New books from Meg Cabot

  • May. 2nd, 2014 at 8:08 PM
If any of you are fans of Meg Cabot's books, she posted a huge announcement today: both The Princess Diaries series and The Mediator series (both YA) are getting adult spin-off series, with the first installments of each being published next year. The Princess Diaries is also getting a middle-grade spin-off: From the Notebooks of a Middle-School Princess.

The Mediator spin-off follows protagonist Suze Simon starting her first job after graduating college, and solving an ancient murder with her now-fiancé Dr. Jesse de Silva. (*fangirl shrieks*) Oh, and Paul Slater is going to be in it, too. (*fangirl boos and hisses*)

Both Princess Diaries spin-offs tie into each other: the adult book, Royal Wedding, follows Princess Mia Thermopolis as she plans her wedding to Michael Moscovitz and discovers she has a long-lost half-sister. The middle-grade series is told from this sister's perspective. It's also worth nothing that Mia's half-sister is biracial! It will be interesting to see how that's explored.

Any fans of these series? What do you think about these series getting spin-offs? I knew a seventh Mediator book was on the way because she mentioned it at a book signing I attended a couple of years ago, but I definitely wasn't expecting an adult series*! The Princess Diaries was also a huge shock. She definitely kept those updates under her hat!

*I am infinitely pleased about this—when the books first came out, I was the "same age" as Suze. It's exciting to see that Suze and Jesse have essentially grown up with me XD

Anyway, if anyone's interested, I'll be posting updates about the new Mediator book(s)—cover, publication dates, etc.—as well as the upcoming TV series over at [community profile] mediatorfans :-)
To Say Nothing of the Dog is a time travel story and I think one of my favourite things about this book was how time travel was approached. While it's certainly a big part of the plot, time travel in this book is an academic thing. There's no big bad or great hero risking it all to travel back and change some key point in history, no great lovers torn apart by time, no horrible dystopian future or present in need of fixing. There is, however, a missing cat.

Very mild spoilers follow )

Review: The Departure, by Neal Asher

  • Mar. 3rd, 2014 at 1:40 AM

'Steaming like raw meat dropped onto a hot stove'

Image: Cover of The Departure, by Neal Asher

It's not news that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I have a soft spot for space opera; I confess, the big space base (which I initially mistook for a starship of some sort) adorning the cover of Neal Asher's novel, The Departure, helped sell me on it.

As it turned out though, The Departure hardly qualifies as space-opera and only squeaks by as science fiction pretty much the way Superman does: on technicalities only.

Though it's set in the future and some of the action takes place in orbit and on Mars, the book is really just a narrated first-person shooter dressed up in some SF tropes — a corrupt and incompetent world government, artificial intelligence, robotic weapons and a transhuman genesis.

But all that is only window-dressing. That spectacular cover is a gateway to lugubrious dialogue, sophomoric libertarian philosophy, hackneyed world-building and, especially, to one pornographic blood-bath after another.

The Departure is one of the worst books I have read in a very long time. More boring than Atlas Shrugged (which I reviewed a while back), it drips with just as much contempt for ordinary human beings. Unlike Rand's John Galt though, Asher's superman does much of his killing at first-hand.

Does this novel have any redeeming qualities? The short answer is "no". The long answer lives behind this link.


In Imager’s Battalion, Quaeryt continues to further his goals in between leading imagers in battle against Bovaria and playing military chaplain. Since a part of his goal is to find ways to make imaging useful (which it is not, given that very little is known about the ability), the war gives him plenty of opportunity to do science. He also makes a few discoveries about a previous civilization that used imagers more extensively than his society, and learns more folklore related to Pharsi “lost ones.” He does not however discover why the locals are so superstitious about “black rabbits.” (As an aside, every time someone mentioned a black rabbit I’d fill in with “of Inlé,” for which I blame Watership Down.)

Read this review on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstances on Blogger.

Read this review on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.
 

Though Godstalk is generally believed by fans to be the best book in the series, it does have some flaws. The biggest being the sudden shifts in pov at certain points. Very few fans will point this out however, though they tend to be more critical of later books. (I did not actually spot many of the problems until after I had read the book a few times.)
 
Even with taking the flaws into account, Godstalk’s is one of my favorite novels because of the rich prose, surreal background and the engaging main character.

Read the rest on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstances on Blogger.

Read the rest on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.