I was in Atlanta for business for the first half of this week (SC floods haven’t affected me, but I have several friends-of-friends who lost a great deal and one friend who lost their workplace. Keep them in your thoughts, if you would…) and when I returned, this lovely Bookcase Club Box was waiting for me!
I mentioned before that I subscribed to Bookcase.Club, which sends you two surprise books a month for $15. There are six genres to choose from, and I picked their “Strange Worlds” science-fiction and fantasy box.
I also mentioned in my last post that I hoped for Earth-grounded fantasy fiction, and boy did they deliver!
Their goodies for this month are Halloween candy and a googly-eyed pumpkin bookmark (cute!). I think they normally come with journals as a “bonus item”, but this is something appropriately festive.
The books included are Daughter of The Sword by Steve Bein and Omega Days by John L. Campbell. They are paperbacks in perfect condition. I will admit, I’m a little jealous of everyone unboxing on Twitter, because it seems like most people got Ready Player One instead of Daughter of The Sword, which is a book I’ve been dying to read for awhile. But that’s okay – I already know about Ready Player One and have it on my TBR list. Daughter of The Sword is something I’ve never heard of, so the subscription did its job of introducing me to titles I wouldn’t otherwise find ;)
As for the books, I ripped the summaries off Amazon, and included some of my thoughts.
- Daughter of The Sword: As the only female detective in Tokyo’s most elite police unit, Mariko Oshiro has to fight for every ounce of respect, especially from her new boss. But when he gives her the least promising case possible—the attempted theft of an old samurai sword—it proves more dangerous than anyone on the force could have imagined. The owner of the sword, Professor Yasuo Yamada, says it was crafted by the legendary Master Inazuma, a sword smith whose blades are rumored to have magical qualities. The man trying to steal it already owns another Inazuma—one whose deadly power eventually comes to control all who wield it.
First of all, THIS is the urban fantasy I like. I enjoy urban/modern fantasy based in mysticism rather than creatures (vampires, werewolves, insert your furry flavor here). The fact that the sword is the “magical” element of the story is neat to me, if a bit contrived. I also haven’t seen complaints about how the white male author portrayed a Japanese female officer, except that he may have actually exaggerated the oppression she would realistically face, so this one has true diversity points (Steve Bein is a professional philosopher, particularly with Asian philosophy, and has black belts in two martial arts.)
I also think that would be a realistic scenario in Japan; a female cop in America facing brutal sexism is a little stretched, because there are a million female cops out there and it’s not so odd to see in 2015. But Japanese women are held to even higher standards of modesty than American women, so I believe Mariko would have a tough time.
- Omega Days: In San Francisco, California, Father Xavier Church has spent his life ministering to unfortunate souls, but he has never witnessed horror like this. After he forsakes his vows in the most heartrending of ways, he watches helplessly as a zombie nun takes a bite out of a fellow priest’s face……At University of California, Berkeley. Skye Dennison is moving into her college dorm for the first time, simultaneously excited to be leaving the nest and terrified to be on her own. When her mother and father are eaten alive in front of her, she realizes the terror has just begun…and at Alameda, California. Angie West made millions off her family’s reality gun show on the History Channel. But after she is cornered by the swarming undead, her knowledge of heavy artillery is called into play like never before. Within weeks, the world is overrun by the walking dead. Only the quick and the smart, the strong and the determined, will survive—for now.
Obviously, Omega Days is a zombie book. I am not normally fond of zombies. However, these characters demonstrate the rare talent of capturing my interest in the summary and that is what sells a book for me. This book is also marketed as an action ensemble, a la The Stand or Heroes, where everyone starts separately and eventually bands together. I LOVE THOSE SORTS OF STORIES. I am really excited to read get to this one.
The only complaint I’ve seen is that this book ends right as the action gets going, and has a huge cliffhanger – kind of a pet peeve of mine. I strongly feel like good books stand on their own, especially if they’re first in a series. But that doesn’t mean Omega Days will be unenjoyable, and the sequels are already out. So I don’t have to wait to resolve the cliffhanger. ^_^
Overall, both are very highly rated, safely obscure, and have several sequels (I think Daughter has two sequels and two companion novellas. Omega has three sequels). So if I enjoy these worlds, there is more adventure out there!
Finally, my box included a handwritten letter, which was a nice touch.
I will definitely stick with Bookcase Club next month, because these were great selections. It’s also worth mentioning that a new paperback for Omega Days sells for $13.50 on Amazon, and a new paperback for Daughter sells for $11.77. That’s over a $25 retail value that I received for $15 without leaving my house. On top of that, they throw in goodies like bookmarks and journals for more value. And for every month I’m subscribed, they donate a book to charity.
Through December, they’re offering a special promotion where you can get two months – aka four surprise books – for only $25! If the value holds from month to month, that could amount to $50 worth of books for half the retail price. Go on their website and select the Happy Holidays Gift Set for yourself or a friend. It’s a fun, cheap way to discover new books and support literacy.
Have you read either of the books they sent me? What do you think of Bookcase Club? Let me know in the comments!