This completes the list of books currently on my to read pile.
Margaret Fortune – Nova
The clock activates so suddenly in my mind, my head involuntarily jerks a bit to the side. The fog vanishes, dissipated in an instant as though it never was. Memories come slotting into place, their edges sharp enough to leave furrows, and suddenly I know. I know exactly who I am.
My name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two years, and when they negotiated the return of the prisoners, I was given her memories and sent back in her place.
And I am a genetically engineered human bomb.
Marie Browne – Qualia
When the archangel Metatron offers his incompetent human assistant Joe, one final chance to cleanse his sullied soul, he jumps at the chance. But with Armageddon looming, Joe had better find out what’s really going on, because, once Lucifer is released, any human will have missed their chance to pick a side.
However, as he prepares to deliver Graham Latimer, Lucifer’s unwilling and confused human host to the angels, Joe discovers that all may not be as it seems. Hell is no longer the realm of eternal torment and Metatron’s actions are not divinely inspired. Pursued by the very angels with whom he has worked for so long, Joe travels with a diverse group of ‘demons’ through what is left of the seven circles in an attempt to keep Graham safe and stop Metatron from fooling the other angels into destroying the world.
Facing his own personal demons, which are far more dangerous than those creatures around him and trying to find the ‘truth’ amongst the varying shades of grey that make up ‘good’ and ‘evil’, Joe has just one chance to make a difference. However any change is going to come at a cost and nobody, demon, angel or human, wants to pay the price.
Matt Spire – Caligatha
Lydia has lived her entire life in Caligatha, a quaint coastal resort that seems blissfully unaware the world has been destroyed. Jericho, a brilliant scientist riddled with guilt over the loss of his deceased wife and child, attempts to recreate them only to wind up in a drug-fueled haze of depression in Caligatha. When the two meet and form a rocky relationship, strange dreams and visions begin to haunt them, and they suspect something is not quite right about Caligatha.
Meanwhile, in another timeline, survivors of a worldwide plague attempt to understand how it all went wrong, and survive in a near-future wasteland of high technology and chaos. The evidence they find brings both stories together in a shocking way.
Meg Collett – Fear University
I’ve always known I was a monster, and I don’t mean some teenage vampire shit either. My mother abandoned me when I was ten years old because I have a freakish mutant disease that makes me incapable of feeling pain. I bounced from one foster family to another because too many people like to test my medical condition in a game of “Try To Make Ollie Scream.” At sixteen, I killed a man for taking that game too far.
Two years later, I’m still on the run in Kodiak, Alaska. Here, I’m the most dangerous person around, until I come face to face with a creature that should only exist in folklore. The monster is an aswang, and I, with my medical anomaly, am uniquely qualified to hunt the beast that haunts the night. At least, that’s what the two scarred, mostly crazy ’swang hunters tell me when they kidnap me and take me to Fear University, a school where young students learn to hunt and kill aswangs.
I arrive at the university a prisoner, but I stay because I finally find my freedom. For once in my life, I belong. I’m needed. I make a home for myself inside the university masquerading as an old Alaskan prison. Something close to happiness warms my icy heart when I’m with my scarred, still mostly crazy tutor, Luke Aultstriver. For a murdering runaway like me, Fear University is a haven where I can put my skills to good use hunting monsters in the night.
But when certain truths come to light and even more lies are exposed, I fear that I, Ollie Andrews, am the worst kind of monster of all. And, maybe, they should be hunting me
Natasha Pulley – The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
In 1883, Thaniel Steepleton returns to his tiny flat to find a gold pocketwatch on his pillow. But he has worse fears than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, which has just received a threat for what could be the largest-scale Fenian bombing in history.
When the watch saves Thaniel’s life in a blast that destroys Scotland Yard, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori – a kind, lonely immigrant who sweeps him into a new world of clockwork and music. Although Mori seems harmless at first, a chain of unexpected slips soon proves that he must be hiding something.
Meanwhile, Grace Carrow is sneaking into an Oxford library dressed as a man. A theoretical physicist, she is desperate to prove the existence of the luminiferous ether before her mother can force her to marry.
As the lives of these three characters become entwined, events spiral out of control until Thaniel is torn between loyalties, futures and opposing geniuses.
Neal Asher – Dark Intelligence
Thorvald Spear wakes in hospital, having been brought back from the dead. He died in a human vs. alien war that ended a century ago.
Spear had been trapped on a planet, surrounded by alien Prador forces, when he spotted a rescue ship. Yet he and his entire squad were killed by the ship’s Artificial Intelligence, Penny Royal, which turned rogue. Now, reliving these traumatic final moments, Spear finds the drive to keep on living. That drive is vengeance.
The AI still roams free and Spear vows to destroy it, planning to exploit another of its victims in his quest. But crime-lord Isobel Satomi has been modified by Penny Royal, turning her into something far from human. And as she evolves into the ultimate predator, will she turn Spear from hunter to hunted?
Nick Holdstock – The Casualties
In Nick Holdstock’s “The Casualties, ” a man recounts the final weeks of his neighborhood before the apocalyptic event that only a few of the eccentric residents will survive.
Samuel Clark likes secrets. He wants to know the hidden stories of the bizarre characters on the little streets of Edinburgh, Scotland. He wants to know about a nymphomaniac, a man who lives under a bridge, a girl with a cracked face. He wants to uncover their histories because he has secrets of his own. He believes, as people do, that he is able to change. He believes, as the whole world does, that there is plenty of time to solve his problems.
But Samuel Clark and the rest of the world are wrong. Change and tragedy are going to scream into his and everyone’s lives. It will be a great transformation, a radical change; and it just might be worth the cost.
Nicole Kornher-Stace – Archivist Wasp
Wasp’s job is simple. Hunt ghosts. And every year she has to fight to remain Archivist.
Desperate and alone, she strikes a bargain with the ghost of a supersoldier. She will go with him on his underworld hunt for the long-long ghost of his partner and in exchange she will find out more about his pre-apocalyptic world than any Archivist before her.
And there is much to know. After all, Archivists are marked from birth to do the holy work of a goddess. They’re chosen. They’re special. Or so they’ve been told for four hundred years. Archivist Wasp fears she is not the chosen one, that she won’t survive the trip to the underworld, that the brutal life she has escaped might be better than where she is going. There is only one way to find out.
Patrick McLean – How to Succeed in Evil
How to Succeed in Evil is the Parsec award-winning story of Edwin Windsor, Evil Efficiency Consultant. He tries to help supervillains be more villainous. Or at least more profitable and sensible about the business side of Evil.
Along with his very proper and English secretary Agnes and his hench-lawyer Topper, he struggles to make the world of superpowered people make sense. But this is very difficult because, while Edwin’s advice is excellent, all of his clients are too egomaniacal to listen. There is, it must be said, a bit of comedy in this work.
Edwin struggles with a cast of characters including, Dr. Loeb, a trust fund child who desperately wants to be an Evil Genius, but has none of the talent. Dr. Loeb’s hideous mother, Iphagenia – who’s evil scheme is to foment a second Southern Rebellion, beginning with Lower Alabama. And the Cromogoldon, a brute with forehead villainous low and quite possibly the strongest creature on the planet.
Inevitably, Edwin’s unique clientele lead him into direct conflict with the greatest superhero of them all, Excelsior. And so, the quiet, restrained intellectual is pitted against heroic force.
Robert Repino – Mort(e)
The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that would forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony’s watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans’ penchant for violence, exploitation and religious superstition. As a final step in the war effort, the Colony uses its strange technology to transform the surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who rise up to kill their masters.
Former housecat turned war hero, Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend—a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and the ultimate fate of all of earth’s creatures.
Saladin Ahmed – Throne of the Crescent Moon
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path. Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla’s young assistant, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God’s justice.
Zamia Badawi has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man’s title. She lives only to avenge her father’s death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father’s killer. Until she meets Raseed.
When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn the city, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.
Salman Rushdie – Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub-Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.
Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.
Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights – or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.
Sarah Pinborough – The Death House
Toby’s life was perfectly normal . . . until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test.
Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House; an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They’re looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it’s time to take them to the sanatorium.
No one returns from the sanatorium.
Withdrawn from his house-mates and living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes.
Because everybody dies. It’s how you choose to live that counts.
Shaun Allan – Sin
Dead, dead, dead. Say it enough times and it becomes just another word.
What would you do? Could you kill a killer? Does the death of one appease the deaths of a hundred? What about that hundred against a thousand? What if you had no choice?
Meet Sin. No, not that sort of sin, but Sin, crazy as a loon (you ask Sister Moon), and proud of it. Sin locks himself away in an asylum and, every so often, gets violent. That’s only so they’ll give him those nice drugs, though. The ones that help him forget. It’s a pity they don’t work.
Sin, you see, has a serious problem. Well, it’s not so much his problem, as ours – yours, mine and everyone else’s. People die around Sin. He doesn’t like it and there’s nothing he can do about it. But someone else knows, and Sin has to stop them… and himself…
Zen Cho – Sorcerer to the Crown
In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England’s first African Sorcerer Royal. He leads the eminent Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, but a malicious faction seeks to remove him by fair means or foul. Meanwhile, the Society is failing its vital duty – to keep stable the levels of magic within His Majesty’s lands. The Fairy Court is blocking its supply, straining England’s dangerously declining magical stores. And now the government is demanding to use this scarce resource in its war with France.
Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she’s drudged all her life, and a visit by the beleaguered Sorcerer Royal seems the perfect opportunity. For Prunella has just stumbled upon English magic’s greatest discovery in centuries – and she intends to make the most of it.
At his wits’ end, the last thing Zachariah needs is a female magical prodigy! But together, they might just change the nature of sorcery, in Britain and beyond.