Friday, February 24, 2012

Nebula Award Nominations, Part II: Still Pretty Clueless

Here's the continuation of yesterday's post, featuring three more books being nominated for a Nebula. Same deal here: I don't have a clue about any of these, so I've researched them ... some more thoroughly than others.

God's War, Kameron Hurley

Nyx is a respected assassin - sometimes. Others, she's just a killer. Her newest bounty is going to really mess things up for two governments. Two! Quite an accomplishment.

...And that's all the summary says. But the opening line is promising: "Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert." Huh. Okay then. Reviews suggest this book has excellent, gritty world building (which makes me think of The Windup Girl), but less in the way of stellar characterization (as scifi is sometimes wont to do). That said, Nyx is intriguing enough to keep reading and even sympathize with later on.

The author categorizes her book as "bug punk," whatever that means. It's the first in a trilogy, but is a good standalone, too. You can read the first three chapters here, if you'd like.

Mechanique, Genevieve Valentine

The post-apocalyptic steampunk circus featured here is meant as a distraction from the war raging around the world. The ringmaster built the circus cog by cog, just for that purpose. But then the government man shows up, with his dreams of recreating the old world, and now the circus could be destroyed from the outside (by the approaching war) or from within.

Reviewers say Valentine writes in an incredible fashion, turning this novel into a prose poem. (Sounds like my kinda thing.) It had a starred review in Publishers Weekly, which describes Mechanique as "menacing and fascinating." The New York Times review says the book lacks imagination in some aspects, such as setting, but Valentine makes the book much more than ordinary via writing style and emotions.

The Kingdom of Gods, N. K. Jemisin

I remember not this book, but the first in this series by Jemisin: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Unfortunately for those interested in a summary of this particular book, I may yet read the whole series. As The Kingdom of Gods is the third in the series, I don't care to give the plot away to myself or any others who might delve into it from the start.

Here's a review from The Ranting Dragon, here's one from Publisher's Weekly, and here's one from Sarah Says Read - with reviews of all three books in the series. Enjoy, peeps.

Overall, my impression of the Nebula picks is pretty good. There are a few that I don't think belong on the list (even though I haven't read them), but I can see the reasoning behind each. The thing that impresses me most? Four female authors on this list, in a genre commonly dominated by men.

Way to represent, ladies.

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