Selected SF/F Previews for 10/2013

As I mentioned last week, I’m reading every single one of the available Amazon previews linked in SFSignal’s monthly round-ups of new SF/F–at least for a while–and choosing 5-10 titles to highlight. So here are my selections based on the list for October 2013:

  • Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice. I’m cheating a little, because I’ve read the whole book and it was excellent (it’s like unexpectedly finding a new Culture novel to read), but the preview actually is good too.
  • Scott Lynch, The Republic of Thieves. I may be biased by having read Lynch’s earlier work, but the preview holds up OK, though I wish it hadn’t mostly been a flashback to Locke’s youth.
  • Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two. Again, having read the first part of this series, I’m probably biased in its favor, but even if these books are a little too absurd and fairy tale-ish to read straight through, it’s evident that Valente is still coming up with terrific imagery for them.
  • David Weber & Jane M. Lindskold, Treecat Wars. I was all set to write this off as a fairly ordinary juvenile SF adventure until I got to the treecat POV sections, which were a delightful surprise and made me want to read a lot more.
  • Jonathan L. Howard, Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute. I appreciated the dry wit, and then it became clear this would have strong connections to H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreamlands, at which point I was sold.
  • Ray Russell, Haunted Castles. Gothic horror stories. Based on the strength of the preview, I bought this and read it a couple of weeks ago, and it turns out the preview showcases the best story, but the prose is consistently good, even if the stories overall are thematically repetitious and trite.
  • David Dalglish, A Dance of Cloaks. Yet another fantasy assassin novel, but it seems pretty readable, and the preview suggests there will be Game of Thrones-ish twists to sustain interest.
  • James A. Moore, Seven Forges. I’m not sure this rises above standard fantasy, but I liked several atmospheric details in the preview, and it otherwise seemed passable.
  • J. Lincoln Fenn, Poe. The 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Finalist in Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, this has an unusual starting point and seems to tackle several genres I like at once.