Showing posts with label Max Gladstone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Max Gladstone. Show all posts

Monday, March 23, 2015

Books I'm Looking Forward To Releasing In 2015

Today I shall share my break-the-wallet-on-release-day books.  Or simply put: BOOKS I CAN'T WAIT TO RELEASE THIS YEAR!  I just had to share this to keep myself accountable for my reading needs as 2015 unfolds.  Yes, yes.  I must be ready for each of these titles.  So let's go!

1. X is for… [Unannounced] by Sue Grafton

This was a breeze to conjure up.  Book number 24 in Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series is due out in August. I scream inside; as we all know I idolize Grafton and her smart-mouthed P. I., Kinsey. The series releases bi-yearly, so it’s right on time after 2013's W is for Wasted hit shelves that September. I just wonder what in the hell could the “X” in this title stand for, besides “Xylophone” or “Xenophile”?  And besides the full title, I haven't a clue what this one is about.  What's Kinsey's next case?  Where's Kinsey going to go next in her trapped-in-the-80s narrative.  I kind of like it that way, though.  The uncertainty, while having the utmost faith that it's going to be something incredibly sweet and fulfilling because Grafton and her protagonist is just that damn close to me now. I’m waiting desperately for you Mrs. Grafton!  And while I don't re-read books, I suddenly want to take this series down again.  From start to finish!  A to X.  One Kinsey Millhone one-liner after another.  I bask...

2. Devoted in Death by J. D. Robb

Well, it’s obvious at this point that I've stopped denying my need for J. D. Robb books. Yep. That’s over with. So I wait anxiously for September 8th when book number 41 in Robb’s Eve Dallas In Death series releases. Apparently, Devoted has a sort of Bonnie and Clyde setup. Two committed lovers on a cross-country killing spree. Sign me up for it!

3. The Moon Tells Secrets by Savanna Welles

Yes, yes, yes. Mrs. Welles is another pen name for author Valerie Wilson Wesley. And yes, sometimes I desire a little more out of her writing. Nonetheless, I somewhat enjoyed Welles’ first Gothic thriller, When the Night Whispers. Therefore, I'm willing to follow Wesl–err–Welles into The Moon Tells Secrets. It’s coming out on March 24, and that’s right around the corner. Apparently, The Moon Tells Secrets is about a woman raising her adopted son, a son with the ability to shift into animals. In turn, he’s hunted down by something called “skinwalker." Crazy, right? Well, the thrill to this–for me anyway–is that the cast is Black. I’m always, always there for Black characters featured in stories outside of contemporary fiction.  As well as the Black writers who take the dive to tell these unique stories. As far as I'm concerned, Black authors can do crime fiction and paranormal just as well. Needless to say, Tuesday, I'll be at Barnes and Nobles for this one. Support.

4. Disciple of the Wind by Steve Bein

I've waited an entire year for book number 3 in Steve Bein’s Fated Blades series, one of the remaining remnants of urban fantasy series I find worth reading. And I’m less than a month away from its April 7th release. Color me all kinds of happy!  I can’t wait to go back to Tokyo with Bein's Detective Sergeant, Mariko Oshiro, and her infamous Inazuma blade. I just adore this series; from its protagonist to the way Bein jumps the reader back and forth through time via stories surrounding ancient Japanese blades. However, I'm hoping Bein offers Mariko a lot more spotlight this go-round. I enjoyed the last book, Year of the Demon, tremendously.  Nevertheless, I thought Mariko’s story got diluted by the time hopes to ancient Japan.  And believe me when I say that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.  If you're into stories that tap into realms like legends, superstitions and Edo period Japanese tales, Bein delivers.

5. Last First Snow by Max Gladstone

Gladstone and Bein go hand-in-hand with me now, as both authors are my ports into the urban fantasy genre. Anyway, Last First Snow is book number 4 in Gladstone’s Craft Sequence series. It'll be out in July. I don’t have too much information on the story; quite honestly, the big brute man on the cover has me worried. Nonetheless, as more details come about, I’m sure my excitement for this book will rise until I rush through the bookstore to grab it with little hesitation.

6. God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

God Help the Child releases April 21. Now here’s the thing: I love Toni Morrison. I really do. However, as I mentioned before, I love her work pre-90s. Afterward, I found it difficult to get through her material. It almost feels like all the accolades and whatnot that Beloved garnered had shifted something in her writing. And while I managed through a few of her works then forward, it’s books like A Mercy that just makes me scratch my head in wonder. I never managed to finish that book, but hold on to it for the next attempt. I just never quite understood who and where that book took a claim to. And apparently I’m not the only one. Nonetheless, I do have hopes for God Help the Child. So much so that maybe I can go back and read Morrison’s Home, her 2012 release.  I suppose I'm hoping God Help the Child get me back on track with her.  It looks promising.

7. Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

All right, despite a few problems, I did enjoy the first book in Harris’ new series, Midnight Crossroad. I enjoyed the dust town and small-town cast of unique characters, and do intend to return to it all this May in Day Shift. I'm excited to see what these crazy-ass people (among other things) do next. Unfortunately, as Amazon is my only source at the immediate moment, I don’t have much information on what Day Shift is about. However, I'm still excited. As I said before, Harris is just ruthless with her characters. You never know what they'll do in her books.  She surprises me time and time again, and I like that.

8. Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

Gerritsen just announced her October release on her blog, and it’s called Playing with Fire. In the same vein as her book, The Bone Garden, Playing with Fire jumps back and forth through time. It’s the story about a violinist, and how her 3-year-old daughter turns violent at the sound of a particularly piece the violinist plays. It's a piece of music she traces back to 1940’s Venice. So no, this is not a Rizzoli and Isle entry. Which is okay with me because its sounds just as Gerritsen and just as nuts.

9.  China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

I almost forgot this one!  Somebody beat me in the head because I don't understand how this one slipped me.  Well, I'm sure many more 2015 releases have already slipped around me.  Nonetheless, on to China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan.  China Rich Girlfriend is the sequel to Kwan's breakout debut, Crazy Rich Asians.  I thoroughly enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians when I finally got my hands on it the winter before last.  Evidently, China Rich Girlfriend picks up on Chinese-Singaporean, Nicholas Young (heir to a magnificent fortune), and his relationship with ABC (American Born Chinese) girlfriend Rachel Chu.  After all of the gossiping, family coups, and destructive intentions to break the two apart, it appears the two are continuing forth with their wedding.  This, of course, only invites more drama.  Needless to say, I can't wait to get my hands on it in June.  For anyone who indulges in the melodrama that makes up Asian soaps, this is the author to get into!

Okay. Off the top of my head, that’s it for now. I got a few fence-riders I’ll like to mention next.

10. Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell

This is book number 23 in Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta forensic thriller series. After last year’s awfulness of Flesh and Blood, I'm not sure (that’s a lie because Depraved Heart will be sought) how this one will go. I think I just want to hear myself say lie to myself, but I am worried about whether this book is going to be as awful as Flesh and Blood. Will I have to abandon it, just as I did Flesh and Blood?  Well, we'll see in November when this book releases.

11. One Night by Eric Jerome Dickey

I used to be totally in love with this guy. Then he didn't release a book for an entire year, came back, and broke my heart. The book that threw me over was An Accidental Affair (2012); this torrent story about some guy finding his girlfriend (or was it his wife?) was having an affair. So what does he do, run out and sleep with just about every woman who takes an interest in him. I didn't make it through that book before I, to be perfectly honest, returned it. The following year I bought Decadence. This featured the return of Dickey's sex-crazed protagonist Nia Simon Bijou. Needless to say, I never even cracked it. I gave the book to my mom, as I just didn't care to read about Nia and her orgies again.  I think those two books just weren't written for me, or maybe I just grew tired of this sudden slip of sex over plot. However, last year’s A Wanted Woman looked promising, but by then I was already too hurt to try. I just didn’t feel like another erotic action thriller. Which is odd because it’s a book about a hit-woman, and y‘all know I love books featuring women with guns. Nonetheless, the idea is that I'll go back to A Wanted Woman before I return to what seems like classic Dickey in One Night. Who knows?  Here's to One Night's April 21th release.

Drum, But No Drum

12. The Drafter by Kim Harrison 

The Drafter is first in Kim Harrison’s new series, and seeing I've somewhat abandoned her Rachel Morgan series, I don't see The Drafter happening. Nonetheless, it’s on my radar. How’s that for September possibilities?

13. Dead Ice by Laurell K Hamilton

My ultimate guilty pleasure. The series that I love to hate. And hate more than I love, yet find myself bewitched after Hamilton waved her wand over readers from book 1-9. I’m locked into Anita Blake and her story. Even as I want to throw up at the ridiculousness of it along the way.  Here's to gathering my pail in June.

Off Subject, But Not

Why do I want to read Nora Roberts’ Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy? Is it the covers? I don’t know, but for some reason, I really want to read these books. Help me, Jesus.

So what new releases are you guys looking for this year? 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The OSI Gone Bye-Bye-Bye

I forgot to mention Jes Battis back when I made posts related to urban fantasy authors whose series I've loved but are no longer in operation. So besides the lovely Lynn Benedict, Battis is definitely up there. Battis wrote a five-book series surrounding a young Canadian Occult Special Investigator named Tess Corday. I know. I know. First, you'd like to know exactly what an Occult Special Investigator or OSI is. Well, it’s an investigative unit that specializes in the occult, or occult rattled cases. It’s like an alternative division to the whole CSI mechanic and how it pertains to law enforcement. Therefore, Tess’s job usually has her castigated by unruly vampires, necromancers and other nightly fiends. Well, opposed to murderous humans and the occasional blue-collar criminal. So it‘s all about the world she lives in, and one that Battis painted quite nicely (until it sort of fell apart in the last book).

Despite his set-up, Battis's protagonist is very much human. Although later her father’s genetic truths come to light. This becomes an overarching plot, unfolding next to the case-by-case format spanning the five books. And while all that is tugging and momentum-filled, Tess isn't alone in her journey.  There are secondary characters with their own stories to tell. Her best friend, Derrick, is gay and telepathic.  He also works for the OSI. Additionally, his boyfriend is a hearing-impaired profiler of sorts. Nonetheless, the two (gradually more) share an apartment with a teenage pseudo-vampire named Mia.  Mia bears a striking personality resemblance to Buffy’s sister Dawn, although Mia isn't nowhere near as insufferable.  Tess and her best friend become Mia's guardians after the first book, Night Child. I was always confused about Mia's circumstances, but there’s something about her breaking out into vampire mode and ruling the underworld one day. It’s hazy, but somewhat of the gist of her story. Nonetheless, while these three jump-start the series, there is also Tess’s boyfriend and local chief necromancer, Lucian Agrado.

So the cast is wide and diverse, and generally different. Especially with the tie of the hearing-impaired character. You don't see these characters too often in urban fantasy, or I can't recall a time. Furthermore, while Lucian gave great body and sex appeal, he wasn't like other male characters in this genre where their bod and sex appeal becomes the focal point of the protagonist’s obsession. No. Lucian very much kept Tess in check, and her likewise. Together the cast got into plenty of trouble. Each with a sort of ability and charm that compliments the next, leading to the resolutions behind many of Tess’s cases. 

I truly miss and enjoy the series, even though the last book was just this long, morbid monologue/meditation provided by Tess regarding her values and that of her father. Though sadly, I think the series really started to pick up with the third book (that’s when I solidified my love of Battis work), but didn't get the chance to really shine.

All that aside, you can tell Battis watches a lot of Buffy, my personal favorite TV show.  So if you like Buffy, you may love this charming and humorous treat.  Interesting investigations, a slice of love, friendship-driven, and mysterious family secrets abound.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Taco Seasoning and Fantasy Exposition

After reading two of Max Gladstone’s recent books back-to-back, I'm kind of in the mood to take on some fantasy and sci-fi (currently known as speculative fiction, I think) novels.  Preferably those novels with an ethnic lead for a voice that identifies closely with my own (ala Octavia Butler perhaps). Also through a female protagonist, as I have absolutely no interest in your a-typical guy wielding a sword or commanding some otherworldly space craft. I would also like something with compound world-building built into reflecting our world.  Sort of like how Gladstone takes on our economics with a fantasy twist relating fallen gods and soul letting as a form of currency.  Though that last part isn't so, so necessary when I would gladly trade gods for unicorns and mermaids. 

The problem is that I don't read much fantasy and sci-fi to find authors who manage what I'm looking for.  Wait, that is authors outside of the urban fantasy sub-genre–which combines a lot of real-world mechanics with fantasy and supernatural constructs. And maybe there’s a reason why I don't pick up much fantasy and sci-fi. That reason would most likely come down to the level of exposition needed to build a world.  Example: take Kim Harrison's Cincinnati-based urban fantasy Hollows series in contrast to a 500 page high fantasy novel written by Mercedes Lackey. Oh, yeah. There is a serious difference in levels of necessary exposition required to build between each of these authors and their individual worlds. And that’s where I always take issue, after having picked up my first high fantasy novel by Lackey, By the Sword, when I was fourteen. At the time I remember thinking how this was it; a big, sweeping fantasy novel in my hands. A woman with a sword and a horse and adventures abound. Until I got burned by the level of attention required to understand exactly what was happening to this woman, her horse, and her adventures.

Now, granted I was fourteen and still discovering myself in my Animorphs books, before and throughout high school. And as I said before, if there's one fantasy book that I love more than anything, it's T. A. Barron's The Ancient One.  So I was a little (I stress "little") in the range of Lacky at the time, and it wasn't unusual for a teen to pick up an adult fantasy novel and read it cover to back. Nonetheless, like a phantom pain, I never quite got over how demanding By the Sword was. Subsequently, turning me away from many high fantasy and hard science sci-fi books throughout the years.

The point I'm trying to make in this post is that–while I love fantasy novels–the truth is that I can’t always take on the commitment required to digest the world-building properly. And much of that world-building shows up in exposition.  But seriously, after the toe-dipping in Gladstone, I've come to the conclusion that I (and many others who tend to pass high fantasy and sci-fi) just have to find those who write with a good balance of exposition throughout the storytelling to keep us hanging on.

So I kind of think of exposition like making a taco casserole come out right. Put too much taco seasoning in the mix and it becomes a bad explosion of flavor-override (and a hiked sodium intake). Too much flavor kills the whole dish. However, put too little taco seasoning and you'll have a bland casserole without any special flavor to give it that Mexican kick. So yeah, I’ll relate that analogy to how using exposition in fantasy and sci-fi books takes a careful balancing act. But basically, the “taco seasoning” is the information an author gives his or her reader regarding the make-up (or world-building) of their story. If you put too much “taco seasoning” in, you can’t get the information together, as it’s overloading you while muddling the story. And if you add too little “taco seasoning,” you can’t seem to gather a sense of order to the events taking place within the story. And that’s what I find holds me back from these two genres. Either I'm overwhelmed with information, or underwhelmed (mainly overwhelmed concerning the context of this post). The end result consist of me ditching the book and moving on to something a little less of a reading tribulation.

Accomplishing that exposition balance in fantasy and sci-fi novels has to be uniquely hard because those stories take place in worlds unfamiliar and beyond our own. So not only is an author responsible for teaching the operations and rules of his or her world, but also the characters have to be given fuel and life to push the reader along. I suppose the secret is to give the reader all of this information carefully. And gradually. And with the use of suggestions like crumbs of information guiding them along the way. That’s why I'm going to try to break out of my so-so stumpy summer reading slump by diving back into Mercedes Lackey’s By the Sword. Like I said, it kind of broke me from fantasy as an unprepared teen. Now, seventeen years later, I think I can finally, finally do this. I’m going to take my time. Wish me luck!

Are there any genres you often find yourself avoiding? Was there a book that put you in the position to avoid it? Share your thoughts below!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

'Flects on Gladstone's Five

"On the island of Kavekana, priestess Kai builds gods to order–sort of.  Sub-sentient idols, Kai's creations are perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen who want to protect their wealth and power while operating in the Old World.  For beyond the ocean, true desires still thrive, untouched by the God Wars that transformed the city-states of Alt Coulumb and Dresediel Lex.

When Kai tries to save a friend's dying idol, she's gravely injured–then sidelined from the business, her near-suicidal rescue attempt seen as proof of her instability.  But when Kai tires of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and digs into the cause of the idol's death, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear that will break her if she can't break it first."

It took me seventeen days to finally finish reading Max Gladstone‘s Full Fathom Five; therefore, in the famous words of Bernadette Cooper (from the 80s band Klymaxx), I’m “much, much unhappy about that.” However, that’s probably not relevant when, really, I was preoccupied with sweet diversions. Even so, in a way, my taking forever to finish the book had to do with its pacing, which appeared a lot slower than the previous two books in the series. And that’s okay. Slower pacing isn't a bad thing at all.  Every reading experience shouldn't feel like an emergency. Besides, I understood the world-building and magical laws a little better in this particular Craft Sequence book because of its steady dishing.  The problem was that it became one of those books I could guiltlessly put down and pick back up later. 

In retrospect, either I didn't feel the hook of the premise, or it just took me forever and a day to be totally immersed and interested in it. Furthermore, once I finally understood the occurring plot (stimulating themes reflecting economics and gods) did I find how most of the fussing led to a sort of weak finale. I was hoping for that stopping-the-bad-guy rush I found in the previous two books, whereas Five ended a little more on the conversational debate side.  At least from where I stood.  Though it was light years better than this poor example, Five's ending kind of reminded me of those dull J. D. Robb moments where Eve Dallas spends the entire book chasing a killer only to corner him safely in an interrogation room after a casual pick-up.  Where's the fun in that!?  Battle that ish out on paper! 

For some areas surrounding the narrative–which switches mainly between Kai [see synopsis] and a teenage thief name Izza–I'm still kind of questioning some information in relation to the unfolding story. Okay, I’ll be specific in stating those areas filled with esoteric discussions about gods speaking to humans kind of lost me. Just a little. And really, it wouldn't have been so hard to follow if I had a little more explanation in the beginning concerning just who these gods were and represented.  That... was a little on the enigmatic side to me.  The Blue Lady, the Eagle, the Squid.  Help me out just a little bit here, because I obviously missed something.  Especially when I think about the god in Three Parts Dead who was supposedly dead, but hid right under everyone's nose as the fire to Abelard's cigarette.  Or the god caged and used underneath a water treatment plant in Two Serpents Rise.  In comparison, those gods seemed real and tangible in a sense.  The gods in Full Fathom Five seemed... well... like totems and tulpas.

Now, I know. I know. It sounds like I didn't like the book. Even so, the truth is that I did–and for several reasons. The first being that Kai is a transgender woman. My mouth split into a grin as page 31’s dialogue read:

Ms. Kavarian: “How did you remake yourself?”
Kai: “I was born in a body that didn't fit.”
Ms. Kavarian: “Didn't fit in what way?”
Kai: “It was a man’s…”

That… was exciting. However, while I was happy her being transgender wasn't the bedrock to her overall story, there was nothing else interesting nor... dexterous... produced from it. Okay, so thankfully it didn't take over the plot, but I kind of wanted her to talk about it just a smidget or two more.  Especially because I know individuals who identify as transgender. So my question was how this is implicated in a fantasy novel, given how she achieved this change in ways wondrous and unlike anything anyone could imagine. Maybe that’s just my curiosity speaking. Nonetheless, considering each book in the Craft Sequence series is mostly a standalone, I’m going to be sad if I don’t see Kai again. I can say that while it took me forever and a day to read Full Fathom Five, I thoroughly enjoyed Kai’s company the entire way. In many respects, I liked her degrees more than Tara from the first book.

So with that being said, the second lead, Izza, was rather hit-or-miss with me.  I never quite connected with her and her purpose.  She seemed really B-plot motivated in some areas, despite having a bigger role in the book.  I think I would've liked it better if she and Kai partnered sooner.  It just would've seemed right if some commitments and pledges were made earlier in the story between the two.  But with each (Kai and Izza) finding herself preoccupied with returning characters from Gladstone's previous two books, I can see why this didn't happen.

Still, there were plenty of other elements I really enjoyed in Full Fathom Five. One of those being this sort of policing creature called Penitents. Imagine having your body sucked into a giant, humanoid size piece of amethyst rock.  Then suddenly your mind is tased and controlled to direct the will of a giant stone creature that holds you prisoner. Scary stuff.  As for the image on the right, that's what Penitents make me think of for some reason. 

As always, mystery and corporate politics collide with fantasy and imagination in a Gladstone book.  Furthering my love of his work!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Gladstone's Serpents

Feels like I just read something that’s a cross between the video game Mirror’s Edge, the early 90s cartoon Pirates of Dark Water, and Mel Gibson's Apocalypto.  Interestingly strange blend, but somehow those three seem to linger like an aftertaste.  I can only hope that you're familiar with either of the three as I attempt to shed a little on how I came to that conclusion.  For starters, Two Serpents Rise is the second book in Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence series, but it’s not an immediate sequel to the first book, Three Parts Dead.  Therefore, Tara isn't present here.  Which was probably one of my initial disappointments and reasons for hesitating to even pick up the book.  Eventually I got over it; and if you've read the first book, don't let this realization stop you either.  Each book takes place in the same world, with at least the same magic system and engaging sense of corporate politics in an unknown fantasy world (sometimes I envision a steampunk setting).  And guess what, it’s all good still!

So the God Wars has ended some decades now (as noted in Three Parts Dead) and a new fiscal and governing system has been in order over the city of Dresediel Lex.  An immortal skeleton known as The Red King fought in the God Wars, won, and has basically taken over the economic and governing obligations that the old gods once upheld in the city.  The Red King supports Dresediel Lex's many utilities through his corporation, Red King Consolidated.  And while many of Dresediel Lex’s citizen has moved away from celebrating and worshiping gods in favor of The Red King's support, a small minority has not.  That would include a few willing to destroy Dresediel Lex by reviving some of the old, slumbering gods to full power.  Not only would this knock out The Red King's sovereignty, but it would also forward the politicking for the gods' revival. 

Bright Mirror Reservoir provides Dresediel Lex’s water supply, and is monitored/treated by Red King Consolidated.  One evening a batch of mysterious water demons are released into the reservoir, polluting the city’s water supply.  For any individual who finds him or herself reaching for a faucet, they risk the release of the Tizmet demon, a carnivorous flesh eater that can split and rearrange itself into multiples.  However, Red King Consolidated quickly manages to close off the polluted segment of the reservoir, trapping the Tizmet... for now...  

In enters Red King Consolidated’s risk manager, Caleb Altemoc, to investigate the scene.  Before the night is over, his investigation leads him to a potential witness to the reservoir's contamination.  The witness's name is Mal, and she’s a cliff runner–a dare devil of sorts.  Fascinating at her best, Mal hands Caleb a slew of surprises as he unravels his investigation; however, the biggest surprise comes in the form of the love (or lust) Mal awakens in him.  Meanwhile, a few anti-Red King citizens are plotting to dethrone The Red King and awaken the destructive power of the old gods.  It appears that the beginning of their agenda started with the release of the Tizmet demon, a possible means of frightening Dresediel Lex citzens into supplication of old gods' graces.  

With a case suddenly in his hands, can Caleb stay focused enough to find the culprit behind the reservoir’s pollution?  And as if Mal’s tugging at Caleb’s emotions weren't enough to deal with, can he deal with encounters with his terrorist father’s conflicting desires to power up Dresediel Lex’s old system of honoring gods through the use of human sacrifices?  Which is certainly an additional complication to Caleb's investigation. Nevertheless, that’s where Two Serpents Rise takes off as a tangling fantasy featuring old gods, disclosures, sorcery, corporate fraud, and… love (?).

Two Serpents Rise has this sort of Mesoamerican flavor to it. This makes it slightly different from the previous book, Three Parts Dead. So while Two Serpents Rise is fantasy, the majority of its world-building comes dressed around what I thought of as pre-Columbian Maya or Aztec Empire-like culture. It doesn’t reference this period specifically (maybe because its fantasy); however, you gather as much in characters with names such as Kopil, Alaxic, Kekapania and Teo. Furthermore, you have sea gods named Qet and so on and so forth.  Still, it's the use of ancient sacrificial pyramids reformed into establishments for commerce that really brings color to context of the book.  Nonetheless, with all that said, I came to the conclusion that Caleb is Mexican (for all intents and purposes).  This made me appreciate his story even more because it seems like a rarity to find an ethnic protagonist such as Caleb driving a fantasy. 

Caleb's father is known not only as a fugitive for his beliefs in aged traditions, such as human sacrifices to appease old gods, but he is also a Quechal high priest. Seeing that Caleb works for Red King Consolidated, he doesn't hold the same traditional beliefs as his father.  However, he's familiar with them enough to disagree. This father-son relationship adds a purposeful and tense element.  It also fits perfectly when the conflicting theme of Two Serpents Rise is the revolutionary shift from old methods of survival to contemporary forms of economic profusion. As well as questions regarding the price each method requires to keep a civilization running smoothly, and the risk some are willing to take to forward their personal vision for the old.

I found all of this plus more to be a complete and utter win. And while it wasn't as compound and thick on the mystery side as I'd hoped, I have to say that I did enjoy speculating which character was up to no good in Gladstone’s cast. In that sense, it read slightly like a mystery with the small exception of that fantasy-pulsing prose that I sometimes found distracting. You know, prose where a character is doing something active such as running, but it’s laid out in a narrative decked with analogies related to… I don't know… stars and tumbling through space. Not that that’s bad, but for someone who likes to puzzle over and solve mysteries as they unfold, sometimes I just need the scene and not an overload of "vision sequences" and spinning rooms. Though, respectfully, is perfect for the genre Two Serpents Rise is written in.

And incidentally, I want to put aside P. D. James's Mind of Murder to step into the third book in Gladstone's series. (^_^)

Total Pageviews