Locus: Rachel Morgan’s back in the Hollows for her 14th novel in the series, set before the happily-ever-after epilogue in the previous volume. She’s been outed as a demon and blamed for letting the demons free, the old church that was her home and office is unliveable, her living vampire housemate Ivy seems to be moving on, and money’s tight. Rachel’s relationship with Trent is good (finally), except for the not-so-little problem that the elves have all turned away from his leadership because of her. When some peculiar murders turn up, she’s eager to investigate, at least until the agency that hires her makes it clear they blame demons. The killers all had dreams that made them angry enough to kill loved ones, so something supernatural is up, but Rachel doesn’t believe demons caused it. Unfortunately, her usual source, Al, has disappeared, while a very strange, very old demon appears, hinting he has some inside knowledge. He’s clearly dangerous, but Rachel’s determined. Spells start flying, the politics get tangled, Rachel’s life is endangered, and the romance gets complicated. Once again, Rachel (with a little help from her friends) manages to pull off the impossible and save the day, if not without some personal loss in the end. Add some nice retribution against one smug asshole, in particular, and it’s an fun outing, a welcome and unexpected return to a world I’d thought we’d left behind.
Publishers Weekly: The dense but brilliant third volume of Dickinson’s The Masquerade series (after 2018’s The Monster Baru Cormorant) sees Baru Cormorant, haunted by memories of the woman she loved and lost, pushed even further into her self-destructive, all-consuming quest to save her family. In Baru’s effort to destroy the Imperial Republic of Falcrest from within, she has risen to the position of cryptarch, part of the invisible cabal that controls the Throne from the shadows. But as Baru pretends to serve her master, Cairdine Farrier, in his attempts to conquer the empire of Oriati Mbo, she privately plots against him. Baru has discovered the secrets of the Cancriotha cult of cancer worshippers secretly ruling Oriati Mboand the plague they’ve weaponized to wipe out their enemies. Caught between two implacable empires and facing betrayal at every turn, Baru must sacrifice everything and everyone she loves in order to bring down Falcrest. Dickinson weaves a byzantine tapestry of political intrigue, economic manipulation, and underhanded diplomacy. The narrative oscillates between past and present and alternates between numerous perspectives to create a harrowing picture of social conflict on a monumental scale. This staggering installment pushes the series to new heights and expands the fascinating fantasy world.
Library Journal: Still recovering from the battle with the elven goddess that destroyed a good portion of their church home, Rachel Morgan must confront the fact that her business with pixy Jenks and living vampire Ivy Tamwood is pretty much defunct. While her relationship with Trent Kalamack is still solid, Rachel knows that his place in elven society, his status and wealth, would be better served by taking herself out of the picture, especially as Trent’s former fiancée Ellasbeth seems to want to move right back into it. When a series of deaths from domestic disputes hit Cincinnati, Rachel is pulled into an investigation that will lead to nightmares, both living and literal, as Rachel must rely on her instincts, powers, and friends to stave off groups that want power at the cost of the Hallows.
VERDICT Hallows fans rejoice! Harrison (A Perfect Blood) neatly segues readers back into her world of coexisting humans and Inderlanders, with many of the beloved characters and all of the fast quips and high-stakes magical action of her previous books.
New York Times Bestseller Martha Wells’ FUGITIVE TELEMETRY, a new standalone Murderbot adventure in which Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, and knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?) , to Lee Harris at Tom Doherty Associates via Jennifer Jackson.
New York Times: “Shorefall” is the book I’ve most thoroughly and uncomplicatedly enjoyed this year so far. It shocked and delighted and upset me from page to page, managing to thread humor and pathos and intrigue together with the speed and precision of a loom. Its comments on our present moment are so deft and sly that when they turn earnest it’s deeply affecting: The refrain of “Move thoughtfully … and bring freedom to others” sometimes brought me to tears. “Foundryside” blew me away, and this is a perfect sequel. I’m so excited to see what happens next.
Geneticicst and author of The Rogue Retrieval, Dan Koboldt‘s science fiction novel Domesticating Dragons in which a talented genetic engineer infiltrates a biotech firm that builds made-to-order dragons to advance his secret quest to cure his brother’s genetic disease, to Tony Daniel at Baen Books by Paul Stevens at Donald Maass Literary Agency (World English).
SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
Ancestral Night, Elizabeth Bear (Saga; Gollancz)
YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee (Disney Hyperion)
Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)
The Luminous Dead, Caitlin Starling (Harper Voyager)
“A Time to Reap”, Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny 12/19)
“Erase, Erase, Erase”, Elizabeth Bear (F&SF 9-10/19)
“Binti: Sacred Fire”, Nnedi Okorafor (Binti: The Complete Trilogy)
“Lest We Forget”, Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny 5-6/19)
Hexarchate Stories, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US & UK)
Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected,
Nnedi Okorafor (Simon & Schuster/TED)
German rights to Annika Martin’s THE BILLIONAIRE’S FAKE FIANCEE, to Lyx, by Sarah Knofius at Thomas Schlueck Agency, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Cameron McClure.
Greek rights to Martha Wells’ Nebula and Hugo Award-winning ALL SYSTEMS RED, the first book in the New York Times bestselling Murderbot Diaries series, to Fantastikos Kosmos, by Milena Kaplarevic at Prava i Prevodi in association with Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.
Spanish rights to USA Today bestselling author Tamsyn Muir’s The Locked Tomb trilogy (GIDEON THE NINTH, HARROW THE NINTH, ALECTO THE NINTH), to Nova, by Amaiur Fernández at International Editors’ Co. in association with Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.
Spanish rights to Jo Walton’s THE JUST CITY, to Duermevela, by Amaiur Fernandez at International Editors’, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier, for Cameron McClure.
Turkish rights to Martha Wells’ NETWORK EFFECT, the first full-length novel in the New York Times bestselling Murderbot Diaries series, to Ithaki, by Merve Öngen at ONK Agency in association with Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.
Publishers Weekly: Lee (Hexarchate Stories) sets an arresting tale of loyalty, identity, and the power of art in a skillfully rendered fantasy world inspired by the Japanese occupation of Korea. The Empire of Razan conquered Hwaguk six years earlier, transforming it into Administrative Territory Fourteen. When Gyen Jebi, a nonbinary struggling artist, registers for a Razanei name to enhance their job prospects, their sister, Bongsunga, calls Jebi a traitor to their Hwagugin heritage and cuts off the financial support she had been providing. Jebi is left in no position to turn down a job offer from the Razan government’s defense sector, especially not when the recruiter threatens to arrest Bongsunga for her revolutionary ties should Jebi refuse. Jebi’s task is to destroy classic Hwagugin artworks, reducing them to a powder with magical properties that can be used as a pigment to paint codes onto automatons of war and program their behaviors. When Jebi secretly teaches the mechanical dragon they’re working on to speak, Jebi learns the devastating truth behind a recent massacre. But will Jebi be able to save their people and regain their sister’s trust? Readers need not be history buffs to appreciate Lee’s rich worldbuilding, but those with knowledge of Korean history will find the nuance and detail especially rewarding. Lee’s masterful storytelling is sure to wow.
Congratulations to Martha Wells! THE MURDERBOT DIARIES, translated by Naoya Nakahara (Tokyo Sogensha), has been selected as a 2020 Seiun Awards finalist in the Best Translated Novel section by the The Science Fiction Fan Groups’ Association of Nippon.