The Guardian: There are no everyday elements to Kerstin Hall’s debut novella The Border Keeper. It begins on the outskirts of the spirit world, before moving to the weird realm of the underworld, Mkalis, where demon beasts and macabre gods are in constant battle. The grieving Vasethe has come to petition the eponymous border keeper: he wants her to guide him through Mkalis in search of his dead lover’s soul. What follows is a phantasmagorical picaresque through a lushly realised underworld, populated by a grotesque bestiary of fantastical creatures, with danger dogging our protagonists’ every step. This twisty example of the new weird genre examines love, loss and loyalty, packing skilful world-building and a powerful emotional punch into a little over 200 pages.
“Beautifully and vividly imagined. Eerie, lovely, and surreal”―Ann Leckie
She lived where the railway tracks met the saltpan, on the Ahri side of the shadowline. In the old days, when people still talked about her, she was known as the end-of-the-line woman.
In The Border Keeper, debut author Kerstin Hall unfolds a lyrical underworld narrative about loss and renewal.
Vasethe, a man with a troubled past, comes to seek a favor from a woman who is not what she seems, and must enter the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war.
The Border Keeper spins wonders both epic―the Byzantine bureaucracy of hundreds of demon realms, impossible oceans, hidden fortresses―and devastatingly personal―a spear flung straight, the profound terror and power of motherhood. What Vasethe discovers in Mkalis threatens to bring his own secrets into light and throw both worlds into chaos.
Sympathy with the sea, with the weird, and with monsters fills the stories of Imperfect Commentaries. Ruthanna Emrys’s collection offers readers feminist and #ownvoices Neo-Lovecraftian fiction, anthropological science fiction, and fantasies of belonging, plus miscellaneous deleted scenes, poems, and secret story origins. Readers familiar with her novels (Winter Tide and Deep Roots) will see the first appearance Aphra Marsh, an Innsmouth survivor, still recovering from her losses and making a life for herself in late-1940s San Francisco in “The Litany of Earth.”
Library Journal: Gideon Nav wants to escape servitude in the Ninth House. Armed with only her sword, her wit, and a bunch of dirty magazines, she is ready to leave behind the catacombs, the nuns, the dead, and especially necromancer Lady Harrowhawk, bane of her existence. However, Harrow calls on Gideon for a quest she cannot get out of: the emperor demands that the houses bring their firstborn necromancers, along with their cavaliers, to ascend to the position of Lyctor and serve him. Harrow does not have a cavalier; she has Gideon. Forced to the First House where the other House heirs and cavaliers arrive, Gideon and Harrow are thrust into a battle of politics, House secrets, and murder, while dealing with their own relationship, which is as sharp as a rapier blade.
VERDICT At once sarcastic, sincere, heart-wrenching, and honest pulpy enjoyment, filled with dark magic, swordplay, and lesbian necromancers, Muir’s debut is a fantastic sf/fantasy blend. Readers will discuss this journey for a long time and be clamoring for the next installment.
A strikingly original Icelandic debut set in a strangely familiar alternate Reykjavik where wild and industrialised magic meet.
Perfect for fans of contemporary fantasy in the style of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere or China Mieville’s The City & The City
Sæmundur the Mad, addict and sorcerer, has been expelled from the magical university, Svartiskóli, and can no longer study galdur, an esoteric source of magic. Obsessed with proving his peers wrong, he will stop at nothing to gain absolute power and knowledge, especially of that which is long forbidden.
Garún is an outcast: half-human, half-huldufólk, fighting against an unjust government that refuses to grant people like her basic rights. A militant revolutionary and graffiti artist, recklessly dismissive of the status quo, she will do anything to achieve a just society, including spark a revolution. Even if she has to do it alone.
This is a tale of revolution set in a twisted version of Reykjavik fuelled by industrialised magic and populated by humans, interdimensional exiles, otherworldly creatures, psychoactive graffiti and demonic familiars.
From Cherie Priest, the author of The Family Plot and Maplecroft, comes The Toll, a tense, dark, and scary treat for modern fans of the traditionally strange and macabre.
Take a road trip into a Southern gothic horror novel.
Titus and Melanie Bell are on their honeymoon and have reservations in the Okefenokee Swamp cabins for a canoeing trip. But shortly before they reach their destination, the road narrows into a rickety bridge with old stone pilings, with room for only one car.
Much later, Titus wakes up lying in the middle of the road, no bridge in sight. Melanie is missing. When he calls the police, they tell him there is no such bridge on Route 177 . . .
Dragons vs Firefighters vs the Phoenix. The scorching fantasy sequel to Smoke Eaters.
With ex-firefighter Cole Brannigan in command of the Smoke Eaters, the dragon menace is under control. Thanks to non-lethal Canadian tech, the beasts are tranquilized and locked up, rather than killed. But for Tamerica Williams, this job filled with action and danger, has become tediously routine.
When a new threat emerges, a legendary bird of fire – the Phoenix – it’s the perfect task for Williams. But killing the Phoenix just brings it back stronger, spreading fire like a plague and whipping dragons into a frenzy. Will it prove to be too much excitement, even for adrenalin-junkie Williams?
Two tiny twins and one lost love…
The end of the Amish Spinster Club?
Moving far away from her first love is the perfect remedy for Leanna Wagler’s broken heart—until he buys the neighboring farm. Now Leanna is in an unexpected position: temporary nanny to Gabriel Miller’s adorable twins. Though his kinder need her, Leanna spells trouble for the Amish widower…because a second chance with her means betraying a secret he’s honor-bound to protect.
Audio rights to J.A. Pitts’ RAINBOW BRIGADE, the 5th book in the Sarah Beauhall series, to Ryan MacGavin at Audible, by Katie Shea Boutillier, for Cameron McClure.