Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for January

Eighteen books defy genre-fication in January, including new series titles from, among others, Jo Walton (Thessaly), Melissa Bourbon (Magical Dressmaking), Kresley Cole (Arcana Chronicles), Brandon Sanderson (Reckoners), Michael Moorcock (Sanctuary of the White Friars), Karina Cooper (St. Croix Chronicles), and Cherie Priest (Clockwork Century).

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.

 

WEEK ONE

A Seamless Murder (A Magical Dressmaking Mystery #6)—Melissa Bourbon (January 6, Signet)

Any garment Harlow stitches together has the power to grant the deepest desire of whomever wears it. So when she’s asked to sew aprons for a local women’s group, Harlow must get to know each member. First up is Delta Lee Mobley, who doesn’t care much for Harlow’s family, or anyone else in Bliss, for that matter. Granting Delta’s greatest wish could only lead to trouble. But trouble finds Delta all the same. The day after Harlow delivers her apron, Delta’s body is discovered in the cemetery. It seems one of the townsfolk harbored ill will toward one of their own. Harlow’s sleuthing skills are a cut above the rest, and with a few magical tricks up her sleeve, she is determined to cuff this killer once and for all.

Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3)—Kresley Cole (January 6, Simon & Schuster)

Young Adult. Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her, until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, The Lovers. She will do anything to save him. Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on The Lovers and the vast army they command. The only way to kill them once and for all may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana or convincing Jack and Death to work together. Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will they be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first?

Dead Wrong (A Rho Agenda Novel #2)—Richard Phillips (January 6, 47North)

Ex-CIA assassin Jack Gregory has been hired for a singular mission: to journey to South America and rescue an imprisoned shaman. Shaman Tupac Inti is destined to unite Bolivia’s indigenous people and bring down the corrupt government. Jack isn’t the only one trying to track down the shaman. For only Tupac knows the location of the immeasurably powerful Sun Staff, and both the National Security Agency and neo-Nazis are hot on his trail, and neither group plans to let him live. The clock is ticking, and Jack must find and rescue Tupac before more sinister forces get to the shaman first. When Jack comes face-to-face with his equal he wonders if he can still pull the trigger and save his mission, even if the decision costs him his very soul.

Firefight (Reckoners #2)—Brandon Sanderson (January 6, Delacorte)

Young Adult. They told David it was impossible, that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet Steelheart is dead. He died by David’s hand. Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. It only made David realize he has questions. There’s no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs. Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. Entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble. Killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. He filled that hole with another Epic, Firefight. He’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

Murder (Mayhem #2)—Sarah Pinborough (January 6, Jo Fletcher Books)

Continuing the adventures of Victorian forensics expert Dr. Thomas Bond. Haunted by the events he endured during the Jack the Ripper and Thames Torso Killer investigations, Dr. Bond is trying to reestablish the normal routines of daily life. Aiding in his recovery is the possibility that his affections for the recently widowed Juliana Harrington might finally be reciprocated. A new suitor arrives in London, challenging the doctor’s claims on Juliana’s happiness. It seems the evil creature that Dr. Bond had wrestled with during the Ripper and Torso Killer investigations is back and stronger than ever. As the corpses of murdered children begin to turn up in the Thames, the police surgeon finds himself once again in a life-and-death struggle with an uncanny, inexorable foe. (U.S. Release)

Rogue Wave (Waterfire Saga #2)—Jennifer Donnelly (January 6, Disney)

Young Adult. Serafina, Neela, Ling, Ava, Becca, and Astrid, six mermaids from realms scattered throughout the seas and freshwaters, were summoned by the leader of the river witches to learn an incredible truth: the mermaids are direct descendants of the Six Who Ruled; powerful mages who once governed the lost empire of Atlantis. The ancient evil that destroyed Atlantis is stirring again. They need to find magical talismans that belonged to the Six. Serafina believes her talisman was buried with an old shipwreck. She is almost discovered by a death rider patrol led by someone familiar. Neela travels to Matali to warn her parents of the threat facing their world. She travels to Kandina, where her talisman is in the possession of razormouth dragons. Both Serafina and Neela face down danger and death, only to endure a game-changing betrayal, as shocking as a rogue wave.

Some of the Best from Tor.Com: 2014—Various Authors (January 6, Tor)

A collection of some of the best original short fiction published on Tor.com in 2014. Includes stories by Charlie Jane Anders, Dale Bailey, Kelly Barnhill, Richard Bowes, Marie Brennan, Adam Christopher, John Chu, A. M. Dellamonica, Ruthanna Emrys, Max Gladstone, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Nicola Griffith, Maria Dahvana Headley, Pasi Ilmari Jaskääläinen, Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, Seanan Mcguire, Daniel José Older, Mary Rickert, John Scalzi, Veronica Schanoes, Genevieve Valentine, Jo Walton, Kai Ashante Wilson, Ray Wood, and Isabel Yap. (Digital)

The Ghosts of HeavenMarcus Sedgwick (January 6, Roaring Brook Press)

Four linked stories chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet’s obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book’s final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. (U.S. Release)

 

WEEK TWO

AmnesiaPeter Carey (January 13, Knopf)

When Gaby Baillieux releases the Angel Worm into Australia’s prison computer system, hundreds of asylum-seekers walk free. Because the Americans run the prisons, the doors of some five thousand jails in the United States also open. Is this a mistake, or a declaration of cyber war? And does it have anything to do with the largely forgotten Battle of Brisbane between American and Australian forces in 1942? Or with the CIA-influenced coup in Australia in 1975? Felix Moore, known to himself as “our sole remaining left-wing journalist,” is determined to write Gaby’s biography in order to find the answers, to save her, his own career, and, perhaps, his country. But how to get Gaby, on the run, scared, confused, and angry, to cooperate? (U.S. Release)

The Just City (Thessaly #1)—Jo Walton (January 13, Tor)

Created as an experiment by the goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by children and adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future. The student Simmea, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, who prayed to Pallas Athene during a trip to Rome, and, found herself in the Just City with Athene standing before her. Apollo, stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does, has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. A few years in, Sokrates arrives, the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself, to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect.

The Whispering Swarm (Sanctuary of the White Friars #1)—Michael Moorcock (January 13, Tor)

Back in the Thirteenth Century, King Henry III granted a plot of land in the heart of London to an order of Friars known as the Carmelites. They entered into a compact with God to guard a holy object. This sanctuary became a refuge for many of ill-repute, as the Friars cast no judgment and took in all who were in search of solace. Known as Alsatia, it did not suffer like the rest of the world. Within its walls lies a secret to existence, one that has been kept since the dawn of time, a bevy of creation, where reality and romance, life and death, imaginary and real share the same world. One young man’s entrance into this realm sends a shockwave of chaos through time. What lies at the center of this sacred realm is threatened for the first time in human existence. (U.S. Release)

And the Burned Moths Remain: A Tor.Com OriginalBenjanun Sirduangkaew (January 14, Tor)

The shape of treason is a trunk of thorns, and Jingfei climbs knowing forgiveness waits at the zenith. But for the traitorous Record of Tiansong, who let their planet burn under the guns of the Hegemony, a second treason may be the only escape from their eternal prison. (Digital)

 

WEEK THREE

Angels & ExilesYves Meynard (January 20, ChiZine)

In these twelve tales, ranging from baroque science fiction to bleak fantasy, Yves Meynard brings to life wonders and horrors. From space travelers who must rid themselves of the sins their souls accumulate in transit, to a young man whose love transcends time; from refugees in a frozen hold at the end of space, to a city drowning under the weight of its architectural prayer; from an alien Jerusalem that has corrupted the Earth, to a land still bleeding from the scars of a supernatural war; here are windows opened onto astonishing vistas, stories written with a scientist’s laser focus alloyed with a poet’s sensibilities.

The King of the Cracksmen: A Steampunk Entertainment—Dennis O’Flaherty (January 20, Night Shade)

The year is 1877. Automatons and steam-powered dirigible gunships have transformed the United States in the aftermath of the Civil War. All of the country’s land west of the Mississippi was sold to Russia nearly fifty years earlier. Lincoln is still president, having never been assassinated, but he’s not been seen for six months. The country is being run as a police state by his former secretary of war Edwin Stanton. Liam McCool is an outlaw, known among other crooks as “King of the Cracksmen.” McCool’s been trying to keeping the heat off him long enough to escape to San Francisco with his sweetheart Maggie. When she turns up murdered, McCool discovers a trail that looks to lead to the top of Stanton’s criminal organization.

 

WEEK FOUR

The Great Zoo of ChinaMatthew Reilly (January 27, Gallery Books)

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years. They have found a species of animal no one believed even existed. It will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing discovery within the greatest zoo ever constructed. A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see its fabulous creatures for the first time. Among them is Dr. Cassandra Jane ‘CJ’ Cameron, a writer for National Geographic and an expert on reptiles. The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that they are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong. Of course it can’t. (U.S. Release)

The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2)—Samantha Shannon (January 27, Bloomsbury)

Young Adult. Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London. As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. The Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on.

Transmuted (The St. Croix Chronicles #6)—Karina Cooper (January 26, Carina Press)

All is not peaceful in the wake of the Midnight Menagerie’s ruin. Although the Karakash Veil has been forced to flee its stronghold, the mysterious head of the criminal organization is not content to fade away. Above the foggy drift, a priceless diamond vanishes. In the dangerous Underground, a murderous rampage demands retribution. The hunt for the mastermind behind these misdeeds sends me back to Society, and into the unforgiving embrace of the world I’d left behind. Enemies, allies, and a man who struggles with a nature even devotion cannot tame. I must create balance in the world I have chosen, and with the people I have come to love. The game has changed; should the Veil achieve the immortality it craves, I will have nowhere left to run. (Digital)

Jacaranda (The Clockwork Century #6)—Cherie Priest (January 31, Subterranean Press)

On the island of Galveston lies a hotel called the Jacaranda. In its single year of operation, two dozen people have died there. The Rangers know a man who might be willing to investigate. Horatio Korman crosses the water from the mainland, and hopes for the best. One of the Jacaranda’s guests sees time running out, so she seeks an authority of a different sort: a priest from El Huizache who is good at solving problems and keeping secrets. Eileen Callahan has a problem to solve, and a secret to keep. She sends a message that could save them all. Juan Miguel Quintero Rios broke a promise to the Virgin, and so he was punished, but his intentions were pure, so he was also blessed. Now he walks the southwest with second sight and a tattoo across his back: ’’Deo, non Fortuna’’, By God, not chance. The former gunslinger and makes for the Jacaranda Hotel. This novella takes place 20 years after the events of Fiddlehead but are unrelated to the main story arc.


Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, including the upcoming Pirate’s Alley. You can find Suzanne on Twitter and on her daily blog, Preternatura.

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