It’s time for new books! If you’re an avid reader who has been waiting anxiously for the release of an upcoming book, you know release day is Tuesday. And this Tuesday, May 7, was a BIG one. There were so many great science fiction and fantasy books that came out this week, I couldn’t focus on just one. So, here’s a round-up of several, including some reprints and books released as mass market editions, that I think deserve your time and energy.
Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
In the 11th installment of the New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves…
My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic. And a coyote shapeshifter. And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack. Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae. The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death. But we are pack, and we have given our word. We will die to keep it.
About the Author: Patricia Briggs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series (Silence Fallen, Fire Touched) and the Alpha and Omega novels (Burn Bright, Dead Heat). She lives in Washington state. Find her online at patriciabriggs.com and Twitter @mercys_garage.
Meghan’s Thoughts: Mercy Thompson is one of my favorite paranormal fantasy series. She’s a badass but also vulnerable. She’s a smart ass but also smart, most of the time. The series also weaves in the other paranormal species beautifully and sets up its own mythologies, including Mercy’s own history. We learn more with each installment about how the world works and about how Mercy’s own powers work. This entry doesn’t disappoint, especially as it begins to unravel some of the mysteries of witches and their powers while also continuing to forward the narrative about human interactions with the “other.”
Empire of Grass by Tad Williams
Set in Williams’ New York Times bestselling fantasy world, the second book of The Last King of Osten Ard returns to the trials of King Simon and Queen Miriamele as threats to their kingdom loom…
The kingdoms of Osten Ard have been at peace for decades, but now, the threat of a new war grows to nightmarish proportions. Simon and Miriamele, royal husband and wife, face danger from every side. Their allies in Hernystir have made a pact with the dreadful Queen of the Norns to allow her armies to cross into mortal lands. The ancient, powerful nation of Nabban is on the verge of bloody civil war, and the fierce nomads of the Thrithings grasslands have begun to mobilize, united by superstitious fervor and their age-old hatred of the city-dwellers. But as the countries and peoples of the High Ward bicker among themselves, battle, bloodshed, and dark magics threaten to pull civilizations to pieces. And over it all looms the mystery of the Witchwood Crown, the deadly puzzle that Simon, Miriamele, and their allies must solve if they wish to survive. But as the kingdoms of Osten Ard are torn apart by fear and greed, a few individuals will fight for their own lives and destinies—not yet aware that the survival of everything depends on them.
About the Author: Tad Williams is a fantasy superstar. His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. His considerable output of epic fantasy and epic science fiction series, fantastical stories of all kinds, urban fantasy novels, comics, scripts, etc., have strongly influenced a generation of writers. He lives in San Francisco, CA. Find him online at tadwilliams.com and on Twitter @tadwilliams.
Meghan’s Thoughts: This is an epic tale and not a light read. I never read the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn books, but I was drawn into the world with The Heart of What Was Lost. Empire of Grass begins with a recap of the events in The Witchwood Crown and then dives straight in. It’s a grand scope with a lot of characters with complex names, so give yourself some time to get into the story. Be patient and persevere and you will be richly rewarded. Keep in mind, that George RR Martin was influenced by Tad Williams (The Dragonbone Chair was released in 1988, almost a decade before A Game of Thrones).
Theater of Spies by S.M. Stirling
The second novel (after Black Chamber) in an alternate history series where Teddy Roosevelt is president once more right before WWI breaks out, and on his side is the Black Chamber, a secret spy network watching America’s back.
After foiling a German plot to devastate America’s coastal cities from Boston to Galveston, crack Black Chamber agent Luz O’Malley and budding technical genius Ciara Whelan go to California to recuperate. But their well-deserved rest is cut short by the discovery of a diabolical new weapon that could give the German Imperial Navy command of the North Sea. Luz and Ciara must go deep undercover and travel across a world at war, and live under false identities in Berlin itself to ferret out the project’s secrets. Close on their trail is the dangerous German agent codenamed Imperial Sword, who is determined to get his revenge, and a band of assault-rifle equipped stormtroopers, led by the murderously efficient killer Ernst Röhm. From knife-and-pistol duels on airships to the horrors of the poison-gas factories to harrowing marine battles in the North Sea, the fight continues–with a world as the prize.
About the Author: S. M. Stirling is the author of many science fiction and fantasy novels. A former lawyer and an amateur historian, he lives with his wife, Jan in Santa Fe, NM. Find him online at smstirling.com.
In addition to brand new releases, there were some great reprints released too. So if you missed the original release or you just wanted to wait until a smaller, lighter paperback came out, here’s some I think are worth picking up.
Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can’t-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.
Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be. Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up. Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try. For her child. For Atlanta. For the world.
About the Author: Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Together they are the coauthors of the #1 New York Times bestselling Kate Daniels urban fantasy series and the romantic urban fantasy novels of the Edge. They live in Austin, TX and can be found online at ilona-andrews.com and on Facebook.com/ilona.andrews / Twitter @ilona_andrews.
Meghan’s Thoughts: Despite already owning the hardcover, I bought a copy of the mass market (because it matches the earlier books that I own). While I love Mercy Thompson with all my heart, she is my second favorite paranormal fantasy superstar. Kate Daniels is the first. From start to finish, this series has captured my attention and my emotions. Magic Triumphs is the conclusion to an epic story. A story that I don’t want to see end but am willing to accept so Kate can have her happily ever after (for now). If you haven’t read this series, do yourself a favor and pick up the first book and then devour all the rest, so you can read this epic conclusion.
Electric Forest by Tanith Lee
Tanith Lee’s sci-fi classic of a woman’s quest for acceptance through the transfer of her consciousness to an artificial body.
In the futuristic world of Indigo, reproduction is controlled by the government, guaranteeing that every baby is happy, healthy, and beautiful. But mistakes happen, and a rare few babies are accidentally born biologically, like Magdala Cled. Because of her natural-born features, Magdala is an outcast in society–abandoned at birth, abused in the orphanage she grew up in, and branded with the cruel name “Ugly.” But Magdala’s world turns upside down when she’s approached by Claudio Loro, a wealthy scientist who has created a beautiful artificial body. When he offers to transfer Magdala’s consciousness into the body, she cannot refuse the priceless opportunity for a new, beautiful life. However, unbeknownst to her, Claudio has crafted her new body to resemble Christophine del Jan, his rival scientist and former lover. Now Magdala must impersonate Christophine to infiltrate high society, court Claudio’s advances, and decide whose side she is truly on–all while maintaining her real body lest it die…and she die with it.
About the Author: Tanith Lee was a legend in science fiction and fantasy, and the winner of multiple World Fantasy Awards, a British Fantasy Society Derleth Award, the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Acheivement in Horror. She passed away in 2015.
Do any of these new books (or new to you) strike your fancy? I want to know what you’re reading and what you’re most looking forward to reading. Tell me here in the comments or on Twitter.