Home / The Early Word: New and Notable Fiction for the Week of July 28, 2008

The Early Word: New and Notable Fiction for the Week of July 28, 2008

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Without a doubt, the big news in fiction this week is Stephenie Meyer's anticipated young adult novel Breaking Dawn. As Meyer-mania has taken over the major bestsellers lists for months now, Breaking Dawn, along with her most recent novel The Host, have been everywhere, including here at Blogcritics.

Breaking Dawn will be released with the type of fanfare we haven't seen since the last Harry Potter book came out last year. Coming out at midnight on Saturday, August 2 instead of the usually quiet Tuesday release expected of most major books, fans will be lining up at their local bookstores in anticipation of the next chapter in the vampire-loving Twilight young adult series.

Unlike The Host, which was written as an adult science fiction novel, Breaking Dawn follows her infamous narrator Bella Swan and picks up where Eclipse left off. Although the publisher has kept details of the plot sketchy, Meyer has said that the plot for Breaking Dawn was in part inspired by A Midsummer Nights Dream and may make allusions to other prominent works of literature. Entertainment Weekly published an excerpt of the first chapter, and it's available to read on their website. It's worth reading, especially for fans who need to catch up before they go out and buy the latest book.

So what's with all the buzz surrounding Meyer's work? What exactly is the appeal? The Times Online ran an interesting feature article that tries to answer why a series of books about vampires could appeal to a young adult (primarily female) audience by saying that "[t]he books are essentially high-school romances with a twist. The protagonist is an ordinary pupil called Bella, who falls for Edward, the best-looking guy in the class… How their relationship develops in these awkward circumstances and how the heroine deals with other less scrupulous blood-guzzlers, is the basis of the books." Essentially, the books deal with some of the basic questions of the awkward teen social life, and that's why the Times suggests Meyer is the new J.K. Rowling.

There are, of course, several other books coming out that are worth mentioning. If it wasn't for Paste Magazine I might not have discovered Awesome by Jack Pendarvis, a novel that deals with a fantastical giant who tries to come to terms with the world around him. Awesome, the jilted, lovable giant who has to deal with many odd and comic situations, tries to connect with the world around him after he is rejected by his love interest. It is a novel that, under all of the comedy, deals with some serious human emotions. Also out this week is The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry, a novel that deals with the ghosts of the past in Salem, Massachusetts through Towner Whitney, a direct descendant of a family that dealt in witchcraft and magic. Barry's novel focuses on how the community comes to terms with its very famous past.

Here are some of this week's exciting works of fiction:

Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Sanction
by Eric Van Lustbader

Turbulent Sea (Drake Sisters Series #6)
by Christine Feehan

Cry Wolf
by Patricia Briggs

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer

by Karin Slaughter

Elves of Cintra
by Terry Brooks

The Golden Valkyrie
by Iris Johansen

Beyond Reach
by Karin Slaughter

The Burnt House
by Faye Kellerman

Comic Book Tattoo Tales Inspired by Tori Amos
by Pia Guerra, John Reppion, et al.

Horus Heresy: Battle for the Abyss
by Ben Counter

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About Kevin Eagan

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Don’t understand your list. You seem to mix up paper and hardcover, at least that is what it seems. The Kellerman and Slaughter books, at the least are not New. You should make distinctions between hard, trade, and mass market new releases.

  • Lisa,

    I mainly focus on new hardcovers that are prominent in most bestseller lists. I also include some notable mass market paperbacks, although I cannot include every single one released each week since there are usually hundreds of them. I don’t generally include re-releases of books unless they are particularly important that week. 95% of the books I choose are new hardcovers from the major publishing houses.

    The reason I don’t separate them is that we already have separated our Early Word feature between Fiction and Non-Fiction.