Jul 272017
 

Cover of Swarm and Steel by Michael Fletcher.Publishers Weekly: Fletcher’s third novel set in his Manifest Delusions universe (after Beyond Redemption), a world where anything a person truly believes will become reality, is a tour de force of dark fantasy shot through with wonder and black humor….Fletcher’s twisty and continuously surprising plot piles spectacle upon spectacle in an amazingly ambitious structure, while his consistently three-dimensional characters lend depth and heart to the narrative.

Jul 262017
 

Cover of The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden.Tor.com: Spinning between the perspectives of multiple main characters, the seemingly divergent storylines of The Prey of Gods soon begin to intersect in unexpected and often delightful ways.

For all its wild subplots and deeper messages, the novel never collapses into (unintentional) camp or heavy-handedness, but underneath the propulsive action is a fleshed-out cast of living, breathing characters whose journeys are as vivid as their costumes.

The skill with which Drayden pulls off her fully realized world, bananas plot, and multivocal narrative is so impressive it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. And on top of her nearly supernatural ability to juggle something like thirty-seven balls at once, she’s also an inventive and delightful stylist with an eye for the novel metaphor and snappy turn of phrase.

Jul 252017
 

A landscape of frozen darkness punctuated by grim, gray days.
The feeling like a buzz in your teeth.
The scrape of bone on bone. . .

Paul Gallo saw the report on the news: a mass murderer leading police to his victims’ graves, in remote Dread’s Hand, Alaska.

It’s not even a town; more like the bad memory of a town. The same bit of wilderness where his twin brother went missing a year ago. As the bodies are exhumed, Paul travels to Alaska to get closure and put his grief to rest.

But the mystery is only beginning. What Paul finds are superstitious locals who talk of the devil stealing souls, and a line of wooden crosses to keep what’s in the woods from coming out. He finds no closure because no one can explain exactly what happened to Danny.

And the more he searches for answers, the more he finds himself becoming part of the mystery. . .

Jul 252017
 

Cover of The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo.The Crescent Empire teeters on the edge of a revolution, and the Five Daughters of the Moon are the ones to determine its future.

Alina, six, fears Gagargi Prataslav and his Great Thinking Machine. The gagargi claims that the machine can predict the future, but at a cost that no one seems to want to know.

Merile, eleven, cares only for her dogs, but she smells that something is afoul with the gagargi. By chance, she learns that the machine devours human souls for fuel, and yet no one believes her claim.

Sibilia, fifteen, has fallen in love for the first time in her life. She couldn’t care less about the unrests spreading through the countryside. Or the rumors about the gagargi and his machine.

Elise, sixteen, follows the captain of her heart to orphanages and workhouses. But soon she realizes that the unhappiness amongst her people runs much deeper that anyone could have ever predicted.

And Celestia, twenty-two, who will be the empress one day. Lately, she’s been drawn to the gagargi. But which one of them was the first to mention the idea of a coup?

Inspired by the 1917 Russian revolution and the last months of the Romanov sisters, The Five Daughters of the Moon is a beautifully crafted historical fantasy with elements of technology fuelled by evil magic.

Jul 252017
 

Cover of Kaira Rouda's BEST DAY EVER.Kirkus: A husband and father has a very, very special weekend planned for his wife in this creepy little chiller. Ohio couple Paul and Mia Strom are heading up to their lake house on the shores of Lake Erie for the perfect weekend, and Paul is determined to make it the best day ever. Their two young sons are with a babysitter, and Mia, who has been struggling with a mysterious illness, is feeling better. And why shouldn’t it be a perfect day? Paul and Mia have a perfect family, and Paul is the perfect husband (he even says so) and Mia, the perfect housewife. All is…well, perfect.

Or so Paul would have everyone think. After 10 years, the shine has worn off for Paul…Paul’s skeletons are falling out of the closet in droves, and Mia isn’t the wilting housewife he thought she was. The Stroms seems to have it all and are a king and queen of their suburban domain, but there’s a creeping rot underneath, and his name is Paul. Rouda’s (The Goodbye Year, 2016) choice to have Paul narrate is a compelling one…He laces his narrative with just enough snippets about his fraught childhood to give his warped pathology some psychological heft. The conclusion even leaves a little bit of uncertainty for readers to chew on. Darkly funny, scandalous, and utterly satisfying.

Jul 242017
 

Cover of The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo.Publishers Weekly: Likitalo’s lush debut, the first in a duology inspired by the Russian revolution and the story of the Romanov sisters, combines court intrigue, unnerving magic, and brewing revolution in a world powered by the souls of animals….A fantasy landscape both familiar and otherworldly comes to life in this absorbing, imaginative tale.

Jul 212017
 

Publishers Weekly: The beautiful fifth Raksura fantasy begins immediately after the events of The Edge of Worlds, tracing the various journeys of Moon, Jade, and the rest of the now-scattered Raksuran archaeological expedition as they seek to regroup, recover a lost weapon, and attempt to prevent worldwide genocide by their erstwhile allies. Having done the heavy lifting of characterization in earlier books in the series, Wells is able to focus here on exploring how the Raksura fit into the wider world, dealing with the prejudices that result from their previous isolation, their shape-shifting ability and other magic, and their biological connection to the predatory Fell. The Fell themselves give rise to some of the more intriguing social explorations, as more is revealed about the half-Fell/half-Raksurans who were raised among the predators. Wells’s worldbuilding strengths are on display, and she knows just what to explain and what to imply, making this volume accessible to newcomers as well as longtime readers.

Jul 192017
 

Cover of Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer.Publishers Weekly: Tanzer mixes Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray with queer romance and demonology in this subtle, beautiful Victorian-era fantasy novel….The perfectly depicted relationship between the sisters takes center stage in a complex (though never overplayed) web of art, swordplay, romance, and, much to the sisters’ surprise, actual demons. Gorgeously portrayed three-dimensional characters and sensual prose propel this smoothly entertaining story to an emotionally affecting end.

 

Jul 112017
 

The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.

Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.

Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?