Thursday, May 09, 2013

New Reviews at the SFFWorld Blog - Abraham, Miéville, and Knight

New reviews over on the SFFWorld blog this week:

Mark's review of The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham. I read this one, too and loved it. My review should be popping up on next week.  Here's a bit from Mark's review:

What we get more of here is a sense of the Epic, in that the eleven races of human, previously mentioned but not given too much detail, are fleshed out more. We see more of their nature and actions, as the consequences of what has happened before ripple out wider and begin to both affect them and draw them into the conflict.


All these narratives are in separate chapters as before, but as the plot thickens they connect and divide throughout. Much of the fun of the book is seeing how these characters separate and follow their own narrative paths, developing as they do before affecting each other again. As before in the series, not everything goes the way we as readers might suspect. Loyalties are rekindled, new characters divide up the fellowship, and further division. And throughout there is still the insidious influence of deities and revelations of dragons.

Mark pulls his review of Looking for Jake by China Miéville from the SFFWorld Archives

There are thirteen stories and one novella in this collection; three of these are new, one story dates from 1998. The novella, The Tain, was originally published by PS Publications in 2002, and is the last of the fourteen stories in the book.

I have enjoyed what I have read of China’s work, even when it is not an easy nor comfortable read. One of the key characteristics of New Weird, as I see it, is its ability to unsettle – to jolt the reader from the cosy environment of their reading environment. This collection clearly does this.

The general theme of the collection is a common one in most of China’s work - one which looks at horrors, both physical and mental, real and imagined. What this collection does, unlike Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council, is use real places and real events, which emphasises the unreality – when what we know and understand becomes something twisted and surreal

I go through the Way-Back machine to highlight E.E. Knight's debut novel and the novel that launched his very entertaining Vampire Earth saga, Way of the Wolf:

E.E. Knight postulates a grim future in his debut novel, The Way of the Wolf. The reader is introduced to a world over-run by creatures out of our most ancient nightmares and darkest legends, with humanity fighting for survival, not only against these monsters, but some of his or her fellow men and women. How did Earth become so desolate and nightmarish? Learning this is part of the fun in reading any opening novel in a multi-volume saga, and most importantly, part of the fun of this book.


The novel works very cinematically, or rather episodically, as if the this book will hit screens one day, as each chapter begins with a paragraph or two of background introduction. This gives an epic feel to the novel and allows the reader to more than simply read the novel, it allows the reader to experience the novel and this dark future Earth. Each chapter is paced very well, with the proper amount of action and characterization to keep the story moving, and more importantly, to keep the pages turning. Perhaps the only fault is a recurring sense of predictability.

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