Nov 12, 2018

Book Recommendations of October and November 2018 Part 2 - Fantasy

Here are our fantasy recommendations and tips issued in our October and November newsletters, enjoy!

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
ember: €10,99
"The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World."
16 year-old Cameron Smith really has NO FUTURE written all over him! He's a loser and he sucks at everything: school, job, family... Then he gets sick. And with what? - The mad cow disease! Radical change lies in the air when he sets out on a fantastic journey to save himself and the world. Like a modern day Don Quichote he meanders away in search of the happiest place on earth and the mysterious Doctor X who can cure him. Fortunately he gets help from a colorful freakshow: a hypochondriac dwarf, a talking Viking-garden-gnome, a punk-rock angel.
This book is a great laugh and a witty satire! With lots of swearing, pot-talkö slander about bad music and insights into the mind of the common serial killer and and and. If you're in the mood for a ride à la Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz - this is your book!

The Mortal Engines Quartet (Mortal Engines, Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices, A Darkling Plain) by Philip Reeve
scholastic, Inc.:€9,95 per book
Ever since the release date of the Peter Jackson-produced film "Mortal Engines" was announced (it's December 14, 2018), streams of clients have been flowing into the Otherland, asking for "the book to that new Peter Jackson movie".
The "Mortal Engines Quartet", aka. "Predator City Quartet" or "Hungry City Chronicles", is a steampunk YA series set in a dystopic future called the Traction Era. Because of a destructing conflict known as the Sixty Minute War, Earth has become a wasteland. Traction Cities, mobile cities moving on caterpillar tracks, use mechanical jaws to dismantle one another for resources.
I have to admit that this series isn't my cup of tea, I don't really like the prose and find the storyline somewhat predictable. BUT our clients' feedbacks are predominantly positive; intriguing twists and fast-paced; no cliffhangers, allowing each book to be read as a stand-alone. If you got curious maybe it's just best you give it a try and then decide what side you're on!

The Tensorate Series#3: The Descent of Monsters by JY Yang
tor: € 14,99
JY Yang's novellas take place in a mystical world that is heavily influenced by East-Asian mythology and history. The main protagonists are Mokoya and Akeha, twins and children of the all-powerful Protector, who rules ruthlessly over a vast empire. In parts 1 and 2 we followed the twins through their childhood, youth, and into their thirties, covering aspects of their growth into their selected gender roles, estrangement from their powerful family and the parting of ways that came with different life choices and opportunities.
The third installment is the darkest yet, shifting focus from the more personal and intimate themes of the first two novellas to the cruelty and ruthlessness at the heart of the empire. It begins with an atrocious crime scene at a semi-secret government research facility, where Akeha and Mokoya’s partners are arrested as terrorists. Long parts of the novella are told from the perspective of the investigator, through their private notes and official correspondence. This narrative strategy didn’t always work for me, but once again I quite enjoyed Yang’s powerful prose and am impressed by how they manage to invoke vivid images through minimalistic prose.

Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children #4: A Map of Days by Ransom Riggs
dutton: €13,00
Does Ransom Riggs really still need an introduction?
I am about 20% done with this book and I just can’t get enough. Maybe it is because it has been so long since book three. But this one is awesome. Jakob and his friends are now embarking on a new adventure in modern day America. Personal drama, uff Jakob’s parents are terrible, just aside. The peculiar friends just discovered new secrets of Jake’s late grandfather.
I wish I had a day off just to read this.

Godserfs #3: A Breach in the Heavens by N.S. Dolkart
angry robot: €9,70
Part 1 of Godserfs, Silent Hall was one of the most charming fantasy novels I had read in a while. It starts with five young people who, by what first appears as pure coincidence, all end up on the same boat (literally), leaving their home island right before everyone staying behind is mysteriously killed by an angry god. In many ways it is a standard fantasy novel, told from multiple viewpoints, with a lot of walking, carrying magical objects back and forth, falling in with a wizard who lives in a castle that is hidden from the gods, and rescuing a bunch of children from terrifying elves. While “Silent Hall” was about the islanders finding out about the fate of their home and coming together as a group, part 2 of the series (Among the Fallen) had them part ways again, choosing different paths and positions in the world, and established the fact that this is really a series with a primarily theological focus.
In the finale, this becomes even more apparent. While we still learn about the character’s lives ten years after they separated at the end of part 2, the story revolves mostly around the agency of the gods and the power struggle between the creator god and a giant, primeval tree-monster that is threatening to destroy the fabric that is separating the worlds of the dead and the living, humans, elves, and gods. While I am not particularly interested in the theological themes explored here (the author’s background is American-Jewish), and baffled by some of the narrative choices he made (too many viewpoints that get to speak only once) there was still a lot I enjoyed while reading A Breach in the Heavens: the ten-year timejump allowed for significant character development, some of the interpersonal conflicts feel painfully real, and the world is expanding beyond what we’ve previously seen in the first two books. Another aspect I really like about the series is the absence of clear distinctions between good and evil.

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