Fresh Faces

Sometimes I tend to get into the habit of falling back on my favorite writers and only reading their books.  It feels like a no-brainer.  I already know I’ll like the writing style and it’s pretty safe to say that if I loved one or two of an author’s titles, chances are I’ll love most of them. 

Let’s face it.  There are so many thousands of books out there that I would love to get a chance to read and since I work full-time and try to keep some semblance of a social life, I have to make choices.  And who has time to read a book they don’t like? 

Now and then I get the courage to take a chance on a new author, whether they’ve just published their first novel or they’re a seasoned pro just new to me.  Recently I can’t believe my luck in finding books by fresh authors that I absolutely love and Fresh Faces will give me an opportunity to give some recommendations.

 

nefertitiNefertiti, by Michelle Moran

Hardcover, 480 pages
Crown Publishing Group
July 10, 2007

I’ve been fascinated by ancient Egypt for years and when I read Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti, I could not put it down.  It’s told from the point of view of Nefertiti’s younger sister, Mutnodjmet, who is brought to live in the royal palace along with the rest of her family upon the marriage of the young Pharoah Amenhotep to her beautiful sister.  This is an incredible period in history when the two rulers cast down the old religion and risked their thrones and lives in the creation of a new, monotheistic cult of the sun disk, Aten.  The beautifully written narrative brings the characters to life as they struggle through famine, plague, and plots against the royal family.  I was definitely won over by this debut novel and can’t wait to read the sequel, The Heretic Queen, along with her next release, Cleopatra’s Daughter.

 

nameThe Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

Paperback, 672 pages
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
April 07, 2009

 

This is definitely not just another fantasy book.  From page one, Rothfuss grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me completely into his world.  It tells the story of the legendary and mysterious Kvothe, perhaps the most dangerous man alive, who has been disguising his true identity and playing the role of the owner of the Waystone Inn.  After being discovered by a scribe who has overcome great dangers to find him, Kvothe agrees to divulge the story of his life over a period of three days.  The Name of the Wind recounts the first day, in which he relates the tragic murder of his family, his struggle to survive alone as a poverty-stricken street urchin, and his life at the University, studying to be an arcanist.  I was so enthralled by the story and captivated by the child version of Kvothe, I couldn’t wait to continue his journey and discover his transformation from homeless orphan to feared and awe-inspiring legend.

 

sowerParable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler

Paperback, 352 pages
Grand Central Publishing
January 01, 2000

 

Okay, so Octavia E. Butler isn’t exactly a new author but I wasn’t familiar with her work until I read Parable of the Sower, a sort of post-apocalyptic dystopian portrayal of the not-so-distant future.  It was incredibly compelling to say the least, and it was so easy to imagine the horrifying world becoming reality.  A world where society has broken down and people are forced to exist in walled communities, exiled from those on the outside.  Oil is gone, water is a priceless resource, cholera outbreaks kill entire cities and a drug that causes pyromania is spreading throughout the country.  Fifteen year old Lauren Olamina knows it’s only a matter of time before the wall that keeps her neighborhood safe is breached, and she is prepared for that day.  When it finally happens and she’s left alone among the fire and killing, she escapes her devastated home and heads north on foot, travelling freeways that were once clogged with traffic.  This book is not only about the struggle to survive, but the creation of a new way of thinking, a new faith called Earthseed that Lauren believes has the power to save humanity.  It was disturbing but very powerful.  If you’re in the mood to contemplate the future, pick up Parable of the Sower, put on a brave face, and turn the page.

 

poisonPoison Study, by Maria V. Snyder

Paperback, 416 pages
Harlequin Enterprises, Limited
December 01, 2008

 

This is Snyder’s debut, about a young girl who becomes the ruler’s food taster in order to avoid execution for the murder of the son of a general.  The girl, Yelena, is given poison and must receive the antidote each morning in order to stay alive, preventing her escape.  She is immediately tutored on all manners of poison and is exposed to them in order to ensure that she’ll be able to recognize any danger to the Commander that may be hidden in his food or drink.  First of all, the poison lore itself is fascinating and I loved reading about the rigorous training Yelena had to undergo before being ready to embody her new title.  I was drawn to Yelena and interested to find out more about her past and what led her to sign her own death warrant by committing murder.  The other characters, including the Commander’s right-hand man, Valek, were just as three-dimensional and it was easy to invest in them and care about their fates.  It was definitely a unique fantasy and I would highly recommend it, along with the sequel, Magic Study.

 

What new authors have you discovered lately?

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6 Comments »

  1. Jody Said:

    This is a great idea. I’m terrible for just sticking with my favorite authors, so it’s great to get some fresh recommendations. The Name of the Wind sounds really good.

  2. Jamye Said:

    Hi Jody, thanks for commenting! I hope my good luck in finding great authors continues. Let me know if you read The Name of the Wind!

  3. Dominique Said:

    Hi Jamye, I loved your review of Nefertiti – I’d really like to get a copy now!

    • Jamye Said:

      Thanks! I definitely recommend it. Sooo good! I can’t wait to read The Heretic Queen.

  4. Terra Said:

    I think the Name in the Wind has been stalking me everywhere! It wants me to read it so I think that next time I see it in the shops I am just going to give in and buy it already!

    I really loved the Snyder’s Study series, myself. Those other two titles sound pretty interesting too. I’ll be keeping an eye out for those.

    • Jamye Said:

      It’s fate, you must read it! 🙂 Although, beware, the next one isn’t out yet so if you hate waiting you might want to hold off.

      I still have Fire Study in my TBR queue and after thinking about how great the first two were, I might bump it up to the top.

      Thanks for visiting!


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