Danielle Stockley is an Associate Editor at Ace and Roc Books. You can find her opinions about books and science and stuff on Twitter @D_Stockley.
If you like historical mysteries, if you like romantic fantasy, even if you just like rich, detailed storytelling, then check out The Golden City. Set in Portugal at the turn of the last century, it tells the story of Oriana Paredes, a siren and spy living in a country that has banned her people from setting foot on its shores. Her search to find a murderer will set Oriana in the path of police consultant Duilio Ferreira, a man whose family is hiding a secret of its own. Find out why Library Journal named this one of the best five science fiction/fantasy books of 2013.
The Grim Company manages the neat trick of dropping a group of mostly despicable stock fantasy characters into the middle of a war where entire city populations are merely collateral damage, with the end result being a lot of fun. As well as copious amounts of gore. Author Luke Scull isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. Instead, he takes all the wheel’s best features (So round! What spokes!) and then pushes said wheel downhill at breakneck speed directly toward a cliff.
The universe is big. Really, really big. And also very old. No one does a better job if instilling these facts in a reader than Alastair Reynolds in Revelation Space. Imagine investigating a culture that disappeared 900,000 years in the past, or trying to coordinate a mission when your most recent information is thirty years old and it will take you another sixty to travel to your ultimate destination. Then also imagine some amazingly cool weapons systems and a menacing threat to all humanity and you’ve got this first book of Reynolds’ Revelation Space series. Fun fact: while you and I have frittered away our lives, Mr. Reynolds found the time to become an author and an astrophysicist.
If I told you that The Necromancer’s House was about a wizard living in modern-day New York you might stop me and say you’ve heard this sort of thing before. But you haven’t. Andrew may be a wizard, but he’s also a recovering alcoholic hamstrung by his own vanity, and he lives in New York, upstate, where life is relatively quiet. Usually. But something Andrew did in the past is working its way back toward him and the people he cares about, one extremely violent act at a time. This is a story about deeply flawed people that features a truly unique magic system and owes as much to horror as it does to contemporary fantasy. Fans of both should enjoy it.
Utterly profane, unflinchingly honest, and undeniably funny are how I would best describe this sardonic twist on urban fantasy. Don’t-you-dare-ever-call-me-Siobhan Quinn was just your average street junky until the day she was bitten by a werewolf and a vampire in the same night. Now the doubly-gifted (or twice-damned) Quinn is trying to track down who set her up. If only she could stop eating the suspects. Expect to be offended and entertained in equal measures
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