New Books: 13 April 2021

Anders, Charlie Jane: Victories Greater Than Death

(Tor Teen 978-1-250-31731-5, $15.99, 288pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, April 13, 2021)

A young-adult SF novel and the first in the Unstoppable trilogy, centering around a sleeper-agent alien teenager on Earth whose part in an intergalactic war is bigger than she thinks.

 “It’s properly, wickedly exciting – I devoured it! How Anders packs so much power and energy into her prose is astonishing. These characters – and the adrenalin, the sheer excitement- will live on in my head long after the last page. Glorious. And the most amazing thing of all is her imagination – to think of a new evil superpower for a villain should be impossible. Completely impossible. Everything’s been done, every sodding thing. Until this arrives. Dazzling. Horrifying. GENIUS. A beautiful book. I loved it, can you tell?!”

―Russell T. Davies


Boyden, Alina: Gifting Fire

(Ace 978-1-9848-0548-5, $16.14, 400pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, audio, April 13, 2021)

Fantasy novel and the sequel to Boyden’s Stealing Thunder. Razia must secure the province of Zindh, a land surrounded by enemies, and loyal to a rebel queen who has survived her father’s purge. But when her old tormentor Prince Karim invades her new home and forces her into a marriage alliance, Razia finds herself trapped in the women’s quarters of a foreign palace, with her beloved Prince Arjun exiled from her side.


Bruno, Rhett C.: Vicarious

(Aethon 978-1-949890723, $19.99, 416pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, April 13, 2021)

SF novel set in a world where people spend all their time within virtual realities with digital entertainment. Asher Reinhart volunteers to help run a reality show about people who believe they’re the last of humanity, living on an interstellar ark.


Coatsworth, J. Scott, ed.: Fix the World

(Other Worlds Ink 9781732307582, $16.99, 252pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, April 10, 2021)

Original anthology of 12 SF stories, one reprint, about ways to fix the world. Authors include J.G. Follansbee, D.M. Rasch, and Anthea Sharp.


Hardaker, Caroline: Composite Creatures

(Angry Robot US 978-0-85766-902-5, $11.23, 400pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, audio, April 13, 2021)

In a society where self-preservation is as much an art as a science, Norah and Arthur are learning how to co-exist in their new little world. Though they hardly know each other, everything seems to be going perfectly – from the home they’re building together to the ring on Norah’s finger.

But survival in this world is a tricky thing, the air is thicker every day and illness creeps fast through the body. And the earth is becoming increasingly hostile to live in. Fortunately, Easton Grove is here for that in the form of a perfect little bundle to take home and harvest. You can live for as long as you keep it – or her – close.


Henry, Christina: Near the Bone

(Penguin Random House/Berkley 978-0-593199763, $14.99, 336pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, audio, April 13, 2021)

Horror novel. Mattie lives alone on a mountain with William, who must not be angered — and evidence of a new, dangerous beast and the arrival of strangers mean trouble.


Knight, Edward J.: Gunslinger

(WordFire Press 978-1-68057-166-0, $34.99, 308pp, formats: trade paperback, hardcover, ebook, April 7, 2021)

They say girls can’t be gunslingers. Beth’s gonna prove ’em wrong. Even if she has to fight a dragon to do it.

The ghost of Calamity Jane gave her the gun. Wild Bill Hickok taught her to shoot. And at 16, she’s ready to make a name of her own. So when strange assailants murder a visiting Arapaho shaman, Beth straps on her Colt .45. She must find the killers, defeat their dragon, and prevent the destruction of the West.


Lawrence, Mark: The Girl and the Mountain

(Ace 978-1-9848-0602-4, $24.49, 384pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, April 13, 2021)

Fantasy novel, the second of the Books of the Ice series and set in the same world as the Books of the Ancestor trilogy.

Yaz has lost her friends and found her enemies. She has a mountain to climb, and even if she can break the Hidden God’s power, her dream of a green world lies impossibly far to the south, across a vast emptiness of ice. Before the journey can even start, she has to find out what happened to the ones she loves and save those that can be saved.


Lévai, Jessica: The Night Library of Sternendach: A Vampire Opera in Verse

(Lanternfish Press 978-1-941360-51-4, $14.00, 152pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, April 13, 2021)

Kunigunde is destined to become the next in a long line of Heller clan vampire hunters—but her soul is drawn to books, poetry, and the vampire Graf. Set in 1960s Europe, The Night Library of Sternendach is an unabashedly melodramatic opera-in-sonnets that weaves a sweeping, suspenseful tale readers won’t be able to put down.


Llywelyn, Morgan: Breath by Breath

(Tor 978-0-7653-8872-8, $19.59, 240pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, April 13, 2021)

Apocalyptic near-future SF thriller novel, the third in the Step by Step trilogy. The residents of Sycamore River have weathered the Change and the nuclear war it provoked. They emerge to try to build a life from the shattered remains of their town. But for some, the very air has become toxic.


Lostetter, Marina: The Helm of Midnight

(Tor 978-1-250-75705-0, $22.99, 464pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, audio, April 13, 2021)

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power — the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city.

Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question. It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.

“Lostetter expertly balances the thrill of discovery with the interpersonal consequences of an isolated community. The tools of speculative fiction are deployed with heart-rending attention to emotional reality in this enthralling odyssey. A striking adventure story that could hold a galaxy in its scope.” ― Kirkus Reviews, starred review”


Noni, Lynette: The Prison Healer

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 978-0-358-43455-9, $15.99, 416pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, April 13, 2021)

Young-adult dark fantasy novel. Prison healer Kiva is ordered to keep the captured Rebel Queen alive, despite the upcoming Trial by Ordeal.


Remizov, Alexei: The Little Devil and Other Stories

(Columbia University Press 978-0-2311-8381-9, $40.00, 336pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, April 13, 2021)

A collection of 13 stories, many drawing on elements of Russian fairy tales, by one of Russia’s most noted symbolist writers. Translated by Antonina W. Bouis. Part of the Russian Library series.


Rossner, Rena: The Light of the Midnight Stars

(Orbit US/Redhook 978-0-316-48346-9, $23.49, 416pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, April 13, 2021)

Deep in the Hungarian woods, the sacred magic of King Solomon lives on in his descendants. Gathering under the midnight stars, they perform small miracles and none are more gifted than the great Rabbi Isaac and his three daughters, Hannah, Sarah, and Levana. The sisters will have to make an impossible choice in an effort to survive – and change the fate of their family forever.


Rupprecht, Christoph, ed.: Multispecies Cities: Solarpunk Urban Futures

(World Weaver Press 978-1734054521, $15.95, 340pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, April 13, 2021)

Cities are alive, shared by humans and animals, insects and plants, landforms and machines. What might city ecosystems look like in the future if we strive for multispecies justice in our urban settings? In these more-than-human stories, 24 authors investigate humanity’s relationship with the rest of the natural world, placing characters in situations where humans have to look beyond their own needs and interests. Authors include N.R.M Roshak, Octavia Cade, Sarah E. Stevens, and Joel R. Hunt.

“The 24 stories of this joyously ambitious solarpunk anthology chart a broad map for integrated relationships between humans and nature, spotlighting award-winning and emerging speculative fiction writers from Asia and the Pacific. The linguistically and culturally diverse lineup excels when entwining relational nuance with keenly handled futurist ideas. Kate Bui’s “”Deer, Tiger, and Witch”” and N.R.M. Roshak’s “”By the Light of the Stars”” saturate conservation crises in casual kindness. The impressionist stream-of-consciousness of Priya Sarukkai Chabria’s poetic “”Listen: A Memoir”” wanders from Wittgenstein to garden snakes. D.K. Mok’s funny, passionate “”The Birdsong Fossil”” dives deep into the concept of animal culture. And in Eliza Victoria’s “”Down the River”” a botched sacrifice to a river leads to an acute examination of reparations. Weaker stories feature slighter plots and excessive exposition, and several tales repeat elements from each other, resulting in a whole that can feel fragmented and unconsidered. Despite its blurred focus, this enthusiastic patchwork of perspectives features a number of gems for fans of climate fiction.”

—Publishers Weekly


Sullivan, Talulah J.: Blood Indigo

Forest Path Books 978-1-951293-25-3, $6.99, 470pp, formats: ebook, April 7, 2021)

A centuries-long stalemate endures over possession of a sentient world. In one corner, a dwindling cabal of shamans holds onto a desperate defense; in the other, a colony of aliens try to control a bio-engineering experiment run amok. In the middle stands a youth who has been genetically altered to ‘Shape’ the elemental powers. Yet if Tokela claims his power, it will make of him an outcast, a catalyst — and a weapon.


Walter, Heather: Malice

(Penguin Random House/Del Rey 978-1-9848-1865-2, $22.99, 480pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, April 13, 2021)

A queer reimagining of “Sleeping Beauty” and the first in the Malice duology.

“The villain takes center stage in Walter’s superlative debut, a refreshing spin on Sleeping Beauty. Alyce, called “Malyce” by the Graces she lives with at Lavender House, has the green blood of the Vila, an evil race of magical beings, running in her veins. The Graces, meanwhile, are gold-blooded, gifted with Fae magic as part of an alliance between the humans of Briar and the Fae of Etheria. Known as the Dark Grace, Alyce is rejected publicly, even as the rich and powerful solicit her dark magic in secret. Thus, it is assumed that the invitation to Princess Aurora’s 20th birthday party sent to Lavender House does not extend to Alyce–but she attends anyway. There she meets the princess, who is desperate to break the Vila curse that will kill her on her 21st birthday if she hasn’t found true love. Alyce feels responsible for her people’s spell and agrees to help Aurora–meanwhile working to build her own power in secret. As Aurora’s 21st birthday approaches, Alyce must come to terms with her growing feelings for the princess while navigating the political minefield of Briar, as the king hopes to exploit her powers for his own gain. The story grows deliciously darker at every turn, though the youthful protagonists still ensure plenty of YA crossover appeal. Fairy tale lovers of all ages will be thrilled.”

—Publishers Weekly

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