All these books look interesting

Here’s a post at, let me see, Den of Geek: Top New Science Fiction Books in April 2021

It’s unusual for someone to write a post like this and I’ve not only heard of, but really liked books by, all the authors listed.

Of course I loved Wexler’s Thousand Names series — the actual correct name of the series is The Shadow Campaigns — there are a couple things I might’ve done differently, but fundamentally I LOVED this series. I think it’s one of the top ten, maybe top five, epic fantasy series I’ve ever read.

I have not, however, read anything else by Wexler. Yet. I have various books of his on my TBR pile, but not this one. Here’s what the linked post says about this book:

Publisher’s summary: Kas is a junior researcher on a fact-finding mission to old Earth. But when a con-artist tricks her into wagering a large sum of money belonging to her university on the outcome of a manned robot arena battle she becomes drawn into the seedy underworld of old Earth politics and state-sponsored battle-droid prizefights.

Sounds VERY different and kind of fun.

I also loved Weir’s The Martian. Again, I haven’t actually read his other published title … what’s it called? … Oh, right, Artemis. It sounds fine, but not very much like The Martian, and I just haven’t got around to it. If any of you have read it, what did you think?

Anyway, here’s the description of this new one:

Publisher’s summary: Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

Well, as it happens, amnesia is a trope I don’t much care for. I’ve read novels I liked where this trope was important, but I have to overcome a basic distaste for the amnesia trope to try one. I would be quite interested in what you all think, so if you read this and love it, I hope you will let me know.

And last, I loved Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Archivist Wasp and Latchkey. They’re quite different from each other even though this is a duology, but I loved both books.

Now, here’s the description of this new one, Firebreak:

Den of Geek says: With elements of superheroes, virtual reality, mechs and ecological disaster, Kornher-Stace’s adventure story has plenty of inventive world-building. But it’s the characters who really shine with a clear-eyed perspective on the story of what happens when people fight for what’s right — and meet their heroes.

Oh, that sounds good. I’d personally prefer it if the heroes turn out to be reasonably admirable rather than awful. Still, either way, this does sound like something I would like a lot.

Three new books to at least keep in mind!

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17 thoughts on “All these books look interesting”

  1. Allan Shampine

    Had one on my Kindle already (Weir’s new one). Have now ordered the other two. Agree they look very interesting! Thank you for highlighting them.

  2. First I’ll finish my reread of Alus Rasmussen’s (aka Kate Elliott) very first book, The Labyrinth Gate. It’s a very unexpected honeymoon, player out in an alt-Regency countryside, where an old pagan religion keeps pushing through from the past.

  3. Hail Mary: I didn’t find the amnesia thing to be intrusive. It’s more of a way to slowly unfold what the main character is going through, without a giant info dump.

    Firebreak: I probably would not have read it if it were written by someone else, but I agree that Kornher-Stace’s other books are excellent. And this was too! I support her on Patreon, and enjoyed getting some advanced snippets of this, months ago.

    Hard Reboot: I’ve not read any of Wexler’s books, and now I’m intrigued. Thanks!

  4. Artemis seemed more Young Adult oriented than The Martian. I enjoyed it but not as much as The Martian; the plot of Artemis was more run of the mill. But to be fair, The Martian was always going to be a hard act to follow. Didn’t stop me from getting Weir’s new book, which I’ll be tucking into shortly.

  5. Ooh, I made those sourdough whole wheat mushroom rolls again! Been a long time since I made bread, what with moving into my new-old house. I did a warm-up of no-knead bread (made in a Dutch oven for plenty of steam.) That is good–I have a hard time making large crumb bread. But the rolls are better. And I could share them with my new neighbors.

  6. Trying to get into the follow-up to Bitterblue right now (winterkeep), but thinking I might just not be in the mood for it. Loved Bitterblue, but it was so dark emotionally, and not sure how this one will be.

  7. Those rolls sounded very, very tempting when you posted the recipe before, Pete. I copied the recipe at the time; I need to put it on the top of my To Be Baked pile for the next time I go briefly non-keto.

    Thanks for all your comments about these books! It’s particularly good to know that the amnesia trope isn’t toooo obtrusive in Hail Mary.

    SarahZ, I didn’t realize Bitterblue had a direct sequel, so thanks for letting me know, BUT you are very right about how dark Bitterblue was. Winterkeep does not actually sound any lighter in tone, either. I particularly note this line: Bitterblue sets off for Winterkeep herself, along with her spy Hava and her trusted colleague Giddon. On the way, tragedy strikes again—a tragedy with devastating political and personal ramifications.

    Wow, more tragedy? Seems like perhaps there was enough tragedy in the backstory already. Not a hundred percent sure I will ever be in the mood for this book, even though I agree with you, I loved Bitterblue and thought it was very much the best of the series.

  8. I just can’t handle much darkness lately – been on a T Kingfisher romance kick instead

  9. That sounds dramatically more appealing! … I think this sounds like a good time to pick up Paladin’s Strength, which I hadn’t quite realized was out until your comment led me to check.

  10. Rachel, Winterkeep is quite dark but not any more than Bitterblue (which I found heavy going because of the nature of King Leck’s evil). The young Lovisa was an interesting protagonist and the ending is quite satisfactory. I must admit that I was more engaged by the telepathic blue foxes than the human protagonists but that’s just me, I’m a sucker for cute animals.

  11. Bah! I had a bad dream tonight, inspired by the 2 T. Kingfisher books about the evil pottery heads. I read the second shortly after it came out, months ago, and not since. There isn’t anything particularly stressfull going on, but my dreaming mind apparently randomly dug up that feeling of horror and gave me a bad night with it.

    She’s on the edge of too much horror for me – I like the way she writes but her imagery of evil and horror are too vivid for me, somehow too small and personal to be easily dismissed, as grandiose but far-off and unrelatable horrors which are less felt can be shrugged off more easily, if I take care not to dwell on them or think about their consequences.

    I hate having those kinds of images and the feelings they generate in my head, ready to pop up and ambush me in dreams when I don’t expect them.
    I think I may have to stop reading her, even though I like her writing. Maybe *because* I like her writing, otherwise it wouldn’t have such an impact.

  12. The deer thing in The Twisted Ones was pretty horrific for me. Knowing how it was created, and out of whom, and so on, did not help. I don’t usually have nightmares — I generally am over on the lucid dreaming end of the dreaming spectrum — but that was about as horrific as I would prefer, that’s for sure.

    How about her mostly much lighter fantasy romances? She tends to include a horror scene even in those, but with a lot less context with regard to the rest of the story, so perhaps that’s less likely to nudge horror buttons?

  13. There’s a sequel to Bitterblue?? Telepathic foxes? So long as it’s not darker than Bitterblue was I can probably handle it. Glad to hear about it!

    I adore Ursula Vernon/T. Kingfisher but I cannot do her horror. The Twisted Ones … augh! Still makes me shudder. The Paladin series is great, though I agree the pottery heads are pretty viscerally creepy. If her focus is romance and humour, I can take the horrific elements, but when she goes all out deliberately scary, no. She’s too good at what she does!

    I recently finished her webcomic Digger, which is quite fantastic (and available for free online). Some slightly creepy elements (nothing like Twisted Ones, or even pottery heads) but mostly lots of humour and philosophy and general brilliant weirdness.

  14. I think I’m glad I don’t recognize the pottery head reference. What series or novel is that from? Have I just forgotten it or blocked it?

    I did read quite a bit of Digger and it is a delightful webcomic.

  15. The pottery heads appear at the end of book 1 in the Paladin duology. They are horrible magical parasites that regularly require fresh bodies to survive….

  16. Oh, yeah, okay, I do remember them now! They completely slipped my mind till you all jogged my memory.

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