On The Shelves

Portals edited by Patrica Bray and S. C. Butler, with stories by Ian Tregillis and others. (Zombies Need Brains, June 2019) 

The lure of an open doorway is hard to resist. What lies beyond? Where will it take you—and how will you be transformed? Will it lead to paradise…or a living hell? You’ll never know, unless you have the courage to take that first step.

In this anthology you will find sixteen stories of portals to exotic destinations, whether it’s a doorway in the desert that appears out of thin air, a fairy ring of mushrooms in the backyard, a crack in the road, or a train headed straight to Hell. Science fiction and fantasy authors Nancy Holzner, Esther Friesner, Ian Tregillis, Jacey Bedford, John Linwood Grant, Kate Hall, Gini Koch, Violette Malan, Juliet Kemp, James Enge, Steven Harper, F. Brett Cox, Jaime Lee Moyer, Jason Palmatier, Andrija Popovic, and Patrick Hurley invite you to step through a host of doorways to other realities with infinite possibilities, some horrible, some comic, and some just plain weird.

So take my hand—not too tight!—and let’s journey into another world. The door is open. The portal awaits.

On The Shelves

The Fire Opal Mechanism by Fran Wilde (Tor.com June, 2019) 

Jewels and their lapidaries and have all but passed into myth.

Jorit, broke and branded a thief, just wants to escape the Far Reaches for something better. Ania, a rumpled librarian, is trying to protect her books from the Pressmen, who value knowledge but none of the humanity that generates it.When they stumble upon a mysterious clock powered by an ancient jewel, they may discover secrets in the past that will change the future forever.

On The Shelves

The Red Stained Wings: Lotus Kingdoms, Book 2 by Elizabeth Bear (Tor Books May, 2019)  

Hugo Award–winning author Elizabeth Bear returns to the epic fantasy world of the Lotus Kingdoms with The Red-Stained Wings, the sequel to The Stone in the Skull, taking the Gage into desert lands under a deadly sky to answer the riddle of the Stone in the Skull.

The Gage and the Dead Man brought a message from the greatest wizard of Messaline to the ruling queen of Sarathai, one of the Lotus Kingdoms. But the message was a riddle, and the Lotus Kingdoms are at war.

Shadowblade by Anna Kashina (Angry Robot May, 2019)

A young sword prodigy must impersonate a lost princess and throw her life into a deadly political game, in this kinetic epic fantasy novel by the author of the award-winning Majat Code series

Naia dreams of becoming a Jaihar Blademaster, but after assaulting a teacher, her future seems ruined. The timely intervention of a powerful stranger suddenly elevates her into elite Upper Grounds training. She has no idea that the stranger is Dal Gassan, head of the Daljeer Circle. Seventeen years ago he witnessed the massacre of Challimar’s court and rescued its sole survivor, a baby girl. Gassan plans to thrust a blade into the machinations of imperial succession: Naia. Disguised as the legendary Princess Xarimet of Challimar, Naia must challenge the imperial family, and win. Naia is no princess, but with her desert-kissed eyes and sword skills she might be close enough…

On The Shelves

Riverland by Fran Wilde (Amulet Press April, 2019) 

When things go bad at home, sisters Eleanor and Mike hide in a secret place under Eleanor’s bed, telling monster stories. Often, it seems those stories and their mother’s house magic are all that keep them safe from both busybodies and their dad’s temper. But when their father breaks a family heirloom, a glass witch ball, a river suddenly appears beneath the bed, and Eleanor and Mike fall into a world where dreams are born, nightmares struggle to break into the real world, and secrets have big consequences. Full of both adventure and heart, Riverland is a story about the bond between two sisters and how they must make their own magic to protect each other and save the ones they love.

On The Shelves

Ancestral Night (White Space) by Elizabeth Bear (Saga Press March, 2019)

A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.

Halmey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz are salvage operators, living just on the inside of the law…usually. Theirs is the perilous and marginal existence—with barely enough chance of striking it fantastically big—just once—to keep them coming back for more. They pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human and alien vessels. But when they make a shocking discovery about an alien species that has been long thought dead, it may be the thing that could tip the perilous peace mankind has found into full-out war.

A Veil of Spears (Song of Shattered Sands) by Bradley P. Beaulieu (DAW March, 2019) 

Since the Night of Endless Swords, a bloody battle the Kings of Sharakhai narrowly won, the kings have been hounding the rebels known as the Moonless Host. Many have been forced to flee the city, including Çeda, who discovers that the King of Sloth is raising his army to challenge the other kings’ rule.When Çeda finds the remaining members of the Moonless Host, now known as the thirteenth tribe, she sees a tenuous existence. Çeda hatches a plan to return to Sharakhai and free the asirim, the kings’ powerful, immortal slaves. The kings, however, have sent their greatest tactician, the King of Swords, to bring Çeda to justice for her crimes.

But the once-unified front of the kings is crumbling. The surviving kings vie quietly against one another, maneuvering for control over Sharakhai. Çeda hopes to use that to her advantage, but whom to trust? Any of them might betray her. As Çeda works to lift the shackles from the asirim and save the thirteenth tribe, the kings of Sharakhai, the scheming queen of Qaimir, the ruthless blood mage, Hamzakiir, and King of Swords all prepare for a grand clash that may decide the fate of all.

 Dragonfell by Sarah Prineas (Harper Collins March, 2019) 

Rafi Bywater is unlike anyone else. The people in his village don’t trust him because he spends too much time in an abandoned dragon lair. When a stranger, Mister Flitch, accuses Rafi of being “dragon-touched,” Rafi sets off to discover the truth about dragons—and about himself.

On his journey, Rafi befriends a brilliant scientist, Maud, who has secrets of her own. Together they search for dragons while escaping from a dangerous dragon hunter, engaging in a steam-engine car chase, and figuring out what Mister Flitch really wants with Rafi. And, oh yes, they do find the dragons.

Sarah Prineas delivers a sweeping adventure filled with glorious dragons of all kinds!

On The Shelves

Where Oblivion Lives (Los Nefilim) by T. Frohock (Harper Voyager February 2019)

A lyrical historical fantasy adventure, set in 1932 Spain and Germany, that brings to life the world of the novellas collected in Los Nefilim: Spanish Nephilim battling daimons in a supernatural war to save humankind.

Born of daimon and angel, Diago Alvarez is a being unlike all others. The embodiment of dark and light, he has witnessed the good and the horror of this world and those beyond. In the supernatural war between angels and daimons that will determine humankind’s future, Diago has chosen Los Nefilim, the sons and daughters of angels who possess the power to harness music and light. As the forces of evil gather, Diago must locate the Key, the special chord that will unite the nefilim’s voices, giving them the power to avert the coming civil war between the Republicans and Franco’s Nationalists. Finding the Key will save Spain from plunging into darkness.

And for Diago, it will resurrect the anguish caused by a tragedy he experienced in a past life.But someone—or something—is determined to stop Diago in his quest and will use his history to destroy him and the nefilim. Hearing his stolen Stradivarius played through the night, Diago is tormented by nightmares about his past life. Each incarnation strengthens the ties shared by the nefilim, whether those bonds are of love or hate . . . or even betrayal. To retrieve the violin, Diago must journey into enemy territory . . . and face an old nemesis and a fallen angel bent on revenge.

On The Shelves

How Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories by N. K. Jemisin  (Orbit November, 2018)

N. K. Jemisin is one of the most powerful and acclaimed speculative fiction authors of our time. In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, Jemisin equally challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption.
 Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story “The City Born Great,” a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’s soul.

On The Shelves

The Adventurer’s Guide to Treasure (and How to Steal It) by Wade Albert White (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers November 2018) 

At Saint Lupin’s Quest Academy Completely Ordinary School Where Nothing Bizarre Ever Happens Most Especially Not Illegal Quests That Destroy Famous Landmarks, students are not taught about pirates. They’re not taught how to identify them, how to befriend them, or even how to fight them. This leaves the school completely open to pirate invasion, which, on the first day of classes, is exactly what happens. When a pirate captain and her crew attack to steal an ancient Prophecy Medallion, Anne, Penelope, and Hiro are caught up in yet another adventure. After accidentally activating a quest, Anne and her friends have no choice but to complete the task and deliver the medallion to the supreme pirate ruler, Octo-Horse-Pirate. But the quest and the medallion are not what they seem, and Octo-Horse-Pirate is more than just a simple rogue. To complete the quest, Anne will have to journey back into her own secretive past and discover the truth about who–and what– she really is. And, just maybe, save the whole world in the process.

Filled to the brim with heart-pounding action, miniature dragons, robot clones, and (sometimes friendly) pirates, The Adventurer’s Guide to Treasure (and How to Steal It) is a laugh-out-loud, fast-paced adventure that will leave readers breathless.

On The Shelves

In The Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Bodard (JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.October 2018)

In a ruined, devastated world, where the earth is poisoned and beings of nightmares roam the land…A woman, betrayed, terrified, sold into indenture to pay her village’s debts and struggling to survive in a spirit world. A dragon, among the last of her kind, cold and aloof but desperately trying to make a difference.

When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn’s amusement.

But Vu Côn, it turns out, has a use for Yên: she needs a scholar to tutor her two unruly children. She takes Yên back to her home, a vast, vertiginous palace-prison where every door can lead to death. Vu Côn seems stern and unbending, but as the days pass Yên comes to see her kinder and caring side. She finds herself dangerously attracted to the dragon who is her master and jailer. In the end, Yên will have to decide where her own happiness lies—and whether it will survive the revelation of Vu Côn’s dark, unspeakable secrets…

On The Shelves

The Cobbler’s Boy by Elizabeth Bear and Katherine Addison

Brilliant, bookish Christopher Marlowe is fifteen years old and desperate to qualify for a scholarship to the King’s School in order to escape his brutal father.

But the only man who could have helped him has been murdered… and now the killers are looking for Kit.