New Books (August-September)

HIMYM-MarshallCocktailWide

Featuring: Paul Cornell, Patrick DeWitt, John French, John Grisham, Garth Risk Hallberg, Lauren Holmes, Chrissie Hynde, Michael Livingston, Jonathan Maberry, Joel McIver, Patrick Ness, Nnedi Okorafor, K.J. Parker, Daniel Polansky, Alter S. Reiss, Geoff Renoff, Anthony Reynolds, Jeffrey Rotter, F. Wesley Schneider, Angela Slatter, A.J. Smith, Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, Patrick S. Tomlinson, Michael R. Underwood, Matt Wallace, Chuck Wendig, Kai Ashante Wilson, Tom Wood, Sunil Yapa

LokiOooh

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CornellP-WitchesOfLychfordPaul Cornell, WITCHES OF LYCHFORD (Tor.com)

Traveler, Cleric, Witch.

The villagers in the sleepy hamlet of Lychford are divided. A supermarket wants to build a major branch on their border. Some welcome the employment opportunities, while some object to the modernization of the local environment.

Judith Mawson (local crank) knows the truth — that Lychford lies on the boundary between two worlds, and that the destruction of the border will open wide the gateways to malevolent beings beyond imagination.

But if she is to have her voice heard, she’s going to need the assistance of some unlikely allies…

This has been getting much love around the SFF blogosphere, so I’m keen to read it as soon as I can. Looks interesting. (And I still haven’t read anything by Cornell… No idea why.)

Review copy received from publisher

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DeWittP-UndermajordomoMinorCAPatrick DeWitt, UNDERMAJORDOMO MINOR (House of Anansi Press)

A love story, an adventure story, a fable without a moral, and an ink-black comedy of manners, international bestselling author Patrick deWitt’s new novel is about a young man named Lucien (Lucy) Minor, who accepts employment at the foreboding Castle Von Aux. While tending to his new post as undermajordomo, he soon discovers the place harbours many dark secrets, not least of which is the whereabouts of the castle’s master, Baron Von Aux.

Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, Lucy is a compulsive liar, a sickly weakling in a town famous for begetting brutish giants. Then Lucy accepts employment assisting the majordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux. While tending to his new post as undermajordomo, he soon discovers the place harbours many dark secrets, not least of which is the whereabouts of the castle’s master, Baron Von Aux. In the local village, he also encounters thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and Klara, a delicate beauty whose love he must compete for with the exceptionally handsome partisan soldier, Adolphus. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery, and cold-blooded murder.

Undermajordomo Minor is a triumphant ink-black comedy of manners by the Governor General’s Award–winning author of The Sisters Brothers. It is an adventure, and a mystery, and a searing portrayal of rural Alpine bad behaviour, but above all it is a love story. And Lucy must be careful, for love is a violent thing.

It’s been nigh-impossible to miss this novel in Toronto. I’ve head great things about DeWitt’s novels, and have picked up The Sisters Brothers as well. Hopefully read this in the very near future. Published by House of Anansi Press in Canada, Ecco in the US, and Granta in the UK.

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FrenchJ-A3-AhrimanUnchangedJohn French, AHRIMAN: UNCHANGED (Black Library)

It has taken many long years and countless sacrifices, but finally Ahriman, former Chief Librarian of the Thousand Sons, now exile and sorcerer, is ready to attempt the most audacious and daring feat of his long life. His quest for knowledge and power has all been for one purpose, and he would now see that purpose fulfilled. His goal? Nothing less than undoing his greatest failure and reversing the Rubric that damned his Legion…

I’m still a little behind on this series — I’ve read the first novel and short story, and have the second of each as well. Maybe, now that it’s completed, I’ll do a binge read, perhaps next month. It’s out now, published by Black Library.

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GrishamJ-RogueLawyerUKJohn Grisham, ROGUE LAWYER (Hodder)

I’m not a typical lawyer. I don’t maintain a pretty office filled with mahogany and leather. I don’t belong to a big firm, prestigious or otherwise. I don’t do good works through the bar association. I’m a lone gunman, a rogue who fights bad systems and hates injustice…

Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no one else wants to take: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner who shot at a SWAT team.

Rudd believes that every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial — even if he has to cheat to get one. He antagonises people from both sides of the law: his last office was firebombed, either by drug dealers or cops. He doesn’t know or care which.

But things are about to get even more complicated for Sebastian. Arch Swanger is the prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21-year-old Jiliana Kemp, the daughter of the assistant chief of police. When Swanger asks Sebastian to represent him, he lets Sebastian in on a terrible secret… one that will threaten everything Sebastian holds dear.

Yup, really looking forward to this. Published on October 20th, 2015 in the UK by Hodder and Doubleday in North America.

Review copy received from publisher

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HallbergGR-CityOnFireUKGarth Risk Hallberg, CITY ON FIRE (Vintage)

NEW YORK. 1977. BE THERE WHEN IT EXPLODES.

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1976, and New York is a city on the edge. As midnight approaches, a blizzard sets in – and an unmistakable sound rings out across Central Park. Gunshots. Two of them.

The search for the shooter will bring together a rich cast of New Yorkers. From the reluctant heirs to one of the city’s greatest fortunes, to a couple of Long Island kids drawn to the nascent punk scene downtown. From the newly arrived and enchanted, to those so sick of the city they want to burn it to the ground. All these lives are connected to one another – and to the life that still clings to that body in the park. Whether they know it or not, they are bound up in the same story – a story where history and revolution, love and art, crime and conspiracy are all packed into a single shell, ready to explode.

Then, on July 13th, 1977, the lights go out in New York City.

There has been a ridiculous amount of hype and anticipation surrounding this novel, ever since rights were sold for millions. I’m interested to see what it’s like, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little wary of the fact that it’s about 900 pages long… Published in October 2015 the UK by Vintage, and in the US by Knopf.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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HolmesL-BarbaraTheSlutLauren Holmes, BARBARA THE SLUT AND OTHER PEOPLE (Fourth Estate)

One woman takes a job selling sex toys in San Francisco rather than embark on the law career she pursued only for the sake of her father. Another realises she much prefers the company of her pit bull — and herself — to the neurotic foreign fling who won’t decamp from her apartment. A daughter hauls a suitcase of lingerie to Mexico for her flighty, estranged mother to resell there, wondering whether her personal mission — to come out — is worth the same effort. And Barbara, a young woman with an autistic brother, a Princeton acceptance letter, and a love of sex navigates her high school’s toxic, slut-shaming culture with open eyes.

Fearless, candid, and incredibly funny, Lauren Holmes is a newcomer who writes like a master. She tackles eros and intimacy with a deceptively light touch, a keen awareness of how their nervous systems tangle and sometimes short-circuit, and a genius for revealing our most vulnerable, spirited selves. With heart, sass, and pitch-perfect characters, BARBARA THE SLUT is a head-turning debut from a writer with a limitless career before her.

This is getting a lot of buzz around the book-related press and online. So, I decided to give it a try. Published by Fourth Estate.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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HyndeC-RecklessChrissie Hynde, RECKLESS (Doubleday)

Few other rock stars have managed to combine her swagger, sexiness, stage presence, knack for putting words to music, gorgeous voice and just all-around kick-assedness into such a potent and alluring package. From “Tatooed Love Boys” and “Brass in Pocket” to “Talk of the Town” and “Back on the Chain Gang,” her signature songs project a unique mixture of toughness and vulnerability that millions of men and women have related to. A kind of one- woman secret tunnel linking punk and new wave to classic guitar rock, she is one of the great luminaries in rock history.

Now, in her no-holds-barred memoir Reckless, Chrissie Hynde tells, with all the fearless candor, sharp humor and depth of feeling we’ve come to expect, exactly where she came from and what her crooked, winding path to stardom entailed. Her All-American upbringing in Akron, Ohio, a child of postwar power and prosperity. Her soul capture, along with tens of millions of her generation, by the gods of sixties rock who came through Cleveland—Mitch Ryder, David Bowie, Jeff Back, Paul Butterfield and Iggy Pop among them. Her shocked witness in 1970 to the horrific shooting of student antiwar protestors at Kent State. Her weakness for the sorts of men she calls “the heavy bikers” and “the get-down boys.” Her flight from Ohio to London in 1973 essentially to escape the former and pursue the latter. Her scuffling years as a brash reviewer for New Musical Express, shop girl at the Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood boutique ‘Craft Must Wear Clothes But The Truth Loves To Go Naked’, first-hand witness to the birth of the punk movement, and serial band aspirant. And then ,at almost the last possible moment, her meeting of the three musicians who comprised the original line-up of The Pretenders, their work on the indelible first album “The Pretenders,” and the rocket ride to “Instant” stardom, with all the disorientation and hazards that involved. The it all comes crashing back down to earth with the deaths of lead guitarist James Honeyman Scott and bassist Peter Farndon, leaving her bruised and saddened, but far from beaten. Because Chrissie Hynde is, among other things, one of rock’s great survivors.

We are lucky to be living in a golden age of great rock memoirs. In the aptly titled Reckless, Chrissie Hynde has given us one of the very best we have. Her mesmerizing presence radiates from every line and page of this book.

I think the first time I ever heard of Chrissie Hynde was actually when she appeared in an episode of Friends, “The One With the Baby on the Bus”… (I was rather young, and had no clue who she was. Now I do, of course.) I’m looking forward to reading this. I may also get the audiobook. Published by Doubleday, and out now.

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LivingstonM-1-ShardsOfHeavenUSMichael Livingston, THE SHARDS OF HEAVEN (Tor)

Julius Caesar is dead, assassinated on the senate floor, and the glory that is Rome has been torn in two. Octavian, Caesar’s ambitious great-nephew and adopted son, vies with Marc Antony and Cleopatra for control of Caesar’s legacy. As civil war rages from Rome to Alexandria, and vast armies and navies battle for supremacy, a secret conflict may shape the course of history.

Juba, Numidian prince and adopted brother of Octavian, has embarked on a ruthless quest for the Shards of Heaven, lost treasures said to possess the very power of the gods-or the one God. Driven by vengeance, Juba has already attained the fabled Trident of Poseidon, which may also be the staff once wielded by Moses. Now he will stop at nothing to obtain the other Shards, even if it means burning the entire world to the ground.

Caught up in these cataclysmic events, and the hunt for the Shards, are a pair of exiled Roman legionnaires, a Greek librarian of uncertain loyalties, assassins, spies, slaves… and the ten-year-old daughter of Cleopatra herself.

This sounded like an interesting take on an interesting historical period. Interview with the author coming soon. The novel is published in November 2015.

Review copy received from publisher

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MaberryJ-Deadlands-GhostwalkersJonathan Maberry, DEADLANDS: GHOSTWALKERS (Tor)

Welcome to the Deadlands, where steely-eyed gunfighters rub shoulders with mad scientists and dark, unnatural forces. Where the Great Quake of 1868 has shattered California into a labyrinth of sea-flooded caverns… and a mysterious substance called “ghost rock” fuels exotic steampunk inventions as well as plenty of bloodshed and flying bullets.

In Ghostwalkers, a gun-for-hire, literally haunted by his bloody past, comes to the struggling town of Paradise Falls, where he becomes embroiled in a deadly conflict between the besieged community and a diabolically brilliant alchemist who is building terrible new weapons of mass destruction… and an army of the living dead!

Apparently based on the most popular RPG, this looks like it could be an interesting Weird West (leaning more horror) tale. Published by Tor Books this month.

Review copy received from publisher

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McIverJ-SinisterUrgeRobZombieJoel McIver, SINISTER URGE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ROB ZOMBIE (Backbeat Books)

Sinister Urge is the first in-depth, career-spanning biography of heavy-metal musician and filmmaker Rob Zombie. Born Robert Cummings in 1965, Zombie is now as well known for his movies as he is for his music, which he has released and performed both as a solo artist and as part of his early band White Zombie. In both fields, he imbues his art with the vivid sense of macabre theater that has thrilled his millions of disciples since he and his band first emerged with Soul-Crusher in 1987.

Although he has sold millions of albums and generated many more millions of dollars at the box office, Zombie has never taken the easy option or the predictable route. Indeed, while the music industry – and many of his peers – have fallen to their knees in the last decade or so, Zombie has found a new edge, his work undiluted by success or middle age.

Drawing on original research and new interviews with bandmates and associates, Sinister Urgetakes a detailed look at Zombie’s challenging oeuvre, offering close analysis of his albums and films alongside tales of his life and work on and offstage.

One of the more interesting figures in rock/metal, I’m looking forward to reading this. It’s out now, I believe; published by Backbeat Books.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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NessP-RestOfUsJustLiveHereUKPatrick Ness, THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE (Walker Books)

What if you weren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you were like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend might just be the God of mountain lions…

I picked this up after seeing all the chatter around Ness’s charity drive for the Syrian Refugees. I donated, and decided to pick this up as well. I’ve already finished it (took about a day), and I liked his sense of humour. Overall, though, the novel left me feeling dissatisfied. Review soon. Published by Walker Books, it’s out now.

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OkoraforN-BintiNnedi Okorafor, BINTI (Tor.com)

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

New fiction by Okorafor! Woo! Loved Lagoon, and have been terribly slow about getting everything else read. I’ll be reading this as soon as I can.

Also on CR: Review of Lagoon

Review copy received from publisher

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ParkerKJ-LastWitnessK.J. Parker, THE LAST WITNESS (Tor.com)

When you need a memory to be wiped, call me.

Transferring unwanted memories to my own mind is the only form of magic I’ve ever mastered. But now, I’m holding so many memories I’m not always sure which ones are actually mine, any more.

Some of them are sensitive; all of them are private. And there are those who are willing to kill to access the secrets I’m trying to bury…

A classic Parker tale with a strong supporting cast of princes, courtiers, merchants, academics, and generally unsavory people.

This sounds really good. I hope it is — I’ve had very mixed experiences with Parker’s novels in the past. (Not, interesting, the novels he writes under his real name: Tom Holt.)

Review copy received from publisher

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PolanskyD-TheBuildersDaniel Polansky, THE BUILDERS (Tor.com)

A missing eye.

A broken wing.

A stolen country.

The last job didn’t end well.

Years go by, and scars fade, but memories only fester. For the animals of the Captain’s company, survival has meant keeping a low profile, building a new life, and trying to forget the war they lost. But now the Captain’s whiskers are twitching at the idea of evening the score.

This is the title in Tor.com’s first round that I’m most interested in. Love Polansky’s work. Will read this probably next.

Also on CR: Interview with Daniel Polansky; Reviews of Straight Razor CureTomorrow the Killing and She Who Waits;

Review copy received from publisher

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ReissAS-SunsetMantleAlter S. Reiss, SUNSET MANTLE (Tor.com)

With a single blow, Cete won both honor and exile from his last commander. Since then he has wandered, looking for a place to call home. The distant holdings of the Reach Antach offer shelter, but that promise has a price.

The Reach Antach is doomed.

Barbarians, traitors, and scheming investors conspire to destroy the burgeoning settlement. A wise man would move on, but Cete has found reason to stay. A blind weaver-woman and the beautiful sunset mantle lure the warrior to wager everything he has left on one final chance to turn back the hungry tides of war

A short epic fantasy? Intriguing… I’ll be reading this ASAP.

Review copy received from publisher

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RenoffG-VanHalenRisingGeoff Renoff, VAN HALEN RISING (ECW Press)

After years of playing gigs everywhere from suburban backyards to dive bars, Van Halen — led by frontman extraordinaire David Lee Roth and guitar virtuoso Edward Van Halen — had the songs, the swagger, and the talent to turn the rock world on its ear. The quartet’s classic 1978 debut, Van Halen, sold more than a million copies within months of release and rocketed the band to the stratosphere of rock success. On tour, Van Halen’s high-energy show wowed audiences and prompted headlining acts like Black Sabbath to concede that they’d been blown off the stage. By the year’s end, Van Halen had established themselves as superstars and reinvigorated heavy metal in the process.

This could be interesting. Published October 1st by ECW Press.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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ReynoldsA-HH-PurgeAnthony Reynolds, HORUS HERESY: THE PURGE (Black Library)

The Shadow Crusade spreads across Ultramar, with the Word Bearers 34th Company falling upon the isolated world of Percepton Primus. As the fighting draws out into a programme of extermination, embittered commander Sor Talgron begins to question his part in Lorgar’s grander scheme – for one who stood beside primarchs and high lords in the grand halls of the Imperial Palace, what glory can there now be in punishing Guilliman’s upstart sons? But the price of doubt is known all too well, and if the Word Bearers are ever to return to Terra in triumph then they must purge the last remnants of such unbelief from the face of the galaxy…

It’s been a while since I read anything by Anthony Reynolds. He’s written a lot about the Word Bearers legion, and I’m happy to say that this is an excellent novella — substantial, great story and characters. As you can tell, I’ve already finished it. I’ll post a quick review hopefully next week. Published by Black Library.

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RotterJ-OnlyWordsThatAreWorthRememberingJeffrey Rotter, THE ONLY WORDS THAT ARE WORTH REMEMBERING (Metropolitan Books)

A darkly comic, wildly original novel of a family in flight from the law, set in a near-future America — a Clockwork Orange with a Huck Finn heart

In a not-so-distant future, astronomy has become a fairy tale, Copernicus is forgotten, and the Earth has resumed its lonely spot in the center of the universe. But when an ancient bunker containing a preserved space vehicle is discovered beneath the ruins of Cape Canaveral, it has the power to turn this retrograde world inside out.

Enter the Van Zandt clan, whose run-ins with the law leave them with a no-win choice: test-pilot the rocket together as a family or be sent separately to prison for life. Their decision sets off an antic and heartbreaking search for human solace in a world bent on isolation, as the Van Zandts embark on an unforgettable road trip across the ass-end of an America only slightly more dissolute than our own. 

Uniquely tying an absurdist future to gut-bucket wit, The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering hauls our dark humanity into the light and shows us the precious places where it gleams.

This looked like it could be interesting, so I picked it up on a whim (and I think I heard about it a while ago, which is also why it may have caught my attention). Out now, published in North America by Metropolitan Books.

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PZO8530-Bloodbound-COVER.inddF. Wesley Schneider, PATHFINDER TALES: BLOODBOUND (Tor Books)

Larsa is a dhampir-half vampire, half human. In the gritty streets and haunted moors of gothic Ustalav, she’s an agent for the royal spymaster, keeping peace between the capital’s secret vampire population and its huddled human masses. Yet when a noblewoman’s entire house is massacred by vampiric invaders, Larsa is drawn into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that will reveal far more about her own heritage than she ever wanted to know.

From Pathfinder co-creator and noted game designer F. Wesley Schneider comes Bloodbound, a dark fantasy adventure of murder, intrigue, and secrets best left buried, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Role Playing Game.

I’ve still not read any Pathfinder fiction. Maybe I should… Published by in November 2015 by Tor Books.

Review copy received from publisher

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SlatterA-OfSorrowAndSuchAngela Slatter, OF SORROW AND SUCH (Tor.com)

Mistress Gideon is a witch. The locals of Edda’s Meadow, if they suspect it of her, say nary a word-Gideon has been good to them, and it’s always better to keep on her good side. Just in case.

When a foolish young shapeshifter goes against the wishes of her pack, and gets herself very publicly caught, the authorities find it impossible to deny the existence of the supernatural in their midst any longer; Gideon and her like are captured, bound for torture and a fiery end.

Should Gideon give up her sisters in return for a quick death? Or can she turn the situation to her advantage?

I really like that title… Sounds interesting, though not in my usual wheelhouse. We’ll see — given that it’s short, I’m certainly willing to give it a try.

Review copy received from publisher

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SmithAJ-LW3-RedPrinceUKA.J. Smith, THE RED PRINCE (Head of Zeus)

Between the desert plains of Karesia and the icy wastes of Ranen, there once lay the kingdom of Ro. Its men and women worshipped the One and he was much pleased with them. His armies were strong. His lands were fertile. And his people prospered and grew… complacent.

Their enemies saw they were unwatchful. And the armies of the south fell upon the land like rain. Such a fate it was that befell Haran.

Now the Red Prince can only brood upon the downfall of his people, cut off from his own city by the army of the Seven Sisters. Until the arrival of the one man who can wield the sisters’ power against them…

ALL THAT WAS DEAD WILL RISE.

ALL THAT NOW LIVES WILL FALL…

I picked this up forgetting that I don’t have the second in the series, The Dark Blood. Oops. I also need to read the first, The Black Guard, properly (I read it on submission a while back and liked what I saw). Out now, published by Head of Zeus.

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SpruckWrigleyS-Domnall&BorrowedChildSylvia Spruck Wrigley, DOMNALL AND THE BORROWED CHILD (Tor.com)

The best and bravest faeries fell in the war against the Sluagh, and now the Council is packed with idiots and cowards. Domnall is old, aching, and as cranky as they come, but as much as he’d like to retire, he’s the best scout the Sithein court has left.

When a fae child falls deathly ill, Domnall knows he’s the only one who can get her the medicine she needs: Mother’s milk. The old scout will face cunning humans, hungry wolves, and uncooperative sheep, to say nothing of his fellow fae!

Hm. Love the cover, but I have yet to be impressed by a story focussing on the fae. Maybe this will be the one to change my mind?

Review copy received from publisher

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TomlinsonPS-TheArkPatrick S. Tomlinson, THE ARK (Angry Robot Books)

Humankind has escaped a dying Earth and set out to find a new home among the stars aboard an immense generation spaceship, affectionately named the Ark. Bryan Benson is the Ark’s greatest living sports hero, enjoying retirement working as a detective in Avalon, his home module. The hours are good, the work is easy, and the perks can’t be beat.

But when a crew member goes missing, Benson is thrust into the centre of an ever-expanding web of deception, secrets, and violence that overturns everything he knows about living on the Ark and threatens everyone aboard. As the last remnants of humanity hurtle towards their salvation, Benson finds himself in a desperate race to unravel the conspiracy before a madman turns mankind’s home into its tomb.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Last Gun in the Universe / We’re Not Alone / Poison and Nukes / Race to the End ]

The first in a new series, it looks rather interesting. Published by Angry Robot Books in the UK and US at the beginning of November.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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UnderwoodMR-Genrenauts1-ShootoutSolutionMichael R. Underwood, GENRENAUTS: THE SHOOTOUT SOLUTION (Tor.com)

Leah Tang just died on stage. Well, not literally. Not yet.

Leah’s stand-up career isn’t going well. But she understands the power of fiction, and when she’s offered employment with the mysterious Genrenauts Foundation, she soon discovers that literally dying on stage is a hazard of the job!

Her first assignment takes her to a Western world. When a cowboy tale slips off its rails, and the outlaws start to win, it’s up to Leah — and the Genrenauts team — to nudge the story back on track and prevent a catastrophe on Earth.

But the story’s hero isn’t interested in winning, and the safety of Earth hangs in the balance…

This sounds pretty interesting and quirky. I think this might be the first of a planned/possible series?

Review copy received from publisher

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WallaceM-EnvyOfAngelsMatt Wallace, ENVY OF ANGELS (Tor.com)

In New York, eating out can be hell.

Everyone loves a well-catered event, and the supernatural community is no different, but where do demons go to satisfy their culinary cravings?

Welcome to Sin du Jour — where devils on horseback are the clients, not the dish.

This sounds pretty odd… Could be cool.

Review copy received from publisher

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Wendig-SW-AftermathChuck Wendig, STAR WARS: AFTERMATH (Century/Lucasbooks)

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The second Death Star has been destroyed, the Emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. Devastating blows against the Empire, and major victories for the Rebel Alliance. But the battle for freedom is far from over.

As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance — now a fledgling New Republic — presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but he’s taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.

Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world — war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is — or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.

Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit — to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies — her technical-genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector — who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire’s oppressive reign once and for all.

It’s been quite some time since I read and enjoyed a Star Wars novel. The previous Expanded Universe (now “Legends”) was starting to groan under its own weight, and despite some late-in-the-game attempts to spice it up with new, fresher authors, the novels always felt rather tired and dull. They lacked the magic of the original novels — and also some of the more-recent ones, it must be said. I’ve read two of Wendig’s books (the Double Dead series) and really liked them both. I’m hoping this will rekindle my interest in SW fiction, in preparation for the new movie. Given that I’ve been rather indecisive about what I read next, I may make this my next read. I’m not sure, yet.

Review copy received from publisher

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WilsonKA-SorcerorOfTheWildeepsKai Ashante Wilson, THE SORCEROR OF THE WILDEEP (Tor.com)

Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors’ artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight.

The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors left to them to keep their caravan brothers alive.

The one safe road between the northern oasis and southern kingdom is stalked by a necromantic terror. Demane may have to master his wild powers and trade humanity for godhood if he is to keep his brothers and his beloved captain alive.

Never heard of the author before this, but the novella looks really interesting (as do most of the other titles that have been announced). I’ll be reading this ASAP. It’s out now.

Review copy received from publisher

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WoodT-VA5-DarkestDayUKTom Wood, THE DARKEST DAY (Sphere)

He is darkness. She wants him dead.

In a city starved of light, she might just succeed.

She moves like a shadow; she kills silently: Raven. This elegant assassin has been on the run for years. This time though, she has picked the wrong target. 

The hitman known only as ‘Victor’ is as paranoid as he is merciless, and is no stranger to being hunted. He tracks his would-be killer across the globe, aiming not only to neutralise the threat, but to discover who wants him dead. The trail leads to New York…

And then the lights go out.

Over twelve hours of unremitting darkness, Manhattan dissolves into chaos. Amid looting, conspiracy and blackout, Victor and Raven play a vicious game of cat and mouse that the city will never forget.

I’ve still not read any of Tom Wood’s Victor the Assassin series (this is the fifth). I’m not sure why — they all sound good. Hopefully I’ll manage to get the whole lot and get caught up. This sounds particularly good, too. Published in the UK by Sphere on November 19th, 2015.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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YapaS-YourHeartIsAMuscleSizeOfFistUSSunil Yapa, YOUR HEART IS A MUSCLE THE SIZE OF A FIST (Little, Brown)

On a rainy, cold day in November, young Victor — a boyish, scrappy world traveler who’s run away from home — sets out to sell marijuana to the 50,000 anti-globalization protestors gathered in the streets. It quickly becomes clear that the throng determined to shut the city down — from environmentalists to teamsters to anarchists — are testing the patience of the police, and what started as a peaceful protest is threatening to erupt into violence.

Over the course of one life-altering afternoon, the lives of seven people will change forever: foremost among them police chief Bishop, the estranged father Victor hasn’t seen in three years, two protestors struggling to stay true to their non-violent principles as the day descends into chaos, two police officers in the street, and the coolly elegant financial minister from Sri Lanka whose life, as well as his country’s fate, hinges on getting through the angry crowd, out of jail, and to his meeting with the president of the United States.

This is published in January 2016 by Little, Brown. Sounds like it could be interesting.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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HermioneReading

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