Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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One more under-the-radar post before we move on

From @DefGrappler onTwitter:

1. Godsdoom by Nick Perumov. “What starts out as a “power behind the throne” story turns into a bananas fight for all of existence. So fun.”

From Goodreads:

His thousand years of exile were meant to teach Hedin, Sage of Darkness, the error of his ways. Instead, he had ten centuries to learn new and powerful magics, knowledge he intends to use to challenge not just the Mages of his Generation who sentenced him but the very gods themselves. From bestselling Russian fantasist Nick Perumov, voted best European SF writer in 2004, comes a sword-and-sorcery adventure in the classic mode of Robert E. Howard with an added dash of Beowulf.

From Katy K in the comments here:

2. Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

Callie LeRoux is choking on dust. It seeps through the cracks in the hotel that Callie and her mother run in Kansas. It’s slowly filling her lungs. Callie’s begged her mother to leave their town, like their neighbors have already done, but her mother refuses. She’s waiting for Callie’s long-gone father to return.

Just as the biggest dust storm in history sweeps through the Midwest, Callie discovers her mother’s long-kept secret. Callie’s not just mixed race — she’s half fairy, too. Now, Callie’s fairy kin have found where she’s been hidden, and they’re coming for her. The only person Callie can trust may be Jack, the charming ex-bootlegger she helped break out of jail.

From the despair of the Dust Bowl to the hot jazz of Kansas City, from dance marathons to train yards, to the dangerous beauties of the fairy realm, Sarah Zettel creates a world rooted equally in American history and in magic, where two fairy clans war over a girl marked by prophecy.

3. Also Fool’s War by Zettel

Four centuries after humanity has colonized the galaxy, information freight companies are used as an alternative to electronic communication. On one of her frequent trips into deep space, Katmer Al-Shei, owner of one of the smaller information companies, is accused of smuggling artificial intelligence. When Al-Shei tries to clear her name, she uncovers conspiracy after conspiracy, all set against the backdrop of a looming war.

4. Elaine T adds Michael Scott Rohan’s Winter of the World series

About which Goodreads says merely: The first volume in The Winter of the World fantasy trilogy, this novel of a young boy’s rise to power is set in a world where an ice age threatens a brilliantly imagined world similar to our own.

That’s pretty lame, but with a recommendation from Elaine I will probably check it out.

5. Also Chase the Morning by Rohan.

During a nostalgic visit to the docksides of his youth, Steve, an unassuming import/export agent, steps into another universe, where buccaneers, demigods, and mythic heroes mingle.

6. Also Helen Lowe’s Heir of Night quartet, which Elaine suggests sticking with into the second book. The description is indeed promising:

An award-winning poet and acclaimed author of Young Adult fiction, Helen Lowe now brings us The Heir of Night—the first book in her four-volume Wall of Night series, a brilliant new epic fantasy saga of war, prophecy, betrayal, history, and destiny. A thrilling excursion into a richly imagined realm of strife and sacrifice, where the fate of a dangerously divided world rests in the hands of one young woman, The Heir of Night is a fantasy classic in the making, sure to stand alongside the much beloved works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin McKinley, and Guy Gavriel Kay.

… and one last one that I thought of:

7. The Sword of Winter by Marta Randall

By far my favorite of Randall’s, I read this at least half a dozen times.

In the cold and dangerous land of Cherek, emerging from an era of magic and confronted by technological advancements, Lord Gambin of Jentesi lies dying and chaos reigns. During his four decades in power, Gambin has wielded a tight and tyrranical hold over his province, and his four heirs jockey to inherit his vast power, the people of Cherek teeter on the brink of change and watch the passing of the sword in Jentesi. For if Gambin’s power passes intact to his heirs, Cherek could lose the promise of its bright future and tumble irrevocably into a dark and vicious past.

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9 Comments One more under-the-radar post before we move on

  1. Pete Mack

    Here’s one more:
    P C Hodgell– Chronicles of the Kencyrath
    I mention this, because the eARC of the second to last book just came out. The pace isn’t great–too much time spent in military school–but the world is wonderful.

    https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38968.P_C_Hodgell?from_search=true

    You can buy the first 5 books as a bundle from the current publisher here:
    http://www.baen.com/categories/books-by-series-list/chronicles-of-the-kencyrath-by-p-c-hodgell.html

    Baen has a number of authors I really like, and a number that I can’t stand.

  2. Rachel

    I like military school stories. I’ll have to check it out.

    I’m pretty sure every publisher ditto for me, but otoh I pay so little attention to who publishes what that I don’t know for sure.

  3. Pete Mack

    Rachel–
    Baen is pretty extreme that way: they make extra room for conservative/libertarian authors, including those who are in-your-face about it, often at expense of storytelling. (Sort of the complement of Stross’s Merchant Princes series–which also, I will note, doesn’t age well.) Compare to Cambias’ “A Darkling Sea”, which is more or less libertarian while still being great storytelling.

    That said, do give Hodgell a try. She clearly works very hard on the world building and language. She’s also pretty good at deadpan humor.
    Here’s a recent sample, with some spoilers:
    http://tagmeth.livejournal.com/63341.html
    The baen site has long intro samples, which is why I linked to it.

  4. Rachel

    Pete, yes, I will have to try Hodgell. I think I have read one of hers and liked it, but then never actually sought out any others. I’ve picked up the first two Kencyrath books now though. The reviews do make them sound excellent.

  5. Pete Mack

    So I’ve been reading Heir of Night. The rough essentials of the plot are astonishingly similar to that of Chronicles of the Kencyrath, by PC Hodgell, except Hodgell’s protagonist is entirely self-motivated, doing all her own investigations, without help from her people’s God ‘which regards them not”. (The Kencyrath God has no gender.)

  6. Rachel

    I’m looking forward to trying the Kencyrath series. And maybe I’ll try Heir of Night at the same time. I kind of like seeing how different authors handle a similar broad-brushed story.

  7. Elaine T

    oh, I know, Pete. I nearly put it down because the similarity although I have no clue if she actually has ever read Hodgell. Lowe is in NZ and it’s not like Hodgell has gotten good distribution over the 40(?) years she’s been working on the series. I persevered, as I said, because the recommender had a decent track record, and eventually decided it was worth it. Don’t remember where, but must have been in #1 or I wouldn’t have bothered with #2. And #2 is much more interesting to me.

    Jehane & her partner, and Haimmyr have interesting histories. Jehanne definitely has a Destiny yet to play out involving her own country of origin. While she’s not the main character, she’s and her partner are more than they seem in their first appearance. It’s looking like the author is aiming for an ensemble of various destinies and accomplishments for the grand finale.
    And rather less black and white morality than it first appears.

    Books 2 & 3 went interesting places and we see lots more of the cultures of the world, with travelers coming to places instead of our characters doing all the traveling. (although there is some.) But it isn’t the Belgariad formula of six countries while questing and never getting to know much of any of them. I found depth, and lots to speculate on.

    FWIW somewhere I saw Lowe talk about deliberately choosing to make it look very familiar at the beginning. Personally I think that was a mistake.

    So … i think it was worth going on with, but agree the opening does it no favors and can’t blame anyone who doesn’t get past it.

  8. Pete Mack

    @Elaine–it’s not all that common a trope; I can count on one hand series I’ve read where
    A. The protagonists flee to a new land from
    B. An enemy largely of their own making*
    C. And bringing the enemy with them, making them
    D. Less than welcome in their new land.

    Not even the Liaden Universe gets D.
    Feist doesn’t get B or C. (Not to mention a DNF)

    * rather than some universal evil

  9. Rachel

    Interesting set of four plot points. It would be possible to argue that the Medair duology hits A, B, C, and D — though they are not welcome in their new land for other important reasons as well. That’s the one I thought of offhand.

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