There a number of titles I am excited about including Kate Elliott's steampunkish tale Cold Magic and the YA steampunk tale The Dark Deeps by Arthur Slade. Needless to say I am also anticipating Cherie Priests follow-up to Boneshaker - Dreadnought. I also have in hand several fantasy titles from Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing including Immortal Quest, Cinco de Mayo, Avim's Oath and Cinkarion. I hope to review one or two of these this month. Happy reading! Which of these is on your list?
NOVELS, NOVELLA's & SHORT STORIES
Beagle, Peter S. and Maurizio Manzieri
In Return, master fantasist Peter S. Beagle revisits the world of his extraordinary 1991 novel, The Innkeeper’s Song. The result is an utterly compelling novella filled with its author’s inimitable—and characteristic—magic. The story begins when Soukyan, narrator and hero, fends off an attack by a trio of Hunters, trained assassins who have tracked him relentlessly for many years. But something about this latest attack is different, and that difference sends Soukyan on an unexpected journey to the source of his most painful memories. In the course of that journey, he encounters some of the central figures from his troubled past and comes face-to-face with a mystery that is both astonishing and lethal. Return offers a generous helping of the pure narrative pleasure that Peter Beagle’s readers have come to expect. Swift, effortlessly witty, and written, always, with intelligence, grace, and more than a touch of wizardry, it is the work of a consummate storyteller with a unique voice and a wholly original vision of the world.
By the Mountain Bound
For five hundred years the immortal Children of the Light, einherjar and valkyrie, have lived together in the North of Valdyrgard. They were born out of the Sea, each with a shining crystal sword in his or her hand; they are Angels of Light created in the formation of a new world. But three have come before them, from the death-throes of the old world, Midgard: the world-girdling Serpent, Bearer of Burdens; the Wolf Fenris, eater of the Sun, who now takes the form of an einherjar; and his demon sister, stealer of souls. The Children spend their days feasting, fighting, hunting, and guarding their human charges. But one dreadful day a woman is washed up from the sea, a Lady who is no mortal, though she is not valkyrie either. Thus begins the breaking of the Children of the Light, the tarnishing of their power, and the death of Valdyrgard. By the Mountain Bound is a prequel to Elizabeth Bear’s highly acclaimed All the Windwracked Stars, and tells the painful tale of love and betrayal, sorcery and battle, that led up to the day when Muire was left alone in the snow at the end of the world.
The House on Durrow Street
“A charming and mannered fantasy confection with a darker core of gothic romance” is how New York Times bestselling author Robin Hobb described Galen Beckett’s marvelous series opener, The Magicians and Mrs. Quent. Now Beckett returns to this world of dazzling magick and refined manners, where one extraordinary woman’s choice will put the fate of a nation—and all she cherishes—into precarious balance. Her courage saved the country of Altania and earned the love of a hero of the realm. Now sensible Ivy Quent wants only to turn her father’s sprawling, mysterious house into a proper home. But soon she is swept into fashionable society’s highest circles of power—a world that is vital to her family’s future but replete with perilous temptations. Yet far greater danger lies beyond the city’s glittering ballrooms—and Ivy must race to unlock the secrets that lie within the old house on Durrow Street before outlaw magicians and an ancient ravening force plunge Altania into darkness forever.
Chima, Cinda Williams
Seven Realms #2
You can't always run from danger... Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret. Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen. The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.
Cullum, J. A.
Cinkarion: The Heart of Fire
Karionin Chronicles #2
Tamar is a world inhabited by nine humanoid races, plagued by racial and religious hatreds, and steadily moving towards an epic war. But war is not new to Cibata, the largest continent in the Southern Hemisphere, where only one human nation, Cassinga, survives when once there were three, and the Senangan Empire, ruled by the tiger folk, has vowed to see its destruction. Saranith Kamrasi, a member of Senanga's royal family and an officer in its navy, is summoned by Cinkarion, one of eight living crystals. It brings her great power, but destroys her lifelong companion. Yet the Wizard Nathan, also born a Kamrasi but abandoned by his parents for lack of weresight, defends Cassinga despite his tiger blood. When the Wizard Elgan's apprentice is taken by the Senangans, Nathan and Elgan must turn to Jerevan Rayne, the man who hadn't wanted to be a wizard, and enter the heart of Senanga to rescue her, with the ultimate fate of Cassinga at stake.
From Publishers Weekly - The first installment of Elliott's Spiritwalker trilogy puts a decidedly steampunk edge on epic adventure fantasy. The setting is a pseudo-Victorian Europe at the emergence of an industrial revolution, replete with dirigibles, gas lights, and great political and social upheaval. The unpopular cold mages believe that the "reckless tinkering" of radical scientists and natural historians will destroy society. Irreverent orphan Catherine Hassi Barahal mostly thinks about staying out of trouble and finding out about her mysterious explorer parents, but when a cold mage shows up to collect on an old contract, Cat is forced to marry him and undertake a nightmarish journey across an ice-covered country in which she learns frightening things about the mortal and spirit worlds. After a slow start, Elliott pulls out all the stops in a wildly imaginative narrative that will ring happy bells for fans of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.
Immortal Quest: The Trouble with Mages
It’s London, England, and Detective Nick Wilson finds himself confronted by a burglar who insists that Nick is his best friend suffering from amnesia, and that he, the burglar, is a 500-year-old immortal mage. Logic and reason force Nick to believe that this is simply impossible. Complicating matters further is the burglar’s claim than an evil mage named Vere has just been released from limbo, and wants three objects of power that could destroy humankind.
Path of the Sun
Dhulyn and Parno
Mercenary partners Dhulyn Wolfshead and Parno Lionsmane think they're escorting the Princess of Arderon to her wedding with the new Tarkin of Menoin, but the Mercenary Brotherhood has a secret mission for them: find out what happened to the two Brothers who were sent on assignment to Menoin a year ago-and vanished. Once in Menoin, they discover that the Brothers' disappearance is linked to a series of killings. And when the Princess of Arderon's corpse is found mutilated in the same way as the others, Dhulyn and Parno track the killer into the Path of the Sun, an ancient labyrinth from which people sometimes never return...
Martineck, Michael J.
Cinco de Mayo
"Suddenly, everyone in the world has a second set of memories along side of their own..." In Chicago, a transit worker now knows enough about the Aryan Brotherhood to mark him for death. In Abu Dhabi, a playboy experiences modern day slavery. A New York advertising executive shares the memories of a blind railroad working living in China. And in Washington, a neurologist now studying the phenomenon must fight back the mystic memories invading her mind. In a world of individuals, sudden intimacy is not for everyone. Some like the openness, some will even kill to keep their secrets.
A Cup of Normal
These twenty-two short stories are measured out with a cup of normal and a pound of the fantastic. From dark fairytales to alien skies, Monk's stories blend haunting yesterdays, forgotten todays and twisted tomorrows wherein: ...A normal little girl in a city made of gears, takes on the world to save a toy.... ...A normal ancient monster living in Seattle, must decide if love is worth trusting a hero... ...A normal patchwork woman and her two-headed boyfriend stitch their life and farm together with needle, thread, and time... ...a normal vampire in a knitting shop must face sun-drenched secrets... ...a normal snow creature's wish changes a mad man's life... ...a normal man breaks reality with a hamster... ...and yes, a normal little robot, defines how extraordinary friendship can be. Poignant, bittersweet, frightening, and funny, these stories pour out worlds that are both lovely and odd, darkly strange and tantalizingly familiar, where no matter how fantastic the setting or situation, love, freedom, and hope find a way to take root and thrive.
School Library Journal - Second novels sometimes pale in comparison to the series opener. Ascendant is not one of them. More sophisticated in both content and structure than the straightforward Rampant (HarperTeen, 2009), this title echoes the growing development of narrator Astrid as she questions the ethical complexities of her new life as a unicorn hunter. The threat of man-eating unicorns is increasing worldwide, and only the virgin descendants of Alexander the Great can stand against them. Many girls are choosing to give up their eligibility rather than accept the challenge, making new hunters difficult to find and train. Astrid, who hates hunting even while loving the powers that her calling gives her, takes a job with a pharmaceutical company, guarding the unicorns they use for testing. Once, she hoped to become a doctor, and her search for the recipe for the Remedy, a unicorn-based cure-all, appeals to her as an echo of the life she once wanted. But faced with the realities of animal testing and dubious behavior on the part of her employers, Astrid must decide where her loyalties lie, and the impact of that choice takes her in a direction she never imagined possible. Peterfreund is sure to gain a stronger following with Ascendant, and fans will eagerly await further titles in the series.
Clockwork Century #2
Nurse Mercy Lynch is elbows deep in bloody laundry at a war hospital in Richmond, Virginia, when Clara Barton comes bearing bad news: Mercy’s husband has died in a POW camp. On top of that, a telegram from the west coast declares that her estranged father is gravely injured, and he wishes to see her. Mercy sets out toward the Mississippi River. Once there, she’ll catch a train over the Rockies and—if the telegram can be believed—be greeted in Washington Territory by the sheriff, who will take her to see her father in Seattle. Reaching the Mississippi is a harrowing adventure by dirigible and rail through war-torn border states. When Mercy finally arrives in St. Louis, the only Tacoma-bound train is pulled by a terrifying Union-operated steam engine called the Dreadnought. Reluctantly, Mercy buys a ticket and climbs aboard. What ought to be a quiet trip turns deadly when the train is beset by bushwhackers, then vigorously attacked by a band of Rebel soldiers. The train is moving away from battle lines into the vast, unincorporated west, so Mercy can’t imagine why they’re so interested. Perhaps the mysterious cargo secreted in the second and last train cars has something to do with it?
Mercy is just a frustrated nurse who wants to see her father before he dies. But she’ll have to survive both Union intrigue and Confederate opposition if she wants to make it off the Dreadnought alive.
The Psalms of Isaak
The ancient past is not dead. The hand of the Wizard Kings still reaches out to challenge the Androfrancine Order, to control the magick and technology that they sought to understand and claim for their own. Nebios, the boy who watched the destruction of the city of Windwir, now runs the vast deserts of the world, far from his beloved Marsh Queen. He is being hunted by strange women warriors, while his dreams are invaded by warnings from his dead father. Jin Li Tam, queen of the Ninefold Forest, guards her son as best she can against both murderous threats, and the usurper queen and her evangelists. They bring a message: Jakob is the child of promise of their Gospel, and the Crimson Empress is on her way. And in hidden places, the remnants of the Androfrancine order formulate their response to the song pouring out of a silver crescent that was found in the wastes.
The Last Song of Orpheus
In the course of his extraordinary—and prolific—career, Robert Silverberg has made an enormous contribution to imaginative literature. In The Last Song of Orpheus, his longest story in more than a decade, Silverberg has given us one of his most remarkable accomplishments, a resonant recreation of one of the central myths of western civilization. In this mesmerizing narrative, Orpheus—wanderer, demigod, and master musician—recounts his own astonishing story. That story ranges from the depths of the Underworld, where he attempts to rescue his beloved but doomed Eurydice, to the farthest, most dangerous corners of the ancient world, where he journeys in search of the legendary Golden Fleece. It is a tale of men and gods, of miraculous encounters, of the binding power of inescapable Fate. More than that, it is a meditation on the power of the creative spirit, and on the eternal human search for balance and harmony in a chaotic universe. Beautifully constructed and masterfully written, The Last Song of Orpheus is Silverberg at his incomparable best, showing us a deeply familiar series of scenes, themes, and characters from a fresh, wholly original perspective.
The Dark Deeps
Hunchback Assignments #2
A fantastic Steampunk adventure in the deeps. Transforming his appearance and stealing secret documents from the French is all in a day’s work for fourteen-year-old Modo, a British secret agent. But his latest mission—to uncover the underwater mystery of something called the Ictíneo—seems impossible. There are rumors of a sea monster and a fish as big as a ship. French spies are after it, and Mr. Socrates, Modo’s master, wants to find it first. Modo and his fellow secret agent, Octavia, begin their mission in New York City, then take a steamship across the North Atlantic. During the voyage, Modo uncovers an astounding secret. The Dark Deeps, the second book in Arthur Slade’s Hunchback Assignments series, is set in a fascinating Steampunk Victorian world. Modo’s underwater adventures and his encounters with the young French spy Colette Brunet, the fearless Captain Monturiol, and the dreaded Clockwork Guild guarantee a gripping read filled with danger, suspense, and brilliant inventions.
Coronets and Steel
In this new fantasy series, a young woman takes her own destiny by the hand-and the hilt. California girl Kim Murray is unsatisfied with grad school and restless in life. Modern men disappoint her, and she studies ballet and fencing because they remind her of older, more romantic times. She lives with her parents and her beloved but secretive aristocratic grandmother, who speaks only French and refuses to share stories about the mysterious family she left behind in Europe, inspiring Kim to travel there and find her roots. Kim soon finds herself swept up in an adventure of fantastic deceptions and passionate intrigue-and a shocking realization about her own bloodline that leaves her reeling.
Okal Rel Saga #6
The Queen is dead, and two princes, Amel and Erien, are pushed centre-stage and made to vie for power that neither brother wanted. Driven by vengeful princesses, most notably the beautiful and dangerous Alivda, the brothers must prove themselves, choosing between the lives they wanted and the roles that people demanded of them.