Monday, December 22, 2014

Anticipated Reading: A Baker's Dozen of Books for 2015

In the past, I’ve lumped in a list of forthcoming books publishing in the calendar year with my wrap up of the previous years. This time around, I decided to go with a post of its own to highlight some books I am looking forward to reading. Of course I give the caveat that reading plans are far from things set in stone by any biblioholic like myself. Furthermore, I am not including books I don’t have yet like Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory or Dave Bara’s Impulse which I already have in ARC form and will be reviewing in time for the publication dates of those books.

Without further ado here’s a baker’s dozen worth of books publishing in 2015 I look forward to reading…

Gemini Cell by Myke Cole (Ace January 2015) – I loved the first three books in his Shadow OPS series (Control Point, Fortress Frontier, Breach Zone) which formed a loose trilogy. This one takes a step back in the action to the days of the Great Reawakening; essentially the foundational time for the milieu.

Myke Cole continues to blow the military fantasy genre wide open with an all-new epic adventure in his highly acclaimed Shadow Ops universe—set in the early days of the Great Reawakening, when magic first returns to the world and order begins to unravel…

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself—and his family—in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

That should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty—as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark—especially about the fates of his wife and son

The Skull Throne by Peter Brett (Del Rey March 2015) – I have really enjoyed the three books Peat has published in the Demon Cycle series for its mix of old school high fantasy with some more modern sensibility (The Painted Man, The Desert Spear, and The Daylight War).

Following up on the internationally bestselling The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, and The Daylight War, Peter V. Brett continues his critically acclaimed epic fantasy Demon Cycle series that will appeal to fans of Terry Brooks, George R.R. Martin, David Eddings, and Robert Jordan.

Peter V. Brett has quickly established himself as one of the most successful new fantasy writers working today. Readers have embraced his world and his characters with a fervor, and his third and most recent novel hit the New York Times bestseller list in hardcover. Now he continues his epic series in grand style, offering the continuing stories of all the POV characters we have come to know and love, as well as adding several new ones into the mix.

Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley (Tor January 2015) – I was a little late to the game on Staveley’s debut, The Emperor’s Blades, which I thoroughly enjoyed and what I’ve heard about what happens in this one has me very excited to dive into it.

Brian Staveley's Providence of Fire, the second novel in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a gripping new epic fantasy series.

The conspiracy to destroy the ruling family of the Annurian Empire is far from over.

Having learned the identity of her father's assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

Unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn, renegade member of the empire's most elite fighting force, has allied with the invading nomads. The terrible choices each of them has made may make war between them inevitable.

Between Valyn and Adare is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with the help of two strange companions. The knowledge they possess of the secret history that shapes these events could save Annur or destroy it.

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (Saga Press July 2015) – I realize this was published in the UK a while back, but the Wizard helming SAGA PRESS Joe Monti is making this one available to US readers. 

It’s up to a famous rapper, a biologist, and a rogue soldier to handle humanity’s first contact with an alien ambassador—and prevent mass extinction—in this novel that blends magical realism with high-stakes action.

After word gets out on the Internet that aliens have landed in the waters outside of the world’s fifth most populous city, chaos ensues. Soon the military, religious leaders, thieves, and crackpots are trying to control the message on YouTube and on the streets. Meanwhile, the earth’s political superpowers are considering a preemptive nuclear launch to eradicate the intruders. All that stands between 17 million anarchic residents and death is an alien ambassador, a biologist, a rapper, a soldier, and a myth that may be the size of a giant spider, or a god revealed.

Cold Iron by Stina Leicht (Saga Press June 2015) – Another book in the Saga Press launch as part of Joe Monti’s plan to take over the SFF publishing world. I missed out on Stina’s series from Nightshade, so I’m very much looking forward to this one.

Fraternal twins Nels and Suvi move beyond their royal heritage and into military and magical dominion in this flintlock epic fantasy debut from a two-time Campbell Award finalist.

Prince Nels is the scholarly runt of the ancient Kainen royal family of Eledore, disregarded as flawed by the king and many others. Only Suvi, his fraternal twin sister, supports him. When Nels is ambushed by an Acrasian scouting party, he does the forbidden for a member of the ruling family: He picks up a fallen sword and defends himself.

Disowned and dismissed to the military, Nels establishes himself as a leader as Eledore begins to shatter under the attack of the Acrasians, who the Kainen had previously dismissed as barbarians. But Nels knows differently, and with the aid of Suvi, who has allied with pirates, he mounts a military offensive with sword, canon, and what little magic is left in the world.

The Hellsblood Bride by Chuck Wendig (Angry Robot March 2015) - I loved the first Mookie Pearl novel, The Blue Blazes. Of it, I said, “It may be reductive to do the whole combine-and-compare thing, but think one part Hellboy, one part Mathew Stover, one part Big Trouble in Little China, and throw in a dash of The Sopranos, the film The Wrestler and pulp sensibilities, and you might have an idea of what a great stew of fun this novel really is.” Also, just look at that awesome cover, right?

Yes, we’re going back deep underground for another twelve rounds with Mookie Pearl.

Father, barkeep, former Mafioso, ruler of his subterranean crime-kingdom. The Organization is back, and they’ll do anything to get Mookie on board, but Mookie has gone legit, and it’s taking every ounce of effort for him to keep his new bar from crashing and burning.

To top it all, his daughter is missing, and when Nora’s not in plain sight, that’s usually a sign of bad things to come! On one hand, the Organization. On the other, Nora.
Why can’t Family ever be easy..?

Nemesis Game by James S.A. Corey (Orbit Books June 2015) - The Expanse is consistently my favorite space-based science fiction series, with each book landing on my top reads of the year. Cibola Burn was a bit of a game changer for the series – in a good way for a series that was already quite good.

The fifth novel in James S.A. Corey's New York Times bestselling Expanse series--now being produced for television by the SyFy Channel!

A thousand worlds have opened, and the greatest land rush in human history has begun. As wave after wave of colonists leave, the power structures of the old solar system begin to buckle.

Ships are disappearing without a trace. Private armies are being secretly formed. The sole remaining protomolecule sample is stolen. Terrorist attacks previously considered impossible bring the inner planets to their knees. The sins of the past are returning to exact a terrible price.

And as a new human order is struggling to be born in blood and fire, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante must struggle to survive and get back to the only home they have left.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey June 2015) – I thoroughly enjoyed the first few books (His Majesty’s Dragon) of Novik’s Temeraire series by admittedly, my interest waned as the series continued. This is a fresh new world and looks to be a modern twist on a Fair Tale.

Naomi Novik, author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed Temeraire novels, introduces a bold new world rooted in folk stories and legends, as elemental as a Grimm fairy tale.

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley (Angry Robot October 2015) – I don’t know much about what will be happening in the second book of Hurley’s Worldbreaker saga, but all I need to know is that it is the second book in the series and follow-up to The Mirror Empire.

The Spider’s War by Daniel Abraham (Orbit Books June 2015) – The concluding volume of the fantastic Dagger and the Coin series. - The epic conclusion to The Dagger and The Coin series, perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin.

Lord Regent Geder Palliako's great war has spilled across the world, nation after nation falling before the ancient priesthood and weapon of dragons. But even as conquest follows conquest, the final victory retreats before him like a mirage. Schism and revolt begin to erode the foundations of the empire, and the great conquest threatens to collapse into a permanent war of all against all.

In Carse, with armies on all borders, Cithrin bel Sarcour, Marcus Wester, and Clara Kalliam are faced with the impossible task of bringing a lasting peace to the world. Their tools: traitors high in the imperial army, the last survivor of the dragon empire, and a financial scheme that is either a revolution or the greatest fraud in the history of the world.

Fool’s Quest (Fitz and the Fool Trilogy #2) by Robin Hobb (Del Rey August 2015) – Considering Fool’s Assassin was the most enjoyable reading experience I had in 2014, this one is very, VERY high on my anticipation list.

Ranking alongside George R. R. Martin as a groundbreaking master of fantasy, New York Times bestselling author Robin Hobb delivers the second book in her long-awaited Fitz and the Fool trilogy. After a devastating confrontation, FitzChivalry Farseer is out for blood—and who better to wreak havoc than a highly trained former royal assassin?

The Black Wolves by Kate Elliott (Orbit Books July 2015) – A new series from Elliott who writes some of the strongest opening volumes in fantasy.


He lost his honor long ago.

Captain Kellas was lauded as the king's most faithful servant until the day he failed in his duty. Dismissed from service, his elite regiment disbanded, he left the royal palace and took up another life.

Now a battle brews within the palace that threatens to reveal deadly secrets and spill over into open war. The king needs a loyal soldier to protect him.

Can a disgraced man ever be trusted? 

The Prince of Valor by Django Wexler (Roc July 2015) – I read the first two Shadow Campaigns novels last year and thought The Shadow Throne was awesome.

In the latest Shadow Campaigns novel, Django Wexler continues his "epic fantasy of military might and magical conflict" following The Shadow Throne and The Thousand Names, as the realm of Vordan faces imminent threats from without and within.

In the wake of the King’s death, war has come to Vordan.

The Deputies-General has precarious control of the city, but it is led by a zealot who sees traitors in every shadow. Executions have become a grim public spectacle. The new queen, Raesinia Orboan, finds herself nearly powerless as the government tightens its grip and assassins threaten her life. But she did not help free the country from one sort of tyranny to see it fall into another. Placing her trust with the steadfast soldier Marcus D’Ivoire, she sets out to turn the tide of history.

As the hidden hand of the Sworn Church brings all the powers of the continent to war against Vordan, the enigmatic and brilliant general Janus bet Vhalnich offers a path to victory. Winter Ihernglass, newly promoted to command a regiment, has reunited with her lover and her friends, only to face the prospect of leading them into bloody battle.

And the enemy is not just armed with muskets and cannon. Dark priests of an ancient order, wielding forbidden magic, have infiltrated Vordan to stop Janus by whatever means necessary...


It seems the past few years I’ve gone and done a re-read of a series or a re-read/catch-up of a series. Last year it was Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams, the year before that, David Anthony Durham’s Acacia, and the year before that it was Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet and for a couple of years before that I re-read & caught up with The Wheel of Time and as a refresher for A Dance of Dragons and Game of Thrones premiering on HBO, I re-read A Song of Ice and Fire.

In 2015, the series that most likely will fall into this category is Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars series. As I intimated above, I loved the first book King’s Dragon when I first read it years ago and enjoyed each subsequent volume of the series but, as I’ve written previously, the onslaught of review books over the years kept pushing this series away from my grasp. 

So as of this post, I’ve given myself 20 books to read next year, which will account for about 1/3 of what I’ll likely read.

I’ll close out by saying that I am also VERY much looking forward to Saga Press entering the genre marketplace. 

Strike that, a final postscript: my primary source Locus Online’s Forthcoming books so a couple of books I might otherwise include in this post aren’t on Locus’s list (i.e. Joe Hill’s The Fireman and Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Blades don’t have US dates listed)


Bob said...

The Skull Throne, Providence of Fire, and Fool’s Quest were all on my most anticipated list as well (although I've already thoroughly enjoyed Staveley's follow-up).

Great idea with the re-read. I have so many series that keep getting pushed down the TBR pile by review titles. I want to find a better balance myself this year.

Anonymous said...

This is a great list. Because of your mention for Stina Leicht I am going to go seek out her back list to read this year. I am also glad you mentioned the Kate Elliot books as your re-read because I have been trying to pick a starting place for where I can jump into her back list and now this will be it.

I enjoy your posts on Twitter immensely and shall continue to enjoy your blog as well!