Oct 202017
 

Cover of The Stone in The Skull by Elizabeth Bear.B&N SFF Blog: From its opening pages, Elizabeth Bear’s The Stone in the Skull wears its virtues on its sleeve, introducing us to two characters, Dead Man and the Gage, who are immediately enigmatic, yet also compelling and achingly human (doubly impressive for the Gage, a towering automaton powered by a human soul).

And this is where the book truly excels, beyond the magic-laced action scenes and top-tier worldbuilding­in the way Bear loads layered relationships between a whole host of characters into a relatively slim page count.

With every new story, Bear leaves her mark on the world. There is a weight to her worldbuilding, to the subtlety of her characterizations. Hers is a mark that identifies the boundlessness of epic fantasy, of worlds created by a singular mind, but shared and enjoyed by many.

The Stone in the Skull begins a fantastic new saga, reminding us that Elizabeth Bear is truly one of the premier fantasists of her generation. If you’ve yet to discover her work, there’s no better time.

Oct 192017
 

From Hugo and Nebula award winning author Nnedi Okorafor, an original five-comic series about strange things unearthed at LaGuardia airport, to Karen Berger at Dark Horse, via Donald Maass.

Oct 182017
 
Cover of Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer.RT Reviews: Tanzer crafts a dark, heady tale of sensuality and the supernatural, full of deceptively complex characters and plenty of dangerous surprises. Tanzer deserves credit for creating a complex and insightful relationship between her two sisters, and providing them such a gripping adventure in which to grow.
Oct 172017
 

Cover of An Amish Proposal by Jo Ann Brown.Pregnant and without options, Katie Kay Lapp is trapped between two worlds—abandoned by her baby’s Englisch father, not ready to return to her Amish family. With nowhere to go, she’s rescued by the unlikeliest of heroes—the man whose heart she shattered. Months ago, Micah Stoltzfus courted her, envisioned a future with her, until she chose the big city over him. Now bound by duty to protect mother and child, Micah offers a solution—marriage. Though his heart never healed, he still cares for the Amish beauty. He knows he’ll be the father Katie Kay’s baby needs…but can he show her he’s also the love she’s always wanted?

Oct 172017
 

Photo of author Les KlingerFrom Edgar Award winning editor Leslie S. Klinger (In the Company of Sherlock Holmes) and Bram Stoker winning author and editor Lisa Morton (Ghosts: A Haunted History), a volume of rediscovered classic ghost stories, to Claiborne Hancock at Pegasus Books, via Donald Maass.

Oct 172017
 

Cover of Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women by Emily Brightwell.As the holidays approach, all is merry and bright for Inspector Witherspoon, Mrs. Jeffries, and the staff at Upper Edmonton Gardens…but murder knows no season.

MURDER UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR

Christopher Gilhaney isn’t a popular man, and he proves why once again when he insults every guest at Abigail Chase’s Guy Fawkes Night dinner party. When Gilhaney is shot dead under the cover of the night’s fireworks, his murder is deemed a robbery gone wrong. But when the case hasn’t been solved six weeks later, Inspector Witherspoon is called upon to find the killer—and quickly!

With Christmas almost here, Inspector Witherspoon and everyone in his household is upset at the possibility of having to cancel their holiday plans—all to solve a case that seems impossible. Only Luty Belle, Ruth, and Mrs. Goodge refuse to give up and let the crime become a cold case. In fact, the American heiress, the charming next-door neighbor, and the formidable cook use all of their persuasive powers to get the others on board, because these three wise women know justice doesn’t take time off for Christmas.

Oct 162017
 

Cover of The Stone in The Skull by Elizabeth Bear.Locus: Full disclaimer: I haven’t read Elizabeth Bear’s first trilogy set in the Eternal Sky world (Range of Ghosts, etc.) but am also not sure it matters. While I’m sure a reading of The Stone in the Skull would be enhanced by knowing about this world before dropping into it, that knowledge is not required to enjoy the visit there. And it is enjoyable.

The story opens with the Gage, a brass automaton, and the Dead Man, a drifter, of sorts, trudging over ice-choked mountains to deliver a message to a queen in the damp land of Sarathai-tia. Mrithuri, said queen, is undertaking a public ritual involving lotus flowers – and the results of said ritual indicate that changes are about to come. Thus, the plot is launched.

What works so well in just about every Bear book are her characters, which always feel finely drawn and solidly connected to the story they are in. The plot hews closely to the whole band-of-rogues-assemble-to-fight-stronger-band-of-foes, but this is a feature rather than a bug. Bear noodles around that trope like a jazz master and takes the story to some interesting places where she can examine privilege, toxic pasts, and gender identities – with, of course, magic and mayhem and mud. Lots and lots of mud.

It’s hard to talk about the first book in a trilogy, if only because it isn’t intended to feel like it comes to a complete closure. This book ends by setting the next part of the story up well and making this reader wish she had the next book within arm’s reach so that she can find out what happens next.

Oct 132017
 

Cover for Jim Butcher's Wild Card, a Dresden Files graphic novel.DLMA congratulates Jim Butcher on winning two 2017 Dragon Awards!

Best Comic Book:
The Dresden Files: Dog Men, by Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Diego Galindo

Best Graphic Novel:
Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card, by Jim Butcher, Carlos Gomez

Oct 122017
 
Cover of The Sisters of the Crescent Empress by Leena Likitalo.Publishers Weekly: In Likitalo’s lovely sequel to The Five Daughters of the Moon, based on the last days of the Romanovs, the lyrical prose takes full advantage of the richness of Russian mythology and perfectly captures the enduring chill that surrounds the girls.
Oct 112017
 

Cover of The Stone in The Skull by Elizabeth Bear.RT Reviews: Bear skillfully weaves a brand-new saga into the landscape of her famed worlds from previous novels, hinting at the histories but not relying on them. The new stories and characters are fresh and captivating, from the young monarch with the creepiest drug addiction, to the elderly poet-warrior with the subversive skillset. There is little to critique here, though the romances can seem extraneous and unnecessary. The near-apocalyptic cliffhanger leaves the reader anxious for more. A definite must-read, and one to highlight in anticipation for the sequel.

The Gage and the Dead Man carry a message of great importance­ if only they can make it through the Steles of the Sky without being halted by weather, ice wyrms, or war. The recipient of their message, the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom, has received foreboding auguries from every corner of her domain, and new threats seem to approach every day. Can they come together and decipher the message before the auguries come to pass?