Monday, July 29, 2019

New Books Spotlight

Welcome to another edition of the New Books Spotlight, where each month or so we curate a selection of 6 forthcoming books we find notable, interesting, and intriguing. It gives us the opportunity to shine a brief spotlight on some stuff we're itching to get our hands on.

What are you looking forward to? Anything you want to argue with us about? Is there something we should consider spotlighting in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Brennan, Marie. Turning Darkness into Light, by Marie Brennan [Tor]

Publisher’s Description
As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.

When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.
Why We Want It: Turning Darkness Into Light is a follow up to Marie Brennan’s Hugo Award finalist Memoirs of Lady Trent series featuring the granddaughter of Isabella Camhurst and that’s really all that I need to know about it. I’m overdue to finish the Lady Trent novels, but Turning Darkness Into Light is a must read when I do.

DiLouie, Craig. Our War [Orbit]

Publisher’s Description
A prescient and gripping novel of a second American civil war, and the children caught in the conflict, forced to fight. 

Our children are our soldiers. 

After his impeachment, the president of the United States refuses to leave office, and the country erupts into a fractured and violent war. Orphaned by the fighting and looking for a home, 10-year-old Hannah Miller joins a citizen militia in a besieged Indianapolis.

In the Free Women militia, Hannah finds a makeshift family. They’ll teach her how to survive. They’ll give her hope. And they’ll show her how to use a gun.

Hannah’s older brother, Alex, is a soldier too. But he’s loyal to other side, and has found his place in a militant group of fighters who see themselves as the last bastion of their America. By following their orders, Alex will soon make the ultimate decision behind the trigger.

On the battlefields of America, Hannah and Alex will risk everything for their country, but in the end they’ll fight for the only cause that truly matters – each other.
Why We Want It: Our War is a novel painfully reflecting some of America’s greatest fears – that a President once impeached will refuse to leave office and America descends once again into a Civil War. It’s a story that could be ripped from the headlines of five minutes from now. While I hope Craig DiLouie’s novel is not prescient, it looks to be a searing near future worst case scenario of a novel that I both can’t wait as well as slightly dread reading.

Jones, Gwyneth. Joanna Russ [University of Illinois Press]

Publisher’s Description
The creative original who helped open the door to feminist SF 

Experimental, strange, and unabashedly feminist, Joanna Russ's groundbreaking science fiction grew out of a belief that the genre was ideal for expressing radical thought. Her essays and criticism, meanwhile, helped shape the field and still exercise a powerful influence in both SF and feminist literary studies.

Award-winning author and critic Gwyneth Jones offers a new appraisal of Russ's work and ideas. After years working in male-dominated SF, Russ emerged in the late 1960s with Alyx, the uber-capable can-do heroine at the heart of Picnic on Paradise and other popular stories and books. Soon, Russ's fearless embrace of gender politics and life as an out lesbian made her a target for male outrage while feminist classics like The Female Man and The Two of Them took SF in innovative new directions. Jones also delves into Russ's longtime work as a critic of figures as diverse as Lovecraft and Cather, her foundational place in feminist fandom, important essays like "Amor Vincit Foeminam," and her career in academia.
Why We Want It: Part of The University of Illinois Press’s Modern Masters of Science Fiction Series, Gwyneth Jones’ look into the life and the work of Joanna Russ is essential for readers looking to get a bit deeper into one of science fiction’s most notable and important writers. I read Paul Kincaid’s commentary on Iain Banks from the same series when it made the Related Work ballot last year, which brought the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series to my attention. This may well be the single volume of the series so far (though I’ll be looking forward to forthcoming works on Ursula K. Le Guin and Roger Zelazny as well)

Kuang, R.F. The Dragon Republic [Harper Voyageur]

Publisher’s Description
Rin’s story continues in this acclaimed sequel to The Poppy War—an epic fantasy combining the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters 

The war is over.

The war has just begun.

Three times throughout its history, Nikan has fought for its survival in the bloody Poppy Wars. Though the third battle has just ended, shaman and warrior Rin cannot forget the atrocity she committed to save her people. Now she is on the run from her guilt, the opium addiction that holds her like a vise, and the murderous commands of the fiery Phoenix—the vengeful god who has blessed Rin with her fearsome power.

Though she does not want to live, she refuses to die until she avenges the traitorous Empress who betrayed Rin’s homeland to its enemies. Rin’s only hope is to join forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who plots to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new republic.

But the Empress and the Dragon Warlord are not what they seem. The more Rin witnesses, the more she fears her love for Nikan will force her to use the Phoenix’s deadly power once more.

Because there is nothing Rin won’t sacrifice to save her country . . . and exact her vengeance.
Why We Want It: The Poppy War was a revelation. A debut novel and one of the best of 2018 (it was on my Hugo ballot and was my runner up for the best novel I read last year), the novel deserved every bit of praise it received. In a year filled with major releases from some of my favorite authors, not to mention a surprise sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Dragon Republic is one of the top two or three novels I’m looking for this year. The Poppy War was that good, and I have no doubt The Dragon Republic will live up to the promise of Kuang’s debut.

Modesitt, Jr., L.E. The Mage Fire War [Tor]

Publisher’s Description
L. E. Modesitt, Jr., continues his bestselling Saga of Recluce with The Mage-Fire War, the third book in a story arc which began with The Mongrel Mage and Outcasts of Order. 

Once again, prejudices against the use of chaos magic force Beltur and his companions to flee their refuge in Axalt. The rulers of nearby Montgren have offered them sanctuary and the opportunity to become the Councilors of the run-down and disintegrating town of Haven.

Montegren lacks any mages—white or black—making this seem like the perfect opportunity to start again.

However, Beltur and the others must reinstitute law and order, rebuild parts of the town, deal with brigands—and thwart an invading army.
Why We Want It: The Mage-Fire War is the 21st Recluce novel from L.E. Modesitt, Jr and the third to feature Beltur as a protagonist. If my math is correct, this is the first sequence to feature the same main character for three books. Otherwise, we’ve had a number of two book sequences. While offering few of the delights and discoveries of the earliest Recluce novels, the Beltur sequence has been solid fantasy fiction and Recluce is a series I will always come back to.

Moreno-Garcia, Silvia. Gods of Jade and Shadow [Del Rey]

Publisher’s Description
The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld. 
Why We Want It: Each of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s three previous novels have been stupendous and as different from each other as can be. It has come to the point that it doesn’t matter to me what the book is about as long as I know it was written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. With that said, a novel featuring the released spirit of the Mayan God of Death seeking help to get his throne back? Yeah, I’m there for that, too.

POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 3x Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan.