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I’ve been meaning to write this post for weeks, but as you know May was a very busy month. Even so, I’ve been reading every night before I head off to dreamland. Here’s what I’ve read, am reading now and a new book on my radar.

Read in May:

The Passage by Justin CroninThe Passage by Justin Cronin

Most of you probably know about The Passage. I didn’t read it to review it. I knew ahead of time it was epic. Here’s a blurb from the tail end of the Goodreads description:

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

I took my time with this book, even putting it down for a week to ponder what Cronin would do next. Truly an incredible read, but I do feel sorry who ever attempts to transform this into a screenplay.

Wintercraft by Jenna BurtenshawWintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw (Shadowcry in the U.S.)

Ten years ago Kate Winters’ parents were taken by the High Council’s wardens to help with the country’s war effort. Now the wardens are back…and prisoners, including Kate’s uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane — the High Council’s most feared man — recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council’s experiments into the veil, and he’s convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft — a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft. To help Artemis, Edgar and herself, Kate must honour her pact with a murderer and come face to face with the true nature of death. (via Goodreads)

Wintercraft was everything I imagined and anticipated! This is a great fantasy adventure for young adult readers and young at heart readers too. I’m going to be writing a combined review of both Wintercraft and it’s sequel, Blackwatch later this month.

Reading Now:

Embassytown by China MiévilleEmbassytown by China Miéville

Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe. Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts – who cannot lie. Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes. Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts. And that is impossible. (via Goodreads)

I was thrilled when I received the Embassytown ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. My excitement wavered as I delved into this complex story. I began to wonder if I had the brain cells for the highbrow vocabulary (I’m not kidding. I felt stupid.) But I kept at it and now I can’t put it down. Full review to come this month.

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee MorrisPhoenix Rising (A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel) by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Evil is most assuredly afoot—and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade . . . and a librarian.

These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling—will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest . . . and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.

For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun—he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices—must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot . . . or see England fall to the Phoenix!

I knew I was going to enjoy reading this book when I read this:

“You didn’t happen to bring a spare coat with you, Agent Braun?”

Eliza didn’t reply. At first. “Sorry, mate. I needed to travel light.”

Travel light? A small arsenal of handguns, throwing knives, sticks of dynamite, and that small cannon strapped to her back was traveling light?


On my radar:

Debris by Jo AndertonDebris by Jo Anderton (Oct 2011 Angry Robot)

Tanyana is a skilled pion-binder, able to manipulate the semi-sentient particles that hold all matter together, until a tragic accident strips her of her abilities. Powerless, penniless and scarred, Tanyana must adjust to a new life collecting magical garbage – ‘debris’ – but starts to realize debris is more important than anyone could guess.

Praise for Debris is already rolling in:

“Anderton’s debut builds a marvelous world, shakes it to the core with adventure and romance, then wraps the whole thing in one hell of a mystery. I can’t wait for the rest.”
– Ian Tregillis, author of Bitter Seeds