Library Journal: Dame Grace Hensley assisted her brother Miles to undo the aether network just 14 days ago. Now Aeland is without power, filled with ghosts, and faced with an incredible set of winter patterns that could destroy what is left of the country. All Grace wants to do is make sure her family in Kingston is safe, but circumstances place her in the middle of the growing conflict between stubborn Queen Constantina, reparation-seeking Amaranthines, and the mages imprisoned throughout the land. Revolution is coming and soon Grace will be forced to choose sides, with her family divided. A young photojournalist, Avia Jessup, is close to discovering the truth and sharing it with the nation. Grace finds Avia both infuriating and intriguing as all the storms come to a head. VERDICT Polk’s sequel to Witchmark continues to unwrap an intriguing world of magic, political intrigue, and alternate-Edwardian times. Familiar and favorite characters support the young woman who takes center stage, while Polk’s charming prose frames an original and witty story filled with action and romantic tension.
Booklist: Drayden’s latest (after Temper, 2018) is a sweeping, smart, stunning story that dazzles brighter than a star system. Seske Kaleigh is the young heir to the command of a starship that is comprised of the insides of a whale-like space beast. Adalla is her best friend and lover of a lower caste. The young girls are among the descendants of Africa, who resettled among the stars and rely on whale-like space beasts to keep them alive. They carve out cities within the interior body cavern of the beasts and make a home there until the beast begins to die. Then, they move on, catching and carving up the next beast in order to ensure their continued survival. When their clan’s newest excavated beast is assailed with violent tremors, the girls embark on a journey to unearth the cause and save their people’s new home. The premise of Escaping Exodus is a biology lover’s dream, with an animal’s bones being used for building material and its circulatory system for mass transit. Yet, Drayden excels in writing the tech in a way that will reach out and ensnares every reader—not just biology geeks. She has created a whimsical, complex, rich setting whose world is the literal anatomy of a beast. Interwoven with the body horror, environmentalism, and classism that Drayden artfully explores is a love story between two Black girls from different castes, making Escaping Exodus a true gem to be treasured.
NPR: Readers may want to start with the first book in the series (this is the second), though starting here doesn’t get in the way of enjoying this otherworldly mystery, gorgeous writing and slow burn of a romance with a man who truly understands a woman, ghosts and all.
Audio rights to three novels (THE BRIDE WORE CONSTANT WHITE, THE DANCER WORE OPERA ROSE, and THE MATCHMAKER WORE MARS YELLOW) and four novellas (CARRICK HOUSE, SELWYN PLACE, HOLLY COTTAGE, and GWYNN PLACE) in Shelley Adina’s Magnificent Devices series, to Kim Budnick at Tantor Media, by Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.
Audio rights to Sarah Pemberton Strong’s THE FAINTING ROOM, to Kim Budnick at Tantor Media, by Katie Shea Boutillier on behalf of Cameron McClure.
Chinese rights to C.L. Polk’s WITCHMARK, to Chongqing, in a pre-empt, in a three-book deal, by Ping Chang at The Grayhawk Agency on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Caitlin McDonald.
Czech rights to Robert McCammon’s USHER’S PASSING, to Dobrovsky, by Milena Kaplarevic at Prava I Prevodi, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Cameron McClure.
Czech rights to Brent Week’s THE BURNING WHITE, to Fantom Print, by Milena Kaplarevic at Prava I Prevodi, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Donald Maass.
French rights to Robert McCammon’s SWAN SONG, to Monsieur Toussaint Louverture, by Robin Batet at Anna Jarota Agency, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Cameron McClure.
German rights to Robert McCammon’s THE PROVIDENCE RIDER, to Luzifer, by Sarah Knofius at Thomas Schlueck Agency on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Cameron McClure.
German rights to Caitlin Starling’s THE LUMINOUS DEAD, to Frank Festa at Festa, by Sarah Knofius at Thomas Schlueck Agency, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Caitlin McDonald.
Hungarian rights to Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s ALWAYS NEVER YOURS, to Mora, by Milena Kaplarevic at Prava I Prevodi, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier.
Japanese rights to Carolyn Crane’s AGAINST THE DARK, to Futami Shobo, by Kohei Hattori at The English Agency on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier, for Cameron McClure.
Spanish rights to Shaun David Hutchinson’s WE ARE THE ANTS, to Kakao Books, by Amaiur Fernandez at International Editors’, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier.
World Fantasy Award-winning author C. L. Polk’s THE MIDNIGHT BARGAIN, set in a world where married women’s magic is taken from them to protect the lives of their unborn children, a young woman must balance her desire to become the first great female magician against her duty to secure a rich husband who can discharge her family’s debts, to Sarah Guan at Erewhon, in a two-book deal, for publication in Fall 2020, by Caitlin McDonald.
Locus: One of the most irreverent characters I’ve encountered in a long time, Gideon Nav wants only to escape the House of the Ninth, a dark place populated by the dead and the few living necromancers that control them. Gideon, no necromancer but an enthusiastic swordswoman, keeps trying to escape and join the military Cohort, but her plans are continually foiled. Then she’s offered something new—if she accompanies the Lady of the Ninth House, the much-loathed necromancer Harrowhark, on a mission. The Emperor, the King Undying, has called for each house to send their first (Harrowhark) and their cavalier to be tested as potential Lyctors. The problem is the Ninth’s cavalier is unwilling, so Harrowhark drafts Gideon, and the two are off to another world where they end up in an incomprehensible contest against the other eight houses in a decaying, mazelike complex. Foul-mouthed Gideon is a joy to watch as she attempts to pass as a cavalier, falls for one of the competition, and basically spends a hell of a lot of time trying to figure out what’s going on—gradually learning to work with Harrowhark, and maybe even coming to appreciate her…Muir’s impressive first novel offers a heady and macabre mix of science, necromancy, constant danger, and a healthy dollop of Gormenghast-like weirdness like no other.
Debut author Kelly Duran’s CAN’T TAKE IT BACK, which tells the story of a tight-knit group of four female friends, each facing a crossroads in their lives, over the course of a kindergarten school year, pitched as combining the suburban drama of Little Fires Everywhere with the interconnected storytelling style of Love, Actually, to Lara Blackman at Audible Originals, by Katie Shea Boutillier.