All the New Genre-Bending Books Coming Out in August

In this month’s genre-bending titles, you’ll find demons in the internet, ghosts in houses, prophecies in the north, and spellbooks in the woods. Natasha Pulley returns with The Bedlam Stacks; Patrick Hemstreet continues his God Wave series; Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s Irish teens find a Spellbook of the Lost and Found; and, in Brian Allan Carr’s Sip, people start getting drunk on their own shadows. (Don’t try this at home, kids.)

Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

 

WEEK ONE

Secondborn (Secondborn #1)—Amy A. Bartol (August 1, 47North)
On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go. Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state. But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?

The Half-Drowned King—Linnea Hartsuyker (August 1, Harper)
Ragnvald Eysteinsson, the son and grandson of kings, grew up believing that he would one day take his dead father’s place as chief of his family’s lands. But, sailing home from a raiding trip to Ireland, the young warrior is betrayed and left for dead by men in the pay of his greedy stepfather, Olaf. Rescued by a fisherman, Ragnvald is determined to have revenge for his stepfather’s betrayal, claim his birthright and the woman he loves, and rescue his beloved sister Svanhild. Opportunity may lie with Harald of Vestfold, the strong young Norse warrior rumored to be the prophesied king. Ragnvald pledges his sword to King Harald, a choice that will hold enormous consequence in the years to come. While Ragnvald’s duty is to fight—and even die—for his honor, Svanhild must make an advantageous marriage, though her adventurous spirit yearns to see the world. Her stepfather, Olaf, has arranged a husband for her—a hard old man she neither loves nor desires. When the chance to escape Olaf’s cruelty comes at the hands of her brother’s arch rival, the shrewd young woman is forced to make a heartbreaking choice: family or freedom.

The Grip of It—Jac Jemc (August 1, Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Touring their prospective suburban home, Julie and James are stopped by a noise. Deep and vibrating, like throat singing. Ancient, husky, and rasping, but underwater. “That’s just the house settling,” the real estate agent assures them with a smile. He is wrong. The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling and his general inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to start afresh. But this house, which sits between a lake and a forest, has its own plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to establish a sense of normalcy, the home and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The framework— claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall—contracting, expanding—and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of painful, grisly bruises. Jac Jemc meticulously traces Julie and James’s unsettling journey through the depths of their new home as they fight to free themselves from its crushing grip.

The Dark Net—Benjamin Percy (August 1, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Dark Net is real. An anonymous and often criminal arena that exists in the secret far reaches of the Web, some use it to manage Bitcoins, pirate movies and music, or traffic in drugs and stolen goods. And now an ancient darkness is gathering there as well. This force is threatening to spread virally into the real world unless it can be stopped by members of a ragtag crew: Twelve-year-old Hannah—who has been fitted with the Mirage, a high-tech visual prosthetic to combat her blindness—wonders why she sees shadows surrounding some people. Lela, a technophobic journalist, has stumbled upon a story nobody wants her to uncover. Mike Juniper, a one-time child evangelist who suffers from personal and literal demons, has an arsenal of weapons stored in the basement of the homeless shelter he runs. And Derek, a hacker with a cause, believes himself a soldier of the Internet, part of a cyber army akin to Anonymous. They have no idea what the Dark Net really contains.

The Bedlam Stacks—Natasha Pulley (August 1, Bloomsbury)
In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg. On the sprawling, crumbling grounds of the old house, something is wrong; a statue moves, his grandfather’s pines explode, and his brother accuses him of madness. When the India Office recruits Merrick for an expedition to fetch quinine—essential for the treatment of malaria—from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea. Nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is desperate to escape everything at home, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for a tiny mission colony on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line on the ground separates town from forest. Anyone who crosses is killed by something that watches from the trees, but somewhere beyond the salt are the quinine woods, and the way around is blocked. Surrounded by local stories of lost time, cursed woods, and living rock, Merrick must separate truth from fairytale and find out what befell the last expeditions; why the villagers are forbidden to go into the forest; and what is happening to Raphael, the young priest who seems to have known Merrick’s grandfather, who visited Peru many decades before.

After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley—Rob Reid (August 1, Del Rey)
Meet Phluttr—a diabolically addictive new social network and a villainess, heroine, enemy, and/or bestie to millions. Phluttr has ingested every fact and message ever sent to, from, and about her innumerable users. Her capabilities astound her makers—and they don’t even know the tenth of it. But what’s the purpose of this stunning creation? Is it a front for something even darker and more powerful than the NSA? A bid to create a trillion-dollar market by becoming “The UberX of Sex”? Or a reckless experiment that could spawn the digital equivalent of a middle-school mean girl with enough charisma, dirt, and cunning to bend the entire planet to her will? Phluttr has it in her to become the greatest gossip, flirt, or matchmaker in history. Or she could cure cancer, bring back Seinfeld, then start a nuclear war. Whatever she does, it’s not up to us. But a motley band of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and engineers might be able to influence her.

Sparks of Light—Janet B. Taylor (August 1, HMH Books for Young Readers)
Young adult. For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend. She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful. In this sequel to the dazzling time-travel romance Into the Dim, sacrifice takes on a whole new meaning as Hope and Bran struggle to determine where—or when—they truly belong.

 

WEEK TWO

The Death and Life of Schneider Wrack—Nate Crowley (August 8, Solaris)
Schneider Wrack was dead. Until he wasn’t. Convicted of a crime he’s almost completely sure he didn’t commit, executed, reanimated, then pressed into service aboard a vast trawler on the terrible world of Ocean, he was set to spend his afterlife working until his mindless corpse fell apart. But now he’s woken up, trapped in a rotting body, arm-deep in the stinking meat and blubber of a sea monster, and he’s not happy. It’s time for the dead to rise up. From the stench and brine of Ocean to the fetid jungle of Grand Amazon, Schneider’s career as a revolutionary won’t be easy. But sometimes a zombie’s gotta do what a zombie’s gotta do.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found—Moïra Fowley-Doyle (August 8, Kathy Dawson books)
Young adult. One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won’t talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away. Then diary pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tight to painful secrets. When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it’s full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights. Unless it’s leading them toward things that were never meant to be found…

 

WEEK THREE

The Doll Funeral—Kate Hamer (August 15, Melville House)
On Ruby’s thirteenth birthday, a wish she didn’t even know she had suddenly comes true: the couple who raised her aren’t her parents at all. Her real mother and father are out there somewhere, and Ruby becomes determined to find them. Venturing into the forest with nothing but a suitcase and the company of her only true friend—the imaginary Shadow Boy—Ruby discovers a group of siblings who live alone in the woods. The children take her in, and while they offer the closest Ruby’s ever had to a family, Ruby begins to suspect that they might need her even more than she needs them. And it’s not always clear what’s real and what’s not—or who’s trying to help her and who might be a threat. Told from shifting timelines, and the alternating perspectives of teenage Ruby; her mother, Anna; and even the Shadow Boy, The Doll Funeral is a mysterious novel about the connections that remain after a family has been broken apart.

 

WEEK FOUR

The God Peak (God Wave #2)—Patrick Hemstreet (August 22, Harper Voyager)
Chuck Brenton had a simple idea: if brain waves can make the needles on an EEG machine move, why couldn’t they be trained to move other things? He and mathematician Matt Streegman developed an astonishing program that enabled a group of highly select individuals—test subjects they called the Alphas—to use their brains to manipulate both physical and digital objects. When their secret program was discovered, the military stepped in to take control—and unwittingly began a battle that could spell the end of humankind. A trio of renegade Alphas have used their enhanced powers to take the world hostage. Though they say they want world peace, the rebels seem willing to sacrifice countless innocent lives to achieve their goals. Horrified by what he has unleashed, Chuck is determined to stop the monsters he’s created, no matter the risks. Coming out of hiding, he and his team must wield their own burgeoning abilities to defeat the increasingly unstable superhuman terrorists. Yet not everyone believes what the Alphas are doing is wrong. A cadre of supporters sees them as the next phase in human evolution and is eager to watch them burn down society on their way to transcendence.

 

WEEK FIVE

Sip—Brian Allen Carr (August 29, Soho Press)
It started with a single child and quickly spread: you could get high by drinking your own shadow. At night, artificial lights were destroyed so that addicts could sip shadow in the pure glow of the moon. Gangs of shadow addicts chased down children on playgrounds, rounded up old ladies from retirement homes. Cities were destroyed and governments fell. And if your shadow was sipped entirely, you became one of them, had to drink the shadows of others or go mad. One hundred and fifty years later, what’s left of the world is divided between the highly regimented life of those inside dome cities who are protected from natural light (and natural shadows), and those forced to the dangerous, hardscrabble life in the wilds outside. In rural Texas, Mira, her shadow-addicted friend Murk, and an ex-domer named Bale search for a possible mythological cure to the shadow sickness—but they must do so, it is said, before the return of Halley’s Comet, which is only days away.

Thirteen Rising (Zodiac Series #4)—Romina Russell (August 29, Razorbill)
Young adult. The master has been unmasked. Rho’s world has been turned upside down. With her loved ones in peril and all the stars set against her, can the young Guardian from House Cancer muster the strength to keep fighting? Or has she finally found her match in a master whose ambition to rule knows no limits?

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