When I Say the Devil’s in the Details, I Really Mean He’s in the Bar Being Scandalous
Oh dearest reader. I have a long and torrid history with this weeks book (I’m sure you’re not surprised that I have a torrid history, are you?), going clear back to 2011. You see, Laura Anne was a guest reader at one of the SFWA Reader Series, and she read a chapter from a work in progress, the bones and broad outline of which are still very much a part of the first chapter of Silver on the Road. I was immediately taken in by the voice, and the idea of The Devil’s West (which I had erroniously thought was going to be like the Lucifer graphic novels where Lucifer runs a piano bar) instead of the much much cooler world she had actually created. Though I was a little saddened that (spoiler) there wasn’t a single scene of the Devil playing piano. Alas.
Since then, I have been waiting (and dear Reader, you wouldn’t recognize me for how patient I’ve been!) for the book to be finished and out in the world. When the envelope with my advance copy arrived, I didn’t tear it open, and put a ‘DO NOT DISTURB ON PAIN OF A MOST HORRIBLE DEATH’ sign on my front door, and call in sick to work until I was done, for which I have not received nearly enough appreciation from my coworkers for not abandoning them.
So, now that I’ve explained all of that, let me tell you about the book. First, just go buy it. Seriously, this book is great. It’s like, part western, part new weird, but without China Mieville’s over-the-top new weird. The Devil’s West constantly finds new ways to take the familiar and make it strange, but all in ways that make sense for the world Laura Anne is building for you. So yeah, my elevator pitch is ‘it’s China Mieville meets Zane Grey’s old west, with story prompts from Charles de Lint.’ So yeah, there’s something here for everyone. And yet, it’s so organically put together. I’ve read other book’s by Gilman, but I really felt like Silver on the Road was a leveling up of her writing and world-building.
I like that the characters never have to act stupid for the sake of keeping things from the reader, and the resolution flows seamlessly from the world she has built. There’s no instance deus ex machina (or Lucifer ex machina either) in here either, which is a great thing to see and no one who has all the answers. Things are complicated, good can be done in the name of evil, and evil in the name of good, and the right thing is rarely the easy thing.
Dearest Reader, I know what you think of me. You think I only like fun and happy stories with some adventure, and to be fair, I do love those things. But I also like dark, dark stories full of horror pain and death. And to prove that, since this is the month for horror and things that go bump in the night, I’m going to talk about my favorite dark fantasy.
Several years ago I saw a particularly interesting cover in Powell’s, and the back of the book intrigued me, because I loved the CSI meets high fantasy idea, and the first few pages were intriguing. So I took Ghost in the Snow home with me (AFTER paying for it, who are you mistaking me for?) and fell into the dark dark imagination of Tamara Siler Jones. If you like grimdark or horror, there’s plenty for you in this book, and you should pick it up. I won’t be giving away spoilers to tell you the second book is even darker. Enjoy! I’m going to leave you some new releases to check out for October below, while I dive back into the delicious new Brandon Sanderson. See you in a week lovely Readers!
It’s a new month, so here’s a list of some forthcoming books you should go preorder RIGHT NOW!
Martin, George R. R. • Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
Gilman, Laura Anne • Silver on the Road
Leckie, Ann • Ancillary Mercy
Hurley, Kameron • The Empire Ascendant
Sanderson, Brandon • Shadows of Self
Riordan, Rick • The Sword of Summer
Bear, Greg • Killing Titan
Huff, Tanya • An Ancient Peace
Gwynne, John • Ruin
Donaldson, Stephen R. • The King’s Justice
Nix, Garth • Newt’s Emerald
Wolfe, Gene • A Borrowed Man
Mitchell, David • Slade House