Aug 1, 2010

YetiStomper Picks for August

I wonder what the best month for stand-alone books is. August isn't a good example, offering a number of series entries and a handful of collections, albeit some really strong ones. 

The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson

The Stormlight Archives, Book 1. As far as I'm concerned this is the book for August. I had the fortune of obtaining an early copy of The Way of Kings and it shows all the signs of being the premiere fantasy sequence of the next decade, taking over the torch from The Wheel of Time. Even at 1004 pages, the book barely begins to get into the Sanderson's new world full of chaos, storms, and magic. The world is brilliantly constructed, the characters are three-dimensional and likable and the pages fly by, what more could you ask for? The book is by no means perfect, but most of the flaws are a result of wanting more, not less. Also, if your book budget is small, you aren't going to get more pages per penny than you are with this doorstopper. Look for a full review later this month. (August 31st from Tor)

Shades of Milk and Honey - Mary Robintte Kowal

Glamour Series, Book 1. The 2009 Campbell Award winner for best new writer makes her debut with a quiet novel of magic and manners set during the Regency time frame (early 19th century). While the book doesn't live up to the promise that I think Kowal is capable of, it still demonstrates her ability to create realistic, smooth dialogue and captivating, relatable protagonists. The speculative nature of the book seems to be oriented towards fans of Austen-esque novels looking to dabble in something different rather than traditional fantasy fans exploring an atypical period setting. To be followed by Glamour in Glass next year. (August 3rd from Tor)

The Evolutionary Void - Peter F. Hamilton

The Void Trilogy, Book 3. The master of the modern Space Opera and disputed king of British SF concludes his latest trilogy with The Evolutionary Void.  I've read Hamilton in the past but haven't gotten to the Void Trilogy yet but I know a lot of people are excited for this one.  (August 24th from Del Rey)

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games, Book 3. The final book in the excellent YA series that started with The Hunger Games. I just wish this series got the attention it deserves rather than that Twilight trash. Like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games are marketed towards kids but enjoyed by all ages. (August 24th from Scholastic Press)

The Terminal State - Jeff Somers

Avery Cates Sequence, Book 4. I'm less than happy about Orbit's decision to switch the cover style and format of Somers latest entry in his Avery Cates series but I am excited to see another book in one of the few and best cyberpunk/technothriller series going today. The Terminal State sees resident badass Avery Cates unexpectedly sold to an "old friend" for "one last job." Expect fast paced, action packed SF. (Available Now from Orbit.)

The Ragged Man - Tom Lloyd

Twilight Reign, Book 4. Pyr continues producing strong fiction with yet another unique fantasy series. Interested readers are going to want to start with The Stormcaller but if you are up to date with Lloyd' s Twilight Reign series, than this is a must read for you. (August 24th from Pyr.)

The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson - Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson Collection.  This one is pretty self explanatory. Hugo and Nebula Award winning author Kim Stanley Robinson has been publishing excellent SF for a long, long time. Night Shade Books has taken 22 of those stories and collected them in one hardcover edition. Among the 22 stories selected are the Nebula Award-winning "The Blind Geometer," and World Fantasy Award winner "Black Air." Take a look at the full list of stories here if you need to but with an author of Robinson's caliber chances are you can't go wrong. (Available Now from Night Shade Books.)

Sympathy for the Devil - Tim Pratt (ed.)

Devil Themed Original and Reprint Anthology. Sympathy for the Devil is an interesting collection unlike any I've seen before. It's not that the stories all share a common theme (the devil), it's the timeline of the entries. Some of the stories are from contemporary genre authors like Scott Westerfeld, Charlie Stross, or Cory Doctorow. Others are by classic authors including Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, or Nathaniel Hawthorne. Throw in a few more mainstream authors like Michael Chabon, Jeffery Ford or Neil Gaiman and you've got one hell (get it?) of a diverse collection. View the full table of contents here. (August 1st from Night Shade Books.)

Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars and Other Unusual Suspects - Ken Scholes

Ken Scholes Collection. Scholes is mostly known for his Canticles of Isaak series but his short fiction is worth reading. I've sampled his first collection, Long Walks, Last Flights & Other Strange Journeys, as part of my research for Authors Worth Watching and his work is as diverse as it is good. I haven't read any of the stories in Diving Mimes (full Table of Contents here) but I'm excited for the opportunity to get them all in one place. (August from Fairwood Press.)

While The Evolutionary Void is a tempting choice, YetiStomper Pick of the month goes to The Way of Kings.There is so much potential in Sanderson's world and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before everyone is talking about it. Shades of Milk and Honey is my debut pick for August but it's not representative of what Kowal is fully capable of. Anyway, as always, if you are interested in more details regarding any of the above books, just click on through the Amazon links. I'm more interested in telling you why I recommended them rather than simply what the books are about. Let me know if there is anything I may have missed in the comments.

And which one of these covers is your favorite? My favorite has to be The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson. I'm not sure what the artist responsible for covering Scholes latest collection was thinking. It's a mishmash of content and a train wreck of composition.
You can view previous installments of YetiStomper Picks here.

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