Cursed by Christina Bauer
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: March 29th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Although Elea’s the most powerful necromancer in history, she’s spent most of her nineteen years imprisoned in the Midnight Cloisters. Enchanted manacles keep her unique brand of soul magick in check. While the guards and initiates seem contented to torment her, the Cloister’s Mother Superior is obsessed with finding a safe way to destroy Elea, both body and soul.
Escape seems impossible until a handsome hunter named Asher offers to help. Elea takes a chance and soon develops feelings for the mysterious stranger. However, Asher may not be who he claims. Then again, Elea may not be, either…
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Brainshark. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien’s text, it’s entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.
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.
The very first time I read a Dresden File, I was twenty years old, and the middle of a Maryland winter. I was serving in the Navy at the time, and about twice a year, the stars would align poorly, and we would be forced to survive three weekends on one paycheck. That third weekend saw me cooped up in the barracks, eating galley food, and in desperate need of something new to read. My friend tossed me a paperback, and told me to go away and read it, he was working on some coding. I used the last of my cash to buy a bottle of Sutter Home Moscato (priorities), and settled down to read.
That was Storm Front. The next day, I went and borrowed Fool Moon and Grave Peril, read them both in about five hours, then went back to poor Miller’s door. “This is the last one I have, another friend’s got the next two,” he told me, and handed me Summer Knight. It was this book that had me fall in love with the series. If I’d never read it, I would have counted the first three as a pretty decent way to pass the time until I had money again, and could spend it to buy books I am too ashamed to admit here. But I read Summer Knight, and realized that what Jim Butcher was doing was pretty extraordinary.
I read it in a marathon session – think Bob with the latest Harlequin Blaze. I finished it a little after eleven, and did not even think of waiting until the next day (and a more appropriate hour). Instead, I put on my shoes, neglected a coat, and headed out the door toward the Marine Corps barracks. Read more
Barracks are very similar to dorms, except that they are patrolled by very serious looking people. Luckily for me, there were all sorts of shenanigans going on in the barracks, and the guy on watch not only allowed me to enter, but held the door open as I did so. I found my way to my friend of a friend’s barracks room. He answered the door, wearing only shorts. “Look, I really need the books you have,” I said. Back then, I was pretty terrible at small talk. “It’s an emergency.” Looking back, I realize this is behavior that most people would consider crazy, but Erik was a Marine, and worked in intel. He’d seen worse. I’d seen worse, too – when he handed me Death Masks and Blood Rites, I gave him my number.
My sense of Butcher’s extraordinary ability to write compelling stories grew. Death Masks and Blood Rites kicked the series up a notch, in the same way that Summer Knight did. The patterns he set in motion in the first three books grew more complicated, more interesting. Information was revealed; and, even more importantly, there was the sense that even more information was being concealed. This is one of life’s purest pleasures for an obsessive personality. While my roommate slept the sleep of the wasted, I devoured them.
Not only was my love for Dresden cemented that night, but it also marked the very first moment I entered into the state of existence known as Waiting for the Next Dresden File. This is a state of existence I have lived in for all but 0,0006538% of the time since then. Some of my High Holy Days of the year involve Harry Dresden (I am comfortable with blasphemy). I was living in Iowa at the time White Night came out, and I (without a qualm) feigned a serious illness to wiggle out of a test in order to pick it up from Prairie Lights the moment it opened.
Same with all the rest.
I’ve paid people to drive to the bookstore and back so I could buy a copy, and not lift my eyes from it before I was done. I’ve done a happy dance when I’ve found a bookstore that accidentally released the newest File before its release date (it was Dead Beat, and Dresden’s popularity has grown so much that this wouldn’t happen again). I cried over Proven Guilty on a trip to Portland. I brought every single Dresden File with me when I was homeless, living in my car, and travelling around the country writing college papers for kids who did not want to write their own. That money paid for gas, food, the occasional motel room, and (in Bangor, Maine) a copy of Ghost Story on the day it came out.
I read Cold Days in one sitting in a coffee shop in Morro Bay, and I read Skin Game in a motel room in Redondo Beach, the night before the launch. No matter where I’ve been, how far I’ve been, what kind of madcap adventure I was on, or any other external factor, when a new Dresden File came out, I was exactly where I wanted to be.
Now I want to put my obsession to good use. Once Butcher reveals he has completed the next book in the series, Peace Talks, I will be hosting a reread of the entire series (including all the short stories and novellas). Luckily, I’m not unusual. Obsessive fans of the Dresden Files are numerous enough to count as a tribe. It won’t just be a discussion of the books. What I intend to do is begin transcribing the latest interviews, creating a comprehensive list of characters and locations within the series, and looking for mythological influences in the series itself.
I like to know things that not everyone else knows, I like to know things before everyone else knows them, and I don’t like not knowing something. This will be my outlet for sharing all the information I’ve gleaned from generally butting my nose in where others are too circumspect to do so.
Curiosity, it is a burden.
The first tidbits I will share include (but are not limited to) 1) what Jacqueline Carey has been secretly been working on the last year (hint: it’s a retelling of a famous Shakespeare play!); 2) will the first volume of Tad Williams’s new trilogy be released next year? (hint: the truth is an unhappy one); and 3) Which famous kid lit author just sold a five book series for a serious amount of cash.
I plan to write up a gossip post whenever I have juicy enough information to share.