Archive for Reviews
First up, Embedded, reviewed at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review:
I don’t know anyone who does military sci-fi better… When the ‘military’ part of this military sci-fi kicks in, Dan Abnett really brings his ‘A Game’ to the table and you are immediately caught up in a rush of fire fights, espionage and explosions… Abnett delivers the kind of pulsating military sci-fi that we all know he can. Fans of Abnett will lap this one up and fans of military sci-fi in general should check it out anyway.
Eight and a Quarter out of Ten
Next, The Damned Busters reviewed at Ginger Nuts of Horror (no, really):
A good six hours later I realised I still had all the house work to do, and I really should go and pick up the boy child from school. Yes the book is that good… Hughes writing is both funny and clever, with some great descriptive passages. he has a style that instantly hooks the reader, that manages to balance the fine line between being a funny novel, and novel that is just full of jokes…
I will be picking up the next instalment of this series without a doubt. A highly recommended read.
This is a funny and surprisingly endearing book with some interesting discussions about the role of sin and our reactions to it.
And it’s out now in the UK and at the end of this month in the US and Canada. You can read a sample, here.
Great reviews for Embedded (Dan Abnett) and Camera Obscura (Lavie Tidhar) in this month’s SFX magazine. Both get four stars!
Abnett gives the story an effectively dark, noir-ish tone, building up an intruiging backstory as well as adding in some genuinely surprising plot twists… a smart and savvy military thriller to be reckoned with.
The plot careers breathlessly through locations, characters and fascinating concepts. There are genuine shocks along the way and the lucid, compelling prose pulls you through.
At Karissa’s Reading Review, there’s also great write-up of Lavie’s steampunk romp:
The characters are interesting and unique… and the mystery and action absolutely spot on… If you like dark stories, with a little amibiguity, and a lot of strange this is definitely the book for you. 4.5 / 5
Embedded is available in the US and Canada now. The limited edition hardback is available Forbidden Planet in the UK, and the trade paperback is released in the UK on April 28th.
Camera Obscura is available in the UK now, and in the US and Canada on April 26th.
Dan and Lavie will both be at EasterCon the weekend after next, and part of a mass Angry Robot launch and signing event. If you’re there, pop along (4.00pm) and get your books signed. If you’re in the Birmingham area but not at the convention, Dan and Lavie will be at Waterstones in the High Street from 12.30 until 2.00 (along with a whole host of other Angry Robot authors).
Today sees the publication of Lavie Tidhar’s Camera Obscura and the KW Jeter classics Infernal Devices and Morlock Night.
Yes, it’s Steampunk Month at Angry Robot!
Also on sale today – and exclusive to Forbidden Planet – the limited edition hardback of Dan Abnett’s Embedded. Dan will be signing tonight at the Forbidden Planet megastore in London, where you can pick up one of only 200 copies on sale!
And what are people saying about these books? Well, I’m very please you asked:
Over at The Book Den, there’s a short – but sweet – review of Infernal Devices:
If you are a fan of steampunk, I recommend you read this one.
There’s also a good review over at Goodreads:
Through a journey of mixed breeds, loony scientists, unique creations, devoted friends and unlikely allies it all comes together in a surprising and fully satisfying conclusion.
And an interesting review of Morlock Night at SF Revu:
Whether you’re looking to deconstruct Steampunk or just fire up the boilers for a fun read, Morlock Night is great place to start.
Embedded is the Book of the Month at SF Book -
At it’s heart Embedded is a gritty military science fiction story, it’s also one of the best books you will read this year, I loved every second of it.
Camera Obscura, Morlock Night and Infernal Devices are out in the UK from today, and in the US and Canada from the 26h of this month.
Embedded is available in the US and Canada now. The hardback limited edition is available in the UK from tonight. The trade paperback is published in the UK on April 28th.
Over at The Traveler’s Steampunk Blog, both of our KW Jeter releases have been reviewed. First up, Morlock Night:
Morlock Night is an excellent read… I was both rather charmed and enthralled by Morlock Night, I could not put it down. In fact, I finished it in one sitting. Morlock Night grips you with the tension and action in it… And in the end you close the little book and think it was too short and you finished it too quickly.
Morlock Night gets nine out of ten Zeppelins.
Nothing is clear in Infernal Devices almost until the very end and there are quite a few surprising and some rather nasty turns. In Infernal Devices, you cannot be sure at all who is the protagonist’s ally and who is not.
K.W. Jeter has created quite a marvelous world in Infernal Devices. Sometimes rather weird and alien but always consistent. The novel also ends with one of the biggest surprises in the history of literature.
And about the two books, generally:
Infernal Devices and Morlock Night are two novels no Steampunk should miss in his collection. They also make great reference material for demonstrating the changes which occured in fantastic literature over the last 30 years.
And these guys know steampunk!
Weirdmage had this to say about KW Jeter’s Infernal Devices:
There is absolutely no doubt that this is a steampunk story, the whole story revolves around clockwork creations. But Jeter has not limited himself to just this aspect, there is also a distinctly Lovecraftian(-ish) element here. Both elements are handled very well, and they compliment each other…
[The action], and there is quite a bit of it, it is handled very well… a must-read novel.
Also at the Weirdmage, Dan Abnett’s superior military SF novel Embedded gets the once-over:
There is plenty of action throughout the story, and Abnett doesn’t pull any punches. He describes a bloody and dirty conflict, that owes more to Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War than to Star Wars. This is of course a good thing… this is a book you should pick up. It’s fast, relentless, and has an ending that I at least did not see coming.
And The Guardian had this to say about Embedded:
Abnett takes an ingenious idea and produces a nail-biting tale that has serious things to say about war and the news media.
It’s a great story, a dangerously more-ish mix of corporate engineering and boneshaking action. It feels fresh, it’s accessible to everyone and permeated with the vivid and immersive action that’s become Dan’s trademark. I devoured it in a couple of days and my only complaint was that there wasn’t more of it!
If you’re in the UK, Dan will be signing a Limited Edition hardcover of the novel at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, this Saturday – that’s a whole month before the main UK release! And as this edition is limited to just 200 copies on sale, this is going to be very collectible, indeed!
Dan also waxes lyrical about his life and his work in the first part of a two-part interview over at BSC Review.
Speaking of interviews, there’s a great chat with Lauren Beukes at Mail & Guardian Online.
This is one of those sequels that doesn’t require you to have read the first–but I highly recommend you do…
de Bodard’s writing is polished and striking, as she convincingly fills in the colorful elements of the Aztec culture–even if those colors tend to be of blood and bile as well as flowers and hummingbirds. The sacrifices, the never-ending rituals, the elaborate garb of the high priests…all of it paints a mosaic that is in turns beautiful, grimy, breathtaking, and morbid.
That’s not our claim (though we’re happy to agree with it), that’s the mighty SF Book site, reviewing Dan Abnett’s amazing Embedded:
The prose is tight and incredibly well written… At it’s heart Embedded is a gritty military science fiction story, it’s also one of the best books you will read this year, I loved every second of it.
They also review Aliette de Bodard’s Harbinger of the Storm:
I love the way that this series is written, and the style that the author infuses onto the page – the rich mythology of Mexica along with the very real and physical presence of the god’s (there is no room for doubt here that they exist) along with the graphic and frequent bloodletting… the plot is both mature and seductive… while the action is both bloodthirsty and imaginative.
If you haven’t yet read Servant of the Underworld I suggest that you get them both and read them in order, you won’t be dissapointed.
(Worth pointing out that while Harbinger of the Storm is the second in the Obsidian and Blood series, you don’t have to have read the first, as both books function as standalone novels).
And over at The Traveler’s Daily Steampunk, Lavie Tidhar’s superior steampunk romp, Camera Obscura gets the once-over:
A few weeks back I was wondering if Lavie would manage to dethrone himself and make Camera Obscura my new favourite Steampunk novel.
I think Camera Obscura is required reading for every Steampunk out there.
The full reinforced squadron, ten out of ten Zeppelins!
I really enjoyed this book, and blew through it far more quickly than I normally would have. Abnett’s writing is fluid, engaging, and smart, connecting pieces together seamlessly, as we move from bombing to chipping to ambush to several fight scenes, all in fairly straight-forward and logical fashion…
What Abnett’s done with Embedded is do what every really good military science fiction novel should do: there’s equal parts good, solid world-building, attention to the details and modern allegory to the recent military actions around the world. While doing so, he’s told a very exciting story, repent with action, but at the same time, quite a bit of intelligence behind it.
Summary: A smart and exciting military science fiction novel.
The limited edition hardback (exclusive to Forbidden Planet) is published on March 26th.
The eBook and US/Canada mass market editions are published on March 29th.
The UK edition is published on April 28th.
No preamble, just the reviews:
Embedded reviewed at Civilian Reader:
Since the Iraq War began in 2003, a lot has been made of the Pentagon’s willingness to allow journalists to “embed” themselves with combat groups, reporting from the frontlines how the war is going. In Embedded, Abnett takes this one step further, taking this theme and transferring it onto a hypothetical future of intergalactic expansion and journalism. It’s not only insightful and intelligent: it’s also a very satisfying and entertaining read…
Embedded is gripping and near-impossible to put down, and you will find yourself compelled to keep reading, well into the night, until you reach the satisfying conclusion.
I really enjoyed this novel. Highly recommended for fans of science fiction and war/military fiction.
Edge reviewed at Tony’s Views:
I finished reading this book in bed last night and my brain was working through what I wanted to happen in a follow-up so much I couldn’t sleep for two hours… Just as you think everything has turned out well there is a twist, and I for one swore out loud when I got to the last page.
The World House reviewed at Warpcore SF:
This is an unconventional book that strays far into the realm of fantasy and leaves readers without a compass for a while, like the hapless sailors in the bathroom sea of the later chapters. So far though the story holds together soundly. This bodes well for the next instalment of the series, Restoration.
Vegas Knights reviewed at Magpie Diaries:
An exceptionally enjoyable book. Magpie Diarist would say it’s more Tim Powers’ Last Call meets 21 than Harry Potter meets Ocean’s Eleven– not that much teaching going on and the stealing doesn’t go too well – but the novel is not haunted by its predecessors. It has its own voice and Forbeck puts his own stamp on the narrative.
Dead Streets reviewed at Infini-Tropolis:
I thoroughly enjoyed the first entry in Tim Waggoner’s Nekropolis series, and I’m very happy to report that the follow-up, Dead Streets, is just as entertaining as its predecessor. If you thought you’d already seen everything this bizarre universe of iniquities had to offer in the first book, think again.
The Damned Busters reviewed at Celebrity Cafe:
The Damned Busters is a supernatural adventure that blends a rich and unpredictable story, with a tone and wit that provides plenty of laughs along the way. A great balance of action and comedic situations with some romance thrown in for good measure, albeit an awkward romance, this is a great read. It will forever contain the most intense game of poker I have ever read.
City of Hope and Despair reviewed at Libris Leonis:
this novel is one I would heartily recommend; City of Hope and Despair is a fantastic book, full of emotional ups and downs, turmoil and adventure, drawn with a steady, deft hand by Whates, whose authorial control is magnificent. I really want to see where this series is going.
This is technically my first ever post on the Angry Robot website, so I am a little bit overexcited. But it is not just the first blog rush which has me bouncing round the office with a bit of a manic grin on my face. You see over the last few weeks we have received so many fabulous reviews and so much great news about our books that there is a bit of a party atmosphere in the office – and we thought it was about time to start sharing the fun!
A bunch of our books have been included in i09′s Books for Spring – so take a bow Dan Abnett (with Embedded), Guy Adams (with The World House), Matt Forbeck (with Vegas Knights) and Thomas Blackthorne (with Point).
Lauren Beukes and Lavie Tidhar are listed in the 2010 Recommended Reading list that Locus have put together, for their books Zoo City and The Bookman.
Matt could have had a whole blog dedicated to his exploits this month – from interviews to articles, to reviews. Here is a quick snapshot of what people have been saying:
Amortals is a fast and engrossing read, highly original, and with more than its fair share of surprises. If you like thrillers with a science-fiction edge, check out Matt Forbeck’s Amortals, and strap yourself in; it’s a wicked ride.
From The SF Site
Amortals has a lot going for it. It’s a political thriller with science fiction elements, conspiracy theory flavoring, and a hardboiled edge. It may start off as a guy investigating his own death while contemplating his own mortality (or lack thereof) but things inexorably spiral out of control as layer after layer is removed. The end result is a much deeper, more complex story than I was expecting, with a thought-provoking ending. What you get, thusly, is an action-filled, tense piece with plenty of cinematic moments and a heck of a payoff.
But it is not just Amortals getting all the attention. Vegas Knights has been gathering a lot of great press too!
From The Eloquent Page
If Hollywood is listening, someone needs to snap up the rights to the movie version of this sharpish. It’s a sure fire winner. I’ve never been to Las Vegas but if I did go there I would be heartily disappointed if it wasn’t exactly the way it’s described in Vegas Knights.
From The Ranting Dragon
If you’re craving a fast-paced action adventure, skip a movie and grab a copy of Vegas Knights instead. If you don’t mind characters that never break their archetypal molds, you’ll savor the magic rocket ride that is Vegas Knights and its action in spades. This is popcorn fantasy at its best.
And last but not least from SF Book
Vegas Knights is like one of those adventures that you have always dreamed of taking as a kid / young adult. It’s fantastic entertainment and I loved every minute of it, Viva Las Vegas (Knights)!
Aliette de Bodard
Aliette has been doing a bit of a blog tour, with a series of interviews and articles appearing across the interweb. Check it out at Suite 101, Nancy Fulda, Lawrence M Schoen, and The Other Side of the Story.
Aliette de Bodard has done it again. Harbinger of the Storm is an action packed Aztec mystery opera with magic, interventions from the gods and more twists and turns than the first book. It even has a love story with amusing snippets here and there, I love formidable women. The story is self contained and can be enjoyed standalone, but you will not want to miss out on the first. I wish it was 2012 already even if the world is going under while I read the final Obsidian and Blood.
Some lovely reviews this for Nekropolis:
If you dig your noir and mystery with a heavy dose of horror and fantasy (as well as a tongue-in-cheek zombie private eye that may be dead but still has a heart), Matthew Richter’s first pulp adventure through the streets of Nekropolis will not disappoint.
From Michelles Ramblins
Nekropolis is a wondrous place, populated with extraordinary beings that come alive on the page. I was immediately hooked by Matt Richter and can’t wait to read more.
I give Nekropolis 5 out of 5 stars.
From SF Book
It’s almost like Maurice Broaddus is reliving real memories rather than creating a fictional story, the suspension of disbelief is both immediate and faultless… King’s Justice performs the impossible feat of improving on it’s predecessor, it’s simply an incredible work of compelling fiction… pure genius.
Another tentacle winner (picking up the Red Tentacle award) Lauren is still garnering up rave reviews for her awesome Zoo City.
From Ranting Dragon
Zoo City is one of the most original and captivating books I have read; I was hooked in five pages. Zinzi is also one of my all-time favorite heroines—she’s spunky, difficult, articulate, emotional, tough, intelligent, and repentant. If you don’t read Zoo City, you’re missing out on one of the best modern books in and outside the fantasy genre.
Best of the rest
Slights by Kaaron Warren reviewed by Shroud.
Deaths Disciples by J Robert King reviewed by SF Book Reviews.
The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar reviewed by SF Book Reviews.
Phew! See what I mean – so much love!!
Till next time everyone…
Locus is “the magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy field”. Now now, settle down – banish those mental images of George RR Martin in green wellies mucking out the pigs. It’s the magazine of the SF/F publishing industry, with in-depth coverage of all the aspects of our genre that mean so much to hotheads like us. Which is why it’s such an honour to get a mighty fistful of coverage from them in the February issue.
“Mingling the historic with tropes and entities out of pulp SF, steampunk, the period-appropriate mysteries of Sherlock Holmes and an earlier poem about some Ancient Mariner, Tidhar brings an unexpected sense of purpose to his wild gumbo of genres… That mixture or jugglinga ct involving themes, tones and literary forms, both high and low, is the greatest feat of legerdemain by this Israeli author. In The Bookman he essentially pulls off the impossible.”
“(Beukes’) main character, Zinzi December… has a voice that sustains you through the frenetic story. You keep reading because you want to know what happens to her because she feels so alive… While the narrative isn’t always straightforward, the underlying story about redemption is. I hope her journey continues on.”
Our thoughts exactly :-)
We love seeing reviews of our latest books – of course we do. What’s just as satisfying, though, is reading a recent review of one of our backlist titles. Here’s a mixture…
Despite being one of our launch titles, a year and a half ago, Slights by Kaaron Warren continues to impress:
What makes Slights so good is everything that goes unsaid… This novel is basically a first person foray into the mind of a sociopathic madwoman: young misanthrope Stevie. That’s all you need to know, and even that may be too much. At first, it’s quite easy to believe that Stevie is simply a bit… strange… But Kaaron Warren’s genius comes in the gradual revelation of Stevie. It’s all too easy to dismiss the darker half of Stevie’s personality in the first few chapters, coughing its quirks up to mere weirdness or unnatural isolation, that is until Warren cuts Stevie’s leash. That’s when the novel gets really interesting.
The cover to Andy Remic’s book Kell’s Legend, published by Angry Robot Books, practically screams at the potential reader.
“Psst! You! Yes, I mean you. You like David Gemmell books right?”
By making the comparison to Gemmell, the marketing department set the bar to impress readers fairly high. How did Remic fare?
The book has everything one could ask in pulp fantasy. It has pulse pounding action, brooding heroes, elements of horror, clockwork vampires, epic battles, and ancient evils.
The battle scenes of Kell’s Legend are vivid, the human relationships are compelling, and the hints at the legendary past of the world spark the imagination. That is exactly what one should be hoping for when one opens the pages of a novel.
I am eagerly opening my copy of “Soul Stealers.”
The Bookman popped up as a recommend somewhere, so I decided to give it a shot. It quickly became my primary read (since I’m known for reading many, many books at a time)… I can’t wait for the release of Camera Obscura.I really want to see more of the world Lavie Tidhar has created.
Well, then, HeatherMarie, you’re gonna adore Camera Obscura!
Here’s another for The Bookman – this time from SFBook.com:
This is one of those books which you can’t put down and yet you don’t want to reach the end because then it will be all over and reality will rear its ugly head in your brain. It’s a book which makes you resent all those little things which get in the way; eating, sleeping, children, work are all annoyances and must be kept to a minimum until you get to the end. Then you will want to turn back and start again to find all the those bits you missed because you were Orphan and you sometimes moved too fast to see this world and its inhabitants properly.
This one’s a keeper.
Oh, yeah. (Incidentally, The Bookman is one of Locus Magazine’s Recommended Reading titles).
Healthy dose of sf-nal ideas; cool tech; world building; political commentary delivered light-handedly.
An appealing science fiction mystery with room for further stories.
Everyone loves Aliette, it seems – and with good reason. Some pretty groovy* interviews and reviews have cropped up, recently.
Her quite brilliant Harbinger of the Storm was published in the UK last month, and in the US this week. She’s been a busy bee, with interviews popping up all over the place.
Here she is at Suite 101:
I guess I’ve been inspired by a lot of people, including Orson Scott Card, Patricia McKillip, and lately Elizabeth Bear, but I think the person I took most from was Ursula K. Le Guin. I read her Earthsea books when I was 12 or so, and her science fiction a bit later. I love her use of language, which sings without being pedantic; and both her fantasy and her SF depict non-conventional societies and probe at the variety internal to mankind. Her stories always have this very sharp grasp of culture, and to some extent I think that’s what I’m trying to emulate in my stories.
When I started writing and wanted to focus on historical civilisations, I picked the Aztecs for a couple of reasons: the first was that it was a mythology and culture I was pretty much unfamiliar with… The second was a desire to find out more about the culture… I’d been struck by the portrayal of a bloodthirsty, barbaric people–almost bogeymen for the Spanish conquistadores.
The bulk of my SF reading was done in English, while my family lived in London–so English was a fairly natural choice to start writing. The appeal is both the wider audience… and the very different approach I can have to English as a foreign language: because I learnt the language fairly late, I don’t feel hemmed in by too many usage or grammar rules–I feel much freer, much more able to take the words and play with them.
And here at Angry Robot, in this month’s podcast – she’s joined by fellow AR author Lauren Beukes, and host Mur Lafferty.
And a couple of reviews:
This is the kind of alternate history I love, well researched, well written, and about a culture I know next to nothing about. de Bodard has written a compelling mystery, and cloaked it in interesting trappings… I look forward to the remainder of the series!
And Cybermage has reviewed Harbinger of the Storm:
Aliette de Bodard has done it again. Harbinger of the Storm is an action packed Aztec mystery opera with magic, interventions from the gods and more twists and turns than the first book… The story is self contained and can be enjoyed standalone, but you will not want to miss out on the first. I wish it was 2012 already even if the world is going under while I read the final Obsidian and Blood.
Well, luckily, Cybermage, you won’t have to wait that long! The final book in the trilogy – Master of the House of Darts – will be published worldwide in November this year!
*Yes, we’re down with the kids’ lingo.
Here are a few things that have cropped up in my RSS Reader over the last few days:
First up – Pornokitsch reviews Zoo City by Lauren Beukes:
Beukes trusts her readers. She trusts us to pick up on unknown slang and languages; she trusts us to understand how her novel’s magical economy works without explaining its origins; she trusts us to like her protagonist despite introducing her as a murderer. She trusts us to care about a music scene we may be unfamiliar with, state-sponsored violence we may not have heard much about, a city we may never have visited.
Zoo City, in the final analysis, meets every Kitschie criteria – and then some.
I knew nothing about Point by Thomas Blackthorne when it dropped through my letterbox. Within five pages… I was completely hooked.
Point is a sequel to last year’s novel Edge. I haven’t read the first novel but I should stress that this didn’t hamper my enjoyment of Point in anyway… Now that I have been introduced to this universe I can only hope that there will be more.
Listen to John Meaney (aka Thomas Blackthorne) reading from the first chapter:
The Functional Nerds podcast this week features our very own Lavie Tidhar, who talks about… well, pretty much everything, really. Head on over and listen.
Lavie Tidhar‘s fabulous debut novel – steampunk romp, The Bookman – continues to get rave reviews, a year after it was first published in the UK. There’s a wonderfully enthusiastic review over at Book Wins.
This has all the makings of an awesome read. And it is. If you like steampunk victorian england then this is a must read.
Also, this review of The Bookman recently popped up on GoodReads:
Confusing experience rating this one. I was about to give it a 5-star after the first 50-so pages but then, after reading more into it, I’m left without rating options. Seriously, this book made me reconsider all books read so far, because since I cannot rate it say a 7-star all rest have to be downgraded. Sorry for (most) of the rest of the authors, but Mr. Tidhar simply blew my mind. Well done!
Meanwhile over at the always-excellent Salon Futura, Lavie talks with Jeff Vandermeer and Karin Lowachee about steampunk, and its setting.
(Incidentally, Angry Robot won their Best Publisher Award, saying of us: They are what all traditional publishers should strive to be. Right now, publishing is going through an insane transition period. E-books are changing the way the business works, and old models are crumbling. Angry Robot Books, I’d like to think, is the answer.)