Seven Recently-Arrived Titles from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Section:
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C. Robert Cargill’s Queen of the Dark Things begins in the 17th century with a chapter describing the aftermath of a mutiny on the Batavia, a ship belonging to the Dutch East India Trading Company. This made for an interesting albeit confusing start of the second instalment of the series.
Not having read the first book, Dreams and Shadows, I was pleased that – the occasional reference aside – Queen of the Dark Things is a self-containing story.
The book is well written and easily readable. After the initial jump back in time, we return to the present day, where main character Colby Stevens is grieving for the loss of his best friend Ewan. Colby would like nothing better than to keep a low profile and hide for the rest of his days, but the world just won’t leave him alone. An unwilling hero, Colby finds himself drawn into a game where he has to bargain with devils to survive, knowing he might not get the better deal.
The story takes place in Austin, USA, but takes the reader to Australia through occasional flashbacks by protagonist Colby. Though taking place in our world and time, the story presumes a supernatural world populated by demons, devils, spirits and witches. Among the few humans who know this world exists there are those who are magically gifted and can influence it. Colby is one of those. The idea in itself is not new, but Cargill manages to keep things interesting. Drawing on Aboriginal legends about the beginning of time and how the (supernatural) world works was something I had not read before, and which I quite liked. Explanations and background information concerning magic and magical beings like ‘dreamstuff’ or ‘djang’ are provided through excerpts from a book by an in-world author, Dr. Thaddeus Ray. These short chapters provide welcome background information, helping the story make sense without having to place characters in a situation where they need to explain what is happening.
I would recommend this book for someone looking for a relatively short story, a light read with interesting plot twists and characters. Something to take with you during a holiday perhaps?
You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.
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Ebook available for Cursed Moon.
About Lock In: “Already read it and it’s an instant classic Scalzi novel again. Be sure to check out the prequel novella Unlocked at tor.com.” – Tiemen, Science Fiction & Fantasy Buyer at ABC Amsterdam
Most dystopian novels nowadays seem to be variations of the same few plots and patterns, all with similar protagonists and generally not much to get excited about. Amongst this bunch of The Hunger Games copies, Laline Paull’s book The Bees is like a breath of fresh air. Original to boot, I can honestly say I have never before read something like it: a novel from the point of view of a honey bee.
Flora 717 is born a sanitation worker, the lowest of the low in her hive. The hive is highly organized and the mantra of the bees is to accept, obey, and serve. But there is something different about Flora 717. Unlike her kind usually, she is able to speak, and she appears to have been born with a rebellious streak. Flora ends up challenging the established order of the hive, where each bee has her own place, where anything and everything is supposed to be sacrificed for the wellbeing of the hive – and where only the queen is allowed to breed. Before long Flora 717, like all other dystopian heroines, will find out that in a society that relies on sameness and order, being different can be extremely dangerous.
While The Bees is probably not a book that will stay with me for years (unlike The Handmaid’s Tale, for example, to which the back cover text somewhat ambitiously compares the book), it was definitely a fun and refreshing read. Having read the book, you will never again look at bees the same way you did before.
You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.
Win a SIGNED copy of Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis: Hannie + Carola van der Drift
Q: Name at least one other Young Adult novel that you loved that deals with LGBT issues.
“The Host by Stephenie Meyer.”
“Lately for some ‘reading challenges’ I’ve been reading a few very good LGBT themed Young Adult novels.
My favourites by far were Ask the Passengers by A.S. King and How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis. I also greatly enjoyed Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. As for sci-fi, I recommend Adaptation by Malinda Lo ”
Want more Young Adult LGBT recommendations? Have a look at this list of 25 must-read books on the theme compiled by epicreads.com and also the Guardian’s still-being-added-to list started during their LGBT-themed week on their Children’s Books site.
Q: You’ve read EVERYTHING by John Green. What author should you read next?
“After you’ve read everything by John Green, you might experience what is known as a book hangover. Because although John Green’s books are amazing, some are also quite sad. So to get over this you’ll need another cute and funny read but without the (spoiler alert!) death involved. I think a great book for this is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.”
“After reading a very good book it’s very hard to decide on a next one. It always seems none can compare to how good the last book was. I want to read something just like it but most of the times I can’t find anything. I need to read non-fiction or another genre to lower my expectations again before going to the next fiction book.
After The Fault in Our Stars I started with the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. I read the first one years ago and saw the movie a while back.
On some level Hazel and Odd are the same; you are constantly in their heads. They are very well spoken, intelligent, sarcastic and have a good dry humor for their age. Both defy society norm; terminal cancer at 16 and a fry cook that sees ghosts. Also Odd has his own infinity love story with Stormy.
Odd Thomas is not as good as The Fault in Our Stars, not even close (although the first book is very good on its own), but it’s perfect for me while I lower my expectations again ”
“This is like the hardest question ever because no author is quite like John Green, and I couldn’t make one choice so here’s a small list: (If this is not allowed, just take the first one and pretend the rest wasn’t there. I’m sorry, I really like books.)(Blogmistress’s note: OF COURSE this is allowed! We love books, too, so the more recommendations from the heart, the better. :-))
1. Rainbow Rowell. The internet is already obsessed with her, it’s time the outside world gets to know her! She has written two young adult books and one adult book. Her new adult book Landline is coming out July 8th!
2. Robyn Schneider. Her book The Beginning of Everything is so much like John Green’s work, I always recommend it for people who like him. I just got the urge to re-read it…
3. David Levithan. John has co-written Will Grayson, Will Grayson with this awesome guy, and not enough people are checking out David Levithan’s solo stuff! Especially Boy Meets Boy is amazing. I’m slowly collecting the rest of his stuff!
4. Gayle Forman. Not exactly similar to John Green in that many ways but I think that most people who like John will like Gayle Forman’s books too. She has written two duologies: If I Stay (which is being turned into a movie) + the sequel Where She Went, and Just One Day + the sequel Just One Year (and the ebook novella Just One Night). Just One Day is up there with my all-time favourite books, and that’s a hard list to get on to!”
“John Green is still alive and writing. I will be waiting for his next book! But while I’m waiting for his next book, I’ll be reading Cassandra Clare books.”
“When you’ve read EVERYTHING by John Green, read EVERYTHING by John Corey Whaley next!”
“Francesca Lia Block! Her Weetzie Bat series is quirky and colourful and great fun. And on top of that the books carry a great underlying message of inclusiveness and accepting & even celebrating our differences. It’s a crying shame Block and her books are not more widely known.”
“After you’ve read everything by John Green, you should read more books by David Levithan.”
“The next author you should read is: Stephen Chbosky.”
“The next author I would read would be Jesse Andrews. His book Me and Earl and the Dying Girl makes a great follow up to The Fault In Our Stars.”
“Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Great, great book! With a wonderful plot twist as well, and so much more. After reading the novel, go watch the movie too!”
“My answer would be David Levithan, because he and Green co-wrote Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which is my favourite book. I love how the book dragged me into the story, it made me feel like I was living those words and not just reading them. Levithan’s way of writing and thinking are similar to Green, but with a certain twist, so you’re not just constantly re-reading different versions of what is basically the same story.”
“My answer to the question would be Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
“If I’ve read everything by John Green (which I haven’t… YET) I’d read more books by Rainbow Rowell! I heard she’s amazing, and she’s recommended by John Green himself!”
Ebook available for The Fault in Our Stars, Fangirl, Odd Thomas, Landline, The Beginning of Everything, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Boy Meets Boy, If I Stay, Where She Went, Just One Day, Just One Year, Just One Night, City of Bones, Winger, and Weetzie Bat.
Win one of these amazing The Fault in Our Stars goodies: Rebecca van der Elst, Eline Corée, Mandy Eveline Blom, Timo Daniels, Natalia Cobas, Mutena Ayas
Q: Besides all the John Green novels, what is your favorite Young Adult book (fiction or non-fiction, English or Dutch)?
“The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick!!”
“Across the Universe by Beth Revis is my favorite YA novel ”
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
Just like John’s books, this is one I can read over and over without getting bored.”
“Besides all the John Green novels, my favorite Young Adult book is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.”
“Momo en de tijdspaarders by Michael Ende (English title: Momo).
But frankly now I feel bad for all the other beautiful books I read at that time and were just at beautiful… Shame on you: you do know that there are so many books in that time period. Every one of them beautiful in their own way! (yes, it was very mean to ask for just one favorite YA book. :-))
Thea Beckman: Kruistocht in spijkerbroek (hooray for the really good Dutch writers)(English title: Crusade in Jeans).
Tonke Dragt: Awesome fantasy books, made me fall in love with fantasy at the age of 6 or 7 (yes, before early adulthood but kept on reading them in that time..)(Most famous title in English: The Letter for the King).
Marion Zimmer Bradley: The Darkover series (and all the other stuff she wrote).
Paul Biegel: De tuinen van Dorr (and every other book he wrote, but this one was the most beautiful at that time).
Sorry for the long list. I don’t want to insult all the other books that made a big impression on my life (and yes, I forgot lots of books already….). I really love your bookstore. Spending lots and lots of money there People’re always so nice and friendly and know what they’re talking about!” (Thanks! *blush*)(also, working here doesn’t make not spending money here any easier… :/)
“My answer has to be The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.”
“Besides all the John Green novels, my favourite YA novel is Winger by Andrew Smith.”
“My favorite book is Harry Potter.”
“My other favorite YA novel is The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp.”
“Mijn favoriete young adult boek is The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Ik vind de brieven die Charlie verstuurt erg speciaal, vooral omdat hij alles kwijt kan wat hij kwijt wilt.
Het boek heeft mij erg geraakt, ook vanwege de film die ik als eerste had gezien.
Ben mede door de film en het boek, erg benieuwd naar The Fault in Our Stars!
Ik heb het boek al gelezen, en ik ga natuurlijk binnenkort ook naar de film, en dan verder doorgaan met boeken lezen van John Green!”
“City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende.”
“First of all, it is obviously impossible to pick just one book as my favourite… But, if I was forced to choose, I reckon I’d pick something by Louisa M. Alcott. Probably An Old-Fashioned Girl or Little Women. Am not sure if they are thought of as YA books nowadays, but I remember reading them as a teen and absolutely loving them, so there. ”
“My favourite YA novel besides John Green’s books is Everybody Sees The Ants by A.S King.”
“Me and Earl and The Dying Girl is my other favorite YA novel!”
“My favorite Young Adult book is Harry Potter.”
Ebook available for The Good Luck of Right Now, Across the Universe, Fangirl, Mockingjay, Darkover Landfall, Winger, The Spectacular Now, An Old-Fashioned Girl, Little Women and Everybody Sees the Ants.
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