This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 15th)

In hardcover:
Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary is up six positions, ending the week at number 9.

V.E. Schwab's The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue returns at number 14.

In paperback:

Stephen King's If It Bleeds returns at number 15 (trade paperback).

Extract from Joe Abercrombie's THE WISDOM OF CROWDS

Joe Abercrombie just put an extract from his upcoming The Wisdom of Crowds (Canada, USA, Europe) on his website.

Here's the blurb:

Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now the Breakers have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age. Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke runs out of allies . . . while Black Calder plots his vengeance.

The banks fall, the sun of the Union is torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver’s ruthless plan are drawn together . . .

Follow this link to read the extract.

Mini Reviews

Hi guys.

As we knew it would, my mother's condition has begun to deteriorate after remaining rather stable for more than 2 months. It appears that the end is near, but you never know. She was supposed to pass away in mid-June at the latest, and yet she's still here. With things going downhill fast, it sure looks like it won't be long now. =(

I wish I had more time to write lengthy reviews. Sadly, I have no choice but to resort to mini reviews once again. . .

The God Is Not Willing by Steven Erikson (Canada, USA, Europe) 8/10

I relished the opportunity to read a new Malazan offering by Steven Erikson. As you know, I elected to stop reading material by Ian Cameron Esslemont, so it's been a while since Erikson released a new Malazan title. And since this was the first installment in the series that comes after the main sequence, I couldn't have been more excited!

The author has accustomed readers to sprawling fantasy works featuring complex storylines that span multiple ages and volumes, as well as huge casts of characters. In that regard, The God Is Not Willing is a much smaller, more focused tale, following a handful of protagonists over a couple of plotlines. As such, this could be Erikson's most accessible novel to date.

Can it be read by someone who has not read The Malazan Book of the Fallen series? Not really. Set ten years after the events chronicled in The Crippled God, the story would likely make little sense for a newbie. One of the highlights of the book is to demonstrate how much the Malazan Empire has changed. A reader not familiar with the saga wouldn't perceive any of those nuances.

Back in northern Genabackis, readers witness the repercussions of Karsa's legacy of destruction from the beginning of House of Chains. With climate changes melting the ice fields of the north, Teblor warriors and various other wild inhabitants from the far reaches of the continent have no choice but to flee disaster and run south, hoping to wreak havoc and destroy those who have made slaves of the their brethren in the past. The only thing standing in their way are a few Malazan marines.

The cast of characters is as disparate as it is engaging. Quite a few are too badass and all-powerful for my taste, and I'm not talking about God-touched characters or Ascendants here. Just seemingly ordinary marines. This novel contains the same thoughtful philosophical musings from past Malazan installments, but it's probably the one with the most humor we've seen thus far. In that regard, it's on par with the Willful Child series. It sometimes felt like Erikson was trying a bit too hard to be funny, especially with the scenes featuring the Heavyweights. But there's no denying that The God Is Not Willing will have you laughing out loud in almost every chapter.

As always, there's more than meets the eye with just about ever single character. Which bodes well for whatever comes next. As is usually Erikson's wont, this book also finishes with a mighty convergence that paves the way for the rest of the trilogy.

One thing I found interesting was the level of compassion found between the covers of this book. A lot more than I ever expected. Looks like Emperor Mallick Rel is turning into Justin Trudeau or something.

In a nutshell, this one is a must for all Malazan fans!

A Desert Torn Asunder by Bradley P. Beaulieu (Canada, USA, Europe) 5.5/10

I was looking forward to the sixth volume in Bradley P. Beaulieu's The Shattered Sands sequence because to a vast extent, it felt like the better part of the tale had reached its end in the previous installment, When Jackal Storm the Walls. And in many ways, it did. Not that this book acts as something akin to an epilogue, but it is a bit discordant compared to its predecessors.

Many storylines were detailed and meticulously plotted in the previous volumes. Sadly, a lot seems contrived in A Desert Thorn Asunder, from how the location of the elder god's resting place is located to how he will be raised and controlled. Moreover, this turns into a somewhat heavy-handed do-gooder tale that makes little sense when you consider that the desert tribes have hated Sharakhai for centuries.

Sadly, Beaulieu played it safe the whole way through and there's never a moment when you feel like the good guys could actually lose. Moreover, à la Robert Jordan, basically everyone survives what is an apocalyptic battle. What also kills it is the lame Game of Thrones-esque ending, with everyone sitting down and deciding how the city and the desert will henceforth be governed. Ultimately, A Desert Torn Asunder is a weak book with an even weaker ending. A somewhat unworthy end to what was a very good SFF series.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 8th)

In hardcover:
Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary is down two positions, ending the week at number 15.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Helene Wecker's The Hidden Palace for only 4.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I— the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Golem and the Jinni—Helene Wecker revisits her beloved characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world.

Chava is a golem, a woman made of clay, who can hear the thoughts and longings of those around her and feels compelled by her nature to help them. Ahmad is a jinni, a restless creature of fire, once free to roam the desert but now imprisoned in the shape of a man. Fearing they’ll be exposed as monsters, these magical beings hide their true selves and try to pass as human—just two more immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Brought together under calamitous circumstances, their lives are now entwined—but they’re not yet certain of what they mean to each other.

Both Chava and Ahmad have changed the lives of the people around them. Park Avenue heiress Sophia Winston, whose brief encounter with Ahmad left her with a strange illness that makes her shiver with cold, travels to the Middle East to seek a cure. There she meets Dima, a tempestuous female jinni who’s been banished from her tribe. Back in New York, in a tenement on the Lower East Side, a little girl named Kreindel helps her rabbi father build a golem they name Yossele—not knowing that she’s about to be sent to an orphanage uptown, where the hulking Yossele will become her only friend and protector.

Spanning the tumultuous years from the turn of the twentieth century to the beginning of World War I, The Hidden Palace follows these lives and others as they collide and interleave. Can Chava and Ahmad find their places in the human world while remaining true to each other? Or will their opposing natures and desires eventually tear them apart—especially once they encounter, thrillingly, other beings like themselves?

You can also download Haruki Murakami's First Person Singular: Stories for only 3.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A riveting new collection of short stories from the beloved, internationally acclaimed Haruki Murakami.

The eight masterful stories in this new collection are all told in the first person by a classic Murakami narrator, a lonely man. Some of them (like "With the Beatles," "Cream" and "On a Stone Pillow") are nostalgic looks back at youth. Others are set in adulthood--"Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova," "Carnaval," "Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey" and the title story, "First Person Singular." Occasionally, a narrator who may or may not be Haruki himself is present, as in "The Yakult Swallows Poetry Collection." Is it memoir or fiction? The reader decides. The stories touch beautifully on love and loss, childhood and death . . . all with a signature Murakami twist.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Suyi Davies Okungbowa's Son of the Storm for only 4.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link.

Here's the blurb:

From city streets where secrets are bartered for gold to forests teeming with fabled beasts, a sweeping epic of forgotten magic and violent conquests unfolds in this richly drawn fantasy inspired by the pre-colonial empires of West Africa.


In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—except he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy.

But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. And the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 1st)

In hardcover:
Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary is down one position, ending the week at number 13.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Jim Butcher's Peace Talks for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, joins the White Council's security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago—and all he holds dear?

You can also download Martha Wells' Network Effect for only 2.99$ here. There is a price match in Canada.

Here's the blurb:

You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you're a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you're Murderbot.

Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.

I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are.

When Murderbot's human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic action it is, then.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (July 25th)

In hardcover:
Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary is up one position, ending the week at number 12.

V.E. Schwab's The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue maintains its position at number 14.