Sunday, 20 June 2010

Books I Adopted This Week

Well, it is that time of the week again - I get to spill the secrets about which books have slipped into my house while I wasn't looking! Just an update on the Book Buying Embargo: these books listed below are all review copies, which means I've managed my second week without buying anything. Hallelujah! I wish I could say I thought it was getting easier...

The Fuller Memorandum by Charles Stross

Bob Howard is an IT specialist and field agent for the Laundry, the branch of Her Majesty's secret service that deals with occult threats. Overworked and underpaid, Bob is used to his two jobs overflowing from a strict nine to five and, since his wife Mo has a very similar job description, he understands that work will sometimes follow her home, too. But when 'work' involves zombie assassins and minions of a mad god's cult, he realises things are spinning out of control. When a top-secret dossier goes missing and his boss Angleton is implicated, Bob must contend with suspiciously helpful Russian intelligence operatives and an unscrupulous apocalyptic cult before confronting the decades-old secret that lies at the heart of the Laundry: what is so important about the missing Fuller Memorandum? And why are all the people who know dying...?

Published by Orbit on 1st July 2010 (please note the cover artwork above is to the US edition).

This is the third book in the Laundry series, and I was fairly apathetic about reading it until I read the blurb on the back and found myself thoroughly intrigued! Once this book buying embargo of mine is over, I shall definitely be picking up the first two in this series and giving them all a go. It would also be my first effort at reading Stross, an author who burst onto the scene in the UK not long ago and seems to be publishing virtually a book a month right now! I feel as though I could do all my reading within Stross' work for the next few months and not have a lack of books to read *grin*

The Restoration Game by Ken MacLeod

There is no such place as Krassnia. Lucy Stone should know - she was born there. In that tiny, troubled region of the former Soviet Union, revolution is brewing. Its organisers need a safe place to meet, and where better than the virtual spaces of an online game? Lucy, who works for a start-up games company in Edinburgh, has a project that almost seems made for the job: a game inspired by The Krassniad, an epic folk tale concocted by Lucy's mother Amanda, who studied there in the 1980s. Lucy knows Amanda is a spook. She knows her great-grandmother Eugenie also visited the country in the '30s, and met the man who originally collected Krassnian folklore, and who perished in Stalin's terror. As Lucy digs up details about her birthplace to slot into the game, she finds the open secrets of her family's past, the darker secrets of Krassnia's past - and hints about the crucial role she is destined to play in The Restoration Game...

Published by Orbit on 1st July 2010

Okay, is it daft to want to read this because it has an 'Amanda' in it? You know, we're singularly lacking in the world of fiction - I can't think of too many characters from books called Amanda. Other than that, I am open to reading this one but not jumping up and down with excitement. It fits the bill in terms of a slim stand alone science fiction novel, which are always easier to slot into my reading schedule, but the blurb doesn't jump out at me.

The Reluctant Mage by Karen Miller

It's been months since Rafel ventured over Barl's Mountains into the unknown, in a desperate bid to seek help. With his father's Weather Magic exhausted and Lur ravaged by polluting magics, there seemed no other hope. Now this too has died. Only Deenie believes Rafel still lives, sensing her brother in tortured dreams. She also knows she must try to find him, as only Rafel's talents could heal their land. The prospect terrifies Deenie, yet she sees no other choice. But she finds the lands beyond Lur blighted with lawlessness and chaos - and here Deenie and her companion Charis find the dark sorcerer Morg's deadly legacy. As they travel they learn of a dangerous new power in the land. Deenie comes to suspect that not only is her brother involved, but that the evil their father destroyed is somehow reborn. And if she can't save Rafel then, through him, Morg's vast power could once again command their world.

Published by Orbit on 1st July 2010

Orbit are publishing some great books, which is very exciting. What is frustrating is that they are often part of long-running series. This isn't as bad as some situations, but not only is this the second book in the Fisherman's Children series, but *that* series is preceded by The Innocent Mage. So there are again a few books to catch up on before I can even think about reading this one (I know that with some series you can jump right on board at any point, but I'm sensing that this isn't one of those!)

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

As the new girl at Bixby High School, Jessica Day expected some unwelcome attention. What she didn't expect was to feel an instant connection to a stranger in the corridor... Who is this boy dressed in black? And why can she feel his eyes following her wherever she goes? The answers will have to wait until the sun goes down, for here in Bixby, midnight is the time for secrets; secrets that Jessica is going to find out, whether she wants to or not.

Published by Atom on 1st July 2010

Thanks to Gavin Smith this blurb makes me laugh, rather than get all interested by the contents. However, Scott Westerfeld is doing some great things in the world of YA fiction, so I am tempted to try this. And lo and behold! It's the first book in a trilogy, so I can jump on board immediately!

The Dream Thief by Catherine Webb

London, 1865, and young Theresa Hatch (Tess, to her friends) receives a nast surprise late at night. When Horatio finds a young girl on his doorstep, passed out, dying - apparently poisoned - he's appalled. Investigations lead to Tess's old workhouse, but a surprise visit to that sorry establishment yields more questions than answers. Only one thing is clear: something very, very bad is happening to the children in the East End. There's a mystery to be solved, sending Lyle, Thomas, Tate and - naturally - Tess out into the wilds of east London and a certain former thief's old stamping grounds. What they find is terrifying: Tess's old crowd of artful dodgers and ace pickpockets are now wandering the streets like zombies, drooling in the workhouses or plain mad in the asylum. And it isn't just affecting Tess' old crowd; children all over the area are turning up with their memories in tatters and their minds all but gone. The only clue is a name, half-whispered in fear: Old Greybags.

Published by Atom on 1st July 2010

And we're back to jumping on board a series part way through... This is the fourth book in the Horatio Lyle series. But it is by Catherine Webb. Which is Kate Griffin by any other name. I love Webb's adult fiction, and I spoke briefly to her about her fiction for younger readers - she was so enthused about it that I do want to pick up the start of this series. Being for younger readers, I'm pretty sure I could read this book on its own without reading the first few.


  1. I had the same reaction at the Westerfield blurb lol

    And as for the Reluctant Mage, I haven't read the Prodigal Mage yet, but it's on it's way in the mail to my house right now and I did read the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker-duology, which I really liked. I hope that with the Fisherman's Children Miller will go back to form for me, because I really didn't like the Godspeaker trilogy. While it was compulsive reading and really well written (I read all three books in the space of 12 days or so) it kinda left me with a sick feeling everything I think back on them. Which might be a combination of the books and the fact that I was reading them in the early stages of my pregnancy, when I was nauseous almost 24/7, but mainly it was the story I think. Anyway... once you're bookbuying embargo is over, I wonder what you'll make of these books if you read them. Because I haven't seen/read a lot of reviews on them, except for those on goodreads.

  2. @Mieneke - thanks for the comment :-) Glad it isn't just me that has been ruined by Gavin Smith! Thanks also for the feedback about the Karen Miller books - you've definitely piqued my interest!

  3. I'm still impressed with your book buying embargo. That it's still running. You're obviously a book lover and going two weeks without buying is an achievement.

    I think this week my collection has grown by eighteen - three from an Amazon order, seven bought in Derby on Saturday and eight review copies.

    Still, at least I still have some room left so I don't have to do anything drastic yet.

  4. Wow, 18 books! That sounds like one of my old weeks ;-). I have been tempted, I can't deny that - there have been a couple of books released that I am desperate to read, but I need to stay strong!