Kindle Spotlight: Novels on the Locus 2008 Recommended Reading List, Part 2

Previously we covered the science fiction and fantasy novels on the Locus 2008 Reading List; next up are the first novels and Young Adult novels (both SF and fantasy).

Note: if a Young Adult novel was also the first published novel for the author, it’s usually placed in the first novel category instead. But sometimes it’s not (such as Tender Morsels).

Yes, it would have been simpler to just have Fantasy/Science Fiction, except for all the ones that are between (like An Evil Guest), but then we wouldn’t have recognition of first novels or Y.A. Or something. I don’t know.

I think it would have been better to tag novels as first, Y.A, and/or SF/F, and then list the lot by author last name.

Anyways! Moving on.

First Novels

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Buy: Kindle Store

A girl marked from birth as a warrior, bestowed with the Grace—of a kind that lets her kill efficiently. A romance and a fantasy, featuring a strong main character who must reach beyond her isolation and come to terms with her power. ((From New on Kindle in October-November.))

As mentioned before, this book has quite a few positive reviews from top-ranked reviewers of the Amazon Vine program.

Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst

Buy: Kindle Store

An interesting mix of humor and supernatural police procedural with undead and teenage angst, Alive in Necropolis also has the honor of being listed as part of Amazon’s Best of the Month in July 2008.

Thunderer by Felix Gilman

Buy: Kindle Store

I think there should be a new fantasy sub-genre: wandering through the fantastical environs of a city. Before it used to be wandering through the fantastical environs of the outside; now you have authors exploring the inner-city life with a bizarreness that’s outside of your normal urban paranormal.

It must be something about a city that, for instance, drives The Engine, The Situation, etc., which I’ve not really seen in books that explore the wild outdoors.

Thunderer is another one of those. David Keck likens it to “Dickens, Miyazaki, and Jules Verne [sitting] down to dream up a metropolis and its wrangling multitudes.”

Black Ships by Jo Graham

Buy: Kindle Store

Set in the times of the Aeneid ((a la Le Guin’s Lavinia, also honored on the reading list for 2008.)) where an oracle sees black ships fleeing the the burning city of Troy, and Aeneus arriving to rescue those that can be saved. She sets out to join them in their adventures.

Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory

Buy: Kindle Store

Pandemonium is about the psychology behind possession. In Del’s world, human possession by entities like Hellion are documented medical cases; in his case, the Hellion came when he was 5 years old and never left. At 20, Del goes in search of an exorcist.

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway

Buy: Kindle Store

Pardon me while I just say… what an awful horrible cover. The publisher is Knopf, so there really isn’t an excuse.

Again with the bizarre city exploration sub-genre. (I actually do like that sort of thing.) I’ll let the first part of the Publisher’s Weekly summary do the work:

This unclassifiable debut from the son of legendary thriller author John le Carré is simultaneously a cautionary tale about the absurdity of war; a sardonic science fiction romp through Armageddon; a conspiracy-fueled mystery replete with ninjas, mimes and cannibal dogs; and a horrifying glimpse of a Lovecraftian near-future.

And that’s just one sentence.

The Cabinet of Wonders: The Kronos Chronicles: Book I by Marie Rutkoski

Buy: Kindle Store

A daughter goes to magical Prague, full of magicians and sorceresses and dangerous intrigue, to recover her father’s eyes, gouged out by a prince after creating a perfect mechanical clock and used as … well … royal eye-wear.

Young Adult

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Buy: Hardcover
Free: Feedbooks

Also part of Amazon’s Top 100 Editors’ Pick, Little Brother has much other acclaim and praise, and deserves it totally. Reviewed at S∂.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Dave Mckean

Buy: Kindle Store

Recently announced as the 2009 Newbery Medal winner by the Association for Library Services to Children, The Graveyard Book also has much acclaim, and it’s by Neil Gaiman, officially coolest author on the planet.

I think of it as “Kipling in the graveyard with a distinctly Gaiman twist.” Reviewed at S∂.

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

Buy: Kindle Store

Liga and her daughters have grown up in safe haven all their lives, until they are forced to survive the world at large, pursued by enemies (which include bears). ((From New on Kindle in October.))

Chalice by Robin McKinley

Buy: Kindle Store

Another fairytale-styled story from McKinley, but this is not a retelling, but an original fantasy. The Willowlands are dying, due to the misrule by George Bush the previous Master and Dick Cheney the previous Chalice. It’s up to Obama Mirasol, the new Chalice, and her bee-based magic to save the land. Naturally, the Republicans not everyone is happy about this.

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Buy: Kindle Store

One of Terry Pratchett’s most serious (and yet, of course, still touched liberally with humor) books yet, in the nature of his Johnny series rather than Discworld.

Even though I love Neil Gaiman and The Graveyard Book to bits, even though Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother left me breathless, and even though John Scalzi’s Zoe’s Tale made me cry and made me laugh—it’s Terry Pratchett’s Nation that wins my heart and soul with its sheer humanity, moving story, well-crafted telling.

I reviewed Nation for Tor.com.

… yeah, okay, so obviously I spend a lot more time with Y.A. novels than other stuff. Y.A. has more blood in it.

Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

Buy: Kindle Store

Set in the world of Old Man’s War, we visit the family of John Perry and Jane Sagan once more, picking up on a parallel story to that of The Last Colony ((Which I just realized is also a play on “The Lost Colony,” and Roanoke is a significant word in both the story and history. Ha.)) from the viewpoint of John’s adopted daughter Zoe.

It’s a wonderful story. Do you need the context of The Last Colony to get it? I don’t think so. I reviewed Zoe’s Tale on S∂.

After this point in the reading list, the books available to read on the Kindle—or indeed, electronically anywhere else—becomes thin on the ground. Out of the next 60 books on the list, equivalent to 4 sections worth of books, (up until “Non-Fiction”), only 10 are available for purchase in the Kindle store or Webscriptions.

So next week we’ll bring you those books plus anything we can scrape up in non-fiction and novellas.

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