Sylvain Neuvel

Kat’s 2017 Most Anticipated Reads

It’s apparently the year of the sequel, at least for my anticipated reads. But three of my current favourite series are wrapping up this year and I’m very, very excited about that. I didn’t even come close to finishing my 2016 TBR list, but since the whole point of a TBR list is to keep adding more to it, here we go!

January Releases:

bearandnightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden

One of the few on my list that’s not part of a series, Arden’s debut novel draws heavily from Russian folklore, and is perfect blend of mythology, history, and magic, with fully realized characters and an incredibly well-captured setting. If you liked Uprooted, definitely read this one next. It’s a perfect winter read, although its Medieval Northern Russia Winter setting means that warm blankets and tea while reading this one are a must.

bintihome Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor

In this sequel to 2015’s Hugo and Nebula-award winning novella, Binti – who left home abruptly to attend an off-world university against her family’s wishes – now returns home with her unlikely friend Okwu, and humanity must truly face whether it’s possible for the two races to truly exist peacefully.

February:

conjuring A Conjuring of Light, by V.E. Schwab

This is the finale to Schwab’s brilliant trilogy (which includes A Darker Shade of Magic, and A Gathering of Shadows), where there are four separate worlds with four Londons. Each of the Londons have a different relationship with magic, but there is only one magician left who can travel between them. This chapter in the story promises to wrap up the trilogy in a pretty spectacular fashion, and I’m hoping we get to learn lots more about the fallen black London….

March:

collapsingempire The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi

I love John Scalzi, and not just for the twitter account he made for his kittens (@scamperbeasts), even though it’s adorable.  In his new book, humanity has gone to the stars and has colonizing many other planets, but only because of access to the Flow – a phenomenon that allows them to bypass faster-than-light travel (which doesn’t exist). But when it’s discovered that the Flow moves, and may soon cut humanity off from travel between its worlds, they must scramble to save their empire from collapse.

April:

wakinggods Waking Gods, by Sylvain Neuvel

This is the sequel to 2016’s Sleeping Giants, a sci-fi/conspiracy story of of a team of scientists and military personnel discovering and assembling a colossal robot, who’s parts were scattered all over the earth. The book was quickly optioned for a movie last year. In this follow-up it looks like the now-assembled robot has some company, and Earth may be facing invasion. If you like straight-forward sci-fi that still manages to balance plot and character development, this series is a great pick.

borneBorne, by Jeff VanderMeer

I never actually read VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, but I heard so many good things about it that I’m going to try his new one. It’s dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction about a world destroyed by bio-engineering run amok, and a scavenger who discovers a strange biotech creature which she immediately feels strong, inexplicable bond with.

June:

downamongthesticksDown Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire

This is the second book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series. The previous title, Every Heart a Doorway, was one of my favourite books from 2016, so I’m really excited for this one. It’s not really a direct sequel though; it follows the back-story of two of the most interesting characters from Every Heart, but promises to be much darker, as the world that sisters Jack and Jill found themselves was like a horror movie, filled with mad scientists, vampires, and death.

August:

wardedmanThe Core, by Peter V. Brett

This is the final installment of Brett’s Demon Cycle, which is so far one of my all-time favourite fantasy series. There’s no cover for this book yet, so I’ve posted the first book in the series – The Warded Man. In this last book – The Core – Arlen and Jardir travel down for the final face-off with the demons who have plagued (and decimated) humanity for so long. This series is exciting, fast-paced, featuring some great world-building and a really fascinating system of magic, so if you’re an “epic fantasy” fan I’d definitely recommend this one.

stoneskyThe Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin

The first in this trilogy – The Fifth Season – was brilliant, and the second opened up the world and characters even further, so I’m very excited for this concluding volume. In this last one, Essun’s daughter Nassun has fully come into her power, and now between the two they will either save or destroy the world.

 

 

September:

communication Communication Failure, by Joe Zieja

The first in this “Epic Failure” series, Mechanical Failure, was the funniest, most ridiculously silly book I’d read in a long time; while that can be a tricky thing to maintain in a series, I have high hopes for this one.  It’s a military sci-fi, which is not normally my favourite, but the snappy dialogue, ridiculous (but unfortunately not too far out of the range of realism…) characters, and unrelenting chaos and absurdity won me over and I can’t wait for more!

 

Of course I am continuing not to mention The Winds of Winter, The Doors of Stone, and The Thorne of Emberlain here because that’s asking way too much in a year already packed with sequelly goodness, but I can still keep my fingers crossed for at least an official publication date. What SF/FAN are you most looking forward to this year?

Happy Reading!
Kat

 

 

 

 

 

Beach Reads 2016

beachreadsYesterday afternoon I went down to Ambleside for my first beach read of the season… and it was glorious.  There’s something irresistible about the combination of sun, sand, sea, and book.  As rushedrushedrushed as life sometimes feels (especially as the kids’ school year winds to a close), I fully intend to take time to pass the time reading on the beach, and here are some of the books I intend to take with me:

What We Become* by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Max is a charming conman working as a ballroom dancer on an ocean liner when he meets Mecha, a married woman.  The two share a strong connection that lasts over decades.

girlsThe Girls by Emma Cline

I like the contrast of dark themes and sunny beach, and can’t wait to get my hands on this debut.  The New York Times raves, “Emma Cline’s first novel, “The Girls,” is a seductive and arresting coming-of-age story hinged on Charles Manson, told in sen­tences at times so finely wrought they could almost be worn as jewelry.”

sweetbitterSweetbitter by Stephanie Danler and The Assistants by Camille Perri

Call it new adult chick lit if you must; to me stories of young women discovering who they are and what they stand for (and hopefully making several interesting mistakes along the way) veritably screams, “Beach!”

sleepingSleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Taking a page from World War Z, Sleeping Giants takes the form of an oral history, in which an 11-year old girl falls through a hole in the earth and is found cupped in the palm of a giant mechanical hand.  This is the book that has been most recommended to me, and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in its mysteries.

voodooThe Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish

Above all else, I’m still a sucker for a good zombie story.  Kincaid is a 27-year old necromancer living in modern day Seattle and making a living channelling Kurt Cobain, when she finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery.

Have a great beach read you’d like to add to the list?  Please share in the comments below.  Happy Beach Reacing!

-Patricia

Kat’s Spring Picks 2016

 

Although it often doesn’t feel like it quite yet, we’re well into Spring… and I am not doing so well in my efforts to broaden my reading list to titles outside the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genre.  But what’s the point in a New Years’ resolution if you’re not going to bend it a bit?  And, I’ve included a few non-genre (or at least low/no-magic fantasy) titles here, and it’s really the effort that counts, right? …right?  Anyway, here are some of the titles that have kicked off my Spring reading list!

March

nestThe Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Sweeney’s debut novel focuses on four siblings who are very close to finally receiving the inheritance (“The Nest”) that has been put away for them. They are all depending on this money to solve a variety of problems in their lives, many of which they’ve brought upon themselves.  It’s a light but still moving dysfunctional family drama, exploring what money can do to us and our relationships.

 

adulthoodmythAdulthood is a Myth, by Sarah Andersen

And for something much more light-hearted, this is a collection of Sarah Anderson’s “Sarah’s Scribbles” comic,  exploring the theme of young adulthood and it’s expectations, disappointments, and challenges.  For those who have difficulty with the whole concept of being a grown-up (and I include myself there…), it’s thoroughly enjoyable and reassuring.

 

April

everyheart
Every Heart a Doorway
, by Seanan McGuire

This is novella plays on the familiar trope of children finding doorways to other worlds. However, it doesn’t focus on the other worlds themselves; it’s concerned with what happens to those children after they come home, and especially those children who can’t adapt to normal life again. If they’re lucky some of these children find their way to Miss Eleanore’s school, which hides from the parents its true purpose as a place for these children to be understood and helped through the transition, while being around others who have had similar experiences. It’s beautifully written, and McGuire really makes you feel the yearning of the children for their lost worlds. My only warning is that it’s short, and will leave you wanting more!

sleepinggiantSleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuvel

Told in oral history style through interview recordings and diary entries, Sleeping Giants is enjoyable, straightforward Sci-Fi. It’s premise is the discovery of a giant robot (whose body parts are scattered all over the world) and the team who assembles it.  However, it’s focus is equally on the characters themselves, and how they cope with the challenges – physical, mental, interpersonal, and political – of a discovery that will have massive repercussions for the entire world.

 

May

smoke

Smoke by Dan Vyleta

Smoke is set in Victorian-era London, where “sin” – whether it be actions or even just thoughts – is literally visible on a person, in the form of smoke emanating from the body. Upper class society is structured around making oneself as pious as possible, so you almost never display Smoke.  It’s a really interesting concept, and Vyleta’s world-building here is excellent. I especially liked the exploration of class structure here, as it related to the tolerance of Smoke.  Recommended for those who enjoy alternate-history fiction of the Victorian persuasion, with a little fantasy thrown in.

centralstationCentral Station by Lavie Tidhar

Tidhar was the 2012 World Fantasy Award Winner for Osama, and has been compared to classic Sci-Fi giants like Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut.  This novel is almost more of a collection of inter-related stories, and has been described as a blend of speculative fiction, family history, faith, racial and cultural tension, all meditating on what it means to be human. It’s a challenging but rewarding title.

 

Enjoy!

(and thank you to NetGalley for providing advanced readers’ copies!)