31 December, 2009

Bona Fide: The End Is Nigh

Hello and welcome to my end of 2009 post. The title sounds familiar to you? I must admit I "stole" it from one of my favorite movies of 2009: WATCHMEN
To be more precise the end of 2009 is near. I know you will find a lot of posts related to this topic. Some use it to review the past year. Other write about the next year.
What can you expect from my last 2009 post? Good question! I have had a lot of ideas. Finally I asked myself what kind of post would Bona Fide like. The answer is quite simple. Just read the following mixed bag and you know it.

And now enjoy reading my big fat end of 2009 post....

Bona Fide's The End Is Nigh Menu

  1. What I read in 2009
  2. Where I did not get into but finished the book
  3. What I liked in 2009 or A Top Ten with more than ten books
  4. What I missed in 2009
  5. A Plan, A Plan! What I would like to read in 2010
  1. 2009 Posts
  2. 2009 Missed Posts
  3. 2010 Post Plan
  1. 2009 Movies
  2. 2010 Movies
  1. I'm Your Pain In The Neck
  2. Flattery Honest Words
  3. Wishes
  4. Finale?
  5. 2010 Starter Kit


What I read in 2009
It is still unbelievable for me how I managed to read following books within 2009. Unfortunately I can't finish my last book for this year: Drood (2009) [US] [UK] by Dan Simmons.
Instead of a link to amazon/bookdepository I added the ISBN number. That means with a quick copy and paste you can check at your preferred bookshop whether the book is available or not

Demon's Bane by David Douglas, ISBN: 0984254705 (review post date: Thursday, 2010-01-07)
The Island by Tim Lebbon, ISBN: 0553384686
Crown of Vengeance by Stephen Zimmer, ISBN: 0982565615 (review post date: Friday: 2010-01-07)
The Silver Skull by Mark Chadbourn, ISBN: 1591027837
Conjure wife by Fritz Leiber, ISBN: 0765324067
The Magicians by Lev Grossman, ISBN: 0099534444
Colours in the Steel by K.J. Parker, ISBN: 1857236106
The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd, ISBN: 0575079266
Lamentation by Ken Scholes,ISBN: 0765360918
Ark by Stephen Baxter, ISBN: 0575080590
Paragon Walk by Anne Perry, ISBN: 0449211681
The Rats and the Ruling Sea by Robert V.S. Redick, ISBN: 0575081813
Evolution Expects by Jonathan Green, ISBN: 1906735050
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, ISBN: 0765318415
Burn Me Deadly by Alex Bledsoe, ISBN: 0765322218
Mainspring by Jay Lake, ISBN: 0765356368
The Osiris Ritual by George Mann, ISBN: 190672704X
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher, ISBN: 0451458443
The Drowning City by Amanda Downum, ISBN: 1841498149
Sturmwelten - Unter schwarzen Segeln by Christoph Hardebusch, ISBN: 3453523970
Best Served Cold, Joe Abercrombie, ISBN: 0575082453
The Loch, Steve Alten, ISBN: 076536302X
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, ISBN: 0297855557
Bloodheir by Brian Ruckley, ISBN: 0316067709
Human Nature by Jonathan Green, ISBN: 1905437862
Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan, ISBN: 031602029X
A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin, ISBN: 1841497339
The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe, ISBN: 0765362031
The Edge of Reason by Melinda Snodgrass, ISBN: 0765354209
Flood by Stephen Baxter, ISBN: 0575080582
The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick, ISBN: 0575081783
Twelve by Jasper Kent, ISBN: 0593060644
Acacia: Macht und Verrat by David Anthony Durham, ISBN: 3442244943
Fallen by Tim Lebbon, ISBN: 0749079983
The Kingdom Beyond the Waves by Stephen Hunt, ISBN: 0007232217
The Mirrored Heavens by David J. Williams, ISBN: 0553591568
Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton, ISBN: 0230712584
Midwinter by Matthew Sturges, ISBN: 1591027349
Terror by Dan Simmons, ISBN: 3453406133
Whitechapel Gods by S.M.Peters, ISBN: 0451461932
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson, ISBN: 0765356147
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, ISBN: 0765356139
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, ISBN: 0765360969
The Flaxen Femme Fatale by John Zakour, ISBN: 075640519X
The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett, ISBN: 0007276141
The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, ISBN: 0345314255
Callander Square by Anne Perry, ISBN: 0449209997
Blood and Ice by Robert Masello, ISBN: 0553807285
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, ISBN: 0061712825
Das Schwert der Vorhersehung by Andrzej Sapkowski, ISBN: 3423210699
Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky, ISBN: 0230704131
Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti, ISBN: 0809572567
Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, ISBN: 0451458125
Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson, ISBN: 0553819577
The Secret War by M.F.W. Curran, ISBN: 0230711189
Leviathan Rising by Jonathan Green, ISBN: 1905437609
El Sombre by Al Ewing, ISBN: 190543734X
The Affinity Bridge by George Mann, ISBN: 1905005881
Getting Old is a Disaster by Rita Lakin, ISBN: 0440243882
Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead, ISBN: 1595543295
World's End by Mark Chadbourn, ISBN: 1857989805
Chronicles of The Black Company( contains The Black Company, Shadows Linger,The White Rose) by Glen Cook, ISBN: 1595543295

Depending on how you count an omnibus I read either 64 or 62 books.
I reviewed 14 of these books. And this is the base for my 2009 Top Reads list

Where I did not get into but finished the book
There are four books where I either could not connect to or my expectations have been to high.

Whitechapel Gods by S.M.Peters, ISBN: 0451461932
To be honest I really like steampunk.
Unfortunately this book didn't work for me. There have been passages I liked and others which totally confused me. I couldn't find the rhythm of the book. I also had problems with the style of the author.

The Edge of Reason by Melinda Snodgrass, ISBN: 0765354209
That was a new experience for me.
I really liked the first half of the book. But then there was a cut and within some sentences I totally lost contact to the main characters. I tried to connect again until the end but it was in vain.

The Drowning City by Amanda Downum, ISBN: 1841498149
I bought the book because I liked the cover AND the blurb.
I finished the book with very mixed feelings. The depiction of the world was above-average. I liked the prose too. But I totally failed to connect with the characters and the story. It was like sitting on a cloud and look what people are doing without any emotion. A thing which happens very seldom to me.
And I must admit that I'm not curious to read the next book in the series.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman, ISBN: 0099534444
A book about teenagers with a talent for magic in a fantasy world. I found it sometimes boring.
I expected a darker version of Harry Potter. I could not connect to the characters.
For me this is definitely a book which either like or dislike. No book for me.

What I liked in 2009 or A Top Ten with more than ten books
What would my list looks like when I would use a picture to describe? An Imperial Orb. Surprised?
Here is my explanation. I have one book of the year and bagful beneath. Except the named exceptions I was really happy with the choice of books I read in 2009. So when you want to see a real top ten then you must visit other blogs.....

On top of my Imperial Orb and therefore my book of the year:
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, ISBN: 0765318415
I was a steampunk fan before. But now I'm a steampunk fan AND a Cherie Priest fan. From my point of view she found her calling.

Viva La Steampunk! Viva Cherie Priest!
For more information read my review

Now open the body of the Imperial Orb. All the following books deserve to be mentioned here because they are responsible for hours and hours of reading pleasure. You will mention it is a smorgasbord. Every book has its charm, allure and of course advantage. Let me explain. There are books where I especially love the main characters and/or the world set in and/or the magic system and/or the prose of the author and/or the rythm of the book and/or the story itself and/or the intricacy and/or the atmosphere and/or the weapons and/or the machines and/or a series on the whole. So these books have a lot of them. And not to forget there is no order.....

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson, ISBN: 0553819577
Terror by Dan Simmons, ISBN: 3453406133
Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton, ISBN: 0230712584
Colours in the Steel by K.J. Parker, ISBN: 1857236106
Lamentation by Ken Scholes,ISBN: 0765360918
The Silver Skull by Mark Chadbourn, ISBN: 1591027837
Burn Me Deadly by Alex Bledsoe, ISBN: 0765322218
The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe, ISBN: 0765362031
Ark by Stephen Baxter, ISBN: 0575080590
Flood by Stephen Baxter, ISBN: 0575080582
The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick, ISBN: 0575081783
The Rats and the Ruling Sea by Robert V.S. Redick, ISBN: 0575081813
The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett, ISBN: 0007276141
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson, ISBN: 0765356147
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, ISBN: 0765356139
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, ISBN: 0765360969
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, ISBN: 0297855557
Best Served Cold, Joe Abercrombie, ISBN: 0575082453
The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd, ISBN: 0575079266

What I missed in 2009
I have had a dream. The dream to read following books within 2009.
Sasha (2009) [US][UK], by Joel Shepherd
A Magic of Twilight (2008, 547 p.) [US][UK], by S. L. Farrell
Wolfbreed (2009) [US] [UK] by S. A. Swann
The Lies of Locke Camora (2006) [US] [UK], by Scott Lynch
The Curse of the Mistwraith (1993) [US] [UK], by Janny Wurts
Furies of Calderon (2004) [US] [UK],by Jim Butcher
A Shadow in Summer (2006) [US] [UK],by Daniel Abraham
The Stormcaller (2006, 493 p.) [US][UK], by Tom Loyd
The Belly of the Bow (1999) [US] [UK] , by K. J. Parker
The Darkness That Comes Before (2003) [US] [UK], by Scott Bakker
and Drood (2009) [US] [UK] by Dan Simmons which mentioned before.In the meantime I read the first xx pages and I can tell you that is just what I expected. I can understand that there will be people who won't like it.

A Plan, A Plan! What I would like to read in 2010
First of all I want to read the books I mentioned before. Then I want to read the whole (nine books so far) Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson - one book per month starting in January 2010. For information visit Steven Erikson's website and the awesome fan site Malazan Empire. Beside this I will reread the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series (four books) by Tad Williams. For more information visit Tad Williams website.
A quick calculation. 11 books plus 9 books plus 4 books equals 24 books. I want to read 5 books per months. 5 books multiplied by 12 months equals 60 books. So I want to read 60 books in 2010. 24 are reserved. Final calculation 60 books minus 24 books equals 36 books. That means I have the "free" choice of another 36 books to read. Really? No! Why? Because there are books which I ordered in advance and I know that I want to read them. There is no specific order. I chose just 20 from my list which of course contains more. Here we go:

First of all let me say that the list also contains books from 2009 because I buy mainly paperbacks. But the first book of the list I will definitely buy in hardcover.

I'm sanguine that I will get the opportunity to read A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin within 2010.
Call me pollyanna....

I know a lot of people can't wait to read The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, ISBN: 0575081420 which is part two of the Kingkiller Chronicles.

And it is the same with The Desert Spear by Peter V.Brett, ISBN: 0007276189 which is part two of the Demon Trilogy.
Following two books are part of the PAX BRITANNIA series.
Blood Royal by Jonathan Green, ISBN: 1906735302
and Dark Side by Jonathan Green, ISBN: 1906735409
This is the third book of the Newbury & Hobbes Investigations series:
The Immorality Engine by George Mann, ISBN: 1906727185
"Newbury has sunk further into his opium addiction, fueled in part by what he sees as Veronica's betrayal and his inability to confront her on the matter of her relationship with the Queen. However, when the body of a well known criminal turns up, Bainbridge and Veronica manage to track Newbury down, lounging in an opium den, and drag him out to help them with the case. Things are not as they at first seem. The body is clearly, irrefutably, that of the man in question, but whilst the body was in the morgue a crime has been committed that bears all the hallmarks of the dead man. The criminal is a compulsive (OCD), and they fear someone is committing copycat crimes. But Newbury is not sure. Somehow, the detail is too perfect for it to be a copycat. But how can a dead man commit a crime? Investigations draw a connection between the dead criminal and The Bastion Society, a group of rich society gentlemen with a shared fascination in the occult. On the surface these men appear to be nothing but amateurs and hoaxers, but it soon becomes clear that there are more sinister machinations at work behind the scenes. They are obsessed with the worship of the dead. And all the while, the dead man continues to commit crimes around the city. Eventually, it all comes back to Dr. Lucius Fabian, personal physician to the Queen and Head of the Grayling Institute, the place where Amelia Hobbes, the clairvoyant sister of Veronica, was installed at the behest of the Queen during the latter chapters of The Osiris Ritual. Newbury and Veronica pay a visit to the Institute, and are appalled to discover what has become of Amelia. She is lashed into a terrible machine which induces seizures, over and over, forcing her to predict the future for the good of the Empire. And more, the Institute contains secrets that could shatter the Empire. But the key to the mystery is here, also. For Fabian has constructed a machine that makes a facsimile of a person, weaving an exact copy of them in a tank. The machine is incomplete, however, and the copy lacks the spark of life. The hearts of these creations are still and dead. The plans for this machine have been stolen, however, and The Bastion Society have funded a machine to be built. The body of the criminal that was found is clearly not the original, who is still at large. But what do The Bastion Society want with these artificial cadavers? And how can Newbury and Veronica help to free Amelia from her terrible fate? And then the even bigger question - can they ever trust each other again? All of this - along with Newbury's opium addiction - will come to a head, and by the end, Newbury & Veronica's relationship will never be the same again." [Source]

Next book, same author, new series:
The Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann, ISBN: 1906727161
"1926. New York. The Roaring Twenties. Jazz. Flappers. Prohibition. Coal-powered cars. A cold war with a British Empire that still covers half of the globe. Yet things have developed differently to established history. America is in the midst of a cold war with a British Empire that has only just buried Queen Victoria, her life artificially preserved to the age of 107. Coal-powered cars roar along roads thick with pedestrians, biplanes take off from standing with primitive rocket boosters and monsters lurk behind closed doors and around every corner. This is a time in need of heroes. It is a time for The Ghost. A series of targeted murders are occurring all over the city, the victims found with ancient Roman coins placed on their eyelids after death. The trail appears to lead to a group of Italian-American gangsters and their boss, who the mobsters have dubbed 'The Roman'. However, as The Ghost soon discovers, there is more to The Roman than at first appears, and more bizarre happenings that he soon links to the man, including moss-golems posing as mobsters and a plot to bring an ancient pagan god into the physical world in a cavern beneath the city. As The Ghost draws nearer to The Roman and the center of his dangerous web, he must battle with foes both physical and supernatural and call on help from the most unexpected of quarters if he is to stop The Roman and halt the imminent destruction of the city." [Source]

Following two books are part of the Terra Incognita series.
The Edge of the World by Kevin J. Anderson, ISBN: 0316004187
"War has raged for twenty years between the Broekari and the Aidenists. Divided by their worship of different gods - each sons of the Creator, Ondun - it seems likely that the war will never end. But then the Aidenists make a startling discovery. A merchant ship, sailing the very edge of the world, hauls aboard a large sea turtle. Inscribed upon its shell is an ancient map - a map that seems to show the way to paradise: the lost kingdom of Holy Joron, the third son of Ondun. Across the world, an ancient parchment is unearthed by the Broekari. This parchment also shows a map - a map that points the way to the Key of Creation, and thus to the kingdom of Holy Joron. And so the race is joined. Will the children of the sons of Ondun finally find peace in the fabled lost kingdom? Or will they take the hatred and death of two decades at war to paradise...?" [Source]
The Map of All Things by Kevin J. Anderson, ISBN: 0316004219
"After terrible atrocities by both sides, the religious war between Tierra and Uraba has spread and intensified, irreparably dividing the known world. What started as a series of skirmishes has erupted into a full-blown crusade.
Now that the Uraban leader, Soldan-Shah Omra, has captured the ruined city of Ishalem, his construction teams discover a priceless ancient map in an underground vault - a map that can guide brave explorers to the mysterious Key to Creation. Omra dispatches his adoptive son Saan to sail east across the uncharted Middlesea on a quest to find it.
In Tierra, Captain Criston Vora has built a grand new vessel, and sets out to explore the great unknown and find the fabled land of Terravitae. But Criston cannot forget his previous voyage that ended in shipwreck and disaster . . . and the loss of his beloved wife Adrea, who - unbeknownst to him - fights to survive against palace intrigues and constant threats against her life in far-off Uraba. For Adrea is now the wife of the soldan-shah and mother of his adopted son . . .
The Map of All Things continues Kevin J Anderson's epic fantasy of sailing ships, crusading armies, sea monsters and enchanted islands." [Source]

2010 will also be a year of challenges. For the first time I will get a copy of a book in two languages: English and German. I will read both and compare them. The German edition will be published in fall 2010. And this is the book: Spellwright (2010) [US] [UK] , by Blake Charlton which will get different covers in US (left) and UK (right).

And what is Spellwright about? Nosey? Then visit Blake Charlton's site and/or visit the mentioned links....

As a fan of steampunk I can't resist to order this book. And to my pleasure it is the first book of a series.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, ISBN: 1847386741
"It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.
Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever." [Source]

I have been intrigued since I read the blurb of this book:
Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts, ISBN: 0575083585
"Russia, 1946, the Nazis recently defeated. Stalin gathers half a dozen of the top Soviet science fiction authors in a dacha in the countryside somewhere. Convinced that the defeat of America is only a few years away, and equally convinced that the Soviet Union needs a massive external threat to hold it together, to give it purpose and direction, he tells the writers: 'I want you to concoct a story about aliens poised to invade earth ... I want it to be massively detailed, and completely believable. If you need props and evidence to back it up, then we can create them. But when America is defeated, your story must be so convincing that the whole population of Soviet Russia believes in it--the population of the whole world!' The little group of writers gets down to the task and spends months working on it. But then new orders come from Moscow: they are told to drop the project; Stalin has changed his mind; forget everything about it. So they do. They get on with their lives in their various ways; some of them survive the remainder of Stalin's rule, the changes of the 50s and 60s. And then, in the aftermath of Chernobyl, the survivors gather again, because something strange has started to happen. The story they invented in 1946 is starting to come true ... A typically mind-blowing SF novel from one of the genre's literary stars." [Source]
I read the first time about this book in September over at Pyr-o-mania.
Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk, ISBN: 0575096012
"In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples.
Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last victim, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. But in this fight for his life, Caim only trusts his knives and his instincts, but they won't be enough when his quest for justice leads him from Othir's hazardous back alleys to its shining corridors of power. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow's Son...." [Source]

Since I read Aidan's post the following book is on my list. And it is part of the Chronicles of Siala series.
Shadow Prawler by Alexey Pehov, ISBN: 1847375634.
"After centuries of calm, the Nameless One is stirring.
An army is gathering; thousands of giants, ogres, and other creatures are joining forces from all across the Desolate Lands, united, for the first time in history, under one, black banner. By the spring, or perhaps sooner, the Nameless One and his forces will be at the walls of the great city of Avendoom.
Unless Shadow Harold, master thief, can find some way to stop them.
Epic fantasy at its best, Shadow Prowler is the first in a trilogy that follows Shadow Harold on his quest for a magic Horn that will restore peace to the Kingdom of Siala. Harold will be accompanied on his quest by an Elfin princess, Miralissa, her elfin escort, and ten Wild Hearts, the most experienced and dangerous fighters in their world.and by the king's court jester (who may be more than he seems - or less)." [Source]

Bookman by Lavie Tidhar, ISBN: 0007346581
"A masked terrorist has brought London to its knees - there are bombs inside books, and nobody knows which ones. On the day of the launch of the first expedition to Mars, by giant cannon, he outdoes himself with an audacious attack. For young poet Orphan, trapped in the screaming audience, it seems his destiny is entwined with that of the shadowy terrorist, but how? Like a steam-powered take on V for Vendetta, rich with satire and slashed through with automatons, giant lizards, pirates, airships and wild adventure, The Bookman is the first of a series." [Source]

Heart of Veridon by Tim Akers, ISBN: 1844167593
"Heart of Veridon is the first book in the Burn Cycle. Jacob Burn is a disgraced airship pilot, and a man augmented by strange implants designed to keep him alive in combat conditions.An exiled son of nobility, he now makes his own way in the criminal underworld of Veridon, the City of Cog. But soon Jacob finds himself caught in a conspiracy of sabotage and murder between the government and the church, a mystery that stretches back into the roots of the city of Veridon itself."[Source]

I'm a big fan of the Fantastic Fiction website. In 2008 I found following book over there and added it to my never ending book list. And then I lost sight of it. But when I checked my list for 2010 book orders I added it immediately. When everything goes well I will buy and read it in July 2010.
A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans, ISBN: 1416570527. This is book one of the Iron Elves series.
"We do not fear the flame, though it burns us,
We do not fear the fire, though it consumes us,
And we do not fear its light,
Though it reveals the darkness of our souls,
For therein lies our power.
-- Blood Oath of the Iron Elves

First in a stunning debut series, A Darkness Forged in Fire introduces an unforgiving world of musket and cannon...bow and arrow...magic, diplomacy, and oaths -- each wielding terrible power in an Empire teetering on the brink of war.
In this world, Konowa Swift Dragon, former commander of the Empire's elite Iron Elves, is looked upon as anything but ordinary. He's murdered a Viceroy, been court-martialed, seen his beloved regiment disbanded, and finally been banished in disgrace to the one place he despises the most -- the forest.
Now, all he wants is to be left alone with his misery...but for Konowa, nothing is ever that simple. The mysterious and alluring Visyna Tekoy, the highborn daughter of an elfkynan governor, seeks him out in the dangerous wild with a royal decree that he resume his commission as an officer in Her Majesty's Imperial Army, effective immediately.
For in the east, a falling Red Star heralds the return of a magic long vanished from the earth. Rebellion grows within the Empire as a frantic race to reach the Star unfolds. It is a chance for Konowa to redeem himself -- even if the entire affair appears doomed to be a suicide mission...
and that the soldiers recruited for the task are not at all what he expects. And worse, his key adversary in the perilous race for the Star is the dreaded Shadow Monarch -- a legendary elf-witch whose machinations for absolute domination spread deeper than Konowa could ever imagine...." [Source]

The publishing date of following book is unknown but the description is mouth watering:
Burton & Swinburne in The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
"It is 1861, and the British Empire is in the grip of conflicting forces. Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labour; Libertines oppose restrictive and unjust laws and flood the country with propaganda demanding a society based on beauty and creativity; while The Rakes push the boundaries of human behaviour to the limits with magic, sexuality, drugs and anarchy.
Returning from his failed expedition to find the source of the Nile, explorer, linguist, scholar and swordsman Sir Richard Francis Burton finds himself sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, employs him as “King's Spy.” His first mission: to investigate the sexual assaults committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack; to find out why chimney sweeps are being kidnapped by half-man, half-dog creatures; and to discover the whereabouts of his badly injured ex-friend (and new enemy), John Hanning Speke.
Accompanied by the diminutive and pain-loving poet, Algernon Swinburne, Burton's investigations lead him back to one of the defining events of the age: the brutal assassination of Queen Victoria in 1840; and the terrifying possibility that the world he inhabits shouldn't exist at all!" [Source]

The last but one is a crime story with funny elements and of course part of a series. It is about a gang of female private eyes and none of them is younger than 75:
Getting old is Tres Dangereux by Rita Lakin, ISBN: 0440245427

And finally one book from a German author. It is the third book in a series. Islands, ships, magic, mystery and secrets.
Sturmwelten - Jenseits der Drachenküste von Christoph Hardebusch, ISBN: 3453523989


2009 Posts
Time for some stats. I started with my first Weekly Roundup on May 22nd. In total I posted 32 Roundups. On July 20th I posted my first review. In total I posted 14 reviews. Beside this I wrote 18 other posts including this one. That means in sum 54 posts in seven and a half month.
That is a lot more than I expected. Sometimes it was a challenge. But in the end I have had a lot of fun and I won't miss it.

2009 Missed Posts
I wanted to write and post more reviews. Anyway I think 14 reviews since May are not that bad.
Alec and I started with the Butcher's bill: Monthly read. We still have the drafts for November and December.That was really sad. But I hope we will reanimate this monthly post.

2010 Post Plan
Of course I will continue with my Weekly Roundup and the posting day will be still Saturday.
But I want to start a second weekly post. Depending on the time left for preparation it will be either a review or thoughts to about a specific topic. And the posting day will be Friday. It is a challenge but I want to try.


2009 Movies
I watched several movies in 2009. But there are two which really impressed me and which I love:

First one is Avatar.A lot have been written about this movie. I'm glad that I watched 3D version a week ago. I'm still impressed. A symphony of colors and more. Even I posted it before, enjoy the three minute take:

And this is the extended trailer

The second one is WATCHMEN. Zack Snyder did an extraordinary job with this movie based on the graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore (ISBN: 0930289234) - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED . I still remember when I saw the following trailer with the smashing pumpkins song: the beginning is the end is the beginning....

No post without quote. This is my favorite watchmen quote by Rorschach:
"None of you seem to understand, I'm not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with me!"

2010 Movies
There are several movies which I definitely want to see in 2010. I present you four.....

The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus
A film full of imagination. A man and his business with the devil....

Sherlock Holmes

If you want to know more about the famous detective then visit the Official Sherlock Holmes website.

Alice in Wonderland
Is there anyone out there who never heard or read about Alice in Wonderland? I can't wait to see this movie directed by Tim Burton and with Johnny Depp as Mad The Hatter..... This is the Official Alice in Wonderland movie site. And like Avatar it will be shown in 3D.....
"19-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror." [Source]

The Wolfman
This is an remake of a classic horror film from 1941. And both use the same name.....


Pain In Your Neck

I posted about The David Gemmell Legend Award in Roundup #45 and Roundup #50 and Roundup #51 and Roundup52#. I reviewed The Island (2009, 416 p.) [US][UK], by Tim Lebbon for the DGLA. You will find more reviews over there which should give people more information about the nominated books.
As I mentioned in Roundup #45 there are two new Awards this year.
One of them is the The Morningstar Award for the best debut novel. You want to know who has been nominated? No problem. Here are the candidates:

Lamentation - Ken Scholes (Tor US)
Servant of a Dark God - John Brown (Tor US)
Blood of Ambrose - James Enge (PYR)
Midwinter - Matthew Sturges (PYR)
The Drowning City - Amanda Downum (Orbit)
The Dwarves - Markus Heitz (Orbit)
The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart - Jesse Bullington (Orbit)
The Cardinals’ Blades - Pierre Pevel (Gollancz)
The Adamantine Palace - Stephen Deas (Gollancz)

Nine nominations and I read four of them: Lamentation, Midwinter, The Drowning City and The Dwarves.
And I voted for Lamentation by Ken Scholes.

The poll is open!
Before you vote, take the opportunity to meet interesting people, talk about fantasy books, share your opinions in a friendly fantasy atmosphere, support your favorite book and SIGN IN:

Visit The David Gemmell Legend Awards

Hope to meet you soon over at The David Gemmell Legend Award ...............

Flattery Honest words
For me 2009 was a year with a lot of highlights and some negative spots.
There are many people who deserve flattery. But this term has a negative touch. So I replaced it by honest words.
Don't worry I will not deliver a speech but I want to kudos my family, blogger, authors, publishers and readers for your/their patience, inspiration and support. Without you blogging would be worthless.
Please apologize for not listing each single name. It would be a long list. But I want to single out one person:
bloggeratf aka Alec Coquin. He provided me the opportunity to be part of this blog and supported my first steps. We live on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite this fact we developed a great teamwork. Alec, let's rock 2010!

Now let's bury 2009 and give birth to 2010 ..... HAPPY NEW YEAR and always a bagful books beside you

2010 Starter Kit
I'm sure you didn't what to expect.
Drum roll............. It is time for a revelation: I watch........

30 December, 2009

Review: The Island, by Tim Lebbon

The Island (2009, 416 p.) [US][UK], by Tim Lebbon is the fourth book to be set in the world of Noreela. And for me this was the second visit to Noreela after Fallen (2008, 416 p.) [US][UK]. It is not mandatory to read the other books before except you miss good stories and more information of the world of Noreela.
I received the copy of the book through the kindness of The David Gemmell Legend Award. For details please read Bona Fide: Weekly Roundup #50.
I will write two versions of the review. One with Bona and Fide because they belong to this blog. The other one will be for the DGLA without Bona and Fide.

The Setup

Pavmouth Breaks is a fishing village on the western shores of Noreela. Near the village at Drakemen's Hill lives a woodcarver. His name is Kel Boon and he keeps a secret. He is a runaway of the Core, a hidden society fighting against an enemy known as the Strangers. And there is Namior Feeron, a young witch and his love. Everything goes well until the "Island" arrives.....

My Take in Brief

The story is told from a third point of view but the reader is not the omniscient observer. We follow most of the time the two main characters: Kel Boon and Namior Feeron. Kel is confronted with his past and Namior suspects that he is more than just a woodcarver. Tim Lebbon does not loose much time to confront the inhabitants of Pavmouth Breaks and the reader with the "Island". Menacing, mysterious, so near, yet so far away appears the isle - a legacy of a tsunami which shook the village to the core. Due to his past that cause Kel's distrust.
Tim Lebbon takes us along on a travel through Kel's doubts and the renaissance of his fighting spirit. And he shows us surrounded by darkness the power of love. In the end it is a strong adventure with just one aim: Survival.
The story is a bagful of horror, fantasy, steampunk, science fiction and mystery. You find swords, crossbows, machines driven either by magic or steam, witches and wraiths. Sorry, no dragons. Tim Lebbon brewed a strong story by mixing genres which is also interesting for readers beyond fantasy. And I must admit there are passages which sent cold shivers up and down my spine.

The pace of the story is like hunt. Run - take breath and check the scent - run - and so on until the end.
That means a constant pace with fortunately some stops so you can go to the smallest room in the house.
The prose is like a good ale running down your throat.

This book is like a magnifying glass which shows as another part of Noreela and the life of its inhabitants.

The story starts with a bang and ends with a bang. There are still open questions and I instantly hope that Tim Lebbon will continue the story around Kel Boon, Namior Feeron and the Strangers.

Bona Fide's Book Oracle

What is Bona Fide's Book Oracle? To keep it short. It is a palaver about the reviewed book held by ediFanoB and his alter ego Bona Fide. And I am the keeper of the minutes. Now read my minutes.

Bona:"Hey Fide, this is our last meeting." Fide:"You're joking or I'm in heaven." Bona:"The last meeting in 2009. You won't get rid of me. Back to the book. Let's spend some days at Noreela's seaside." Fide:"Are you crazy? Did you forget what we have read?!" Bona:"Come on you yellow-belly! That was a notional real travel guide. As true as a Brother's Grimm tale." Fide:"You remember that Kel Boon spent his life as a woodcarver in Pavmouth Breaks. Tim Lebbon is spending his life as a writer and he use paper. Woodcarver=Writer; Wood=Paper; Kel Boon=Tim Lebbon. You understand that is a part of a autobiography!!" Bona:"That is nonsense! You nutcase! The Island is a virile fantasy book." Fide:"I can't believe. Everything is so real. Since I read the book I avoid travels to the seaside. For me the Island itself is a mix of Isla Nublar and The Island of DoctorMoreau. And it gives me the creep!" Bona:"Stop it! Stop it! When talk any longer about this book I will get more nightmares. I need to be alert to survive. I'm afraid there are Strangers among us..." Fide:"Why do you look so strange? What do you want to do with the knive? Don't touch my back....Heeeeeeeeeeeeelp!!!" Bona:"Don't make a fuss! I must assure myself that you kjljljlljijfdefefggr [censored due to spoiler]." Fide:"I'm definitely aefgttlawetrj4wktw [censored due to spoiler]". Bona:"Hey, keeper I said kjljljlljijfdefefggr and you write kjljljlljijfdefefggr." Fide:"Help!Help! Help! He is censoring us!" Bona:"We need your help you brave reader in the front of the screen." Fide:"Yes! Read the book and share the truth about The Island..."
I'm the keeper of the minutes.I'm innocent. I would never censor Bona and Fide. What's that? What happens to my nose? It's getting longer....

Read the book. Find out the truth about The Island. You won't regret if you like a bagful of horror, fantasy, steampunk, science fiction and mystery.

More Tim Lebbon

For more information about the author and his books click on following links: Tim Lebbon website, Tim Lebbon on Twitter.

26 December, 2009

Bona Fide: Weekly Roundup #52

Hello and welcome to the last Roundup in 2009. You may think I'm crazy to write a post on December 25th. Maybe... Anyway I got the "permission" from my wife to do it. I need to do it. Otherwise I would feel incomplete.
But I restricted myself. It is not that long as usual. And now enjoy reading....

Bona Fide's Menu

  1. Delivery of the week: Demon's Bane by David Douglas
  1. The David Gemmell Legend Award
  2. Temple Library Reviews: Comic Book Appreciation Month
  3. Avatar
  1. Les Aventures Extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec
  2. Robin Hood
  1. No German proverbs, sayings and idioms this week


I stay in contact with David Douglas, a man of many talents. He made his dream come through. His first book has been published. David has been so kind to send me a copy of Demon's Bane (2009, 278 p.) [DE][US][UK]. You may ask why there are three sources. David's mother tongue is English but he lives in Germany. I read the first chapter and liked it. Therefore I promised David to review his book. I will read and review it after Christmas. So come back next week. Before I give you more information about the content let me bring up that the cover design of the book and the included map has been done by the author himself. And David did not forget to add an appendix with the cast of characters. The front cover illustration has been done by J. W. Parente. So what is the book about?
"Senn Morel livesin fear of demons. But when they butcher his clan and possess his mother, he vows to use his newfound magic to take vengeance on these demon spirits that have invaded his world.
Lieh Morel is along for the ride, possessed by a bloodthirsty killer. As Lieh's captor demons chase her son across the continent of Kartus, using her magic to wreak havoc along the way, she hopes to avoid a violent confrontation that could kill them both.
The demon Xiuhcoatl is an experienced kidnapper, working for the lord of demons - Senn's father. As he aids Lieh's possessors in tracking down Senn, he learns that not alldemons spirit think the same way about their return to the physical world.
Demon's Bane follow the Morels on the high seas, across rolling plains, and through thick forests in a thrilling tale filled with romance and betrayal. But the real question is, who will take control of Kartus... and who will end up dead?" [Source: Back of the book]
For more information about the author and the book check out the official site.


I posted about The David Gemmell Legend Award in Roundup #45 and Roundup #50 and Roundup #51. Last week I talked about The Island (2009, 416 p.) [US][UK], by Tim Lebbon, which I will review for the DGLA. I read 110 pages so far and I like it. Expect my review within next week. Last week I wrote the poll will open on Boxing day. Please apologize. That was wrong. Poll will open on December 26th - which means today!!
Interested in fantasy books? Then take the opportunity to meet interesting people, talk about fantasy books, share your opinions in a friendly fantasy atmosphere, support your favorite book and SIGN IN:

Visit The David Gemmell Legend Awards

Hope to meet you soon over at The David Gemmell Legend Award ...............

Temple Library Reviews: Comic Book Appreciation Month
Harry Markov, the busy like an ant guy behind Temple Library Reviews, declared January 2010 for his Comic Book Appreciation Month!! Harry explained in detail the reasons for it. When you follow his blog regularly then you know you can expect a lot!! The Comic Book Appreciation Month will start on January 1st and will end on January 31st 2010. Don't miss it!! If you are interested in comics or you want to have a look then give it a go. Did you recognize the five logos? All done by Harry for his first appreciation month. He must love comics!!

I mean Avatar the movie. I know a lot of people criticized that this kind of story has been told so often. But to be honest have you ever seen before an other world in pictures like these? The nice people of at Dark Roasted Blend did a fine job and collected 10 Possible Sources of "Avatar" in Classic Science Fiction and I think it is worth reading.


Les Aventures Extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec
This is a French comic by artist Jacques Tardi which is settled in Paris around 1910. And Adèle Blanc-Sec is the tough heroine. Now French film Director Luc Besson is working on an Adèle Blanc-Sec movie. Have a look at the first teaser. It is in French but you don't nedd language skills for understanding. I hope the movie will find his way out of France.... For more information visitthe official site.

And not forget to say thank you to the good guys over at Steampunkopedia, who have knack for finding all these trailers.

Robin Hood
Yes, there is one more actor who wants to act as the famous hero of Sherwood Forest: Russell Crowe in a Ridley Scott movie. Watch the first trailer:

To be honest for me exist only one Robin Hood. Watch the following trailer. Still worth after all these years...


This week no German proverbs, sayings and idioms. Bona is going traditional...: Christmas quotes

" Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal."
Lenore Hershey

" A turkey never voted for an early Christmas."
Irish proverb

" Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...
Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976

" At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year
Thomas Tusser

25 December, 2009

Bona Fide: Christmas Presents 2009

Celebration of Christmas season around the world differs. For detailed information please read Christmas Worldwide. In Germany we celebrate Christmas Eve on December 24th. Then we get our present - if you have been well-behaved through the year. It seems I have been well-behaved because my wife and my daughter made me happy with following books:

Sometimes I would be good to read the details. So I got a novel instead of a graphic novel. Nevertheless I will enjoy The Ice Wolves (2009, 251 p.) [US][UK], by Mark Chadbourn. I'm a fan of Hellboy since I watched the movies.
"It is the time of the Black Sun. In every corner of the world, the wolves calling to each other. Mysterious slayings are on the rise. Locked in mortal bodies, the primal monsters rise from depth of the unconscious and turn their rage towards America...
For Hellboy, it's a race against time to prevent a devastating wave of savagery from engulfing the globe. And so he is drawn to Boston's Beacon Hill and the Grant Mansion - believed to be the most haunted house in New England - where the truth may lie buried.
As an unnatural arctic winter brings the city to a halt, Hellboy realizes the house itself is a puzzle he must solve to uncover the ten-thousand-year-old mystery.
Hellboy is trapped between malign spirits within and an ancient bestial evil without... and the BlackSun is about to rise." [Source: Back of the book]
It seems to be the right book when you think of the "snow" reports from Washington D.C. ....

So I started with a "wolf book" and I continue with a "wolf book". I'm a big fan of the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb. I have been really impressed by the relationship between Fitz and his wolf Nighteye. Then I discovered Through Wolf's Eyes (2001, 579 p.) [US][UK], by Jane Lindskolm, put on my list and now it is on my shelf. This is the first book of the six book Wolf series.
"Firekeeper only vaguely remembers a time when she didn't live with her "family", a pack of "royal wolves" - bigger, stronger, and smarter than normal wolves. Now her pack leaders are sending her back to live among the humans, as they promised her mother years ago.
Some of the humans think she may be the lost heir to their throne. This could be good - and it could be very, very dangerous. In the months to come, learning to behave like a human will turn out to be more complicated than she'd ever imagined.
But though human ways might be stranger than anything found in the forest, the infightung in the human'spack is nothing Firekeeper hasn't seen before.That, she understands just fine. She'snot your standard-issue princess - and this is not your standard-issue fairy tale." [Source: Back of the book]
To be honest that sounds very promising for me...

And now to something completely different. End of August 2009 I read Liz's review of Book Of Secrets (2009, 363 p.) [US][UK], by Chris Roberson. I left following comment:
"What a mouth-watering review! Of course I added the book to my list."
Now the book is on my shelf. It is a book about a book and more....
"Reporter Spencer Finch is embroiled in the hunt for a missing book, encountering along the way cat burglars and mobsters, hackers and monks. At the same time, he’s trying to make sense of the legacy left him by his late grandfather, a chest of what appear to be magazines from the golden age of pulp fiction, and even earlier
Following his nose, Finch gradually uncovers a mystery involving a lost Greek play, secret societies, generations of masked vigilantes… and an entire secret history of mankind." [Source]
Read the review and you may understand why I wanted this book.

Only four books left and they all belong together. I read the German edition of the books more than ten years ago. Since two years I'm thinking about to reread them in English. I put the books on my Christmas wish list and instantly hoped that I will get them. Of course I murmured every day again and again: "I want these books, I want these books, I want these books, ...." I have been successful! I got them! Did I mention that I talk about the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series by Tad Williams? I posted about my wish in Weekly Roundup #44. At this time I only presented you the cover of book one. But this time I will show you all four covers of the new paperback edition by orbit.uk. In US you can get these edition via bookdepository.com. Just follow the links.

Book one: The Dragonbone Chair (2009) [US][UK]:
"THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR is the story of Simon, a young kitchen boy and magician's apprentice, whose dreams of great deeds and heroic wars come all too shockingly true when his world is torn apart by a terrifying civil war -- a war fueled by ancient hatreds, immortal enemies, and the dark powers of sorcery. In Osten Ard, a land once ruled by an elvishlike race known as the Sithi, the human High King is dying. And with his death, a long-dormant evil is unleashed on the land as the undead Sithi ruler, the Storm King, seeks to regain his lost realm through a pact with one of human royal blood. Driven by spell-inspired jealousy and fear, prince fights prince, while around them the very land begins to die, poisoned by a sorcerous force sworn to annihilate the humans whose ancestors had driven the Sithi from their rightful home long ages ago. Only a small, scattered group, the League of the Scroll, recognizes the true danger faced by Osten Ard, only they hold the knowledge of times past, of threats fulfilled, and of a riddle of swords, which holds out the one small hope of salvation. And to Simon -- unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, and unwittingly touched by magic both good and ill -- will go the task of spearheading the search for the solution to this riddle of long-lost swords of power, a quest that will see him fleeing and facing enemies straight out of a legend-maker's worst nightmare"[Source]

Book two: The Stone of Farewell (2009) [US][UK]:
"As the very land is blighted by the power of Ineluki's wrath, the tattered remnants of a once-proud human army flee in search of a last sanctuary and rallying point -- the Stone of Farewell, a place shrouded in mystery and ancient sorrow. And the widely scattered surviving members of the League of the Scroll desperately struggle to fulfill missions which will take them from the fallen citadels of humans to the hidden mountain caves of the Qanuc...across storm-tormented waters to discover the truth behind an almost-forgotten legend...through a forest alive with dangers no human could hope to brave...to the secret heartland of the Sithi, where the near-immortals must at last decide whether to ally with the race of men in a final war against those of their own blood...." [Source]
Book three: To Green Angel Tower has been split into two parts
"As the evil minions of the undead Sithi Storm King prepare for the kingdom-shattering culmination of their dark corceries and King Elias is drawn ever deeper into their nightmarish, spell-spun world, the loyal allies of Prince Josua desperately struggle to rally their forces at the Stone of Farewell. And with time running out, the remaining members of the now devestated League of the Scroll have also gathered there to unravel mysteries from the forgotten past. For if the League can reclain these age-old secrets of magic long-buried beneath the dusts of time, they may be able to reveal to Josua and his army the only means of striking down the unslayable foe.
But whether or not the League is successful in its quest, the call of battle will lead the valiant followers of Josua Lackhand across storm-tossed seas brimming with bloodthirsty kilpa...through forests swarming with those both mind- and soul-lost...through ancient caverns built by the legendary Dwarrows...to the haunted halls of Asu'a itself--the Sithi's greatest stronghold!" [Source]
Book three which is the first part of To Green Angel Tower: Siege (2009) [US][UK]cover on the left

Book four which is the second part of To Green Angel Tower: Storm (2009) [US][UK]cover on the right

To be honest I can't wait to return to Osten Ard in January 2010!

Now you know what I got to Christmas.

What's about you? Please leave a comment and tell me about your Christmas presents. In case you got money and you don't know what to buy, come back in a few days. I have reviews in progress....