New Books: March #1

StrokeTheBooks

Or, “Lordy, 2015 is shaping up to be an incredible year for books…”

Featuring: John Joseph Adams, Richard Beard, Paul Beatty, Patricia Briggs, Col Buchanan, John Connelly, Rjurik Davidson, Joshua Gaylord, Dave Gross, Kazuo Ishiguro, Edan Lepucki, Robert Levy, Tom Lloyd, George R.R. Martin & Gardener Dozois, Stephen Metcalfe, Kristen Painter, Alastair Reynolds, Kim Stanley Robinson, V.E. Schwab, Lavie Tidhar, Marc Turner

AdamsCT-TheExileCoverC.T. Adams, THE EXILE (Tor Books)

Brianna Hai runs an occult shop that sells useless trinkets to tourists–and real magic supplies to witches and warlocks. The magical painting that hangs in Brianna’s apartment is the last portal between the fae and human worlds.

A shocking magical assault on her home reveals to Brianna that her father, High King Liu of the Fae, is under attack. With the help of her gargoyle, Pug, her friend David, and Angelo, a police detective who doesn’t believe in magic, Brianna recovers what was stolen from her and becomes an unwilling potential heir to the throne.

The first solo novel from Adams, it sounds like a potentially interesting urban fantasy melange. Hopefully get to it at some point soon. A guest post by Adams will also go up next week (March 21st).

Review copy received from publisher

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Various-Wastelands2John Joseph Adams (ed), WASTELANDS 2 (Titan)

Wastelands 2 – More Stories of the Apocalypse is a new anthology of post-apocalyptic literature from some of the most renowned science fiction and fantasy authors in the field today including George R.R. Martin, Hugh Howey, Junot Diaz, David Brin and many more. It is an eclectic mix of tales that explores famine, death, war, pestilence, and harbingers of the biblical apocalypse.

I do enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction. Always have. Not sure why, or what this says about me. If it’s done well, then it can be very powerful, thought-provoking. Or it can be a kill-fest of no greater value than escapist fantasy for those with itchy trigger fingers. Given Adams’s reputation, though, not to mention the authors he’s got to contributed to the collection, I’m sure it’ll be the former.

Also on CR: Excerpt from Wastelands 2

Review copy received from publisher

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BeardR-ActsOfTheAssassinsUKRichard Beard, ACTS OF THE ASSASSINS (Harvill Secker)

A charismatic cult leader is dead. One by one his followers are being assassinated. Sawn in half, beheaded, skinned alive. Enter Gallio.

Gallio does counter-insurgency. But the theft of a body he’s supposed to be guarding ruins his career. Bizarre rumours of the walking dead are swirling, there is panic in the air, and it’s his job to straighten out the conspiracy. He blows the case.

Years later, the file is reopened when a second body appears. Gallio is called back by headquarters and ordered to track down everyone involved the first time round. The only problem is they keep dying, in ever more grotesque and violent ways. How can Gallio stay ahead of the game when the game keeps changing?

Acts of the Assassins is about one man’s struggle to confront forces beyond his understanding. And about how lonely a turbulent world can be.

This sounded interesting, so I requested it. Published by Harvill Secker (Random House) in the UK, on March 19th, 2015.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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BeattyP-SelloutUSPaul Beatty, THE SELLOUT (FS&G)

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality — the black Chinese restaurant.

Born in the “agrarian ghetto” of Dickens — on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles — the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: “I’d die in the same bedroom I’d grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that’ve been there since ’68 quake.” Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.

Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident — the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins — he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

Don’t really know anything about the novel save from the synopsis above – sounded interesting, so on a whim I picked it up. Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, it’s out now.

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BriggsP-AO4-DeadHeatUKPatricia Briggs, DEAD HEAT (Orbit)

The Alpha and Omega novels transport readers into the realm of the werewolf, where Charles Cornick and Anna Latham embody opposite sides of the shifter personality. Now, a pleasure trip drops the couple into the middle of some bad supernatural business…

For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal – or at least it starts out that way…

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up – and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.

This is the fourth novel in Briggs’s best-selling Alpha & Omega series, following Cry Wolf, Hunting Ground, and Fair Game.

Review copy received from publisher

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BuchananC-HotW3-BlackDreamCol Buchanan, THE BLACK DREAM (Tor UK)

As the empire of Mann threatens the world with enslavement, only a single island nation continues to stand in its way – the Free Ports of the democras. For ten years they have held their own, but now the empire draws its noose even tighter over them.

Rallying to its defence are those from the secretive network known as the Few, including the cripple and troubleshooter Coya Zeziké. Coya has hopes of enlisting the forest contrarè in the aid of the besieged city of Bar-Khos. With him is Shard, the only Dreamer of the Free Ports, a woman capable of manipulating waking reality or the strange dimensions of the Black Dream.

The Roshun order of assassins have also engaged in the war at last. But Ash, their ailing farlander, has more urgent business to overcome. Facing him is a skyship voyage into the Great Hush, then further journeying to the fabled Isles of Sky, where he hopes bring his dead apprentice Nico back to life. Yet, his voyage into the unknown may save more than just Nico … it may save the Free Ports themselves.

It’s been a long time coming, but finally the third novel in Buchanan’s Heart of the World series is out! I really enjoyed the first two novels, so I’m very eager to get stuck in to this one.

Also on CR: Interview with Col Buchanan; Reviews of Farlander and Stands a Shadow

Review copy received from publisher

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ConnollyJ-CP13-ASongOfShadowsUKJohn Connolly, A SONG OF SHADOWS (Hodder)

Grievously wounded private detective Charlie Parker investigates a case that has its origins in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War.

Broken, but undeterred, private detective Charlie Parker faces the darkest of dark forces in a case with its roots in the second world war, and a concentration camp unlike any other…

Recovering from a near-fatal shooting and tormented by memories of a world beyond this one, Parker has retreated to the small Maine town of Boreas to recover. There he befriends a widow named Ruth Winter and her young daughter, Amanda. But Ruth has her secrets. She is hiding from the past, and the forces that threaten her have their origins in the Second World War, in a town called Lubko and a concentration camp unlike any other. Old atrocities are about to be unearthed, and old sinners will kill to hide their sins. Now Parker is about to risk his life to defend a woman he barely knows, one who fears him almost as much as she fears those who are coming for her.

His enemies believe him to be vulnerable. Fearful. Solitary.

But they are wrong. Parker is far from afraid, and far from alone.

For something is emerging from the shadows…

This is the thirteenth novel in the acclaimed Charlie Parker series. Sad to say, I haven’t read any of them before. I have, however, been looking in to it for some time, and decided to buy the first two to give a try. As I keep promising myself that I will read at least one older novel each month (not doing very well on that promise so far…), I think I’ll make the first Charlie Parker novel – Every Dead Thing – one of my earlier older titles. A Song of Shadows is published in the UK by Hodder on April 9th, 2015; it is published in North America by Atria, in August 2015.

Review copy received from publisher

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DavidsonR-UnwrappedSkyUKRjurik Davidson, UNWRAPPED SKY (Tor UK)

A blend of science fantasy from a new voice in the genre – a completely compelling vision of a society on the verge of collapse

Caeli-Amur: an ancient city harbouring hidden mysteries, ruled by three warring Houses. Once, the gods used magic ­- or thaumaturgy – to create reality. Now, under the oppression of the controlling classes, that magic seems like a dream.

But things are changing in Caeli-Amur. Ancient minotaurs arrive for the traditional Festival of the Sun and New-Men bring wondrous technology from their homeland. Hideously disfigured Wastelanders stream into the city and strikes break out in the factory district. 

Three very different people may hold the key to the city’s survival but only if they can put aside their own personal vendettas.

The philosopher-assassin Kata has debts that need settling and will do anything to ensure they’re met – but can she put a price on the ultimate betrayal? Meanwhile the ambitious bureaucrat Boris Autec rises through the ranks, turning his back on everything he once believed, and soon his private life turns to ashes. Elsewhere, the idealistic seditionist Maximilian resolves to overturn the tyranny dominating the city, and hatches a mad plot to unlock the secrets of the Great Library of Caeli Enas, drowned in the fabled city at the bottom of the sea. 

In a novel of startling originality and riveting suspense, these three individuals risk everything for a future they can only create by throwing off the shackles of tradition and superstition. As their destinies collide, the destruction will either transform the ancient city … or ruin it.

This sounds great. I hope to get to it ASAP. The sequel, The Stars Askew should be out soon, too. Also published in North America by Tor Books.

Also on CR: Interview with Rjurik Davidson

Review copy received from publisher

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GaylordJ-WhenWeWereAnimalsUSJoshua Gaylord, WHEN WE WERE ANIMALS (Mulholland)

A small, quiet Midwestern town, which is unremarkable save for one fact: when the teenagers reach a certain age, they run wild.

When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she wouldn’t have guessed she would become a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact she never thought she would escape her small and peculiar hometown. When We Were Animals is Lumen’s confessional: as a teenager she fell beneath the sway of her community’s darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident “breaches” during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path.

Lumen resists. Promising her father she will never breach, she investigates the mystery of her community’s traditions and the stories erased from the town record. But the more we learn about the town’s past, the more we realize that Lumen’s memories are harboring secrets of their own.

A gothic coming-of-age tale for modern times, When We Were Animals is a dark, provocative journey into the American heartland.

Mulholland Books publish some of the best novels available today. So, anything new from them is very welcome indeed. This sounds particularly interesting. Due to be published in North America by Mulholland, on April 21st, 2015.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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GrossD-P-LordOfRunesDave Gross, PATHFINDER TALES: LORD OF RUNES (Tor Books)

Count Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan are no strangers to the occult. Yet when Varian is bequeathed a dangerous magical book by an old colleague, the infamous investigators find themselves on the trail of a necromancer bent on becoming the new avatar of a strange and sinister demigod — one of the legendary runelords. Along with a team of mercenaries and adventurers, the crime-solving duo will need to delve into a secret world of dark magic and the legacy of a lost empire. But in saving the world, will Varian and Radovan lose their souls?

The first Pathfinder novel to be published by Tor Books, it is also the fifth to feature Gross’s character Jeggare. I’m not sure if it will work as a stand-alone, but I’ll still give it a try. I’ve not had much experience with Pathfinder, save for a handful of tie-in comics. What I’ve read was interesting, and I particularly liked the Eberron setting. Lord of Runes is due to be published in June 2015.

Tor Books’ website lists three more forthcoming Pathfinder novels: Tim Pratt’s Liar’s Island (August 2015), Howard Andrew Jones’s Beyond the Pool of Stars (October 2015), and F. Wesley Schneider’s Bloodhound (November 2015).

Review copy received from publisher

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HartmanR-2-ShadowScaleUSRachel Hartman, SHADOW SCALE (Random House)

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself — for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

The highly-anticipated sequel to Seraphina (which I also bought). Should be interesting.

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IshiguroK-BuriedGiantCAKazuo Ishiguro, THE BURIED GIANT (Knopf Canada)

The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased.

The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards – some strange and other-worldly – but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.

I have never read anything by Ishiguro. This has been getting so much attention and press (though, I’ve managed to avoid reading any reviews), that I decided to make this my first experience of his fiction. Published in Canada by Knopf, in the UK by Faber & Faber, and in the US also by Knopf – it’s out now.

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LepuckiE-CaliforniaUKPBEdan Lepucki, CALIFORNIA (Little, Brown)

The sunshine state lies in darkness.

Los Angeles is in ruins, left to the angels now.

And the world Cal and Frida have always known is gone.

Cal and Frida have left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable despite the isolation and hardships they face. Consumed by fear of the future and mourning for a past they can’t reclaim, they seek comfort and solace in one other. But the tentative existence they’ve built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant. 

Terrified of the unknown but unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realise this community poses its own dangers. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

I’m not sure if there are many people who haven’t heard of this novel, yet… It got the Colbert Bump during the Amazon-Hachette stand-off. Naturally, I promptly forgot to get to it. With the paperback out in the UK in April 2015, it’s a great time to read it. I imagine it will appeal to fans of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Monica Byrnes’s The Girl in the Road.

Review copy received from publisher

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LevyR-GlitteringWorldCARobert Levy, THE GLITTERING WORLD (Gallery)

AS A BOY, HE VANISHED INTO THE WOODS.

SOMETHING ELSE CAME BACK.

In the tradition of Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Scott Smith (The Ruins), and Jason Mott (The Returned), award-winning playwright Robert Levy spins a dark tale of alienation and belonging, the familiar and the surreal, family secrets and the search for truth in his debut supernatural thriller.

When up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy, Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind.

But then Blue begins to remember. And once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends—Elisa, his former partner in crime; her stalwart husband, Jason; and Gabe, Blue’s young and admiring coworker—must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. All four will face their troubled pasts, their most private demons, and a mysterious race of beings that inhabits the land, spoken of by the locals only as the Other Kind…

Published by Gallery, it’s out now.

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LloydT-2-OldMansGhostsTom Lloyd, OLD MAN’S GHOSTS (Gollancz)

Inspector Narin and his motley crew return, as the city is once again under threat. But this time a terror from their past awaits…

Some men can never outrun their ghosts. 

Enchei thought he’d found a home at last – a life of quiet obscurity far removed from the horror of his military days. After a decade in the Imperial City his mistakes have been few, but one has now returned to haunt him. 

As Narin’s pregnant lover comes to term, life has never been so perilous. There couldn’t be a worse time for a nightmare to be unleashed on the Imperial City, but luck’s rarely been on Narin’s side. 

Once, Enchei swore he’d take his own life rather than let his past catch up with him, but now it’s not just his own in the balance. Demons, rogue mages and vengeful noblemen haunt the city – and a man’s ghosts are always watching and waiting…

The second novel in Tom Lloyd’s new series is published next week (March 19th). I’m really interested in reading this and Moon’s Artifice. I don’t really know why I haven’t done so, yet… I’ll be starting it tonight.

Review copy received from publisher

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MartinDozois-OldVenusUKGeorge R.R. Martin & Gardener Dozois (eds), OLD VENUS (Titan)

Sixteen all-new stories by science fiction’s top talents, collected by bestselling author George R. R. Martin and multiple-award-winning editor Gardner Dozois

From pulp adventures such as Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Carson of Venus to classic short stories such as Ray Bradbury’s “The Long Rain” to visionary novels such as C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra, the planet Venus has loomed almost as large in the imaginations of science fiction writers as Earth’s next-nearest neighbor, Mars. But while the Red Planet conjured up in Golden Age science fiction stories was a place of vast deserts and ruined cities, bright blue Venus was its polar opposite: a steamy, swampy jungle world with strange creatures lurking amidst the dripping vegetation. Alas, just as the last century’s space probes exploded our dreams of Mars, so, too, did they shatter our romantic visions of Venus, revealing, instead of a lush paradise, a hellish world inimical to all life.

The latest anthology edited by Martin & Dozois. One of these days, I really need to read one… I’m still far more interested in reading full-length novels or the occasional short story/novella.

Review copy received from publisher

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MetcalfeS-TragicAgeUSStephen Metcalfe, THE TRAGIC AGE (St. Martin’s)

This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn’t always work — not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counselor keeps asking why you haven’t applied to college.

Billy’s life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Twom and Billy become one another’s mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie’s. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul.

With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.

Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is — Billy doesn’t trust happiness. It’s the age he’s at. The tragic age. 

Published by St. Martin’s PressThe Tragic Age is out now.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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PainterK-3-GardenOfDreams&DesiresKristen Painter, GARDEN OF DREAMS AND DESIRES (Orbit)

Fae and vampires collide in the lush surrounding of New Orleans, in the thrilling conclusion to this urban fantasy series by House of Comarr? author Kristen Painter

Tourists are disappearing at an alarming rate. While Augustine and his lieutenants attempt to find them, Harlow and the evil spirit possessing her remain Augustine’s true focus. Freeing her from the spirit’s grasp is all he can think about, especially with no real solution on the horizon.

Then he discovers the tourists are disappearing because the city’s witches are stealing souls to cast a dangerous chaos spell. Before he can stop them, Harlow becomes their victim. Now he must race the clock to set her free and end the witches’ machinations before the chaos spell strips every fae in New Orleans of their power and brings fae rule to an end.

The conclusion to the House of Comarr series, following House of the Rising Sun and City of Eternal Night.

Review copy received from publisher

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ReynoldsA-SlowBulletsAlastair Reynolds, SLOW BULLETS (Tachyon)

A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur — and for humanity — peace is not to be.

On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship.

Passengers — combatants from both sides of the war — are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. And Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.

Quite intrigued by this. I’ve never read anything by Reynolds, so this novella could be a great introduction to his work. It’s due to be published by Tachyon Publishing in June 2015, so I may hold off just a little while before reviewing it.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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RobinsonKS-AuroraKim Stanley Robinson, AURORA (Orbit)

The incredible story of mankind’s first voyage beyond the solar system in search of a new home

Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.

Now, we approach our destination.

A new home.

Aurora.

I have been eagerly awaiting this ever since I first heard about it. It’s not the most illuminating synopsis I’ve ever read, but the ARC has a little bit more information. Not published until July 7th, 2015, I’ve been lucky enough to receive an early review copy. I’ll probably hold off just a little while longer before reading and reviewing it, but I may not be able to…

Review copy received from publisher

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SchwabVE-ADarkerShadeOfMagicUKV.E. Schwab, TITLE (Titan)

Kell is one of the last Travelers — magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes — as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne — a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London… but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. 

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see — a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

Well before I finished reading Vicious, I bought this for Kindle. Loved the former, so have very high hopes for this one. A Darker Shade of Magic is published in the UK by Titan Books and North America by Tor Books (same for Vicious).

Also on CR: Review of Vicious

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SeymourI-IgniteTheShadowsIngrid Seymour, IGNITE THE SHADOWS (Voyager)

Marci feels possessed by shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she is confronted by their mysterious leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her. As IgNiTe reveals its secrets, Marci starts to realise that half the world’s population is infected with sentient parasites, which are attacking and eventually supplanting the human brain.

Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because this truth is far worse…

Published by Voyager in late April, this sounds pretty interesting.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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ThompsonAT-MedicineForTheDeadArianne “Tex” Thompson, ONE NIGHT IN SIXES and MEDICINE FOR THE DEAD (Solaris)

The story of Appaloosa Elim continues.

Two years ago, the crow-god Marhuk sent his grandson to Sixes.

Two nights ago, a stranger picked up his gun and shot him.

Two hours ago, the funeral party set out for the holy city of Atali’Krah, braving the wastelands to bring home the body of Dulei Marhuk.

Out in the wastes, one more corpse should hardly make a difference. But the blighted landscape has been ravaged by drought, twisted by violence, and warped by magic – and no-one is immune. Vuchak struggles to keep the party safe from monsters, marauders, and his own troubled mind. Weisei is being eaten alive by a strange illness. And fearful, guilt-wracked Elim hopes he’s only imagining the sounds coming from Dulei’s coffin. 

As their supplies dwindle and tensions mount, the desert exacts a terrible price from its pilgrims – one that will be paid with the blood of the living, and the peace of the dead.

The first two books in Thompson’s Children of the Drought series.

Review copy received from publisher

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TidharL-AManLiesDreamingUKLavie Tidhar, A MAN LIES DREAMING (Hodder)

Deep in the heart of history’s most infamous concentration camp, a man lies dreaming. His name is Shomer, and before the war he was a pulp fiction author. Now, to escape the brutal reality of life in Auschwitz, Shomer spends his nights imagining another world — a world where a disgraced former dictator now known only as Wolf ekes out a miserable existence as a low-rent PI in London’s grimiest streets.

The paperback of Tidhar’s critically-acclaimed new novel, starring Hitler… Will hopefully read this very soon.

Review copy received from publisher

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TurnerM-1-WherTheHeavensFallsUSMarc Turner, WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL (Tor Books)

If you pick a fight with Shroud, Lord of the Dead, you had better ensure your victory, else death will mark only the beginning of your suffering.

A book giving its wielder power over the dead has been stolen from a fellowship of mages that has kept the powerful relic dormant for centuries. The thief, a crafty, power-hungry necromancer, intends to use the Book of Lost Souls to resurrect an ancient race and challenge Shroud for dominion of the underworld. Shroud counters by sending his most formidable servants to seize the artifact at all cost.

However, the god is not the only one interested in the Book, and a host of other forces converge, drawn by the powerful magic that has been unleashed. Among them is a reluctant Guardian who is commissioned by the Emperor to find the stolen Book, a troubled prince who battles enemies both personal and political, and a young girl of great power, whose past uniquely prepares her for an encounter with Shroud. The greatest threat to each of their quests lies not in the horror of an undead army but in the risk of betrayal from those closest to them. Each of their decisions comes at a personal cost and will not only affect them, but also determine the fate of their entire empire.

I’m really looking forward to reading this — I may have to bump it up the TBR pile. Sounds great, and heard some very good things from the few who have already read it.

Review copy received from publisher

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ValentineG-PersonaGenevieve Valentine, PERSONA (Saga Press)

In a world where diplomacy has become celebrity, a young ambassador survives an assassination attempt and must join with an undercover paparazzo in a race to save her life, spin the story, and secure the future of her young country in this near-future political thriller from the acclaimed author of Mechanique and The Girls at Kingfisher Club.

When Suyana, Face of the United Amazonia Rainforest Confederation, is secretly meeting Ethan of the United States for a date that can solidify a relationship for the struggling UARC, the last thing she expected was an assassination attempt. Daniel, a teen runaway turned paparazzi out for his big break, witnesses the first shot hit Suyana, and before he can think about it, he jumps into the fray, telling himself it’s not altruism, it’s the scoop. Now Suyana and Daniel are on the run—and if they don’t keep one step ahead, they’ll lose it all.

I still haven’t read anything by Valentine, despite buying a couple of her books. (On Kindle, “out of sight” too often means “out of mind”…) This sounds pretty interesting and has been getting good reviews already, so I picked it up.

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WatsonA-2-ClashOfIronAngus Watson, CLASH OF IRON (Orbit)

LEADERS ARE FORGED IN THE FIRES OF WAR

Iron Age warriors Dug and Lowa captured Maidun castle and freed its slaves. But now they have conquered it, they must defend it.

A Roman invasion is coming from Gaul, but rather than uniting to protect their home, the British tribes battle each other – and see Maidun as an easy target.

Meanwhile, Lowa’s spies infiltrate Gaul, discovering the Romans have recruited bloodthirsty British druids, and Maidunite Ragnall finds his loyalties torn when he meets Rome’s charismatic general, Julius Caesar.

War is coming. Who will pay its price?

The second in this interesting-looking series.

Review copy received from publisher

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WingroveD-RtM2-OceanOfTimeUKDavid Wingrove, THE EMPIRE OF TIME and THE OCEAN OF TIME (Del Rey UK)

The War For Time Continues.

From the frozen tundra of 13th Century Russia to the battle of Paltava in 1709 and beyond, Otto Behr has waged an unquestioning, unending war across time for his people.

But now a third unidentified power has joined the game across the ocean of time, and everything Otto holds dear could be unmade…

The paperback edition and new sequel in the Roads to Moscow series. I’ve never read anything by Wingrove, but I’ve heard some good things about this series. Hopefully I’ll get around to it soon.

Review copy received from publisher

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