Friday, March 05, 2010

February Books

Here's the batch of books I bought over the past month.

February started off nicely with Fully Booked finally bringing in Steven Erikson's latest in his Malazan Book of the Dead opus, Dust of Dreams. What's even more gratifying to know is that this book is finally nearing its conclusion after eight books. Take that, Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin!

On the other hand, the book I bought had been published by Tor (US) so it kinda miffs me that my collection-- the previous books being published by Bantam-- will be mismatched. But on the upside, they still have the artist Steve Stone doing the cover work for the ninth book.

Though some criticize Erikson's magic and worldbuilding as comparable to role-playing games like D&D, I've always liked the Erikson's characterization of his soldiers. If ever Glen Cook has a heir in terms of military fantasy, it's Erikson through and through.

This month has also been a good one in terms of looking for long-lost books in series. One seriously underrated author is Martha Wells, who's done some pretty good stuff like The Element of Fire and City of Bones. Her stuff is primarily fantasy though it's intelligently done (expect some SFnal ideas thrown in there). It's not surprising then that she's venturing somewhat into steampunk fantasy with her last few books.

In this case, I finally manage to score a copy of the second book of her The Fall of Ile Rein trilogy, The Ships of Air. With this purchase, I've completed the trilogy-- now if I only have the time to read them. Ah well...

Another book that I've added to my collection is Souls of the Great Machine by Sean McMullen. In this case, this is a leap-of-faith purchase (i.e. series of books I complete despite not having read any of the books yet) since I haven't actually read anything by McMullen. In fact, what I actually really want to read is his Moonworlds series but alas, haven't seen copies of that here yet.

In the meantime, I've been quietly scoring copies of this trilogy when I can find them. This first book does look somewhat interesting indeed with librarians dueling among each other, flying machines, a post-apocalyptic world, etc. It also has a worldwide siren call that lures the people to their death.

The prize-catch of the month however is Elizabeth Willey's very-hard-to-find The Well-Favored Man, which is the first book of The Kingdom of Argylle. I first found the second book of the series, A Sorcerer and a Gentleman, years ago with its Charles Vess cover and picked it up. Despite being the second book in the series, I found it a good read and kept an eye for the other books. Alas, no luck for years-- until now.

In this case, Willey plays off Shakespeare's The Tempest by using a variant of the magician Prospero and some of the characters. The pacing is slow but the language is wonderful and it has a dream-like quality that will last you even after you finish with the book.

I actually have a copy of Katharine Kerr's Darkspell, which is the second book in her long-running Deverry series. However, my older copy was the Del Rey edition; the Bantam Spectra edition I bought had a nicer cover. Plus, this edition supposedly had major revisions from author incorporated into a definitive text.

Kerr is also way underrated and her series should have more fans, more so since its already finally reached its penultimate conclusion with its 15th book. What's more, i thought Kerr has kept the series on a consistent keel, never padding or undercutting each individual novel.

Last, but not least, Fully Booked has brought in the first four books of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series so I picked up the first book, Empire in Black and Gold. Though the reviews I've read are uniformly good, my own interest was piqued given Tchaikovsky's premise in that humans have taken on insects' qualities, i.e. ant-kinden are martial, beetle-kinden are industrious, spider-kinden are devious, etc.

Moreover, I particularly like it that all four books are sitting on the bookshelves ready for purchase. No more waiting for the succeeding book! Of course, it's another leap-of-faith purchase since this is the first time I'm trying out Tchaikovsky. But what the hell, right? There's no such as having too many books, I always say.

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