Things have been a little quiet around here, but that just means there’s a lot to catch-up on! Let’s get started, shall we?
Some personal news first: I went to WorldCon! It was wonderful and a little overwhelming; I really wish I’d been able to go with a friend, as was the original plan. But Dublin (which hosted the con this year) is my home ground, and Catherynne Valente was not only attending, her book Space Opera was up for the Hugo – so there was no question of not going!
Honestly, Valente was my entire reason for going – no way was I going to miss out on one of her rare trips to Europe! – and I can happily say that she was entirely worth it. She wrote a beautiful inscription in my copy of The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All The Way Home, I was able to give her a slightly squashed scroll (handing over a letter seemed like the best way to gush without embarrassing myself, making her feel awkward, or holding up the signing line), and I even got to hear her read from Space Opera. (Her husband narrates audiobooks and is amazing at it, but for the record she could absolutely do it herself if she wanted to. She makes for a fantastic reader; I don’t think I’ll ever be able to reread Space Opera without hearing it in her voice.) So that was an Epic Win.
Among various other things, I was able to attend a reading by Sarah Rees Brennan, a panel on Hopepunk by Alexandra Rowland herself, a wonderful kaffeekleetch with Jenn Lyons (author of Ruin of Kings, which I must sit down and review soon!), and an absolutely hilarious panel on non-humans in spec-fic romances, of which KM Szpara was the undoubted star (like I needed any more reasons to be excited for his book Docile.) I spent one day wandering around in my galaxy-print suit and bowler hat, could not find Tor anywhere in the Dealer’s Hall, and bonded with a Finnish Scott Lynch fan at a table selling first-editions. (I was debating grabbing a first-ed Lies of Locke Lamora, and am very happy it went home with her instead!)
There was some personal, non-convention-related drama to deal with while I was in Dublin which was not nearly so much fun, but ultimately it was a really great trip!
(Except for Space Opera not winning the Hugo. I’m still furious.)
Now for some general book news!The Queen's Bargain (The Black Jewels #10) by Anne Bishop
Published by Ace on 10th March 2020
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy
POWER HAS A PRICE. SO DOES LOVE.
Return to the dark, sensual, and powerful world of the Black Jewels in this long-awaited new story in the New York Times bestselling fantasy saga
After a youthful mistake, Lord Dillon’s reputation is in tatters, leaving him vulnerable to aristo girls looking for a bit of fun. To restore his reputation and honor, he needs a handfast—a one-year contract of marriage. He sets his sights on Jillian, a young Eyrien witch from Ebon Rih, who he believes has only a flimsy connection to the noble society that spurned him. Unfortunately for Dillon, he is unaware of Jillian’s true connections until he finds himself facing Lucivar Yaslana, the volatile Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih.
Meanwhile, Surreal SaDiablo’s marriage is crumbling. Daemon Sadi, the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, recognizes there is something wrong between him and Surreal, but he doesn’t realize that his attempt to suppress his own nature in order to spare his wife is causing his mind to splinter. To save Daemon, and the Realm of Kaeleer if he breaks, help must be sought from someone who no longer exists in any of the Realms—the only Queen powerful enough to control Daemon Sadi. The Queen known as Witch.
As Jillian rides the winds of first love with Dillon, Daemon and Surreal struggle to survive the wounds of a marriage turned stormy—and Lucivar has to find a way to keep everyone in his family safe…even from each other.
Anne Bishop is publishing a new book in the Black Jewels series! The Queen’s Bargain will be out next year, making it eight years since the last Black Jewels instalment, which we all believed would be the last. Although I don’t love the books quite as much as I once did (a topic for another post), it’s still very important to me, not least because it remains one of the series my best friend and I are equally passionate about. (We’re working on adapting it for an imaginary tv show, complete with scripts and costume design. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun!) I already have my copy of Queen’s Bargain pre-ordered!The Seared Lands (The Dragon’s Legacy, #3) by Deborah A. Wolf
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy
This book, while following the previous stories, focuses a great deal on the Illindrist, Aasah, and his apprentice Yaela, strange people with stranger powers who come from a land of salt and fire.
In the days of the Sundering, Quarabala--the Seared Lands--were cursed by Akari Sun Dragon and scorched beyond all recognition. Now a cruel place inhabited by nightmare beasts, the Seared Lands are home to a desperate few; and as fears of a second Sundering grow, these people look to greener lands. If no place is found for them, they will seize new lands from the soft hands of Those Who Dwell Above.
They have nowhere else to go, they have nothing to lose...
And this time, they are not alone.
In far less cool news, Searing Lands, the third (AND POSSIBLY FINAL?!) book in the Dragon’s Legacy series has been pushed back from September to next March. Sigh. On the other hand, given that my birthday is March 1st, this does mean it has now become my birthday present, and I can definitely live with that.
Inception meets The Magicians, except with better wigs and a maniacal drag queen sorceress attempting to unravel the reality of Connecticut (yes, the state) and replace it with something…well something better than Connecticut.
Ryan La Sala’s debut fantasy is an #OwnVoices story following Kane Montgomery, a gay teenager piecing his life back together after an attack robs him of his memories. As Kane searches for who he was, he uncovers a war for the creative rights to reality itself, each battle played out in an imagined world turned real: a reverie.
Reveries are worlds born from a person’s private fantasies, and once they manifest they can only be unraveled by bringing their conflicts to resolution. Reveries have rules and plots, magic and monsters, and one wrong step could twist the entire thing into a lethal, labyrinthine nightmare. Unraveling them is dangerous work, but it’s what Kane and The Others do.
Or did, until one of The Others purged Kane of his memories. But now Kane is back, and solving the mystery of his betrayal is the only way to unite his team and defeat reality’s latest threat: Poesy, a sorceress bent on harvesting the reveries for their pure, imaginative power.
But what use might a drag queen sorceress have with a menagerie of stolen reveries? And should Kane, a boy with no love for a team that betrayed him, fight to stop her, or defect to aid her?
Reverie is about the seduction of escaping inwards, about the worlds we hide within ourselves, and the danger of dreams that come true.
Whereas Reverie by Ryan La Sala has been moved forward, from next January to this December! WOO! And not only that, but there’s going to be a special Barnes & Noble exclusive edition, which sounds like an absolute must-have! Gideon the Ninth (The Ninth House, #1) by Tamsyn Muir
Representation: Queer women
Published by Tor.com on 10th September 2019
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Science Fantasy
Gideon the Ninth is the most fun you'll ever have with a skeleton.
The Emperor needs necromancers.
The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.
Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.
Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won't set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon's sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.
Of course, some things are better left dead.
Also, because I am obsessed, I managed to discover that one can pre-order signed copies of Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth via Forbidden Planet in London. So if anyone’s interested, hop on over there to nab one for yourself!
I have a bunch of reviews to write up, but that’s it for now. Anybody heard any book news I missed?