Okay, remember I said we’d have short list this week since the last two were so huge? Ha! It’s still a fairly busy release week in the world of speculative fiction, so get your list-making supplies ready and comment to tell me which one you’re most looking forward to.
As for me, I’m a big Stephen King fan (uh, hello, who else would have signed on for a two-year read of the entire Dark Tower series over at Tor.com—join us on Mondays if you’re a fan). So I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with the JFK assassination in 11/22/63.
As always, Reader’s Choice is an international giveaway, so take a deep breath and dig in!
*Genre key (at the end of each listing): SF=science fiction; F=fantasy; UF=urban fantasy; H=horror; PR=paranormal romance; YA=young adult; MG=middle grade; alt history=alternative history; dyst=dystopia; steampunk.
11/22/63, by Stephen King(Nov. 8, Scribner)
November 22nd, 1963, was a rapid-fire sequence of indelible moments: Shots ring out; a president slumped over; a race to the Dallas hospital; an announcement, blood still fresh on the First Lady’s dress. But what if President John F. Kennedy didn’t have to die; if somehow his assassin could have been thwarted? For Maine schoolteacher Jake Epping, those hypothetical what if’s become real possibilities when he walks through a portal to the past. Without special skills and still unfamiliar with his new/old surroundings, he struggles to discover a way to change the history he left. ALT Hist
The Alloy of Law, by Brandon Sanderson(Nov. 8, Tor)
Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds. Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice. One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn, who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs. Fourth in the Mistborn series. F
The Dead Gentleman, by Matthew Cody (Nov. 8, Knopf)
Featuring a kid hero, time travel, and otherworld portals in unexpected places (maybe there are monsters under your bed), The Dead Gentleman is a wild ride between parallel New York City timestreams—1901 and today. Eleven-year-old Tommy Learner is a street orphan and an unlikely protege to the Explorers, a secret group dedicated to exploring portals—the hidden doorways to other worlds. But while investigating an attercop (man-eating spider) in the basement of an old hotel, Tommy is betrayed—and trapped. And it’s then that his world collides with that of modern-day Jezebel Lemon, who—until the day she decides to explore her building’s basement—had no bigger worries than homework and boys. Now, Jezebel and Tommy must thwart the Dead Gentleman—a legendary villain whose last unconquered world is our own planet Earth, a realm where the dead stay dead. Until now. Steampunk-MG
Don’t Expect Magic, by Kathy McCullough (Nov. 8, Delacorte)
Delaney Collins doesn’t believe in fairy tales. And why should she? Her mom is dead, her best friend is across the country, and she’s stuck in California with “Dr. Hank,” her famous life-coach father—a man she barely knows. Happily ever after? Yeah, right. Then Dr. Hank tells her an outrageous secret: he’s a fairy godmother—an f.g.—and he can prove it. And by the way? The f.g. gene is hereditary. Meaning there’s a good chance that New Jersey tough girl Delaney is someone’s fairy godmother. But what happens when a fairy godmother needs a wish of her own? UF-YA
Endurance, by Jay Lake (Nov. 8, Tor)
Green is back in Copper Downs. Purchased from her father in sunny Selistan when she was four years old, she was harshly raised to be a courtesan, companion, and bedmate of the Immortal Duke of Copper Downs. But Green rebelled. Green killed the Duke, and many others, and won her freedom. Yet she is still claimed by the gods and goddesses of her world, and they still require her service. Their demands are greater than any duke’s could have been. Godslayers have come to the Stone Coast, magicians whose cult is dedicated to destroying the many gods of Green’s world. In the turmoil following the Immortal Duke’s murder, Green made a God out of her power and her memories. Now the gods turn to her to protect them from the Slayers. Second in the Green Universe series. F
As the World Dies: Fighting to Survive, by Rhiannon Frater (Nov. 8, Tor)
Picking up where The First Daysends, Fighting to Survive features the further zombie-killing, civilization-saving adventures of a pair of sexy, kick butt heroines and the men who love them. A hundred or so survivors of the zombie plague have found tenuous safety in the walled off center of a small Texas town. Now the hard work of survival begins—finding enough food; creating safe, weather-resistant shelter; establishing laws; and fighting off both the undead who want to eat them and the living bandits who want to rob and kill them. Second in the As the World Dies series. H
The Hunger Games Companion: The Unauthorized Guide to the Series, by Lois Gresh (Nov. 8, St. Martin’s Griffin)
Go deeper into the post-apocalyptic world created by Suzanne Collins than you ever thought possible—an alternative future where boys and girls are chosen from twelve districts to compete in “The Hunger Games,” a televised fight-to-the-death. When sixteen-year-old Katniss learns that her little sister has been chosen, Kat steps up to fight in her place—and the games begin. This unauthorized guide takes the reader behind the stage. The Hunger Games Companion includes fascinating background facts about the action in all three books, a revealing biography of the author, and amazing insights into the series’ main themes and features—from the nature of evil, to weaponry and rebellions, to surviving the end of the world. DYST-YA
Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini (Nov. 8, Knopf)
Not so very long ago, Eragon Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider, was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders. Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances. The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaësia? And if so, at what cost? This is the much-anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle. Fourth and final book in the Inheritance series. F-YA
Little Women & Me, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (Nov. 8, Bloomsbury)
Emily is sick and tired of being a middle sister. So when she gets an assignment to describe what she’d change about a classic novel, Emily pounces on Little Women. After all, if she can’t change things in her own family, maybe she can bring a little justice to the March sisters. (Kill off Beth? Have cute Laurie wind up with Amy instead of Jo? What was Louisa May Alcott thinking?!) But when Emily gets mysteriously transported into the world of the book, she discovers that righting fictional wrongs won’t be easy. And after being immersed in a time and place so different from her own, it may be Emily-not the four March sisters-who undergoes the most surprising change of all. Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s winning confection will appeal to fans of Little Women as well as anyone who enjoys a modern twist on an old favorite. YA
Prized, by Caragh M. O’Brien(Nov. 8, Roaring Brook)
Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole? Second in the Birthmarked series. DYST-YA
The Ripper, by L.J. Smith, Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec (Nov. 8, HarperTeen)
The year is 1888, and the scent of blood lingers heavy in the London air. Stefan Salvatore thought he could escape his violent origins by settling in the peaceful countryside of England, but when a heinous murderer named Jack the Ripper surfaces, Stefan fears darkness will always follow him. Drawn into the investigation, Stefan assumes the worst: This is the work of a vampire. And the more he learns, the more he becomes convinced that the killer is someone close to him—and that he can never outrun his past. Based on the popular CW TV show inspired by the bestselling novels, Stefan’s Diaries reveals the truth about what really happened between Stefan, Damon, and Katherine—and how the Vampire Diaries love triangle began. Fourth in Stefan’s Diaries, The Vampire Diaries. UF-YA
Scholar, by L.E. Modesitt Jr.(Nov. 8, Tor)
Hundreds of years before the time of Imager, the continent of Lydar is fragmented. Years of war have consolidated five nations into three–Bovaria, Telaryn, and Antiago. Quaeryt is a scholar and a friend of Bhayar, the young ruler of Telaryn. Worried about his future and the escalating intrigues in Solis, the capital city, Quaeryt persuades Bhayar to send him to Tilbor, conquered ten years earlier by Bhayar’s father, in order to see if the number and extent of occupying troops can be reduced so that they can be re-deployed to the border with warlike Bovaria. Quaeryt has managed to conceal the fact that he is an imager, since the life expectancies of imagers in Lydar is short. Part of the Imager Portfolio series. F
Snow in Summer: The Tale of an American Snow White, by Jane Yolen (Nov. 10, Philomel)
With her black hair, red lips, and lily-white skin, Summer is as beautiful as her father’s garden. And her life in the mountains of West Virginia seems like a fairy tale; her parents sing and dance with her, Cousin Nancy dotes on her, and she is about to get a new baby brother. But when the baby dies soon after he’s born, taking Summer/’s mama with him, Summer’s fairy-tale life turns grim. Things get even worse when her father marries a woman who brings poisons and magical mirrors into Summer’s world. Stepmama puts up a pretty face, but Summer suspects she’s up to no good – and is afraid she’s powerless to stop her. F-MG
Stands a Shadow, by Col Buchanan(Nov. 8, Tor)
Still grieving the death of her son, the Holy Matriarch of Mann has ordered her troops to embark on a mission to the Mercian Free Ports. Riding at the head of her army she plans to finally conquer the city of Bar-Khos, whose walls have kept them at bay for ten long years. Ash has other plans for her. The old Roshun warrior is determined that he will have vengeance for the crimes she has committed. But such a course of retribution is in direct opposition to everything he has lived for – this isn’t a Roshun vendetta – it’s personal. While Ash battles with his conscience, Che, the Matriarch’s personal Diplomat and assassin, is questioning his own path. Watching as the Mannian army slaughters their way across the world, he wonders whether he believes any of the doctrine he has been taught to follow. As the battle for Bar-Khos intensifies, more and more lives are affected: Bahn who leaves all he loves in the city to try to protect it from the ravening Mannian empire, Bull the murderer who senses a chance to make things right, and Curl, the young prostitute who is determined to seek her own retribution on the field of battle. When the two armies clash – all looks set to be decided. But it’s not sheer force that will win this battle, but the tormented determination of one man seeking redemption. Second in the Heart of the World series. F
Them or Us, by David Moody (Nov. 8, Thomas Dunne)
The war that has torn the human race apart is finally nearing its end. With most towns and cities now uninhabitable, and with the country in the grip of a savage nuclear winter, both Hater and Unchanged alike struggle to survive. Hundreds of Hater fighters have settled on the East Coast in the abandoned remains of a relatively undamaged town under the command of Hinchcliffe—who’ll stop at nothing to eradicate the last few Unchanged and consolidate his position at the top of this new world order. This fledgling society is harsh and unforgiving—your place in the ranks is decided by how long and how hard you’re prepared to fight. Danny McCoyne is the exception to the rule. His ability to hold the Hate and to use it to hunt out the remaining Unchanged has given him a unique position in Hinchcliffe’s army of fighters. As the enemy’s numbers reduce, so the pressure on McCoyne increases, until he finds himself at the very center of a pivotal confrontation, the outcome of which will have repercussions on the future of everyone who is left alive. Third and final book in the Hater trilogy. DYST
Unison Spark, by Andy Marino (Nov. 8, Henry Holt)
Everyone is obsessed with Unison, the social network that knows you better than you know yourself. Everyone who can afford it, that is. Living beneath the vast ceiling that separates Eastern Seaboard City into rich topside and poor sub-canopy zones, fifteen-year-old Mistletoe can only dream of logging in and has to make do with technological hand-me-downs. Worlds collide when Ambrose Truax, the privileged heir to the Unison empire, wanders into the dangerous sub-canopy streets and Mistletoe saves him from suspicious, uniformed men. They soon discover that they share eerily similar dreams, hinting at a significant past. Together, Ambrose and Mistletoe begin to unravel the mystery of their identities and learn that they’re pawns in a bigger game: the Unison 3.0 upgrade, a whole new kind of Friendship. YA
When the Saints, by Dave Duncan(Nov. 8, Tor)
When we left the Brothers Magnus, they had assembled in Cardice to help Anton Magnus defend the castle from attack by a neighboring state with a significant military advantage and several officers who at any moment could request help from saints—or, depending on your perspective, from the devil. But Cardice has a secret weapon in the form of young Wulfgang Magnus, who can ask a few favors of his own from these devil-saints. The only problem is that Wulf is in love with Madlenka, the countess from Cardice who was forcibly married to Anton to explain why he’s suddenly leading the country. Even Wulf is unsure if family and political loyalty should override love. He’s also beginning to realize that the magical battle he’s stepped into has some serious rules that he doesn’t know, and has no way to learn. And when several wild cards in every battle can tap into nearly limitless sources of magic, who knows how far and wide the battle might range? This stunning continuation of the story begun in Speak to the Devil amps up the romance and intrigue, while letting readers spend more time with master fantasist Dave Duncan’s unique, complex, and ornery-but-delightful characters. Second in the Brothers Magnus series. F
See anything you want? International Reader’s Choice―you tell me. Just a note: if you like a title but it isn’t the first in a series, you can always request the first in that series instead. As always, four entries possible and please include your e-mail: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a Tweet or RT about the contest. Now….go!