Some big-name genre authors are starting the year with exciting new ventures: series launches, standalone novels, and other departures from the norm.
After Charlaine Harris wrapped up the Sookie Stackhouse series with Dead Ever After, readers demanded to know what she’d be doing next. The answer is Midnight Crossroad, set in the small ghost town of Midnight, Tex. Harris told Entertainment Weekly that the new book is “not as focused on the otherworldly” as the Southern Vampire Mysteries were, but that’s unlikely to discourage any of her fans from picking it up.
Urban fantasist Seanan McGuire’s new project, Sparrow Hill Road is both new and old: it assembles a number of shorter pieces into a novel about a young woman who happens to be a ghost, and her efforts to prevent other people’s untimely deaths.
Daryl Gregory’s Afterparty marries 1980s cyberpunk to 2010s neuroscience, speculating that future “chemjets” will make personalized intoxicant manufacturing as quick and easy as printing up a document is today. The story is powered by a drug that makes people see God, a church eager to spread the chemical gospel, and a perpetually overdosed woman determined to save the world.
Polish-American writer Ania Ahlborn’s horror novel The Bird Eater explores the Arkansas Ozarks, where a man drowning his grief in addiction tries to regain his peace of mind by visiting his childhood home. But his sorrow over his son’s death draws the attention of a dark entity, destroying any hope of regaining happiness.
Some of the most interesting work in the genre is coming from outside of North America. Argentinian author Liliana Bodoc’s The Days of the Deer is the first in an epic trilogy, and Bodoc’s first work translated into English. In the late 15th century, South America is menaced by a great encroaching darkness, which is linked in some way to the approaching European explorers.
In Koushoun Takami’s Battle Royale: Remastered, young students are taken to an island, given weapons, and forced to battle to the death. This new “remastered” translation of the shocking Japanese bestseller will be released alongside a book of essays by horror and thriller writers about the novel and its adaptations into manga, television, and film.
Marianne de Pierres draws on the landscape and mythology of her native Australia for Peacemaker. In a future megacity, land has been set aside for a nature preserve that’s a major tourist draw, a haven for drug smugglers, and the site of paranormal happenings.
Joe Abercrombie, a British author known for brutal novels that make most military fantasy look like a romp through fields of gamboling puppies, is lightening his approach slightly for a younger market. Half a King is billed as an adult book but intended to be accessible to teen readers who will identify with the protagonist, a bookish prince who’s quick-witted and physically disabled.
Making the opposite switch are Sarah Beth Durst and Greg van Eekhout, two authors of books for younger readers whose forthcoming works are aimed at adult audiences. Durst’s The Lost is an eerie urban fantasy trilogy launch about a town where lost items and people pile up until someone comes to find them. The protagonist decides she’s not going to wait, and sets about finding her own way home. Van Eekhout’s California Bones is set in an alternate version of our world where ingesting the bones of magical creatures—or human magicians—can convey mysterious powers. 2014 won’t be the year that the lines between MG, YA, and adult works vanish altogether, but those lines are certainly getting interestingly blurred.
PW’s Top 10: SF, Fantasy, & Horror
Midnight Crossroad. Charlaine Harris. Ace, May 6
The Bird Eater. Ania Ahlborn. Amazon/47North, Mar. 4
Peacemaker. Marianne de Pierres. Angry Robot, Apr. 29
The Days of the Deer. Liliana Bodoc. Atlantic, Apr. 1
Sparrow Hill Road. Seanan McGuire. DAW, May 6
Half a King. Joe Abercrombie. Del Rey, July 8
The Lost. Sarah Beth Durst. Mira, May 27
Afterparty. Daryl Gregory. Tor, Apr. 22
California Bones. Greg van Eekhout. Tor, June 10
Battle Royale: Remastered. Koushun Takami. Viz/Haikasoru, Apr. 2
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Listings
Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris (May 6, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0425263150). The bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse books launches an exciting urban fantasy series.
The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn (Mar. 4, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1477817605). Polish horror writer Ahlborn spins a terrifying tale of a darkness spreading deep in the Arkansas Ozarks.
(Dist. by Random House)
Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres (Apr. 29, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0857664181). Acclaimed author de Pierres blends science fiction, the paranormal, Westerns, and Australiana in this intriguing new novel.
Blades of the Old Empire: Book 1 of the Majat Code by Anna Kashina (Feb. 25, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0857664129). Kara is a Diamond warrior, the best of the best. When her tenure to Prince Kythar comes to an end, he wishes to retain her services, but must accompany her back to her Guild to negotiate her continued protection.
The Days of the Deer by Liliana Bodoc (Apr. 1, trade paper, $12.95, ISBN 978-1848870284) is the first in an epic trilogy from an Argentinian fantasist. In this fantasy of pre-Columbian South America, representatives of different peoples argue over how to resist an evil Dark Lord.
The Wicked by Douglas Nicholas (Mar. 25, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1451660241). A dark threat shadows medieval North England in Nicholas’s eerie sequel to Something Red.
Conquest: The Chronicles of the Invaders, Book 1 by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard (Feb. 11, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1476757124). This science fiction trilogy opener introduces a world that has been conquered by powerful aliens, and a group of young rebels must unlock their powers and rescue humankind from its terrible fate.
Carousel Sun by Sharon Lee (Feb. 4, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1476736235) is a gripping contemporary fantasy thriller from the co-creator of the Liaden Universe saga.
Liberty 1784: The Second War for Independence by Robert Conroy (Mar. 4, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1476736273). The British win the American Revolutionary War, and a desperate Washington must make a last stand in an enclave called Liberty.
The Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price (Feb. 4, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0399164989). Marked from youth, six people are saved from the destruction of their world by the smugly superior Pelletiers, casually lethal superhumans from a distant future.
Dreamwalker by C.S. Friedman (Feb 4, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-0756408886). Friedman (the Magister Trilogy) launches a series with this dimension-hopping, genre-bending adventure that will appeal to both adults and teens.
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch (Feb 4, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0756409609). Aaronovitch’s first title for DAW is the fourth book in the popular Rivers of London series.
Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire (May 6, trade paper, $16.00, ISBN 978-0756409616) is the first volume in the story of Rose Marshall, a ghost trying to stop her immortal murderer from killing again.
The High Druid’s Blade: The Defenders of Shannara by Terry Brooks (Mar. 11, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0345540706). After vast world-spanning epics filled with quests and armies, Brooks tries his hand at a more personal story, the first standalone Shannara novel.
Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne (June 17, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0345548481) is the seventh book, and the first hardcover, in the bestselling urban fantasy series starring Druid Atticus O’Sullivan.
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (July 8, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0804178327) opens a stirring new epic fantasy trilogy about a bookish disabled man who reluctantly accepts the throne of a troubled kingdom.
Archetype by M. D. Waters (Feb. 6, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0525954231). Emotional involvement powers this absorbing debut gothic thriller in science fiction trappings.
We Are Not Good People by Jeff Somers (June 3, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1451696790). This gritty supernatural thriller features a pair of unlikely heroes caught up in the underground world of blood magic.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (July 8, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062290366). Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler, and defeat a powerful and malevolent sorceress. Announced first printing: 150,000.
The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison (Feb. 25, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0061957932). Harrison’s 12th and penultimate Hollows novel (following 2012’s Ever After) puts even more pressure on Rachel Morgan, a witch and bounty hunter turned day-walking demon. Announced first printing: 250,000.
Dark Serpent: Celestial Battle, Book One by Kylie Chan (Apr. 29, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0062329066). Australian besteller Kylie Chan returns with a new, fast-paced adventure of magic, martial arts, and romance. Announced first printing: 25,000.
Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel by Katherine Harbour (June 24, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0062286727) is a modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad “Tam Lin,” a fusion of love, fantasy, and myth. Announced first printing: 50,000.
(Dist. by Ingram)
St Rage by Joe McKinney (July 11, trade paper, $18.95, ISBN 978-1940161570). A Texas state trooper and an anthropologist race to solve the mystery behind a string of murders and disappearances surrounding the discovery of an ancient mummy from an Aztec tomb.
Raising Steam: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett (Mar., hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 9780385538268). The 40th Discworld novel (and the first with Doubleday) sees the Disc’s first train come steaming into town.
Space Trash by John Walker (May 1, hardcover, $22.95, ISBN 978-1849634038) is set in a near-future world of space missions and covert governmental space programs.
The Girl with the Scar by William Stadler (May 1, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0988676565). In a kingdom beset by bloodthirsty soldiers, evil, and magic, a sheltered 15-year-old girl is plagued by violent seizures.
The Rainbow King by Chris Ingram (May 1, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1849634854). A boy with a mysterious past discovers his Rainbow ancestry and takes the helm of his fantastical kingdom, uniting the four nations of dragons, dwarves, humans, and wood-people.
400 lb. Gorilla by D.C. Farmer (Feb. 1, mass market, $7.95, ISBN 978-1939392831). Matt Danmor thinks he’s lucky. Not many people survive a terrible accident with nothing more than a bout of amnesia, a touch of clumsiness, and the conviction that the technician who did the MRI had grey skin and hooves.
Blood for the Sun by Errick Nunnally (Mar. 1, mass market, $7.95, ISBN 978-1939392848). Alexander Smith has stayed alive more than 140 years by clinging to his love for his adopted daughter, the vampire Ana. But now he’s plagued with supernatural memory loss.
The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst (May 27, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0778317111). Lost your way? Your dreams? Yourself? Welcome to Lost. It’s a place you really can’t leave. Not until you’re found.
Defenders by Will McIntosh (May 13, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-0316217767). The defenders are the perfect warriors: 17 feet tall, knowing and loving nothing but war, their minds closed to the aliens who have invaded Earth. The question is, what do you do with millions of genetically-engineered warriors once the war is won? Announced first printing: 30,000.
The Remaining by D.J. Molles (May 27, trade paper, $10, ISBN 978-0316404150). Indie author Molles’s print debut is the first book in a post-apocalyptic series about a soldier’s final mission: to rebuild America.
Truth and Fear by Peter Higgins (Mar. 25, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0316219723). In Higgins’s second Wolfhound Century novel, Investigator Lom returns to Mirgorod and finds the city in the throes of a crisis. Announced first printing: 30,000.
Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan (May 27, hardcover, $20, ISBN 978-0316209274). Canavan’s series opener explores a land where an industrial revolution is powered by magic. Announced first printing: 25,000.
The Path to Power by Karen Miller (July 8, hardcover, $20, ISBN 978-0316120081). Miller begins an epic fantasy series about a kingdom divided, a prince without a throne, and a family torn apart. Announced first printing: 30,000.
Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett (May 27, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-1451695090) is the fourth book starring gutsy renegade mage and tiki bar owner Arcadia Bell, who must face the last danger standing between her old identity and the new future she desperately wants: herself.
The Barrow by Mark Smylie (Mar. 4, trade paper, $18, ISBN 978-1616148911). Thieves with high connections conspire to find a lost treasure in a grim quest fantasy that gradually heats to a satisfying boil.
Blood and Iron by Jon Sprunk (Mar. 11, trade paper, $18, ISBN 978-1616148935). Sprunk (the Shadow Saga) opens an epic fantasy series with a cross between Harry Potter and Spartacus.
Premonitions by Jamie Schultz (July 7, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0451467447). In Schultz’s dark and powerful urban fantasy debut, a woman agrees to steal a dangerous artifact in exchange for a magical drug that will suppress her hallucinations of the future.
Deadroads by Robin Riopelle (Apr. 1, trade paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1597805131). Lutie always wanted a pet ghost—but the devil’s in the details. Announced first printing: 6,000.
Cataveiro by E.J. Swift (July 1, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1597804974). A boat is shipwrecked on Patagonian shores, and rumors abound that it has come from the lost city Osiris. The implications are wide-reaching, for in the eyes of the world Osiris is only a collection of fables.
The House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill (July 15, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1250041272). A troubled young woman is hired to catalog a cache of antique dolls and puppets belonging to a wildly eccentric millionaire.
The Forever Watch by David Ramirez (Apr. 22, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1250033819). In this riveting science fiction debut, all that is left of humanity is on a thousand-year journey to a new planet aboard one ship, the Noah, which is also carrying a dangerous serial killer.
The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger (June 17, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1250038982). This fast-paced historical fantasy debut, set in the rich world of the American West, introduces a Civil War veteran who can see ghosts.
(Dist. by IPG)
The Madonna and the Starship by James Morrow (June 10, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1616961596). Beloved 1950s TV star Uncle Wonder must create the ultimate irreverent television show—or crayfish from outer space will inflict their death-ray on an unsuspecting viewership.
Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan (Apr. 15, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1616961831). When Ellis Rogers is faced with a terminal illness, he decides to make use of the time machine in his garage.
The Waking Engine by David Edison (Feb. 11, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0765334862). A man is surprised to find that death is a temporary condition in Edison’s New Weird debut.
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (Mar. 4, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0765326362) is the eagerly awaited sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Way of Kings.
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Apr. 1, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0765326997). Ambitious and meticulously executed world building brings an animated dazzle to this exceptional novel.
The Merchant Emperor by Elizabeth Haydon (June 3, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0765305664). Acclaimed author Haydon returns with the long-awaited seventh book of the Symphony of Ages series.
California Bones by Greg van Eekhout (June 10, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0765328557) is a heist novel set in a grisly and fantastic alternate Los Angeles where magical power is derived from what—or who—you eat.
Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica (June 24, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0765334497). One minute, 24-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world.
The Time Traveler’s Almanac edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer (Mar. 18, hardcover, $37.99, ISBN 978-0765374219). On the heels of The Weird, the next genre-defining anthology from Ann and Jeff VanderMeer explores the popular world of time-travel fiction.
Afterparty by Daryl Gregory (Apr. 22, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0765336927). A 17-year-old street girl finds God through a new brain-altering drug called Numinous, used as a sacrament by a new church that preys on the underclass.
My Real Children by Jo Walton (May 20, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0765332653). The new novel from the author of Among Others is a powerful tale of one woman with two lives.
Hurricane Fever by Tobias S. Buckell (July 1, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0765319227). Buckell follows Arctic Rising with a technothriller about a terrorist plot to use a private space delivery platform in Barbados to launch a deadly genetic virus.
All Those Vanished Engines by Paul Park (July 1, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0765375407) is a novel of three alternate histories, from the Civil War to the future.
(Dist. by IPG)
The People’s Will by Jasper Kent (May 1, trade paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-0593069547). The chilling fourth chapter in the acclaimed Danilov Quintet, set in an alternate Russia, is part historical adventure and part vampire thriller.
Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard (Feb. 20, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0670015702). Leonard’s debut explores a fantastical world with enthusiasm and energy.
(Dist. by Simon & Schuster)
Battle Royale: Remastered by Koushun Takami (Apr. 2, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-1421565989). Junior high school students are taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill until only one survivor is left standing.