Publishers using NetGalley occasionally fail to mention that their eARCs are in fact part of a series, but not the first book. These days I try and remember to double check before requesting a book, but in the past I’ve been too careless or excited to seek out more information before hitting the “Request!” button. As a result I’ve received a few second-in-series eARCs. This means very late reviews because I don’t have the first book, it takes a while to get it, and by then I have new ARCs to worry about. After failing to get copies from the publishers, I went and bought the books myself. In one case it would have helped if I’d waited a little longer, but hey, I’m impatient. And it’s always nice to have hardcopies 🙂
Anyway, here are some of the books I bought recently, so I can read and review them before moving on to their sequels. Eventually.
The Habitation of the Blessed (A Dirge for Prester John #1) by Catherynne M. Valente
Cat Valente is one of those authors I’ve been wanting to read for a long time, so I decided to read this one first and finished it on Monday. I was not disappointed. The Habitation of the Blessed is a beautiful, utterly enchanting novel. Review to follow next week.
This is the story of a place that never was: the kingdom of Prester John, the utopia described by an anonymous, twelfth-century document which captured the imagination of the medieval world and drove hundreds of lost souls to seek out its secrets, inspiring explorers, missionaries, and kings for centuries. But what if it were all true? What if there was such a place, and a poor, broken priest once stumbled past its borders, discovering, not a Christian paradise, but a country where everything is possible, immortality is easily had, and the Western world is nothing but a dim and distant dream?
Brother Hiob of Luzerne, on missionary work in the Himalayan wilderness on the eve of the eighteenth century, discovers a village guarding a miraculous tree whose branches sprout books instead of fruit. These strange books chronicle the history of the kingdom of Prester John, and Hiob becomes obsessed with the tales they tell. The Habitation of the Blessed recounts the fragmented narratives found within these living volumes, revealing the life of a priest named John, and his rise to power in this country of impossible richness. John’s tale weaves together with the confessions of his wife Hagia, a blemmye–a headless creature who carried her face on her chest–as well as the tender, jeweled nursery stories of Imtithal, nanny to the royal family. (Goodreads)
Germline (The Subterrene War #1) by T.C. McCarthy
This is a popular one. I actually could have requested it when it came out, but I was unsure of whether or not I’d like it. I found the synopsis of the sequel, Exogene, instantly appealing however, so I’m more confident about reading this.
Germline (n.) the genetic material contained in a cellular lineage which can be passed to the next generation. Also: secret military program to develop genetically engineered super-soldiers (slang).
War is Oscar Wendell’s ticket to greatness. A reporter for The Stars and Stripes, he has the only one way pass to the front lines of a brutal war over natural resources buried underneath the icy, mineral rich mountains of Kazakhstan.
But war is nothing like he expected. Heavily armored soldiers battle genetically engineered troops hundreds of meters below the surface. The genetics-the germline soldiers-are the key to winning this war, but some inventions can’t be un-done. Some technologies can’t be put back in the box.
Kaz will change everything, not least Oscar himself. Hooked on a dangerous cocktail of adrenaline and drugs, Oscar doesn’t find the war, the war finds him. (Goodreads)
Liam never knew who his father was. The town of Derry had always assumed that he was the bastard of a protestant — his mother never spoke of him, and Liam assumed he was dead. But when the war between the fallen and the fey began to heat up, Liam and his family are pulled into a conflict that they didn’t know existed.
A centuries old conflict between supernatural forces seems to mirror the political divisions in 1970’s era Ireland, and Liam is thrown headlong into both conflicts! Only the direct intervention of Liam’s real father, and a secret catholic order dedicated to fighting “The Fallen” can save Liam… from the mundane and supernatural forces around him, and from the darkness that lurks within him. (Goodreads)