Week of July 8 Pull List: Druids, Zombies and Amazonian Women, Oh My!

Anyone with a fondness for books knows how quickly a To Be Read pile can get out of control.  It seems the more I read, the more books end up on that pile.  These are the books that hit my radar and got added to that list over the past week.

This week was slow at work, so what did I spend my afternoons doing?  Cruising book blogs and finding new reads, of course!  A number of them were future releases that I might be able to get my hands on when I head to San Diego for Comic Con in 10 days (!!!), so I’ll feature those closer to the con.  In the meantime, we have kickass druids, monster hunters, and even classic sci-fi authors hunting Nazis.

 

Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory
Del Rey (06/28/11)

Buy it on Amazon here

From award-winning author Daryl Gregory comes a new breed of zombie novel—a surprisingly funny, vividly frightening, and ultimately deeply moving story of self-discovery and family love.
 
In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda—and he begins to move.

The family hides the child—whom they name Stony—rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret—until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world.

Daryl Gregory wrote the little blurb in the Del Rey newsletter this month, talking about how he always has a plan for a story that quickly gets tossed out the window once he begins actively writing on a story.  In this little glimpse of his writing process, he described his novel Raising Stony Mayhall as a different sort of zombie story, one where the zombie is the very definition of the living dead – growing, aging and yet no heartbeat.  The usual flesh craving zombie can get boring after awhile, no matter if he’s a shuffling husk of a human or a wild speedy demon.  I think this has the potential to be a standout in the zombie genre.  Plus it’s getting great reviews on Goodreads, which is always a good sign.

 

Hounded by Kevin Hearne
(first of the Iron Druid Chronicles)

Del Rey (05/03/11)

Buy it on Amazon here

Tempe, Arizona is as far removed from paranormal activity as is possible. And that’s where Atticus O’Sullivan, rare book salesman, herb peddler, and 2,000 year old Druid the last of his kind has decided to set up shop. He’s been on the run, guarding a very powerful sword from a very angry ancient Celtic god for over two millennia now. But while these years have been good to him Atticus has become more powerful than he could have possibly imagined The Morrigan, a very old god of death, has predicted death and doom for our hero, and it’s up to Atticus, with help from a pride of werewolves, and a gorgeous bartender possessed by an Indian witch, to stay alive, hopefully for another thousand years.

I first saw this series on Amazon during my massive book buying spree last week (more about that later), but didn’t really get hooked on the idea of immortal druids fighting gods and werewolves.  Then I got the Del Ray newsletter and read that Kevin Hearne had already been signed to write an additional three novels in the series that I started looking into the series a little more.  I’m particularly interested in book three, Hammered, which pits our druid friend up against Thor and vampire Vikings.  Yeah, I think I can get behind that.  I’ve been seeing things about these books everyone over the last week, so I think they’re worth looking into.  Who knows?  Maybe deep down I’m into druids…

 

Blood Blade by Marcus Pelegrimas
(first of the Skinners series)
Eos (02/01/09)

Buy it on Amazon here

Imagine a world in which malevolent supernatural creatures walk invisibly in our midst. If these monsters of the dark were exposed even for a moment to our view, we would go insane or fall victim to paralyzing fear. Imagine that for centuries, the only protection against these hungry fiends has been provided by special hunters called "Skinners," a breed of heroes who seem to be going extinct. And then, at fiction's safe distance, immerse yourself in the world of Marcus Pelegrimas's violent vampire-with-a-twist series.

I got a slight vibe of the television show Supernatural when I read about this book.  People hunting monsters that most of the world can’t see?  The hunters’ ranks being depleted by said monsters?  That’s Supernatural all over and, considering it’s my favorite so of ever, I’d love to find a comparative literary substitute to dive into during hellatuses and when the show eventually ends.  If I can’t have awkward warrior angels, then monster hunters are a good second choice.


Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
Henry Holt and Co. (06/22/10)

Buy it on Amazon here

Sometime in the future, a lonely, windswept island is populated solely by women. Among these women is a group of teenaged Trackers—expert equestrians and archers—whose job is to protect their shores from the enemy. The enemy, they’ve been told, is men. When these girls come upon a partially buried home from the distant past, they are fascinated by the strange objects—high-heeled shoes, teen magazines, make-up—found there. What are they to make of these mysterious things? And what does it mean for their strict society where friendship is forbidden and rules must be obeyed—at all costs?

One of my Goodreads friends wrote a great review for this book earlier this week.  It sounds very much like the comic Y the Last Man had that story focused on the teenage girls left behind after the mass extinction of the male populace.  It sounds like it could have a nice undercurrent of social commentary regarding the state of female relationships, both of the teenage variety as well as the relationships between generations.  If nothing else, it must have a strong female protagonist to carry the story on, and I’m always looking for those.

 

The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unknown by Paul Malmont
Simon & Schuster (07/05/11)

Buy it on Amazon here

Based on an incredible true episode of World War II history, Paul Malmont’s new novel is a rollicking blend of fact and fiction about the men and women who were recruited to defeat the Nazis and ended up creating the future.

In 1943, when the United States learns that Germany is on the verge of a deadly innovation that could tip the balance of the war, the government turns to an unlikely source for help: the nation’s top science fiction writers. Installed at a covert military lab within the Philadelphia Naval Yard are the most brilliant of these young visionaries. The unruly band is led by Robert Heinlein, the dashing and complicated master of the genre. His “Kamikaze Group,” which includes the ambitious genius Isaac Asimov, is tasked with transforming the wonders of science fiction into science fact and unlocking the secrets to invisibility, death rays, force fields, weather control, and other astounding phenomena—and finding it harder than they ever imagined.

When a German spy washes ashore near the abandoned Long Island ruins of a mysterious energy facility, the military begins to fear that the Nazis are a step ahead of Heinlein’s group. Now the oddball team, joined by old friends from the Pulp Era including L. Ron Hubbard (court-martialed for attacking Mexico), must race to catch up. The answers they seek may be locked in the legendary War of Currents, which was fought decades earlier between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. As the threat of an imminent Nazi invasion of America grows more and more possible, events are set in motion that just may revolutionize the future—or destroy it—while forcing the writers to challenge the limits of talent, imagination, love, destiny, and even reality itself.

Blazing at breathtaking speed from forgotten tunnels deep beneath Manhattan to top-secret battles in the North Pacific, and careening from truth to pulp and back again, The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown is a sweeping, romantic epic—a page-turning rocket ship ride through the history of the future.

Classic sci-fi writers (and L. Ron Hubbard) fighting Nazis?  I really can’t get past that.  The fact that this book might have some basis in fact blows my mind a little more.  I think science fiction authors should be used in government projects more often.  Maybe then we’d have our flying cars or the jetpacks I was promised when I was a kid.

 

All book blurbs except for The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown pulled from the wonderful Goodreads.com

Blurb for The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown pulled from its Amazon page