Book Review – Planetfall

planetfallThis book is amazing. I’m having trouble finding the words, so bear with me. I’m not even sure I’ve fully digested the book as I’m writing this. Let me begin with a very brief summary.

At some point in the future, humans have left Earth and established a colony on a new planet in a different galaxy. Something traumatic has happened in the colony’s past, but few people actually know the truth of it all, and the story becomes clouded by a newly established religion. There are secrets and betrayals and a deep look into mental illness that I’ve never seen in any other science fiction novel. And when a stranger arrives in the colony, the delicate balance struck by the colonists is shattered.

….

I hate spoilers. And there isn’t much I can say that isn’t going to spoil the book (at least, in my opinion), and I believe everyone should come to this book a blank slate. It should fill you up with wonder, and you should travel the path it takes you down completely uninfluenced. But I also realize that I can’t really write a review without touching on some of the events that transpire. So, go read the book and then come back so we can talk about it.

Ren, the protagonist, is infinitely human and easy to identify with. Her voice feels authentic, and her reactions to the relative isolation of being the only intelligent beings on an empty planet too far from Earth to ever go back resonate. The world building is as precise as I imagine the technology the colonies rely on to be. And so believable. The economy is heavily reliant on implanted chips, 3D printing, colony-wide networks, and recycling, and it feels completely drawn from current trends in technology we’re seeing right now. Everyone selected to be a part of this colony has a very specific skill he or she contributes to the society.

As cool as the tech is, for me, the most important part of this novel is the psychological insight we have on Ren. As we’re drawn deeper into the story, we’re also drawn further into the emotions of Ren and damaging effects certain events have had on her. We learn about her mind just as she’s learning about her mind. And in parallel of this is her exploration of the God city – a seemingly alive structure outside of the colony held in reverence by the colonists. And the end – wow. It will just leave you with so much to think about.

My only criticism is how rushed the end felt, but I read an early copy that I received from the editor back in July, so I’m hoping that gets smoothed out a bit before publication. But even so, this is a beautiful novel, and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t collect some award nominations.

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Book Review: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Wow. This book is everything I wish Game of Thrones had been. Seriously.

Joe Abercrombie has created a world as real as our own, filled with subtle shades of grey between Good and Evil. He has created a protagonist you can really empathize with who has to navigate a world full of treachery and initial impressions can be reversed by deeds and companionship.

I think it’s rare to find an epic fantasy novel that is so full of nuance and where things are not black and white. Sure, Martin does this very well in the Game of Thrones series, but I felt like those novels were just a slog to get through. Abercrombie has a tightly written, fast-paced action adventure novel filled to the brim with political intrigue and echoes of war all the while building characters that really resonate.

Yarvi is the hero of this story, and he’s also disabled. Imagine a coming-of-age story about a boy that would probably have been best friends with Tyrion Lannister, and see how he does when the worst is thrown upon him. I love that this story champions intellectual prowess over physical strength. And the plot twists! Nothing was predictable, and the story just grabbed a hold and wouldn’t let go. This is definitely going on my list of favorites. I highly recommend it.

I’ve been blurbed!

Remember when I reviewed DARKWALKER by E.L. Tettensor a little over a year ago? Well, the sequel (Master of Plagues: A Nicolas Lenoir Novel) is out, and on the very first page is a list of blurbs from reviewers, and I’m one of them! That was a fun thing to discover yesterday.

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New Tor/Forge Titles in November!

Just in time for the holidays, we have some great books coming out in November! What are you looking forward to reading as you plan for your vacations?

Tor

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Lowball edited by George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass

Harry Harrison! Harry Harrison! by Harry Harrison

Willful Child by Steven Erikson

Fear City by F. Paul Wilson

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu and Ken Liu

The Collected Stories of Frank Herbert by Frank Herbert

Heritage of Cyador by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Forge

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A Song to Die For by Mike Blakely

The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron

All Hallows Read for October! [Giveaway]

10411879_10152339225912343_7309159229074767804_nI think I love October the most. The leaves are starting to change and there’s a whole month of anticipation for Halloween, my favorite holiday! And best of all, it’s time for All Hallow’s Read! For more information about this illustrious tradition, you can read all about it on their website here.

Since I know so many fabulous people both through Twitter and here in New York, I’ve decided to do a contest on my blog and give away two great books: The Beautiful Thing that Awaits Us All by Laird Barron courtesy of Night Shade Books and Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling courtesy of Tor Books.

To enter, simply tell me your creepiest ghostly encounter in the comments below. A winner will be randomly selected from entrants via Rafflecopter on October 31st. You must be a resident of US or Canada to participate.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

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October Titles from Tor and Forge

Wow, the year is going by so quickly! I can’t believe it’s already time to put up the October titles! Also, coming up in some future posts – my NYCC schedule and some tour info for some of my authors. Stay tuned for that! In the meantime, let me know what October books you’re looking forward to!

Tor

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October 7 – Hawk by Steven Brust

October 7 – The Shotgun Arcana by R. S. Belcher

October 7 – Silverblind by Tina Connolly

October 14 – The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich

October 21 – Heart of Stone by Debra Mullins

Forge

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October 7 – Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan

October 14 – The Last Shootist by Miles Swarthout

October 21 – An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War by Patrick Taylor

October 28 – The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron

September 2014 Releases from Tor and Forge

Hi friends! Sorry this post is a bit belated! September has been a busy month so far for Team Tor/Forge now that we have some authors touring, and we’re gearing up for New York Comic Con. Check out the titles below and let me know what you’re excited about! Got requests? You know what to do.

Tor

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September 9 – Exo by Steven Gould

September 9 – The Bloodline Feud: A Merchant Princes Omnibus by Charles Stross

September 16 – Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon by David Barnett

September 16 – Last Plane to Heaven by Jay Lake

September 23 – The Seventh Sigil by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes (check out the awesome book trailer!)

 

Forge

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September 9 – Sabotage by Matt Cook

September 30 – Strong Darkness by Jon Land