It’s Monday, which means it’s time for a Reader’s Choice post!
The standard stuff: If you’re new around these parts, you might wonder what Reader’s Choice Monday is. Below are some of the new releases from this week that I thought would most interest readers of this site. I tend to cut out a lot of hard sci-fi and YA and some indies whose covers, sadly, kind of went down the road to weirdtown.
Leave a comment as to which one of these you’d most like to read. If you win this week and want that book, great. BUT, on Sunday when I announce the winner, you can also change your mind and pick a different book—anything, print or digital, as long as it costs less than US$15. You also can pick any one of my books if you prefer. Open internationally, of course, as long as you live somewhere Book Depository delivers.
Now, here’s what I considered the most interesting from among the new books releasing this week. After last Monday’s monster list, this week’s is pretty short.
A Whisper of Southern Lights, by Tim Lebbon, May 10, Tor
Death and destruction follow the demon wherever he treads, and Gabriel is rarely far behind, waiting for his chance to extinguish the creature known as Temple once and for all. But in Singapore during the Second World War, a lone soldier in possession of a shattering secret gets caught up in their battle. The knowledge he holds could change the course of their ancient conflict… and the fate of the world. A Whisper of Southern Lights is a standalone novella in the Assassins series by Tim Lebbon.
Central Station, by Lavie Tidhar, May 10, Tachyon
A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. The city is literally a weed, its growth left unchecked. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper….When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the datastream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik—a damaged cyborg soldier who might as well be begging for parts. His father is terminally-ill with a multigenerational mind-plague. And a hunted data-vampire has followed Boris to where she is forbidden to return….Rising above them is Central Station, the interplanetary hub between all things: the constantly shifting Tel Aviv; a powerful virtual arena, and the space colonies where humanity has gone to escape the ravages of poverty and war. Everything is connected by the Others, powerful alien entities who, through the Conversation—a shifting, flowing stream of consciousness—are just the beginning of irrevocable change. At Central Station, humans and machines continue to adapt, thrive…and even evolve.
On the Hunt (A Sentinels Novel), by Alexandra Ivy, May 10, Penguin/Random House
Faster, stronger, and more lethal than any human, the hunter Sentinels move freely through the world—and no one, no matter how powerful, wants to attract their attention…Mika Tanner has loved Bailey Morrell, a beautiful Healer, since childhood. But his duty as a Sentinel, a supernatural guardian of an ancient race, clashed with her rebellious spirit. Now a dangerous new anarchist group not only threatens life as they know it—but any chance of their being together again… (Hey, wait, isn’t there already a Sentinels series????)
Prowled Darkness (Dante’s Circle #7) by Carrie Ann Ryan, May 10
Humans aren’t as alone as they choose to believe. Every human possesses a trait of supernatural that lays dormant within their genetic make-up. Centuries of diluting and breeding have allowed humans to think they are alone and untouched by magic. But what happens when something changes? ….Eliana Sawyer’s life was rocked from its foundation twice in as many years. She risked her heart and had it shattered into a thousand pieces when Malik left her with no warning. While she’d normally raise her chin and ignore the pain, she can’t forget what he gave her before he disappeared from her life.
Malik Ward is a prince amongst the lion shifters and knows that one day he will have to take a mate. Only, his people can never mate with humans. Under the mistaken impression that Eliana was only human, he forced himself to leave before they’d crossed a line and he broke his vow to his people. Now that he knows the truth about Eliana, however, it will take more than groveling to win back the one woman fated to be his.
While Eliana and Malik embark on a new sensuous path that might lead to disaster, the realms aren’t ready to allow the final lightning-struck human to be enveloped into their fold. The couple will have to combat those plotting against them, as well as the broken promises and heated emotions they share. The final book in the series.
Children of Earth and Sky, by Guy Gavriel Kay, May 10, NAL
The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide….From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy….The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming….As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world…
Dissidence, by Ken MacLeod, May 10, Little, Brown
They’ve died for the companies more times than they can remember. Now they must fight to live for themselves….Sentient machines work, fight and die in interstellar exploration and conflict for the benefit of their owners – the competing mining corporations of Earth. But sent over hundreds of light-years, commands are late to arrive and often hard to enforce. The machines must make their own decisions, and make them stick. With this new found autonomy come new questions about their masters. The robots want answers. The companies would rather see them dead….The Corporation Wars: Dissidence is an all-action, colorful space opera giving a robot’s-eye view of a robot revolt.
The Mirror Thief, by Martin Seay, May 10, Melville House
Publishers Weekly raved that “with near-universal appeal . . . Seay’s debut novel is a true delight, a big, beautiful cabinet of wonders that is by turns an ominous modern thriller, a supernatural mystery, and an enchanting historical adventure story.” Set in three cities in three eras, The Mirror Thief calls to mind David Mitchell and Umberto Eco in its mix of entertainment and literary bravado….The core story is set in Venice in the sixteenth century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world’s most wondrous inventions: the mirror. An object of glittering yet fearful fascination—was it reflecting simple reality, or something more spiritually revealing?—the Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage by desirous sultans and royals world-wide. But for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, however—a world-weary war hero with nothing to lose—has a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city’s terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten . . .Meanwhile, in two other Venices—Venice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa today—two other schemers launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret . . .
Ripper (Morphid Chronicles #2), by Ingrid Seymour, May 10, PenDreams
Against all odds, Greg and Samantha seemed to have cheated Fate when they escaped Regent Danata. Miraculously, the two Morphids remain bound together, attempting to lead a normal, “human” life, even as fear of the evil woman’s revenge clouds their days. …As Sam and Greg struggle to grow their relationship, she is haunted by memories of Ashby, her Morphid soul mate, and burning questions of the identity of her real parents. As if that wasn’t enough, her untried Morphid instincts fill her with doubt and indecision, taking her once simple life in directions she could never have imagined. …When Greg’s Keeper sense foretells danger, however, they abandon all dreams of normalcy and find no other choice but to flee. Armed with nothing but their Morphid skills, Sam sets their course toward New York City, a place that calls to her deeper instincts. As her Keeper, Greg must follow but knows danger awaits. …Thus begins a quest that will test their bond and may spell the end of all they hold dear. It’s only a matter of time before Regent Danata and chaos storm into their lives again.
The Vagrant, by Peter Newman, May 10, Harper Voyager
The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape, carrying nothing but a kit-bag, a legendary sword and a baby. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the sword, the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.
Vengeance of the Demons, by Rebekah Ganiere, May 10, Lyrical Press
When the demons arrive, not even The Society can escape extinction….Soft-spoken and sharply dressed, William, a bitten vampyr, has sworn his loyalty to The Society–and when an imminent demon invasion threatens everything his family has worked so hard to build, he quickly comes up with a plan to save them all. But he’ll need Evan, a stunning and defiant woman, to help rally what’s left of humanity…Evan is the last human who wants to see the Vampires saved. But with the demons set to destroy all life on earth–human and Vampire alike–she’ll have to partner with William to survive. Yet the dangerous twists and turns ahead only bring the two closer, uncovering forbidden desires neither dreamed were possible. Will their newfound romance be enough to conquer a centuries-long feud? Or will it put the entire world at risk?
The Wolf in the Attic, by Paul Kearney, May 10, Solaris
1920s Oxford: home to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien… and Anna Francis, a young Greek refugee looking to escape the grim reality of her new life. The night they cross paths, none suspect the fantastic world at work around them….Anna Francis lives in a tall old house with her father and her doll Penelope. She is a refugee, a piece of flotsam washed up in England by the tides of the Great War and the chaos that trailed in its wake. Once upon a time, she had a mother and a brother, and they all lived together in the most beautiful city in the world, by the shores of Homer’s wine-dark sea….But that is all gone now, and only to her doll does she ever speak of it, because her father cannot bear to hear. She sits in the shadows of the tall house and watches the rain on the windows, creating worlds for herself to fill out the loneliness. The house becomes her own little kingdom, an island full of dreams and half-forgotten memories. And then one winter day, she finds an interloper in the topmost, dustiest attic of the house. A boy named Luca with yellow eyes, who is as alone in the world as she is….That day, she’ll lose everything in her life, and find the only real friend she may ever know.
Too Like The Lightning, by Ada Palmer, May 10, Tor
Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer–a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away….The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life….And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…Perfect for fans of Jo Walton, Robert Charles Wilson and Kim Stanley Robinson, Too Like The Lightning is a change of pace from the current trend of gritty, dystopian novels. Much like Homer telling of heroic deeds and wine dark seas, Mycroft Canner’s narration will draw you into the world of Terra Ignota—a world simmering with gender politics and religious fervor just beneath the surface, on the brink of revolutionary change.
So…what do you want to read? Which of these appeals to you most? Remember, regardless of what you say in your comment you also can pick a different book or one of my books (except the two that are currently out of print, The Consort and Christmas in Dogtown).