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  • Joel Cunningham 7:00 pm on 2019/12/02 Permalink
    Tags: anyone, book launches, catherynne m. valente, charles soule, , dead astronauts, fortuna, , k.s. merbeth, kristyn merbeth, minecraft: the end, new and notable, , pablo hidalgo, , star wars: the rise of skywalker, wicked hour   

    December’s Fantastic New Releases in Science Fiction & Fantasy 

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    December brings a diffuse slate of new science fiction and fantasy releases, from a new space opera saga that will delight fans of Firefly to a deeply strange new novel by the author of the Nebula Award-winning Annihilation. Read on, and explore new worlds.

    Wicked Hour, by Chloe Neill
    Shifters and vampires come together in the second installment of Chloe Neill’s bestselling urban fantasy series the Heirs of Chicagoland. Elisa Sullivan—the only vampire ever born, not made—has been running from her true nature all her life, even as she was forced to embrace her supernatural abilities in order to keep the Windy City safe. But after saving Chicago from a terrible threat—with a little help from shapeshifter and potential romantic interest Connor Keene—Elisa is forced to confront her past: while attending a wedding between two members of the shifter Pack, held in the remote north woods of Minnesota, Elisa bears witness to a brutal killing, as the Pack whispers about monsters in the woods…

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker—The Visual Dictionary, by Pablo Hidalgo
    This is it: on December 20, the final chapter of the Skywalker saga arrives, and Star Wars will never be the same. Luckily, we’ve got one more beautiful, comprehensive Star Wars Visual Dictionary to soften the blow. This must-have companion to the film includes information on the new characters we’ll meet in the movie, a look into what the heroes of the Resistance have been up to since The Last Jedi, and detailed cross-sections of key vehicles that we’ll soon see blasting off on the big screen.

    Spear of the Emperor: Warhammer 40K, by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
    The latest entry in the sprawling novel series based on the popular role playing universe of Warhammer 40K, Spear of the Emperor opens in the waning days of the Emperor’s Spears, a group of warriors tasked with protecting Elara’s Veil nebula. The worlds accessed via the nebula were once protected by three Chapters of soldiers; two of them have already fallen to fate and treachery, putting countless lives at risk. Only the Emperor’s Spears still stand against the forces of the Outer Dark—but as a new conflict arises, even they may soon fall…

    Fortuna, by Kristyn Merbeth
    A gritty new space opera saga for Firefly fans begins in the first volume of a new sci-fi trilogy from Kristyn Merbeth (who previously published the Wastelanders series under the name K.S. Merbeth). Scorpia Kaiser has always lived in the shadow of her brother Corvus, and does nothing to distinguish herself when she takes over her mother’s galactic smuggling operation—and the controls of the cargo ship Fortuna—after Corvus leaves to go to war. After a botched smuggling run is made worse by her brother’s unexpected return from the front, Scorpia faces a new challenge related to revelations about her family’s dark past. This is an engaging start to a series that blends crime family drama with the sort of character-focused sci-fi that made Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series an award-winning favorite.

    Anyone, by Charles Soule
    Award-winning comics writer Charles Soule (Curse Words) returns to prose with a second novel every bit as fiendishly inventive as 2018’s The Oracle Year. While researching a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, scientist Gabrielle White inadvertently develops a procedure that allows for a consciousness to be transported into the body of another human. Twenty-five years later, “flash” technology has changed the world, and not necessarily for the better: it allows people to legally move their minds into other bodies for limited periods of time, a process overseen by a mega-corporation known as Anyone, resulting in benefits to commerce, entertainment, and the environment. But there’s a dark side to this strange future—a black market for illegal flash runs wild, the government regulations can only do so much, and not even Anyone can truly be trusted. As digital surveillance and ever-expanding social media infect our own world, the future of Soule’s dark imagination seems only too plausible.

    Minecraft: The End, by Catherynne M. Valente
    Yes, this one’s aimed at kids, but we figured you’d want to know about it: Hugo Award-nominated author Catherynne M. Valente (Space Opera) ventures into the world of the Minecraft video game for this middle grade adventure set in the End, the strange city on the far edges of the world. Endermen twins Fin and Mo have always lived there, exploring ancient ruins and dodging dragons, and they think they have life all figured out—until visitors from another dimension drop into their midst. These creatures, known as “humans,” plan to steal the End’s riches and slay its dragons, and only Fin and Mo can stop them.

    Dead Astronauts, by Jeff VanderMeer
    The creator of the Southern Reach trilogy—the inspiration for the film Annihilation—delivers an unclassifiable new novel set in the same world as his 2017 bestseller Borne, revealing the origins of the titular trio of doomed space explorers who appeared in the pages of that earlier book. The plot is diffuse—following by turns a space-faring blue fox, a demon-haunted homeless woman, three rebels fighting an omnipresent corporation, a prophet who wanders an endless desert, and a monster whose origins are a mystery even to himself—and the prose verges on the poetic; the end result is a reading experience like no other. This is a book you want to own in print: beneath the vivid dust jacket, there are words embossed directly into the cover; experimental typography and graphic elements demand to be absorbed on paper.

    Down Among the Dead, by K.B. Wagers
    Hail Bristol—a character we’ve previously dubbed “the fiercest princess this side of Westeros”—is back in the followup to There Before the Chaos, set in the same universe as the Indranan War trilogy. The explosive climax of the last book has left for dead almost everyone who mattered to Hail, who has been captured by fearsome enemy aliens the Shen. It seems the Shen want her help to defeat their own fearsome foes, and to try to convince her, they show her terrifying visions of a grim possible future. Torn between the pain she already feels and a future she fears, Hail’s only choice is to go down fighting—which is easier said than done. Wagers excels at balancing the high-stakes action with the tumultuous inner life of her protagonist, whose swaggering confidence has been cracked by terrible trauma.

    What new sci-fi & fantasy books are on your list this month?

    The post December’s Fantastic New Releases in Science Fiction & Fantasy appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Joel Cunningham 3:00 pm on 2019/11/25 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new and notable, , , , ,   

    The Season’s Can’t-Miss New Releases in YA 

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    Sci-fi and fantasy readers have much to be thankful for this holiday season, what with all the series continuations and conclusions headed their way, including Tomi Adeyemi’s eagerly awaited followup to Children of Blood and Bone, the final volumes of Neal Shusterman’s Arc of the Scythe series and Holly Black’s Folk of the Air, and more. Eslewhere on the list, you’ll find a fantasy debut loosely based on the tale of Anastasia; a murder mystery featuring a teen with cerebral palsy; and a Camelot-set fantasy starring a witchy Princess Guinevere.

    Children of Virtue and Vengeance, by Tomi Adeyemi
    Tomi Adeyemi stunned the world with Children of Blood and Bone, her hugely successful fantasy debut set in a world inspired by her West African heritage. At the close of that volume, its fearsome heroines Zélie and Amari succeeded in carrying out a powerful ritual that restored magic to the lands of Orïsha. But the spell had powerful consequences they never expected, returning magic not only to their people, the maji, but to all the power-hungry nobles with magic in their blood as well. Rather than lifting up those who were being subjugated, the ritual has only set the stage for a far deadlier conflict, as Zélie attempts to unite the maji and secure Amari’s place on the throne in the face of opposition from the military and the powers-that-be. The stakes or only higher, and the worldbuilding is only more imaginative, in this epic continuation of the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy. Available in a Barnes & Noble exclusive edition featuring an interview with the author and a double-sided poster.

    The Toll, by Neal Shusterman
    Fans of this bestselling series know that death isn’t always—or even often—final in the Arc of a Scythe universe, so here’s hoping Citra and Rowan survive long enough to weed out the corruption they discovered in books one and two. Set a few years after the events of Thunderhead, the conclusion of this sci-fi trilogy promises to keep readers riveted, as well as provide insight into Shusterman’s writing process: the B&N limited edition of The Toll includes exclusive chapter-by-chapter commentary from the author, providing background for characters and scenes and explanations of why he made specific decisions in writing this novel.

    The Queen of Nothing, by Holly Black
    The thrilling, final installment of Holly Black’s Folk of the Air trilogy finds Jude back in the mortal world, where she hasn’t lived since before her kidnapping at age seven. It’s a far cry from Jude’s life as Queen of Faerie, and Jude is not loving her exile. When her twin sister, Taryn, seeks her out in need of a favor, Jude finally gets the chance to confront Cardan and reclaim her power. Of course, there’s the small matter of a curse needing to be broken first.

    Girls of Storm and Shadow, by Natasha Ngan
    In the bestselling queer fantasy opener Girls of Paper and Fire, orphaned country girl Lei was chosen, along with seven other girls in the low-ranking Paper caste, to become a consort to the king. The most dangerous thing she could have done during her training was fall in love—especially with one of the other consorts, Wren. But once she slayed the Demon King and earned the nickname “the Moonchosen,” everything changed. Now, with a bounty on her head, Lei and Wren must convince the rebel clans scattered throughout the kingdom to join them in overthrowing the monarchy.

    Supernova, by Marissa Meyer
    In the first installment of the Renegades series, readers met Nova and Adrian, superheroes on opposite sides of the war between the publicly adored Renegades and the villainous Anarchists. While tackling questions of vengeance versus justice, and the responsibilities of those with special powers, fantasy expert Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles), added a complex love story to the mix. In Archenemies, Nova infiltrated the Renegades and stole Ace Anarchy’s helmet, while readers wondered if she and Adrian would ever uncover each other’s secret identities. As Nightmare and The Sentinel, they loathe each other, and Supernova begins with Nova’s reluctant return to her role as spy extraordinaire even as she wishes she could shout the truth about her alter ego.

    Blood Heir, by Amelie Wen Zhao
    Crown princess Anastacya Mikhailov spends her days behind the palace walls, keeping her blood magic a secret, because in the Cyrilian Empire, those with “unnatural” abilities are feared and reviled. When Ana’s emperor father is murdered, Ana is framed for the crime and becomes a hunted fugitive. The only person who may be able to clear her name is Ramson Quicktongue, a crime lord who is currently in prison—so step one is to break him out.

    I Have No Secrets, by Penny Joelson
    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter meets Pretty Little Liars in this original and compelling murder mystery featuring a teenage girl with cerebral palsy. 14-year-old Jemma is intelligent and insightful, but she cannot talk or move, so when a murderer confesses his crime to her, she has no way of alerting the authorities. However, with a new technology on the horizon, there’s a chance Jemma will be able to share the horrifying truth and prevent the killer from striking again.

    The Guinevere Deception, by Kiersten White
    If you love Arthurian legends, look no further than Kiersten White’s (And I Darken; The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein) latest reimagining for all your royal intrigue needs. Princess Guinevere is no ordinary young woman. In fact, she may not be a woman at all, but a changeling summoned by Merlin to wed King Arthur and keep him safe. Add some jousting, witchcraft, and the perfect amount of forbidden romance, and The Guinevere Deception is the start of a new series you don’t want to miss.

    Call Down the Hawk, by Maggie Stiefvater
    Although some characters—and love interests—were introduced in the Raven Cycle (Pynch! Pynch!) this fresh offering from Stiefvater can be read on its own. Ronan Lynch is a dreamer who can pull elements of dreams into his own version of reality. He wants nothing more than to visit his boyfriend, Adam, at college, but the lack of control he has over his abilities keep him sequestered on the family farm. Art thief Jordan can’t risk falling into REM sleep, and government operative Carmen is tasked with preventing a dreamer-instigated apocalypse. When the characters’ lives intersect, it makes for an addictive series opener.

    Winterwood, by Shea Ernshaw
    It’s common knowledge that the Walker women of Fir Haven are witches. Ostracized and living in a cabin in the Pacific Northwest, Nora Walker enjoys a special connection with the nearby forest, as explained via the family book of spells threaded throughout the narrative. When Oliver, a student from the local Wayward Boys’ school, goes missing it’s Nora who finds him two weeks later. How did he survive out there alone during a snowstorm? As she works to uncover Oliver’s secrets, Nora becomes convinced there is more to his story than meets the eye. Ernshaw’s sophomore effort will please newcomers as well as fans of his debut, The Wicked Deep.

    What new books are on your wishlist this holiday season?

    The post The Season’s Can’t-Miss New Releases in YA appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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