The worlds of fangs, fins and fur are waking from their holiday slumber with twenty-eight titles in urban fantasy this month, including additions to popular series by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires), Hannah Jayne (Underworld Detection Agency), Kristen Simmons (Article 5), Richelle Mead (Bloodlines), Christina Henry (Black Wings), Eileen Rendahl (Messenger), and Amber Benson (Calliope Reaper-Jones). Now, um, can we talk about werearmadillos and werepossums, please?
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.
Brooding, leather jacket-wearing Nyx Fortuna looks like a 20-something, and has for centuries now. As the son of the forgotten fourth Fate, Lady Fortuna, he has been hunted his entire life by the three Sisters of Fate that murdered his mother. Fed up and out for revenge, Nyx comes to Minneapolis following a tip that his aunts have set up a business there. His goal to bring down his mother’s killers and retrieve the thread of fate that has trapped him in the body of a twenty year old, unable to age or die. But when a chance meeting with the mysterious, dangerous and very mortal Elizabeth Abernathy throws off his plans, he must reconcile his humanity and his immortality. Digital.
My name’s Quinn. If you buy into my reputation, I’m the most notorious demon hunter in New England. But rumors of my badassery have been slightly exaggerated. Instead of having kung-fu skills and a closet full of medieval weapons, I’m an ex-junkie with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Or the right place at the wrong time. Or, whatever. Wanted for crimes against inhumanity I (mostly) didn’t commit, I was nearly a midnight snack for a werewolf until I was “saved” by a vampire calling itself the Bride of Quiet. Already cursed by a werewolf bite, the vamp took a pint out of me too. So now, now, well, you wouldn’t think it could get worse, but you’d be dead wrong.
Young Adult. Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die. Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls, but her own life.
Necromancer is such an ugly word, but it’s a title Eric Carter is stuck with. He sees ghosts, talks to the dead. He’s turned it into a lucrative career putting troublesome spirits to rest, sometimes taking on even more dangerous things. For a fee, of course. When he left L.A. fifteen years ago he thought he’d never go back. Too many bad memories. Too many people trying to kill him. But now his sister’s been brutally murdered and Carter wants to find out why. Was it the gangster looking to settle a score? The ghost of a mage he killed the night he left town? Maybe it’s the patron saint of violent death herself, Santa Muerte, who’s taken an unusually keen interest in him. Carter’s going to find out who did it and he’s going to make them pay. As long as they don’t kill him first.
Young Adult. It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother’s existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea, and God forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Mlle Geraldine’s trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and modern weaponries. Sophronia is going to have a rousing first year at school.
At the tender age of twenty-seven, Merit became a sword-wielding vampire. Since then, she’s become the protector of her House, watched Chicago nearly burn to the ground, and seen her Master fall and rise. Now she’ll see her mettle, and her metal, tested like never before. It started with two. Two rogues vanishing without a trace. Someone is targeting Chicago’s vampires, and anyone could be next. With their house in peril, Merit and her Master, the centuries-old Ethan Sullivan, must race to stop the disappearances. But as they untangle a web of secret alliances and ancient evils, they realize their foe is more familiar, and more powerful, than they could have ever imagined.
When her brother Val gets in over his head in an investigation of Half-Blood disappearances and goes missing himself, it’s up to Xandra, newly crowned Goblin Queen, to get him back and bring the atrocities to light. Xandra must frequent the seediest parts of London, while also coping with what she is, the political factions vying for her favor, and the all too-close scrutiny of Queen Victoria. Add this to a being a suspect in a murder investigation, a werewolf boyfriend with demands of his own, and a mother hell bent on destroying the monarchy, and Xandra barely knows which way is up. One thing she does know is that she’s already lost one sibling, she’s not about to lose another. She does know that nothing lasts forever, and immortality isn’t all its cracked up to be.
When you’re near the top of the Underworld Detection Agency, the claws really come out. Quick thinking and loyalty have taken human Sophie Lawson a long way in the UDA. When her old boss Pete Sampson asks for help after a mysterious two-year disappearance, she’s determined to find out what high-placed demon has put two ruthless werewolf killers on his tail. Sucking up to her icy vampire department head and negotiating a treacherous inter-office demon battle could easily get a “breather” way worse than reprimanded. Sexy fallen angel Alex is doing whatever it takes to heat up Sophie’s professional cool. Their investigation is about to uncover the Agency’s darkest secrets, and powerful entities happy to sign one inquisitive human’s pink slip in blood.
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, it’s almost time for war. Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her, people with gifts, and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance. She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible. Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart, and Adam’s life.
Jocelyn’s life feels empty, devoid of passion and purpose. After she finds a journal written by her “doomed” great-grandmother, Caprice, she is spellbound by her story: the escape from a loveless marriage, her seduction by a nameless lover who is both “demon and savior.” Then, as if stepping out of a dream, Jocelyn meets Asa, her mysterious next door neighbor. Asa is charming, handsome, and daring and, as if by magic, she is drawn into his hedonistic lifestyle. Yet there is something unsettling about Asa. Luna is suspicious of this man, and although Jocelyn is dismissive of Luna and amused by her friend’s warnings, she can’t completely ignore them. She begins to wonder if things with Asa aren’t quite what they seem.
In an ancient Japan where the incursions of gods, ghosts, and demons into the living world is an everyday event, an impoverished nobleman named Yamada no Goji makes his living as a demon hunter for hire. With the occasional assistance of the reprobate exorcist Kenji, whatever the difficulty, ogres, demons, fox-spirits, for a price Yamada will do what needs to be done, even and especially if the solution to the problem isn’t as simple as the edge of a sword. Yet, no matter how many monsters he has to face, or how powerful and terrible they may be, the demons Yamada fears the most are his own.
Some places are too good to be true. Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map. In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things. After a couple years of hard traveling, ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother’s home in Wink, New Mexico. And the closer Mona gets to her mother’s past, the more she understands that the people of Wink are very, very different.
Young Adult. Following the brutal deaths of her sister and aunt, Rosa Alcantara has become what she never thought possible: the head of the Alcantara clan. Rosa must now conduct all business matters, legitimate and not, while negotiating among the greedy, bloodthirsty members of her own family. Not to mention convincing everyone that her blossoming relationship with enemy Alessandro Carnevare won’t put the family business in danger. As Rosa continues to fall for him, she discovers the dark secrets of his family’s dealings. How can she love someone whose family wants her dead? When Rosa and Alessandro uncover an ancient conspiracy intent on destroying both clans, they will do anything to stop it. The two teens must risk everything to love each other and survive.
Young Adult. After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed. Near-celebrities now for tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance, an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. The government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself. Orders are shoot to kill. Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized. With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding, or fight back?
Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows #1), by Yelena Black (February 12, Bloomsbury USA Childrens)
Young Adult. Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you’re close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner’s heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly, and she must be very careful who she trusts. Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school, the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances, she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames. She attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird. She has no idea of the danger that lies ahead and the burning forces about to be unleashed.
Young Adult. Sexy, free-spirited werecat Yoshi tracks his sister, Ruby, to Austin and discovers that she is not only MIA, but also the key suspect in a murder investigation. Werepossum Clyde and human Aimee have set out to do a little detective work of their own, sworn to avenge the brutal killing of werearmadillo pal Travis. All three seekers are snared in an underground kidnapping ring. They end up on a remote island inhabited by an unusual (even by shifter standards) species. Their hosts harbor a grim secret: staging high-profile safaris for wealthy patrons with evil pedigrees, meaning that at least one newcomer to the island is about to be hunted. As both wereprey and werepredator fight to stay alive, it’s up to mild-mannered Clyde to summon the hero within. Can he surprise even himself?
Young Adult. Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. When Addie’s parents decide to divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with, her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. One Search six weeks into the future, Addie is the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets cute, sensitive Trevor. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through, and who she can’t live without.
Young Adult. There’s an island off the coast of Maine that’s not on any map. Trespass Island is home to a community of people who guard the island and its secrets from outsiders. Seventeen-year-old Delia grew up in Kansas, but has come here in search of her family and answers to her questions: Why didn’t her mother ever talk about Trespass Island? Why did she fear the open water? Delia’s not welcome and soon finds herself enmeshed in a frightening and supernatural world where ancient Greek symbols adorn the buildings and secret ceremonies take place on the beach at night. Sean Gunn, a young lobsterman, befriends Delia. But it’s Jax who finally makes Delia understand the real dangers of life on the island. There are monsters here. No one ever leaves Trespass alive.
Young Adult. In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch, a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood, or else she might be next.
Young Adult. Emily Wheiler should be reveling in her youthful beauty and the excitement around her. Her whole life changed when her mother died. Her father, a powerful bank president, is at the center of an important social hub and he needs Emily to do everything her mother would have. As Emily uneasily tries to replace her mother, she also longs for more. When a young man notices her it seems that her hopes may finally be coming true. Until her father forbids her to see him, and starts revealing a darkly violent side that even he can’t understand. Afraid for her life, Emily is marked by a vampire and brought to the Chicago House of Night, where she begins a magical life. As she gains strength and a powerful new name, she carries a dark need to wreak vengeance on the man she trusted most.
Max August was once a regular guy, before he learned the ways of magick and immortality and became a crusader against the supernatural forces of evil. Immune to the effects of time, Max is not indestructible, and he must face the vast, worldwide conspiracy known as the Necklace. Max has only a few allies in this fight: Pam, an apprentice in the alchemical arts, and Vee, a chanteuse with an uncanny knack for all things magick. But the Necklace is plotting a massive catastrophe using Black Ops helicopters to massacre thousands of spectators in a stadium, re-awakening terrorist fears and destabilizing the U.S. government. Max will need all his magick, and all the help he can get, for him to have any chance to thwart the attack and survive to fight another day.
Former Agent of death Madeline Black may have been stripped of her wings, but she hasn’t lost her purpose. When Maddy finally killed her father, Azazel, she thought his depraved experiment died with him. But now Chicago has been infested with vampires immune to the effects of the sun, and the bloodbath is worse than she could have ever imagined. While the Agency refuses to interfere with other supernatural courts, Maddy is determined to do everything within her power to save her city, wings or no wings. But when the leader of the vampires requests that she turn herself in or risk more deaths, Maddy becomes a target for the people she’s trying to save. She turns to Lucifer, the one creature who has the power to help her. Her grandfather’s aid has always come at a price.
Melina Markowitz, messenger for the underworld, delivers the goods for the supernatural beings in our midst, no questions asked. It’s more than a job; it’s a mission. Safety be damned. Melina’s missing friend, Paul, could just be taking a little werewolf “me time,” but her investigation yields something more sinister. Suspicions first fall on Paul’s wolf-pack rival. But that wouldn’t explain the sudden windstorms rattling Melina’s nerves, or the ominous, shrieking crows that keep appearing. The clues lead Melina to a mermaid, a damaged and possibly deranged police officer and patterns for Norwegian doilies, finally bringing her to the realization that she may be dealing with the most powerful enemy she has ever faced.
Dreams and Shadows: A Novel, by C. Robert Cargill (February 26, Harper Voyager)
There is another world than our own. A realm where fairies and djinns, changelings and angels, the stuff of which dreams are made is real. Between this realm and that other lies a veil, a web that muddles the vision of mortal man and keeps him from seeing what is all around him. Sometimes, someone pierces that protective veil. One glimpse of this world can forever transform lives. Just ask Ewan and Colby. The pair were once bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm. Now, Ewan is a musician living in Austin. Colby is coping with the consequences of a childhood wish that still haunts him. Their time in the Limestone Kingdom is little more than a distant memory, but this supernatural world has never forgotten them. Both will learn that fate can never be outrun.
Meet Chesney Arnstruther. Once a mild-mannered insurance actuary, now a full-time crime-fighting superhero. Something is going on. Meet Xaphan, wise-cracking demon and the source of all of Chesney’s powers. He’s been asked by his infernal master to give Chesney whatever he needs. Something is definitely going on. Meet Arthur Wrigley, a modest yet charming older gentleman whose nasty little hobby is fleecing innocent widows. Meet Simon Magus, ancient mystic and magician from Biblical times now very much enamoured of Vegas. And pray you never meet the Chikkichikk, a proud and ancient race of, well, warrior dinosaurs, from the universe that God made then rejected before He started monkeying around with this one.
My name is Calliope Reaper-Jones (Callie to my friends). I’m Death’s Daughter and, as of very recently, the (reluctant) head of my father’s company, Death, Inc. I was gradually learning how to be a businesswoman. Had the power suits and shoes down, though the day to day was slow going. Then I was blindsided by Enemies Unknown and sent off to I-don’t-know-where. Not a good thing. Now not only must my friends and family be frantic, but without a CEO, Death, Inc., can’t function. With the newly deceased left free to roam the Earth, it’s the zombie apocalypse come true. I’ve got to get back, for my sake and the sake of, oh, all humanity.
Young Adult. After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades, the city’s secret ghost-fighting police, are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.
Magic uses blood. The more that’s used, the more powerful the effect, so mages find “volunteers” to fuel their spells. Lem, however, is different. Long ago he set up a rule that lets him sleep at night: never use anyone’s blood but your own. He’s grifting through life as a Trickster. He and his sidekick, Mags, aren’t doing well, but they’re getting by. Until they find young Claire Mannice, bound and gagged, imprisoned in a car’s trunk, and covered with invisible rune tattoos. Lem turns to his estranged mentor for help, but what they’ve uncovered is more terrifying than anybody could have imagined. Mika Renar, the most dangerous Archmage in the world, is preparing to use an ocean of blood to cast her dreams into reality, and Lem just got in her way.
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 daily book blog, Preternatura.