Last year there were a jillion books I was anticipating. This year, it seems I’m a little out of the game. Oh, I can give you a month-by-month breakdown of which Strange Chemistry title is out when, but regarding the rest of what’s out there, I’m a little uneducated this time. Still, there are titles that I am anticipating eagerly, even if just to put physical copies of books I received and read as eARCS proudly on the shelf.
Again, in reverse order, because that’s how I roll.
10 – Drakenfeld, Mark Charan Newton
Following what I found to be a disappointing and underwhelming climax to the Legends of the Red Sun series, I am tentatively anticipating the release of what will be the first book of a brand new series. Everything I’ve heard fills me with the hope that Newton will make a return to the excellent prose of earlier Legends instalments, whilst pushing towards a new ethos and idea that might just move away from the grittier aspects of fantasy, and veer in a lighter, brighter direction that focusses more on character than setting and story. Eager to read this one and for Newton to creep back up my list of favourite writers.
The front cover says a lot… At once it screams “sky pirates!”, “steampunk!”, “airshippunk?” and a million things besides. Needless to say, it looks good. Yes, it’s yet another female protagonist in another YA novel (male protagonists do exist…you just have to look a hell of a lot deeper and wider to find them) but it looks amazing. I expect Emilie to be a daring, exciting and stubborn protagonist and her story is definitely going to be something unlike what I’ve ever read before… Suffice it to say, I am looking forwards to it.
8 - Chosen: An Alex Verus Novel, Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus #4)
The first of the Alex Verus series, Fated, really captured my imagination. Following that, I was grossly disappointed by the second book, Cursed. I thought about jumping ship there and abandoning the series, but then I read Taken and everything was turned back right way up. My favourite of the series so far, Taken has paved the way for the rest of the series to really grow and advance and I am eagerly awaiting the fourth book of the series later this year. Alex Verus is a fate mage who can see the strands of probability. You would think that would make for a munchkin protagonist … but then you would be wrong. The series has been given props by Dresden author Jim Butcher and I can see why: if Jacka carries on as strongly as he’s begun, Alex Verus will definitely start propelling himself into Harry Dresden’s league.
I have an ARC of this sitting prettily on Archimedes, my Kindle, and we’re just rearing to get started with it. First glance offers a strange and supernatural urban fantasy-esque book with what might be re-imagined historical elements regarding the other world that it hinted at. Honestly, I have no idea, but the synopsis caught me and dragged me in. Sorcery and intrigue and the formality assumed by the Master of Ceremonies and the Split Worlds Treaty mentioned in the blurb make Between Two Thorns a very, very interesting book. Plus, the cover is very smart indeed!
6 - Blood and Feathers: Rebellion, Lou Morgan
I could leave it at that, but then I would neglect to say how, following the sharp and sexy and utterly engrossing Blood and Feathers, the second book chronicling the brewing war between Heaven and Hell, the angels and fallen angels, good and evil is likely going to be so good and so strikingly brilliant that it might just be better than the first. Alice is going to find herself in a whole world of trouble following the events of Blood and Feathers and I expect that Mallory will only add to that, in his typical Mallory way. This is a damn good and different urban fantasy that has a hell of a lot to offer and is utterly heavenly in its execution. This, ladies and gents, is going to be a good one.
5 - The Runaway King, Jennifier A. Nielsen (The Ascendence Trilogy #2)
After the fun and thrilling first book of the trilogy, I am definitely psyched for the release of the second. Middle-grade or not, if The Runaway King is anything like its predecessor, it will be an exciting, unputdownable fantasy adventure that will hit the spot dead on. I’m excited to see just what will happen in the wake of The False Prince and expect it to deliver just as thoroughly. I’m very pleased there’s not too long a wait for this one… as I don’t think I could stand the suspense.
4 - The Merchant of Dreams, Anne Lyle (Night’s Masque #2)
I read this as a digital ARC (yay, NetGalley!) and was blown away by just how good Anne Lyle is. She is good, people. Her effortless prose and imaginative characters are such a strong tug that even though I’ve read this, I can’t wait for my copy to finally arrive just so I can parade it around a bit and tie my friends to chairs until they read it.
The world deepens and we see more of Lyle’s slightly re-imagined historic England and the characters develop and grow. There is tension and passion and intrigue and all the things you’d expect from what reads like D’Artagnan but with magic, fantasy and reincarnation Really, this is sword and sorcery of another kind, and damn if it isn’t good. Beautiful, elaborate and utterly kick-ass. It’s a good ‘un!
3 – Pantomime, Laura Lam (Micah Grey #1)
I’ve already read this and so whilst I’m not precisely anticipating it, it felt unfair to strike it from the list just because I was lucky enough to read an ARC. Pantomime was an astoundingly good book that hit the spot and tells many of important stories. It’s daring and risky and the people who make reading comments on the internet as dangerous as swimming in shark-infested waters will hate this with a passion. Anne Lyle gets bitched at for “hur hur gay men” and perish the thought that Mark Charan Newton displays a transgender female in his Legends of the Red Sun, so I can’t even begin to imagine the level of idiotic slurring that might go on in the darker corners of the internet. It’s simply a stunning, gorgeous and elaborate book that needs to be read and needs to be learned from. It has a lot to teach.
I started reading The Warded Man just after the holidays (review here) and despite having recently finished The Desert Spear (review soon) I am already wringing my hands in anticipation for The Daylight War. Brett writes characters you grow attached to, who are likeable, loathable and utterly real. The fact that the cover – whichever version – is stunning is only an added bonus to how damn good it will look when it is finally sitting in pride of place on my shelves. This series is epic fantasy at its best. There is so little else to say that won’t merely descend into fanboyish garble and the desire to cosplay. I cannot wait to read this book. *Grabby, grabby hands*. That about sums it up. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC via NetGalley just yesterday and can’t tell you how thrilled I am. I’m mere pages in, but already the magic permeates every sentence as surely as ever.
1 – The Raven’s Shadow, Elspeth Cooper (The Wild Hunt #3)
This is definitely my most anticipated book of 2013. Elspeth Cooper is very high on the list of my favourite authors and I fair devour her books when I have them. I love absolutely everything about her writing and her stories and I just need more. If you listen to Amazon and their release dates, The Raven’s Shadow is due in July, and The Dragon House, the final book of the Wild Hunt series, is due in September.
I don’t know if this is the case and given there have been some changes of title and whatnot, it might be a mistake. Even so, Elspeth Cooper is my most anticipated author for this year. Plus, I bet the cover is going to be gorgeous, too. It was a tough call, not putting The Daylight War here, and I really almost did. But… despite being honestly more attached to the main cast of the Demon Cycle, there are characters in the Wild Hunt series that keep drawing me in and Cooper’s prose feels like going home whenever I read a single line. You really, really can’t beat that feeling.