the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Daniel Polansky’ Category

The rules for my “best of” post were simple: I had to have read and reviewed the book in 2011, and it couldn’t be a reread (otherwise this list would taken over by Lynch, Powers, Brust, and others).

In no particular order (saving me the impossible task of choosing my utmost favorites), here are my top reads of the last 12 months. I’m surprised so many of them are new-ish books, as that wasn’t really part of the plan. Enjoy the little teaser then click on the title for the full review.

Grey by Jon Armstrong (2007)  frantic, insane, completely over the top, hilarious, refreshing, and at times completely sick.  This is dystopia like you’ve never read before. This is body modification and mortification, life imitating art to the nth degree, and performance art like you’ve never imagined. This is fashion punk.

The Third Section by Jasper Kent (2011) The third in Kent’s Danilov Quintet, one of the most brilliantly frightening books I have ever read, and brimming with betrayals and violence, seductions and patience, this is the series you’ve been waiting for if you prefer your vampire fiction to be more Bram Stoker than sparkly.

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Low Town (UK: The Straight Razor Cure), by Daniel Polansky

Published in Aug 2011

Where I got it: received review copy from the nice people at Doubleday/Random House

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review, the quick version:

Go get a copy of this book right now. all the hype surrounding it? completely deserved.  More than the sum of its parts, Low Town is the kind of dark fantasy novel you’ve been waiting your whole life to read. For three days Polansky fed every secret weakness I’ve got, along with a few guilty pleasures I didn’t even know existed.  Not a book for the faint of heart, Polansky took some major risks with Low Town. And every single one of them paid off.

review, the long version:

Surrounded by ridiculous hype, too big to fit comfortably in my handbag, with a title and cover art that didn’t tell me anything, and starring a drug addict/pusher thug.  I stared at Low Town as it sat on my shelf. And the damn thing just stared back.  Like it didn’t give a shit if I read it or not.

To prove that I was just as stubborn as the book was, one evening I picked it up, planning to read maybe 20 pages.  90 minutes and 75 pages later, all I could say was “holy shit is this good”.

Last night I wrote a thousand word emotional reaction to Low Town. Yes, it was that kind of book for me. But because I wisely hit “Save”, and not “publish”, hopefully today you’ll get a more rational style review, instead of a straight up unfiltered emotional reaction.  There’s nothing I enjoy more than a book that keeps me up all night the day after I finish it. Low Town was that kind of book too.  While flirting with being the bastard love child of Joe Abercrombie and Raymond Chandler, and written with the flowing invective style of Scott Lynch, Low Town is most certainly rated Super R.

Low Town is also one of those wonderfully subtle books where although the plot is thrillingly compelling, that’s not what makes this book so incredible.  Aspiring writers, you wanna know how to create atmosphere and worlds that breathe all on their own?  Wanna know how to write characters whose hidden depths ooze out their shadows to gently but surely addict your readers to learning their secrets? Wanna know how risk taking is really done? Read Low Town.

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We came home from vacation laden with fudge, wine, cherries, a few books,  and wonderful memories. Vacations out of town: I highly recommend ’em. Even if you only go a few hours away.

Came home to find a few packages waiting for us on the kitchen table as well (thanks garden/house sitter!)

behold, books review-copy, purchased, and borrowed, and hopefully to be read soon:

from bottom to top, we’ve got:

The Thackery T Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, Edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer – This is my top priority, once I finish the book I’m reading right now (more on that later). I really have no idea how to describe this book, but I’ll try. It’s a massive collection of stories, articles, photos and artwork of the strange things (and the stories behind them) that were found in Dr. Lambhead’s sprawling home after his death. The man was a hoarder/collector of anything and everything strange.  I believe the Vandermeer’s solicited entries for this, and accepted only the strangest.   Suffice to say, I’ve been excited about this one for a while, and when I tore open than shipping envelope I squee’d around the apartment for most of that evening.  I’ve only been able to spend about 10 minutes with the book so far, and just reading random opening paragraphs I can tell I’m gonna be squeeing the entire time I’m reading.

Lowtown, by Daniel Polansky – my 2nd priority.  I’ve been looking forward to this title for months.  Since I got a well written e-mail from a gent that started out something like “Hi, my name is Daniel Polansky, and I’ve written this book. . . . “.  Early reviews were positive, focusing on the anti-hero and darkness of the book. Well, ya’ll know I loves me an anti-hero, and I loves me some dark.  Not to mention this is a beautiful hardcover edition too.

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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.