It’s been super quiet here but there is a reason for that and now I can finally let you all know. I haven’t been blogging (or reading, to be honest) much because something else has taken up all my time and brain space. I am pregnant! 🙂
As you can imagine, this meant a lot of doctor’s appointments, organizational things to take care of and just wrapping my head around this new situation. I have read a whopping one, that’s right, ONE book in February and I haven’t written any of the reviews I wanted to. Oh yeah, and this post is also a week late. I can’t promise that I’ll be more active from now on as I don’t now how I’ll feel in the upcoming months, how much I can concentrate on reading or how much time I’ll have for this blog. I definitely hope to post more frequently again but we’ll just have to take things as they come.
- The Sword and Laser Podcast are doing March Madness in March in order to pick the April book club read. I missed the fist round of votes but you can still participate until a winner has been chosen. This year’s choices are excellent and I’ve read many of them already.
- Brandon Sanderson almost broke Kickstarter. Well, not really, but he did break Kickstarter records. Like most funded project ever, most money raised in 24 hours and (I’m making this one up) craziest author dude who secretly writes four novels in between writing 1200 page chunksters in his ongoing series. He’s a machine.
Orilium Mini-Readathon (March 14th-March 20th)
Maybe some of youe are in a slump and need a little motivation, or maybe you’ve participated in last year’s pre-readathon and want to continue building your character. Either way, G from The Book Roast has you covered with the Orilium Gear-Up Readathon.
Here’s my sign-up post including the prompts I’ve chosen and some potential books to fit them. If you’re an Archivist like me, we may have picked the same prompts.
Exciting March Publications
I am so behind already and it’s only March. But the publishing world doesn’t sleep and neither do their art departments. Looking at some of those covers, I am getting more and more impressed with what SFF has to offer us. Let’s hope the stories are as great as their wrapping.
SARAH TOLMIE – ALL THE HORSES OF ICELAND (March 1st)
I am pretty sure this will be a book I either adore 100% or hate with a passion. I don’t know why but I just can’t see myself feeling anything in between.
A hypnotic historical fantasy with gorgeous and unusual literary prose, from the captivating author of The Fourth Island.
Everyone knows of the horses of Iceland, wild, and small, and free, but few have heard their story. Sarah Tolmie’s All the Horses of Iceland weaves their mystical origin into a saga for the modern age. Filled with the magic and darkened whispers of a people on the cusp of major cultural change, All the Horses of Iceland tells the tale of a Norse trader on the Silk Road and the ghostly magic that followed him home to the land of fire, stone, and ice. His search for riches will take him from Helmgard, through Khazaria, to the steppes of Mongolia, where he will barter for horses and return with much, much more.
All the Horses of Iceland is a delve into the secret, imagined history of Iceland’s unusual horses, brought to life by an expert storyteller.
TRACI CHEE – A THOUSAND STEPS INTO NIGHT (March 1st)
What a gorgeous cover! Also Japanese-influenced fantasy, gods, monsters, and humans co-existing, plus a curse to break sounds like a perfect recipe for a fun adventure.
From New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist, Traci Chee, comes a Japanese-influenced fantasy brimming with demons, adventure, and plans gone awry.
In the realm of Awara, where gods, monsters, and humans exist side by side, Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe, if uneventful, existence as an innkeeper’s daughter. But when Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life. Aided by a thieving magpie spirit and continuously thwarted by a demon prince, Miuko must outfox tricksters, escape demon hunters, and negotiate with feral gods if she wants to make it home again. But with her transformation comes power and freedom she never even dreamed of, and she’ll have to decide if saving her soul is worth trying to cram herself back into an ordinary life that no longer fits her… and perhaps never did.
LIZ HUERTA – THE LOST DREAMER (March 1st)
This just sounds amazing and I love that it’s inspired by ancient Mesoamerica. I don’t think I’ve read a fantasy like that before.
A stunning YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, this gripping debut introduces us to a lineage of seers defiantly resisting the shifting patriarchal state that would see them destroyed—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir.
Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. King Alcan wants an opportunity to bring the Dreamers to a permanent end—an opportunity Indir will give him if he discovers the two secrets she is struggling to keep. As violent change shakes Indir’s world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive.
Saya is a seer, but not a Dreamer—she has never been formally trained. Her mother exploits her daughter’s gift, passing it off as her own as they travel from village to village, never staying in one place too long. Almost as if they’re running from something. Almost as if they’re being hunted. When Saya loses the necklace she’s worn since birth, she discovers that seeing isn’t her only gift—and begins to suspect that everything she knows about her life has been a carefully-constructed lie. As she comes to distrust the only family she’s ever known, Saya will do what she’s never done before, go where she’s never been, and risk it all in the search of answers.
With a detailed, supernaturally-charged setting and topical themes of patriarchal power and female strength, The Lost Dreamer brings an ancient world to life, mirroring the challenges of our modern one.
V.E. SCHWAB – GALLANT (March 1st)
I am on the fence about this one. I know it’s an unpopular opoinion but I think Schwab is vastly overrated. I adored A Darker Shade of Magic but since then, nohting she’s written has been able to reach that same level of quality again. This newest book is supposed to be a middle grade novel, so maybe it will work better for me. The idea sounds fantastic and the covers (UK and US) are brilliant.
Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.
Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.
Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.
Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?
ALLISON SAFT – A FAR WILDER MAGIC (March 8th)
This will either end up as a new favorite of mine or it will go the way that Hannah Whitten’s For the Wolf did (here’s my very ranty review). But I am going to stay optimistic because I really want to end up loving this book. A couple that’s forced to work together, a world that sounds atmospheric, and a very lovely cover – it would be a shame if this doesn’t deliver what it promises.
When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.
Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist–yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.
Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it’s like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive that long.
In A Far Wilder Magic, Allison Saft has written an achingly tender love story set against a deadly hunt in an atmospheric, rich fantasy world that will sweep you away.
DEBORAH FALAYE – BLOOD SCION(March 8th)
It was the comparison to Daughter of Smoke and Bone that did it for me, honestly. Yoruba mythology is also a big plus but that combined with Laini Taylor-esque writing or world building – how could I say no?
A young girl with forbidden powers must free her people from oppression in this richly layered epic fantasy from debut author Deborah Falaye, inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology and perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and An Ember in the Ashes.
This is what they deserve.
They wanted me to be a monster.
I will be the worst monster they ever created.
Fifteen-year-old Sloane can incinerate an enemy at will—she is a Scion, a descendant of the ancient Orisha gods.
Under the Lucis’ brutal rule, her identity means her death if her powers are discovered. But when she is forcibly conscripted into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane sees a new opportunity: to overcome the bloody challenges of Lucis training, and destroy them from within.
Sloane rises through the ranks and gains strength but, in doing so, risks something greater: losing herself entirely, and becoming the very monster that she ahbors.
Following one girl’s journey of magic, injustice, power, and revenge, this deeply felt and emotionally charged debut from Deborah Falaye, inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology, is a magnetic combination of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin and Daughter of Smoke and Bone that will utterly thrill and capture readers.
JOHN SCALZI – THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY (March 15th)
Okay, so John Scalzi has won me over with his Interdependency Trilogy and now he’s written about Kaijus in a parallel world during the Covid pandemic. I mean, what’s not to look ofrward to?
The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi’s first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy.
When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.
What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble.
It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society that’s found its way to the alternate world. Others have, too–and their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.
PENG SHEPHERD – THE CARTOGRAPHERS (March 22nd)
I’ve never read Peng Shepherd but this sounds like a magical mystery involving disappearing maps, and the cover gives me slight literary fiction vibes. I am definitely intrigued.
What is the purpose of a map?
Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field, and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.
But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable, and also exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence… because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.
To answer that question, Nell embarks on a dangerous journey to reveal a dark family secret, and discover the true power that lies in maps…
SARA A. MUELLER – THE BONE ORCHARD (March 22nd)
Did someone say bone trees? This has been on my wishlist for very long and it is still one of the most highly anticipated books on my list. I love everything about it!
Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow.
Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain.
Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real.
Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself.
now—Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder.
If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil—her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart.
Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor’s will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge.
MARION DEEDS- COMEUPPANCE SERVED COLD (March 22nd)
A 1920s Urban-ish fantasy novella sound like a mash-up that we at least have to try.
Seattle, 1929—a bitterly divided city overflowing with wealth, violence, and magic.
A respected magus and city leader intent on criminalizing Seattle’s most vulnerable magickers hires a young woman as a lady’s companion to curb his rebellious daughter’s outrageous behavior.
The widowed owner of a speakeasy encounters an opportunity to make her husband’s murderer pay while she tries to keep her shapeshifter brother safe.
A notorious thief slips into the city to complete a delicate and dangerous job that will leave chaos in its wake.
One thing is for certain—comeuppance, eventually, waits for everyone.
TARA SIM – THE SCITY OF DUSK (March 22nd)
Bones and necromancy are definitely a trend this year, not only on covers but in stories as well. Now that I’m also a Locked Tomb fan, I will gladly jump on the bone train and swee what publishing has to offer.
Set in a gorgeous world of bone and shadow magic, of vengeful gods and defiant chosen ones, The City of Dusk is the first in a dark epic fantasy trilogy that follows the four heirs of four noble houses—each gifted with a divine power—as they form a tenuous alliance to keep their kingdom from descending into a realm-shattering war.
The Four Realms—Life, Death, Light, and Darkness—all converge on the city of dusk. For each realm there is a god, and for each god there is an heir.
But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving city. And without it, all the realms are dying.
Unwilling to stand by and watch the destruction, the four heirs—Risha, a necromancer struggling to keep the peace; Angelica, an elementalist with her eyes set on the throne; Taesia, a shadow-wielding rogue with rebellion in her heart; and Nik, a soldier who struggles to see the light— will sacrifice everything to save the city.
But their defiance will cost them dearly.
JUDY I. LIN – A MAGIC STEEPED IN POISON (March 29th)
Honestly, the part of the synopsis where the protagonist accidentally poisoned her mother and then also apparently is about to poison her sister makes her sound a tad supid but I supposed there’s more to it than that. And I just love reading about competitions, whether they are about battle skills or tea-making.
Judy I. Lin’s sweeping debut A Magic Steeped in Poison, first in a duology, is sure to enchant fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.
I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.
When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making—she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.
But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.
News from the blog
As I mentioned I have only finished one book in February but at least ist was agood one.
What I read last month:
- Andy Weir – Project Hail Mary (8/10)
I really enjoyed this Andy Weir book, especially because it kept me guessing until the very end.
- Robert Jordan – The Dragon Reborn
- Robert Jackson Bennett – City of Stairs
- Ann Leckie – Ancillary Sword
- Tasha Suri – The Jasmine Throne
Yup, I’m still reading mostly the same books I was reading in January. I have almost finished The Jasmine Throne (liked it but not as much as I had expected) and I’m also getting to the end of City of Stairs (liking it even more than expected) and the others are just lying there, sad that I haven’t continued reading them.
I hope to finally finish those reviews I started writing a month ago, read a couple of books in March, and of course participate in the Orilium readathon.
Until next month: Stay safe, stay kind, and keep reading. 🙂