Friday, November 19, 2010

Three Trilogies Ending in 2011, Jacqueline Carey, R.C. Wilson, Stephen Deas

In the spirit of upcoming 2011 books posts (here, here, here, here, here), I will now present three highly expected trilogy endings for 2011.

In June 2011, Grand Central Publishing brings Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey which concludes for now the adventures of Moirin, the descendant of Alais de Courcel and a druid of Alba. The first six Legacy of Kushiel novels form my #1 finished fantasy series of all time. I loved a lot Naamah's Kiss (FBc Rv) which was a top 5 fantasy of 2009, though its sequel Naamah's Curse (FBC Rv) lacked its "newness" and intensity, so while I liked it a lot and read it breathlessly when I got it, the book did not quite reach the heights of the earlier books.

Based on the blurb - see the Amazon link above at your own risk since it has a major spoiler for the series - I expect this one to be as good as any book in the extended series; without real spoilers it seems the series is back to Terre Ange and intrigue and later to the New World and adventure.

Here are our reviews for the Legacy of Kushiel series - Kushiel's Justice and Kushiel's Mercy - and an interview with the author.

Edit 3/3/11
Naamah's Blessing ends the Moirin saga and possibly the Angeline/Kushiel 9 book series in great style - though the author left open the possibilities of more and I think there is great potential in a story set in another hundred years or two and dealing with technological expansion rather than the huge geographical expansion here.

The book returns to the exuberance of the first volume - though there are quite a few dark moments since no Legacy Kushiel is complete without them - and it was all that i expected and more; the second volume while interesting and with a lot of cool stuff especially in retrospect had two characteristics that made it a little less favorite than the first - it was darker and gloomier and Moirin just does not do dark the way Phedre or to a lesser extent Imriel did, while Bao's character did not tune with Moirin's narrative and the lack of chemistry between the main two leads will always drag a book down.

Happily in Naamah's blessing none of these happens - the book is quite lush and exuberant and both the Angeline setting and the New World and the vistas of Mexico and the jungels of Central and South America are much more suited than the barren steppe or the cold of the Himalayas - while Bao here has both a much improved chemistry with Moirin but also while important is only one of the several main characters besides Morin. As the role of Lo Feng's pupil suited him well, so does the role of Moirin' supportive husband is perfect for him letting her and the more flamboyant of the rest of the cast shine - and what a cast is, among the best from the whole series, both in Terre d'Ange with the willful 3 year old Desiree, the bereaved king, the scheming nobles as well in the Terra Nova with the D'Angeline adventurers, the Mexica - Nahuatl - warriors, guides and even emperor, to the jungles and peaks of the Incas - Quechas - and the memorable people there

A lot of surprises and gasp moments, tragedy but achievement and exuberance too and a superb ending to a trilogy that only adds to the impressive achievement that is the whole Kushiel saga

This may be my top fantasy for the year especially considering the as how hard is to end a series in grand style

In July 2011, Tor brings Vortex (cover sketch above, final cover will be different) from R.C. Wilson. The direct sequel to Axis and the final book in the trilogy starting with Spin this is one the highest expected sf offerings of 2011. Spin has been one of the best sf novels of character and ideas in recent times showing that great "core genre" sf can have literary qualities too; while Axis was less well received - critically at least - I actually liked it a lot and thought it as intriguing as Spin, with the major niggle being the semi-cliffhanger ending, so Vortex has been on my asap list since 2008.

Based on the blurb - see the Amazon link above at your own risk since it has a major spoiler for the ending of Axis - I have very high expectations here too.

I have reviewed Julian Comstock (the novel) from the author, which is quite representative of his quiet but superb style of sf and there I talked more why R.C. Wilson is one of the leading American sf writers of today.


In May 2011, Stephen Deas' The Order of the Scales will be published in the UK. I loved his debut The Adamantine Palace a lot - it was a top 10 fantasy of mine in 2009 and based on it, its sequel was a top 10 anticipated novel of 2010. But The King of the Crags (FBC Rv) did not reach the high level of the debut for me since it was a considerably more traditional fantasy than The Adamantine Palace, eschewing the breathless pace and take-no-prisoners attitude for a lot of filler back story and trying to make the characters "positive", while bringing very little newness and unpredictability to the series.

I still liked The King of the Crags in many ways, but not on the top-top level I expected. I want to read The Order of the Scales asap and I hope the author returns to the level of his debut here. I also plan to read The Warlock's Shadow, second in his related series starting with The Thief's-Taker Apprentice (FBC Rv) and that one interests me as much as The Order of the Scales since a bit to my surprise I liked
The Thief's-Taker Apprentice more than I expected.

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