Sunday, 5 January 2014

2014 – A Year In Anticipation

The start of a new year means I’m already thinking about the books which are likely to feature on my reading list over the next twelve months.  There are several I’m already aware of with imminent release dates over the next couple of months I thought I’d flag here:-

January/February Release Dates

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (UK release date 16/1/014 – hardcover) – the third volume in Catherynne M Valente's Fairyland series featuring September, a human girl who travels to the Fairyland referred to in the title and meets a number of interesting individuals, some of whom become her friends.  To date, I’ve loved this inventive and original fantasy series with its quirky humour and enjoyed the illustrations which accompany it too.  The opportunity to return to Fairyland is welcome.   

Locke and Key: Volume 6 Alpha and Omega (release date 18/2/014 – hardcover) – I’ve been waiting patiently for the final consolidated volume of Joe Hill's graphic novel series, which I’ve previously mentioned and recommended on the blog.  It will be interesting to see how the narrative arc here plays out. 
The Islands of Chaldea (release date 27/2/014 – hardcover) - I’ve seen mention of a new Diana Wynne Jones book during my travels on the internet – from what I understand, this is a younger read (so so-called MG, Middle Grade), as opposed to YA as such and stems from Wynne Jones’ unfinished manuscript which has been completed by her sister, Ursula Jones.  I’ll definitely be taking a look, given the chance to sample further work from one of my favourite authors.  The brief blurb suggests an initial premise similar to that covered by Wynne Jones’ Witch Week in terms of magical heritage and geographical barriers dictating access (or lack thereof of access) to magic.  I’m guessing, however, the narrative will take us somewhere else entirely by its conclusion.  I’m looking forward to the transportation.

Playing Catch Up

There are still several novels published in 2013 that I haven’t yet had chance to get to – as ever!  Those mentioned below are just a sample:-

Hild by Nicola Griffith – this has been mentioned a number of times on sites/via Twitter as a recommended read, making me curious to check it out. 

To quote from the Publisher’s blurb (full copy available at the author’s website here): 

"Hild is born into a world in transition.  In seventh century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently.  …Hild is the king’s youngest niece.  She has the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world—of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing her surroundings closely and predicting what will happen next—that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her.

She establishes a place for herself in court as the king’s seer.  And she is indispensable—unless she should ever lead the king astray.  The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family and loved ones, and for the increasing numbers of those who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future.”

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – this is another one which keeps popping up as a recommended read (sample excerpt available on the author’s website here) and seems to be described as a combination of SF adventure by way of space opera.  I want to check this one out, time allowing.

Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh – the premise for McIntosh’s sci-fi novel set in a future dystopian New York City (that of “frozen Bridesicle” women revived to participate in on demand dating) intrigues me.  Without having yet had time to track down a copy of the Hugo winning short story it originates from, the novel seems (potentially, at least) to delve into Whedon-esque Dollhouse territory.  Thus, I'm interested to see how the romance angle and agency are dealt with, these being tricky aspects for commentary in light of the subject matter.

In the TBR Pile

Running with a common theme, there are still a number of books already purchased and patiently waiting for me to get to them in amongst everything else:-

Neil Gaiman's Fortunately, The Milk has been sitting at the top of my pile for a little while.  I may even have been saving it consciously for the point where the festive season was over and the Day Job kicked in…

Stephen King's Doctor Sleep is there too.  The chance to read the follow up to The Shining is one couldn't pass up on.  (Also – Stephen King recently joined the realms of Twitter for those who are interested!)

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch – yes, the one everyone’s been talking about for quite a while.  I caught up on The Secret History a while after all of the buzz and need to set aside sufficient time to devote to this one’s 784 pages (hardcover version).

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