Review Roundup: Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

Max Gladstone‘s second book in The Craft Sequence, Two Serpents Rise, recently pubbed on October 29th, 2013. This is not a comprehensive list of his review coverage, but I thought I’d take a minute to list some of the most recent coverage he’s gotten. If you’ve got a review of your own you’d like me to list, please contact me.

Happy reading!

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Gladstone outdoes himself in this exciting and imaginative return to the brilliantly realized world of Three Parts Dead. In the city of Dresediel Lex, the civic water supply is managed by the magical Concern of Red King Consolidated (RKC). When one of their reservoirs is contaminated with demonic Tzimet, RKC risk assessor Caleb Altemoc is assigned to determine the cause and manage relations with Heartstone, an RKC acquisition with intimate links to the old Quechal gods. With the help of an enigmatic woman named Mal, who’s considered crazy even by other death-defying cliff runners, Caleb discovers that the wars in which the old gods fell still cast a long shadow over the present day, posing a threat to the city and beyond. The alternate Los Angeles that is Dresediel Lex is charged with its own versions of ethnic tensions and environmental strain, and Caleb is an engaging protagonist for this taut and unique blend of legal drama, fantasy, and noir. Agent: Weronika Janczuk, Lynn Franklin Associates, in association with D4EO Literary. (Nov.)Reviewed on 06/14/2013 | Release date: 10/29/2013 | Details & Permalink

Library Journal Review

VERDICT Gladstone follows his acclaimed debut, Three Parts Dead, with another fast-paced fantasy thriller set in the same world. This time, he focuses on the sprawling city of Dresediel Lex, rich in a history and culture reminiscent of the Aztecs, which serves as a dramatic backdrop for the novel’s action. This worthy sequel should receive attention from fans of China Miéville and Steven Erikson.

Booklist Review

 Two Serpents Rise is an epic, solidly city-based fantasy with strong characters and a wonderfully built world. It’s also a fast-paced thriller, thoroughly entertaining.

Reviews and Guest Posts – excerpt            09/30/2013
Badass Book Reviews – October releases spotlight            10/01/2013
Books, Bones, & Buffy – mentions            10/01/2013
Tor/Forge blog – mention 10/01/2013
Don Dammassa – review 10/02/2013
SF Revu – review             10/02/2013 – guest article/short fiction/mention         10/09/2013
The Book Plank – interview          10/23/2013
Unequally Yoked – interview (part 1)        10/27/2013
Books, Bones, & Buffy – review   10/28/2013
Mind of the Geek – guest post      10/28/2013
Unequally Yoked – interview (part 2)        10/28/2013
SF Signal guest post        10/29/2013
Think Progress – interview           10/29/2013
Fantasy Book Critic          10/30/2013
Mind of the Geek – guest post      10/30/2013
My Favorite Bit blog post for Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog   10/31/2013
Whatever/The Big Idea guest post           10/31/2013
Elitist Book Reviews – review       11/05/2013
Reddit AMA      11/05/2013
My Book, the Movie guest post    11/06/2013
Thing Progress – guest post         11/06/2013
Whatchamacallit Reviews            11/08/2013
Between Dreams and Reality – guest post and giveaway    11/13/2013
Interview on (Chuck Wendig’s blog)      11/13/2013
Best Fantasy Books – review (Three Parts Dead)   11/15/2013


Book Review: Fated by Benedict Jacka

fatedAt this year’s New York Comic Con I had the pleasure of meeting Benedict Jacka, author of the Alex Verus series. What initially drew my attention to these novels was the burb on the front cover of the first novel, Fated (Ace Books, March 2012): “Harry Dresden would like Alex Verus tremedously–and be a little nervous around him. I just added Benedict Jacka to my must-read list.” – Jim Butcher.

I love Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. Harry Dresden is one of my all time favorite fictional characters, and I read each new book the day it comes out, so of course I was going to love this series too, right? I think a lot of people can be very critical about books that are a lot like other books. They are just riding on the coattails of others, they are stealing ideas, etc. etc. Here I’ll tell you why I don’t feel that way about Fated.

First of all, yes, this book very much had the flavor of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, and I would posit that it’s written as an elevated type of fan fiction, or perhaps a better way to put it is that it’s an homage to Harry Dresden. Alex even references the Chicago wizard himself by referring to an urban legend about a wizard who advertises in the phone book. But Alex Verus is not Harry Dresden. Jacka takes the wizard in an urban setting idea and puts his own unique flavor on it. Alex is a diviner, a seer of probable futures, and a mage who straddles the line between Dark and Light magic. He is not traditionally powerful, and his motivations for involving himself in a battle are unclear even to himself. I think what I found most endearing about this character was his reluctance to see his own power for what is is.

While one could read this novel on its own and be satisfied, there is also that lingering feeling of wanting to know more about Alex. I was happy to learn during Jacka’s panel at NYCC that he fully intends to stay focused on this series and continue telling us more about this guy. Three more books are already out in this series, CursedTaken, and Chosen, and I intend to add those to my reading list. If you like the Dresden Files and are looking for something to read while you wait for the next installment, Skin Game, to come out, then I highly recommend picking up the Alex Verus series. You will not be disappointed.

Also, I can’t end this post without showing one of my favorite pictures from NYCC 2013 – Shadow Ops series author Myke Cole attempting to draw on Benedict Jacka’s face. I did not take this picture, but I was there when it was being taken, just to the left of the photographer, whose name I did not catch. M. L. Brennan is to the left of Benedict with Django Wexler behind her.