A Dance With Dragons
George R. R. Martin
(Bantam Spectra, 27 October 2009)
For many fantasy fans this is the most exciting novel slated for release this year. Originally expected to follow hot on the heels of 2005's A Feast For Crows, it's been four long years of waiting (and having to put up with idiots squealing about how Martin is being disrespectful to his fans, how he doesn't care any more, how dare he have a life outside of writing, and other such nonsense).
I was disappointed by A Feast For Crows, but I fully expect GRRM to return to the top of his game with this one. I just hope it doesn't slip back to 2010.
The Republic of Thieves
(Gollancz, 19 November 2009)
I loved The Lies of Locke Lamora. I've read it twice and I'd happily read it again. In fact, it would easily make my top 10 list of all-time favourite fantasy novels, perhaps even my top 5. Yet the follow-up, Red Seas Under Red Skies, didn't really work for me - it felt flat and clunky in comparison (though admittedly it had a very tough act to follow).
So, what to expect from the third instalment in the Gentlemen Bastards sequence? I'm looking forward to finding out, but again am worried that this novel might slip off the radar and into 2010. I don't think Lynch has turned the manuscript in yet, fueling one or two rumours as to the reason why. Only time will tell.
Best Served Cold
(Gollancz, 18 June 2009)
With his First Law trilogy, Abercrombie proved that it is possible to tell an epic story in three volumes (a lesson that some other authors could do with learning...). Plenty of praise was heaped upon this trilogy, and rightly so because it had some great characters, a solid plot and strong dialogue. All in all, it was great entertainment.
The question now, is can Abercrombie's new standalone effort match the quality of his first three novels? Some pretty big characters will probably be absent from this novel, so I'm looking forward to seeing whether the new protagonists are as engaging and entertaining.
(Bantam Press, 1 January 2009)
I tried to wangle a review copy of this one, but got only a resounding silence in response from the publisher, so I obtained it the old-fashioned way. Boo! Still, the nerve-wracking experience of having to queue up in a bookshop has not dulled my enthusiasm for what sounds like a very cool novel indeed. The premise - like most good novels - is simple: Napoleonic wars plus vampires. Early reviews have been very promising, so this one is very high up my reading list.
(Pan Macmillan, 15 May 2009)
Miéville's The Scar was one of my top five reads of 2008, and I'm looking forward to checking out more of his work. I was intending to read Perdido Street Station, however the sheer size of that novel scared me away (the MMPB version is a monster), so I may wait for this new novel (although at 500 pages in hardback, it's also a bit of a behemoth). Still, it sounds very interesting indeed - even though it's not set in Bas Lag - and promises to be an exciting read.
Right, that's it for part 1 - look out for part 2 in the near future!