The OF Blog: Early thoughts on two upcoming releases

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Early thoughts on two upcoming releases

This past week, I received two ARCs. The first was from Random House and it was Lord Tophet by Gregory Frost, which concludes the story began in Shadowbridge. The second ARC I received from Tobias Buckell himself and it is the third serial installment in his stories about Pepper and other Ragamuffins, Sly Mongoose. While I will not be writing formal reviews until closer to each book's release date (late July for the Frost and I believe sometime in August for Buckell's), I thought I'd give just a few teaser reactions to each, for those who are curious about each author.

Lord Tophet is a slender book, shorter even than the 270 pages or so Shadowbridge. However, much more is revealed in these pages and Leodora/Jax's stories play a much more prominent role, as there is a dark, destructive force striding the spans. Frost has a nice twist on our own legenda, some of which is referred to directly in places, and the climatic scene was done quite nicely. Lord Tophet almost certainly will get a positive review from me when I sit down to write the full review in 5-6 weeks.

I am about 2/3 into Sly Mongoose right now and am enjoying it quite a bit. Buckell continues to develop his characters and if I'm not mistaken, Sly Mongoose might be his most "political" novel to date, although I use that term in the loosest of senses; it is not didactic or "preachy." As in his earlier novels, Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin, there is an adolescent voice (Timas in this case) who serves as a focal point for the cultural conflicts that often are undercurrents in his novels. I have enjoyed those scenes in which Timas is the focal character and I have high hopes that the novel will conclude nicely, as right now the characterizations are better than in the previous novels and the pacing is smoother. It'll probably be two months before I sit down and write out all of my thoughts.

Hope these teasers will be enough for those who are curious about these two summer releases!

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