Fifteen new fantasies try to make us forget winter on Earth, although there’s much dissension and disease plaguing the imaginary realms. Marie Brennan takes on dragons, and new series additions come from Robert V.S. Redick, Ari Berk, Peter V. Brett, and Caitlin Kittredge. There are also some new series and stand-alones to give us a break from the ongoing storylines.
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Kent, by Marie Brennan (February 5, Tor)
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day. Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
Draken vae Khellian, bastard cousin of the Monoean King, had risen far from his ignominious origins, becoming both a Bowrank Commander and a member of the Crown’s Black Guard. When he is falsely condemned for the murder of his beloved wife, he is banished from the kingdom and cast upon the distant shore of Akrasia. Akrasia is a realm on the brink of a bloody revolution, as a sinister conspiracy plots against Akrasia’s embattled queen, and malevolent banes possess the bodies of the living. Draken lives only to clear his name and avenge his wife’s murder. Alone in a strange land, he finds himself sharing the bed of an enigmatic necromancer, while pressed into the service of a foreign queen whose life and land depends on the divided loyalties of an exiled warrior.
In a world beset by plagues, Tyrus of Kenatos has made it his life’s work to end the devastation. When he ventures into the Scourgelands to uncover the secret of the plagues’ origin, he barely makes it out alive after being ambushed. Tyrus knows the plagues will rise again and is determined to complete his mission. He summons his nephew Annon and his niece Hettie, both of whom possess an innate magic called the fireblood, and a pack of unlikely allies. As the group sets out on its journey, the ruthless ruler of Kenatos, the Arch-Rike, deploys a legion of minions who will stop at nothing to destroy them. For if they succeed, the truth will be revealed: about a Druidecht secret of a magical race, a deadly betrayal, and a hidden child who could be the key to banishing the plagues.
The evil sorcerer Arunis is dead, yet the danger has not ended. For as he fell, beheaded by the young warrior-woman Thasha Isiq, Arunis summoned the Swarm of Night, a demonic entity that feasts on death and grows like a plague. If the Swarm is not destroyed, the world of Alifros will become a vast graveyard. Now Thasha and her comrades, the tarboy Pazel Pathkendle and the mysterious wizard Ramachni, begin a quest that seems all but impossible. Yet there is hope: One person has the power to stand against the Swarm: the great mage Erithusmé. Long thought dead, Erithusmé lives, buried deep in Thasha’s soul. But for the mage to live again, Thasha Isiq may have to die.
The Silent Dragon: Children of the Dragon Nimbus #1, by Irene Radford (February 5 DAW)
Glenndon, son of witchwoman Brevelan and Jaylor, Senior Magician and Chancellor of the University of Magicians, has never spoken aloud because his telepathic talent is strong. He can throw master-level spells, but because he will not speak, Jaylor has refused to promote him. Then an urgent missive arrives from King Darville. The Council of Provinces is near rebellion over the king’s lack of a male heir. He orders his illegitimate son Glenndon to Coronnan City to become his successor. Glenndon’s world is in chaos. He must hide his talents even as he struggles to find his voice and his destiny. One slip could see Glenndon, Darville, Rosselinda, and even Jaylor doomed, for the lords of the people fear magic more than potential invasion, legendary monsters, and civil war.
Last Train to Jubilee Bay: A Tor.Com Original, by Kali Wallace (February 6, Tor)
After the sickness and quarantine almost destroyed the city, the traders arrived, creeping out from the sea to live off the memories of those people left behind; getting them addicted to the serum these strange creatures manufacture in return. But now it’s been more than five days since they have come for their daily visit. And Lucy is determined to find out why. Digital.
Silas Umber has finally come into his own as the Undertaker of Lichport when a mysterious invitation calls him beyond the marshes to Arvale, the ancestral manor of the Umbers. There, his extended family endures, waiting for a living Undertaker to return and preside over the Door Doom, an archaic rite that grants a terrible power to summon and bind the dead in judgment. As Silas assumes the mantle of Janus, the Watcher at the Threshold, deep below the earth in the catacombs and sunken towers, grim spirits grow restless at his arrival, hungry for freedom and eager for vengeance against a family with a long history of harsh judgments. Silas must right an ancient wrong and accept that even a house of ghosts can be haunted by its past, for in matters of family, we are who we were.
The demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity to destroy the demon corelings once and for all. Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are bitter rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all, those lurking in the human heart.
Young Adult. Aoife Grayson must face death to win back Dean, the love who was ripped from the Iron Lands of the living when he was shot in the arctic north. But getting to the Deadlands is something that Aoife can’t do on her own. And if she can find a way there, Tremaine would surely never allow it. He has sworn to keep her in the Thorn Lands, the fairie home of her mother, Nerissa. But Aoife is determined to find her way out. And she has no trouble if that means she has to kill Tremain and his queen to do it.
Young Adult. The enchanted town of Fairwick’s dazzling mix of mythical creatures has come under siege from the Grove: a sinister group of witches determined to banish the fey back to their ancestral land. With factions turning on one another, all are cruelly forced to take sides. Callie’s grandmother, a prominent Grove member, demands her granddaughter’s compliance, but half-witch/half-fey Callie can hardly betray her friends and colleagues at the college. To stave off disaster, Callie enlists Duncan Laird, an alluring seductive academic who cultivates her vast magical potential, but to what end? Deeply conflicted, Callie struggles to save her beloved Fairwick, dangerously pushing her extraordinary powers to the limit, risking all, even the needs of her own passionate heart.
Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope of salvation. Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their fledgling uprising, but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution, or for a more sinister purpose all her own? (US Release)
Touchstone, the magical theater troupe, continues to build audiences. But Cayden is increasingly troubled by his “elsewhens,” the uncontrolled moments when he is plunged into visions of the possible futures. He fears that his Fae gift will forever taint his friendships; his friends fear that his increasing distance will destroy him. But worldly success follows them, an apparent loss in the Trials leads to Touchstone being selected to travel to the Continent with a Royal Embassy to collect Prince Ashgar’s new bride. They are the first theater artists to appear outside Albeyn for at least seventy years, for magic is suspect and forbidden elsewhere, and the Kingdom’s easy race mixing and magic use horrifies the people they are to travel among.
The continuing story of a young man who has been sentenced to death, and then exiled, for his magical abilities. As Gair struggles with grief over the loss of the only home he had known, and his beloved, he is walking into a conflict that’s greater and more deadly than he or his mentor ever anticipated. A storm of unrest is spreading across the land and they are going to be caught up in it, at a moment when Gair’s hold on his magic, his greatest defense and most valuable tool, is starting to slip. (US Release)
From the depths of a valley rises the city of Mahala. It’s a city built upwards, not across, where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under. Rojan Dizon doesn’t mind staying in the shadows, because he’s got things to hide. Things like being a pain-mage, with the forbidden power to draw magic from pain. But he can’t hide forever. Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic. And unluckily for Rojan, this is going to hurt.
One of the darkest legends in the Realm of the Elderlings recounts the tale of the so-called Piebald Prince, a Witted pretender to the throne unseated by the actions of brave nobles so that the Farseer line could continue untainted. Now the truth behind the story is revealed through the account of Felicity, a low-born companion of the Princess Caution at Buckkeep. With Felicity by her side, Caution grows into a headstrong Queen-in-Waiting. But when Caution gives birth to a bastard son who shares the piebald markings of his father’s horse, Felicity is the one who raises him. And as the prince comes to power, political intrigue sparks dangerous whispers about the Wit that will change the kingdom forever.
Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series is published by Tor Books. You can find Suzanne on Twitter and on her speculative fiction blog, Preternatura.