, like Lee and Cantrell, a pair of mismatched police officers, and Naptown Red, a villain on the rise leading into the next book.
I liked the book, but I still think I would have had a better appreciation for it had I read King Maker first. So, I’ll likely give this book a second chance when the third–and presumably final–book in the series, King’s War, comes out. Then, I can read all three in a go and see the sweeping epic unfold in one fell swoop. I’m also even more inclined to look for Maurice Broaddus’ other works, including the previously mentioned Orgy of Souls, his Dark Faith anthology, and another book with an enticing title, Devil’s Marionette.
CymLowell

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Filed under Angry Robot Books, book review, King's Justice, Maurice Broaddus, Rabid Reads, urban fantasy

Rabid Reads: "The Bookman" by Lavie Tidhar

The Bookman
395 pages
ISBN-13: 9780007346585
To put it plainly, this novel offers a smorgasbord of steampunk goodness. Zeppelins, automatons, floating islands, cannon-fired space flight, lizard people, and a countless array of literary cameos from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Oh, and somewhere in all that there is a sweeping adventure.
Orphan is a young poet, hopelessly in love with Lucy, who is set to take part in the launching ceremony of the first venture in unmanned spaceflight. But, a notorious terrorist known only as the Bookman sabotages the launch, killing Lucy and others in the process. From there, Orphan finds himself recruited to track down the Bookman and stop him before he does even more harm.
The story is set in an alternate universe in which real life figures from history, such as Karl Marx and Jack the Ripper, share the stage intermittently with authors of the time, like Jules Verne and Rudyard Kipling, as well as famed literary characters, such as Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty (who is the British Prime Minister). It’s a kind of kaleidoscope effect that dazzles the reader, but also serves as a distraction from what I feel is a rather riding-the-rails storyline.
Orphan is a kind of chosen character, the type of “you’re our only hope, Obi Wan!” kind of hero. But, if you watch his actions through the story, you might notice that he isn’t chasing after his goals so much as he’s being batted about Tidhar’s universe like a ping pong ball, being pushed along from one discovery to the next. It was a kind of Alice in Wonderland effect, in my opinion. It didn’t feel like it as I was reading, but when I finished the book I thought back and wondered, what exactly did Orphan do besides play someone else’s pawn, pushed across the board as if someone was prodding his back with a stick?
Perhaps, an early scene in which Orphan plays chess with “the Turk” is meant to act as a prelude to his adventure and the role he plays in it.
It is a remarkably elaborate plot, considering the cast of characters and cameos, and the numerous twists did entertain me, but ultimately it felt less impactful because of Orphan seemingly being led along by a leash through much of the story.
There is a sequel in the works called Camera Obscura, which apparently picks up where The Bookman very neatly leaves off, so I’ll be looking forward to reading that and seeing if I might better appreciate a book heralded as one of the best steampunk novels to be published in the last few years.

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Filed under Angry Robot Books, book review, Lavie Tidhar, Rabid Reads, steampunk, The Bookman