New YA: April 8-14.
The Obsidian Blade (Klaatu Diskos), by Pete Hautman:
The Obsidian Blade goes from low-level-Ray-Bradbury-subtly-weird to off-the-wall-Jasper-Fforde crossed with The-Matrix-on-47,000-pounds-of-Sweet-Tarts-hyperweird. Plus some serious meditation on faith, religion and destiny, madness and vanity. Basically, it gets nuts, in the best possible way. And, in addition to being a rip-roaring adventure on its own, it sets the stage for some epic weirdness to come.
Losers in Space, by John Barnes:
In addition to the adventure, the plot twists and the cinematic action sequences, the characterization is strong, it hits hard emotionally—at one point toward the end, I found myself laughing and crying at the same time—and it’s got some super world-building. The most frightening, believable dystopias, after all, are the ones that are only a few steps removed from our own present.
Odile's voice flows well (though she sounds much more modern in terms of attitude and phrasing than I'd expect from the period) and attractively spunky. Due to his polite exterior and the insidious nature of his need, the Jekyll half of the Jekyll/Hyde duo is hugely, subtly Bad News, and his cold rationality proves to ultimately be more dangerous than hot-headed Hyde. Which makes for a cool read on the original, as well as for some nice twists.
The Queen's Lady (Lacey Chronicles, #2), by Eve Edwards
Lexapros and Cons, by Aaron Karo
Kill Me Softly, by Sarah Cross
Crater (A Helium-3 Novel), by Homer Hickam
Cobble Cavern (Flin's Destiny), by Erik Olsen
The Calling (Darkness Rising), by Kelley Armstrong
The Book of Blood and Shadow, by Robin Wasserman:
OH MY GOD, GUYS. The hype/chatter/squeefest is TOTALLY, TOTALLY ACCURATE AND DESERVED. Because The Book of Blood and Shadow is outstandingly excellent. Even after simply typing out that excerpt, I had to take a moment to calm down and stop flailing all over my keyboard.
Belles, by Jen Calonita
Thou Shalt Not Road Trip, by Antony John
Radiant Days, by Elizabeth Hand
Nothing Pink, by Mark Hardy
Ripper (A Ripper Novel), by Amy Carol Reeves:
The dialogue isn’t always believable, the romance seems more about proximity than lurrrve, and Abbie’s psychic visions seem superfluous until the last third of the book. Still, Ripper is an atmospheric mystery with a secret society, lots of period details—including a cameo by Christina Rossetti—and a dodo, so it’s likely to go over well with fans of the historical paranormal.
The Midnight Palace, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon:
Despite a lot of running around by the protagonists and some serious horror-movie action, it never feels fast-paced. It offers answers to its own mysteries—sort of—but the answers will produce almost as many questions as they answer, and the answers that are offered are... not necessarily satisfying. Both of those qualities could work for or against the book.
Rotters, by Daniel Kraus:
Although Rotters has its fair share of post-mortem gruesomeness, the most stomach-turning scenes all involve the living interacting with the living, rather than the living unearthing the dead. The matter-of-fact grotesquerie made me think of Charles Bukowski, and the long, winding passages often echo H.P. Lovecraft. In general, the book feels both epic and claustrophobic, which should be an oxymoron but isn’t. It’s a long book, but not because of long-windedness—at no point did the story get away from the author—and from beginning to end, it feels tightly controlled.
Singing the Dogstar Blues, by Alison Goodman:
I'm really glad that I re-read this one. I especially loved the world -- which brought to mind a better-lit version of Blade Runner: The High School Years crossed with Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series -- and it's one that I'd definitely read more about.
Chime, by Franny Billingsley:
Billingsley’s prose is beautifully lyrical, musical and evocative, yet the story moves quickly and the dialogue snaps. Reinforcing that unusual dichotomy is Briony herself, who is savagely prickly—yet prone to humor and whimsy—and desperate to be loved. Briony is so guarded that she’s almost folded in upon herself, but at the same time, she’s completely vulnerable. Even as she tells her own story, she tries her damnedest not to be known, both to the reader and to herself. As I tried to unravel her truths from her half-truths and her outright lies, I was reminded again and again of Merricat Blackwood from Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Viking, 1962).