Saturday, December 31, 2011

January Top Picks


Here’s a quick preview of the novels I’m most looking forward to in January 2012. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the exciting or noteworthy books coming out in January, but they’re the ones that have piqued my interest the most at the moment.

For a month-by-month list of other books I’m looking forward to in 2012, check out the “2012 Releases” page, which I’ll continue updating as time goes by and publishing schedules are released.

Christopher-EmpireStateUSAdam Christopher, Empire State (Angry Robot)

It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York.

When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist.

Adam’s debut novel has already been creating quite a stir around the book-blogosphere, and it’s a novel I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. It appears to be a noir-ish superhero novel, set in a parallel New York City. Which is really rather cool. I should hopefully get to it pretty quickly.


Cole-SO1-ControlPointMyke Cole, Shadow Ops: Control Point (AceRoc)

Army Officer. Fugi­tive. Sorcerer.

Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with mag­ical tal­ents. Untrained and pan­icked, they summon storms, raise the dead, and set every­thing they touch ablaze.

Army officer Oscar Britton sees the worst of it. A lieu­tenant attached to the military’s Super­nat­ural Oper­a­tions Corps, his mis­sion is to bring order to a world gone mad. Then he abruptly man­i­fests a rare and pro­hib­ited mag­ical power, trans­forming him overnight from gov­ern­ment agent to public enemy number one.

The SOC knows how to handle this kind of sit­u­a­tion: hunt him down–and take him out. Driven into an under­ground shadow world, Britton is about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he’s ever known, and that his life isn’t the only thing he’s fighting for.

I actually read Control Point a couple of months ago, and have been sitting on the review until closer to its release date. I loved it, and certainly recommend you get yourself a copy. It’s great fun, well written and action-packed. A great debut, this series is one of my new favourites.

Also on CR: Author Interview, “Influences & Inspirations” Guest Post


Dunn-AgeOfLegendsChristian Dunn (ed), Age of Legends (Black Library)

The dark origins of the Warhammer World are soaked in blood. Epic wars between kindred races reshaped continents, vast civilisations rose and fell, the dead walked the earth in legions. This is an age of mighty heroes whose like will never be seen again, such as the man-god Sigmar and Caledor, the Phoenix King of the elves. It is also an era of dread villains like the Witch-King Malekith and Nagash, the Lord of the undead. In these troubled times, dragons still flock the skies and magic exists that can doom or save the world.

This is Black Library’s latest anthology of short stories, this time set in the Warhammer world. I’m not entirely sure how it’s part of the Time of Legends series, but that’s not really important. Featuring contributions from a number of their best authors, as well as a couple of new(er) names, this is very high on my list. Here’s a run-down of what’s inside:

“A Small Victory” – Paul S. Kemp

“Bloodraven” – Sarah Cawkwell

“City of Dead Jewels” – Nick Kyme

“The Last Charge” – Andy Hoare

“The Ninth Book” – Gav Thorpe

“The Gods Demand” – Josh Reynolds

“Plague Doktor” – C.L. Werner

“The City is Theirs” – Philip Athans

“The Second Sun” – Ben Counter

“Aenarion” – Gav Thorpe

I may read the stories in between other novels, just to spread it out a bit, but this should be reviewed in January.


Sullivan-3-HeirOfNovronUKMichael J. Sullivan, Heir of Novron (Orbit)

The New Empire intends to celebrate its victory over the Nationalists with a day that will never be forgotten. On the high holiday of Wintertide, the empress will be married, and Degan Gaunt and the Witch of Melengar will be publically executed. Once the empress suffers a fatal accident, everything will be perfect. There is only one problem—Royce and Hadrian have finally found the Heir of Novron.

The third and final omnibus in the Riyria Revelations series, containing Wintertide and the previously-unavailable final part, Percepliquis. As I type this, I’m blitzing my way through Rise of Empire, the middle omnibus. I loved the first book, Theft of Swords, and the second is shaping up to be just as good. (By the time this post goes live, I may well have managed to post a review, but I’m not too sure.) They’re rather long books, so I can’t guarantee a review of Heir of Novron at the beginning of January, but I hope to get it read and reviewed towards the end of the month, or maybe sometime around the first week of February. It’s a great series, though, and I really recommend it to all fans of fantasy.

Also on CR: Author Interview, “Gritty vs Heroic” Guest Post


Thorpe-DeliveranceLostGavin Thorpe, Deliverance Lost (Black Library)

As the Horus Heresy divides the Imperium, Corax and his few remaining Raven Guard escape the massacre at Isstvan V. Tending to their wounds, the bloodied Space Marines endeavour to replenish their numbers and return to the fray, taking the fight to the traitor Warmaster. Distraught at the crippling blow dealt to his Legion, Corax returns to Terra to seek the aid of his father – the Emperor of Mankind. Granted access to ancient secrets, Corax begins to rebuild the Raven Guard, planning his revenge against his treacherous brother primarchs. But not all his remaining warriors are who they appear to be… the mysterious Alpha Legion have infiltrated the survivors and plan to destroy the Raven Guard before they can rebuild and threaten Horus’s plans.

The latest book in the Horus Heresy series, I’ve actually already read and reviewed it. Needless to say, it was another solid addition to the series, and Thorpe does a great job of fleshing out the Raven Guard legion – one of the ‘lesser’ legions, if you will, that hasn’t received much attention in the literature up until this point. I really hope we get another novel (or two) featuring them. I really enjoyed it.

Also on CR: Author Interview


Brandvold-Dust&TheDamnedPeter Brandvold, Dust of the Damned (Berkley)

Mankind has fought the war against ghouls of all kinds since the beginning of time. The last stronghold of evil in the known world is the American frontier, but for how long? Bounty hunter Uriah Zane and US marshal Aubrey Coffin are humanity's last hope to rid the world, once and for all, of this demon scourge...

The Hell’s Angels are a gang of werewolves who have escaped from Hellsgarde Federal Penitentiary. Originally they were recruited out of eastern Europe by Abraham Lincoln to mercilessly tear the Confederates into submission at Gettysburg, thus ending the Civil War. But the Hell's Angels never returned home. They headed west-to join the legions of other ghouls...

Armed with an arsenal of weapons, the deadliest being Marshal Aubrey Coffin, notorious ghoul-hunter Uriah Zane must stop the hordes of shape-shifting creatures pushing west. Aided by a beautiful Mexican witch and necromancer, werebeasts are searching the deserts for a coveted key, a key that could give the ghouls everlasting life and final dominion over the earth-with humans as their servants.

But first they must face the wrath of Zane, a man who understands better than most the twisted soul of the wolves....

I stumbled across this title when looking through Berkley’s latest catalogue, and I thought it sounded pretty interesting – another original take on the werewolf myth, but set in the American West. I think it has a lot of potential, and I like the idea blending American history with werewolves and (I assume) the supernatural. So I’ve pre-ordered it for my Kindle – amazingly, it’s available through the UK Kindle store.


There are plenty of other novels out in January, of course, and this is but a selection of those that have particularly caught my eye. What books are you looking forward to?


  1. Empire State and Shadow Ops look interesting.

    Besides that, the new McAuley coming out (In the Mouth of the Whale) draws my interest.

  2. I've been wanting to read Empire State for a while now. The premise looks so intriguing!

  3. Shadow Ops sounds like a ton of fun. I'm looking to get into the Warhammer novels this year, but first I want to start on the Riyria Revelations series.

  4. You're going to have plenty of good stuff to read, and that's always a good thing.

  5. Shadow Ops is great - review tomorrow. Loved it.