In the past week and a half I’ve brought you my Anticipated Books for Summer/Fall 2014 and today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. As usual it’s a list of fifteen, as there are just too many good books to choose from and I always have a hard time getting the list down to the more usual ten books. Also as per usual, I’ve excluded many books I’m really looking forward to reading right out of the gate, for example all the new instalments in series I’ve been reading. If I loved the previous book in the series, it’s a good bet I’ll want to read the next one. Some examples of these are Tom Pollock’s final book in The Skyscraper Throne trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets, Liz de Jager’s second book Vowed, and Mark Charan Newton’s Retribution, the sequel to the excellent Drakenfeld. So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from the lists I posted recently?
Madeline Ashby – Company Town
I loved Madeline Ashby’s vN and iD and her short fiction I’ve read, so there was never any doubt I’d want to read her latest. When that latest is set in a future when most people are enhanced through bioengineering and the setting is a city-sized oil rig, with what promises to be a diverse cast of characters and a murder mystery included? You just stop me from getting my hands on the book, because it promises to be awesome.
Robert Jackson Bennett – City of Stairs
If you point at three random reviewers I follow closely and ask them what they think of Robert Jackson Bennett’s books, chances are that they’ll immediately start gushing. Bennett is an acclaimed speculative author, one whose work I’ve been wanting to check out for years, but have never gotten around to thus far. City of Stairs marks his first foray into secondary world fantasy and is also centred on a murder. If ever there was a time for me to pick up a Robert Jackson Bennett title, it would be now and this one.
Lauren Beukes – Broken Monsters
Because Lauren Beukes. Oh that’s not enough? Well, as you know Bob, Lauren Beukes is one of my favourite writers ever and anything she writes is an auto-buy. Admittedly, I still have to read her previous release, The Shining Girls, but I’ve read so many wonderful things about it, I know I’ll enjoy it and Broken Monsters sounds just as good. Also: look at that cover? The cover gods have a soft spot for Beukes, that is one thing that’s for sure!
Alix Christie – Gutenberg’s Apprentice
Ah, Johann Gutenberg the man who invented the modern printing press and started a revolution without which we would’t be where we are today. Yet Gutenberg’s invention and his claims upon it weren’t as easily-gained as all that. Alix Christie’s Gutenberg’s Apprentice looks to be an interesting look at his invention and development of the printing craft from an unexpected point of view, that of Gutenberg’s reluctant apprentice.
Edward Cox – The Relic Guild
The biggest cuddly, care bear of an author in my Twitter stream is Edward Cox. I’ve been following and chatting with Ed ever since his debut novel was announced by Gollancz last year. Set in a Labyrinth of a city with secret guilds, forbidden magic and dark goings-on, the book sounded instantly intriguing. I can’t wait to read Ed’s debut novel and see whether it’s as good as I think it’ll be.
Chris Evans – Of Bone and Thunder
Its blurb pitched Of Bone and Thunder as Apocalypse Now meets Lord of the Rings and I was pretty much sold. Chris Evans’ latest sounds like a compelling military fantasy and that’s a sub-genre I always enjoy.
Barbara Ewing – The Petticoat Men
Victorian cross-dressers, scandal, gossip, famous court case… sold! The Petticoat Men sounds like a fascinating read and the examination of society’s hypocrisy towards Stella and Fanny will undoubtedly also reflect on similar hypocrisy in our modern world.
Kameron Hurley – The Mirror Empire
Kameron Hurley doesn’t need an introduction. I haven’t yet read her God’s War series, though I have her first two books on my TBR-pile, but this first in a new series from Angry Robot sounds amazing and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it soon!
Rebecca Levene – Smiler’s Fair
To start off with, look at that stunning cover! If that didn’t catch your eye, then let me expound a bit on the story. From the synopsis it sounds that there are several cliches that will be tackled in the book, not the least of which is the epic fantasy staple of the goatherd with a destiny. Yet I doubt it can be as straightforward as that, so I’m really curious to see how Rebecca Levene plays with the tropes and makes them her own.
Emily St. John Mandel – Station Eleven
Station Eleven is getting a lot of buzz on Twitter and it certainly sounds like it could be one of the fall’s big hits. Switching between several timelines and looking at a world in decline, Station Eleven centres on a traveling Shakespeare company, eventually traveling through a post-apocalyptic America. I’m happy to have a review copy for this one and I look forward to dive into it later this summer.
Lou Morgan – Sleepless
Morgan’s first YA novel is a bit different from her Blood and Feathers books, which I loved, but I’m interested to see where she goes and Morgan is one of those authors whose work I’ll read without checking what it’s about in any case, so that I’d want to read Sleepless was a given from the start.
Ben Peek – The Godless
This is another one for which I already have an ARC and it’s a brick at almost 600 pages! But it looks amazing and as if it will be tons of fun. Dead and dying gods who form the fabric of the world, leaking magic and gifts, and a young female cartographer’s apprentice dealing with a strange new gift seem like a great base to tell a story from. Look out for a review for this one in August.
William Ritter – Jackaby
Sherlock meets Doctor Who in a historical fantasy featuring a supernatural detective trying to catch a serial killer. That is all that needs to be said about William Ritter’s debut really. Well, that and that is has a stunningly gorgeous cover. As I have a review copy for this one, expect a review for it in the coming months!
Tricia Sullivan – Shadow Boxer
Unfortunately, I haven’t yet read any of Tricia Sullivan’s work. She’s has a reputation for writing excellent books, not to mention she won the Arthur C. Clarke Award when she was only 29. But her SF novels for adults are out-of-print as are her pseudonymously written fantasy books. Shadow Boxer is her first YA book and it looks amazing. It also promises to be really diverse and star a butt-kicking female protagonist of colour. And I just love the cover Ravenstone created for the book.
Louisa Treger – The Lodger
It’s not often that I run across a book that combines my love for SFF and historical fiction in a true historical novel, instead of historical fantasy, but The Lodger promises to be exactly that. Its protagonist Dorothy Richardson becomes deeply involved with H.G. Wells, one of SF’s earliest writers, and the story promises to be an intriguing one as Dorothy is also involved in the Suffragette movement and witnesses some devastating events.