Thursday, May 3, 2012

Some Early May Book Recommendations

A few books that might be worth your time if you're looking to fill your bookshelf with some recentish (in most cases) genre fiction:

* The Damned Busters - Matthew Hughes: Chesney is a somewhat awkward guy who inadvertently summoned a demon while attempting to not swear. Since he didn't want the demon around, he sent it back to Hell without signing off his soul. This caused a major shift in Hell, and the demons went on strike, disrupting the entirety of the world at large, since there was no longer a temptation of sin. Chensey works out a deal with Hell where he gets his own demon at his beck and call, and he becomes The Actuary, fighting crime and doing good with the powers of evil behind him.

A nutty premise, yes. Works wonderfully, though - the book doesn't take itself terribly seriously, and to its credit. It's fairly silly, but a lot of fun across the board. Definitely worth the time, and a sequel was recently released, Costume Not Included.

* The False Prince - Jennifer A. Neilsen: A great YA fantasy/historical fiction novel regarding a master conspiracy to steal the throne in a kingdom. The scheme is great, and the three children being used are all great in their own ways. There's not a lot I can say without giving it away, except that the book dances between the different characters and concepts and ideas beautifully, offering a scheme that looks to be in danger regularly. It's really, really great!

The one flaw is that the endgame does feel somewhat telegraphed at certain points. If this were an adult novel, it would be a lot more problematic, but in this context, it isn't bad. First in a series.

* Zombies Calling - Faith Erin Hicks: This graphic novel follows some university students who see their entire campus become zombified. The lead girl in this is obsessed with zombie films, so she knows all the tricks to survive, of course, but things still end up being a little dicey.

The book is short, and there's not much to say other than it's a quick, enjoyable romp, and is a nice reminder that zombie fiction doesn't always have to be gruesome and terrible, but instead can be fun, which this definitely is. The artwork is also good, but the trade I picked up made it feel a bit cramped. A minor complaint, but still definitely worth an afternoon of your time.

* Thief's Covenant - Ari Marmell: This book was a real pleasant surprise. It took a little bit to get rolling for me, but once it did, this story of a thief who followed a road to nobility before taking the road to being a thief really hit on all the right notes for me. Helpful, too, was one of the more charming main characters I've read in a while - Widdershins is a little cocky, a little sassy, and very funny throughout the whole book.

It borrows from a lot of different things - the book feels like part The Lies of Locke Lamora (a great book by Scott Lynch, part Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, and with an author who's done a lot of writing for Dungeons and Dragons as well as World of Darkness, the book really had a lot going for it. Really a pleasantly surprising read for me.

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