Remember how I said I wasn’t going to buy books in 2015? Library or gift cards only, unless I knew the author well enough to hug them on sight. (And I am not a huggy person.) This is a list of books that is gonna make that resolution OH SO HARD.
[Note: I am strictly keeping this to ten books in an attempt to get this posted IN 2015. (I am not the fastest writer of blog posts. Also, in the grand tradition of my lists, this one is all over the place in terms of age group, but pretty solidly settled in SF/Fantasy for genre. And I’m gonna try to describe each book in one sentence, because a.) I need to keep myself contained, b) why make things easy.]
Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear
The Book: Bordello girls solve a series of murders during a steampunk version of the alaskan gold rush— written by Elizabeth Bear.
Why I want it: Oh let me count the ways. The cover has a girl with a gun, airships, and a pleasing kraken design. (I like what this says for the plot.) It’s written by Elizabeth Freaking Bear. And from what I can figure out, it’s both a celebration and deconstruction of the steampunk genre.
Cause see, steampunk takes its genes from victorian-era SF and Adventure, but in addition to the flights of mechanical fancy and mad science, it often also takes on some more questionable tropes straight out of the 1900’s. Like, for example, the fact that the economic system of the victorian era— including institutional racism, Dicksenian factory conditions, and natural exploitation of much of the world— is unquestioned. The hero is a white, (often so white he’s blonde) man, and anyone who isn’t is either sidekick, suspicious, or does not exist. Men want monetary success and achievement, women want marriage, and anyone who diverges from that (even by wanting MULTIPLE things) is evil.
Bear basically looked at this situation, laughed, and said “let me find every character trope I can and SET THEM ON FIRE”.
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, by Catherynne M. Valente
The Book: A changeling child has to deal with the mysterious world of Chicago and then save Fairyland.
Why I want it: It’s written by Cat Valente. Also, it’s a Fairyland book. Also, the main character (Hawthorn) has a pet toad who follows him to the human world. Also, reverse-changeling story. Also, I love me some stories about culture shock. Also, it features the Red Wind, who is capricious, highly ornamented and delightfully inscrutable.
Also, it’s written by Cat Valente.
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
The Book: Agnieszka is chosen as the tithe the Dragon— the wizard who protects her village— demands for his service.
Why I want it: I really enjoy Naomi Novik’s worldbuilding. She’s both a napoleonic scholar and fantasy game designer, and her love of folklore and history seeps out of the pages. Plus, the reviews I’ve been hearing about this say it’s delightful.
Last First Snow, by Max Gladstone
The Book: Gentrification is really tricky when the powers of the dead gods are still tied up in the old neighbourhoods you want to improve.
Why I want it: I’m thinking Max Gladstone may have made up an entirely new genre, economic fantasy, and I want to read all of it. I mean, look at that description. LOOK AT IT.
A Pocket Full of Murder, by R.J. Anderson
The Book: A Veronica Mars-type girl detective joins forces with a mystery-loving street boy to solve a murder in a 1930s-style city driven by spell power.
Why I want it: That description above? I stole it from the official sale pitch. If you don’t read that and think you need to have it in your hands immediately, I don’t know how to help you. Coffee, maybe?
Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Book: Kady’s day started out bad (having to break up with her boyfriend), to worse (her planet is being invaded, a plague’s breaking out, the fleet’s AI is going rogue, and she has to work together with now-ex-boyfriend).
Why I want it: In addition to that excellent plot premise and the fact that it’s Hard SF, the story is told in an interesting text form. You learn what’s happening though IM logs, hacked documents, medical readouts, criminal interviews, etc. I’m really interested to see how it all plays out.
Ash & Bramble, by Sarah Prineas
The Book: When Pin dares to try to make her own Happily Ever After instead of sewing endless fantasy ballgowns for the Fairy Godmother, she’s trapped in a Cinderella story which isn’t going well.
Why I want it: I really like Sarah Prineas’s writing, and, as may be evident from this list, I have a thing for folklore and retellings. To be honest, the cover worries me a lot, but it is from Harper Teen, known for Dress Covers. I’m still keeping this one on my GIVE IT TO ME list.
Walk on Earth a Stranger, by Rae Carson
The Book: Lee Westfall can sense gold in the earth, a valuable and dangerous skill for a woman in Gold-Rush-Era California.
Why I want it: Rae Carson, my heart. I loved her previous trilogy with Greenwillow, Fire and Thorns, and look at this one. Delightful cover, dangerous premise, trustworthy author. Why don’t YOU have this one pre-ordered already?
Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
The Book: An impossible heist in a magical city where everything is for sale.
Why I want it: *points at the pitch* Heist story. Heist story in a fantasy setting. Heist story in a fantasy setting WRITTEN BY LEIGH BARDUGO.
I rest my case.
A Red Rose Chain, by Seanan McGuire
The Book: October Daye book # 9
Why I want it: It’s October Daye book nine. I NEED IT. I need to see how everyone is doing, I need to see the terrible unfolding of plot, I need to check if Spike is growing well, I need to learn WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED IN 1906, I need spoilers.
Give it to me. Oh man September release is so far away. We don’t even have back cover copy yet. Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh so far away and yet I require it so much.