The YA Roundup (no longer so weekly)

28 Oct

While there have been lots of new Kindle releases over on Amazon, there have been very few available outside of the US, so I’ve been left with very little choice. This week, therefore, I ventured over to the main fantasy area and downloaded some of the new releases I found there.

Just to remind you… This is how it works:

  1. From Amazon I download samples of YA fantasy new releases
  2. I then read them all (to a greater or lesser degree)
  3. Finally, I decide which (if any) I would actually want to buy.

Let’s take a look at what the week had to offer:

  • The Dragons of Noor by Janet Lee Carey: It seems like an interesting concept but seven different characters and situations are introduce in the first few pages (Hanna, Tymm, Mother, a dragon, the Wild Wind, the Enness Island, and deya spirits) and I got lost. Sorry. Next!
  • Banished by Sophie Littlefield: I know that bullying at school and being excluded are important and horrifying (in fact I know this first hand), but having to go to school after being homeschooled isn’t traumatic enough for me to hold my interest as an opening for a novel. For someone else, highly likely, but for me, nope. Next!
  • Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride: If someone with a very high vocabulary is a drop out and works at what he insists on claiming is a dead-end fast-food job, I want to know why quickly. It might be an interesting slice of someone’s life, but for me it’s not a way to hook me into reading. Next!
  • The Dragon’s Apprentice by James A. Owen: It has a prologue and although I’m not against prologues as a rule, I do find that many times they manage to pull down the excitement of starting a new book instead of increasing it. This is just such a case.  Next!
  • The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett: Although it’s told in a slightly too-distant point of view for my taste, it actually held my interest long enough to read the sample. The characters and situation are presented in a way that intrigues me, and given that the setting is “genteel” the distance in the narration actually helps create the atmosphere. It’s a maybe.
  • Under the Green Hill by Laura L. Sullivan: Another book with a prologue, this time two rock trolls (?) talking about feeling the power that’s coming (cue ominous music). It feels a bit like a Greek chorus before a play setting the scene and letting the audience know what’s gone on before and what to expect. I don’t want to be told that something bad is coming. I want to see it and experience it. Next!
  • Echo City by Tim Lebbon: Another prologue. Are they all the rage now? Am I missing out on a trend here? “As it left the city, the thing did not once look back.” As a first sentence it does nothing to draw me in or get me wanting to find out more. If it isn’t looking back, neither will I. Next!
  • Shotgun Sorceress by Lucy A. Snyder: The reader is dropped right into action – saving a couple of people about to be crucified – so that’s good, but the language is a little overblown for my tastes (“The festering mob of meat puppets in their tattered Sunday best shambled aside as I rode Pal down Main Street toward the stark while columns and broad marble steps of the Saguaro Hotel.” Wow…) Next!
  • Maladrid by Jessica McHugh: The book starts with a young man dreaming and us being told about his dream and being told what he feels. Then he’s on a boat that’s attacked and given that the tense has gone from present to past, I’m not sure if it’s still a dream or not. And with that confusion, I’m outta here. Next!
  • City of Dreams & Nightmare: City of a Hundred Rows Book 1 by Ian Whates: This book opens with the background of someone’s life, all the preparation needed to become a guard and how he just qualified. No thanks… Next!
  • Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson: This one instead of opening with a summary of the past starts with a summary of philosophical discussion between two brothers about family. Oh wait. This isn’t the start of the book, it’s yet another prologue!

At Erin’s suggestion in the comments, I also gave Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld and Keith Thompson another try but it has the misfortune of being a girl-dressed-as-a-boy-to-survive book and I’m in the middle of reading another one of those right now (which in my opinion is better done), so Behemoth loses out in spite of maybe being an excellent book.

What are you reading right now?


Posted by on October 28, 2010 in Book Reviews


2 responses to “The YA Roundup (no longer so weekly)

  1. Erin

    October 28, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    So what girl-dressed-as-a-boy book are you reading?

    I like Dylan, and I like the Hapsburg heir in disguise, too, but there are definitely some bits where I talk with my son about how something was written (for example the Tesla machines that emit the thunderous roar and then have lightning, which bugged my son since everyone knows thunder comes afterward). In general, though, I think the premise is good.

    I don’t know what’s up with the prologues. I know before I started writing, it never occurred to me to skip a prologue or ask whether it needed to be there. Now, I’m always suspicious. I saw someone (don’t remember who) who said that having a prologue was like having to hook your readers with two different first chapters. That’s an awful lot of work.

    • Alex

      October 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm

      @Erin – Anne Lyle’s (hopefully soon to be published) A Mirror for London, set in an alternate Elizabethan England. It’s very well done and totally believable.


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