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INTERVIEWS

Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded

RECENT REVIEWS

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

Mad Hatter's Reading Log - May through July

In an effort to get somewhat caught up and for me to keep things straight in my own head here are the books I've read the last few months. Lots of very memorable reads and some that weren't quite as good as I hoped.

May


35. Redshirts by John Scalzi - Scalzi nails this send-up of early Star Trek. See review here.
36. Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards - Salyards and Arki are the heir apparents to Glen Cook and Croaker. Black Company fans may have just found their new favorite series though I did have a few problems with it, which my review describes.
37. Noctuary by Thomas Ligotti - It has been many years since I got into Ligotti, but he hasn't lost any of the  weird edge that defines his fiction. This was the Sub Press definitive edition, which is quite a nice version. Highly recommended.
38. The Mongoliad by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, etc. - More of a Historical novel rather then a Historical Fantasy. Very little in the way of magic, but the emphasis is on realism, especially in terms of sword fighting, which is quite well done. The culture of the Mongols is explored extensively with their daily life, ruthlessness, and empire building. Those parts were the most interesting while the Templar-like group is kept at the fringes of things too much. I'm on the fence about the series as it doesn't have enough action for me but will be checking out the next volume to see if it grabs me a bit more.
39. Amped by Daniel H. Wilson - Wilson's follow-up to Robopocalypse (review here) isn't as strong, but definitely had a good Tech-Action vibe that kept me engrossed. The characters are a bit too shallow, especially the secondary players, but it gives off the big-budget action movie vibe that will draw casual readers. Recommend with reservations.
40. The Broken Universe by Paul Melko - Melko's sequel to The Walls of the Universe (review here) ups the ante involving more alternative universes, which calls in some of the secret players. We finally get some pay off for Easter eggs laid in the first book, but Melko is still holding out on us. Recommended, especially for alternative universe story lovers.
41. The King's Blood by Daniel Abraham - Abraham makes financials and commerce some of most interesting themes going in Fantasy today. While I'm not as deeply in to the series as his Long Price Quartet this is still a can't miss series. I think the best is still to come and considering how good this series already is Abraham may leave us breathless. Highly recommend.
42. Worldsoul by Liz Williams - Williams gets an A+ for imagination and world-building, but a B- for characterization and flow. For a book so slim she pack 12 pounds in a 10 pound sack and it shows. Librarian warriors, forgotten gods, and politics mix nicely, but due to too many POVs and seemingly disparate story lines it does become difficult to follow. I'm willing to say it might have been me and my reading patterns though as it might have worked better with fewer reading sessions.
43. Legion by Brandon Sanderson - This is not the Sanderson most of us are use to, which isn't a bad thing. It feels more like the experimental Sanderson. The story is contemporary in nature and plays as a more psychological thriller with one character who manifests other personalities. To go much further into it would ruin things. Recommend and I hope he does more with these characters, but don't come in expecting Fantasy/Magic.

June


44. Prepare to Die! by Paul Tobin - Very much influenced by Watchmen. It has the dark grittiness of Alan Moore and the adolescent introspection of Nick Hornby. Definitely a boy book as the female characters have no depth or agency of their own. But I love the origin stories and action. A can't miss for comic book fans. Highly recommended.
45. The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis - Tregillis more than lived up to my hopes brought about by Bitter Seeds [review here], which were high. No sense of middle book syndrome at all. Every nuanced character is still here and Gretel's plans all come to fruition. Definitely in the running for one of my favorite books of the year.
46. One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper - One of the funniest and most touching books I've read this year. A has been rock star is confronted with is mortality. Hilarity ensues. Highly recommended.
47. Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe - Everyone's favorite sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse is back and he's sea sick. While this isn't the best novel in the series it is still quite entertaining and introduces a female sword jockey you'll almost instantly fall in love with. Recommended.
48. After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh - Definitely in the running for collection of the year, especially for those who like their fiction a bit more dour. McHugh is a master wordsmith. Highly recommended.
49. Railsea by China Mieville - Even Mieville light can be weird. Giant moles run amok in a world crisscrossed with railroad lines and plenty people looking for revenge. Recommended.
50. Irredeemable Vol 1. by Mark Waid - Ana amazing start to the simple idea of an all powerful superhero ala Superman going mad. Highly recommended.
51. Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by G.J. Koch - Justin gave this an awesome review that is spot on, which also cinched this as a read for me. Ice Pirates meets Firefly indeed. A bit lighter, and funnier though. Outland is a keeper. Recommend for when you need a laugh and some good action. Just don't think about the science too much.
52. Black Bottle by Anthony Huso- This has much of the beauty, grace, and strangeness of The Last Page (review here), but has lost something as well. The major problem was I felt lost and confused more than a few times even with re-reads of chapters. There is a good payoff in the end yet I have a feeling it will be hard for everyone to get there. Even with some deep reservations Huso has created one of the most original worlds found in fiction today. I'm eager to see what he'll do next.
53. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Compared to the other two Cemetery of Forgotten Books this is an extremely light, yet endearing story. Fermin takes center stage who is just as lovable, but the story itself felt too inconsequential at times even though some mysteries are solved some of which I hadn't even realized were mysteries. Recommended. I think this is one I'll like more upon a future re-read.
54. Year Zero by Rob Reid - Decent, but I kept feeling like if the characters had a bit more depth it would have been an amazing book. Instead it is just a nice, fun read. See short review here.


July


55. Shadow Show edited by Sam Weller & Mort Castle - Can you say anthology of the year? Because I know I can. I still have a few left to read, but I had to put it down just because I don't want to be done with it. They have done Bradbury a great honor.
56. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig - A brash female anti-hero is just what Urban Fantasy needed. With wit and a genuine darkside this is a fabulous series starter. Highly recommended, especially if you like foul mouthed people.
57. Irredeemable Volume 2 & 3 by Mark Waid - Again an outstanding take on superheros gone wild. Man, there is some dark stuff in here.
58. The Goon: The Deformed of Body and Devious of Mind - Volume 11 by Eric Powell - Powell slams Twilight, Hobos, and carnies right in the face with this one. Still some of the best art found in graphic novels today.
59. "Rose of Fire" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - The prequel story to the creation of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. A nice little fill-in, but it wasn't as magical as I had been hoping. It is free and worth much more than that to me.
60. The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett - The best Epic Fantasy I've read all year and yes I know I'm behind the curve on this one, but I had to wait until I knew the next book was in sight. The Daylight War will be read as soon as I get my greedy hands on it.
61. Elric: The Balance Lost: Vol 2 by Chris Roberson - Yes, I'm on a bit of a comic kick at the moment. If you're an Elric fan grab this series. It is a little messy, but it is coming together quite nicely.
62. Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson - A brilliant cross of Hackers, Middle Eastern Society and Djinn. Highly recommended. See review here.
63. Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill - This is where the origins of many things are uncovered. Highly recommended.
64. Irredeemable Vol 4 & 5 by Mark Waid - The story is starting to feel too stretched at this point, but I'm intrigued enough to go a little further or skip ahead to the last couple volumes.
63. Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines - Loved, loved this book. The story Hines has been working himself up to. Highly recommended and check out the interview I did with him this summer.
64. The Light is the Darkness by Laird Barron - Dark gods, evil science, and combat are thrown together in this novella, which packs more in than many novels. I didn't find it as strong as Barron's The Croning, but it was a nice treat related to some of his other short fiction. Recommended.
65. The Broken Isles by Mark Charan Newton - The fourth and final book in the Legends of the Red Sun ended things well, almost too well as I would have liked a little more exploration of the world and especially Frater Mercury. Overall, this is an above average series that mixes Epic Fantasy, future histories, and a bit of the Weird to good effect. It paints a far future that is rough, weird, and believable.


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MICRO REVIEW | Year Zero by Rob Reid

Like Ready Player One, Year Zero is the type of book that will hit the sweet spot for those of a certain generation. Year Zero revels in the music of the 80's and 90's and also the Napster era legal issues of the 00's. Some characters are even supposed to resemble names you might know from the late 80's to early 90's pop music. Reid certainly has the right pedigree to write such a book having started Rhapsody. There are plenty of laughs to be had as we meet a cadre of unusual aliens and odd situations.

There are some issues, which keep Year Zero from attaining its potential. The main character comes off very flat and doesn't go through much growth despite the outcome. Yet he knows himself well. However, many of the side characters are also very one dimensional as well and just seem there for a specific joke at times. Especially the space slut.

Besides the many in-jokes, the time exploring the other races of the cosmos was very inventive, especially a certain race whose name isn't worth mentioning. All in all, a very solid albeit light first novel, but don't going into thinking this is the next Hitchhiker's Guide or you'll be disappointed. The style actually reminded more of Christopher Moore in space mixed with some court room theatrics and a decent send-up of reality television.

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Covers Unveiled for NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Coming early in 2013 is Joe Hill's long awaited (by me at least) third full length novel after Horns, which is one of my favorite Horror novels of the last decade. In the US Hill's latest is being called Nos4a2 though in the UK they appear to be going with Nos4r2. Hill explains why in a tweet:

Joe Hill ‏@joe_hill:
The new novel is NOS4A2 in the US but for reasons of UK pronunciation is NOS4R2 on the other side of the pond.
US Harper/William Morrow Cover
UK Gollancz Cover
Both seem to do the job though the US has the clean "big book" look publishers go after when they don't want to turn anyone off while the UK goes for a nice atmospheric Horror cover. No official description is available, but Hill did discuss the book earlier this year at WorldCon in this video.

The estimated release date for the US edition of Nos4a2 is the end of April though that could change. No word on when the UK release will be, but something close seems likely. Add this is my list of CANNOT wait for titles in 2013.

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New Procurements

Yes, it is that time again. The first shot is of books I purchased and the second books sent for potential review. Lots of big name books in the second.


The Islanders by Christopher Priest made quite a splash across the pond, but thus far is available only by import in the US. I had to order it used and what came in the mail but an ex-library copy. Still it is in good condition. The new few were bought on my vacation. Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky is a new translation of a classic first contact story. The Haunting Of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding I nabbed just because it is Wooding who has not disappointed me yet. Stephenson's Reamde was sitting on the discount shelf for under $7, which was a sign that it was time I should scoop it up, but it will be a while before I get to the this hefty tome.


The first few here will be gobbled up very, very soon with hopes to of doing reviews close to their release dates this Fal. That's right I've got Sanderson's The Emerpor's Soul, which is placed on the same word as Elantris.   The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books is Walter Moers' latest Zamonia novel and it looks to be back in the fantastic city of a much changed Bookholm. The much anticipated The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi is the sequel to The Quantum Thief, which I liked quite a bit a couple years back. Mark Hodder's A Red Sun Also Rises looks to be an odd Sword & Planet that could be a lot of fun as well.

The Rapture of the Nerds is a Doctorow and Stross collaboration. Is that too much concentrated nerd in one package? Alchemystic is Anton Strout's start to a new Urban Fantasy series featuring gargoyles, which just might be a good light read. Daugther of the Sword is Steve Bein's debut and I've already heard a few good things that make me think I'll like it. Salvage Demolition is Tim Powers' latest novella from Sub Pres. The Hunter from the Woods is by Robert McCammon who I've heard loads about, but never tried before. This just might be the one. And lastly is James Cain's long lost novel The Cocktail Waitress.

Quite a nice stack I must say!

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MICRO REVIEW | Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Alif The Unseen is a story with a lot of depth. Many social issues are brought to the fore in an honest and believable ways. The characters while cold at first grow so much as things progress. You can feel them changing through the experiences they share. The setting is an Arab city where the divide between the classes is very apparent and is the closest I've glimpsed this society from the inside. Activism or hacktivism culture as it has become known as is at the center of things, but so is a magical world. Alif, the protagonist, learns that the two do not have to be mutually exclusive in his fight to stay alive.

Alif The Unseen is many things. A cyber thriller, a peek into the Arab way of life, and a journey through the mythology of the middle east. And it does each equally well in what ends up being one of the most memorable stories I've read this year. Superb in nearly every facet.  Simply, a brilliant cross of Hackers, Middle Eastern Society and Djinn. I can't wait to see what Wilson does next.

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MINI REVIEW | Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed


Cover Confusion - An International Incident Edition

A couple weeks back Saladin Ahmed unveiled the Polish cover for Throne of the Crescent Moon.


I thought: Not bad. A little too hooded for my likes. And who knew Ahmed was taking a crack at writing the novelization of the new Tron movie? In all seriousness Throne of the Crescent Moon is an awesome book and I can't wait for the sequel. However, a few days later Brent Weeks showed off the German cover for The Blinding Knife.


Notice any similarities? I'm not sure where the image itself originated. It could be a case of stock art that anyone can buy, the same designer reusing art in a different region, or even one of the publishers licensing the art to the other. It definitely falls in line with the style of the Night Angel books which were well used internationally.

Speaking of The Blinding Knife, I finished it just last week and it was just as good as The Black Prism. Probably even better. Man, Weeks knows how to stab someone in the back and twist it. Also, Ahmed just released an eBook short story collection called Engraved on the Eye. Check it out. I know I will.

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Contest Winners

I'm still a bit behind. Right when I returned from vacation I got slammed at work and until my big project is done I'll still be mostly absent. I also finally closed on my house, which I've been living in already, but there is still plenty to do there. So here are the long overdue winners of the triple contest.

Giveaway the First
The winner of the Ray Bradbury tribute anthology Shadow Show is Lonnie from New Jersey. May your tattoos not come to life and run amok.

Giveaway the Second
The winner of the strange and wondrous anthology The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities is Candiss from Washington. May you find many odd objects to fill your curio cabinet.

Giveaway the Third
The winner of the Mystery giveaway is Brett from Texas who has chosen Science Fiction as the types of books he'd like. That shouldn't be a problem

Books will be mailed out this week.

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