Sep 032020
 

School Library Journal: In the alternating viewpoints of cool Dre and uptight Dean, Hutchinson takes us into a relationship with more complications than most. Both teenage boys are the only children of vying Presidential candidates and, fittingly, they first meet in an election event green room. Dre, the son of the liberal Latino candidate, is comfortably out to his family and his friends, while Dean’s conservative mother, the opposite candidate, is not gay-friendly and Dean himself, who is white, is only beginning to admit to himself that he’s somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum. The blossoming friendship between the boys occurs in crossing paths on the campaign trails, in private app chats, and phone calls. Hutchinson imbues all the minor as well as main characters with credible personalities and provides a thoughtful depiction of how different kinds of interpersonal relationships within and beyond families shape individuals and friendships.

VERDICT This is more than just an election year story and will have staying power in high school and public library teen fiction collections.

Sep 012020
 

Israeli rights to Annika Martin’s Dangerous Royals Series, to Sifrut Shenogaat, in a three-book deal, by Beverley Levit at The Israeli Association Of Book Publishers Ltd., on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Cameron McClure.

Slovak rights to Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s ALWAYS NEVER YOURS and TIME OF OUR LIVES, to Albatros Media, by Milena Kaplarevic at Prava i Prevodi on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier.

Aug 312020
 

Publishers Weekly: Hugo Award winner Bear’s spectacularly smart space opera, set in the same universe as 2018’s Ancestral Night, begins with the dispatch of an ambulance ship from the immense medical habitat Core General to respond to a distress signal. The signal originates from a vessel docked aboard a lost generation ship that was launched from Earth centuries earlier, before humans overcame their self-destructive impulses and joined a multi-race, interstellar civilization called the Synarche. When rescue specialist Dr. Brookllyn Jens arrives on the scene, she finds the crew of the generation ship sealed in cryogenic containers, with only Helen, an anxious and rather threatening android, conscious. Meanwhile, the crew of the docked ship that sent out the distress signal in the first place are all comatose and the huge machine they have on board looks suspiciously like a combat walker. In addition to untangling the history of these ships, Jens is deputized to investigate increasingly destructive incidents of sabotage at Core General, leading her to question her faith in the hospital’s ideals. Bear’s vivid tale, narrated by the wry, almost painfully self-aware Jens, bristles with inventive science and riveting action scenes. With this outstanding work, Bear proves her mastery of the space opera genre yet again.

Aug 272020
 

Shelf Awareness: Harrow the Ninth has a tough act to follow in 2019’s deranged, electrifyingly fun Gideon the Ninth, but the middle chapter in Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb Trilogy is every bit as wild and weird as its delightful predecessor. Following the events of the first book, Muir shifts protagonists to follow the necromancer Harrowhark as she joins a cohort dedicated to assisting the godlike Emperor in fighting strange cosmic entities.

Muir has not lost her penchant for throwing readers in the deep end, and some incomprehension is to be expected on their part. In fact, Harrow the Ninth is purposefully disorienting even, or perhaps especially, for diehard fans of the first book: the novel bounces back and forth in time, retelling events from the first book with noticeable differences that grow more glaring over time. Whereas Gideon the Ninth welded the structure of a locked-room mystery to its saga of necromancers and their sword-wielding escorts in an ancient, crumbling space-tomb, Harrow the Ninth plunges confidently into a mind-bending puzzle box structure. There is plenty of satisfaction in piecing things together, but it’s not just an exercise in cleverness: Muir has much to say about denial and the dangers of suppressing grief, building to an emotional conclusion that will melt the hardest of hearts.

Harrow is very different from Gideon, more interior and decidedly less raunchy. That does not mean the series has suddenly become strait-laced or lost any of Muir’s sardonic wit. Muir likes to puncture her own odd and highly detailed worldbuilding with a quip, as when one character explains: “A stele is eight feet tall, covered in the dead languages by special Fifth adepts, and continually bathed in oxygenated blood…. The type of thing where, if there is one on board, you say quite soon, ‘Oh, look, a stele!’ ” Plus, Muir continues her streak of best-in-class fight scenes, pushing the limits of her necromantic imagination to disgusting new heights.

Harrow the Ninth carries over all the strengths of its predecessor, in other words, including the verbal sparring and ever-entertaining insults: “you bursting organ, you wretched, self-regarding hypochondriac and half-fermented corpse with the nails still on.” Harrow the Ninth delves even deeper into the vulnerabilities of Muir’s damaged characters, whose posturing can’t hide their hang-ups and death wishes and terrible regrets. Few books can be this funny, sad and romantic all at the same time.

Aug 262020
 

Publishers WeeklyWorld Fantasy Award winner Polk (Witchmark) delivers sharp social commentary in this excellent Regency-flavored fantasy. Sorceress Beatrice Clayborn must marry well or her family will plunge into poverty. But marriage means submitting to a collar that blocks women from access to magic, so Beatrice plans to prove herself as a Mage before anyone can propose, hoping her magical skills will enable her to earn money of her own, making marriage unnecessary. When the Lavan siblings, the equally marriage-averse Ysbeta and her handsome brother, Ianthe, steal Beatrice’s spell book, Beatrice summons Nadi, a luck spirit, to help her get the grimoire back. In exchange, Nadi demands the chance to live vicariously through Beatrice, hoping to experience cake, dancing, and kissing. With Nadi’s help, Beatrice befriends the Lavans and is soon leading a double life: practicing secret magic with Ysbeta, while falling in love with Ianthe over a series of heated debates about structural injustice. To survive the social tightrope, Beatrice summons Nadi more and more frequently, and it becomes her most trustworthy friend, even as its presence in her life puts all her plans at risk. Polk expertly balances propulsive pacing, a rich multicultural world, and a vivid and subversive cast of characters. Readers will be swept away by this powerful and passionate fantasy.

Aug 252020
 

Congratulations to our DMLA authors who have been selected for the 2020 Dragon Awards Ballot!

Best Science Fiction Novel

  • Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)

Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

  • The Burning White, Brent Weeks (Orbit)