Jan

30

Upcoming Books in February 2015

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Hope everyone had a good rest and spent time with family and friends in Dec/Jan. Obviously there have been some great books in Jan with Firefight, Golden Son and Providence of Fire among many others. Providence of Fire is the front runner in my opinion, but a couple of books in Feb could over take it. LordGrimdark himself appears here and has a rave review from Danica (regular contributor) as well as the finale to The Powder Mage trilogy.

Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

The sequel to the very successful Half a King. Yes it is YA but the book is still gritty and full of plot twists. About a crippled Prince of Gettland, Yarvi has a maimed hand since birth. Because of this, he is seen by lesser by many people. When his father dies, he is thrust upon the throne immediately by his mother and that’s where more of his problems brew.

This series reads really well (Danica’s ARC review) and should be high on a lot of other people’s lists this year. If you haven’t picked up Abercrombie before, this could be a great series for you. If you refer something that is completed, then give The Blade Itself a go.


Gemini Cell by Myke Cole

A budding author who was very successful with his first trilogy called The Shadow Ops. A modern day Military fantasy book. He’s been so successful that he’s been contracted to write another trilogy in the same world. Myke Cole is into his social media and he can be seen talking with fans from around the globe. If you like urban fantasy, then give this series or his previous series a try, it isn’t the run of the mill stuff.


Trigger Warning: Short Fiction and Distrubances by Neil Gaiman

He’s got a new book. Wait a second. It’s short stories. But his previous one, Fragile Things in 2006 was a best seller! Neil Gaiman would probably be one of the most popular authors out there. He spans so many different genres and can grab many different audiences. He’s written Sandman (graphic novel), Coraline (children’s book), Neverwhere (fairy tale twist), American Gods (urban fantasy) and other best sellers. Those of us who loved American Gods can be happy (or maybe not) that he has a short story from this world.


The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan

Here it is, the third book of his Powder Mage trilogy. This, much like The Hero of Ages (Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson), will decide whether or not McClellan is the real deal. Can he close off a trilogy. He has a unique magic system and believable characters. His world building still needs to be worked on, but overall a series that you can grab and just enjoy without wanting something too deep . Promise of Blood, Book 1 of the series was one of my favourite books in 2013, and it was contending with Anthony Ryan’s Blood Song, Brent Weeks’ Blinding Knife and Sanderson’s double whopper of YA, The Rithmatist and Steelheart.


Other books of note:
Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Karen Memory by Elizabeth bear
The very best of Kate Elliot by Kate Elliot
A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

 



Jan

20

Competition: Win a Kindle Glare, Amazon Vouchers and A Providence of Fire!

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Here are Bestfantasybooks.com, we want to provide you with insightful articles and great recommendations but we also want to provide you with books to read as well! To celebrate our new design layout and the update of many of our Top Lists, we are running a pretty big competition.

Up for grabs:

RULES OF THE COMPETITION

1) This is a international competition with some exceptions (read below)

2) If you are outside of North America, you must agree to pay shipping for the Kindle (~$15usd). If you disagree, we will give you a voucher instead and draw out a different winner.

3) Each person can only win one prize

4) A Providence of Fire is only for North American Residence only (sorry!)

5) All entries must be in by 11.59pm (PST), Friday 23rd Jan 2015

6) Winners will be drawn after this date and posted on Facebook, Twitter and Blog.

7) To enter, either RT this post on Twitter or like and comment (share if you like!) on the Facebook site. Yes, this means a max of two entries per person. Easy, right? Make sure you like our facebook page and/or sign up for our newsletter so you are notified about more of our giveaways!

8) This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.



Jan

15

Review: All Those Vanished Engines by Paul Park

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I don’t really know how else to say it, but All Those Vanished Engines was a frustrating book for me to read. It started off well, as the story of a girl in an alternate version of the South, sometime after the end of the Civil War. Interspersed with scenes from her life are fictional stories she’s composed in her diary, mostly about her future (imagined) descendants. However, this is not representative of the remaining 2/3 of the book.

The expectations I developed while reading the earliest section didn’t pay off later on. Part one followed a rather conventional sort of fantasy (or maybe steampunk) course. You sympathized with the protagonist, you were as eager as she was to find out what was going on, what the secrets were that had been hidden from her. When she was in danger, you rooted for her. Parts 2 and 3 were literary fiction, plain and simple, with some science fiction elements added in. It was lots and lots of the POV character (possibly a version of the author) talking at length about his own life and family and thoughts and recollections.

One of the things that frustrated me is that we kept getting led down a path, only for nothing to result. This was especially problematic in part 3. I was interested in the POV character’s investigation of his family’s history, for example. I had this sense that there was some connecting thread underlying everything, that we were just on the verge of figuring out what it was. And then the book just…ended. And I don’t think I would have understood what was implied by the ending if not for the publicity material supplied with my copy of this book.

At any rate, while I connected with the protagonist for part one, I didn’t have any affinity for the protagonist in parts 2 and 3. I can read books where I don’t connect with the protagonist, if other elements (plot, worldbuilding) make up for it. But I kept putting this book down and finding other things to do rather than picking it back up again.

Other random thought: the highlight of part 2, for me, was an old man’s discussion of the scientific project that has been made into a museum and his explanation for what the apparatus actually was. It was a very interesting idea for me to think about. (This section is also where the title of the book comes from.)

I was able to pull out some themes, so if you like reading for theme and/or making connections among disparate elements, you might like this book a lot. First, as I’ve already mentioned, the POV character from later sections came from a family of authors. And there are authors and/or writers in all three sections of this book. In part one, you have the girl’s diary. In part two, you have sections from a book the POV character is writing for Wizards of the Coast, as well as selections from a writing student. In part three, you have a lot of family history documents the POV character is referring to, looking for clues, as well as selections from books his family members have written. All of these written pieces can be interpreted as they relate to (or further) the main narrative.

Secondly, there’s a strong element of the “unreliable narrator” and/or the blending of real life and fantasy, fact and fiction, in this book (and sometimes the two concepts are inextricably linked). In part 3, the POV character tells a story involving a girl. Then, in the next chapter, he flat out tells you he was lying. It makes you start to doubt other things he’s said. Some meetings take place in Second Life (I didn’t even know people still did Second Life…). Sometimes you start adding facts from the interspersed stories (i.e., writings of the characters) into the main narrative without realizing you’ve done so.

In the end, I feel like I’ve been all over the place with this review. There were some elements I liked and/or found interesting, I was able to pull out a couple of recurring themes, etc. I think there is definitely an audience for this book and that quite a few people will appreciate it. But I also think its departure from some of the conventions of the speculative fiction genre (and/or the insertion of elements of literary fiction) has the potential to turn a lot of readers off.

 

Review by Sneaky Burrito