MobileRead Book Club
Help us select the next book that the MobileRead Book Club
will read for May 2012.
The nominations will run through midnight EST April 30 or until 10 books have made the list. The first poll will then be posted and will be open for 4 days, followed by a 3 day run-off poll between the two*
top vote getters.
Book selection category for May is:
In order for a book to be included in the poll it needs THREE NOMINATIONS (original nomination, a second and a third).
How Does This Work?
The Mobile Read Book Club (MRBC) is an informal club that requires nothing of you. Each month a book is selected by polling. On the last week of that month a discussion thread is started for the book. If you want to participate feel free. There is no need to "join" or sign up. All are welcome.
How Does a Book Get Selected?
Each book that is nominated will be listed in a pool at the end of the nomination period. The book that polls the most votes will be the official selection.
How Many Nominations Can I Make?
Each participant has 3 nominations. You can nominate a new book for consideration or nominate (second, third) one that has already been nominated by another person.
How Do I Nominate a Book?
Please just post a message with your nomination. If you are the FIRST to nominate a book, please try to provide an abstract to the book so others June consider their level of interest.
How Do I Know What Has Been Nominated?
Just follow the thread. This message will be updated with the status of the nominations as often as I can. If one is missed, please just post a message with a multi-quote of the 3 nominations and it will be added to the list ASAP.
When is the Poll?
The poll thread will open at the end of the nomination period, or once there have been 10 books with 3 nominations each. At that time a link to the initial poll thread will be posted here and this thread will be closed.
The floor is open to nominations. Please comment if you discover a nomination is not available as an ebook in your area
* In case of a first or second place tie in the first voting poll, the run-off poll June have more than two choices.
Official choices with three nominations each:
by Neil Gaiman [orlok, Synamon, WT Sharpe]
2) The Lightning Thief
Description: Neverwhere 's protagonist, Richard Mayhew, learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished. He ceases to exist in the ordinary world of London Above, and joins a quest through the dark and dangerous London Below, a shadow city of lost and forgotten people, places, and times. His companions are Door, who is trying to find out who hired the assassins who murdered her family and why; the Marquis of Carabas, a trickster who trades services for very big favors; and Hunter, a mysterious lady who guards bodies and hunts only the biggest game. London Below is a wonderfully realized shadow world, and the story plunges through it like an express passing local stations, with plenty of action and a satisfying conclusion. The story is reminiscent of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , but Neil Gaiman's humor is much darker and his images sometimes truly horrific. Puns and allusions to everything from Paradise Lost to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz abound, but you can enjoy the book without getting all of them. Gaiman is definitely not just for graphic-novel fans anymore. --Nona Vero Starred Review. Gaiman assumes the role of narrator for his latest book, offering an intimate reading that steals one's attention almost immediately and keeps the listener involved throughout. As the story is based in the United Kingdom, Gaiman is a quintessential raconteur for the tale, with his charming Scottish brogue instilling life and spirit into the central character of Richard Mayhew. Pitch perfect, with clear pronunciation, Gaiman invites listeners into his living room for a fireside chat, offering a private and personal experience that transcends the limitations of traditional narration. The author knows his story through and through, capturing the desired emotion and audience reaction in each and every scene. His characters are unique, with diverse personalities and narrative approaches, and Gaiman offers a variety of dialects and tones. The reading sounds more like a private conversation among friends with Gaiman providing the convincing and likable performance the writing deserves. A Harper Perennial paperback (Reviews, May 19, 1997). (Nov.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (from Amazon.com)
by Rick Riordan [JSWolf, fantasyfan, WTSharpe]
3) The Voyage of the Minotaur
by Wesley Allison [John F, orlok, MrsJoseph]
Description: In a world of steam power and rifles, where magic has not yet been forgotten, an expedition sets out to establish a colony in a lost world. The Voyage of the Minotaur is a story of adventure and magic, religion and prejudice, steam engines and dinosaurs, angels and lizardmen, machine guns and wizards, sorceresses, bustles and corsets, steam-powered computers, hot air balloons, and dragons. (from Smashwords)
by China Mieville [caleb72, orlok, Provenzano]
5) The King of Elfland's Daughter
by Lord Dunsany [fantasyfan, drofgnal, Hamlet53]
6) The Winds of Khalakovo
Come with me now for awhile, for we have worlds of magic to explore, and the Land of Dreams is close at hand.
If you’re tired of fat, cheesy fantasy novels that really do stink, and you want to experience what Fantasy writing once was and could have been, before a few lame-brained idiot writers took Fantasy down a dark alley and stabbed it in the back, then you should read Lord Dunsany’s beautiful prose.
This is writing that sings to the heart.
"A proper fantasy story would, of course, devote nine or so books to traveling very slowly through the elfish countryside, slowly accumulating plot tokens in order to complete the quest. Dunsany spends one chapter on this journey, then gets to the real point of his story, which is what happens when a girl from Elfland is forced to live in the mortal world, and what happens when the two worlds collide. It’s 1924, and already the good baron is overthrowing tired and worn out fantasy cliches. Lord Dunsany’s story has more in it of culture shock and the price of novelty than magic mcguffin hunting and evil overlord overthrowing.
"The prose itself is some of the finest and most magical in all of fantasy literature. It is like Tolkien without the idle sentiment, or like Lovecraft with a greater gift for language and more synonyms for “odd”. A brief sample should suffice:
"'Near the Castle of Erl there lived a lonely witch, on high land near the thunder, which used to roll in Summer along the hills. There she dwelt by herself in a narrow cottage of thatch and roamed the high fields alone to gather the thunderbolts. Of these thunderbolts, that had no earthly forging, were made, with suitable runes, such weapons as had to parry unearthly dangers.'
"Lord Dunsany’s prose can fairly be described as “oft-imitated”. It is the sound of fantasy. Rarely has it been surpassed."
This critic says this:
"Much of what we call modern fantasy is a pale, predictable mesh of cliches. It is a bookshelf filled with stories that bear far too much in common with one another. Sometimes indeed it feels that originality, which ought to be the cornerstone of fantasy seems to be all but evaporated. Lord Dunsay is - different. He is one of those illusive pre-Tolkien fantasy writers and you will be shocked at how much of modern fantasy derives from him. And then doubly shocked to find he still did it better. Lord Dunsay writes beautiful and elaborate prose. He weaves stories in which magic is not some work-a-day technology but rather a brooding, powerful and very nearly living force."
There is no better prose stylist who touched both the heart of Fantasy and the heart of the Reader.
Like all the books I assemble on MobileRead, this too was assembled to reflect human intervention and artistic judgment.
I hope you enjoy it.
Don [MobileRead's own Dr. Drib]
by Bradley Beaulieu [sun surfer, hpulley, fantasyfan]
From Publishers Weekly
Debut novelist Beaulieu paints a detailed and realistic portrayal of individual fates bound up in social responsibilities as well-grounded cultures clash. Prince Nikandr Khalakovo, facing an arranged marriage, also suffers from a wasting disease plaguing the Anuskaya islands. When the rebellious Maharraht loose a fire elemental and kill the visiting Grand Duke Stasa Bolgravya, civil war erupts, and all factions seek to capture a mysterious autistic boy who straddles both the spirit and the material worlds. Beaulieu skillfully juggles elements borrowed from familiar cultures (primarily Russian and Bedouin) as well as telepathy, airborne ships, and magical gems. Viewpoint shifts are occasionally confusing, but the prose is often poetic—airborne skiffs under attack "dropped like kingfishers" and "twisted in the air like maple seeds"—and the characters have welcome depth.
The Winds of Khalokovo is filled with clean prose, intelligent language, and brilliant imagination. Reading this fantasy was like sinking my teeth into a rich and exotic dessert. --Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show
Elegantly crafted, refreshingly creative. --C.S. Friedman, Bestselling author of The Coldfire Trilogy
Well worth exploring... --Glen Cook, Bestselling author of The Black Company
The boldly imagined new world and sharply drawn characters will pull you into The Winds of Khalakovo and won't let you go until the last page. --Michael A. Stackpole, New York Times bestselling author of I, Jedi
Exactly the kind of fantasy I like to read. --Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Saga of the Seven Suns
by Terry Pratchett [sun surfer, HomeInMyShoes, Nyssa]
Description: Starred Review. Grade 7–10—In this first novel for young people set outside of Discworld, Pratchett again shows his humor and humanity. Worlds are destroyed and cultures collide when a tsunami hits islands in a vast ocean much like the Pacific. Mau, a boy on his way back home from his initiation period and ready for the ritual that will make him a man, is the only one of his people, the Nation, to survive. Ermintrude, a girl from somewhere like Britain in a time like the 19th century, is on her way to meet her father, the governor of the Mothering Sunday islands. She is the sole survivor of her ship (or so she thinks), which is wrecked on Mau's island. She reinvents herself as Daphne, and uses her wits and practical sense to help the straggling refugees from nearby islands who start arriving. When raiders land on the island, they are led by a mutineer from the wrecked ship, and Mau must use all of his ingenuity to outsmart him. Then, just as readers are settling in to thinking that all will be well in the new world that Daphne and Mau are helping to build, Pratchett turns the story on its head. The main characters are engaging and interesting, and are the perfect medium for the author's sly humor. Daphne is a close literary cousin of Tiffany Aching in her common sense and keen intelligence wedded to courage. A rich and thought-provoking read.— Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Critics praised Nation as a hybrid, deeply philosophical book aimed at young adults, but one likely to appeal to adults as well, much like Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy or J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. With echoes of William Defoe and William Golding, Nation takes the form of a “classic Robinsonade ,” notes the Washington Post —that is, a book in which characters on a desert island recreate civilization. As his characters grapple with questions of leadership, humanity, and survival, Pratchett explores fundamental ideas about religion and culture. This might all sound rather heavy, but there is plenty of originality and humor—and cannibals, spirits, and secret treasures—to go around. In the end, Pratchett offers a vision of a deeply humane world. “In some part of the multiverse there is probably a civilisation based on the thinking of Terry Pratchett,” writes the Guardian , “and what a civilised civilisation that will be.” Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC (from Amazon.com)
by Brandon Sanderson [voodooblues, hpulley, Hamlet53]
9) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Brandon Sanderson, fantasy's newest master tale spinner, author of the acclaimed debut Elantris, dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails? What kind of world results when the Dark Lord is in charge? The answer will be found in the Mistborn Trilogy, a saga of surprises and magical martial-arts action that begins in Mistborn.
For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison. Kelsier "snapped" and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.
Kelsier recruited the underworld's elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.
But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel's plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she's a half-Skaa orphan, but she's lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.
by N.K. Jemisin [MrsJoseph, hpulley, Hamlet53]
10) Oath of Swords
Description: Starred Review. Convoluted without being dense, Jemisin's engaging debut grabs readers right from the start. Yeine desires nothing more than a normal life in her barbarian homeland of Darr. But her mother was of the powerful Arameri family, and when Yeine is summoned to the capital city of Sky a month after her mother's murder, she cannot refuse. Dakarta, her grandfather and the Arameri patriarch, pits her against her two cousins as a potential heir to the throne. In an increasingly deep Zelaznyesque series of political maneuverings, Yeine, nearly powerless but fiercely determined, finds potential allies among her relatives and the gods who are forced to live in Sky as servants after losing an ancient war. Multifaceted characters struggle with their individual burdens and desires, creating a complex, edge-of-your-seat story with plenty of funny, scary, and bittersweet twists. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Yeine Darr, mourning the murder of her mother, is summoned to the magnificent and beautiful city of Sky by the king, her grandfather. He names her his heir but has already assigned that role to both his niece and his nephew, so what he’s now done is set up a competitive and thorny three-way power struggle. Yeine, looking more like her Darre father than her Arameri mother, may be a baroness in the Arameri world, but in the matriarchal North she is a chieftain of her people. She is also terrified and fascinated by the gods who roam Sky, including the nocturnally monstrous Nahadoth and the childlike Sieh. In just a few days, Yeine discovers that every action has consequences when she inadvertently sets up Darre to be attacked and realizes that her role in the succession to the throne may be that of a human sacrifice. This complex tale of politics, assassination, racism, and gods too intimately involved in the lives of humans is a challenging read and a notable authorial debut. --Diana Tixier Herald (from Amazon.com)
by David Weber [AnemicOak, Nyssa, Synamon]
The nominations are now closed.
Whom the gods would recruit, they first tick off . . . Our Hero: The unlikely Paladin, Bahzell Bahnakson of the Horse Stealer Hradani. He's no knight in shining armor. He's a hradani, a race known for their uncontrollable rages, bloodthirsty tendencies, and inability to maintain civilized conduct. None of the other Five Races of man like the hradani. Besides his ethnic burden, Bahzell has problems of his own to deal with: a violated hostage bond, a vengeful prince, a price on his head. He doesn't want to mess with anybody else's problems, let alone a god's. Let alone the War God's! So how does he end up a thousand leagues from home, neck-deep in political intrigue, assassins, demons, psionicists, evil sorcery, white sorcery, dark gods, good gods, bad poets, greedy landlords, and most of Bortalik Bay Well, it's all the War God's fault. . . . (from Baen WebScriptions)