Monday 4 January 2010

Anticipated new releases for 2010 - part 1

Here's part one of my list of novels I'm looking forward to reading this year (subject to being released, of course!).

I imagine I wasn't alone in feeling a little disappointed that China Miéville isn't returning to his fascinating world of Bas-Lag with his new novel Kraken, but that disappointment didn't last long. Unlike the abstract The City and the City (a novel I happily admit didn't really work for me), Kraken promises to be vintage Miéville - dark, baroque and weird.

This novel had me at 'giant squid' (I have a strange fascination with huge sea creatures, which is maybe one reason why I enjoyed The Scar so much), while the mention of warring cults, surreal magic and assassins got me all hot and bothered.

Really can't wait for this one - roll on May!

The Republic of Thieves is surely one of the most anticipated books in the last couple of years - I tend to get at least 10 hits a day from people googling "Republic of Thieves release date" - more queries than any other upcoming book.

The delay to this novel is well known (I believe it was originally meant to be published in 2008). With Scott Lynch finally making a return to the online community, it seemed that he was fired up and ready to deliver the book fans have been growing impatient for. Then without warning he vanished again and once more we're in the dark as to when this book might appear. Given how long Lynch has presumably been working on it, you'd think it would have a realistic chance of appearing this year - but nothing's guaranteed.

Delay aside, I consider this a massively important release for Lynch. Like many people, I loved The Lies of Locke Lamora but was left unimpressed with Red Seas Under Red Skies. For me, The Republic of Thieves will hopefully indicate which of the previous books is more representative of Lynch's ability. Fingers crossed we'll find out in 2010.

Another book with a well-known history of delay. Sadly George R. R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons didn't materialise last year, but I firmly believe that us GRRM fans will finally get our greasy mitts on the long-awaited volume this year.

Much like Lynch, Martin's last book - A Feast For Crows - received a mixed response, and for the first time readers started to question whether Martin was losing the thread of his own story. Personally I think it's impossible to draw such conclusions from one book, especially one that stood almost no chance of living up to the unbelievably high standards of its predecessor (the simply stunning A Storm of Swords).

As I've stated before, I consider the abuse and vitriol aimed at GRRM by some of his 'fans' to be utterly pathetic, and am expecting A Dance With Dragons - when it's released - to blow everyone away and remind people what a massive asset GRRM is to the fantasy genre.

Mark Charan Newton's Nights of Villjamur was the best fantasy debut I've read in some time, and I'm expecting seriously good things from his follow-up effort, City of Ruin.

Newton, commendably in my opinion, publicly acknowledged that the more bizarre elements of his world were kept in check in his debut novel so as to make the book more attractive to publishers. However, with his new offering Newton's promised a darker novel with the weirdness turned up several notches - "I’ve let myself go a bit more. There are few clichés to be found in City of Ruin. It’s a very dark piece. I dislike the word gritty – since I think it takes away the emphasis from content, themes, and style. It’s a pigeon hole. But City of Ruin is certainly more the type of fantasy I want to write."

As I've mentioned before, I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to read some of the early chapters (only a busy schedule prevented me from reading more) and can confirm that I'm impressed with what I've seen. Even though I only read a few chapters, I noticed that the writing is tighter and more confident, that the weirdness has indeed been ramped up, and that the characterisation is stronger.

Newton set himself pretty high standards with Nights of Villjamur, but I have a feeling he'll easily surpass them with City of Ruin.

Jasper Kent's Twelve made my top five reads of the year for 2009 - an impressive feat for any novel, but especially for a debut. Twelve wasn't everyone's cup of tea (Gav, I'm looking at you, sir!) but it worked for me and I'm eager to check out the next instalment in the series, Thirteen Years Later.

I'm particularly intrigued to see how Kent develops the central storyline over the course of a couple of hundred years as the series progresses - the changing historical periods should add an interesting dimension.

So, those are the first five novels I'm looking forward to this year - check back for the second part of the list, which I'll try and post as soon as possible! As always, feel more than welcome to list your own anticipated novels - i'm interested to see what books people are looking forward to in 2010!


gav ( said...

I'm cheering for 'Kraken' and 'City of Ruin' but yeah I'm not going into queueing for 'Thirteen Years Later' any time soon. But each to their own! Plenty of books in the sea as it were.

Kristopher A. Denby said...

I'm waiting for The Wise Man's Fear (sequel to The Name of the Wind), and crossing my fingers in hopes that it will come out this year.

Olive Tree said...

Hi, it's a very great blog.
I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
Keep doing!

James said...

Gav - Indeed. Although I hope there's not many books in the sea; water does horrible things to them!

Kristopher - I think it will come out this year, but it may be tight; last I heard the manuscript was still being re-written and so on.

Olive Tree - cheers!

Liviu said...

I put ADWD and Republic on my list in 2008 going on 2009 so this year they went to maybes, but I doubt either will be out in 2010.

I am very excited about Kraken since C/C did not work for me either, I thought of it as a wizard wasting his talents on juggling 100 balls in the air when he can build universes instead; but I never expected it would work that well since I dislike crime novels

I read the final draft of Ruin and now I am reading the final uncorrected version and it's all that you mention and more, a superb novel in which Mark let's it fly

I do not have Thirteen Years yet, but I saw the review of my FBC co-editor Robert (will be posted later) and he loved it - also for him Twelve was his #1 sff of 09 so I have only the highest expectations of this one too.

James said...

Liviu - I think I'm a little more optimistic than you, in the sense that I'll think we'll at least one from ADWD or TRoT released this year.

Agree totally on both Kraken and CoR.

As for Thirteen...looking forward to it very much!