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.
This week’s book post covers books that arrived in the last two weeks including a couple I couldn’t resist buying after reading what Memory wrote about them at In the Forest of Stories.
In case you missed it last week, I reviewed Kat Howard’s debut novel Roses and Rot. It was also released last week, and it’s my favorite 2016 release I’ve read so far. I’m currently working on a review of Stephanie Burgis’ enjoyable historical fantasy Masks and Shadows.
On to the books!
The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier
In the last one of these posts, I mentioned Rachel Neumeier’s recently released YA fantasy The Keeper of the Mists, which was on my most anticipated books of 2016 list. At the time, I didn’t realize she also had an adult fantasy book coming out later this year or this would have been on that list as well! It sounds great and the cover is gorgeous, plus I tend to enjoy Rachel Neumeier’s books (especially House of Shadows!).
In this gorgeous fantasy in the spirit of Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin McKinley, a prince and a princess must work together to save their kingdom from outside invaders…and dangers within.
Long ago the Kieba, last goddess in the world, raised up her mountain in the drylands of Carastind. Ever since then she has dwelled and protected the world from unending plagues and danger…
Gulien Madalin, heir to the throne of Carastind, finds himself more interested in ancient history than the tedious business of government and watching his father rule. But Gulien suspects that his father has offended the Kieba so seriously that she has withdrawn her protection from the kingdom. Worse, he fears that Carastind’s enemies suspect this as well.
Then he learns that he is right. And invasion is imminent.
Meanwhile Gulien’s sister Oressa has focused on what’s important: avoiding the attention of her royal father while keeping track of all the secrets at court. But when she overhears news about the threatened invasion, she’s shocked to discover what her father plans to give away in order to buy peace.
But Carastind’s enemies will not agree to peace at any price. They intend to not only conquer the kingdom, but also cast down the Kieba and steal her power. Now, Gulien and Oressa must decide where their most important loyalties lie, and what price they are willing to pay to protect the Kieba, their home, and the world.
The Empress Game (The Empress Game Trilogy #1) by Rhonda Mason
Memory from In the Forest of Stories wrote about how much fun this was last weekend. After reading what she had to say about it, I immediately went to add it to my wish list, and uh, kind of ended up ordering it instead… It was less than $4 at the time and I still have gift card money so I couldn’t resist!
One seat on the intergalactic Sakien Empire’s supreme ruling body, the Council of Seven, remains unfilled, that of the Empress Apparent. The seat isn’t won by votes or marriage. It’s won in a tournament of ritualized combat in the ancient tradition. Now that tournament, the Empress Game, has been called and the females of the empire will stop at nothing to secure political domination for their homeworlds. Kayla Reinumon, a supreme fighter, is called by a mysterious stranger to battle it out in the arena.
The battle for political power isn’t contained by the tournament’s ring, however. The empire’s elite gather to forge, strengthen or betray alliances in a dance that will determine the fate of the empire for a generation. With the empire wracked by a rising nanovirus plague and stretched thin by an ill-advised planet-wide occupation of Ordoch in enemy territory, everything rests on the woman who rises to the top.
Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee
In that same blog post mentioned above, Memory also wrote about enjoying Zeroboxer. When I ended up ordering The Empress Game, I couldn’t resist buying that one too (I’d almost purchased it when I used some of my gift card last time).
Zeroboxer (excerpt) was nominated for the 2015 Andre Norton Award.
A Sci-Fi Thrill Ride Set in the Action-Packed Sports Arena of the Future
A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.
As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.
Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire #1) by Michael J. Sullivan
The first book in a new series set in the same world as the Riyria series will be released on June 28 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).
Michael J. Sullivan’s trailblazing career began with the breakout success of his Riyria series: full-bodied, spellbinding fantasy adventures whose imaginative scope and sympathetic characters won a devoted readership. Now, Sullivan’s stunning hardcover debut, Age of Myth, inaugurates an original five-book series, and one of fantasy’s finest next-generation storytellers continues to break new ground.
Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer, Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom, and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.
The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume One edited by Neil Clarke
The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume One will be released on June 7 (paperback, ebook). It includes stories by many phenomenal authors including Nancy Kress, Aliette de Bodard, Ken Liu, Seanan McGuire, Alastair Reynolds, Yoon Ha Lee, and many more.
A biological plague begins infecting artificial intelligence; a natural-born Earth woman seeking asylum on another planet finds a human society far different from her own; a food blogger’s posts chronicle a nationwide medical outbreak; trapped in a matchmaking game, a couple tries to escape from the only world they know; a janitor risks everything to rescue a “defective” tank-born baby he can raise as his own.
For decades, science fiction has compelled us to imagine futures both inspiring and cautionary. Whether it’s a warning message from a survey ship, a harrowing journey to a new world, or the adventures of well-meaning AI, science fiction feeds the imagination and delivers a lens through which we can better understand ourselves and the world around us. With The Best Science Fiction of the Year Volume One, award-winning editor Neil Clarke provides a year-in-review and thirty-one of the best stories published by both new and established authors in 2015.
Myth-Fits (Myth Adventures) by Jody Lynn Nye
The latest Myth Adventures book will be released on June 7 (paperback, ebook, audiobook).
Robert Asprin’s “excellent, lighthearted fantasy series” (Epic Illustrated) continues with more antics from magician Skeeve and his eclectic team at M.Y.T.H., Inc.
Business is slow for M.Y.T.H., Inc., and its president, Bunny, is getting nervous that the company might not meet its quarterly goal. So when a job comes in that’s worth an absurd amount of gold—and also happens to take them to Winslow, the most luxurious vacation resort in any dimension—the team jumps at the opportunity to recoup some cash and maybe catch some R&R.
Only, magician Skeeve has an unsettling feeling that this mission might be trickier than it seems. Someone in Winslow is messing with the magic lines and working hard to ensure that the M.Y.T.H. crew gets nowhere near the powerful relic that they’ve been hired to find. And as the mysterious manipulation turns deadly, Skeeve, Bunny, Aahz, and the rest of their partners find themselves in a race not only to finish the job but also to escape paradise alive…