Another new feature! In Face-Off Friday, I’ll pit two new arrivals in my weekly mailbox or two older books from my TBR Mountain head to head, and you vote on which one you’d rather read. I’ll pick a winner from the commenters to win BOTH books.
In today’s matchup, Warren Fahy’s PANDEMONIUM will be duking it out with Howard Andrew Jones’ THE BONES OF THE OLD ONES.
The Bones of the Old Ones:
As a snowfall blankets 8th century Mosul, a Persian noblewoman arrives at the home of the scholar Dabir and his friend the swordsman Captain Asim. Najya has escaped from a dangerous cabal that has ensorcelled her to track down ancient magical tools of tremendous power, the bones of the old ones….To stop the cabal and save Najya, Dabir and Asim venture into the worst winter in human memory, hunted by a shape-changing assassin. The stalwart Asim is drawn irresistibly toward the beautiful Persian even as Dabir realizes she may be far more dangerous a threat than anyone who pursues them, for her enchantment worsens with the winter. As their opposition grows, Dabir and Asim have no choice but to ally with their deadliest enemy, the treacherous Greek necromancer, Lydia. But even if they can trust one another long enough to escape their foes, it may be too late for Najya, whose soul is bound up with a vengeful spirit intent on sheathing the world in ice for a thousand years
Deep beneath the Ural Mountains, in an underground city carved out by slave labor during the darkest hours of the Cold War, ancient caverns hold exotic and dangerous life-forms that have evolved in isolation for countless millennia. Cut off from the surface world, an entire ecosystem of bizarre subterranean species has survived undetected—until now….Biologists Nell and Geoffrey Binswanger barely survived their last encounter with terrifying, invasive creatures that threatened to engulf the planet. They think the danger is over until a ruthless Russian tycoon lures them to his underground metropolis, where they find themselves confronted by a vicious menagerie of biological horrors from their past—and by entirely new breeds of voracious predators. Now they’re rising up from the bowels of the Earth to consume the world as we know it.
THE OPENING SENTENCE:
The Bones of the Old Ones: “The snow banked knee-high against the walls of the narrow alley, and my boots sank into it as I pressed my back to the cold stone.”
Pandemonium: “Poekhali!” bellowed Taras Demochev, Guard No. 114 of Corrective Labor Camp No. 479.
PAGE 100 (last two complete sentences):
The Bones of the Old Ones: She did not speak, but pointed to an unused lantern set there. I took it, then she grasped my right hand once more and guided me to a narrow arched opening.
Pandemonium: “Will you keep both names?” “Well…” she shrugged, “we’re thinking about it.”
So…what do you think? Personally, I would probably pick up Pandemonium first, not out of anything negative toward Old Ones, but because I like dystopia-horror more than I like traditional fantasy. However, the real verdict is yours. Which one sounds most interesting to you?