King of the Crags - Stephen Deas
A Memory of Flames, Book 2 - Deas returns to his dragon centric world with the gorgeously covered King of the Crags. If you haven't read the first volume, The Adamantine Palace, imagine a stirfry of flying reptiles, political intrigue, and legendary prophecy covered in treacherously dark chocolate sauce. (February 1 from Roc)
The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore - Benjamin Hale
Stand Alone Novel - This is one of the 2011 Debuts that I am most interested in. Now, I don't know a lot about the author but I do know that I rarely see a premise as intriguing (or as weird) as Mr. Hale's debut novel. Essentially, Bruno Littlemore is a fictional memoir written by the world's first chimpanzee to develop the capacity for speech. To make matters more bizarre, it's also a love story. (February 2 from Twelve)
Thirteen Years Later - Jasper Kent
The Danilov Quintet, Book 2 - It's 1825 and thirteen years (obviously) after the climactic events of Twelve, trouble has found Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov once again. For whatever reason, Russian history and blood-thirsty monsters seem to work well together - a fact that Jasper Kent takes full advantage of as he continues to expand the scope of his planned quintet. Kent is crafting an outstanding tale of epic proportion and I can't wait to see where this goes. (February 8 from Pyr)
The Heroes - Joe Abercrombie
Realm of The First Law, Book 5 - This is must read fantasy. Abercrombie's first trilogy challenged all preconceptions about what a fantasy trilogy should be. His follow up, Best Served Cold, returned to the same world with a vengeance, wreaking havoc on the idea of revenge. In his latest, Abercrombie takes on war itself, redefining what it really means to be a hero. While Abercrombie works within the boundaries instead of expanding them, his execution is flawless and I have never read a better action writer. Abercrombie is the reigning king of blood soaked fantasy - don't miss out. (February 7 from Orbit)
Desert of Souls - Howard A. Jones
Dabir and Asim, Book 1 - After years of Western European overload, don't be surprised to see other cultural elements creep into your fantasy novels. While I don't have the numbers to back it up, I would posit that manuscripts featuring Arabic and Islamic influences probably didn't sell like Twilight rip-offs over the last decade. But just because publishers weren't buying them doesn't mean they weren't being written. As irrational avoidance gives way to acceptance again, a lot of these overlooked books are going to reemerge. One such book is Howard A. Jones's Desert of Souls. The first in a series of novels further expanding Dunne's shorter work, Desert of Souls features a pair of 8th century Arabic adventurers as they attempt to determine the fate of a lost city said to be destroyed by God himself. Think Arabian Nights as written by Arthur Conan Doyle. (February 15 from Thomas Dunne)
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch
Peter Grant, Book 1 - Ben Aaronovitch has done something which I didn't think possible - replaced Joe Abercrombie. Not as the reigning king of fantasy mind you, but as the alphabetical alpha (or double alpha as the case may be) of the science fiction and fantasy department. As such, Aaronovitch will likely be the first name greeting hungry eyes in search of new books and I wouldn't be suprised if the former Doctor Who becomes a fast favorite, particularly for fans of Harry Dresden or Felix Castor. Peter Grant, Aaronovitch's protagonist appears to be a melding of the two, combining the paranormal police portion of Dresden with the British flair and necrocommunication skills of Castor. Midnight Riot was also just published in the UK as Rivers of London and will soon be followed up by a sequel, Moon Over Soho. (February 1 from Del Rey)
YetiStomper Pick Of The Month: Normally a hard decision, this month's pick is simple - The Heroes. I don't mean to take anything away from any of the other titles; Joe Abercrombie's fifth book is just that good, not to mention the fact that the chapter entitled "Casualties" is the Platonic Ideal of how to write an action sequence. With memorable characters, tight plotting, and more than the recommended daily dose of witty banter, The Heroes is flawlessly executed fantasy.
YetiStomper Debut Of The Month: Despite only picking six books this month, three are actually debut novels. While the alternate history and Arab inspiration behind The Desert of Souls is intriguing and I'm always a sucker for paranormal procedurals like Midnight Riot, the premise behind The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is simply to unique to pass up. Add in Hale's literary accolades and you have a debut that is hard to pass up.
YetiStomper Cover Of The Month: Cover art for genre fiction is all too often riddled with stereotypes. Cloaked warriors wielding swords against fantastic beasts. Spaceships streaking across a strangely hued planet. Whatever the hell Baen is trying to do. And then there are the dragons, king of all cliched cover creatures. But even as traditional as they are, it's hard to pass up a cover as well executed as that of King of the Crags. I love the blue tones, the detail of the dragons, and the clean lines of the text treatment. Who says you can't reach the target audience and still stand out from the pack?
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.