Far more fun than looking back at the year is looking forward to ALL THE BOOKS that are yet to come. 2015 promises to be a fantastic year for reading, because… because TWO CAT VALENTE NOVELS! Yay!
I’m still mulling over my top books of 2014, so in the meantime, here are my most anticipated books of 2015 (all of which I have pre-ordered because I’m greedy and can’t wait and must have them ASAP):
Catherynne M. Valente – The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (March 3rd 2015)
OMG OMG OMG! It’s coming. And it’s not titled “The Girl Who…” I have been in emotional turmoil ever since the title was revealed. Scratch that. Ever since the end of The Girl who Soared Above Fairyland. Expect gushing and fangirling and general emotional-ness from me once this is out.
When a young troll named Hawthorn is stolen from Fairyland by the Golden Wind, he becomes a changeling – a human boy — in the strange city of Chicago, a place no less bizarre and magical than Fairyland when seen through trollish eyes. Left with a human family, Hawthorn struggles with his troll nature and his changeling fate. But when he turns twelve, he stumbles upon a way back home, to a Fairyland much changed from the one he remembers. Hawthorn finds himself at the center of a changeling revolution–until he comes face to face with a beautiful young Scientiste with very big, very red assistant.
Time magazine has praised Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland books as “one of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century.” In this fourth installment of her saga, Valente ‘s wisdom and wit will charm readers of all ages.
Catherynne M. Valente – Radiance (August 18th 2015)
“The Radiant Cars Thy Sparrows Drew” was a strange little short story that I loved to bits. Cat Valente may be famous for her fantasies, for weaving myth and monsters, beautiful prose and diverse characters – but don’t forget that she writes excellent short fiction and SF. I can’t wait for the novel that came out of the short story.
The first adult novel in more than three years from the bestselling author of the Fairyland books
Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood—and solar system—very different from our own, from the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.
But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return.
Alethea Kontis – Dearest (February 3rd 2015)
You know I love the Woodcutter sisters. Both Enchanted and Hero were two of my favorite reads of the year. They are playful and clever and so very, very charming. Not without fault, they are heartwarming like cuddling into a blanket after coming home from a snow storm. The third volume retells the fairy tales “The Goose Girl” and “The Wild Swans” – and the way I know Princess Alethea, a handful of others just thrown in for good measure.
In her third book about the delightful Woodcutter sisters, Alethea Kontis masterfully weaves “The Wild Swans,” “The Goose Girl,” and a few other fine-feathered fairy tales into a magical, romantic companion novel to Enchanted and Hero.
Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to 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?
N.K. Jemisin – The Fifth Season (August 4th 2015)
I adored The Inheritance Trilogy for its breath of fresh air that the genre needed desperately, but also for Jemisin’s style, her characters and – who’d have thought – the romance. The Killing Moon wasn’t quite my cup of tea but I just bought the Inheritance novella (The Awakened Kingdom) which may be my last book of the year. Needlessly said, I am giddy with excitement over this new series from one of the best writers out there.
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze—the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years—collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
Genevive Valentine – Persona (March 10th 2015)
Look, I’ll read anything by Genevieve Valentine, okay? It’s been two years and I still get all the feels when I think about Mechanique. Valentine has her very own particular style (lots of parentheses) that I happen to love. Plus, this book is extra exciting as it’s published by shiny, new Saga Press.
An acerbic thriller from a Nebula award finalist, set against the backdrop of a near-future world of celebrity ambassadors and assassins who manipulate the media to the point where the only truth seekers left are the paparazzi.
When Suyana, Face of the United Amazonia Rainforest Confederation, secretly meets Ethan of the United States for a date that can solidify a relationship for the struggling UARC, the last thing she expects is an assassination attempt. Daniel, a teen runaway-turned-paparazzi out for his big break, witnesses the first shot hit Suyana, and before he can think about it, he jumps into the fray, telling himself it’s not altruism, it’s the scoop. Just like that, Suyana and Daniel are now in the game of Faces. And if they lose, they’ll die.
Elizabeth Bear – Karen Memory (February 3rd 2015)
It took one look at the cover and I was hooked. Then I read the synopsis and it was a sure thing I would need this book. I’m still reading the Eternal Sky trilogy by Bear but, judging from its quality, I expect I will love this new book as well.
“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”
Hugo-Award winning author Elizabeth Bear offers something new in Karen Memory, an absolutely entrancing steampunk novel set in Seattle in the late 19th century—an era when the town was called Rapid City, when the parts we now call Seattle Underground were the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes bringing would-be miners heading up to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront. Karen is a “soiled dove,” a young woman on her own who is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts into her world one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, seeking sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.
Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper-type story of the old west with the light touch of Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.
These are the books that make me hop on one leg for excitement. But there are plenty of others that I look forward to. Nnedi Okorafor’s Book of Phoenix sounds interesting, Terry Pratchett announced the fifth Tiffany Aching novel, The Shepherd’s Crown [insert wild squeeing here], although I don’t know whether it will come out in 2015. Maria Dahvana Headley’s Magonia intrigued me with its description, I missed the kickstarter for Megan Lavey-Heaton’s anthology Valor but I am so going to get a copy, somehow. Also, if Scott Lynch’s Thorn of Emberlain comes out, I’ll be eating it up. I’m curious about Grace of Kings by Ken Liu although I still haven’t read any of his short fiction.
It looks to become a thrilling year full of potentially brilliant books. I can’t wait to see what else 2015 brings but I’m sure there will be a few surprises and, hopefully, new authors to discover, and new fantastic worlds to explore.