Yesterday I finished a draft of a review of Elfland so hopefully that will be up in the next couple of days. After that, I only have Lady Lazarus left to review – at least until I finish reading The Broken Kingdoms (I’m about halfway through it now). As soon as that is done, I’m starting The Habitation of the Blessed. After that, I think I may dig a science fiction book out of the to read pile since I haven’t read that much of it this year. I’m thinking about doing another “which book should I read” poll for that one since it’s been a while since I did that and I’m not sure which one to pick.

This week was a very good week for books. I got 5 books – 3 I bought for next year’s Women of Fantasy and Women of Science Fiction book clubs, 1 ARC and 1 review copy. These are all ones that I’m rather excited about reading.

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

This book will be out in the UK in January 2011 and in the US in February 2011. The Heroes is set in the same world as Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy and Best Served Cold, but it is supposed to be a stand alone novel. I really enjoyed all his other books for their dark view and cynical humor so I was pretty excited to open up a package in my mailbox and find this inside. As if I wasn’t already excited enough about it, the press release that came with the book also has this great quote from George R. R. Martin:


“The battles are vivid and visceral, the action brutal, the pace headlong, and Abercrombie piles the betrayals, reversals, and plot twists one atop another to keep us guessing how it will all come out. This is his best book yet.”

An excerpt from The Heroes is available on the author’s website.

“Unhappy the Land that is in Need of Heroes.” Bertolt Brecht

They say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they’ve brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he’s far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it’s his own.

Prince Calder isn’t interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he’ll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn’t have to fight for it himself.

Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him?

Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail…

Three men. One battle. No Heroes.

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer

This is a collection of dark fairy tales complete with a forward by Gregory McGuire, the author of Wicked. Since I love fairy tales closer to the original Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen on the creepiness scale, I think this one looks pretty interesting. Plus one of the stories is by Neil Gaiman. The story list includes where the original tale it is based on is from and there are stories from all over the world – Russia, Germany, Norway, Italy, Ireland, England, Denmark, Japan, Vietnam, Greece, the United States, France, and Mexico. Although there are quite a few of the familiar Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen stories, I’m glad to see there are also quite a few I’m not familiar with at all.

The fairy tale lives again in these forty new stories by some of the biggest names in contemporary fiction

Neil Gaiman, Michael Cunningham, Aimee Bender, Kelly Link, Lydia Millet, and more than thirty other extraordinary writers celebrate fairy tales in this thrilling volume-the ultimate literary costume party.

Spinning houses and talking birds. Whispered secrets and borrowed hope. Here are new stories sewn from old skins, gathered from around the world by visionary editor Kate Bernheimer and inspired by everything from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” and “The Little Match Girl” to Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard” and “Cinderella” to the Brothers Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel” and “Rumpelstiltskin” to fairy tales by Goethe and Calvino.

Fairy tales are our oldest literary tradition, and yet they chart the imaginative frontiers of the twenty-first century as powerfully as they evoke our earliest encounters with literature. This exhilarating collection restores their place in the literary canon.

Indigo Springs by A. M. Dellamonica

This is one of the selections for the Women of Fantasy book club. I’d actually been considering getting it before I saw it was one of the books since the trade paperback was available on Amazon for about $5 as a bargain book (probably because it is coming out in mass market paperback this week). This is another one of those books that I don’t remember hearing about at all. I found it in the back of Elfland when I was reading it and immediately looked it up because I so loved Elfland. It sounded very good so I immediately added it to the wish list. I want to wait until closer to its month in the book club to read it so I don’t forget the details about it, but I’m very tempted to read it soon.

Indigo Springs is a sleepy town where things seem pretty normal . . . until Astrid’s father dies and she moves into his house. She discovers that for many years her father had been accessing the magic that flowed, literally, in a blue stream beneath the earth, leaking into his house. When she starts to use the liquid “vitagua” to enchant everyday items, the results seem innocent enough: a “’chanted” watch becomes a charm that means you’re always in the right place at the right time; a “’chanted” pendant enables the wearer to convince anyone of anything . . .

But as events in Indigo Springs unfold and the true potential of vitagua is revealed, Astrid and her friends unwittingly embark on a journey fraught with power, change, and a future too devastating to contemplate. Friends become enemies and enemies become friends as Astrid discovers secrets from her shrouded childhood that will lead her to a destiny stranger than she could have imagined . . .

Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter

This is the first book in the Prospero Daughter’s trilogy and another selection for the Women of Fantasy book club. Like Indigo Springs, it was one I was planning to get soon anyway even before seeing it was on the list. It’s been on my wish list since last year, but now that reviews of the second book have started coming in it’s reminded me just how intrigued I was by the first book. Fantasy based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest is right up my alley so I’m very excited about this one. I really should wait until closer to March to read it, but it sounds so wonderful it may be difficult to do so…

More than four hundred years after the events of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the sorcerer Prospero, his daughter Miranda, and his other children have attained everlasting life. Miranda is the head of her family’s business, Prospero Inc., which secretly has used its magic for good around the world. One day, Miranda receives a warning from her father: “Beware of the Three Shadowed Ones.” When Miranda goes to her father for an explanation, he is nowhere to be found.

Miranda sets out to find her father and reunite with her estranged siblings, each of which holds a staff of power and secrets about Miranda’s sometimes-foggy past. Her journey through the past, present and future will take her to Venice, Chicago, the Caribbean, Washington, D.C., and the North Pole. To aid her, Miranda brings along Mab, an aerie being who acts like a hard-boiled detective, and Mephistopheles, her mentally-unbalanced brother. Together, they must ward off the Shadowed Ones and other ancient demons who want Prospero’s power for their own….

Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butler

This is one I purchased for the Women of Science Fiction book club, and it has also been on my wish list for a little while. It’s an omnibus containing Dawn, Adulthood Rites and Imago. This nearly 800 page trade paperback was available on Amazon as a bargain book for about $7 so I snatched it up.

The acclaimed trilogy that comprises LILITH’S BROOD is multiple Hugo and Nebula award-winner Octavia E. Butler at her best. Presented for the first time in one volume, with an introduction by Joan Slonczewski, Ph.D., LILITH’S BROOD is a profoundly evocative, sensual — and disturbing — epic of human transformation.

Lilith Iyapo is in the Andes, mourning the death of her family, when war destroys Earth. Centuries later, she is resurrected — by miraculously powerful unearthly beings, the Oankali. Driven by an irresistible need to heal others, the Oankali are rescuing our dying planet by merging genetically with mankind. But Lilith and all humanity must now share the world with uncanny, unimaginably alien creatures: their own children. This is their story…