Happy New Year! Time to ring in a brand new year with some brand new books. Here is what I'm recommending for January.
Bloodshot - Cherie Priest
The Chesire Red Reports, Book 1 - Call it paranormal romance, call it urban fantasy. Whatever you call it, Cherie Priest hasn't written it before. Bloodshot is the first book in a planned series from Priest who is better known for her fantastic Clockwork Century Steampunk novels. Bloodshot stars Rayene Pendle, a vampire/thief who is tasked with finding some missing government files. Sounds straightforward right? I steer clear of most Urban Fantasy but their are just some authors who can make anything work. Priest is one of those authors. (January 25 from Spectra)
Harbinger of the Storm - Aliette de Bodard
Obsidian & Blood Trilogy, Book 2 - Only a few months after de Bodard's debut finally arrived in the US, she returns with the follow-up. Harbinger of the Storm will be out in early January in the UK and late January (maybe early Feb) in the US. Set in a 15th century Central America where the Aztecs reign, this is fantasy for anyone tired of bad medieval Europe rip-offs. (January 25 from Angry Robot)
Brave New Worlds - John Joseph Adams
Short Fiction Anthology - Are there several John Joseph Adams(es)? It seems like he's got a new anthology coming every month. He continues his series of excellent hybrids with Brave New World, an compilation of dystopic science fiction. Like all of Adams's collections, Brave New Worlds is a combination of classic reprints from genre greats and original stories from some of the top new writing talent. Check out the full table of contents and some samples at the dedicated website. (January 25 from Night Shade Books)
Cowboy Angels - Paul McAuley
Stand Alone Novel - Pyr continues their Paul McAuley import business with Cowboy Angels. An America has discovered the ability to access alternate universes. With it, they infiltrate worlds with different histories, "fixing" other Americas and bringing them into an unified multiversal empire. But does Manifest Destiny extend across realities? It's a premise I can hardly describe but one I wish I had thought of first. Maybe in some version of reality, I did... (January 18 from Pyr)
Zoo City - Lauren Beukes
Stand Alone Novel - Speaking of authors I wish I could steal from, Beukes is back with her sophomore effort. I loved her debut novel, Moxyland, and with Zoo City, she proves it wasn't an accident. Beukes's (why do all authors' names end in s?) speculation has a depth to it that makes it feel real. The story moves naturally through the world rather than coming across as a shallow construct. In Zoo City, Beukes combines African spammers, the music industry, tabloid journalism, magic powers, guilt animals, murder mysteries, and just about anything you can think of. It's crazy and crazy good. (December 28 from Angry Robot)
The Warlord's Legacy - Ari Marmell
Corvis Rebaine, Book 2 - Marmell continues his inventive fantasy series with The Warlord's Legacy. Corvis Rebaine quit the world domination game after the death of his family. Now he has to live with the sins of his past. Or try to anyway - they just won't seem to leave him alone. In terms of innovative protagonists, using The Dark Lord himself is about as anti-hero as you can get. Plus, there is a rather
Among Others - Jo Walton
Stand Alone - I've heard nothing but good things about the latest novel from the World Fantasy Award winning Walton. Part coming of age fantasy, part love letter to the genre, Among Others is a book that should speak to the heart of any bibliophile. (January 18 from Tor)
Knight Errant - John Jackson Miller
Stand Alone Star Wars Novel, The Old Republic Era - If you've read the Knight of the Old Republic comic books (which wrapped up with Issue #50 last spring), you know that John Jackson Miller has the ability to recapture the magic of the original Star Wars trilogy. If you've seen the Prequel Trilogy, you know that's not as easy as it should be. Lucas and Co. are gearing up for the launch of the new MMORPG, The Old Republic, with a bevy of new titles intended to flesh out the state of galaxy a millennium before Luke faced his father. Miller will provide both a novel and comic series under the Knight Errant title. Knight Errant stars Kerra Holt, a young Jedi trying to find her place in a galaxy at war. The fact that Miller is writing both (a first for the Star Wars universe) suggests the faith that LucasBooks has in his abilities. (January 25 from Del Rey / LucasBooks)
The Lost Gate - Orson Scott Card
Mither Mages, Book 1 - Orson Scott Card returns to fantasy with The Lost Gate! Card writes young protagonists well so it will be interesting to see what he does with Danny North as he discovers his ability to open gateways into strange worlds. I haven't had the opportunity to read The Lost Gate yet but a few early reviews have been cautiously optimistic about Card's new series. (January 4 from Tor)
YetiStomper Pick Of The Month: Normally I would be all over a new Orson Scott Card book. However, after phoning in his last few books with converted movie scripts (Invasive Procedures) and video game tie-ins (Empire, Hidden Empire), The Last Gate doesn't have me quite as excited as I once would have been. Instead, my pick goes to Lauren Beukes's Zoo City. I was fortunate enough to read Zoo City after it came out in the UK last year and Beukes avoided the sophomore slump in spectacular fashion. Like Moxyland, Zoo City is a whirlwind of ideas that somehow works. Realistic but likable characters, deep and engaging setting, and a driving plot with an ending you won't see coming - Zoo City has it all. Beukes has cemented her place on my list of must-read authors.
YetiStomper Debut Of The Month: Based on how much I enjoyed the original Knights of the Old Republic comic series, I can help but be excited for John Jackson Miller's return to the Star Wars universe with Knight Errant. Miller gets "Star Wars" in a way that few authors do and he has never had a problem capturing the mixture of adventure, humor, and action that made the Original Trilogy into the phenomena it is today. Miller does a great job of foreshadowing and weaves characters in and out of tight situations so I expect big things given an entire novel's worth of prose to work with. I wouldn't be surprised to see more novels from Miller in the future.
YetiStomper Cover Of The Month: Another toughie. I like the stylistic approach of Brave New Worlds (although does anyone else see the innuendo?). I'm also strangely drawn to The Warlord's Legacy although I can probably guess why. But the real winners this month are Pyr's cover to Cowboy Angels (Sparth) and the UK cover (John Picacio?) to Zoo City. I really can't decide between the two. Tiebreak goes to my graphic designer/photographer wife, who picks Zoo City. I can't complain with that decision. It's unique, eye catching, and begs for a closer examination, like any good book cover should.
Anyway, as always, if you are interested in more details regarding any of the above books, just click on through the Amazon links. I'm more interested in telling you why I recommended them rather than simply what the books are about. Let me know if there is anything I may have missed in the comments. I'm guessing there is something I'm forgetting with only two books on the radar.
You can view previous installments of YetiStomper Picks here.