If you're looking for some reads to start the month off, there are a few new/recent books out that have gotten some press. One of them is absolutely worth your time, but the other, well...
First up is Maplecroft, a new book in a new series from Cherie Priest, best known for her steampunk novels.
I know, growing up and living in Massachusetts, the story of Lizzie Borden quite well. Accused of murdering her parents with an axe, she was later acquitted but her legend ultimately remained. Maplecroft takes that story and essentially retells it as if HP Lovecraft were putting it together. Yes, all the necessary tropes are there, and done beautifully - plenty of sea monsters, of people going mad for no obvious reason, and so on.
The story is incredibly fast-paced and readable, with plenty of fun little nods to the Cthulhu Mythos and a few nice little curveballs along the way. It's a book I'm sure hardcore Lovecraftians might find something to quibble with, but, truly, if you are just looking for a fun ride? This is probably the most fun I've had with a book in months, and that should say something right there.
Highly recommended. Definitely check this one out.
From the "Well, They Can't All Be Winners" file comes Willful Child, a sci-fi parody/spoof of Star Trek from Malazan author Steven Erickson that ultimately isn't funny at all.
The book follows the adventures of the starship Willful Child, with their manchild captain and cast of characters that are supposed to be fun and zany and such and just end up being really tiring really fast. The story itself is somewhat interconnected, but the chapters end up being more episodic than anything else, providing little in the way of a flow to the tale and more a further annoyance to an already frustrating read.
Really, Redshirts by John Scalzi did it better, and while it's hard to compare the two books (as they try to achieve different things), this book was such a disappointment that it made me appreciate Redshirts that much more. While this is not a complete failure, as it has a number of moments that at least made me smile here and there, this is really not worthy of your time. Skip it.