Upcoming Titles of Note

Coming up in Reviews in the next days you will see:

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Tomorrow:
The Supernatural Enhancements,
by Edgar Cantero from Doubleday.
Wow, is this one great fun!

Soon to follow:
– The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair
, by Joël Dicker

Women Destroy Science Fiction! (June 2014 Special Edition of Lightspeed Magazine)


Publisher’s Weekly Picks for the week of 14th July 2014:

One of the titles on this enticing list I’ve reviewed (The Hundred-Year House) and one I have on hand to read and review soon (Last Stories & Other Stories). I have my eye on a few others to get at some point, particularly Sharona Muir’s Invisible Beasts.


Tachyon Publications announces some titles for 2015:

tumblr_static_254099_10150199964603596_2087647_nI noticed news about these upcoming 2015 releases from Tachyon on their
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. Time to catch up on Peter V. Brett’s novels. Above all, collections by Kate Elliott & Hannu Rajaniemi look really intriguing.

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I don’t always notice all news, so if there are new releases or upcoming titles that you are excited about, let us know in comments.

Publishers, if you have any release info/news to share or requests for review, see here.

 

 

The Warded Man, by Peter V. Brett

The Warded Man, by Peter V. Brett
The Demon Cycle Book 1
Publisher: Del Rey
ISBN: 0345518705
453 pages, paperback
Published March 2010
(Original Publ: 2008, as The Painted Man)
Source: Goodreads First-Reads

Somehow I never heard about this series or author until coming across the giveaway for this book, and I am fortunate to have won it, one of the more enjoyable fantasy novels I’ve read in some time.

With any fantasy, world-building has prime importance, as any other element of fiction will be easily ruined by a crumbling facade of suspended disbelief or grow dull in a clichéd, familiar setting. From the opening chapter, Brett’s world of pre-tech (or is it post-tech), demon-plagued night is fascinating. With characters in relative ignorance of the world they inhabit beyond the pressing immediacy of the daily struggle to survive, Brett is able to reveal the world of his series gradually, enticing the reader’s interest, supplying bits of satisfaction, and leaving the tease of deeper revelations still-to-come. Yet nowhere does one feel shortchanged or played with. Brett’s construction of this world shows that he is simply a masterful storyteller with a love and appreciation for fantasy at its simplest.

The novel’s apparent simplicity as entertaining story and comments by others regarding the black/white good/bad dichotomy made me somewhat wary when starting the novel, afraid things would be a little too simplistic. With those expectations I actually was pleasingly surprised to see that the plot did not unfold in the manner I expected, the journey of each of the series’ protagonists did not go straight from A to B without mis-step. Too often in fantasy novels the heroes are presented with challenge after challenger, yet surpass each without any actual deviation from the original intentions, from the original set-up. In meaningful ways, Brett does take the story and his characters in unexpected directions or excursions, even if their broad, ultimate destiny is clear.

Through this all, Brett makes the reader care deeply for each of the three main characters, and enjoy the presence of the various secondary characters, good and bad, who cross their path. Of the trio, Arlen (the Warded Man) is featured the most, and for all of the novel I grew increasingly concerned that he was being made into far too powerful of a hero, a cartoonish superhero that could not fail. While others were in danger, including those he cares about, one never doubts that Arlen won’t be able to face any demon coming out with no more than a mild scratch. However, this is balanced nicely by the vulnerability of the other protagonists, and the novel begins to develop (and hint for further developments) in the true weaknesses of Arlen, not physical, but spiritual, a loss of humanity.

This was a surprisingly satisfying read and I’m eager to read the remainder of the series, always the drawback to finding a fantasy novel that captures the imagination.

Five Stars out of Five