Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing September Releases in Fantasy

Every month, Fiction Affliction provides a handy reference of the science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and young adult paranormal coming out in the ensuing month. Today’s column examines FANTASY.

The Symptoms: Vampires and fae have invaded the imaginary kingdoms of fantasy, disarming the swordsman and feasting on the fair folk, and leaving one lonely Fiction Affliction author preparing for a barrage of comments on what is, and what is not, in fact, fantasy. Warning: she is armed.

The Diagnosis: Seven new fantasies (or are they pseudo-fantasies?) arrive in August, filled with treachery, rebellion, and lots of dark, dark magic.

The Cure: You could be a princess. You could be a king. Maybe a lowly serf. But if you have blood in your veins, watch out for things that go chomp in the night.

The Rift Walker, by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith (Sept. 6, Pyr)

Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian Empire and their American Republic allies stand on the brink of war against the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliance’s horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, senator Clark. Second in the Vampire Empire series.

Shadow Kin, by M.J. Scott (Sept. 6, Roc)

On one side, the Night World, ruled by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages. Born a wraith, Lily is a shadow who slips between worlds. Brought up by a Blood Lord and raised to be his assassin, she is little more than a slave. But when Lily meets her match in target Simon DuCaine, the unlikely bond that develops between them threatens to disrupt an already stretched peace in a city on the verge of being torn apart.

Spellbound, by Blake Charlton (Sept. 13, Tor)

In a world where one’s magical prowess is determined by one’s skill with words and ability to spell, Nicodemus is a wizardly apprentice afflicted by a curse that causes him to misspell magical texts. Now, the demon who cursed him has hatched a conspiracy to force Nicodemus to change language and ultimately use it to destroy all human life. As Nico tries to thwart the demon’s plan, he is challenged by his own disability, which causes him to create chaos wherever he goes. And the chaos surrounding Nico is affecting the world so profoundly that the kingdom is on the brink of civil war. Second in the Spellwright series.

Prospero Regained, by L. Jagi Lamplighter (Sept. 13, Tor)

Prospero, the sorcerer on whose island of exile William Shakespeare set his play, The Tempest, has endured these past many centuries. His daughter Miranda runs the family business, Prospero Inc., so smoothly that the vast majority of humanity has no idea that the Prosperos’ magic has protected Earth from numerous disasters. But Prospero has been kidnapped by demons from Hell, and Miranda, aided by her siblings, has followed her father to save him from vengeful demons.

Blackdog, by K.V. Johansen (Sept. 20, Pyr)

Necromancy, treachery, massacres and rebellions, gods dead or lost or mad — all follow hard on the devil’s heels. But it is Attalissa, goddess of Lissavakail, herself who may be the Blackdog’s — and the caravan-guard Holla-Sayan’s — doom.

Cold Fire, by Kate Elliott (Sept. 26, Orbit)

Cat and her cousin are key players in a drama of dragons and politics. Everyone wants something from them, including the warlord who’s conquering all Europa and the Cold Mages who dare defy him. But the Master of the Wild Hunt is most dangerous of all. He will command Cat’s loyalty using what she holds most dear. Second in the Spiritwalker Trilogy.

A Thief in the Night, by David Chandler (Sept. 27, Harper Voyager)

As a thief, Malden is unparalleled in the Free City of Ness, and happy there. But by saving the life of the knight Croy, Malden has bound himself to an ancient, noble brotherhood, and he now possesses one of only seven Ancient Blades capable of destroying demons. Malden fears accompanying Croy and the barbarian Morget on their quest to dispatch a foul creature of nightmare, but with an assassin on his heels, the young cutpurse is left with no choice. Second in the Ancient Blades series.


Author Suzanne Johnson is a bonafide book geek. 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.

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