I think I’m in the minority when it comes to my idea of what summer reads should be. This is actually the time of year when I seem to want to start looking for some big epic books. Winter’s when I tend to need the lighter reads. It must have something to do with my aversion to heat and beaches… But I’ve tried for a mix this time around, so there’s certainly some lighter stuff in here. But it’s the big ones I’m really looking forward to.
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, by Paul Krueger*
Of course cocktails have a certain type of magic to them, but Krueger’s novel takes that much more literally, featuring bartenders whose cocktails pack an actual magical punch, allowing them to be the front line in humanity’s defense against demon incursions. Sounds silly? Ok, maybe. A bit. But it’s lots of fun. I particularly liked that each chapter featured a cocktail recipe with the magical, and often very funny, “history” of the drink and its ingredients. Very entertaining! (June)
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie M. Holmberg
Another on consumable magic, although this one is baked goods. The protagonist, Marie, is a baker who can infuse her confections with emotion, which then get passed on to whoever eats them. She’s also an amnesiac, and can only remember her own name. The story is of her journey, being captured and sold during a war, and of re-discovering some of her past, and the consequences of that past. There are some light elements to it, but it also delivers on the bitter and sweet promises from its title too. (June)
Age of Myth, by Michael J. Sullivan
One of my favourite fantasy themes is the interaction between the world’s Gods and mortals. Age of Myth is the first in a new series, and its premise begins with a god dying by human hands for the first time, and as a result, humanity is on the brink of annihilation. I haven’t read Sullivan before, but his previous series, The Riyria Chronicles gets great reviews, so I have high hopes for a new series I can obsess over. (June)
Barkskins, by Annie Proulx
I may have mentioned on a few occasions that I like big books, and while Barkskins isn’t a fantasy novel, it sounds like Annie Proulx’s long-awaited new title fits big book bill! Coming in at over 700 pages long, it begins with two penniless Frenchmen in New France, and then covers 300 years of their descendants as they each work to seize all of the resources they can get, leaving the modern-day generation to face the ecological consequences. I’ll forgive it for being historical fiction rather than fantasy on the grounds that it sounds pretty awesome. (June)
A Green and Ancient Light, by Frederic S. A. Durbin
While I keep hearing buzz about this book, I’m honestly having some trouble getting a solid description of its plot, other than it taking place during a war – apparently a parallel (world?) to WWII – and about a boy sent to live with his Grandmother. But it’s being praised with words like timeless, gorgeous, beautiful, and classic, and described as Fairy-tale like, and full of myth, and mystery. So even though I still don’t really know what it’s about, that’s just making me want to read it more! (June)
Penric’s Demon, by Lois McMaster Bujold.
Bujold’s The Paladin of Souls, second book in the World of the 5 Gods series and 2004 Hugo winner, was really the novel that re-kindled my love affair with Fantasy. I’ve always been intrigued by the systems of magic that fantasy authors create, and at that time I hadn’t come across one before used solely divine magic. Coupled with a middle-aged, female protagonist only recently recovered from a madness-inducing curse, and of course Bujold’s fantastic writing, I was hooked once again. So I’m just a *little* excited that she’s returning to that world with this novella (and another one in the works!), which takes place between the first and second books of the original series. (July)
A Natural History of Hell, by Jeffrey Ford
This is a collection of short stories, in a range of genres ranging through literary, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and mixed. While thematically the stories all explore wickedness, Kirkus reviews promises it still has a great mix of creepy-ness, humour, and heart-breaking poignancy. So as far as a summer read goes, it will fit the bill in terms of a short (or at least segmented) read, but only for those of you who still like a little darkness in the summer. (August)
… and now the one I’m waiting for with barely restrained impatience:
The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin
The sequel to my (tied for) #1 pick from 2015, The Fifth Season, this second installment in the Broken Earth trilogy picks up where the last one left off. In an Earth so regularly inflicted with natural disasters that its survivors have come to tell the seasons by whatever environmental catastrophe began them, it seems as if this latest event may trigger the end. While Essun continues to search for her missing daughter, she must also now contend with her world-destroying returned former mentor, who wishes to train her as his successor. I’m intrigued as to how (or whether) Jemisin will continue to pull off the three vastly different POV narrators in this book as she did in the first. (August)
Well, that should keep me busy all summer! What about you? What’s on your list?
* Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced read copy!
Happy summer reading, whether it be light or heavy!