March 8 is some kind of holiday for urban fantasy fans, with new books from Patricia Briggs and Anne Bishop dropping on the same day. Plus, more epic fantasy and star-spanning space opera, plus a long-awaited short story collection from a master of the form.
Fire Touched, by Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson returns in her ninth adventure, as tensions between the Fey, on their voluntary reservations, and the human world continue to rise. When a troll escapes the Walla Walla reservation, coyote shifter Mercy, her werewolf husband Adam, and the rest of the pack meet changeling Aiden in the fight. Aiden, imprisoned by the Fey for years, falls under the protection of the pack, putting Mercy at odds with, well, just about everyone. Along the way, several intriguing developments set up what will no doubt be major events in future books, making this that rare novel that satisfies in the moment while expertly whetting your appetite for future stories.
Forest of Memory, by Mary Robinette Kowal
The author of the Regency-era fantasy series The Glamourist Histories returns with a slim, intriguing sci-fi novella that explores the an ambiguous future in which technology is omnipresent…and not everyone is happy about it. Lost in the woods, cut off from her network, one woman is forced to come to terms with the fact that, like it or not, humanity will always be a part of nature. It’s a quick read that will lodge in your (still analogue) memory.
Marked In Flesh, by Anne Bishop
Bishop’s fourth entry in the complex Others universe sees things getting increasingly tense between humanity and the Others, even as the latter’s alliance with the human blood prophets led by Meg Corbyn promises a brighter future for both. Treaties start to unravel when the radical group Humans First and Last steps up attacks on the Others—but their brutal efforts begin to wake forces more powerful and more ancient than the shape-shifters and vampires, putting both humanity and the Others in danger, one Meg’s power of prophecy may not be able to neutralize in time. Bishop brings a wealth of rich detail to her universe, taking cues from today’s headlines and using them to create a fictional setting that feels all too real.
The Spider’s War, by Daniel Abraham
Daniel Abraham, who has been quite busy of late as one-half of pseudonymous smash sci-fi author James S.A. Corey, still managed to find time to cap off his second epic fantasy series, following the critically adored Long Price Quartet. Book five of The Dagger and the Coin brings to a close the tale of Geder Palliako, a horrible despot only more fearsome for his mundanity, and those aligned against him: weathered sellsword Marcus Wester, banking prodigy Cithrin bel Sarcour, resolute widow Clara, and the apostate Master Kit. As dangerous as he is, Geder is but an agent of the ultimate evil: the Spider God, awakened, and seeking to tighten its web around the world.
The Cold Between, by Elizabeth Bonesteel
The start of a thrill-packed new SF saga, Bonesteel’s debut is an inventive blend of military SF, space opera grandeur, and a good old-fashioned mystery. When a crewmate of Central Corps engineer Elena Shaw is murdered, she must spring into action to defend the man accused of the crime—mostly because she was very close to him at the time in question (very close). As she searches for the real culprit, Shaw uncovers a conspiracy stretching back decades, to the destruction of a military vessel in orbit around a distant human colony world. Well-rounded, kickass characters and a crackerjack conspiracy plot mark this series as one to watch.
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, by Ken Liu
Over the course of a decade, Ken Liu has earned a reputation as a master of the SF/F short fiction, penning over 100 stories and earning a shelf full of awards for his trouble. Now that he’s dabbling in novel writing (at which he is no slouch either—The Grace of Kings was among our picks for the best books of 2015), we’re finally getting the first anthology of his work. It’s a carefully curated selection of both his award-winning stories and a few personal favorites, plus one new tale exclusive to this volume.
What new books are you reading this week?