Posts Tagged: Urban Fantasy

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA - Pages: 420 - Buy: Book/eBook
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Born with a gift that allows her to enter the minds of other voyants, nineteen year old Paige Mahoney is forced to live a double life

In an alternate, future version of London, Scion rules all. Two hundred years after the Bloody King, Edward VII, reputedly unleashed a plague of clairvoyance on the world, voyants have struggled against the stigma of being unnatural, while normal humans – amaurotics – have worked to oppress and kill them under the auspices of Scion, an all-encompassing, dictatorial government. Born with a gift that allows her to enter the minds of other voyants, nineteen year old Paige Mahoney is forced to live a double life: nominally the privileged daughter of one of Scion’s top scientists, she is known in other circles as the Pale Dreamer, an enforcer for a powerful criminal syndicate of voyants. When an unexpected encounter forces Paige to find a brutal new use for her gifts, she finds herself captured by Scion and taken to an impossible place: the lost city of Oxford, now called Sheol I and repurposed as a penal colony run by the Rephaites, a race of beings whose existence, while known to Scion, is a secret kept from the general human populace. Put into the care of the Warden Arcturus Mesarthim – a powerful Reph with secrets of his own – Paige is forced to contend, not only with the barbaric rules of this strange, parasitic society, but also its politics. For  behind the predations of Scion lurks an even bigger battle: the struggle between the scheming,  eternal Rephaites and the brutal, cannibalistic Emim, a second race seeking entry to our world and held in check only by the combined efforts of Scion, human voyants, and Rephs. With only outcasts for allies, Paige must learn who to trust and how to survive, fast. Because Nashira Sargas, the ruler of Sheol I and Warden’s consort, wants Paige’s gifts for herself – and once she takes them, Paige will die. Read More »

Generation V by M.L. Brennan

Publisher: Roc - Pages: 320 - Buy: Book/eBook
Generation V by M.L. Brennan

Fortitude Scott has a sucky life. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his housemate, his housemate stopped paying rent months ago, his job at the Busy Beans cafe pays barely enough to keep him afloat, and his coworkers are unbearable – plus, he’s a vampire, but without any of the perks. In fact, Fort is more of a fledgeling vampire: sure, he occasionally drinks blood (though only his mother Madeline’s, and only under duress – the rest of the time, he’s a vegetarian), and his elder siblings, Chivalry and Prudence, can’t go out in the daylight, but until Fort transitions, he might as well be human – no super strength, no rapid healing, and definitely no supernatural cool factor.

Oh, and when he was nine years old, Prudence brutally murdered his human foster parents in front of him on Madeline’s orders, because Fort made the mistake of telling them what happened when he went to visit his biological family.

Somewhat understandably, then, Fort is hardly jumping for joy at the prospect of one day becoming a vampire himself. As much as possible, he keeps away from his family and everything they stand for; but when Madeline tempts him with an invitation to meet, for the first time, some vampires to whom he isn’t related  – thereby raising the possibility that not all of his kind are monsters – Fort’s curiosity gets the better of him. The decision quickly ensnares him in vampire politics of the bloodiest kind, and with no one else to back him up, Fort is forced to look for support from an unlikely source: Suzume Hollis, a dangerous kitsune with a wicked sense of humour whom Madeline has paid to keep him safe. When a young girl is threatened, can Fort and Suzume save her without jeopardizing their own lives? Or will they be trapped by yet more vampiric power games? Read More »

Sorcerer's Luck by Katharine Kerr

Publisher: Osel Books - Pages: 278 - Buy: Book/eBook
The Sorcerer's Luck by Katharine Kerr

Here at A Dribble of Ink, given that Aidan Moher and Kate Elliott are currently two posts in to their joint reading and analysis of Daggerspell, book one in Katharine Kerr’s fifteen-volume Deverry saga, it seems like a pertinent time to review Kerr’s latest novel, Sorcerer’s Luck – not only because it’s a refreshing, enjoyable read in its own right, but because it serves as a solid introduction to Kerr’s thematic style. Which is a useful thing to have to hand: as much as Deverry constitutes one of my absolute favourite series of all time (and for anyone interested in some of my slightly spoilerish thoughts on same, they can be found here), even though the series is finished, fifteen books is a lot to ask anyone to invest in without some proof that they’ll enjoy the author’s writing. This is, for instance, the big problem with recommending Terry Pratchett’s Discworld to first-time readers: whichever book we might personally view as the apex of the series (mine is Night Watch), a big part of our love for it invariably comes from the fact that we already know the characters from earlier stories. I was, therefore, immensely pleased when Pratchett went and wrote Nation, an incredibly powerful book that not only exemplifies the best of his style, but which neatly cuts through the issue of recommending any one Discworld novel as a starting point.

Which brings me back to Sorcerer’s Luck: a story about the relationship between Maya Cantescu, a struggling art student and vampire-but-not-really based in San Francisco, and Tor Thorlaksson, a wealthy sorcerer and bjarki – that is, someone who shapeshifts into a bear. Among her other talents, Maya has the ability to see through illusions, and when Tor finds himself being haunted at the dark of the moon by otherworldly manifestations, he hires Maya to see through them. But their professional relationship soon becomes complicated, not only by their mutual attraction to one another, but by the increasingly violent actions of Tor’s sorcerous enemy. What’s the real reason for Maya and Tor’s connection? And what does Tor’s unknown opponent want? Read More »

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.J. CareyYesterday, Orbit Books released the cover and first blurb for The Girl with All the Gifts by M.J. Carey. Early impressions (mostly from within Orbit, it seems, and those who’ve read unbound galleys) are extremely positive. Given how far release is, this sort of hype and raised expectations is expected, but, golly, that cover and early teaser blurb are mighty enticing. I generally associate Orbit with their more traditional fantasy and science fiction releases, like Brent Weeks, N.K. Jemisin and Daniel Abraham, but I’m always pleased to see them go out of their way to find quirky, off-the-beaten path genre novels.

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her ‘our little genius’.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favourite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The first thing to come to mind when reading the blurb for The Girl with All the Gifts is Irrational Games’ Bioshock Infinite, released earlier this year for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, which features a similarly confined girl, manipulated and educated by her captor in an effort to gain access to whatever secret power lies within her. Most intriguingly, the blurb doesn’t call on any outwardly SFF elements, but there’s just enough of a hint in the final paragraph, and the obvious efforts at guarding Melanie, that, though she might not realize it, and the blurb doesn’t say so, uncovering Melanie’s origins and the threat of her power, even in the body of a young child, will be central to the plot.

M.J. Carey is a pen name for Mike Carey, best known for his work in comic books, including 2011’s crossover series, Age of X , and the Felix Castor novels, which begin with The Devil You Know (buy: book/eBook).

Yesterday won’t be soon enough to get my hands on this book. The Girl with All the Gifts is set for a worldwide release in 2014 from Orbit Books.