It was a quiet week for me this time round in terms of review copies, but more than made up for by two of the books I received, one of which I jumped up and down and squeed about in an embarrassing manner!
Let's start with that one, because I simply haven't been this excited about a book since...oh, last Tuesday at least! I jest, of course: this book has been on my immediate wishlist since I read Johannes Cabal the Necromancer in January and found out there would be a second book.
Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan L Howard
Johannes Cabal is back -- a little older, a little wiser, but just as sharply funny, cuttingly sarcastic, and unexpectedly violent as ever. For necromancer Johannes Cabal, dealing with devils, demons and raising the dead is pretty much par for the course. But when his attempt to steal a rare book turns sour, he is faced by a far more terrifying entity -- politics. While awaiting execution for his crime, Cabal is forced to resurrect an inconveniently deceased emperor. Seizing his chance, the cunning Cabal engineers his escape, fleeing the country on a state-of-the-art flying ship. But the ship has more than a few unpleasant surprises, including an unwelcome face from the past and the small matter of some mysterious murders. Cabal may work with corpses but he has absolutely no intention of becoming one. Drawn into a deadly conspiracy, is he shuffling dangerously close to the end of his mortal coil?
I loved the first book about Johannes Cabal, loved it, and this book has just leapt to the top of my reading schedule.
Published by Headline on 8th July 2010
The King's Bastard by Rowena Cory Daniells
Cloaked in silent winter snow the Kingdom of Rolencia sleeps as rumours spread of new Affinity Seeps, places where untamed power wells up. Meanwhile, King Rolen plans his jubilee unaware of the growing threat to those he loves. By royal decree, all those afflicted with Affinity must serve the Abbey or face death. Sent to the Abbey because of his innate Affinity, the King’s youngest son, Fyn, trains to become a warrior monk. Unfortunately, he’s a gentle dreamer and the other acolytes bully him. The only way he can escape them is to serve the Abbey Mystic, but his Affinity is weak. Fiercely loyal, thirteen year-old Piro is horrified to discover she is also cursed with unwanted Affinity. It broke their mother’s heart to send Fyn away, so she hides her affliction. But, when Fyn confesses his troubles, Piro risks exposure to help him. Even though Byren Kingson is only seven minutes younger than his twin, Lence, who is the king's heir, Byren has never hungered for the Rolencian throne. When a Seer predicts that he will kill Lence, he laughs. But Lence Kingsheir sees Byren’s growing popularity and resents it. Enduring loyalty could be Byren’s greatest failing.
This next book is one that I have had my eye on since I first saw the artwork released: it really is a case of judging the book by its cover. The story itself sounds fairly generic, in all honesty, but that beautiful cover had me dying to pick up the book.
Published by Solaris on 8th July 2010
The Radleys by Matt Haig
Meet the Radleys: Peter, Helen and their teenage kids Clara and Rowan. An everyday family who live in a pretty English village and juggle dysfunctional lives. So far, so normal. Except, as Peter and Helen know (but the kids have yet to find out), the Radleys happen to be a family of abstaining vampires. When one night Clara finds herself driven to commit a bloodthirsty act of violence, her parents need to explain a few things: why is their skin is so sensitive to light, why do they all find garlic so repulsive, and why has Clara's recent decision to go vegan had quite such an effect on her behaviour...? But when mysterious Uncle Will swoops into the village, he unleashes a host of shadowy truths and dark secrets that threaten to destroy the Radleys and the world around them.
I'm a tiny bit ambivalent about this one - see, the blurb makes it sound so comical and quirky, but I have read The Last Family in England by the same author and wasn't too impressed. I remain open-minded, though!
Published by Walker Books on 5th July 2010
Zendegi by Greg Egan
Nasim is a young computer scientist, hoping to work on the Human Connectome Project: a plan to map every neural connection in the human brain. But funding for the project is cancelled, and Nasim ends up devoting her career to Zendegi, a computerised virtual world used by millions of people. Fifteen years later, a revived Connectome Project has published a map of the brain. Zendegi is facing fierce competition from its rivals, and Nasim decides to exploit the map to fill the virtual world with better Proxies: the bit-players that bring its crowd scenes to life. As controversy rages over the nature and rights of the Proxies, a friend with terminal cancer begs Nasim to make a Proxy of him, so some part of him will survive to help raise his orphaned son. But Zendegi is about to become a battlefield...
This one was a surprise package this week - but I never object to a standalone sci-fi book to increase my experience in reading in this area. I can't say I'll be rushing to pick it up, but it is now on my radar.
Published by Gollancz on 17th June 2010
That was my post this week, and, like I say, it included my most hotly-anticipated read of recent times. Anything that you're interested in?