Twenty-six new fantasies are abloom in May, masking the stealthy genre takeover by young adults! New releases including series additions from, among others, Michelle West (The House War), Ryk E. Spoor (Balanced Sword), Luke Scull (Grim Company), Barb Hendee (Mist-Torn Witches), David Dalglish (Shadowdance), Jeffe Kennedy (The Twelve Kingdoms), and Peter Orullian (Vault of Heaven). Also look for Nos. 19-24 in the Game of Thrones graphic novel series and the ninth “best of sf/f” anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan.
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. Azeril is a ward of the Church, and their most cunning weapon. By day he hides in plain sight as a student, but with his beloved obsidian knife, he also kills wizards. Az has no memory of his life before the Church, until one night, when a wizard recognizes him from his past. The killer in Az never misses his mark, but he can’t destroy the only potential link to his life before this. For the first time, Az has a lead on who he used to be, if only he could escape the watchful eye of the High Priest long enough to investigate. Azeril discovers that the line between good and evil, the primal forces of the Fire and the Chasm, is as shifting as his own moral compass. And the truth about who he is will put his entire world in danger.
Young Adult. When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin, one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it, or doom Tamlin, and his world, forever.
Young Adult. When Rachelle was fifteen, she was good, apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. She was also reckless, straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat. Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand, Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. They uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?
Young Adult. Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that’s been left to rot. Hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon’s eye: the key to true darkness and the villains’ only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it…who will it be? Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon’s eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the dragon’s eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.
Beneath the streets of Averalaan lie the three Princes of the firstborn, doomed to sleep until the end of days. When gods walked the world, they feared the Sleepers. If the Sleepers wake, the city will not survive, and the Sleepers are waking. House Terafin has already felt the consequences of their stirring. To save the city, and the House over which she rules, Jewel Markess ATerafin must go to face the Oracle. At no time in Terafin’s history has it faced the dangers it now faces. Jewel has always seen unpredictable glimpses of the future, images of death and destruction which she cannot control and cannot always understand. She chooses to walk the path of the Oracle. She carries the only hope of the Winter Queen. Ancient creatures stalk winter skies at the behest of the demons who mean to ensure that she will never reach the Oracle’s side. Secrets, hidden from all but the firstborn, will finally be brought to light. Choices will be made, and paths chosen, from which there will be no return.
When Kyri Vantage, Phoenix Justiciar of Myrionar, with the help of her companions Tobimar Silverun of Skysand and the unexpectedly dangerous little Toad, Poplock Duckweed, defeated monstrous killer Thornfalcon and unmasked a conspiracy of treacherous False Justiciars, she knew the job was only partly done. A dark power stirs on the far side of the terrifying Rivendream Pass. Now, as the world shudders at the arrival of the Black City, of the King of All Hells, Kyri, Tobimar, and Poplock must venture beyond Rivendream Pass and into Moonshade Hollowa place from which none have ever returned. What they find there will challenge everything they believe in and conceals a menace they cannot imagine.
As Davarus Cole and his former companions were quick to discover, the White Lady’s victorious liberation of Dorminia has not resulted in the freedom they once imagined. Anyone perceived as a threat has been seized and imprisoned, or exiled to darker regions, leaving the White Lady’s rule unchallenged and absolute. But the White Lady would be wiser not to spurn her former supporters: Eremul the Halfmage has learned of a race of immortals known as the Fade, and if he cannot convince the White Lady of their existence, all of humanity will be in danger. Far to the north, Brodar Kayne and Jerek the Wolf continue their odyssey to the High Fangs only to find themselves caught in a war between a demon horde and their enemy of old, the Shaman. And in the wondrous city of Thelassa, Sasha must overcome demons of her own. (U.S. Release)
Dhulyn Wolfshead and Parno Lionsmane are members of the Mercenary Guild, veterans of numerous battles and missions, and masters of martial arts. But more than that, Dhulyn and Parno are Partners, a Mercenary bond that can only be broken by death. This is the second and final omnibus volume of Violette Malan’s Dhulyn and Parno series, including The Storm Witch and Path of the Sun.
Young Adult. When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help. As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.
The citadel has long been the stronghold of Highkell. All that is about to change because the traitor, Vasic, is marching on the capital. Against her better judgement, Queen Alwenna allows herself to be spirited away by one of the Crown’s most trusted servants, safe from the clutches of the throne’s would-be usurper. Fleeing across country, she quickly comes to learn that her pampered existence has ill-equipped her for survival away from the comforts of the court. Alwenna must toughen up, and fast, if she is even to make it to a place of safety. But she has an even loftier aim, for after dreaming of her husband’s impending death, Alwenna knows she must turn around and head back to Highkell to save the land she loves, and the husband who adores her, or die in the attempt. But Vasic the traitor is waiting. And this was all just as he planned.
When seers Céline and Amelie Fawe fled Shetâna under threat of death, they vowed never to return. Yet, less than a year later, they are summoned back, to aid the man who once tried to kill them. The cruel prince Damek is on the verge of closing marriage negotiations with the powerful family of a young noblewoman when his intended’s sister is murdered. To keep the engagement from falling through, Damek must expose the killer quickly, and he needs the seers’ powers to do so. Though the Fawes’ patron, Prince Anton, fears that bringing Céline and Amelie to Shetâna places them in grave danger, he is honor-bound to help his brother Damek. Only none of them is prepared for the peril that awaits them at Castle Kimovesk, for someone in the court is determined to prevent the marriage from happening, no matter how deadly the cost.
Haern the Watcher returns to his beloved city of Veldaren, only to find it has collapsed into chaos. The Sun Guild has conquered the former thief guilds, destroying the peace Haern fought so hard to obtain. The Trifect is their next target, and Alyssa Gemcroft must reach out to whatever allies she can obtain, even if it means casting aside longtime friends. As the chaos grows, so does the power of the dark god Karak who lays siege to Veldaren. If the city falls, the world will suffer greatly. The legendary Thren Felhorn, broken, guileless, and rejected by his own son, holds the fate of the entire city in his hands. Unless Haern can stop his father, Thren will at last have the legacy of fire and destruction he has always desired.
The death of King Robert Baratheon and the imprisonment of his Hand, Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell, has set the great houses of Westeros at one another’s throats. In Winterfell, Eddard’s eldest son and heir, Robb Stark, has gathered an army and is pushing south, determined to free his father. He pledges to marry the daughter of Lord Walder Frey in exchange for a military advantage that allows him to capture Jaime Lannister. In King’s Landing, King Joffrey has other ideas than an exchange of prisoners. He ignites a conflagration that seems likely to consume not only the Starks but all of Westeros. Beyond the Wall, greater dangers are brewing, bringing unnatural creatures out of legend. Eddard’s bastard, Jon Snow, must decide where his loyalties lie. Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen will learn the true measure of grief, and emerge from its fiery depths transformed and ready to claim what is hers by right: the Iron Throne.
In the two months since her fall from the City, Xhea has hidden in skyscraper Edren, attempting to heal. Shai has stayed by her side, but the ghost’s very presence has sent untold fortunes into Edren’s coffers and dangerously unbalanced the Lower City’s political balance. War is brewing. Beyond Edren’s walls, the other skyscrapers have heard tell of the Radiant ghost and the power she holds; rumors, too, speak of the girl who sees ghosts who might be the key to controlling that power. Shai’s magic is not the only prize, nor the only power that could change everything. Xhea begins to learn of her strange dark magic, and why whispers of its presence are enough to make the Lower City elite tremble in fear. Xhea and Shai may have the power to stop a war, or become a weapon great enough to bring the City to its knees. If the magic doesn’t destroy them first.
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine—edited by Jonathan Strahan (May 12, Solaris)
Distant worlds, time travel, epic adventure, unseen wonders and much more. The best, most original and brightest science fiction and fantasy stories from around the globe from the past twelve months are brought together in one collection. Includes stories from Joe Abercrombie, Eleanor Arnason, Polo Bacigalupi, Elizabeth Bear, Lauren Beukes, Holly Black, Greg Egan, Amal El-Mohtar, Theodora Goss, Nicola Griffith, James Patrick Kelly, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Alice Sola Kim, Ellen Klages, Kelly Link, Ken Liu, Usman Malik, Tim Maughan, Ian McDonald, Garth Nix, K.J. Parker, Karl Schroeder, Michael Swanwick, Rachel Swirsky, Genevieve Valentine, Peter Watts, and Kai Ashante Wilson.
Young Adult. Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch, she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
Young Adult. With a song, Lucy can control the wind and the water; she can bring castles and kingdoms to their feet. Since Lucy mastered her powers, King Henry has kept her close as he’s rebuilt England. He’s called her to investigate attempted murder: His men claim they were almost killed on the Thames—a mermaid. All Lucy can glean from the creature they’ve captured is a warning: The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all. Then the floods begin. People scramble to defend themselves against the water, and the monsters, that are flooding their streets. The king relies on Nat, Lucy’s great love, to guide them through the storm. Nat is cold and distant to Lucy. He swore his love only a year before, and now he calls her “stranger.” Lucy is determined to defeat this powerful new magic alone if she must. Then she hears an eerie song within the water, can it mean that she’s not the last Chantress after all?
Young Adult. What if the world holds more dangers, and more wonders, than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then, as every good adventure begins, the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he’s a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations, or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path.
The wagons travel north across the mountains, carrying cargo of great value: Hamveltai glass and porcelain; Deslandai jewelry in heavy iron strongboxes; fine cloth from the cities of the Old Coast. And Abraham. Bound and tied, guarded day and night, Abraham has been stolen from his village, from the arms of the man he loved. He is being sent to the fortress-city of Elysium to serve a dark and ancient order, the Priests of the Black. They have discovered the secret he kept all his life: that inside him dwells a demon which allows him to heal, and to kill. But Abraham is not alone. A young woman named Alex, similarly possessed, rides with him. And as a bond grows between them, they begin to wonder if they can turn the demons that have damned them into their salvation. (Digital)
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows, everyone knows, that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
A book that gives its wielder power over the dead has been stolen from a fellowship of mages. The thief, a crafty, power-hungry necromancer, intends to use the Book of Lost Souls to resurrect an ancient race and challenge Shroud for dominion of the underworld. Shroud counters by sending his most formidable servants to seize the artifact. The god is not the only one interested in the Book, and a host of other forces converge. Among them is a reluctant Guardian who is commissioned by the Emperor to find the stolen Book, a troubled prince, and a young girl of great power, whose past prepares her for an encounter with Shroud. The greatest threat to each of their quests lies not in the horror of an undead army but in the risk of betrayal from those closest to them. Each of their decisions comes at a personal cost and will not only affect them, but also determine the fate of their entire empire.
Devin Roche, the sixth and youngest son of the Chancellor Elite of Llise, has trained as an archivist in Vienne’s prestigious Academie. When the Master Bard of Perouse dies without passing on the oral Chronicle of his province, Devin embarks on a quest to collect and preserve all of the provinces’ Chronicles with his best friend, Gaspard, and his bodyguard, Marcus. But as the trio travel through the empire they discover that vicious wolf packs are not the only danger to be faced. Rumors are rife of entire communities disappearing and of Master Bards being picked off by assassins. Devin fears that these terrible circumstances are directly related to his endeavor, but what could his father’s government possibly have to hide? (Digital; print available November 2015)
The newly crowned Prince Jared, ruler of All Archenfield, has inherited a kingdom in crisis. The murder of his older brother has revealed a traitorous plot in his court, calling into question who, if anyone, Jared can trust as he ascends the throne. Now the realm is on the brink of invasion from the brutal princes of Paddenburg and Jared must travel to neighboring kingdoms in search of allies to defend his throne. Little does he know that an even more dangerous plot is hatching in the Archenfield court, one that threatens to remove Jared from power. One put in motion by the very people he left in charge.
Three daughters were born to High King Uorsin, in place of the son he wanted. The youngest, lovely and sweet. The middle, pretty and subtle, with an air of magic. And the eldest, the Heir. A girl grudgingly honed to leadership, not beauty, to bear the sword and honor of the king. Ursula’s loyalty is as ingrained as her straight warrior’s spine. She protects her father to prove her worth. She never imagined her loyalty would become an open question on palace grounds. That her father would receive her with a foreign witch at one side and a hireling captain at the other, that soldiers would look on her as a woman, not as a warrior. She also never expected to decide the destiny of her sisters, of her people, of the Twelve Kingdoms and the Thirteenth. Not with her father still on the throne and war in the air. But the choice is before her. And the Heir must lead.
The gods who created this world have abandoned it. They chained the rogue god, and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind, in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that contains them has protected humankind for millennia. The Veil has become weak and creatures of Nightmare have come through. The races of men must form a great alliance to try and stop the creatures. One king won’t answer the call. Another would see Convocation fail for his own political advantage. Some turn to the talents of the Sheason, who can shape the very essence of the world to their will. Tahn Junell remembers friends who despaired in a place left barren by war. Tahn sees something else at work and wonders about the nature of the creatures on the other side of the Veil. He goes to a place of his youth, daring to think he can find a way to prevent war. His choices may reshape a world.
The Empire is Shrouded, not only by the barrier that covers the land, but by the lies and oppression of the mierothi regime. Magic is the privilege of the elite, and the people of this shadowed country have forgotten what it means to hope under their rule. But there are some who would resist, with plans put into motion millennia before. For returned to the Empire is a valynkar, servant of the god of light, and with him comes the strength and cunning that could tip the scales to end the Emperor’s reign. He has gathered a group of heroes ready to ignite the flame of rebellion and fight against the dark power that has ruled for nearly two thousand years. A power that has champions of its own. (Digital)