Sometimes I get access to books from publishers in return for (probably) writing a review. Sometimes writers or their agents give me books to read in the hope that I will review or otherwise help promote the book. Sometimes I buy the books myself. But sometimes I just don’t have access to a copy of a book that I want to read, and that can be pretty devastating. Sometimes I haven’t been approved by the publisher, sometimes finances are too tight to buy a new book.
I’m going to call this 2015: Q4 Most Wanted. It’s slightly a misnomer, as I’ll be reaching out of the quarter a bit into August and September. I’ll create another one of these again in December, and I’ll stick with the proper quarter parameters then. Probably. Or I’ll post the books by their zodiac signs. Do we include Ophiuchus? Only time can tell.
Here are, in no particular order, the 2015 fourth quarter books I’m lusting after the most. At least at the moment.
Italics demonstrate my own opinions and perspectives.
The boxed descriptions are the same as you’ll find at places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.
THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT by Seth Dickinson. From Tom Doherty Associates. Publishes 9/15/2015.
I’m intrigued by this debut novel. The opportunity to discover and amplify new voices is a part of why I created this blog. As often as I can, I’ll press to share new works and new perspectives. What I’ve seen of this book has drawn me in, and when I get my hands on it, I’ll certainly give a review.
In Seth Dickinson’s highly-anticipated debut The Traitor Baru Cormorant, a young woman from a conquered people tries to transform an empire in this richly imagined geopolitical fantasy.
Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul.
When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire’s civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.
Sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn, another conquered country, Baru discovers it’s on the brink of rebellion. Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help. As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize.
But the cost of winning the long game of saving her people may be far greater than Baru imagines.
RADIANCE by Catherynne M. Valente published by Tor Books October 20, 2015.
I’ve read Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland books, so I’m excited to read one of her adult novels. The description of this book as a “decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery” pretty much sells the book single-handedly.Read more
The first adult novel in more than three years from the bestselling author of the Fairyland books
Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood—and solar system—very different from our own, from the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.
But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return.
Aesthetically recalling A Trip to the Moon and House of Leaves, and told using techniques from reality TV, classic film, gossip magazines, and meta-fictional narrative, Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film.
AFTERMATH by Chuck Wendig. From Del Rey. Publishes 9/4/2015.
Wendig is an excellent author. I’ve been following his work for a few years. His words leap from the page in a kinetic splay. He’s the perfect fit for a Star Wars novel. I can’t wait to see his treatment of the material.
The second Death Star has been destroyed, the Emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. Devastating blows against the Empire, and major victories for the Rebel Alliance. But the battle for freedom is far from over.
As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance—now a fledgling New Republic—presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but he’s taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.
Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world—war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is—or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.
Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit—to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies—her technical-genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector—who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire’s oppressive reign once and for all.
SHADOWS OF SELF by Brandon Sanderson. Published by Tor Books on 10/6/2015.
I’ve read the Mistborn novels thus far, but still need to read the other Cosmere books. Don’t judge me. As a continuation of the Wax and Wayne series, this promises to bring some more western-style fantasy and an advancement on the technology of the prior book.
The #1 New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of Mistborn with his first novel in the series since The Alloy of Law.
With The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.
The trilogy’s heroes are now figures of myth and legend, even objects of religious veneration. They are succeeded by wonderful new characters, chief among them Waxillium Ladrian, known as Wax, hereditary Lord of House Ladrian but also, until recently, a lawman in the ungoverned frontier region known as the Roughs. There he worked with his eccentric but effective buddy, Wayne. They are “twinborn,” meaning they are able to use both Allomantic and Feruchemical magic.
Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.
This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.
Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.
ANCILLARY MERCY by Ann Leckie. Published by Orbit on 10/6/2015.
As a reader of the first two books, I’m intrigued at how one wraps up a series like this. Where can Leckie take Breq? Where will Breq take herself? Will we reach a true conclusion to Anaander Mianaai’s storyline?
The stunning conclusion to the trilogy that began with the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke award-winning Ancillary Justice.
For a moment, things seem to be under control for the soldier known as Breq. Then a search of Atheok Station’s slums turns up someone who shouldn’t exist – someone who might be an ancillary from a ship that’s been hiding beyond the empire’s reach for three thousand years. Meanwhile, a messenger from the alien and mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq’s enemy, the divided and quite possibly insane Anaander Mianaai – ruler of an empire at war with itself.
Anaander is heavily armed and extremely unhappy with Breq. She could take her ship and crew and flee, but that would leave everyone at Athoek in terrible danger. Breq has a desperate plan. The odds aren’t good, but that’s never stopped her before.
C Lee Brant is the webmaster and founder of Galleywampus. He’s the fellow to contact if you want to set up a giveaway, blog tour, interview or request to review your work. He reads all sorts of books, but his focus lies in epic, military, literary and urban fantasy, children's and YA fiction, and sci-fi. He has an MLIS from SJSU.