Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765321534 World Fantasy Award winner Walton (Tooth and Claw) spins an enchanting tale filled with libraries and magic through the pages of a young woman's diary. Morwenna and her twin, Morganna, spent their childhood sur-rounded by Welsh ruins and fairies. Torn from her sister and hiding from her crazy mother, Morwenna finds herself in the care of her estranged father and his eerily controlling sisters. Surrounded by things strange and unfamiliar, she struggles to find safety and balance through protective magic, enigmatic fairies, and the pages of sf and fantasy novels. Interlibrary loan privileges, a book club at the public library, and the handsome and disreputable Wim help Morwenna manage the cruelty of classmates and evade her mother's sorcerous clutches. But even protective magic leaves a trail, and Morwenna ends up fighting for her life and everything she's come to believe. Verdict A delightful reminder of the wonder and power of books and the libraries that keep them.-Jennifer Anderson, Texas A&M Univ.-Corpus Christi (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765321534 World Fantasy Award-winner Walton (Tooth and Claw) turns the magical boarding school story inside out in this compelling coming-of-age tale. Welsh teen Morwenna was badly hurt, and her twin sister killed, when the two foiled their abusive mother's spell work. Seeking refuge with a father she barely knows in England, Mori is shunted off to a grim boarding school. Mori works a spell to find kindred souls and soon meets a welcoming group of science fiction readers, but she can feel her mother looking for her, and this time Mori won't be able to escape. Walton beautifully captures the outsider's yearning in Mori's earthy and thoughtful journal entries: "It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books." Never deigning to transcend the genre to which it is clearly a love letter, this outstanding (and entirely teen-appropriate) tale draws its strength from a solid foundation of sense-of-wonder and what-if. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765321534 As she recovers from the confrontation with her mother that killed her twin sister, Mori keeps a journal permeated by a love of reading in this mesmerizing fantasy novel. Sent to a boarding school where she is desperately lonely and abandoned by the fairies who once kept her safe, Mori finds refuge in books, which are her instruction manuals and her joy. (Jan.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780345497512 Adult/High School-A blend of near-future science fiction and police procedural, this novel is a successful example of the hybrid genre so popular of late. In a contemporary time period, two fantastical cities somewhere between Europe and Asia exist, not adjacent to one another, but by literally occupying the same area. Forbidden to acknowledge the existence of one another-a discipline imposed by the shadowy and terrifying entity known as Breach-residents in both cities have honed the ability to "unsee" people, places, and events existing in the other realm. This ticklish balance ruptures when Inspector Tyador Borl of the Extreme Crime Squad must investigate the murder of a foreign archaeological student. Long after the book's satisfying conclusion, astute readers will have much to ponder, such as the facility with which Authority can manipulate and repress a population and the attendant ills that life in such a society inevitably generate. Add in the novel's highly effective cover art and the result is a book that may appeal as much to a young, new-to-Mieville audience as it will to his loyal fans.-Dori DeSpain, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780345497512 Mieville (Un Lun Dun; Perdido Street Station) tells vivid stories in the borderlands of literary fantasy, science fiction, and horror, and here he adds noir crime to the mix. Fittingly, his tale is set in the borderlands, creating a mysterious pair of cities somewhere on Europe's eastern edge. Beszel and Ul Qoma share the same ground, but their citizens are not allowed to react to one another, learning to "unsee" the other city and its inhabitants from a young age. Enforcing this division is a mysterious power called Breach. When an archaeology student is found dead, Inspector Tyador Borl gets caught up in a case that forces him to navigate precariously between the cities, perhaps into the sinister worlds that straddle them. It's a fascinating premise. Unfortunately, the cities, protagonist, and case remain stubbornly in the haze. For all genre fiction collections because Mieville is a trailblazer with a dedicated following, but this work is more an existential thought piece than a reading pleasure. [Library marketing.]-Neil Hollands, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780345497512 Better known for New Weird fantasies (Perdido Street Station, etc.), bestseller Mieville offers an outstanding take on police procedurals with this barely speculative novel. Twin southern European cities Beszel and Ul Qoma coexist in the same physical location, separated by their citizens' determination to see only one city at a time. Inspector Tyador Borl of the Extreme Crime Squad roams through the intertwined but separate cultures as he investigates the murder of Mahalia Geary, who believed that a third city, Orciny, hides in the blind spots between Beszel and Ul Qoma. As Mahalia's friends disappear and revolution brews, Tyador is forced to consider the idea that someone in unseen Orciny is manipulating the other cities. Through this exaggerated metaphor of segregation, Mieville skillfully examines the illusions people embrace to preserve their preferred social realities. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780007149827 It's post-World War II, and Alaska has become the homeland for the Jews (as Franklin D. Roosevelt actually proposed). There, the murder of a former chess prodigy sends Det. Meyer Landsman on a hunt that leads back to the formidable Rebbe Gold. Chabon's first full-length adult novel since The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; with a ten-city tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780007149827 Already announced (see Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05), Chabon's tale of murder and mayhem in an Alaskan homeland for the Jews post-World War II gets a one-day laydown. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780007149827 What's washed-up cop Meyer Landsman to do when a heroin-addicted, chess-crazed denizen of the dump where he lives gets plugged in the head? He's going to find the killer, and to that end he calls in his partner (and cousin) Berko Shemets, a bear of a man who's also half-Tlingit because, you see, this is...Alaska? In this wildly inventive blackest of black comedies, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) imagines that after World War II Roosevelt decreed the yet-to-be-50th state the homeland of the Jews. Years have passed, and the Jews have settled in very nicely, thank you, re-creating the aura of the Mitteleuropa they've lost-though the black-hatted, ultra-orthodox Bobovers turn out to be real thugs. The meddling of our two boys leads them straight to powerful and dangerous Bobover leader Rebbe Gold and eventually to a plot aimed at the reclamation of Israel. It also leads them into plenty of hot water with the top brass, including their new boss-Meyer's ex-wife, Bina. Raucous, acidulous, decidedly impolite, yet stylistically arresting, this book is bloody brilliant-and if it's way over the top, that's what makes Chabon such a great writer. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/07.]-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780007149827 They are the "frozen Chosen," two million people living, dying and kvetching in Sitka, Alaska, the temporary homeland established for displaced World War II Jews in Chabon's ambitious and entertaining new novel. It is-deep breath now-a murder-mystery speculative-history Jewish-identity noir chess thriller, so perhaps it's no surprise that, in the back half of the book, the moving parts become unwieldy; Chabon is juggling narrative chainsaws here. The novel begins-the same way that Philip Roth launched The Plot Against America-with a fascinating historical footnote: what if, as Franklin Roosevelt proposed on the eve of World War II, a temporary Jewish settlement had been established on the Alaska panhandle? Roosevelt's plan went nowhere, but Chabon runs the idea into the present, back-loading his tale with a haunting history. Israel failed to get a foothold in the Middle East, and since the Sitka solution was only temporary, Alaskan Jews are about to lose their cold homeland. The book's timeless refrain: "It's a strange time to be a Jew." Into this world arrives Chabon's Chandler-ready hero, Meyer Landsman, a drunken rogue cop who wakes in a flophouse to find that one of his neighbors has been murdered. With his half-Tlingit, half-Jewish partner and his sexy-tough boss, who happens also to be his ex-wife, Landsman investigates a fascinating underworld of Orthodox black-hat gangs and crime-lord rabbis. Chabon's "Alyeska" is an act of fearless imagination, more evidence of the soaring talent of his previous genre-blender, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Eventually, however, Chabon's homage to noir feels heavy-handed, with too many scenes of snappy tough-guy banter and too much of the kind of elaborate thriller plotting that requires long explanations and offscreen conspiracies. Chabon can certainly write noir-or whatever else he wants; his recent Sherlock Holmes novel, The Final Solution, was lovely, even if the New York Times Book Review sniffed its surprise that the mystery novel would "appeal to the real writer." Should any other snobs mistake Chabon for anything less than a real writer, this book offers new evidence of his peerless storytelling and style. Characters have skin "as pale as a page of commentary" and rough voices "like an onion rolling in a bucket." It's a solid performance that would have been even better with a little more Yiddish and a little less police. (May) Jess Walter was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award for The Zero and the winner of the 2006 Edgar Award for best novel for Citizen Vince. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312856847 Set in San Diego, Calif., this hard SF novel from Hugo-winner Vinge (A Deepness in the Sky) offers dazzling computer technology but lacks dramatic tension. Circa 2025, people use high-tech contact lenses to interface with computers in their clothes. "Silent messaging" is so automatic that it feels like telepathy. Robert Gu, a talented Chinese-American poet, has missed much of this revolution due to Alzheimer's, but now the wonders of modern medicine have rehabilitated his mind. Installed in remedial classes at the local high school, he tries to adjust to this brave new world, but soon finds himself enmeshed in a somewhat quixotic plot by elderly former University of California-San Diego faculty members to protest the destruction of the university library, now rendered superfluous by the ubiquitous online databanks. Unbeknownst to Robert, he's also a pawn in a dark international conspiracy to perfect a deadly biological weapon. The true nature of the superweapon is never made entirely clear, and too much of the book feels like a textbook introduction to Vinge's near-future world. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765309389 When Tyler was ten years old, he and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, witnessed the night the stars "disappeared," leaving a protective barrier separating Earth from the rest of the universe and slowing the passage of time within the barrier. Jason becomes a scientist devoted to finding a way to break through Earth's artificial shell before the acceleration of time outside the barrier brings about the death of the sun within the world's foreseeable future. Diane joins an apocalyptic cult, and Tyler dedicates his life to preserving the sanity of the people he loves best-even when he discovers Jason's hidden agenda. The author of Darwinia and Blind Lake crafts a tale of apocalyptic proportions, blending the best of hard science and speculative fiction with a poignant tale of childhood's end. Recommended for most libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765309389 One night the stars go out. From that breathtaking "what if," Wilson (Blind Lake, etc.) builds an astonishingly successful m?lange of SF thriller, growing-up saga, tender love story, father-son conflict, ecological parable and apocalyptic fable in prose that sings the music of the spheres. The narrative time oscillates effortlessly between Tyler Dupree's early adolescence and his near-future young manhood haunted by the impending death of the sun and the earth. Tyler's best friends, twins Diane and Jason Lawton, take two divergent paths: Diane into a troubling religious cult of the end, Jason into impassioned scientific research to discover the nature of the galactic Hypotheticals whose "Spin" suddenly sealed Earth in a "cosmic baggie," making one of its days equal to a hundred million years in the universe beyond. As convincing as Wilson's scientific hypothesizing is-biological, astrophysical, medical-he excels even more dramatically with the infinitely intricate, minutely nuanced relationships among Jason, Diane and Tyler, whose older self tries to save them both with medicines from Mars, terraformed through Jason's genius into an incubator for new humanity. This brilliant excursion into the deepest inner and farthest outer spaces offers doorways into new worlds-if only humankind strives and seeks and finds and will not yield compassion for our fellow beings. Agent, Shawna McCarthy. (Apr. 14) FYI: Wilson's novel The Chronoliths won the John W. Campbell Award; three of his novels have been Hugo finalists. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781582344164 Adult/High School-This delightful first novel exerts a strong and seductive pull on readers who might otherwise balk at its length. Like Philip Pullman's work, it is dark, deep, and challenging. It compares dead-on with Jane Austen's novels, and YAs who have underappreciated her wit may find it delicious when applied to magicians. Clarke even tosses in a bit of Dickens and Hardy-with great characterization, subplots, and a sense of fate bearing down hard on us. At stake is the future of English magic, which has nearly dwindled to all theory by the early 1800s, after centuries of prominence. When the book opens, only the reclusive and jealous Gilbert Norrell is practicing. Enter Jonathan Strange, a natural who has never studied magic formally. Norrell resents, then adopts Strange as a pupil whose growth he insists on controlling until the two come to the impasse that nearly leads them to destroy one another. Strange champions the 12th century's "Raven King" as the greatest magician in English history and hopes to summon him from Faerie, an alternate world. Norrell is determined to erase both from English memory-to hide the fact that he himself made a bargain with a fairy that has cost three people their lives, though their hearts go on dismally beating. Expertly written and imagined, the book is a feast for fans of fantasy, historical novels, or simply fabulously engrossing reads.-Emily Lloyd, formerly at Rehoboth Beach Public Library, DE (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781582344164 The drawing room social comedies of early 19th-century Britain are infused with the powerful forces of English folklore and fantasy in this extraordinary novel of two magicians who attempt to restore English magic in the age of Napoleon. In Clarke's world, gentlemen scholars pore over the magical history of England, which is dominated by the Raven King, a human who mastered magic from the lands of faerie. The study is purely theoretical until Mr. Norrell, a reclusive, mistrustful bookworm, reveals that he is capable of producing magic and becomes the toast of London society, while an impetuous young aristocrat named Jonathan Strange tumbles into the practice, too, and finds himself quickly mastering it. Though irritated by the reticent Norrell, Strange becomes the magician's first pupil, and the British government is soon using their skills. Mr. Strange serves under Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars (in a series of wonderful historical scenes), but afterward the younger magician finds himself unable to accept Norrell's restrictive views of magic's proper place and sets out to create a new age of magic by himself. Clarke manages to portray magic as both a believably complex and tedious labor, and an eerie world of signs and wonders where every object may have secret meaning. London politics and talking stones are portrayed with equal realism and seem indisputably part of the same England, as signs indicate that the Raven King may return. The chock-full, old-fashioned narrative (supplemented with deft footnotes to fill in the ignorant reader on incidents in magical history) may seem a bit stiff and mannered at first, but immersion in the mesmerizing story reveals its intimacy, humor and insight, and will enchant readers of fantasy and literary fiction alike. Agent, Jonny Geller. (Oct.) Forecast: A massive push by Bloomsbury has made this one of the most anticipated novels of the season. It's convenient to pigeonhole it as Harry Potter for grownups-and grown-up readers of J.K. Rowling will enjoy it-but its deep grounding in history gives it gravitas as well as readability. 200,000 first printing; rights sold in 14 countries. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780380979028 Dowager Royina commences a journey of atonement, but this sequel shows that The Curse of Chalion is still with us. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780380979028 Cured of the madness that made her a prisoner in the castle of her family, the Lady Ista dy Baocia, Dowager Royina of Chalion, finds herself at loose ends. Bereft of husband, son, and parents, she decides to undertake a pilgrimage of atonement, accompanied by a young courier and a small retinue of companions. What begins as a peaceful journey becomes a dangerous quest to stop a supernatural threat from shattering the peace of Chalion. Bujold's sequel to The Curse of Chalion introduces a middle-aged heroine of great courage and hidden resources. The author of the popular Miles Vorkosigan sf saga demonstrates her storytelling skill and artful humor in an engaging fantasy that belongs in most libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/03.] (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780380979028 In this sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001), rich in sumptuous detail and speculative theology, dowager royina Ista Dy Baocia undertakes a pilgrimage to ease her soul-and finds instead that in Chalion, Bujold's handsomely crafted fantasy world ruled by Five Gods "just around some strange corner of perception," a more dangerous fate awaits than she could ever have imagined. Swordplay and sorcery sweep sensitive, sensible 40-year-old Ista into Chalion's border stronghold of Porifors, where enemy Roknari incursions and demons from the Fifth God's hell threaten Ista's realm, held precariously at bay by the charismatic Arhys dy Lutez. Ista's romantic quest to save Arhys and his magnetic half-brother, Illvin, teems with equal parts of unearthly magic and down-to-earth quasi-medieval lore. Despite an occasional lapse into adolescent angst and spurts of superficial dialogue, high fantasy fans should thrill at Ista's spiritual perils, while horse admirers of all ages should savor even Ista's saddle sores. This engaging installment of Chalion's mythical history whets the appetite for new marvels yet to come. Author tour. (Sept. 23) FYI: Bujold has won both Hugo and Nebula awards. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780380973651 In his latest novel, Gaiman (Neverwhere) explores the vast and bloody landscape of myths and legends where the gods of yore and the neoteric gods of now conflict in modern-day America. The antihero, a man of unusually acute intellect through whose eyes we witness the behind-the-scenes dynamics of human religion and faith, is a convict called Shadow. He is flung into the midst of a supernatural fray of gods such as Odin, Anansi, Loki One-Eye, Thor, and a multitude of other ancient divinities as they struggle for survival in an America beset by trends, fads, and constant upheaval an environment not good for gods. They are joined in this struggle by such contemporary deities as the geek-boy god Internet and the goddess Media. There's a nice plot twist in the end, and the fascinating subject matter and impressive mythic scope are handled creatively and expertly. Gaiman is an exemplary short story writer, but his ventures into novels are also compellingly imaginative. Highly recommended for all libraries. Ann Kim, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780380973651 Titans clash, but with more fuss than fury in this fantasy demi-epic from the author of Neverwhere. The intriguing premise of Gaiman's tale is that the gods of European yore, who came to North America with their immigrant believers, are squaring off for a rumble with new indigenous deities: "gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon." They all walk around in mufti, disguised as ordinary people, which causes no end of trouble for 32-year-old protagonist Shadow Moon, who can't turn around without bumping into a minor divinity. Released from prison the day after his beloved wife dies in a car accident, Shadow takes a job as emissary for Mr. Wednesday, avatar of the Norse god Grimnir, unaware that his boss's recruiting trip across the American heartland will subject him to repeat visits from the reanimated corpse of his dead wife and brutal roughing up by the goons of Wednesday's adversary, Mr. World. At last Shadow must reevaluate his own deeply held beliefs in order to determine his crucial role in the final showdown. Gaiman tries to keep the magical and the mundane evenly balanced, but he is clearly more interested in the activities of his human protagonists: Shadow's poignant personal moments and the tale's affectionate slices of smalltown life are much better developed than the aimless plot, which bounces Shadow from one episodic encounter to another in a design only the gods seem to know. Mere mortal readers will enjoy the tale's wit, but puzzle over its strained mythopoeia. (One-day laydown, June 19) Forecast: Even when he isn't in top form, Gaiman, creator of the acclaimed Sandman comics series, trumps many storytellers. Momentously titled, and allotted a dramatic one-day laydown with a 12-city author tour, his latest will appeal to fans and attract mainstream review coverage for better or for worse because of the rich possibilities of its premise. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780439139595 Gr 4 Up-Harry is now 14 years old and in his fourth year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where big changes are afoot. This year, instead of the usual Inter-House Quidditch Cup, a Triwizard Tournament will be held, during which three champions, one from each of three schools of wizardry (Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beaux-batons), must complete three challenging magical tasks. The competitors must be at least 17 years old, but the Goblet of Fire that determines the champions mysteriously produces Harry's name, so he becomes an unwilling fourth contestant. Meanwhile, it is obvious to the boy's allies that the evil Voldemort will use the Tournament to get at Harry. This hefty volume is brimming with all of the imagination, humor, and suspense that characterized the first books. So many characters, both new and familiar, are so busily scheming, spying, studying, worrying, fulminating, and suffering from unrequited first love that it is a wonder that Rowling can keep track, much less control, of all the plot lines. She does, though, balancing humor, malevolence, school-day tedium, and shocking revelations with the aplomb of a circus performer. The Triwizard Tournament itself is a bit of a letdown, since Harry is able, with a little help from his friends and even enemies, to perform the tasks easily. This fourth installment, with its deaths, a sinister ending, and an older and more shaken protagonist, surely marks the beginning of a very exciting and serious battle between the forces of light and dark, and Harry's fans will be right there with him.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780439139595 HEven without the unprecedented media attention and popularity her magical series has attracted, it would seem too much to hope that Rowling could sustain the brilliance and wit of her first three novels. Astonishingly, Rowling seems to have the spell-casting powers she assigns her characters: this fourth volume might be her most thrilling yet. The novel opens as a confused Muggle overhears Lord Voldemort and his henchman, Wormtail (the escapee from book three, Azkaban) discussing a murder and plotting more deaths (and invoking Harry Potter's name); clues suggest that Voldemort and Wormtail's location will prove highly significant. From here it takes a while (perhaps slightly too long a while) for Harry and his friends to get back to the Hogwarts school, where Rowling is on surest footing. Headmaster Dumbledore appalls everyone by declaring that Quidditch competition has been canceled for the year; then he makes the exciting announcement that the Triwizard Tournament is to be held after a cessation of many hundred years (it was discontinued, he explains, because the death toll mounted so high). One representative from each of the three largest wizardry schools of Europe (sinister Durmstrang, luxurious Beauxbatons and Hogwarts) are to be chosen by the Goblet of Fire; because of the mortal dangers, Dumbledore casts a spell that allows only students who are at least 17 to drop their names into the Goblet. Thus no one foresees that the Goblet will announce a fourth candidate: Harry. Who has put his name into the Goblet, and how is his participation in the tournament linked, as it surely must be, to Voldemort's newest plot? The details are as ingenious and original as ever, and somehow (for catching readers off-guard must certainly get more difficult with each successive volume) Rowling plants the red herrings, the artful clues and tricky surprises that disarm the most attentive audience. A climax even more spectacular than that of Azkaban will leave readers breathless. The muscle-building heft of this volume notwithstanding, the clamor for book five will begin as soon as readers finish installment four. All ages. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312856830 A war between two rival civilizations over trading rights to the planet Arachna results in the virtual enslavement of the Qeng Ho by the victorious Emergent culture. As the Spider-folk of Arachna evolve in their customary cyclical pattern, unaware of the threat that lies in their near future, a few Qeng Ho rebels work desperately to free themselves and save Arachna from conquest. This prequel to A Fire Upon the Deep (Tor, 1992) demonstrates Vinge's capacity for meticulously detailed culture-building and grand-scale sf drama. Recommended for most sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312856830 In this prequel to his Hugo Award-winning space opera, A Fire upon the Deep (1992), Vinge takes us to an era some thousands of years in our future, when humanity has just begun its exploration of intergalactic space and has as yet no inkling of the complex physics that rules the galaxy. Although human beings have settled on dozens of worlds and created societies ancient enough to have achieved greatness and collapse several times over, only the most limited traces have been found of alien cultures. Now, however, the Qeng Ho, a band of human interstellar traders, have discovered the Spiders, an alien race poised to enter its own space age. Unfortunately, the Qeng Ho must compete with another, less beneficent spacefaring human culture, the Emergents, who are bent on conquest rather than trade. The Spiders have just come out of a two-century-long suspended animation made necessary by the fluctuations of their erratic sun. Their culture is entering a period of explosive growth that could end in tragedy, due in part to a dangerous nuclear arms race and in part to the Emergents' desire to enslave them. Vinge, a professor of mathematics and computer science (at San Diego State), is among the very best of the current crop of hard SF writers, producing work that is not only fast-paced and intellectually challenging, but also stylishly written and centered on carefully drawn characters. This long, action-packed novel should fully engage any SF reader's sense of wonder, and likely will win the author his sixth Hugo nomination. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553099959 FYI: Willis's "The Soul Selects Her Own Society..." has won the 1997 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780441004065 Veteran sf writer Haldeman views this novel not as a continuation of but as a follow-up to the problems raised in his highly acclaimed 1975 novel, Forever War. In the Universal Welfare State in 2043, draftees and volunteers link their brains to "soldierboy" war machines that do the actual fighting hundreds of miles away. Black physics professor and linked draftee Julian Class; his white mentor and lover, Dr. Amelia Harding; and her colleague Peter discover that the high-profile Jupiter Project is about to re-create the Big Bang that will destroy the solar system. The original 20 survivors of an experiment to link brains via implanted jacks discover they can turn people into pacifists by linking them for two weeks. Together with Julian and Amelia, the group stays one jump ahead of assassins as they try to stop the project and pacify key figures. At once a hard science, military, and political thriller, this book presents a thoughtful and hopeful solution to ending war in the 21st century. Essential for sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780441004065 It isn't the sequel to The Forever War (1975) that it was rumored to be?except, perhaps, on a thematic level?but Haldeman's latest novel holds its own with that SF classic. In the year 2043, an American-led Alliance has been at war with Ngumi, a third-world confederation, for eight years, due largely to the Alliance's refusal to share new technology. Aside from a few thermonuclear strikes, most of the fighting, at least on the Alliance's side, has been carried out by "soldierboys," killing machines run under remote control by brain-jacked "mechanics," many of them draftees like physicist Julian Class. Meanwhile, in orbit around Jupiter, humanity's most ambitious scientific experiment ever, the Jupiter Project, is coming to fruition. But Julian's lover and former adviser, Amelia Harding, discovers that potentially the Project could destroy not just our solar system but the entire universe, in a reprise of the Big Bang. When Amelia and Julian try to stop the Project, their way is blocked by the Hammer of God, an influential Christian cult dedicated to bringing about the Endtime. As always, Haldeman, a Vietnam vet, writes with intelligence and power about the horrors of war, and about humanity's seeming inability to overcome its violent tendencies. Julian Class, like so many of Haldeman's protagonists, is an essentially good man who, forced by the military to become a killer, has been driven nearly to suicide by guilt. His story packs an enormous emotional punch, and this novel should be a strong awards contender. Author appearances. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553101447 Red Mars, the kickoff to Robinson's epic Mars trilogy, won the Nebula for best SF novel of 1992; its follow-up, Green Mars, won the parallel Hugo for 1994. The conclusion to the saga is not unlike the terrain of Robinson's Red Planet: fertile and fully developed in some spots, vast and arid in others?but, ultimately, it's an impressive achievement. Using the last 200 years of American history as his template for Martian history, Robinson projects his tale of Mars's colonization from the 21st century, in which settlers successfully revolt against Earth, into the next century, when various interests on Mars work out their differences on issues ranging from government to the terraforming of the planet and immigration. Sax Russell, Maya Toitovna and others reprise their roles from the first two novels, but the dominant "personality" is the planet itself, which Robinson describes in exhaustive naturalistic detail. Characters look repeatedly for sermons in its stones and are nearly overwhelmed by textbook abstracts on the biological and geological minutiae of their environment. Not until the closing chapters, when they begin confronting their mortality, does the human dimension of the story balance out its awesome ecological extrapolations. Robinson's achievement here is on a par with Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and Herbert's Dune, even if his clinical detachment may leave some readers wondering whether there really is life on Mars. Author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780553101447 This third book in Robinson's hard-science Mars trilogy follows 1992 Nebula winner Red Mars (LJ 11/15/92) and 1994 Hugo winner Green Mars (LJ 3/15/94). In the 21st century, colonists almost succeed in terraforming Mars. While they fight for independence from Earth and attempt to avert a civil war, they find their new civilization threatened by an ice age. A well-written, thoughtful conclusion to the trilogy. Highly recommended for sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553096095 Stephenson's fourth solo novel, set primarily in a far-future Shanghai at a time when nations have been superseded by enclaves of common cultures (``claves''), abundantly justifies the hype that surrounded Snow Crash, his first foray into science fiction. Here, the author avoids the major structural problem of that book-a long lump of philosophical digression-by melding myriad perspectives and cogitations into his tale, which is simultaneously SF, fantasy and a masterful political thriller. Treating nanotechnology as he did virtual reality in Snow Crash-as a jumping-off point-Stephenson presents several engaging characters. John Percival Hackworth is an engineer living in a neo-Victorian clave, who is commissioned by one of the world's most powerful men to create a Primer that might enable the man's granddaughter to be educated in ways superior to the ``straight and narrow.'' When Hackworth is mugged, an illegal copy of the Primer falls into the hands of a working-class girl named Nell, and a most deadly game's afoot. Stephenson weaves several plot threads at once, as the paths of Nell, Hackworth and other significant characters-notably Nell's brother Harv, Hackworth's daughter Fiona and an actress named Miranda-converge and diverge across continents and complications, most brought about by Hackworth's actions and Nell's development. Building steadily to a wholly earned and intriguing climax, this long novel, which presents its sometimes difficult technical concepts in accessible ways, should appeal to readers other than habitual SF users. Author tour. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553096408 The sequel to Red Mars details an early 22nd-century Mars controlled by Earth's metanationals, gigantic corporations intent on exploiting Mars. Debate among the settlers--some native-born, some the surviving members of the First Hundred--is divided between the minimalist areoformists, who have come to love Mars in all its harshness, and the terraformists, who want to replicate Earth. As the surface of Mars warms and is seeded with genetically altered plants, the settlers await Earth's self-destruction, which they hope will give them a chance to claim their independence. They travel endlessly over every inch of Mars--no mean feat, since most of the First Hundred are criminals wanted for their roles in the failed revolt of 2061--with each kilometer and each group of settlers they meet described in laborious detail. When they're not traveling, these colonists contemplate the history of which they have been a part and which they can only partially recall as a result of their longevity treatments. With the collapse of Earth society and internecine battles among the metanationals, the Martian settlers liberate their cities and declare their planet free. This wide-ranging novel is loaded with all manner of scientific and historical detail, but the story bogs down under its very breadth and seems almost like a Martian year--twice as long as it needs to be. The next and final volume in the trilogy will be Blue Mars . (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780553096408 As the ``greening'' of Mars becomes an inevitability, the struggle between those who want independence for the planet and those who see Mars as Earth's salvation escalates. Continuing the story begun in Red Mars ( LJ 11/15/92), this new addition to Robinson's Martian trilogy confronts basic issues of planetary responsibility and human conscience as a new generation of ``native'' Martians arises to search for new solutions to old problems. Grounded in current and projected technology, yet relying on human drama to propel the story forward, Robinson's latest novel is solidly written and powerfully explicated. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780553096408 YA?The second offering in the ``Mars Trilogy,'' an epic SF account of the colonization of Mars. Although it can be read independently, it continues and expands upon the themes introduced in the first volume, and is notable for its examination of issues related to ecology and the humans' relationship with the planet. The story is told from a variety of viewpoints, the first of which is that of a Martian-born boy. A well-written title, rich in contemporary concerns, that belongs in all science fiction collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.