Fantasy releases in 2010 are looking to be just as strong as they were in 2009 with Jasper Fforde, Brent Weeks, Karen Miller, and Brandon Sanderson all checking in with new books and 3 out of 4 of those with series debuts. Debut books are also looking to be strong as well with the much buzzed Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes and Spellwright by Blake Charlton. If you haven't heard of either author take note and follow their entertaining twitters. Many UK hits of 2009 from the likes of Adrian Tchaikovsky and Mark Charan Newton are now getting US publications with the former getting 3 books published over 3 months from Pyr. All in all this should be a busy year between this list, my Sci-Fi, UF, Steampunk and Anthology lists. I say bring it on! I'm sure I'll find a few other gems along the way and keep in mind most publishers have only announced books up until August or September so the end of 2010 rush should have some blockbusters as well. Martin or Lynch anyone?
Release Date: December 29th | Publisher: Viking
Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color—but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means.
Eddie's world wasn't always like this. There's evidence of a never-discussed disaster and now, many years later, technology is poor, news sporadic, the notion of change abhorrent, and nighttime is terrifying: no one can see in the dark. Everyone abides by a bizarre regime of rules and regulations, a system of merits and demerits, where punishment can result in permanent expulsion.
Eddie, who works for the Color Control Agency, might well have lived out his rose-tinted life without a hitch. But that changes when he becomes smitten with Jane, a Grey Nightseer from the dark, unlit side of the village. She shows Eddie that all is not well with the world he thinks is just and good. Together, they engage in dangerous revolutionary talk.
Stunningly imaginative, very funny, tightly plotted, and with sly satirical digs at our own society, this novel is for those who loved Thursday Next but want to be transported somewhere equally wild, only darker; a world where the black and white of moral standpoints have been reduced to shades of grey.
The latest Black Company omnibus comprises of Water Sleeps and Soldiers Live. I might have to give this series another try. I read the first book and only thought it was okay, not a close friend is now in love with the series so we'll see.
“I am Murgen, Standardbearer of the Black Company, though I bear the shame of having lost that standard in battle. I am keeping these Annals because Croaker is dead, One–Eye won’t, and hardly anyone else can read or write. I will be your guide for however long it takes the Shadowlanders to force our present predicament to its inevitable end....”
Sequel to The Red Wolf Conspiracy and publishing as The Rats and the Ruling Sea in the UK.
The great ship Chathrand''s mission of peace was a lie. Now Thasha Isiq and her allies, including the deckhands Pazel and Neeps, must contrive a way to stop the spies and sorcerers intent on launching a worldwide war. But beyond the island of Simja, where powers hidden even from the treasonous conspirators are massing their forces, the Ruling Sea awaits: the greatest ocean in the world, so large that no other ship can cross it, a sea whose southern reaches border lands unknown. And in the crossing, a still darker terror waits in the belly of the ship to be born.
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples. Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician, and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more - he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic. Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone - raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances - with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty. Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look, and he means to use it to find the man who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge; it's time the devil had his due.
Release Date: February 25 | Publisher: Orbit
What little I've heard about this series has been wonderful so it will be a must to check out.
Yeine Darr is heir to the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. She is also an outcast. Until, that is, her mother dies under mysterious circumstances.
Summoned by her grandfather to the majestic city of Sky, Yeine finds herself thrust into a vicious power struggle for the throne. As she fights for her life, she comes ever closer to discovering the truth about her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history – as well as the unsettling truths within herself.
With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate are bound inseparably together, for both mortals and gods alike.
Debut / Series Debut
Release Date: March 2 | Publisher: Tor
Really looking forward to this one, especially after Aidan's wonderful interview with Charlton.
Nicodemus is a young, gifted wizard with a problem. Magic in his world requires the caster to create spells by writing out the text . . . but he has always been dyslexic, and thus has trouble casting even the simplest of spells. And his misspells could prove dangerous, even deadly, should he make a mistake in an important incantation.
But more is at stake than his abilities. For the evil that has awakened is a power so dread and vast that if unleashed it will destroy Nicodemus... and the world.
Release Date: March 23 | Publisher: Pyr
From what I've heard this does have a Steampunk angle as well, but is more akin to Fantasy, which is why I left it on this list. The covers for the whole series are looking spectacular.
The Wasp Empire has been devouring city after city with its highly trained armies, its machines, it killing Art, and now its hunger for conquest and war has become insatiable. Only the ageing Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer and statesman, can see that the long days of peace are over.
Books 2 and 3 in the series are going to be published consecutively with book 2 Dragonfly Falling on April 27 and book 3 Blood of the Mantis on May 25.
Release Date: April (UK) / Fall (US) | Publisher Gollancz (UK) \ Pyr (US)
This is one of the highest buzzed Fantasy novels of 2010 so far and I hope it lives up to it. As Gollancz put it:
It is the debut novel from an extraordinarily talented twenty-five-year-old author. Fantasy's next global star has arrived.
Lenk can barely keep control of his mismatched adventurer band at the best of times (Gariath the dragon man sees humans as little more than prey, Kataria the Shict despises most humans, and the humans in the band are little better). When they're not insulting each other's religions they're arguing about pay and conditions.
So when the ship they are travelling on is attacked by pirates things don't go very well. They go a whole lot worse when an invincible demon joins the fray. The demon steals the Tome of the Undergates - a manuscript that contains all you need to open the undergates. And whichever god you believe in you don't want the undergates open. On the other side are countless more invincible demons, the manifestation of all the evil of the gods, and they want out.
Full of razor-sharp wit, characters who leap off the page (and into trouble) and plunging the reader into a vivid world of adventure this is a fantasy that kicks off a series that could dominate the second decade of the century.
Fantasy’s newest star has arrived. A manuscript that contains all you need to open the undergates has been stolen. And you don’t want the undergates open. On the other side are countless invincible demons, and they want out. Lenk and his misfit companions have to get it back.
Release Date: April 27 | Publisher: ROC
Shen Tai is the son of a general who led the forces of imperial Kitai in the empire’s last great war against its western enemies, twenty years before. Forty thousand men, on both sides, were slain by a remote mountain lake. General Shen Gao himself has died recently, having spoken to his son in later years about his sadness in the matter of this terrible battle.
To honour his father’s memory, Tai spends two years in official mourning alone at the battle site by the blue waters of Kuala Nor. Each day he digs graves in hard ground to bury the bones of the dead. At night he can hear the ghosts moan and stir, terrifying voices of anger and lament. Sometimes he realizes that a given voice has ceased its crying, and he knows that is one he has laid to rest.
The dead by the lake are equally Kitan and their Taguran foes; there is no way to tell the bones apart, and he buries them all with honour.
It is during a routine supply visit led by a Taguran officer who has reluctantly come to befriend him that Tai learns that others, much more powerful, have taken note of his vigil. The White Jade Princess Cheng-wan, 17th daughter of the Emperor of Kitai, presents him with two hundred and fifty Sardian horses. They are being given in royal recognition of his courage and piety, and the honour he has done the dead.
You gave a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You gave him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor.
Tai is in deep waters. He needs to get himself back to court and his own emperor, alive. Riding the first of the Sardian horses, and bringing news of the rest, he starts east towards the glittering, dangerous capital of Kitai, and the Ta-Ming Palace – and gathers his wits for a return from solitude by a mountain lake to his own forever-altered life.
I've been very close to ordering the UK version since I've heard so many good things, but with the US release around the corner I'll wait it out, especially since the sequel City of Ruin is still due out.
Political intrigue and dark violence converge in a superb new action series of enthralling fantasy. An ice age strikes a chain of islands, and thousands come to seek sanctuary at the gates of Villjamur: a city of ancient spires and bridges, a place where banshees wail the deceased, cultists use forgotten technology for their own gain and where, further out, the dead have been seen walking across the tundra.When the Emperor commits suicide, his elder daughter, Rika, is brought home to lead the Jamur Empire, but the sinister Chancellor plans to get rid of her and claim the throne for himself. Meanwhile a senior investigator in the city inquisition must solve the high-profile and savage murder of a city politician, whilst battling evils within his own life, and a handsome and serial womanizer manipulates his way into the imperial residence with a hidden agenda. When reports are received that tens of thousands of citizens are dying in a bizarre genocide on the northern islands of the Empire, members of the elite Night Guard are sent to investigate. It seems that, in this land under a red sun, the long winter is bringing more than just snow.
Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk - Debut / Series Debut
Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last victim, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow's Son....
The follow-up to Midwinter should be another fun adventure with some interesting characters that I enjoyed immensely in the first volume. This time the action focuses on Silverdun, which should mix things up a bit.
Midwinter has gone, but that cold season has been replaced by a cold war in the world of Faerie, and this new kind of war requires a new kind of warrior.
Seelie forces drove back Empress Mab at the Battle of Sylvan, but hostilities could resume at any moment. Mab has developed a devastating new weapon capable of destroying an entire city, and the Seelie have no defense against it. If war comes, they will almost certainly be defeated.
In response, the Seelie reconstitutes a secret division of the Foreign Ministry, unofficially dubbed the "Office of Shadow," imbuing it with powers and discretion once considered unthinkable. They are a group of covert operatives given the tasks that can't be done in the light of day: secretly stealing the plans for Mab's new weapon, creating unrest in the Unseelie Empire, and doing whatever is necessary to prevent an unwinnable war.
The new leader of the "Shadows" is Silverdun. He's the nobleman who fought alongside Mauritane at Sylvan and who helped complete a critical mission for the Seelie Queen Titania. His operatives include a beautiful but naïve sorceress who possesses awesome powers that she must restrain in order to survive and a soldier turned scholar whose research into new ways of magic could save the world, or end it.
They'll do whatever is required to prevent a total war: make a dangerous foray into a hostile land to retrieve the plans for Mab's weapon; blackmail a king into revolting against the Unseelie Empire; journey into the space between space to uncover a closely guarded secret with the power to destroy worlds.
Release Date: July 28 | Publisher: Orbit
This is really the 2nd half of a long story following the events of The Prodigal Mage in the world that started with The Innocent Mage.
Nine months have passed since Rafel disappeared in the expedition over the mountains. Deenie, now eighteen, starts having disturbing dreams about her brother. She comes to believe he's not dead after all, but is in trouble and needs her help.
She enlists the aid of her friend Charis, and the girls hatch a plan to escape from Lur. They succeed and survive the hazardous journey round the coastline past the mountains. But to their dismay, they discover that the lands beyond Lur are blighted with lawlessness and chaos. The remnants of Morg's consciousness that survived his death splintered at his downfall and sought refuge in whatever bodies could be found to host them.
Throughout their travels and adventures they get some answers about the other lost expeditions, and keep hearing about one fearsome mage whose stronghold is in the blighted near-mythical land of Dorana. Deenie knows this is her brother - and that Rafel is not only in danger, but has become dangerous. If he's not stopped he could become a threat to the whole world. Perhaps even another Morg.
The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson - Series Debut
Release Date: August 17 | Publisher TOR
The Way Of Kings introduces the three protagonists who will be our windows on the strange and wondrous world of Roshar and the drama about to unfold there:
• Dalinar, the assassinated king’s brother and uncle of the new one, is an old soldier who is weary of fighting.
He is plagued by dreams of ancient times and legendary wars, visions that may force him into a new role he could never have imagined.
• Merin, a highborn young man who has been brought low, indeed to the most miserable level of military slavery, and like Ben Hur must suffer and struggle to survive and rise again.
• Shallan, a naïve but brave and brilliant young woman who will do anything to save her impoverished noble house from ruin.
These are people we will come to know deeply and take to our hearts. But just as important to The Way Of Kings is a fourth key ‘character,’ the unique world of Roshar itself, a richly imagined setting as real as science fiction’s Dune, as unforgettable as epic fantasy’s Middle Earth. Through all the volumes of The Stormlight Archive, Brandon Sanderson will make Roshar a realm we are eager to visit.
Release Date: August 25 | Publisher: Orbit
The first in a new series from Brent Weeks has me excited. I do love color magic and I'm anxious to see Weeks's take on it. There are numerous descriptions around the net that Weeks said are all partially wrong or reveal too much. If you search my site you'll find some.
The Dark Commands by Richard K. Morgan
Release Date: September 14 | Publisher: Del Rey
Sequel to The Steel Remains, which I'll finally be cracking sometime in the New Year.
The Tales of Odd by Neil Gaiman
Release Date: October 4 (UK) | Publisher: Bloomsbury
This edition comprised of an entirely new Odd story in addition to the already released Odd and the Frost Giants. No US date has been announced yet for the new story.
The two stories in this exciting novella follow the adventures of the intrepid young Viking Odd. As a brave and solitary twelve-year-old, in the first tale, he endeavours to free three Norse Gods trapped in the bodies of an eagle, a bear and a fox; then, in the second, a few years older, taller and stronger he sets off on a testing and epic journey to the Holy City of Jerusalem. But of course with Neil Gaiman's wit and style the stories transcend the normal and become humorous, rich and layered tales of a life lived courageously.
Long Leads We Are All Hoping For:
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
I've seen July, Aug, and November so until Lynch himself confirms this is in the air.
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
The first draft is done, but much polishing is going on.
A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Yeah...ummm. Fingers crossed.
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LOOKING FORWARD | Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, & Steampunk Coming in 2010
LOOKING FORWARD | Big Anthologies Coming in 2010
AUTHOR INTERVIEW | Karen Miller author of The Prodigal Mage