Monday, October 8, 2012

A bunch of news, links, and book recs

Happy Monday, everyone! My weekend was a bit less fun than I was hoping, thanks to coming down with a nasty cold - but on the other hand, while feverish and unable to sleep I read quite a few good books.  More shall be said of those later, but first off, I've got some various bits of news to share:

  • The Tainted City is now available as an audiobook! (Looking forward to giving it a listen myself, since I'll be doing a reading at MileHiCon weekend after next and I'd like to listen to how the scene I choose is narrated so I can crib a few tips.)
  • The first part of the interview I did for Stumptown Books is now live - in this bit I talk about the reception for Whitefire Crossing and Tainted City, the cover art for the books, and give a spoiler-free look at what readers can expect from book 3 (The Labyrinth of Flame).  (Two more interview sections will be posted later on this week, covering everything from whether I considered changing narrators in the Shattered Sigil books to my favorite peak climb.)  
  • Liz Bourke reviews The Tainted City at Tor.com.  My favorite bit of the review is where she says "And yes, I'll admit it: the tension was such that I checked the final pages in advance, to spare my stomach some clenching." As someone whose first drafts always inspire moans of "But *where* is the tension?" from my critique group, I call that a total victory. 
And lest you think I only ever read about myself on the internet, here's a few links to posts I read over the last week that I found interesting and/or thought-provoking:
Last but not least, I've a couple book recs to share from my recent sleepless nights:

The Spirit War (Rachel Aaron)

This is the fourth novel in Aaron's Eli Monpress series. I read the first three books in omnibus form (The Legend of Eli Monpress) a week or two ago, and enjoyed them as light, breezy, fun caper fantasy.  (Eli is a terrific character if you're into charming rogues.)  But The Spirit War, I loved.  It's a little darker and a little more serious (even while indulging in some spectacular magical battles), and fulfills a lot of things that were only hinted at in the earlier books.  And yeah, there's one plotline that pretty much pushes all of my buttons (in a good way!) as a reader - I can't wait to see how it plays out in Spirit's End, the final book in the series, forthcoming in November.

Unspoken (Sarah Rees Brennan)

I was quite fond of both Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon's Lexicon trilogy and her co-authored novel with Justine Larbalestier, Team Human (which was a hilarious send-up of vampire dramas even while telling a surprisingly serious story), so I was delighted to find that this first novel in her new Lynburn Legacy series is another great read.  Funny and dark by turns, featuring a female teen protagonist who's strong and determined without needing to be some kind of super ninja girl, and more of the difficult family relationships that Brennan excels at exploring - this is the kind of YA I love.

Wonders of the Invisible World (Patricia McKillip)

I don't read many short stories, but for some authors I instantly make an exception - like Patricia McKillip.  I can't think of another author who matches McKillip for sheer beauty and economy of prose; and she's one of the few who can pull off the numinous in fantasy, making the Otherworld feel truly Other.  I'll admit I love her novels even more than her short stories, but I still devoured this collection.  "Bittersweet, bewitching, and deeply intoxicating," says the book description - and I totally agree.  If you like short stories at all, go forth and read.

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