Sunday, March 27, 2011

Books in the Mail (W/E 2011-03-26)

Only two deliveries this week, resulting in the following four books.

Tattoo by Kirsten Imani Kasai (Del Rey Trade Paperback 07/26/2011) – Sequel to the author’s 2009 debut novel Ice Song

In an environmentally fragile world where human and animal genes combine, the rarest mutation of all—the Trader—can instantly switch genders. One such Trader—female Sorykah—is battling her male alter, Soryk, for dominance and the right to live a full life.

Sorykah has rescued her infant twins from mad Matuk the Collector. Her children are safe. Her journey, she believes, is over, but Matuk’s death has unleashed darker, more evil forces. Those forces—led by the Collector’s son—cast nets that stretch from the glittering capital of Neubonne to the murky depths below the frozen Sigue, where the ink of octameroons is harvested to make addictive, aphrodisiac tattoos. Bitter enemies trapped within a single skin, Sorykah and Soryk are soon drawn into a sinister web of death and deceit.

Dragongirl by Anne McCaffrey and Todd J. McCaffrey (Del Rey Hardcover 06/27/2011) – The latest and what seems to be the annual Pern novel sees Anne McCaffrey rejoin her son to tell a tale in the world she created.

For the first time in more than three years, bestselling authors Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey, mother and son, have teamed up again to do what they do best: add a fresh chapter to the most beloved science fiction series of all time, the Dragonriders of Pern.

Even though Lorana cured the plague that was killing the dragons of Pern, sacrificing her queen dragon in the process, the effects of the disease were so devastating that there are no longer enough dragons available to fight the fall of deadly Thread. And as the situation grows more dire, a pregnant Lorana decides that she must take drastic steps in the quest for help.

Meanwhile, back at Telgar Weyr, Weyrwoman Fiona, herself pregnant, and the harper Kindan must somehow keep morale from fading altogether in the face of the steadily mounting losses of dragons and their riders. But time weighs heavily against them—until Lorana finds a way to use time itself in their favor.

It’s a plan fraught with risk, however. For attempting time travel means tampering with the natural laws of the universe, which could drastically alter history—and destiny—forever. Or so it has always been thought. But Lorana discovers that if the laws of time can’t be broken without consequences, it may still be possible to bend them. To ensure the future of Pern, she’s willing to take the fateful chance—even if it demands another, even greater, sacrifice.

Nights of Villjamur (Book #2 of Legends of the Red Sun) by Mark Charan Newton (Bantam Spectra Trade Paperback 06/29/2011) – Second book in the sequence begun with Nights of Villjamur, which I reviewed for SFFWorld late last year. Mark suggests that this one can be read as a stand-alone and “if anyone was going to read just one book of mine, I’d like it to be this one.” Like Robert V.S. Redick’s forthcoming book, itself the third in his sequence, the publisher decided to switch format from Hardcover to Trade Paperback. Odd, that.

In the frozen north of a far-flung world lies Villiren, a city plagued by violent gangs and monstrous human/animal hybrids, stalked by a serial killer, and targeted by an otherworldly army. Brynd Lathraea has brought his elite Night Guard to help Villiren build a fighting force against the invaders. But success will mean dealing with the half-vampyre leader of the savage Bloods gang. Meanwhile, reptilian rumel investigator Rumex Jeryd has come seeking refuge from Villjamur’s vindictive emperor—only to find a city riddled with intolerance between species, indifference to a murderer’s reign of terror, and the powerful influence of criminals. As the enemy prepares to strike, and Villiren’s defenders turn on each other, three refugees—deposed empress Jamur Rika, her sister Eir, and the scholar Randur Estevu—approach the city. And with them they bring a last, desperate hope for survival . . . and a shocking revelation that will change everything.

Honeyed Words by J.A. Pitts (Trade Paperback 07/05/2011 Tor) – Sequel to Pitts’s debut novel, Black Blade Blues, which places Norse Mythology in the modern day.

Sarah Beauhall is a blacksmith, has a night job as a props manager for a low-budget movie, and spends her free time fighting in a medieval re-enactment group. Her world falls apart when she discovers that dragons are real and live among us as shapeshifters; in fact, it is they who have been the secret masters of our world from time immemorial. On top of all this, it appears that Sarah has managed to reforge an ancient sword that everyone suddenly wants... and those who don’t want the weapon want Sarah to take on her destiny and become humanity’s saviour.

As Sarah tries to make her way in this new world, she discovers just how little she knows of reality. Fairies and dwarves and giants abound, the fault line of the Pacific Northwest is rife with ancient Norse magic. Odin himself appears with ravens at his side and cryptic advice for the fledgling heroine. And the cherry on the sundae? The discovery that Sarah’s girlfriend is from a family that has been battling these forces for generations and they look to Sarah as their last best hope.

What’s a girl to do when the powers of the world decide that you’re responsible for cleaning up the magical mess?

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