Barnes & Noble Bookseller’s Picks

Barnes & Noble Bookseller’s Picks for August

For over a decade, Jim Killen has served as the science fiction and fantasy book buyer for Barnes & Noble. Every month on the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog and, Jim shares his curated list of the month’s can’t-miss new SF/F releases.

Falling in Love with Hominids, by Nalo Hopinkinson (August 11, Tachyon Publications—Paperback)

hominidsThe award-winning author of Midnight Robber and Brown Girl in the Ring returns with a collection of fantastical short fiction, assembling a decade’s worth of stories of magic and the supernatural intersecting with everyday life. From stories of the apocalypse to tales of unsettled spirits, Hopkinson finds the odds threads woven throughout our reality and picks at them, revealing a far stranger tapestry beneath.


Fool’s Quest, by Robin Hobb (August 11, Del Rey—Hardcover)

fools-questThe story of Fitz and the Fool continues in the sequel to last year’s Fool’s Assassin, which picked up the story that began in the earlier Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies. This monumental installment upends so much that has gone before, revealing hidden truths and long-brewing conspiracies that will change everything for FitzChivalry Farseer as he races to recover his kidnapped daughter even as his lifelong companion the Fool, near death, plots a dangerous mission of revenge.


Kitty Saves the World, by Carrie Vaughn (August 4, Tor Books—Paperback)

kitty-savesThe long-running series following the exploits of Kitty Norville, werewolf and late-night radio talk show host, comes to an end with its 14th installment. When Kitty and her allies fail in their attempt to assassinate Dux Bellorum, the sinister lord of the vampires, the stage is set for him to move forward with his world-destroying endgame. Naturally, it’s up to Kitty to save the day one final time, and the climactic showdown will prove immensely satisfying for all the readers who have followed her this far.


Magic Shifts, by Ilona Andrews (August 4, Ace Books—Hardcover)

magic-shiftsThe eighth novel in the urban fantasy series following Kate Daniels, mercenary-turned-investigator, and her werewolf mate Curran Lennart in a world still experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of a magical apocalypse. The pair has broken off from Lennart’s pack and are trying to figure out how they live now, but are soon pulled back into the thick of things as they investigate the disappearance of one of Kate’s old mercenary friends, and discover something rotten is going on within the Mercenary Guild, something that indicates an ancient evil has arisen and has a taste for destruction.


Nightwise, by R.S. Belcher (August 18, Tor Books—Hardcover)

nightwiseLaytham Ballard is a legend in the supernatural underworld, said to have raised the dead, stolen the Philosopher’s Stone, and survived an encounter with the Mosquito Queen. But when he makes a promise to a dying friend to avenge a murderer committed by a Serbian wizard, Ballard is pulled into his most dangerous adventure yet, one that will come to encompass magical computer hacking, the U.S. financial system, the 9/11 attacks, and a warrior trucker. It’s the start of a fast and funny new urban fantasy series from the author of The Six-Gun Tarot.


The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard (August 18, Roc—Hardcover)

shattered-wingsA war in Heaven comes to Paris in this new fantasy from the award-winning author of the Obsidian and Blood series. The City of Light has been ravaged by fallen angels and a magical conflict, destroying most landmarks and causing the Seine to run permanently black with ash. Yet the Great Houses—the once-powerful magic holders that ruled the city—still wish to control it. Once feared, House Silverspires is now in ruins, and three of its members—a fallen angel, an addict alchemist, and a young man wielding strange magicks—must work together if they hope to save the house, themselves, and the city. de Bodard deftly mixes spy story tropes worthy of Le Carré into a wholly original magical landscape.


The End of All Things, by John Scalzi (August 11, Tor Books—Hardcover)

scalzi-thingsScalzi returns to space opera with a direct sequel to 2013’s The Human Division and the sixth novel overall in his Old Man’s War universe. Structured as four related novellas, The End of All Things follows four different protagonists as they investigate a conspiracy by a group known as the Equilibrium, determined to unseat the two reigning powers in the galaxy: the human Colonial Union and the alien Conclave. From the fast-paced, cinematic storytelling, to the well-drawn characters, to his trademark humor, Scalzi is working at the top of his game in what may be the farewell (for a while anyway) to his long-running series.


The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin (August 4, Orbit—Paperback)

fifth-seasonThe author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms begins the Broken Earth, a new epic fantasy trilogy set in a world rent by a series of apocalyptic events. Essun and her children are orogenes, sharing the magical ability to control natural forces. Orogenes are hated and feared in equal measure, and shortly after Essun’s secret is revealed, her husband murders her son and her daughter disappears. Essun sets off to find her, and her journey will take readers across a ravaged, sparsely populated landscape and deep into her hidden past, as she fights to save at least one small part of a world already lost.


The Sword of the South, by David Weber (August 4, Baen Books—Hardcover)

sword-southThe first installment of a new epic fantasy set in the same universe as Weber’s War God series. Kenhodan doesn’t know his name, and doesn’t remember his past. He’s covered in scars, possesses fearsome skills in battle, and feels compelled by a terrible purpose…only he’s not sure what it is. Wencit of Rm, the world’s most powerful wizard, holds the key to unlocking the warrior’s past, but refuses to give him the answers he seeks, lest it upset his role in a centuries-long battle to protect the world from the poison of dark magic. Kenhodan must choose who to trust—and who to fight—and if he chooses wrong, it could mean the end of everything.


The Veil, by Chloe Neill (August 4, NAL—Paperback)

veilThe author of the Chicagoland Vampire novels launches a new urban fantasy series in a new city. But this is hardly the New Orleans we know: seven years have passed since a magical cataclysm collapsed the Veil between the human and otherworldly realms. A supernatural war has ravaged the U.S., and though the Veil has been patched, evil wraiths still haunt the land, magic is outlawed, and the Big Easy is divided, with all those with paranormal powers confined to a walled area known as the District. Claire Connolly has a secret—she is a Sensitive, changed by the magic seeping through the Veil. Because revealing the truth would force her relocation to the District, Claire keeps quiet, even as her powers grow unchecked. Then she makes the mistake of using her magic to save a human in public, an act witnessed by Liam Quinn, a bounty hunter with no love for weak-minded Sensitives. He agrees to look the other way as long as Claire finds the teacher she needs, but the increasing frequency of wraith attacks around the city means time may have already run out.


Three Moments of an Explosion, by China Miéville (August 4, Del Rey—Hardcover)

mieville-explosionIcebergs float in the sky above London, derelict oil rigs emerge from the sea, and dead things refuse to stay buried in this chilling collection of short stories, Miéville’s first work for adults since 2011. These 28 tales of modern malaise, urban decay, environmental upheaval, and the unnameable, indefinable unease of existence will appeal to both longtime followers and mainstream readers of the likes of Kelly Link and George Saunders.



Operation S.I.N.: Agent Carter, by Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis (August 25, Marvel Comics—Paperback)

agent-carterThis tie-in to Marvel’s Original S.I.N. crossover event heads back in time to the 1950s, following Peggy Carter and Howard Stark on a mission to uncover the secrets behind a strange alien power source that appears in Russia. Also eager to lay claim to this potentially world-changing technology: a new terrorist organization calling itself Hydra.



Superman: The Men of Tomorrow, Geoff Johns, John Romita, Jr. and Klaus Janson (August 11, DC Comics—Hardcover)

supermanA new creative team takes over the Man of Steel—writer Geoff Johns and legendary Marvel artist John Romita, Jr., joining DC for the first time—and shakes things up. Another alien with superpowers and a mysterious past appears. What is Superman’s connection to Ulysses, the Man of Tomorrow?



This post was published simultaneously on the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.


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