Library Journal: Min is a supernatural creature, a fox spirit, with the ability to use fox-magic, called the Charm, to change her appearance and persuade others to do things. All her life, her mother has told her to avoid using the Charm, as foxes are mistrusted and looked down upon by the rest of society. When an investigator comes to their home inquiring after her brother Jun, who he claims has deserted from his place in the Space Forces, Min takes matters into her own hands and goes in search of him. Her travels take her from a gambling house run by a disowned relative to the ship where her brother was last stationed, the Pale Lightning. The more Min learns about her brother’s disappearance, the more she suspects foul play and all signs seem to be leading to the discovery of the Dragon Pearl, an ancient relic with great powers and value. The story’s climax features multiple surprises and betrayals, in a quick but unhurried pace. Lee skillfully weaves Korean folklore into this space opera narrative, creating dynamic and relatable characters. The ending is satisfying, tying up loose ends, but leaving room for a sequel. VERDICT With ghosts, pirates, and a rollicking space adventure, there’s a little something for everyone here. A recommended purchase for all middle grade collections.
DMLA congratulates its authors whose work made Publishers Weekly’s Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Books of 2018 list:
- Temper by Nicky Drayden
- The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
- Witchmark by C.L. Polk
Russian rights to NYT bestselling author Robert McCammon’s BOY’S LIFE, SWAN SONG, THE BORDER, THE LISTENER and SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD, to Azbooka-Atticus, in a five-book deal, by Igor Korzhenevski at Alexander Korzhenevski Agency on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Cameron McClure.
Hungarian rights to Brent Weeks’s THE BLOOD MIRROR and THE BLACK PRISM renewal rights, to Konyvmolykepzo, by Milena Kaplarevic at Prava I Prevodi on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Donald Maass.
Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s ALWAYS NEVER YOURS, to Planeta Mexico, for world Spanish rights, by Amaiur Fernandez at International Editors’ on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier.
Korean rights to Martha Wells’ Nebula and Hugo Award-winning ALL SYSTEMS RED (Book 1 of The Murderbot Diaries series), to Alma Publishing Co., by Jackie Yang at the Eric Yang Agency in association with Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.
Her world was shattered by the Empire of Masks.
For the power to shatter the Masquerade,
She betrayed everyone she loved.
The traitor Baru Cormorant is now the cryptarch Agonist—a secret lord of the empire she’s vowed to destroy.
Hunted by a mutinous admiral, haunted by the wound which has split her mind in two, Baru leads her dearest foes on an expedition for the secret of immortality. It’s her chance to trigger a war that will consume the Masquerade.
But Baru’s heart is broken, and she fears she can no longer tell justice from revenge…or her own desires from the will of the man who remade her.
Tor.com: This is a fast, fun, and funny novella that, at its heart, is about personhood, independence, and selfhood: about autonomy, trust, and kindness, as well as anxiety, frustration, and anger. At its heart, Exit Strategy is a kind story, and a hopeful one. I deeply enjoyed it. I heartily recommend the entire Murderbot Diaries series.
Exit Strategy, the fourth novella in The Murderbot Diaries, hits the USA Today Bestseller list!
Martha Wells’s Hugo, Nebula, Alex, and Locus Award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, The Murderbot Diaries, comes to a thrilling conclusion in Exit Strategy.
Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right?
Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.
But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?
And what will become of it when it’s caught?
Hugo Award winning author Elizabeth Bear’s THE BEST OF ELIZABETH BEAR, a mega-collection of the author’s short works, to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press by Jennifer Jackson.
Booklist: Min is shocked to hear her brother, Jun, has deserted the Space Force in search of the legendary Dragon Pearl. Eager to prove his innocence, she sets out to find him, and to do so, she’ll need to use her family’s ancestral magic—they’re shape-shifting fox spirits who have preternatural charm—a skill that has not endeared them to others.
Along the way, Min outthinks pesky space security, earns money at a gambling den, survives a laser fight with mercenaries, impersonates a dead cadet, and breaks a planet-wide quarantine of the Fourth Colony to rid it of its vengeful ghostly inhabitants. Luckily, she has some new friends on her side, Haneul, a female dragon, and Sujun, a nonbinary goblin.
Lee’s written a unique space opera infused with elements of traditional Korean mythology. Not only are Lee’s characters refreshingly diverse both in race and gender identity, but the mythology mixed with sf means there is something for many readers to enjoy. Billed as a stand-alone, this is ideal for readers who want fantasy epics without the commitment to multivolume stories.
B&N SFF Blog: With The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Dickinson showed an impressive talent for executing an epic fantasy rich in worldbuilding, complex in character, and brutally exacting in its clockwork plotting.
Baru Cormorant rose off the page as one of the most flawed, fascinating characters to come out of fantasy in a long time, her incandescent rage and patient desire for revenge but a few of her visceral qualities. In the first book, she survived the destruction of her culture and death of her loved ones at the hands of the Empire of Masks and feigned obedience in order to rise within its ranks and orchestrate its epic downfall from the inside. As The Monster Baru Cormorant opens, she finds herself, finally, a powerful member of the empire she’s vowed to destroy, yet psychically damaged by the effort it took to get there, to the point that she can no longer trust her own motivations.
With this second of a planned four-volume epic, Dickinson has done something incredible by deepening our understanding of a fabulously complex, compelling character.
Locus Magazine: This time she goes full creepy with a haunted house story set in New Orleans that also manages to throw in a hefty dose of the history of comic books and some thoughtful consideration of the issue of gentrification. Combined with Tara O’Connor’s illustrations, The Agony House blends ghostly visitations with classic mystery solving and serious social commentary to give readers a smart and surprisingly topical read.
Kudos to Priest for crafting a supernatural mystery that blends classic crime-solving with a thoroughly modern sensibility. The inclusion of sections with the actual pages from the Lucinda Might comic book, courtesy Tara O’Connor’s outstanding illustrations, was also a brilliant decision. The Agony House is a fast-paced read that tackles significant social issues while never deviating from its horror roots.
This is how you give perceptive readers a good time: you don’t write down to them, you dish out the thrills and chills in a narrative that also makes some insightful assessment of how we live along the way. We need more of this in MG and YA fantasy, much much more.