New Books (April-May)


Featuring: Troy Carrol Bucher, Gordon H. Chang, Dhonielle Clayton, John Connolly, Jennifer Giesbrecht, Stanley B. Greenberg, Georgia Hardstark, Guy Haley, John Hornor Jacobs, Kel Kade, Karen Kilgariff, Cassandra Khaw, Mary Robinette Kowal, Michael Laurence, Yoon Ha Lee, Nick Mamatas, Kassandra Montag, Tamsyn Muir, Brian Naslund, Anna Pitoniak, Christopher Ruocchio, John Sandford, Mel Stanfill, Jon Steinhagen, Neal Stephenson, Breanna Teintze, Chuck Wendig, Jen Williams


BucherTC-FGW1-LiesOfDescentUSTroy Carrol Bucher, LIES OF DESCENT (DAW)

Two young people must unite two warring cultures to banish the gods who destroyed their homeland.

The Fallen Gods’ War drove the remnants of a victorious army across the ocean in search of a new homeland. A thousand years later, the lifeless continent of Draegora is largely forgotten, a symbol for the regiments that remain. Demons to some. Protectors to others. The power of their god-touched blades has forged a nation, though many resent their absolute control.

Riam and Nola are unknowing descendants of the old world. When it’s discovered they carry enough Draegoran blood to serve in the regiments, they are dragged away from their families to begin training. If they survive, they will be expected to enforce the laws of the covenant, to fight the Esharii tribesmen who raid along the border, and to be judge, jury, and executioners for those accused of crimes.

For Riam, who welcomes his escape from an abusive father, the power to protect those who cannot defend themselves is alluring. For Nola, who wishes to return home, it is a betrayal by all she holds dear.

Neither is given a choice… and neither may ever get the chance to serve.

Hadn’t heard of this novel or author before it arrived in the mail. Could be interesting. Lies of Descent is due to be published by DAW Books in North America and in the UK, on August 20th, 2019.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher


ChangGH-GhostsOfGoldMountainGordon H. Chang, GHOST OF GOLD MOUNTAIN (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

A groundbreaking, breathtaking history of the Chinese workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad, helping to forge modern America only to disappear into the shadows of history until now.

From across the sea, they came by the thousands, escaping war and poverty in southern China to seek their fortunes in America. Converging on the enormous western worksite of the Transcontinental Railroad, the migrants spent years dynamiting tunnels through the snow-packed cliffs of the Sierra Nevada and laying tracks across the burning Utah desert. Their sweat and blood fueled the ascent of an interlinked, industrial United States. But those of them who survived this perilous effort would suffer a different kind of death — a historical one, as they were pushed first to the margins of American life and then to the fringes of public memory.

In this groundbreaking account, award-winning scholar Gordon H. Chang draws on unprecedented research to recover the Chinese railroad workers’ stories and celebrate their role in remaking America. An invaluable correction of a great historical injustice, The Ghosts of Gold Mountain returns these “silent spikes” to their rightful place in our national saga.

I think before discovering this book, the longest account I’d read of the Chinese workers involved in America’s push west was in Simon Schama’s The American Future (2008). I’m really looking forward to reading this. Ghosts of Gold Mountain is out now, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads


ClaytonD-B2-EverlastingRoseUKDhonielle Clayton, THE EVERLASTING ROSE (Gollancz)

Welcome to a world where beauty is only ever skin deep…

Camellia and her sisters are Belles. Only they can make us beautiful.

All our lives, my sisters and I have served the people of Orleans.

For years, they’ve held their abilities against us. Not anymore.

Now the queen hunts us, because we know the truth about the rightful heir.

Camellia murdered our princess and fled with her sisters.

The princess is still alive, and we’ll help her take back the throne.

Together, we will return the Belles to their rightful place.

The queen wants us caged. But we will not go quietly.

Then they will give us what we deserve: beauty, everlasting.

We demand our freedom. No matter what the cost.

The sequel to the award-nominated The Belles. Looking forward to reading this series.  The Everlasting Rose is out now, published by Gollancz in the UK.

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Review copy received from publisher


ConnollyJ-CP17-BookOfBonesUKJohn Connolly, A BOOK OF BONES (Hodder)

He is our best hope.

He is our last hope.

On a lonely moor in the northeast of England, the body of a young woman is discovered near the site of a vanished church. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull.

Each is a sacrifice, a summons.

And something in the shadows has heard the call.

But another is coming: Parker the hunter, the avenger. Parker’s mission takes him from Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border; from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London — he will track those who would cast this world into darkness.

Parker fears no evil.

But evil fears him…

The seventeenth Charlie Parker novel! A Book of Bones is out now, published by Hodder in the UK.

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Review copy received from publisher


GiesbrechtJ-MonsterOfElendhavenJennifer Giesbrecht, THE MONSTER OF ELENDHAVEN (

A dark fantasy about murder, a monster, and the magician who loves both.

The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.

These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they have to burn the world to do it.

One of’s upcoming debuts that is causing quite a good stir among early readers. Looking forward to reading it. The Monster of Elendhaven is due to be published by in North America and in the UK, on September 24th, 2019.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley


GreenbergSB-RIPGOPStanley B. Greenberg, R.I.P. G.O.P. (Thomas Dunne Books)

A leading pollster and adviser to America’s most important political figures explains why the Republicans will crash in 2020.

For decades the GOP has seen itself in an uncompromising struggle against a New America that is increasingly secular, racially diverse, and fueled by immigration. It has fought non-traditional family structures, ripped huge holes in the social safety net, tried to stop women from being independent, and pitted aging rural Evangelicals against the younger, more dynamic cities.

Since the 2010 election put the Tea Party in control of the GOP, the party has condemned America to years of fury, polarization and broken government. The election of Donald Trump enabled the Republicans to make things even worse. All seemed lost.

But the Republicans have set themselves up for a shattering defeat.

In RIP GOP, Stanley Greenberg argues that the 2016 election hurried the party’s imminent demise. Using amazing insights from his focus groups with real people and surprising revelations from his own polls, Greenberg shows why the GOP is losing its defining battle. He explores why the 2018 election, when the New America fought back, was no fluke. And he predicts that in 2020 the party of Lincoln will be left to the survivors, opening America up to a new era of renewal and progress.

The political predictions game was rocked and upended in 2016, when Trump managed to win election to the White House, despite pretty much everyone believing he wouldn’t/couldn’t. In this book, Greenberg predicts the Republican Party is on track for disaster. It’ll be interesting to see how/why he believes this to be the case. (Personally, I think it’ll survive, because they have a decades-long history of proving that they can get away with anything/everything.) RIP GOP is due to be published by Thomas Dunne Books in North America and in the UK, on September 10th, 2019.

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Review copy received via Edelweiss


HaleyG-HHP12-KonradCurzeGuy Haley, KONRAD CURZE: THE NIGHT HAUNTER (Black Library)

Of all the Emperor’s immortal sons, the primarchs, it is Konrad Curze whose legend is the darkest. Born in the shadows of Nostramo, a world of murderers, thieves and worse, is it any surprise that he became the figure of dread known only as the Night Haunter? Heed now the tragic story of the creature Konrad Curze, master of the Night Lords Legion, of how he became a monster and a weapon of terror. He who once served the Imperium saw the truth in a maddening universe and the hypocrisy of a loveless father, and embraced the only thing that made any sense – darkness. From the blood-soaked gutters of his hiveworld upbringing, to the last days of his ill-fated existence, Curze is a primarch like no other and his tale is one to chill the very bone…

Even though the Horus Heresy series proper has come to an end, Black Library are continuing to publish the stand-alone Primarchs novels (one for each of the 18 — ok, 19 if you count Alpharius and Omegon, but I’m sure they’ll only get the one novel). Konrad Curze, the Primarch of the psychopathic terror troops, the Night Lords, has been one of my favourite characters ever since Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Night Lords trilogy. I’m very much looking forward to reading this novel, and will likely do so very soon. Konrad Curze: The Night Haunter is out now as a limited edition hardcover, and will be available to pre-order on August 3rd, as a ‘regular’ hardcover and eBook, published by Black Library.

Also on CR: Reviews of Pharos, Wolfsbane, Perturabo, and Corax

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Review copy received via NetGalley


JacobsJH-ALushAndSeethingHellUSJohn Hornor Jacobs, A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL (Voyager)

Bringing together his acclaimed novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and an all-new short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow, John Hornor Jacobs turns his fertile imagination to the evil that breeds within the human soul.

A brilliant mix of the psychological and supernatural, blending the acute insight of Roberto Bolaño and the eerie imagination of H. P. Lovecraft, The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky examines life in a South American dictatorship. Centered on the journal of a poet-in-exile and his failed attempts at translating a maddening text, it is told by a young woman trying to come to grips with a country that nearly devoured itself.

In My Heart Struck Sorrow, a librarian discovers a recording from the Deep South — which may be the musical stylings of the Devil himself.

Breathtaking and haunting, A Lush and Seething Hell is a terrifying and exhilarating journey into the darkness, an odyssey into the deepest reaches of ourselves that compels us to confront secrets best left hidden.

This book collects two of Jacobs’s acclaimed horror stories — one of which was available as an eBook before. Looking forward to reading it. A Lush and Seething Hell is due to be published by Harper Voyager in North America and in the UK, in October 2019.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


KadeK-1-FateOfTheFallenUSKel Kade, FATE OF THE FALLEN (Tor)

Not all stories have happy endings.

Everyone loves Mathias. Naturally, when he discovers it’s his destiny to save the world, he dives in head first, pulling his best friend Aaslo along for the ride.

However, saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. The going gets rough and folks start to believe their best chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the prophecy goes. At all. As the list of allies grows thin, and the friends find themselves staring death in the face they must decide how to become the heroes they were destined to be or, failing that, how to survive.

The first novel in the new fantasy series The Shroud of Prophecy. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since it was announced and the cover unveiled. Fate of the Fallen is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on November 5th, 2019.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


KilgariffHardstark-StaySexy&DontGetMurderedUSKaren Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark, STAY SEXY AND DON’T GET MURDERED (Forge Books)

In STAY SEXY & DON’T GET MURDERED, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, hosts of true crime comedy podcast ‘My Favorite Murder,’ open up about their lives more intimately than ever in their confessionally honest and hilarious debut book, titled after their podcast sign-off.

Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the podcasting world.

Alyssa has been listening to the My Favorite Murder podcast for some time, now, and I’ve managed to catch a fair bit of the show as well. It’s great, and when I saw that the hosts had written a book, I ordered it right away. I’m really looking forward to reading this. Stay Sexy And Don’t Get Murdered is out now, published by Orion Books (UK) and Forge Books (US).

Don’t forget to give Elvis a cookie.

Follow the Author (Kilgariff): Goodreads, Twitter
Follow the Author (Hardstark): Goodreads, Twitter


KhawC-TheLastSupperBeforeRagnarokCassandra Khaw, THE LAST SUPPER BEFORE RAGNAROK (Abaddon)


Tanis Barlas, snake-woman assassin. Cason Cole, the killer of gods. Louie Fitzsimmons, the last known Prophet. And Rupert Wong, a chef who just wants to eat his instant noodles and stay home.

The Greek Pantheon has been obliterated, and gods and monsters across the globe are looking to fill the vacuum. But Rupert, Case, Fitz, and Tanis have bigger problems to deal with. It’s time to answer the biggest question of all:

Where did the father gods go?

This is the conclusion to Khaw’s Gods & Monsters: Rupert Wong trilogy. Now that I have all three books, I should really get my act together and read them all! Looking forward to it. The Last Supper Before Ragnarok is due to be published by Abaddon in the UK and North America, on June 11th.

Also on CR: Interview with Cassandra Khaw (2016); Guest Post on “Everything is Exhausting”

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher


KowalMR-LA1-TheCalculatingStarsMary Robinette Kowal, THE CALCULATING STARS (Solaris)

One woman. One mission. One chance to save the world.

It’s 1952, and the world as we know it is gone. A meteorite has destroyed Washington DC, triggering extinction-level global warming. To save humanity, the world unites to form the International Aerospace Coalition. Its mission: to colonise first the Moon, then Mars.

Elma York, World War Two pilot and mathematician, dreams of becoming an astronaut – but prejudice has kept her grounded. Now nothing – and no man – will stop her from reaching for the stars.

The anticipated UK edition of Kowal’s critically-acclaimed and multiple award-nominated first Lady Astronaut novel. Looking forward to trying it. The Calculating Stars is out now, published in the UK by Solaris and Tor Books in North America.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher


LaurenceM-EA1-ExtinctionAgendaUSMichael Laurence, THE EXTINCTION AGENDA (St. Martin’s Press)

An FBI agent fights to stop a conspiracy to unleash a deadly virus on the world…

We’re fighting a war, whether we choose to admit it or not. A war for survival. A war we may have already lost.

While searching for the man who killed his partner and his wife, FBI Special Agent James Mason uncovers a shadow organization on the brink of enacting its genocidal agenda and a sinister mass murderer who’s been photographed at the epicenter of every historical pandemic since the outbreak of the Spanish Flu in 1918 — without appearing to age.

Mason’s quest for answers takes him from the criminal underbelly of America to its untouchable elite, from a dark union at the turn of the last century to a network of Nazi collaborators and a plot for global financial domination. Aided by his longtime friends Gunnar Backstrom — a corporate espionage gun-for-hire — and Ramses Donovan — a sin merchant of questionable morality — Mason uncovers a conspiracy against mankind more than a century in the making. A conspiracy to unleash a deadly virus and make a killing in the process.

Can Mason’s small team bring down a seemingly unbeatable shadow empire that’s rooted in every facet of our society, or does its influence run too deep?

?. The Extinction Agenda is due to be published by St. Martin’s Press on August 27th, in North America and in the UK.

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Review copy received via NetGalley


LeeYH-HexarchateStoriesYoon Ha Lee, HEXARCHATE STORIES (Solaris)

The essential short story collection set in the universe of Ninefox Gambit.

An ex-Kel art thief has to save the world from a galaxy-shattering prototype weapon…

A general outnumbered eight-to-one must outsmart his opponent…

A renegade returns from seclusion to bury an old comrade…

From the incredible imagination of Hugo- and Arthur C. Clarke-nominated author Yoon Ha Lee comes a collection of stories set in the world of the best-selling Ninefox Gambit. Showcasing Lee’s extraordinary imagination, this collection takes you to the very beginnings of the hexarchate’s history and reveals new never-before-seen stories.

A collection of short stories set in the same universe as Lee’s critically-acclaimed, award-winning Machineries of Empire series (Ninefox Gambit et al), Hexarchate Stories is due to be published by Solaris on June 25th, in the UK and North America.

Also on CR: Interview with Yoon Ha Lee (2016); Guest Post on “Culture As Weapon”

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher


MamatasN-SabbathUSNick Mamatas, SABBATH (Tor)

The infamous eleventh-century warrior Hexen Sabbath is plucked from death and certain damnation by a being claiming to be an angel of the Lord, and finds himself dropped into contemporary Manhattan with no clothes, no weapons, no resources, and one mission — to track down and kill the living personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins before they bring about Armageddon.

With time running out and his only ally a destitute art gallery owner, Sabbath must fight his way through New York’s elite and challenge the world’s most powerful man, or an eternity of suffering will be his, and our, only reward.

This novel has been pitched as “Highlander meets Seven”, which is a damned intriguing premise. I haven’t read anything else by Mamatas, although I’ve seen his name mentioned ever-more frequently online over the past few years. Looking forward to trying this. Sabbath is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, in November 2019.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


MontagK-AfterTheFloodUSKassandra Montag, AFTER THE FLOOD (William Morrow)

A little more than a century from now, the world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, starting with the great coastal cities, rising floodwaters have left America an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water. Civilization as it once was is gone. Bands of pirates roam the waters, in search of goods and women to breed. Some join together to create a new kind of society, while others sail alone, barely surviving.

Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious and feisty eight-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting small hamlets and towns on dry land only to trade for supplies and information. Just before Pearl’s birth, when the monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska, Maya’s oldest daughter, Row, was stolen by her father.

For eight years Myra has searched for the girl that she knows, in her bones and her heart, still lives. In a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment of raiders on the coast of what used to be Greenland. Throwing aside her usual caution, she and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas to rescue the girl, now thirteen.

On the journey, Myra and Pearl join forces with a larger ship, a band of Americans like them. In a desperate act of deceit and manipulation, Myra convinces the crew to sail north. Though she hides her true motivations, Myra finds herself bonding with her fellow seekers, men, women, and children who hope to build a safe haven together in this dangerous new world.

But secrets, lust, and betrayals threaten to capsize their dream, and after their fortunes take a shocking — and bloody — turn, Myra can no longer ignore the question of whether saving Row is worth endangering Pearl and her fellow travelers.

This has been pitched as perfect for fans of Emily St. John Mandel Station ElevenZone One by Colson Whitehead, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Which is a good crowd to be among. Looking forward to reading this. After the Flood is due to be published by William Morrow in North America (September 3rd) and The Borough Press in the UK (September 19th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads
Review copy received via Edelweiss


muirt-nh1-gideontheninthusTamsyn Muir, GIDEON THE NINTH (

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

This novel is generating an absolute storm of positive, pre-publication buzz. I don’t remember when I last saw a novel this acclaimed so far ahead of its release. Often, this makes me very anxious (I can think of a number of hyped novels that fell utterly flat for me), but nevertheless my expectations are pretty high for this — not least because it sounds like a lot of fun. Gideon the Ninth, the first in the Ninth House trilogy, is due to be published by in North America and in the UK, on September 10th, 2019.

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Review copy received via Edelweiss


NaslundB-DoT1-BloodOfAnExileUSBrian Naslund, BLOOD OF AN EXILE (Tor)

Bershad was supposed to die…

When he was caught trying to assassinate a fellow noble, Flawless Bershad was given a death sentence. Fight monsters so that he would die serving the kingdom. But Bershad can’t die.

He’s never lost a fight, the most successful dragon slayer in history but marked as a doomed man, Bershad stands apart from the world. But that is about to change.

The man who sentenced Bershad to his fate has just given him an out. Kill a king and walk free forever. But Bershad could care less about the fates of kings and kingdoms, until, that is, he discovers he is the only person able to save an innocent child and, possibly, the life of every creature in Terra.

I’ve been looking forward to this novel ever since I spotted it in a Macmillan catalogue. The first in the Dragons of Terra series, Blood of an Exile is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK in early August 2019.

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Review copy received via Edelweiss


PitoniakA-NecessaryPeopleUSAnna Pitoniak, NECESSARY PEOPLE (Little, Brown)

One of them has it all. One of them wants it all. But they can’t both win.

Stella and Violet are best friends, and from the moment they met in college, they knew their roles. Beautiful, privileged, and reckless Stella lives in the spotlight. Hardworking, laser-focused Violet stays behind the scenes, always ready to clean up the mess that Stella inevitably leaves in her wake.

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. In this fast-paced world, Violet thrives, and her ambitions grow — but everything is jeopardized when Stella, envious of Violet’s new life, uses her connections, beauty, and charisma to get hired 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.

Stella might be the one with the rich family and the right friends, but Violet isn’t giving up so easily. As she and Stella strive for success, each reveals just how far she’ll go to get what she wants — even if it means destroying the other person along the way.

I read Pitoniak’s debut, The Futures, quite some time ago (I received a DRC way before publication), and I have been eagerly awaiting the author’s next novel ever since. It’s finally here, and I’ll be reading it very soon. Necessary People is published by Little, Brown in North America. At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any information about a UK edition. Hopefully soon.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter


ProctorMcCulloch-DisneysStarWarsUSWilliam Proctor & Richard McCulloch (eds.), DISNEY’S STAR WARS (University of Iowa Press)

In 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm, which meant it also inherited the beloved Star Wars franchise. This corporate marriage sent media critics and fans into a frenzy of speculation about what would happen next with the hugely popular series. Disney’s Star Wars gathers twenty-one noted fan and media studies scholars from around the world to examine Disney’s revival of the franchise. 

Covering the period from Disney’s purchase through the release of The Force Awakens, the book reveals how fans anticipated, interpreted, and responded to the steady stream of production stories, gossip, marketing materials, merchandise, and other sources in the build-up to the movie’s release. From fears that Princess Leia would be turned into a “Disney princess” to collaborative brand management, the authors explore the shifting relationship between fans, texts, and media industries in the context of a crucial rebranding campaign. The result is a fascinating examination of a critical moment in the iconic series’ history.

Thought this — a more-academic look at Disney’s purchase of Star Wars — could be an interesting read. Disney’s Star Wars is due to be published by Iowa University Press in July 2019.

Review copy received via NetGalley


RuocchioC-SE2-HowlingDarkUSChristopher Ruocchio, HOWLING DARK (DAW)

Hadrian Marlowe is lost.

For half a century, he has searched the farther suns for the lost planet of Vorgossos, hoping to find a way to contact the elusive alien Cielcin. He has not succeeded, and for years has wandered among the barbarian Normans as captain of a band of mercenaries.

Determined to make peace and bring an end to nearly four hundred years of war, Hadrian must venture beyond the security of the Sollan Empire and among the Extrasolarians who dwell between the stars. There, he will face not only the aliens he has come to offer peace, but contend with creatures that once were human, with traitors in his midst, and with a meeting that will bring him face to face with no less than the oldest enemy of mankind.

If he succeeds, he will usher in a peace unlike any in recorded history. If he fails… the galaxy will burn.

This is the second novel in Ruocchio’s expansive Sun Eater series. Howling Dark is due to be published by DAW Books in North America (July 16th) and Gollancz in the UK (July 18th).

Also on CR: Interview with Christopher Ruocchio (2018)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from the publisher



SandfordJ-NeonPreyUSJohn Sandford, NEON PREY (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Clayton Deese looks like a small-time criminal, muscle for hire when his loan shark boss needs to teach someone a lesson. Now, seven months after a job that went south and landed him in jail, Deese has skipped out on bail, and the U.S. Marshals come looking for him. They don’t much care about a low-level guy — it’s his boss they want — but Deese might be their best chance to bring down the whole operation.

Then, they step onto a dirt trail behind Deese’s rural Louisiana cabin and find a jungle full of graves.

Now Lucas Davenport is on the trail of a serial killer who has been operating for years without notice. His quarry is ruthless, and — as Davenport will come to find — full of surprises…

The 29th Lucas Davenport novel. One of my favourite thriller/crime series, I’m always eager to read the next one in the series. (As I’m pretty sure I’ve said before: I also really need to catch up on his spin-off Virgil Flowers series.) I read this pretty soon after getting it, and my review is already up on the site. When I first started reading the series, a good number of the novels weren’t available in the UK. One day, I’ll catch up with them. Neon Prey is out now, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons (North America) and Simon & Schuster (UK).

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StanfillM-ExploitingFandomUSMel Stanfill, EXPLOITING FANDOM (Iowa University Press)

As more and more fans rush online to share their thoughts on their favorite shows or video games, they might feel like the process of providing feedback is empowering. However, as fan studies scholar Mel Stanfill argues, these industry invitations for fan participation indicate not greater fan power but rather greater fan usefulness. Stanfill’s argument, controversial to some in the field, compares the “domestication of fandom” to the domestication of livestock, contending that, just as livestock are bred bigger and more docile as they are domesticated, so, too, are fans as the entertainment industry seeks to cultivate a fan base that is both more useful and more controllable.

By bringing industry studies and fan studies into the conversation, Stanfill looks closely at just who exactly the industry considers “proper fans” in terms of race, gender, age, and sexuality, and interrogates how digital media have influenced consumption, ultimately finding that the invitation to participate is really an incitement to consume in circumscribed, industry-useful ways.

I spotted this a little while ago, and thought it sounded really interesting. I’ve been observing fandom ever since I first started Civilian Reader, and it’s been interesting to see how the SFFH genres have changed (in general, as well as with their increased market value and “cool” quotient). It’s also been interesting to see the shift in how fans, reviewers, et al operate within the fandoms and also the industries in which they are interested. When I started, for example, there weren’t that many of us reviewers. Now, posting a review or blog post is just one tiny addition to the cacophony of online content. I’m really looking forward to reading this. Exploiting Fandom is out now, published by Iowa University Press.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads
Review copy received via NetGalley


SteinhagenJ-TheHangingArtistJon Steinhagen, THE HANGING ARTIST (Abaddon)

Surrealist modern fantasy in which Franz Kafka, miraculously saved from the tuberculosis that killed him, investigates the supernatural with the aid of a giant cockroach.

“Trust me,” the insect repeated. Franz did not.

What if Franz Kafka did not succumb to tuberculosis at the age of 40? What if he awoke the day after his supposed death to find himself attended by the giant insect he once imagined in his own story The Metamorphosis?

And what if he were recruited to investigate the bizarre circumstances surrounding a rash of mysterious hangings plaguing 1924 Vienna? Hangings that are possibly connected to an equally mysterious performer who commits suicide every night at the music hall (but cannot be connected to any crimes)?

The Hanging Artist leads the newly rehabilitated Franz Kafka on an absurdist round of discoveries, the solution of which is more fantastical than anything he imagined.

This sounds potentially interesting. The Hanging Artist is due to be published by Abaddon on June 4th in the UK and North America.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher


StephensonN-FallOrDodgeInHellUSNeal Stephenson, FALL; OR, DODGE IN HELL (William Morrow)

In his youth, Richard “Dodge” Forthrast founded Corporation 9592, a gaming company that made him a multibillionaire. Now in his middle years, Dodge appreciates his comfortable, unencumbered life, managing his myriad business interests, and spending time with his beloved niece Zula and her young daughter, Sophia.

One beautiful autumn day, while he undergoes a routine medical procedure, something goes irrevocably wrong. Dodge is pronounced brain dead and put on life support, leaving his stunned family and close friends with difficult decisions. Long ago, when a much younger Dodge drew up his will, he directed that his body be given to a cryonics company now owned by enigmatic tech entrepreneur Elmo Shepherd. Legally bound to follow the directive despite their misgivings, Dodge’s family has his brain scanned and its data structures uploaded and stored in the cloud, until it can eventually be revived.

In the coming years, technology allows Dodge’s brain to be turned back on. It is an achievement that is nothing less than the disruption of death itself. An eternal afterlife — the Bitworld — is created, in which humans continue to exist as digital souls.

But this brave new immortal world is not the Utopia it might first seem…

Fall, or Dodge in Hell is pure, unadulterated fun: a grand drama of analog and digital, man and machine, angels and demons, gods and followers, the finite and the eternal. In this exhilarating epic, Neal Stephenson raises profound existential questions and touches on the revolutionary breakthroughs that are transforming our future. Combining the technological, philosophical, and spiritual in one grand myth, he delivers a mind-blowing speculative literary saga for the modern age.

The latest sprawling epic from the author of The Diamond Age (the first of his that I read) and Snow Crash (to name but two of Stephenson’s acclaimed SF novels). Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell is due to be published by William Morrow in North America (June 4th) and The Borough Press in the UK (July 11th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


TeintzeB-EG1-LordOfSecretsUKBreanna Teintze, LORD OF (Jo Fletcher Books)

Magic is poison. Secrets are power. Death is… complicated.

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

In theory, it’s simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.

Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul…

This sounds rather interesting — it’s been described as a “heartwarming” fantasy that contains “the humour of V.E. Schwab, the scale of Trudi Canavan and the deftness of Naomi Novik”. Pretty great mix, there. Breanna Teintze’s Lord of Secrets is due to be published by Jo Fletcher Books on July 25th.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley


Various-Gods&MortalsVarious, GODS & MORTALS (Black Library)

For too long, the Mortal Realms have suffered under Chaos’ twisted crusade. Tainted lands writhe in agony and once great cities lie in ruins, the hopes of their people extinguished. But the storm winds rise. Sigmar’s greatest creation, the Stormcast Eternals, strike with His vengeance. Their lightning drives the darkness away and their thunder drowns out the screams of the Foul Gods’ acolytes as they fall to sword and halberd. The sons and daughters of the storm know they cannot fail. For now is the time where the fate of a world will be decided. Where Gods and mortals must rise and fight, or face their final damnation.

The Dance of the Skulls & Obsidian by David Annandale
Blacktalon: Hunting Shadows by Andy Clark
Vault of Souls by Evan Dicken
Bear Eater, Force of Personality, Gods’ Gift & The Hardest Word by David Guymer
Pantheon by Guy Haley
Callis & Toll: The Old Ways by NIck Horth
Pilgrim’s Trial by Robbie MacNiven
Auction of Blood, Eight Lamentations: The Tainted Axe, The Library of Forgotten Moments, Order of the Fly: Tourney of Fate & The Road of Blades by Josh Reynolds
Gravesend Gold & The Witch Takers by C L Werner

A collection of Age of Sigmar short fiction, some of which have been released as individual eBooks. I’ve read a few of them already, but it’s nice to have them all collected together (it also means I should be able to get this reviewed quite quickly). Gods and Mortals is out now in eBook (paperback due out on July 25th), published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Review copy received via NetGalley


Various-InfernoVol3Various, INFERNO! VOLUME 3 (Black Library)

The third volume of the ultimate Warhammer anthology brings more new short fiction from the worlds of the far future and the war-torn Mortal Realms – and, for the first time, from the insane sporting world of Blood Bowl! With eleven tales written by new and established authors, it’s an essential collection of stories for all fans of the Warhammer universes.

In this volume, the saga of the storm-wracked Brazen Claw continues as the aelven wanderer Prince Maesa tells his story. In the 41st Millennium, discover the secrets of Magos Glavius 4-Rho and his dealings with a shadowy sect of the machine priesthood, and see what happens when a feral tribe try to rebuild a crashed starship in their image of the Emperor. And when the Talabheim Titans Blood Bowl team face a string of murders, players take it upon themselves to investigate… You’ll find all this and more in these 11 action-packed stories, collected together for the first time.

The Spirit of Cogs by John French
The Unlamented Archpustulant of Clan Morbidus by David Guymer
City of Blood by Matt Smith
Dismember the Titans by Graeme Lyon
Empra by Nate Crowley
In the Mists of Chaos by Rik Hoskin
The Book of Transformations by Matt Keefe
The Weight of Silver by Stephen B Fischer
Bonegrinder by Josh Reynolds
The Prince’s Tale by Guy Haley
The Emperor’s Light by Rob Leahy

I’ve enjoyed this relaunch of Inferno! — a great, affordable way to get a bunch of WH40/AoS short stories to fill in the time between novels. Inferno! Vol.3 is out now, published by Black Library.


WendigC-WanderersChuck Wendig, WANDERERS (Solaris)

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them — and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart — or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

Wendig’s latest novel has been getting a lot of pre-publication love and buzz. Having enjoyed the author’s work in the past, I’m looking forward to reading it soon. Wanderers is due to be published in the UK by Solaris (July 11th) and in North America by Del Rey (July 2nd).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher


WilliamsJ-WF3-PoisonSongUKJen Williams, THE POISON SONG (Headline)

All is chaos. All is confusion. The Jure’lia are weak, but the war is far from over.

Ebora was once a glorious city, defended by legendary warriors and celebrated in song. Now refugees from every corner of Sarn seek shelter within its crumbling walls, and the enemy that has poisoned their land won’t lie dormant for long.

The deep-rooted connection that Tormalin, Noon and the scholar Vintage share with their Eboran war-beasts has kept them alive so far. But with Tor distracted, and his sister Hestillion hell-bent on bringing ruthless order to the next Jure’lia attack, the people of Sarn need all the help they can get.

Noon is no stranger to playing with fire and knows just where to recruit a new – and powerful – army. But even she underestimates the epic quest that is to come. It is a journey wrought with pain and sacrifice – a reckoning that will change the face of Sarn forever.

Join forces with the heroes of the WINNOWING FLAME TRILOGY as they strive to silence the Jure’lia’s poison song once and for all.

The third and final novel in Williams’s acclaimed Winnowing Flame trilogy. I haven’t had the chance to read the first two novels, but I’m hoping to do so at some point. The Poison Song is out now, published by Headline in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Jen Williams (2014), Guest Posts on Watership Down, or the Film that Made Me”, “Magic & Its Masters”, and “Unexpected Influences”

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher

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