Adult Fantasy, Adult Science Fiction, River Dog Recommends

River Dog Recommends: New Science Fiction/Fantasy Books

Looking for your next sci-fi or fantasy read? Look no further than one of these four books, just out this June/July 2018!

Jacqueline Carey
Published June 12, 2018

River Dog Review: Five stars! One of our new favorite fantasies, this is arguably one of Jacqueline Carey’s best since her original Kushiel trilogy. It has all the trademarks of a good Carey: in-depth world-building; diverse characters of all races, shapes, sizes, abilities, sexualities, genders, and species; a quest; an unlikely hero (or two); and a love story. Best of all, this is currently a standalone novel! While I wouldn’t say no to more from this world, I was so relieved when the quest wrapped up in the end without needing to wait 12 more months for the next title. Dive into this epic tale of a world about to end and the motley crew of prophesied misfits out to save it.

Publisher Description: I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man…

Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.

In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.

If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.

The Calculating StarsThe Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel
Mary Robinette Kowal
Published July 3, 2018

First, read this.

It’s the novelette originally published as an audiobook and then kindly put up by the author on her website. It’s called The Lady Astronaut of Mars, and was shortlisted for several Hugo Awards.

Now, read The Calculating Stars (Publisher Description): 

Mary Robinette Kowal’s science fiction debut, The Calculating Stars, explores the premise behind her award-winning “Lady Astronaut of Mars.”

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

The Fated SkyThen, mark your calendar for The Fated Skythe next novel in this new series coming out in August (Publisher Description):

Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating StarsThe Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.

Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic–but potentially very dangerous–mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

CompetenceCompetence (Custard Protocol #3)
Gail Carriger
Published July 17, 2018 (today!)

River Dog Review: I just got a call from my own local bookstore letting me know that this title had come in. That’s right, I shop locally AND I haven’t read this one yet. BUT, I have read everything else Gail Carriger has written, and they’re all an absolutely delightful romp through the 1890s, reimagined with supernatural characters and lots of steampunk. I give this entire series two big thumbs up, so run out and buy it from your local indie bookstore today!

Publisher Description: All alone in Singapore, proper Miss Primrose Tunstell must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.

When she uncovers rumors of a new kind of vampire, Prim and the Custard crew embark on a mission to Peru. There, they encounter airship pirates and strange atmospheric phenomena, and are mistaken for representatives of the Spanish Inquisition. Forced into extreme subterfuge (and some rather ridiculous outfits) Prim must also answer three of life’s most challenging questions: Can the perfect book club give a man back his soul?Will her brother ever stop wearing his idiotic velvet fez?And can the amount of lard in Christmas pudding save an entire species?

Kill the Farm BoyKill the Farmboy: The Tales of Pell
Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
Published July 17, 2018 (also today!)

River Dog Review: I’m only a couple of chapters into this one, but it’s completely irreverent and silly and makes fun of all of the classic fairy tale tropes and I think it’s going to be really wonderful.

Publisher Description: In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Monty Python, the bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes.

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told.

This is not that fairy tale.

There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened. And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell. There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.

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