Fiction Affliction is a monthly column written by Royal Street author Suzanne Johnson that examines upcoming releases by genre or sub-genre. Check back every day this week for coverage of April releases in science fiction, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and epic fantasy. Today’s column examines new releases in YOUNG ADULT PARANORMAL.
The Symptoms: Teenagers suddenly discover they are the only ones left of their kinds—kinds they didn’t know existed before their sixteenth birthdays. Now, the world rests on their hormonally challenged shoulders, which could explain the abundance of dystopian fiction these days.
The Diagnosis: Twenty-five new YA paranormals try to save humankind and various non-human species in April, including a flurry of faeries (godmothers and otherwise), some sickly shapeshifters, and at least one enclave of evil.
The Cure: Really—if your 16th birthday is coming up, leave town. Chances are, your Secret Immortal Purpose will still overtake your soul, but at least you won’t take the whole family down with you.
Read descriptions of April YA releases
When Tobias Richard Vandevelde wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the night before, his horrified mother tells him he was found unconscious. At Featherdale Wildlife Park. In a dingo pen. He assumes that his two best friends are somehow responsible, until the mysterious Reuben turns up claiming Toby has a rare and dangerous “condition.” Next thing he knows, Toby finds himself involved with a strange bunch of sickly insomniacs who seem convinced he needs their help. It’s not until he’s kidnapped and imprisoned that he starts to believe them—and to understand what being a paranormal monster really means.
Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was different. That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control. Second in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series.
Sixteen-year-old Tansy Piper moves with her grandfather and her mother, a horror writer, to the setting of her mother’s next book—a secluded house outside a tiny, desolate West Texas town. Lonely and upset over the move, Tansy escapes into her photography and the dark, seductive poems she finds hidden in the cellar, both of which lure her into the mind and world of a mysterious, troubled young man who died sixty years earlier.
Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe’s world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else. That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she’s human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila’s been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion-worker mom. And if Lila’s love is as phony as Cassel’s made-up memories, he can’t believe anything she says.
Who will be tempted by darkness? Who will fall in love, and who will find their relationship torn apart? And who will betray everything they ever believed in? Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. In the highly anticipated, heart-pounding fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series, the stakes are higher than ever.
Sink your teeth into these bite-sized tales exploring the intersections among the living, dead and undead. Features stories by Genevieve Valentine, Steve Berman, Christopher Barzak, Neil Gaiman, Delia Sherman, Garth Nix, Suzy McKee Charnes, Kaaron Warren, Cecil Castellucci, Jeffrey Ford, Nathan Ballingrud, Kathe Koja, Catherynne M. Valente, Melissa Marr, Ellen Kushner, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Lucius Shepard, Emma Bull and Tanith Lee.
It’s been eight months since all the adults disappeared. The children have survived hunger and lies. But the stakes keep rising, and the dystopian horror keeps building. There is a momentary calm in Perdido Beach, but enemies in the FAYZ don’t just fade away, and in the quiet, deadly things are stirring, mutating and finding their way free. The Darkness has found its way into the mind of its Nemesis at last and is controlling it through a haze of delirium and confusion. A highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate. Sinister, predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach. And Sam, Astrid, Diana, and Caine are plagued by a growing doubt that they’ll escape—or even survive—life in the FAYZ.
Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn’t shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people’s survival hangs in the balance. To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two 17-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls’ destinies are drawn together during the mission.
In a magic-infused postapocalyptic world, the war between Faerie and humanity has left both realms devastated. It has been over for 40 years, and finally Liza’s town is accepting children born with fairy talents. Then a nearby town is destroyed, and Liza discovers the war might not be over after all. It seems some faeries survived and have crossed into the human world to continue the fight. And the most powerful and merciless of them all—the Queen herself—may be among them.
Welcome to the Apocalypse. In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups—Breeders, Builders or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember. As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade.
Strange things are happening in Maya’s tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted around Maya’s home—and her reactions to them are somewhat unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations. It doesn’t help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he’s interested in one special part of Maya’s anatomy—her paw-print birthmark. First in a new Darkness Rising trilogy.
Tansy Miller has always felt her divorced father doesn’t have time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn’t how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum “Chrissy” Everstar, Tansy’s fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy’s three wishes don’t exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the 21st century isn’t bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She’ll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief ‘s son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control.
Cam Attling, having lost an arm, is the only one from his town of Kayforl to return after twelve years of war. All his fellow soldiers were slain, and suspicion surrounds him. When his betrothal to Graceful Fenister is called off and his role in the community questioned, Cam leaves to find the lord who maimed him but spared his life, seeking answers and a new place in the world.
Mars! The Red Planet! For generations, people have wondered what it would be like to travel to and live there. That curiosity has inspired some of the most durable science fiction. Now, award-winning anthologist Jonathan Strahan has brought together a new novella from Cory Doctorow and original stories from authors Kage Baker, Alastair Reynolds, Nnedi Okorafor, Stephen Baxter, Nancy Kress, Ellen Klages, Rachel Swirsky, Ian McDonald, Chris Roberson, John Barnes and Kim Stanley Robinson.
It’s always been just Kate and her mom—and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won’t live past the fall. Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests. Kate is sure he’s crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride, and a goddess. First in the Goddess Test series.
Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon’s army. The renegades are on a quest for the black folio, stolen by the drug-riddled Dillon; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona’s power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his throne from the selfstyled “Emperor” Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power—and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered.
It’s spring again in the village of Montacute, and people want nothing more than to celebrate the season with maypole dances, festivals and visits from the nobility. The festivities are dampened, though, when a young boy turns up dead outside the village. Then they learn that three other boys have also disappeared. To the parson, this tragedy is a perfect excuse to kick off the only thing guaranteed to get his spring-giddy parishioners back to church—a witch hunt. Cecily may have occasional visions, but that doesnt’ make her a witch, right? sOn her 13th birthday, Cess finds a locket in one of her chicken coops, a strange discovery that’s quickly overshadowed by her best friend John’s disappearance two days later. The parson has already started planting rumors that the missing boys were bewitched, and the villagers think Cecily may be the culprit.
Now that sixteen-year-old Dru’s worst fears have come true and Sergej has kidnapped her best friend Graves, she’ll have to go on a suicidal rescue mission to bring him back in one piece. That is, if she can put all of Christophe’s training to good use, defeat her mother’s traitor, Anna, once and for all, and manage to survive another day. Fourth in the Strange Angels series.
Ade Patience can see the future and it’s destroying his life. When the 17-year-old knocks himself unconscious, he can see days and decades into his own future. Ade’s the best of Denver’s “divination” underground and eager to join the heralded Mantlo Diviners, a group of similarly enabled teens. Yet, unlike the Diviners, Ade Patience doesn’t see the future out of curiosity or good will; Ade gives himself concussions because he’s addicted to the high, the Buzz, he gets when he breaks the laws of physics. His memory is failing, his grades are in a death spiral, and both Ade’s best friend and his shrink are begging him to stop before he kills himself.
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel both a part of this world and apart from it. Yet someone is always watching her: Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. Even now she’s moved to a new town, at a new school, she can’t stop being afraid. Because even here, he’ll find her. And though she knows he’s no guardian angel, and his dark world isn’t exactly heaven, she can’t stay away.
A twin boy and girl, the children of a Fae mother and a human father, discover a new destiny when their parents are murdered. First in a new Faelin Chronicles trilogy.
When a virus makes everyone over the age of 18 infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making them the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food. Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.
Crown Princess Aurelia stands in the face of exile. Behind her are the sister who tried to kill her and the father who ignored it. In front of her are the entire kingdom, and Robert—the friend she can’t help but fall in love with. Aurelia may finally be living her dream, but danger is not far behind. When Aurelia and Robert are betrayed by the guards assigned to protect them, their expedition becomes a fight for survival that carries them from frontier to desert sands.
Before Larten Crepsley was a vampire general, he was a teenager—sick of the pomp and circumstance of fusty old vampires telling him what to do. Taking off on his own with his blood brother, Wester, Larten seeks to learn what his newly blooded vampire status can get him in the human world. Sucking all he can out of humanity, Larten stumbles into a violent, hedonistic lifestyle, where cheats beckon, power corrupts, and enemies are waiting. Prequel to Shan’s popular Cirque du Freak series.
A teen struggles to hold onto her memories and her identity in a world that wants everyone to forget—and keep on shopping. Three teens come together to create a comic book of their memories.
Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson is annoyed that she’s far past sixteen and still hasn’t discovered her secret powers. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street in April 2012 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter.