The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

Some books that sound excellent showed up in the mail this past week, plus I bought a couple I’ve been wanting to read on a gelato and bookstore trip this weekend.

In case you missed it, I posted my review of Defiant (Towers Trilogy #2) by Karina Sumner-Smith last week. If you missed the first book and would rather start with a review of that, I also reviewed Radiant awhile ago. This is a really interesting series, and it will be completed in November.

On to the new books!

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal #1) by Zen Cho

This debut novel, the first book in a trilogy, was released earlier this month (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). An excerpt from Sorcerer to the Crown can be read on

This was a purchase from my trip to the bookstore this weekend. I’ve heard this is good, it sounds really good, and while I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I have to admit the beautiful cover just made me want to read it even more!


In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite…

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

This epic fantasy, a debut novel, will be released on September 29 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from Last Song Before Night is available on Ilana Myer, Fran Wilde (Updraft), and Seth Dickinson (The Traitor Baru Cormorant) will be doing events in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont as part of The Fall Flights of Fantasy Tour.

I’ve heard that this debut is wonderful, and after taking a look at it, I’m quite interested in reading it!


A high fantasy following a young woman’s defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world’s lost magic in Ilana C. Myer’s Last Song Before Night.

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings-a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression-from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar’s connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

The Red Death’s return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld-a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

Black Wolves by Kate Elliott

Black Wolves (Black Wolves Trilogy #1) by Kate Elliott

Black Wolves, the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy set in the same world as the Crossroads Trilogy, will be released on November 3 (trade paperback, ebook).

As mentioned recently when I featured Kate Elliott’s recent young adult book, Court of Fives, I loved her Spiritwalker trilogy (Cold Magic, Cold Fire, and Cold Steel). I now want to read everything she has written!


An exiled captain returns to help the son of the king who died under his protection in this rich and multi-layered first book in an action-packed new series.

Twenty two years have passed since Kellas, once Captain of the legendary Black Wolves, lost his King and with him his honor. With the King murdered and the Black Wolves disbanded, Kellas lives as an exile far from the palace he once guarded with his life.

Until Marshal Dannarah, sister to the dead King, comes to him with a plea-rejoin the palace guard and save her nephew, King Jehosh, before he meets his father’s fate.

Combining the best of Shogun and Netflix’s Marco Polo, Black Wolves is an unmissable treat for epic fantasy lovers everywhere.

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The House of Shattered Wings (Dominion of the Fallen #1) by Aliette de Bodard

This new book from Nebula, Locus, and BSFA Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard was released in August (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The first chapter of The House of Shattered Wings can be read on the author’s website.

This was the other book I got at the bookstore. I’ve heard good things about it, and I also enjoyed reading Aliette de Bodard’s Hugo-, Nebula-, and Locus-nominated novella On a Red Station, Drifting, as well as her Hugo-nominated, Nebula and Locus Award-winning short story “Immersion” (which can be read for free online).


Multi-award winning author Aliette de Bodard, brings her story of the War in Heaven to Paris, igniting the City of Light in a fantasy of divine power and deep conspiracy…

In the late twentieth century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins, the aftermath of a Great War between arcane powers. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.

Dreamseeker by C.S. Friedman

Dreamseeker (Dreamwalker #2) by C. S. Friedman

Dreamseeker will be released on November 3 (hardcover, ebook).

I haven’t read Dreamwalker, the first book in the series, but it is a book I’m curious about so I might have to pick up a copy at some point! C. S. Friedman is a great author, and I very much enjoyed both of her books I have read (the space opera In Conquest Born and the dark epic fantasy Feast of Souls).


Dreamseeker is the gripping sequel to C.S. Friedman’s Dreamwalker.

Other Books: