Upcoming: NECESSARY PEOPLE by Anna Pitoniak (Little, Brown)

PitoniakA-NecessaryPeopleUSI very much enjoyed Anna Pitoniak‘s debut novel, The Futures. I read it a long while ago, after receiving an ARC quite a bit before its release. Ever since finishing it, however, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the author’s next novel. In May 2019, Little, Brown are due to publish that follow-up: Necessary People. And it sounds really interesting, too:

One of them has it all. One of them wants it all. Only one of them can win.

Stella Bradley is beautiful, rich, and very good at getting herself into trouble. Violet Trapp is smart, self-aware, and laser-focused on escaping her humble background — especially after Stella gives her a glimpse into a world of glamour and wealth. They are best friends, and from the moment they meet in college, they know their roles: Stella in the spotlight, and Violet behind the scenes.

After graduation, Violet moves to New York and lands a job in cable news, where she works her way up from intern to assistant to producer, and to a life where she’s finally free from Stella’s shadow. Until Stella decides to use her connections, beauty and charisma to land a job at the same network. Stella soon moves in front of the camera, becoming the public face of the stories that Violet has worked tirelessly to produce-and taking all the credit for it.

But Violet isn’t giving up so easily. As she and Stella strive for success, they each reveal just how far they’ll go to get what they want — even if it means destroying the other person along the way.

Set against the fast-paced backdrop of TV news, Necessary People is a propulsive work of psychological suspense about ambition and privilege, about the thin line between friendship and rivalry, about the people we need in our lives — and the people we don’t.

Necessary People is due to be published in North America by Little, Brown in May 2019. At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any information about a UK publisher. The Futures is out now in paperback, published by Lee Boudreaux Books in North America and Penguin in the UK.

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Upcoming: THE HAUNTING OF TRAM CAR 015 by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)

ClarkPD-HauntingOfTramCar015I first heard of P. Djèlí Clark when Tor.com published his novella The Black God’s Drum, which sounds like a fascinating fantasy set in an alt-history New Orleans (I haven’t managed to read it, yet, but it’s rapidly climbing my TBR pile). Recently, Tor.com announced The Haunting of Tram Car 015, a follow-up of sorts to his short story A Dead Djinn in Cairo (which I got recently). Due to be published on February 19th, 2019, I’m really looking forward to this. Here’s the synopsis:

Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — handling a possessed tram car.

Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 will be released on February 19th, 2019, in North America and in the UK.

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Upcoming: EMPRESS OF FOREVER by Max Gladstone (Tor Books)

GladstoneM-1-EmpressForeverUSI don’t think I know anyone who has read Max Gladstone‘s work who hasn’t been horrified or disappointed that I haven’t had the pleasure, yet. I recently bought his critically-acclaimed Craft Sequence series, but have just been so slow about getting to them. (Soon! Stop telling me off!) Next year, he has a new series coming out. The cover for the first novel, Empress of Forever was unveiled recently by Barnes & Noble. Not only that, but so was the synopsis, which sounds fantastic:

A smart, swashbuckling, wildly imaginative adventure; the saga of a rag-tag team of brilliant misfits, dangerous renegades, and enhanced outlaws in a wartorn future.

A wildly successful innovator to rival Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, Vivian Liao is prone to radical thinking, quick decision-making, and reckless action. On the eve of her greatest achievement, she tries to outrun people who are trying to steal her success.

In the chilly darkness of a Boston server farm, Viv sets her ultimate plan into motion. A terrifying instant later, Vivian Liao is catapulted through space and time to a far future where she confronts a destiny stranger and more deadly than she could ever imagine.

The end of time is ruled by an ancient, powerful Empress who blesses or blasts entire planets with a single thought. Rebellion is literally impossible to consider — until Vivian Liao arrives. Trapped between the Pride — a ravening horde of sentient machines — and a fanatical sect of warrior monks who call themselves the Mirrorfaith, Viv must rally a strange group of allies to confront the Empress and find a way back to the world and life she left behind.

It has been described as “a feminist Guardians of the Galaxy crossed with Star Wars and spiced with the sensibility and spirit of Iain M. Banks and William Gibson” — which just makes it sound even more interesting! Not sure if it’s the first in a series or a stand-alone, though. Empress of Forever is due to be published by Tor Books in June 2019, in North America and the UK.

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Upcoming:VIGILANCE by Robert Jackson Bennett (Tor.com)

BennettRJ-VigilanceI’ve fallen really far behind on Robert Jackson Bennett‘s work! Shameful, really, given how much I love his novels. Anyway, hot on the heels of the acclaimed Foundryside, he has a new novella on the way from Tor.com! Due to be published on January 29th in North America and in the UK, here’s the synopsis for Vigilance:

A dark science fiction action parable from an America that has permanently surrendered to gun violence.

The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize.

The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.

Really looking forward to reading this! While you’re waiting, I would highly recommend his Divine Cities trilogy, too — published by Jo Fletcher Books in the UK and Crown in North America.

Also on CR: Interview with Robert Jackson Bennett (2012); Guest Post on City of Stairs and the Super Tropey Fantasy Checklist”; Excerpt from City of Stairs; Review of City of Stairs

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Upcoming: The ALICE PAYNE Series by Kate Heartfield (Tor.com)

HeartfieldK-AP1-AlicePayneArrivesKate Heartfield‘s first Alice Payne novella, Alice Payne Arrives was announced a little while ago by Tor.com, but today I saw that a sequel was also on the way: Alice Payne Rides! I haven’t managed to get hold of the first one, yet, but Heartfield will be in Toronto to launch the book on November 6th at Bakka Phoenix (a must-visit if you’re ever in Toronto). Anyway, here’s the synopsis for the first book, due to be published by Tor.com on November 6th, 2018.

The story of a time traveling thief turned reluctant hero in this science fiction adventure.

A disillusioned major, a highwaywoman, and a war raging across time.

It’s 1788 and Alice Payne is the notorious highway robber, the Holy Ghost. Aided by her trusty automaton, Laverna, the Holy Ghost is feared by all who own a heavy purse.

It’s 1889 and Major Prudence Zuniga is once again attempting to change history—to save history—but seventy attempts later she’s still no closer to her goal.

It’s 2016 and… well, the less said about 2016 the better!

But in 2020 the Farmers and the Guides are locked in battle; time is their battleground, and the world is their prize. Only something new can change the course of the war. Or someone new.

Little did they know, but they’ve all been waiting until Alice Payne arrives.

HeartfieldK-AP2-AlicePayneRidesAlice Payne Rides is due to be published by Tor.com on March 5th, 2019. Here’s the synopsis:

After abducting Arthur of Brittany from his own time in 1203, thereby creating the mystery that partly prompted the visit in the first place, Alice and her team discover that they have inadvertently brought the smallpox virus back to 1780 with them.

Searching for a future vaccine, Prudence finds that the various factions in the future time war intend to use the crisis to their own advantage.

Can the team prevent an international pandemic across time, and put history back on its tracks? At least until the next battle in the time war…

Both books will be available in the UK, too: Alice Payne Arrives and Alice Payne Rides.

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Upcoming: BREACH by W.L. Goodwater (Ace)

GoodwaterGL-1-BreachUSNot sure how I managed to miss Breach until now. I’ve enjoyed most of the alternative history novels that I’ve read, but I don’t seem to pick up that many. Ian Tregillis’s Milkweed Triptych is one of my favourite series, for example. Due to be published by Ace Books on November 6th, W. L. Goodwater‘s alternative history fantasy novel sounds really interesting:

The Berlin Wall is made entirely of magic. When a breach unexpectedly appears in the wall, spies from both sides swarm to the city as World War III threatens to spark.

AFTER THE WAR, THE WALL BROUGHT AN UNEASY PEACE.

When Soviet magicians conjured an arcane wall to blockade occupied Berlin, the world was outraged but let it stand for the sake of peace. Now, after ten years of fighting with spies instead of spells, the CIA has discovered the unthinkable…

THE WALL IS FAILING.

While refugees and soldiers mass along the border, operatives from East and West converge on the most dangerous city in the world to either stop the crisis, or take advantage of it.

Karen, a young magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment, is sent to investigate the breach in the Wall and determine if it can be fixed. Instead, she discovers that the truth is elusive in this divided city–and that even magic itself has its own agenda.

THE TRUTH OF THE WALL IS ABOUT TO BE REVEALED.

Breach is due to be published on November 6th, and will be available in the UK.

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Music: MURDER AND THE MOTIVE by Those Damn Crows

ThoseDamnCrows-MurderAndTheMotive

I feel like I’ve been waiting a long time for the debut album from Bridgend, South Wales five-piece Those Damn Crows. Thankfully, on October 5th, Earache Records released their album, Murder and the Motive. The delay was certainly worth the wait: this album is great. It’s interesting that it did take so long for the album to come out, though: the music video for “Fear of the Broken” (the final track on the album) was uploaded to YouTube on June 8th, 2015! “Blink of an Eye” (my favourite song on the album) got a video in September 2016.

My “review”, for want of a better word, is simply this: Those Damn Crows are damn good. If you’re a fan of any kind of rock music, then I think you’ll like this band. Loud guitars, great vocals and hooks, I’m really glad I stumbled across them. Continue reading