Sunday, 16 September 2012

Books Received | The BoSS Strikes Back

Let me tell you what's awesome about this edition of The BoSS...

...everything! :)

I dare say there's a clear highlight courtesy Joe Abercrombie's next novel - huge thanks to the good folks at Gollancz for an early look at that - but I'm psyched for all the other contenders too.

In fact, in honour of the intolerably exciting selection we have to talk about this afternoon, I'm going to cut the crap and get right to it.


The Ward
by S. L. Grey

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 01/10/12
by Corvus

Review Priority
5 (A Sure Thing)

The Blurb: Lisa is a plastic surgery addict with severe self-esteem issues. The only hospital that will let her go under the knife is New Hope: a grimy, grey-walled facility dubbed 'No Hope' by its patients.

Farrell is a celebrity photographer. His last memory is a fight with his fashion-model girlfriend and now he's in a bed in No Hope, alone. Needle marks criss-cross his arms. A sinister nurse keeps tampering with his drip. And he's woken up blind...

Panicked and disorientated, Farrell persuades Lisa to help him escape, but the hospital's dimly lit corridors only take them deeper underground - into a twisted mirror world staffed by dead-eyed nurses and doped-up orderlies. Down here, in the Modification Ward, Lisa can finally have the face she wants... but at a price that will haunt them both forever.

My Thoughts: You may or may not recall that I really rather enjoyed The Mall. If not, here's the review I wrote at the time. 'Twas, in short, a shock of modern horror with a sharp satirical edge, and I've been keen to see what S. L. Grey has stashed up its pseudonymous sleeve ever since.

Now, finally, I'm about to find out. I'll be reviewing this book for - otherwise it might not be such a sure thing - so keep your eyes peeled for my article over there.

In the interim, Pornokitsch have written it up already, and Jared's clearly a fan. This bodes terribly well...

Let the Old Dreams Die
by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 30/08/2012
by Quercus

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

The Blurb: Whatever happened to Oskar and Eli? And what became of the beleaguered families from Handling the Undead? Find out in Let the Old Dreams Die.
In other tales from this collection, a woman finds a dead body and decides to keep it for herself, a customs officer has a mysterious gift which enables him to see what others hide, and a man believes he knows how to deceive death.
These are the stories of John Ajvide Lindqvist's rich imagination. They are about love and death and what we do when the two collide and the monsters emerge. 
My Thoughts: Now I haven't exactly been on the edge of my reading seat waiting to hear what become of the beleaguered families from Handling the Undead - in point of fact, I've long thought this the weakest of Lindqvist's novels - but the thought of spending a touch more time with Oskar and Eli out of Let the Right One In really does intrigue me... I'll admit it.

Then again, I don't know that I've read any of Lindqvist's short stories before, so this collection isn't guaranteed to be the fever dream I dream of. We'll see here on The Speculative Scotsman shortly.

Throne of the Crescent Moon
by Saladin Ahmed

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 17/01/13
by Gollancz

Review Priority
3 (We'll See)

The Blurb: The Crescent Moon Kingdoms - land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers - are at boiling point. A power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince is reaching its climax. In the midst of this brewing rebellion, a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. Only a handful of reluctant heroes can learn the truth, and stop the killing.

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.

Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla's young assistant, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God's justice. Zamia Badawi has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death.

That is, until she meets Rasheed, and learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince's brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn the city, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.

My Thoughts: What an awfully complicated plot!

Sounds sort of like cross between The Long Price and Alif the Unseen, and if it's anything along those lines, then obviously I want it in me.

But blurbs, like movie trailers, have a way of painting a pretty picture of even the ugliest subjects, so the real reason I'm interested in Throne of the Crescent Moon: when it came out in the US almost a year ago, many of my favourite book bloggers loved it. So sure, I'll give Saladin Ahmed's much buzzed-about debut a good, long look before it hits Britain in early 2013.

When She Woke
by Hillary Jordan

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 30/08/12
by Harper

Review Priority
4 (Pretty Bloody Likely)

The Blurb: Hannah Payne is a RED.

Her crime? MURDER.

And her victim, says the state of Texas, was her unborn child.

Lying on a table in a bare room, covered by only a paper gown, Hannah awakens to a nightmare. Cameras broadcast her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes - criminals whose skin has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime - is a sinister form of entertainment.

Hannah refuses to reveal the identity of her father. But cast back into a world that has marked her for life, how far will she go to protect the man she loves?

An enthralling and chilling novel from the author of Mudbound, for fans of The Handmaid's Tale and The Scarlet Letter.

My Thoughts: The publicists are leaning on that comparison to Atwood's classic pretty HARD, aren't they?

Well, either Harper are setting themselves up for an awful FALL, or they're actually onto something here, and truth be told, I wouldn't want to miss that. Not only, but also: Publisher's Weekly seem to echo the acclaim that's been heaped on this latest, would-be greatest dystopia. So I'll give When She Woke a minute, and hope there's something to the hubbub for once.

Then again, if the end of Jordan's novel is as disappointing as legions readers seem to agree, I'm going to be PISSED.

What can I say? Dramatic caps make me irate...

Red Country
by Joe Abercrombie

Vital Statistics
Published in the UK
on 18/10/12
by Gollancz

Review Priority
5 (A Sure Thing)

The Blurb: "They burned her home. They stole her brother and sister. But vengeance is following..."

Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she’ll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she’s not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old stepfather Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb’s buried a bloody past of his own, and out in the lawless Far Country, the past never stays buried.

Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts. Even worse, it will force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust...

My Thoughts: Made you wait for this once, didn't I? :)

Methinks I need say little more beyond the following: I have a galley of Red Country and I'll be reading it immediately. For review elsewhere, I'm afraid, but I'll point you in the right direction come release week.

After The Heroes - far and away Abercrombie's best book to date, in my eyes - I've such high hopes for Red Country, not least because it's a western, and I plum love a good western. I can't wait to see for myself how Abercrombie handles the genre.

In fact, what I really need to do is stop blogging, make a cup of coffee, and start in on the first chapter.


What a week!

I've got my work cut out for me, clearly, but if there's something you think I'm missing, please feel free to give me a kick in the rear in the comments.

We'll talk again the next time The BoSS strikes back.

1 comment:

  1. "The Ward" sounds delightfully creepy!

    Also, I've been meaning to read "Throne of the Crescent Moon" for ages! That one'll have to go in my next book order, I think. Can't keep putting it off forever!