It’s our first new release roundup of 2016, and what a week to kick things off! Let’s get right to it…
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens, by Alan Dean Foster
Doubtless you’ve already seen The Force Awakens (heck, judging by the box office, you’ve seen it two or three times), and you have lots of complex thoughts about it, not to mention burning questions. A few of them will be answered in the novelization, which expands upon the screenplay with a few deleted scenes and bits of extra detail. Foster, who was the first person save George Lucas to put pen to paper in the Star War universe, ghostwrote the novelization for the first film nearly 40 years ago.
The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools, by Nick Mamatas
Writer, editor, and general genre troublemaker Nick Mamatas returns with a new novel from Night Shade Books, and unsurprisingly, his take on the zombie apocalypse is anything but bog standard. Billy Kostopolis is a failed sci-fi writer and a drunk making his way in San Francisco the aftermath of an undead uprising, earning a living by drilling and draining the skulls of the infected. Despite his best efforts, homicidal girlfriends, reckless scientists, and a massive earthquake will force him to do his part to expose a conspiracy that will reveal what caused the end of America, and why San Francisco was able to survive (fora while, anyway).
Starbound, by Dave Bara
Bara’s second Lightship Chronicles book returns to the politically and militarily complicated universe of the Union, the First Empire, and naval officer (and heir apparent to the directorship of the planet Quantar) Peter Cochrane. Cochrane is initially satisfied, serving on the Starbound with his lover Dobrina Kierkopf and assigned to investigate an old imperial space station and make contact with a rediscovered planetary civilization. When the mission goes haywire, he is plunged into a morass of political intrigue, treason, and an epic military operation that will test his nerve, courage, and political acumen in ways he never imagined. Bara surprises at every turn, continuing to deepen his characters and universe, slowly revealing unexpected depth to the history of shattered human empires and the Union that seeks to succeed it.
Steal the Sky, by Megan O’Keefe
O’Keefe’s debut is a story of conmen, flying boats, and political intrigue, and the first volume of The Scorched Continent trilogy, which the publisher likens to “The Lies of Locke Lamora on giant sand dunes with exploding airships.” Dentan Honding and his partner Tibs are smooth-talking crooks on the run. Desperate to make themselves scarce before the local authorities do it for them, they hatch an elaborate plan to claim their biggest price yet—an airship belonging to Thratia, a powerful military commander-in-exile. But even as Dentan sets the scheme in motion, a shapeshifting killer begins targeting important members of government, allowing Thratia to make a move to reclaim power—and making the heist that much harder.
Drake, by Peter McLean
A gambler in debt to a demon, assassin Don Drake must do the devil’s dirty work if he has any hope of living free once again. But when he botches his last job, killing an innocent child in the process, he finds himself the subject to the wrath of all the Furies of Greek myth. Rescued by a fallen angel, Drake must team up with an arch demon and fight an evil sorcerer—not to mention Lucifer himself—to save his skin and narrowly avert the end of the world. Oh, and did we mention this all takes place is a grimy, modern-day magical London?
Only the Stones Survive, by Morgan Llywelyn
Morgan Llywelyn twists Irish history and myth into intricate knots in this inventive fantasy, set on an island blessed by gentle seasons and an unusual relationship with time. Seeking the paradise of legend, the Gaels arrive, seeking easy riches, and disrupt the lives of the native Túatha Dé Danann. Orphaned by the subsequent slaughter, islander Joss must unite and protect his people—and steer their destiny.
Midnight Taxi Tango, by Daniel José Older
The sequel to last year’s breakout urban fantasy hit Half-Resurrection Blues returns to a twisted version of Brooklyn haunted by things far worse than hipsters and skyrocketing rents. Half-dead ghost-hunter Carlos Delacruz is once again on the case for the Council of the Dead, and this time he’s tracking the source of a series of grisly supernatural accidents that have claimed the lives of not a few locals living around Von King Park. Meanwhile, Carlos’ friend Kia is being pulled ever-further into his weird orbit, whether she likes it or not.
City of Light: An Outcast Novel, by Keri Arthur
This series-starter by Keri Arthur imagines a rich science fantasy world where an epic war between humans and “shifters” (who can “shift” into animal forms) escalated to the point where doomsday weapons (including the believed-to-be-eradicated “déchet,” genetically engineered hybrid soldiers) opened rifts in reality that allowed “Others” to come into the world—wraiths, demons and the like who hunt in the shadows. In the present humans and shifters live an uneasy truce in cities of artificial light to keep the Others at bay, but when a déchet in hiding named Tiger rescues a little girl from a wraith in broad daylight, the rules change and things get complicated fast. The world-building is brisk, the mix of sci-fi and urban fantasy is seamless, and the story moves along at a pulse-pounding pace.
What are you reading this week?