Easily the largest collection of arrivals of the year this past week and the only problem with that is I really do want to read just about every one of them. Here’s the rundown.
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Tor Hardcover 04/01/2014) – It is something of an open secret that Katherine Addision is actually Sarah Monette. Regardless of the name under which this book appears, it looks quite interesting. Goblin-punk! This is the final/physical version of the eArc I received about a month ago. Since then, I’ve seen nothing but major praise for this book.
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.
Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.
Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne–or his life.
Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor is an exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.
Helix Wars by Eric Brown (Mass Market Paperback 08/25/2012 Solaris Books) – This is a sequel to what I think is one of the most overlooked Space based SF novels of the last handful of years, Helix, which I loved.
The Helix: a vast spiral of ten thousand worlds turning around its sun. Aeons ago, the enigmatic Builders constructed the Helix as a refuge for alien races on the verge of extinction.
Two hundred years ago, humankind came to the Helix aboard a great colony ship, and the builders conferred on them the mantle of peacekeepers. For that long, peace has reigned on the Helix. But when shuttle pilot Jeff Ellis crash-lands on the world of Phandra, he interrupts a barbarous invasion from the neighbouring Sporelli, who are now racing to catch and exterminate Ellis before he can return to New Earth and inform the peacekeepers.
Eric Brown returns to the rich worlds he created in the best-selling Helix with a vast science-fiction adventure populated with strange characters and fascinating creatures.
Talus and the Frozen King by Graham Edwards (Mass Market Paperback 03/25/2014 Solaris Books) – This looks like a fun historical mystery and that cover sure is a beaut. This could be the start of a series for Mr. Edwards, the book has been generating some good word of mouth
Meet Talus – the world’s first detective.
A dead warrior king frozen in winter ice. Six grieving sons, each with his own reason to kill. Two weary travellers caught up in a web of suspicion and deceit.
In a distant time long before our own, wandering bard Talus and his companion Bran journey to the island realm of Creyak, where the king has been murdered. From clues scattered among the island’s mysterious barrows and stone circles, they begin their search for his killer. But do the answers lie in this world or the next?
Nobody is above suspicion, from the king’s heir to the tribal shaman, from the servant woman steeped in herb-lore to the visiting warlord whose unexpected arrival throws the whole tribe into confusion. And when death strikes again, Talus and Bran realise nothing is what it seems.
Creyak is place of secrets and spirits, mystery and myth. It will take a clever man indeed to unravel the truth. The kind of man this ancient world has not seen before.
The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher (Orbit (Trade Paperback 05/06/2014) – This one has comparisons to Neil Gaiman and Susana Clarke on the back, which could be interesting.
"Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side."
Once the Oversight, the secret society that policed the lines between the mundane and the magic, counted hundreds of brave souls among its members. Now their numbers can be counted on a single hand. When a vagabond brings a screaming girl to the Oversight's London headquarters, it seems their hopes for a new recruit will be fulfilled – but the girl is a trap.
As the borders between this world and the next begin to break down, murders erupt across the city, the Oversight are torn viciously apart, and their enemies close in for the final blow.
This dark Dickensian fantasy from Charlie Fletcher (the Stoneheart trilogy) spins a tale of witch-hunters, supra-naturalists, mirror-walkers and magicians. Meet the Oversight, and remember: when they fall, so do we all.
Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence #3) by Max Gladstone (Tor Hardcover 07/15/2014) – This is the third novel in Gladstone’s fantasy/legal thriller hybrid sequence. I have the first book, but not the second..
On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods—perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World. When Kai sees one of her creations dying and tries to save her, she’s grievously injured—then sidelined from the business entirely, her near-suicidal rescue attempt offered up as proof of her instability. But when Kai gets tired of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and starts digging into the reasons her creations die, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear—which will crush her, if Kai can't stop it first.
Full Fathom Five is the third novel set in the addictive and compelling fantasy world of Three Parts Dead.
Irenicon (The Wave Trilogy #1) by Aidan Harte (Jo Fletcher Books Hardcover 04/01/2014) –This was originally published in the UK in 2012, it will be hitting US Shelves in April 2014. This is the Hardcover/final copy of the ARC I received in December.
The river Irenicon was blasted through the middle of Rasenna in 1347 and now it is a permanent reminder to the feuding factions that nothing can stand in the way of the Concordian Empire. The artificial river, created overnight by Concordian engineers using the Wave, runs uphill. But the Wave is both weapon and mystery; not even the Concordians know how the river became conscious – and hostile.
But times are changing. Concordian engineer Captain Giovanni is ordered to bridge the Irenicon – not to reunite the sundered city, but to aid Concord’s mighty armies, for the engineers have their sights set firmly on world domination and Rasenna is in their way.
Sofia Scaglieri will soon be seventeen, when she will become Contessa of Rasenna, but her inheritance is tainted: she can see no way of stopping the ancient culture of vendetta which divides her city. What she can’t understand is why Giovanni is trying so hard to stop the feuding, or why he is prepared to risk his life, not just with her people, but also with the lethal water spirits – the buio – that infest the Irenicon.
Times are changing. And only the young Contessa and the enemy engineer Giovanni understand they have to change too, if they are to survive the coming devastation – for Concord is about to unleash the Wave again…
Promise of Blood (Book Two of The Powder Mage Trilogy) by Brian McClellan (Orbit Hardcover / eBook 05/06/2014) – Second book in the series, the first of which I thought was the best fantasy debut novel I read last year.
When invasion looms, but the threats are closer to home…Who will lead the charge?
Tamas’ invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy’s best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god, Kresimir.
In Adro, Inspector Adamat only wants to rescue his wife. To do so he must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. He has questions for Vetas concerning his enigmatic master, but the answers might lead to more questions.
Tamas’ generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye. With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself as the last line of defense against Kresimir’s advancing army.
Veil of the Deserters (Bloodsounder’s Arc Book Two) by Jeff Salyards (Night Shade Books Hardcover 05/03/2014) – I reviewed and was quite impressed with Jeff’s debut and the launch of this series Scourge of the Betrayer when it published at the end of 2012.
Braylar is still poisoned by the memories of those slain by his unholy flail Bloodsounder, and attempts to counter this sickness have proven ineffectual. The Syldoonian Emperor, Cynead, has solidified his power in unprecedented ways, and Braylar and company are recalled to the capital to swear fealty. Braylar must decide if he can trust his sister, Soffjian, with the secret that is killing him. She has powerful memory magics that might be able to save him from Bloodsounder’s effects, but she has political allegiances that are not his own. Arki and others in the company try to get Soffjian and Braylar to trust one another, but politics in the capital prove to be complicated and dangerous. Deposed emperor Thumarr plots to remove the repressive Cynead, and Braylar and Soffjian are at the heart of his plans. The distance between “favored shadow agent of the emperor” and “exiled traitor” is unsurprisingly small. But it is filled with blind twists and unexpected turns. Before the journey is over, Arki will chronicle the true intentions of Emperor Cynead and Soffjian.
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Vol. 8 by Jonathan Strahan (Trade Paperback 04/10/2014 Solaris Books) – Strahan’s inclusive, seminal best of the year anthology moves to Solaris Books, where Jonathan has published a few of his popular themed anthologies. I really like the fact that he doesn’t separate Fantasy from Science Fiction with this annual book.
The best, most original and brightest science fiction and fantasy stories from around the globe from the past twelve months are brought together in one collection by multi-award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan.
This highly popular series is released in the UK for the first time with this edition. It will include stories from both the biggest names in the field and the most exciting new talents. Previous volumes have included stories from Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Abercrombie, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, Margo Lanagan, Bruce Sterling, Adam Roberts, Ellen Klages, and many many more..
Unclean Spirits (A Gods and Monsters novel) by Chuck Wendig (Abaddon Books Trade Paperback 05/05/2013) – Chuck launched a urban fantasy series for Abaddon with this book. The series seems a darker, more in-your-face take on what Gaiman did with American Gods. In other words, sign me up!
The gods and goddesses are real. A polytheistic pantheon—a tangle of gods and divine hierarchies—once kept the world at an arm’s length, warring with one another, using mankind’s belief and devotion to give them power. In this way, the world had balance: a grim and bloody balance, but a balance just the same. But a single god sought dominance and as Lucifer fell to Hell, the gods and goddesses fell to earth. And it’s here they remain—seemingly eternal, masquerading as humans and managing only a fraction of the power they once had as gods. They fall to old patterns, collecting sycophants and worshippers in order to war against one another in the battle for the hearts of men. They bring with them demi-gods, and they bring with them their monstrous races—crass abnormalities created to serve the gods, who would do anything to reclaim the seat of true power.