Saturday, 27 August 2011

Books Received | The BoSS for 27/08/11

It's another two for the price of one on The BoSS this week - one today and one tomorrow - because by gum, there've been a bunch of lovely-looking books in the mail of late! Among them, in just this first instalment: creepy kids... straight snakes... Mexican drug cartels... a world without magic... and YA fantasy that just won't die.

Let the games begin.


Miss Peregrine's Home
For Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 07/06/11
by Quirk Books

Review Priority
5 (A Sure Thing)

The Blurb: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience.

As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather - were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

My Thoughts: I think the first I heard of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was by way of the Book Smugglers -- so thanks, Book Smugglers!

I dare say Ana and Thea were right about this one, too. I've only had a wee leaf through, but Ransom Riggs' profusely illustrated spookshow reads well, and looks just wonderful. I should be up and at this one shortly, time permitting. Actually, time be damned; I'm going to make it a point to hit up Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children as soon as I can.

The End Specialist
by Drew Magary

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 29/09/11
by Voyager

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: A gripping, compulsive thriller set in a future where the cure for ageing has been discovered, to devastating consequences.

John Farrell is about to get The Cure. Old age can never kill him now. The only problem is, everything else still can...

Imagine a near future where a cure for ageing is discovered and – after much political and moral debate – made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems – including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors.

Witty, eerie, and full of humanity, The End Specialist is an unforgettable thriller that envisions a pre-apocalyptic world so real that it is completely terrifying.

My Thoughts: Oh, pre-apocalyptic now, is it? Well alright then.

But never mind my snarkiness. The premise behind The End Specialist, from what little I know of it, sounds fine. Simplistic, perhaps, but it'll do, I'm sure. All the same. I'll probably wait for a few reviews of this to hit before I decide whether or not to dip into Drew Magary's novel myself. Test the waters without taking my socks off, you know. :P

A Serpent Uncoiled
by Simon Spurrier

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 04/08/11
by Headline

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

The Blurb: A missing mobster. A bizarre spiritualist society. And three deaths, linked by a chilling forensic detail.

Working as an enforcer in London's criminal underworld brought Dan Shaper to the edge of a breakdown. Now he's a private investigator, kept perilously afloat by a growing cocktail of drugs. He needs to straighten-up and rebuild his life, but instead gets the attention of his old gangland masters and a job-offer from Mr George Glass. The elderly eccentric claims to be a New Age Messiah, but now needs a saviour of his own. He's been marked for murder.

Adrift amidst liars and thugs, Shaper must push his capsizing mind to its limits: stalked not only by a unique and terrifying killer, but by the ghosts of his own brutal past.

My Thoughts: So sort of like... a John Connolly novel? Well, I could swallow some of that, sure! And you know, it doesn't hurt that Jared over at Pornokitsch enjoyed A Serpent Uncoiled so much -- see this review for one thing. And that bloke tends to have pretty decent taste...

Triple Crossing
by Sebastian Rotella

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 18/08/11
by Mulholland Books

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: Valentine Pescatore is a rookie Border Patrol agent, just trying to survive the Line. Until he pursues a suspect across the border into Mexico, and finds himself in serious trouble. 

Isabel Puente is a beautiful US agent investigating a powerful Mexican crime family. She offers Valentine a chance - if he works with her as an undercover agent she'll make his problems go away. But soon their relationship is no longer strictly professional. 

Over the border in Tijuana, anti-corruption chief Leo Mendez is working to bring criminals to justice. In a city where anyone can be bought, he's made enemies on both sides of the law. 

All three have the same aim: to bring down the cartels. But in a world built on lies, how do you know who to trust? As the violence escalates, the stage is set for a showdown full of bloodshed and betrayal.

My Thoughts: So drugs, is it?

I don't know about this one, to be honest. I've been something of a supporter of Mulholland Books from day one, but this debut caught me quite off-guard when it arrived. I hadn't heard word one about it, and that there synopsis appeals to me... well, not one whit.

On the other hand, going by Mulholland's stellar track record, there's got to be more to Triple Crossing than just that, so maybe I'll put aside my preconceptions and take a look after all. Just maybe.

by Brandon Sanderson
Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 11/08/11
by Gollancz

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

The Blurb: Elantris was built on magic and it thrived. But then the magic began to fade and Elantris began to rot. And now its shattered citizens face domination by a powerful Imperium motivated by dogged religious views. Can a young Princess unite the people of Elantris, rediscover the lost magic and lead a rebellion against the imperial zealots?

Brandon Sanderson's debut fantasy showed his skill as a storyteller and an imaginer of baroque magical systems to be fully developed from the start.

My Thoughts: And as if I don't have enough Brandon Sanderson to get caught up on - what with all the Mistborn I've solemnly sworn to read through before The Alloy of Law hits retail later in the year - along comes his debut!

Finally available in the UK, with smoky cover art to match that adorning all of the fantasy stalwart's other novels - so that's nice - I've heard both good and bad things about Elantris. The pitch certainly does it for me, but already, having read through some of The Final Empire since last we talked Brandon Sanderson, I can see how much better he got between Mistborn and The Way of Kings, and now I'm wondering... how much improved could the prose of Mistborn be over Elantris?

If I had to bet pennies, I'd put them all on the likelihood that there will be a review of Elantris on The Speculative Scotsman at some point. But this is a real sooner or later case, so don't be holding your breath, everyone.


There'll be more tomorrow, so we'll save the usual outro burbling for then.

See you then, folks and folkesses! :)


  1. I've seen a good few things for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and everything I hear about it makes me want to read it even more! I'm going to have to cave soon and buy myself a copy.

  2. To me, Elantris was a significant step down from Mistborn (as I read the chronologically latter first). Still enjoyable, but certainly nowhere near the quality.