Blurbs, the gritty edition! I consume Abercrombie, Sternbergh, and Hurley

half-a-kingJoe Abercrombie’s new book is marketed as YA, I hear. In Abercrombie’s world, it seems the only difference is that there isn’t as much swearing. The first 30 pages seemed ordinary enough that I was starting to worry a bit, but no, Abercrombie did not disappoint in the matter of plot twists and well, plotting. Half a King could be the perfect gateway drug to fantasy for some unsuspecting teenager. It reminded me of my first foray into fantasy with Tad Williams’s Dragonbone Chair (I’m not counting Tolkien, oddly enough, as I got into him much later), though it is definitely grittier. You will have to wait a few months for this one, as it is not out till July.

shovelreadyShovel Ready wins the award for the Largest Number of One-Word Sentences in a Novel. It might also be the only book written about a garbageman, albeit a former one. Great narrator, fun read, but I can’t say it really stayed with me. I think it’s really my current overload with dystopian settings, though I did enjoy snappy narration (and I am normally not a fan of one-word sentences and one-sentence paragraphs) and noirish elements. It would probably be quite excellent as an audio book.

I came home one night after an absolutely exhausting work week. I got some bourbon (Bulleit, if you are wondering), and looked through my books. I picked up a couple of books: one turned out to be too depressing, another one turned out to be a lackluster version of something I had read years ago. Then I realized I’ve had God’s War sitting on my shelf ever since it came out, and I never got around to reading it.

godswarIn short: guys, it is not perfect, but it is complex and smart. It has kick-ass women. Oh, and everything runs on bugs. This includes all tech. Which makes certain kind of sense: there are a lot of insects, why not use them to produce fuel, or to heal (we are starting a bit smaller, see here about bacteria that can repair its own radiation damage). The book is also an interesting mix of both sci-fi (tech) and fantasy (people who have affinity for manipulating bugs are called magicians). Besides the world-building, what makes God’s War an example of great speculative fiction is its hard look at gender, religion, and the necessity (or lack thereof) of war.

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9 comments

  1. Half a King is my biggest wish list book this year. Glad you lime God’s War, I really want more people to read it. The bug thing really started to click for me, it was so different.

    1. I really did like the bug-based technology and was generally impressed with her world-building. Going to read Infidel and Rapture in April. (Also, sorry for late comment response, just finally got to fool around on the internet for the first time in days).

  2. I’ve been hearing the term YA tossed around Abercrombie’s Half a King as well, so I guess if they’re even marketing it as such then that’s confirmed. Neat! I’m still very interested in checking it out. Joe Abercrombie was like one of the last names I’d expect to be attached to Young Adult, but I love his stuff and I love the YA category so this should be fun!

  3. I haven’t read Abercrombie yet. I suppose I should remedy that this year. I put God’s War on hold at the library after reading the author’s list of gender issue books the other day. Need to get through The Cusanus Game first, which might be a project.

    1. Sorry for the late response, had no time for internets all week. I would call Half a King ‘Abercrombie Lite’. It is a little less intense than his The First Law books. I need to reread those, because I don’t think I actually read the third one.
      Cusanus Game sounds like something I would like.

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