Sunday, March 04, 2012

Top Picks for March 2012


I’m a little late posting this, but I thought I’d still share a few thoughts on some of my most anticipated books coming out in March 2012. As usual, there are more new books coming out than I would be able to read, so I like to give them at least a hat-tip in these posts.

Abnett-KnowNoFearDan Abnett, Know No Fear (Black Library)

Unaware of the wider Heresy and following the Warmaster’s increasingly cryptic orders, Roboute Guilliman returns to Ultramar to muster his Legion for war against the orks massing in the Veridian system.

Without warning, their supposed allies in the Word Bearers Legion launch a devastating invasion of Calth, scattering the Ultramarines fleet and slaughtering all who stand in their way. This confirms the worst scenario Guilliman can imagine – Lorgar means to settle their bitter rivalry once and for all. As the traitors summon foul daemonic hosts and all the forces of Chaos, the Ultramarines are drawn into a grim and deadly struggle in which neither side can prevail.

I’ve already read and reviewed this novel, but it’s worth stating again how good it is. It takes a bit of a different approach to previous Horus Heresy novels (something Abnett’s always good at doing). Not his best, but still very good.

Also on CR: Interview with Dan Abnett & Nik Vincent


Downum-KingdomsOfDustAmanda Downum, Kingdoms of Dust (Orbit)

With her master dead and her oaths foresworn, necromancer and spy Isyllt Iskaldur finds herself in exile.

Hounded by assassins, she seeks asylum in Assar, the empire she so recently worked to undermine. There, warlords threaten the Empire’s fragile peace, and the empress is beset by enemies within the court. Even worse, darkness stirs in the deep desert. Ancient spirits are waking that could destroy Assar faster than any army.

Isyllt must travel into the heart of the desert to lay the darkness there to rest once more. But first she must stop an order of mages that will do anything to keep the Empire safe – even raze it to dust.

This is the third novel in Amanda Downum’s excellent Necromancer Chronicles. I have been thoroughly enjoying the books so far, and highly recommend them to anyone who likes their fantasy dark and horror-infused. The series is very gothic, sinister, atmospheric and gripping. Also, very original. I’ll be reading this very soon.

Also on CR: Interview with Amanda Downum


Holm-DeadHarvestChris F. Holm, Dead Harvest (Angry Robot)

Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure they are dispatched to the appropriate destination. But when he’s sent to collect the soul of a young woman he believes to be innocent of the horrific crime that’s doomed her to Hell, he says something no Collector has ever said before.


File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Souled Out | Damned If You Don’t | Collector Mania | On The Run ]

This debut’s been getting a lot of buzz on the internet, and I love the premise. I’ll hopefully get to this pretty soon.


Long-JaneCarverOfWaarNathan Long, Jane Carver of Waar (Night Shade)

Jane Carver is nobody’s idea of a space princess.

A hard-ridin’, hard-lovin’ biker chick and ex-Airborne Ranger, Jane is as surprised as anyone else when, on the run from the law, she ducks into the wrong cave at the wrong time-and wakes up butt-naked on an exotic alien planet light-years away from everything she’s ever known.

Waar is a savage world of four-armed tiger-men, sky-pirates, slaves, gladiators, and purple-skinned warriors in thrall to a bloodthirsty code of honor and chivalry. Caught up in a disgraced nobleman's quest to win back the hand of a sexy alien princess, Jane encounters bizarre wonders and dangers unlike anything she ever ran into back home.

Then again, Waar has never seen anyone like Jane before...

Both a loving tribute and scathing parody of the swashbuckling space fantasies of yore, Jane Carver of Waar introduces an unforgettable new science fiction heroine.

I’m a big fan of Nathan’s Warhammer novels (the Gotrek & Felix Ulrika the Vampire series), so I was very intrigued by his first non-tie-in novel. Especially when it sounds like so much fun! I’ve been a bit slow about getting hold of it, but I hope to remedy this very soon. The novel has been getting some very good press so far, so I’m ever-more interested in reading it.

Also on CR: Interview with Nathan Long


McCarthy-ExogeneT.C. McCarthy, Exogene (Orbit)

Catherine is a soldier. Fast, strong, lethal, she is the ultimate in military technology. Bred by scientists, indoctrinated by the government, she and her sisters will win this war, no matter the cost.

And the costs are high. The life span of these genetic soldiers is short, and they become unstable as they age. Then on their eighteenth birthday, when their duty is fulfilled, they are discharged – lined up and shot.

But the truth is, Catherine and her sisters may not be strictly human, but they aren’t animals either. Catherine may have only known death, but she dreams of life – and is prepared to pay any price to get it.

The sequel to Germline, I’ve been looking forward to this novel a great deal. The first novel in the series was visceral and gripping, if not a little twisted (which is no bad thing). Here’s hoping McCarthy scores another home-run.

Also on CR: Interview with T.C. McCarthy


Myers-FairCoinE.C. Myers, Fair Coin (Pyr)

Ephraim is horrified when he comes home from school one day to find his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. Even more disturbing than her suicide attempt is the reason for it: the dead boy she identified at the hospital that afternoon — a boy who looks exactly like him.

While examining his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim discovers a strange coin that makes his wishes come true each time he flips it. Before long, he’s wished his alcoholic mother into a model parent, and the girl he’s liked since second grade suddenly notices him.

But Ephraim soon realizes that the coin comes with consequences — several wishes go disastrously wrong, his best friend Nathan becomes obsessed with the coin, and the world begins to change in unexpected ways.

As Ephraim learns the coin’s secrets and how to control its power, he must find a way to keep it from Nathan and return to the world he remembers.

Another novel I’ve managed to read and review ahead of release, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. Myers has a very good prose style, and I zipped through this novel very quickly. It’s YA, but should also appeal to all ages and fans of sci-fi (don’t want to spoil how this is sci-fi, so just take my word for it).

Also on CR: Interview with E.C. Myers


Reynolds-KnightsOfTheBlazingSun2Josh Reynolds, Knight of the Blazing Sun (Black Library)

The Knights of the Blazing Sun are a noble and venerable order of templars dedicated to the warrior-goddess Myrmidia. The young knight Hector Goetz is sent to the distant island of Svunum to investigate the disappearance of a group of knights. Reunited with his comrades, he battles vicious pirates and bloodthirsty raiders, but from his increasingly disturbing nightmares Goetz realises that there is more to the place than meets the eye. As northern savages lay siege to the island, a deadly secret is revealed that threatens to damn his order for all eternity.

I’ve been reading quite a few of Reynolds’s short stories of late, and I’ve really enjoyed them all. He has a great writing style, and has a gift for storytelling and writing action and combat scenes. This will be his first novel that I read, and I’m looking forward to it.

1 comment:

  1. Exogene,Dead Harvest, Kingdoms of Dust sound fantastic. Adding to books to-read.
    Thanks again Stefan for some good book introductions.