A slew of interesting books are hitting the shelves—or your e-reader—this month, and I’ve plucked out some of the more interesting ones that grabbed my attention.
The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon – Fallon has built a strong fan base with her epic fantasy tales known for their plot complexity and political deviousness. Set in the Hythrun Chronicles universe,
The Lyre Thief is a fine place to jump in if you’re new to Fallon, but either way—newbie or veteran reader—you’re in for a treat with this richly drawn story of a pair of half-sisters who, while only trying to save their own lives, soon have important parts to play in high-level scheming among nobles and gods.
The Courier by Gerald Brandt – The California coast has turned into one big sprawling city that’s seven levels deep. The poorest live far underground, on Level 1. The richest live on the top levels or in plush cities hovering in space. Sixteen-year-old motorcycle courier Kris Ballard has managed to scrabble together a decent life for herself on Level 2, but when a late-night package delivery makes her a witness to a gruesome murder, she lands in the middle of a powerful conspiracy that stretches across the planet. With so many players in the game wanting her dead or wanting the package, who can Kris trust? High-throttle action driving through surprising twists and turns delivers a SF debut that sometimes reads a little young but nonetheless offers a scarily possible near-future reality.
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu – Leaping wholeheartedly into the "speculative fiction" category is Liu’s stimulating collection of short stories and novellas. Liu’s preferred subject-verb sentence structure builds the beat to which his stories unfold, adding additional power to the ideas he’s extending to readers in these thought-provoking tales.
Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak – St. George is the immortal guardian of a gateway between worlds. Now living in Prohibition-era Chicago as Nick Medea, he finds himself drawn into a conflict between a foe he thought vanquished and a woman he’s fallen for and lost time and time again through the centuries. Filled with unique characters, shadowy gunmen, and a surprising amount of humor,
Black City Saint is gritty, exciting urban fantasy at its best. (Review by Matt Fyffe)
The Brotherhood of the Wheel by R. S. Belcher – Select long-haul truckers, motorcycle clubs, and law enforcement personnel take it upon themselves to find and stop serial killers that prey upon those who travel the nation’s highways. "Triple A has some kind of black-ops division," one FBI agent quips after one trucker reveals to him the location of a multiple murderer. But there are real monsters out there that are even worse, as new inductee Heck learns when he joins the Brotherhood. Grim, dark, and marvelously entertaining,
The Brotherhood of the Wheel is best read when not hanging out in truck stops or you’ll give yourself the heebie-jeebies.
To see all ten picks for best of the month in science fiction and fantasy, click here.
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