The last gasp of summer before its unofficial end (at least, here in the States), this week's new speculative fiction brings skyships and dystopias and gangs of shadow addicts...
For those of you still on a Wonder Woman high, there's a book fix for you! And for those of you who love YA (whether you're gearing up for a new school year, or school is just a distant memory), there's lots for you, too — among this week's new SFF releases, you'll find quite a few YA sci-fi and fantasy books sandwiched in between an adult steampunk fantasy with a very cool title, and a dark post-apocalyptic with a very cool premise.
Check out this week's new sci-fi and fantasy book releases:
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors
Curtis Craddock | Steampunk ● Fantasy
A delightful and engrossing fantasy debut featuring an intelligent heroine and her guardian, a royal musketeer.
In a world of soaring continents and bottomless skies, where a burgeoning new science lifts skyships into the cloud-strewn heights, and ancient blood-borne sorceries cling to a fading glory, Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs is about to be married to a man she has barely heard of, the second son of a dying king in an empire collapsing into civil war.
Born without the sorcery that is her birthright but with a perspicacious intellect, Isabelle believes her marriage will stave off disastrous conflict and bring her opportunity and influence. But the last two women betrothed to this prince were murdered, and a sorcerer-assassin is bent on making Isabelle the third. Aided and defended by her loyal musketeer, Jean-Claude, Isabelle plunges into a great maze of prophecy, intrigue, and betrayal, where everyone wears masks of glamour and lies. Step by dangerous step, she unravels the lies of her enemies and discovers a truth more perilous than any deception.
All Rights Reserved (Word$ #1)
Gregory Scott Katsoulis | YA ● Science Fiction
In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.
Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks ("Sorry" is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She's been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can't begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she's unable to afford.
But when Speth's friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family's crippling debt, she can't express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speech—rather than say anything at all—she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth's unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.
The Dazzling Heights (Thousandth Floor #2)
Katharine McGee | YA ● Science Fiction
The sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Thousandth Floor
New York, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amidst high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…
LEDA is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden—even if it means trusting her enemy.
WATT just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?
When RYLIN wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.
AVERY is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him… no matter the cost.
And then there’s CALLIOPE, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York, determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.
But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. And in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.
The sumptuous second book in the bestselling Thousandth Floor series has all the drama, romance and hidden secrets that landed the first book in this series at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Mask of Shadows
Linsey Miller | YA ● Fantasy
I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.
Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.
When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.
But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.
Brian Allen Carr | Dark ● Post-Apocalyptic
A lyrical, apocalyptic debut novel about addiction, friendship, and the struggle for survival
It started with a single child and quickly spread: you could get high by drinking your own shadow. At night, artificial lights were destroyed so that addicts could sip shadow in the pure glow of the moon.
Gangs of shadow addicts chased down children on playgrounds, rounded up old ladies from retirement homes. Cities were destroyed and governments fell. And if your shadow was sipped entirely, you became one of them, had to drink the shadows of others or go mad.
One hundred and fifty years later, what’s left of the world is divided between the highly regimented life of those inside dome cities who are protected from natural light (and natural shadows), and those forced to the dangerous, hardscrabble life in the wilds outside. In rural Texas, Mira, her shadow-addicted=friend Murk, and an ex-domer named Bale search for a possible mythological cure to the shadow sickness—but they must do so, it is said, before the return of Halley’s Comet, which is only days away.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer
Leigh Bardugo | YA ● Fantasy
The highly anticipated, entirely new coming-of-age story for the world's greatest super hero: WONDER WOMAN by the # 1 New York Times bestselling author LEIGH BARDUGO.
She will become one of the world's greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .
Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.
Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn't know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.
Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.
Zero Repeat Forever
G. S. Prendergast | YA ● Science Fiction
The 5th Wave meets Beauty and the Beast in this fast-paced and heart-stopping novel about an invasion of murderous creatures and one girl fighting for her life at the end of the world.
He has no voice or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.
Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.
His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.
Until a human kills her…
Sixteen-year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her fellow campers can only stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless, but what choice does she have?
Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.
Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…
★ Weekly Pick: Sip by Brian Allen Carr because I love post-apocalyptic dystopian worlds, and I love darkly weird fiction. And this seems to be both. I mean, it's got gangs of shadow addicts searching for mythological cures to their shadow sickness before Halley's Comet returns... like, how can you not want to read that?
Your turn: What are you excited to read before Labor Day rolls around?