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Friday, July 21, 2017

RA for All Vacation Edition: Day 2- Backlist Gems from the Archives

Today's book doesn't go back as far, but since I mentioned the resurgence of Westerns [especially weird westerns] earlier this week, I thought this one was well timed.


What I'm Reading: Builders

Here are two books I recently read and reviewed for Booklist. As usual, I have included my draft review and have incorporated my "three words" and extra readalikes.

The Builders by Daniel Polansky

Nov. 2015. 221p. Tor, paperback, $12.99 (9780765385307); Tor, e-book, $2.99 (9780765384003).
REVIEW.  First published November 15, 2015 (Booklist)

Revenge is a powerful emotion, and if you are already a stone-cold killer, revenge can be a dangerous weapon as well. In this briskly paced, dark fantasy epic, the Captain, a mouse, is a brilliant and talented outlaw who was previously bested but is now determined to avenge his loss. He rounds up his old team of small animals (e.g. mole, badger, owl, salamander) to reignite the war between the brother Lords and reinstate “the Elder” to the throne. The characters are animals yes, but they are not the least bit cuddly. All are well trained assassins with a special talent, all are very good at  job, all want their Lord to stay in power, and each spills plenty of blood along the way. This is Redwall all grown up with a Western sensibility.  Expect excellent world-building, a huge cast of interesting characters, and a suspenseful, well executed storytelling style that keeps the reader guessing until the final page. Despite the high body count, there is also a satisfying amount of smart, dark humor here. A great option for fans of the off-kilter, The Sisters Brothers or the novels of the late Elmore Leonard.

Three Words That Describe This Book: revenge, unique characters, not what you think

Readalikes: This books surprised me-- in a good way.  A fantasy with animals that is really a spaghetti western.  There were parts of this book that reminded me of a Tarantino movie.  I didn’t this in my official review, but I still can’t shake the similarity especially to Kill Billor Reservoir Dogs.

Another readalike I couldn’t fit in the review is to True Grit by Charles Portis. Again, I think it’s the “not what you think” quality of both stories that is a match as well as the shared western sensibility.

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