The Top Ten — 2021 Releases I Added to my Want-to-Read But Didn’t Get To  

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/

This week‘s topic / January 18: 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To

I changed that “excited to read“ to „added to my want-to-read“. Excited is a strong word. Those that I was excited about I pre-ordered and read in 2021. As I am very, very stingy with adding books to my want-to-read-shelf, I ended up with just another 10 books. And here they are:

Black Magick, Vol. 3: Ascension by Greg Rucka,  Nicola Scott — I added this to my shelf in 2019 and it took its sweet time to get published. Greg Rucka does fantastic stuff and the artwork was really very pretty in the first two volumes. Plus it was a good story. But the break was just so long, by the time this one here came out I just wasn‘t as interested anymore. So it still lingers. I highly recommend Lazarus, Vol. 1: Family by Greg Rucka!

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott — „A gripping novel of myth, environment, adventure, and an unlikely friendship, from an award-winning Australian author“ — I have no idea why this is on my shelf. Pretty cover. Deleted.

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard — „Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard returns with a powerful romantic fantasy“ — I have read good things by her and this novella was recommended. I in turn recommend Lullaby for a Lost World.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley — YA mystery. Not really my thing. But my reading buddies loved it and it sounds tempting enough. I guess this part of the blurb did it: “Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman)“. Because I quite liked a book by a different author from an Anishinaabe community, Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice. Does not really make sense, I know.

We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker — „about one family and the technology that divides them“ — contemporary setting, about a brain implant that helps to get ahead. Not sure about this one, deleted.

The Audacity of Sara Grayson by Joani Elliott — a nice sounding piece of chicklit. Mother dies, last wish is for her daughter to finish her final book in a bestselling series. Possible shenanigans. I might keep it for now.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim — another YA. A retelling of The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen, one of my favourite fairytales. Or The Six Swans by the Brothers Grimm. I am actually not sure which one, they are almost the same thing. Anyway, it tempted me.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune — it seems that everybody on the planet has read this but me.

Glimmer by Marjorie B Kellogg — „This new cli-fi epic chronicles a future NYC wracked by climate change and follows the individuals who must make the most of what remains to survive.“ — or should I rather go for Kim Stanley Robinson? This one here sounds like more fun.

Noor by Nnedi Okorafor — „From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria.“ — I still haven‘r read anything by Okorafor. Or should I rather start with Binti?

Books I am looking forward to in 2021…

I try not to buy too many new books. Therefore I tend to avoid all these lists of upcoming books or just have a very quick glance at them, but refuse to add anything to my want-to-read-pile. I dream of the day, when I have no books piling up on my kindle or my living room table… Alas, I have middling success. Here are a few books I want to read in 2021. It’s a pretty short list, yay!

GRAPHIC NOVEL

Black Magick, Vol. 3: Ascension (Paperback)
by Greg Rucka

Expected publication: February 2nd 2021 by Image Comics

The black-and-white artwork of the first two volumes was excellent. Beautifully drawn, rich details, just very nice. The story was good and has lots of potential.

URBAN FANTASY

Blood Heir (Aurelia Ryder, #1)
by Ilona Andrews (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: January 12th 2021 by NYLA

From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an all-new novel set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring Julie Lennart-Olsen, Kate and Curran’s ward. 

I refrained from reading this on IA‘s website, aka the weekly serialized chapters. In fact, I think that is still ongoing. The fact that there is no cover artwork yet makes me feel a little dubious about the planned publishing date of January 2021… And I am wondering if Julie will be as good as the original Kate Daniels stories.

Wild Sign (Alpha & Omega, #6)
by Patricia Briggs

Expected publication: March 16th 2021 by Amazon Digital Services

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear—before it’s too late

I have been reading the Mercy Thompson books and this spin-off for years. It is still one of my favourite UF series, almost as loved as Ilona Andrews‘ Kate Daniels series. I actually spent the first few months of this year with re-reading all of these books in preparation for a new release of the main series.

SCIENCE FICTION

A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan, #2)
by Arkady Martine (Goodreads Author)

Expected publication: March 2nd 2021 by Tor Books

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, …

I really liked the first book and I can‘t wait to find out what Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass are going to face in this sequel to A Memory Called Empire.

Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6)
by Martha Wells (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: April 27th 2021 by Tor.com

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

What can I say… Instabuy! Although the last installment dragged a bit in the middle…

Untitled (The Expanse, #9)
by James S.A. Corey (Goodreads Author) 

The much awaited 9th and final installment of The Expanse series.

Oh boy, oh boy. No proper cover yet, no title yet and no publishing date… O.o <— that‘s my anxious face. It will be the end of an era… and if we‘re unlucky, it might not even happen in 2021… who knows!? Meep.

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

One Last Stop (Hardcover)
by Casey McQuiston (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: May 6th 2021 by Piatkus

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that puts a queer spin on Kate & Leopold.

I really liked Red, White & Royal Blue. And Kate & Leopold is a fun movie…

Hm. A little thin on the ground.

Lazarus: Risen #3Lazarus: Risen #3 by Greg Rucka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Forever is here again, ready to kick ass…

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Looks like she‘s still trying to figure out what the bigger picture is and what her father is really up to… She might have a plan, but if she does, I don‘t get it.

Could Johanna Carlyle actually be a decent person? I have always been deeply suspicious…

Ominous things going on.

The artwork is generally good. I find the look of the female characters too similar though. They all seem to have the same face and only hair colour, glasses and clothes give any hints who each of them is. Some of that is on purpose, I get it. But that much?

Only three-quarters of this comic are main story, after that it‘s other things. Pretty thin plot. Pretty. Thin. Nice little cliffhanger.

I am still not happy with the new format. It feels like a long wait for not a lot.

The next one in March 2020, Gifts of God, will be a standalone with different MCs, so I might skip it.

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Lazarus has risen!

Lazarus: Risen #1Lazarus: Risen #1 by Greg Rucka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bloody! As usual!

The story was ok. A lot of set-up. I expected more, especially after the two part prelude with you-know-who…

Great last page! Bold! But a really mean place to interrupt the story. And the whole thing is too short! Perhaps I have to get used to the new format… I still don‘t trust Johanna. ★★★★☆

Additional short story (text): „Your Last Meal On Earth“ by Lisa Sturges. ★★★½☆

The RPG stuff at the end was fun. And the letters. Especially the answer to the last one. ★★★★★

The science bit was mostly depressing. Humans on Mars in my lifetime. Hopefully not just as an escape plan. ★★★★☆

Now we wait for July, for the next Quarterly! Nice cover page!

———————
Pre-read review:
Looking forward to this a lot! There is a two-part prelude, Lazarus #27 and #28, which might be best read beforehand. If I got my numbering right, this one here would be #29 in the allover series.

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Magickal

Black Magick, Vol. 2: Awakening IIBlack Magick, Vol. 2: Awakening II by Greg Rucka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fabulous artwork, great story, excellent continuation of the first volume.

The sketching continues to be very, very good and the colour highlights were well placed.

The look at Rowan‘s youth was a very nice addition that added depth to the story.

It got really tense there at the height of the plot. I will definitely pick up Volume 3 when it becomes available.

Collects issues 6-11.

Not black and white

Black Magick, Vol. 1: AwakeningBlack Magick, Vol. 1: Awakening by Greg Rucka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Really nice! I like the black and white artwork very much. The brief bits of colour are very nicely placed and the line art is gorgeous.

Great attention to detail.

Issue #2 was a bit of a filler. Issue #3 was slightly more interesting, but this definitely seems like a slow burning type of story. The ending of Issue #4 was a scary cliffhanger… Issue #5 brought it all to a nice climax, with two plotlines coming together and a new one opening…. which means that I will very likely get the next volume.

Bottomline, the plot is not Earth shattering, there is nothing terribly new or unusual. Not a lot of suspense until the end of Issue #4, but the story is solid enough. The black and white artwork with rare swirls of coloured highlights on the other hand is great. Great sketching, especially the shading and expressions of the various faces were fantastic.

Artwork ★★★★★
Plot ★★★★☆

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Prelude

Lazarus #27

Lazarus #27 by Greg Rucka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


We find out what happens to Jonah, after he jumps into the North Sea in that stolen immersion suit.

Back to the great artwork of the original artist. The attention to detail is great.

The bilingual speech is a little distracting. Anders looks a bit like the local Gestapo guy.

Great story telling. Nicely done, showing the passage of time. And I guess the romance was inevitable.

This is the first part of a prelude to the new storyline, Fracture. That one, according to Amazon, will be published in March 2019. I preordered it…

Lazarus #28

Lazarus #28 by Greg Rucka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The second part of a prelude to the new storyline, Fracture, which currently will be published in March 2019.

Who would have thought that I would come to care for Jonah Carlyle. He was such a traitorous bastard. There you go, now I can barely wait to find out what happens to him next. But I wouldn’t be surprised, if he was a no-show in the upcoming Lazarus #29.

This issue pretty much had the outcome I feared, based on the cover. The story was not quite what I expected though. Which is a good thing.

Yet again, beautiful artwork. Love of details, great scenes with almost hyperrealistic art. The scenes where they were fishing—the look of the water and the fishing nets for example—were just splendid. Same for the interior of their house. So many small details so beautifully rendered, really fun to see.

4.5-5 stars

One question… should I read the source books? Are they essential? They sound a bit like filler to me.

Filling in some gaps…

Lazarus: X+66

Lazarus: X+66 by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Stand-alone stories in the world the Lazarus comics, set after Volume 5, Cull. Good story telling, but with other artists. And none of them as good as the original artwork. So that took some getting used to. The only artwork I actually liked was the last story, about the Vassalikovska Lazarus (Spelling? Never mind…). I liked all of the stories, my favourite was probably Issue #4, with the journalist looking for clues of…. not telling you! That one at least will probably have an impact for the main storyline. Although the last panel of the Dragon storyline was pretty ominous as well.

Is this necessary reading for the Lazarus series? No, I don‘t think so. But I haven‘t read what comes after this, so I might be wrong. Did I enjoy reading this? Apart from the artwork, yes! Will I continue? Definitely.

Issue #1 is with Casey Solomon in military training: The lineart looks coarser and thicker somehow.

Issue #2 is Joaquim‘s story. It‘s ok, but again the art is not as good as in the main story. I didn‘t really like Joaquim in this.

Issue #3 is about Joe and Bobbie, Michael‘s parents from Volume 2. I liked this one. It looks at how they adjust to life as serfs.

Issue #4 is about families I don‘t really remember from the main storyline, Meyers-Qasimi and Nkosi. The initial pages consist of panels alternating from family to family with almost exactly the same layouts—I really liked that—and identical conversations, just switching viewpoints as well. Neatly done.

Issue #5 is the story of journalist Seré Cooper, someone else I don’t recall from the main series. She‘s in the doghouse and trying to redeem herself. And she finds something that might just do the trick…

Issue #6 is about The Zmey. Finally, I liked the artwork. The story is gruesome, brutal and borderline on the violence scale for me.



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More bloodshed

Lazarus Vol. 5: Cull

Lazarus Vol. 5: Cull by Greg Rucka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very violent. Twisty. A lot of blood. Good storytelling.

Wow, and what an ending to this volume. I hope that this will all get wrapped up in the next one! Which isn‘t out yet. I seem to have found my first comic series that I will subscribe to, so I don‘t miss what happens next. The story telling is just that good.

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PS: Can I just say that I do not like the new WordPress editior. I was comfortable with the old one. Now I have to learn again how everything works. Why do they keep messing with working systems?