Twenty-five new fantasies slash and parry their way to bookshelves in February, albeit a large number of them directed toward the younger reader. Look for series additions from, among others, Alethea Kontis (Woodcutter Sisters), Ari Marmell (Widdershins Adventures), Brian McClellan (Powder Mage), Evie Manieri (Shattered Kingdoms), Joe Abercrombie (Shattered Sea), James Enge (Tournament of Shadows), and Will Elliott (Pendulum).
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.
Young Adult. The thief Widdershins and her own “personal god,” Olgun, return to their home city of Davillon after almost a year away. While Shins expects only to face the difficulty of making up with her friends, what she actually finds is far, far worse. Her nemesis, Lisette, has returned. Lisette has made a dark pact with supernatural powers that have granted her abilities far greater than anything Widdershins and Olgun can match. Shins must call on both old friends, some of whom haven’t yet forgiven her, and new allies. Even with their help, Widdershins may be required to make the hardest sacrifice of her life, if she is to rid Davillon, and herself, of Lisette once and for all.
Young Adult. Some fine-feathered fairy tales that focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?
Young Adult. For years, a cruel wizard named Ash has been trapped in a magical prison, but now, she is poised to escape and get her revenge by unleashing an army of vicious monsters. Only three stand in her way: Sam, the apprentice of the wizard who imprisoned her, Starback, Sam’s steadfast dragon companion, and Tamrin, a runaway wizard apprentice. Tamrin and Sam have just met, but neither of them can deny the strange force that links them. They must discover the secret behind their connection in order to defeat Ash and protect everything they hold dear. But can two apprentices and a single dragon alone prevent the total destruction of the land they call home? (U.S.)
This never-before-published collection of fourteen funny and inventive tales by Terry Pratchett features a memorable cast of inept wizards, sensible heroes, and unusually adventuresome tortoises. Including more than a hundred black-and-white illustrations, the book celebrates Pratchett’s inimitable wordplay and irreverent approach to the conventions of storytelling. These accessible and mischievous tales are an ideal introduction for young readers to this author. (U.S.)
Draken has seen too much blood: the blood of friends and of enemies alike. Peace is what he wants. Now he must leave his wife and newborn child in an attempt to forge an uneasy peace between the Monoean King and the kingdom of Akrasia. The long bloody shadow of Akrasia’s violent past hangs over his efforts like a shroud. But there are other forces at work. Peace is not something everybody wants, not even in the seemingly straightforward kingdom of Draken’s birth. Factions both known and unknown to Draken vie to undermine his efforts and throw the kingdom into civil war. Forces from his days in the Black Guard prove to be the most enigmatic, and a bloody tide threatens to engulf Draken’s every step.
Omnibus. Dhulyn Wolfshead and Parno Lionsmane are members of the Mercenary Guild, veterans of numerous battles and missions, and masters of martial arts. Dhulyn and Parno are Partners, a Mercenary bond that can only be broken by death. Dhulyn is the last of her tribe, the sole survivor of a terrible massacre when she was a young child. Dhulyn has learned the hardest lessons life has to teach. What she has not learned is to master her Visions, glimpses of the future. Parno has been raised in more civilized lands, and obviously comes from a family of some importance. After saving one of the Marked, those gifted with such powers as the ability to Find, to Mend, to Heal, to See, the two Mercenaries realize that those bent on the Marked’s destruction appear to be under the influence of a priest of the Sleeping God. Not even Dhulyn’s Visions can prepare them for the fate that awaits them.
Young Adult. Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert. Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from or which promise of his it symbolizes, and he barely thinks about it at all, not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend, and future king, Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin. Scarred now as an oathbreaker, Raim has two options: run or die. (U.S.)
A new anthology that includes previously published pieces of short fiction as well as “Black Dog,” a new story exclusive to this collection that revisits the world of American Gods.
An Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0 #3)—Scott Meyer (February 10, 47North)
Ever since Martin Banks and his fellow computer geeks discovered that reality is just a computer program to be happily hacked, they’ve been jaunting back and forth through time, posing as medieval wizards and having the epic adventures that other nerds only dream of having. They never expected to end up at the mercy of the former apprentice whom they sent to prison for gross misuse of magic. Who knew that the vengeful Todd would escape, then conjure a computer game packed with wolves, wenches, wastelands, and assorted harrowing hazards, and trap his former friends inside it? The would-be wizards must brave dangers, technical glitches, and one another’s company if they want to see Medieval England, and their favorite sci-fi movies ever again. Can our heroes survive this? Or will it lead them and their pointy hats into more peril?
Finn Gramaraye was framed for the crime of dark necromancy at the age of 15, and exiled to the Other Realm for twenty five years. But now that he’s free, someone is trying to get him sent back. Finn has only a few days to discover who is so desperate to keep him out of the mortal world, and find evidence to prove it to the Arcane Enforcers. They are going to be very hard to convince, since he’s already been convicted of trying to kill someone with dark magic. Finn has his family: His brother Mort who is running the family necrotorium business now, his brother Pete who believes he’s a werewolf, though he is not, and his sister Samantha who is allergic to magic. He’s got Zeke, a fellow exile and former enforcer, who doesn’t really believe in Finn’s innocence but is willing to follow along in hopes of getting his old job back.
Young Adult. Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood: those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard, a growing Red rebellion, even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
Young Adult. The elves, dwarves and humans all know the alfar to be dark, relentless warriors. In Dson Faimon, the realm of the alfar, the warriors are planning a military campaign. Caphalor and Sinthoras are looking to enlist a powerful demon to strengthen their army, but the two alfar have very different goals. While Caphalor is determined to defend the borders of their empire and no more, the ambitious Sinthoras is intent on invasion: and he has the kingdoms of dwarves, elves, and me firmly in his sights. (U.S.)
Young Adult. The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor. As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world. And she’ll be with the boy she loves, who’s also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes. Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought. And now it’s too late to walk away.
Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing and his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away. With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son. And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed.
Tyvian Reldamar, criminal mastermind, rogue mage, and smuggler of sorcerous goods, has just been betrayed by his longtime partner and left for dead in a freezing river. To add insult to injury, his mysterious rescuer took it upon himself to affix Tyvian with an iron ring that prevents the wearer from any evildoing. Revenge just got complicated. On his quest to get even, Tyvian navigates dark international conspiracies, dodges midnight assassins, and uncovers the plans of the ruthless warlord Banric Sahand, all while running from a Mage-Defender determined to lock him up. Tyvian will need to use every dirty trick in the book to avoid a painful and ignominious end, even as he discovers that sometimes even the world’s most devious man needs a shoulder to lean on. (Digital)
Young Adult. With his parents in jail and the Maya Death Lords in possession of all five Jaguar Stones, fourteen-year-old Max Murphy is pretty sure that he’ll never get to leave the rainforest. But the Lords of Death have a problem, a new king calling himself Great Sun claims to have the Jaguar Stones, too. And they want Max to prove the guy’s a fraud. Or else. Now, Max, and Lola, the mysterious girl who befriends him, are off on another wild adventure that will take them from Central America to New Orleans and up the Mississippi to the lost city at the heart of America’s past. But one thing Max should have learned after all of this dealings with the Death Lords: they never keep their promises.
Victory for the Shadari rebels has come at a terrible price. Hardship, superstition, and petty feuds poison King Daryan’s reign, and entire families are vanishing without a trace. Their Nomas allies have troubles of their own and the Mongrel, plagued by the sins of her violent past, has disappeared. While Daryan struggles to maintain the peace, Eofar and Rho are racing to their northern homeland to plead for the Shadar’s independence. Norland has changed, and they find themselves embroiled in the court politics of an empire about to implode. The Mongrel’s path carries her deep into Norland’s frozen wastes to redeem a promise, one that forces her into the heart of the growing conflict. An enigmatic figure watches from a tower room in Ravindal Castle. She is old, and a prisoner, but her reach is long, and her patience is about to be rewarded. (U.S.)
Young Adult. Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War. Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named a murderer by the very man who trained her to kill. Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior. She finds herself caught up in the schemes of Father Yarvi, Gettland’s deeply cunning minister. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit. Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon. Beside her on the journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill, a failure in his eyes and hers, but with one chance at redemption. And weapons are made for one purpose. Will Thorn forever be a pawn in the hands of the powerful, or can she carve her own path?
Omnibus.The Jewel in the Skull: Dorian Hawkmoon becomes a puppet co-opted by his arch nemesis. He’s been implanted with the Black Jewel, whose power can control his every decision. In the city of Kamarang, Hawkmoon discovers the power inside him to overcome any control, and his vengeance against the Dark Empire is filled with a fury that knows no relent. The Mad God’s Amulet: After withstanding the power of the Black Jewel and saving the city of Hamadan, Hawkmoon set off for Kamarang. Hawkmoon seeks out the peaceful city of Soryandum, which holds the power to transcend the confines of time and space. This power now rests in the hands of the Mad God. Hawkmoon must rip this amulet from the neck of the Mad God to save the city of Kamarang and free his friends and his one true love from the Dark Empire’s relentless wrath.
The Sunkillers (undying enemies of everything that lives and breathes and is an individual) are reaching into the sky of Laent to drain out its light and warmth. Their hope is to scrape sky, land, and sea clean of mortal life and return to where they once dwelled, before the first rising of the sun. Against them stand only the Graith of Guardians, defenders of the peaceful anarchy of the Wardlands. The agents of the Sunkillers are abroad even in the Wardlands. Married now for a century, Morlock Ambrosius and Aloe Oaij will take different paths to counter the threat. As Aloe ferrets out the enemy within the Graith, Morlock joins forces with his sister, Ambrosia Viviana, and confront the Sunkillers in their own realm. Morlock and Aloe think their parting is temporary. They may or may not save the world. They will not save each other, or themselves.
Young Adult. One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale. Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept. As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.
With the Great War over, the Renshai have won back the Fields of Wrath. Tae Kahn, Subikahn’s father, becomes ever more certain that a far larger and fiercer wave of enemy soldiers is headed toward them. One Kjempemagiska and an army of their man-sized servants nearly defeated the continent. Tae is certain the ranks will include hundreds of these strong, magical, Island-dwelling giants. The only hope for the peoples of the continent is to re-gather their war-weary troops and find a way to convince the few magical beings of their own world to assist them. It becomes a race against time as Tae and his friends struggle to convince the Continental generals of the danger, attempt to turn antagonistic mages and elves into allies, spy on the giant Kjempemagiska sorcerers, and seek some means to defeat an enemy powerful beyond contemplation.
If there is anything more dangerous than the Plague itself, it is the journey that awaits those sworn to stop it. Tyrus, the magic-wielder exiled from Kenatos, knows this firsthand. His original mission through the Scourgelands met a tragic end, leaving him as the sole survivor. All hope lies with his daughter, Phae, the gifted Dryad-born who can not only steal memories but also summon the power of the fireblood, and who alone has the power to breach the lost gate of Mirrowen. Phae and the comrades who have come to her aid must survive the most dangerous place on earth: the Scourgelands. The woods prove as treacherous as reputed. Murder, sacrifice, deception, and an epic battle with a beast ensue. Will Phae reach the land beyond the grasp of the deadly Plague, or will the quest through the Scourgelands end in tragedy once again? (Digital; print available April 21).
Eric Albright was a luckless journalist living in London. He had a so-so life, until the day he opened a battered red door that appeared on the wall of a local bridge, and entered Levaal, a magical world between worlds. A place populated by power damaged mages, stone giants, pit devils, and dragons, Levaal’s possible creators, who are imprisoned in a sky prison. The mad Lord Vous rules with an iron fist and is working on a scheme to turn himself into a god. Vous has been defeated so far because Levaal has been contained by the great Wall at World’s End. The Wall at World’s End has been brought down and war is coming to the land. Eric and his newfound friends are forced to flee from the Tormentors, dreadful creatures that have poured through the breach. A mysterious being called Shadow is wandering Levaal with great power but no purpose it yet understands. The end might be coming faster than anyone thinks. (U.S.)
Young Adult. Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. Although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court. She’s the executioner. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company. Then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. He’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Twylla knows what happens to people who cross the queen. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?