The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker
When I first heard of this book in the spring of last year, I thought it sounded wonderful and have wanted to read it ever since, especially after seeing it show up a lot on end of the year reading lists. I’m not much of an ebook reader, but I couldn’t resist purchasing the ebook when it was really cheap a few days ago.
The Golem and the Jinni is available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook. The author’s website contains a lot of information on the book, including an excerpt.
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.
The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.
La Santisima by Teresa Frohock
I didn’t exactly buy this short story since it is free but I read it so I’m including it. “La Santisima” can be read on the author’s website or downloaded from Smashwords. I loved Teresa Frohock’s debut novel Miserere so I of course had to read this story after I found out about it. It’s very well-crafted, and despite its short length, I had a good sense of the characters. It also has some lovely prose and a lot of emotional impact.
Sebastian’s friend Carlos claims that La Santa Muerte watches over the poor, the ones that the Church abandons. He promises Sebastian that La Santa Muerte will be his patron saint, that she will protect him and grant his wishes.
Death comes for us all. Keep her as your friend.
Sebastian is disappointed as prayer after prayer is rejected by the saint, and he loses faith. One night his sister Lucía joins him, and La Santa Muerte answers their prayer to bring their brother home …
Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier
This is one of my most anticipated books of 2014 because I loved Rachel Neumeier’s last published book, House of Shadows. Black Dog, the first book in a duology, will be released on February 4 (paperback, ebook). You can read or download an extract on the author’s website.
Natividad is Pure, one of the rare girls born able to wield magic. Pure magic can protect humans against the supernatural evils they only half-acknowledge – the blood kin or the black dogs. In rare cases – like for Natividad’s father and older brother – Pure magic can help black dogs find the strength to control their dark powers.
But before Natividad’s mother can finish teaching her magic their enemies find them. Their entire village in the remote hills of Mexico is slaughtered by black dogs. Their parents die protecting them. Natividad and her brothers must flee across a strange country to the only possible shelter: the infamous black dogs of Dimilioc, who have sworn to protect the Pure.
In the snowy forests of Vermont they are discovered by Ezekiel Korte, despite his youth the strongest black dog at Dimilioc and the appointed pack executioner. Intrigued by Natividad he takes them to Dimilioc instead of killing them.
Now they must pass the tests of the Dimilioc Master. Alejandro must prove he can learn loyalty and control even without his sister’s Pure magic. Natividad’s twin Miguel must prove that an ordinary human can be more than a burden to be protected. And even at Dimilioc a Pure girl like Natividad cannot remain unclaimed to cause fighting and distraction. If she is to stay she must choose a black dog mate.
But, first, they must all survive the looming battle.
The Waking Engine by David Edison
This debut will be released on February 11 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from The Waking Engine is available on Tor.com.
Welcome to the City Unspoken, where Gods and Mortals come to die.
Contrary to popular wisdom, death is not the end, nor is it a passage to some transcendent afterlife. Those who die merely awake as themselves on one of a million worlds, where they are fated to live until they die again, and wake up somewhere new. All are born only once, but die many times . . . until they come at last to the City Unspoken, where the gateway to True Death can be found.
Wayfarers and pilgrims are drawn to the City, which is home to murderous aristocrats, disguised gods and goddesses, a sadistic faerie princess, immortal prostitutes and queens, a captive angel, gangs of feral Death Boys and Charnel Girls . . . and one very confused New Yorker.
Late of Manhattan, Cooper finds himself in a City that is not what it once was. The gateway to True Death is failing, so that the City is becoming overrun by the Dying, who clot its byzantine streets and alleys . . . and a spreading madness threatens to engulf the entire metaverse.
Broken Homes (Peter Grant #4) by Ben Aaronovitch
Broken Homes was released in the UK last year, and it will be released in the US on February 4 (mass market paperback, ebook). An excerpt is available on the publisher’s website.
The previous books in the series are as follows:
- Midnight Riot (US) / Rivers of London (UK)
- Moon Over Soho
- Whispers Under Ground
My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame — whatever that is.
Truth be told, there’s a lot I still don’t know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England’s wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician’s apprentice. But even he doesn’t have all the answers. Mostly I’m just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast. With the new year, I have three main objectives, a) pass the detective exam so I can officially become a DC, b) work out what the hell my relationship with Lesley Mai, an old friend from the force and now fellow apprentice, is supposed to be, and most importantly, c) get through the year without destroying a major landmark.
Two out of three isn’t bad, right?
A mutilated body in Crawley means another murderer is on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil, who may either be a common serial killer or an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man — a man whose previous encounters I’ve barely survived. I’ve also got a case about a town planner going under a tube train and another about a stolen grimoire.
But then I get word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans, and inhabited by the truly desperate. If there’s a connection to the Crawley case, I’ll be entering some tricky waters of juristiction with the local river spirits. We have a prickly history, to say the least.
Just the typical day for a magician constable.