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WEEKLY BOOK BUZZ- Amazon Editors Pick their Top Ten for 2008

What are your Picks for the Best of 2008?

By Tim Janson     January 04, 2009


Bones of the Dragon by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman(2009).
© Tor Books

 

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first Book Buzz of 2009. Not a lot of new releases this week but there are some major new books. First we have the latest fantasy from the longtime writing team of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, “Bones of the Dragon” from TOR Books. Also this week is Simon R. Green’s latest Nightside novel, “Just Another Judgement Day”. We got the latest Star Trek book this week as well and Permuted Press heads up the horror list with their new zombie novel, “The Rage Plague”.
 
Amazon has released their Editor’s Picks for the best in Fantasy and Sci-Fi for 2008. Here is the link if you want to check it out: Amazon Top Ten Editor's Picks
 
Can’t say I agree with most of the choices (although I haven’t read them all either). I do heartily recommend Margo Lanagan’s dark fantasy fable “Tender Morsels”. If you like Neil Gaiman, you’ll enjoy this book. Speaking of Gaiman, his “Graveyard Book” made the Amazon Editor’s Top Ten list but in the Teen category. Take my word for it, the Graveyard Book is an outstanding tale for any age and SHOULD have been in the main list. 
 
So let’s hear from you…what are YOUR picks for the best genre books of 2008?
 
 
Top Picks in Fantasy This Week
 
Bones of the Dragon (Dragonships of Vindras) Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (TOR Hardcover)
 
Welcome to the World of Dragonships! Skylan Ivorson is a sea-raider of the Vindras and eventually becomes the Chief of Chiefs of all Vindras clans, an honor he truly feels he deserves as one who has been blessed by Skoval, the god of war.
 
But sometimes a blessing is a curse in disguise.
 
Skoval and the other ancient gods are under siege from a new generation of gods who are challenging them for the powers of creation… and the only way to stop these brash interlopers lies within the mysterious and hidden Five Bones of the Vektan Dragons. It will be up to the Vindras people, as the dragon-goddess’s champions, to undertake the quest to recover all Five. The fate of the Old Gods and the Vindras rests on their recovery--for this is not only a quest to save the world. It is also a quest for redemption.
 
Just Another Judgement Day (Nightside, Book 9) Simon R. Green (Ace Hardcover)
 
There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s got the Nightside’s rich and powerful quaking in their boots. He’s The Walking Man, and it’s his mission to exorcise sinners—with extreme prejudice. Problem is, the Nightside was built on sin and corruption, and The Walking Man makes no distinction between evildoers and those simply indulging themselves. He’ll leave the place a wasteland unless someone stops him, and P.I. John Taylor has been handed the job. No known magic or science can affect The Walking Man, and if John can’t discover his weakness, he’ll be facing the very Wrath of God…
 
In Shade and Shadow: A Novel of The Noble Dead Barb & J.C. Hendee (ROC Hardcover)
 
After her adventures with Magiere and Leesil, Wynn Hygeorht has returned to the Guild of Sagecraft, bearing texts supposedly penned by vampires from the time of the Forgotten History and the Great War. Seized by the Guild’s scholars and sent out for copying without Wynn’s consent, several pages disappear—and the two sages charged with conveying these pages are murdered. Suspicious of the Guild, separated from the only friends she fully trusts, and convinced the Noble Dead are responsible for the killings, Wynn embarks on a quest to uncover the secrets of the texts.
 
Amber Enchantress (Prism Pentad, Book 3) Troy Denning (Wizards of the Coast)
 
A Desperate Battle with the Vilest of Dragons! In order to finally defeat Borys, the Dragon of Athas, Sadira will have to reach the Pristine Tower--the citadel from which the dragon was born. But the same dark forces that created Borys still haunt the smoldering ruins.
 
The God Stalker Chronicles P.C. Hodgell (Baen Hardcover)
 
Jame is a Kencyrath, the chosen people of the Three-Faced God, who fight the demonic being called Perimal Darkling. At the same time, she fights an internal battle for their honor because 3,000 years ago the leader of the Kencyrath betrayed his people to the Darkness for his own immortality. She also must find her ten-year older brother Tori and return to him the sword and ring of their father. If that is not enough she has to stand before the rathorns, wear the cloak of living snakes, kill one god, and resurrect another. All in a day’s work for Jame.
 
 
Top Picks in Sci-Fi this Week
 
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows Margaret Clark (Star Trek Books)
 
Fractured history. Broken lives. Splintered souls. Since the alternate universe was first glimpsed in the classic episode "Mirror, Mirror," something about Star Trek's dark side has beckoned us, called to us, tempted us -- like forbidden fruit on the Tree of Knowledge. To taste it is to lose oneself in a world of startling familiarity and terrifying contradictions, where everything and everyone we knew is somehow disturbingly different, and where shocking secrets await their revelation.
 
What began in 2007 with Glass Empires and Obsidian Alliances -- the first truly in-depth foray into the turbulent history of this other continuum -- now continues in twelve new short tales that revisit and expand upon that so-called "Mirror Universe," spanning all five of the core incarnations of Star Trek, as well as their literary offshoots, across more than two hundred years of divergent history.
 
Honor of the Clan (The Posleen War) John Ringo (Baen Hardcover)
 
Duty. Honor. Country. Three words that resound in the heart of the warrior. But what is duty when country is gone? Where does honor lie when allies are revealed as enemies, when friends are not who they seem and when enemies are the ones we love? For Cally O'Neal and the O'Neal Bane Sidhe, underground fighters against the tyranny of Earth's Darhel ?allies.? duty lies in the overthrow of the established order. For Major General Michael O'Neal, her father, duty lies in maintaining that order to prevent a reinvasion by the dreaded Posleen. When diamond meets diamond, when O'Neal battles O'Neal, the only sure outcome is fireworks.
 
Top Picks in Horror This Week
 
The Rage Plague   Anthony Giangregorio (Permuted Press)
 
An unknown virus spreads across the globe, turning ordinary people into ravenous killers. Only a small population proves to be immune, but most quickly fall prey to the infected. Isolated on the rooftop of a school near the outskirts of Chicago, Bill Thompson and a small band of survivors come to the frightening realization that, without food or water, they will perish quickly under the hot sun. Some wish to migrate to a safer, more plentiful refuge, but the school is surrounded by rampaging murderers. Without a plan, Bill and his group don't stand a chance. Their only hope lies in their one advantage over the infected: their ability to think. Not far away, a leader rises amongst the psychos, a man stricken by the virus yet still intelligent and in control. His need to destroy humankind becomes an obsession, and he rallies an army of killers to seek out and destroy all who remain unchanged. Now Bill and his fellow survivors not only need a safe haven, they must also escape legions of hungry infected. But the virus and its hosts will find them, no matter where they hide, because even sanctuary has its perils.
 
Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe (Solaris)
 
Compiled by multi-award winning editor, Ellen Datlow, this collection commemorates the second centenary of Edgar Allan Poe's birth. It features Poe-inspired tales by some of the finest talents in the field, including Kim Newman, Pat Cadigan, Sharyn McCrumb, Lucius Shepard, Laird Barron, Suzy McKee Charnas and others. This all-star line-up has several Hugo, Edgar, Tiptree and British Fantasy Award winners.
Capsule Reviews
 
Pigeons from Hell (Dark Horse Comics)
 
Pigeons from Hell was written by Robert E. Howard and is arguably his best non-Conan tale and one of the finest American horror stories ever written. This tale of voodoo and zombies set within a dilapidated Southern Mansion is powerfully creepy. Dark Horse has taken the tale and updated it to modern times, courtesy of Horror Master Joe R. Lansdale. While the modernization does cause it to lose a bit of atmosphere, this is a great tale and it would take a superhuman effort to mess it up. The Art and colors by Nathan Fox and Dave Stewart are fantastic and well-suited to the material. The book also comes with commentary by Lansdale, a cover gallery and sketch art. Grade B.
 
 
The Spirit: The Movie Visual Companion Mark Cotta Vaz (Titan Books Hardcover)
 
A companion to the recently released Spirit Film, this guide takes readers on a guided tour of the development of the film and the history of Will Eisner’s greatest creation. You’ll start with a brisk into to the character and of Eisner himself, who is still vastly underrated as one of the most important creators in comic book history. You’ll be treated to exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos, concept art, and storyboards as you see the film come together. You’ll meet the diverse cast, which includes comments from the actors and take a look at how many of the stunts and special effects were put together. These types of guides are commonplace these days with any blockbuster film but Titan has done a spectacular job with the production of the book. The photography is dazzling and there’s a wealth of information here for fans. Grade A
 
 
 
Plague of Spells Bruce R. Cordell (Wizards of the Coast)
 
This is the first in a new fantasy trilogy called the Abolethic Sovereignty. This refers to Aboleths, that race of deep sea dwelling evil fish creatures. Aboleths are highly based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos creatures. It’s an evil race that is one that hasn’t been terribly explored in D&D fiction, obviously due to its limitations as an underwater evil so this book is a refreshing change. Raidon Kane is a Half-Elf Monk who has wandered headlong into the Spellplague. The Spellplague in the lore of the Forgotten Realms was an incredibly powerful storm of wild magic that was caused when Mystra, Goddess of magic, was killed by two rival Gods leading to a plague of uncontrollable magic which destroyed entire kingdoms. Raidon emerges from the plague after ten years to find the symbol of his magic amulet burned into his flesh and providing him tremendous powers. While this is going on, an Aboleth named Nogah has found a very ancient artifact which gives her God-like Powers. 
 
There are three main plots running through the fist book and it makes the story a bit fragmented but stick with it. While it’s initially difficult to see how these plots tie-in to each other, the payoff is worth the wait. Very good start to this new trilogy. Grade B+
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
saxx76 1/6/2009 3:18:23 PM

George RR Martin's "A Dance with Dragons". Oh, wait.............................

Sanity 1/8/2009 11:11:28 AM

Shit...we'll be lucky if "A Dance with Dragons" makes next years list!

1 

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