Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Exciting May Book Releases

This month sees the release of several books I'm very excited for. So much so that I almost (but not quite) regret starting House of Chains, fourth book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen rather than waiting to read these titles.

May 1
The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die. 
In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.

This young adult novel is set in the same post-apocalyptic universe of Ship Breaker, which I recently finished reading. Despite being categorized as "young adult," I'm sure this book, like Ship Breaker before it, is far more complex than meets the eye and engaging for audiences of all ages. io9 has a magnificent book trailer here, just watching it makes me want to go buy the book and start reading it now.

May 1
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

In the desert city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Along its ancient stone streets, there is no crime or violence. Priests of the dream-goddess, known as Gatherers, maintain order: harvesting the dreams of the citizens, healing the injured, and guiding the dreamers into the afterlife. . . 
When Ehiru-the most famous of the city's Gatherers-is sent to harvest the dreams of a diplomatic envoy, he finds himself drawn into a conspiracy that threatens to drag the dreaming city into war.

This is the first book in the Dreamblood duology (so, two books). The next book comes out in June, so you don't have to wait years and years for the conclusion. Jemisin has proven herself as a great author with The Inheritance Trilogy (check out my review of book 3, The Kingdom of Gods). The setting and magic for this duology is said to have come from Jemisin's fascination in ancient Egypt, Freudian dream theory, and Jung's ideas about the collective unconscious. Sounds very interesting and I'll be sure to check it out.

May 15
Railsea by China Mieville

On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea–even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she’s been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it's a welcome distraction. But what Sham finds in the derelict—a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—leads to considerably more than he'd bargained for. Soon he's hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea. 

Mieville is a great story teller and a master of language. You can see he's drawn from Melville's Moby-Dick for this novel. I have no doubt that this book will be an amazing ride into yet another fantastical world. Unlike Bacigalupi and Jemisin, Mieville has less of an online presence (ie, twitter, blog, etc), but he doesn't need it: his works are of such quality that people all over keep talking about it. You've probably heard of the numerous awards that his last book, Embassytown, has been nominated for (this just in: Embassytown among the 2012 Locus Award finalists).

All these books have free previews available online, either through ebook stores like Amazon, or through the author's own websites. I personally have not read any of the previews: I trust these authors enough to buy their works without any prior glimpses.
Right now I'm about a third of the way through my current book and will probably start The Killing Moon next. Though I have a few other sci-fi novels queued up, it looks like those will have to wait. Why does my to-read list increase faster than I can read?

Did I miss any notable May releases? I'm sure there are plenty of books being released every month, but in the realm of sci-fi and fantasy, these are the ones I personally am looking forward to reading.

Update (May 2):
It looks like I did forget one exciting release!

May 4
The King's Blood by Daniel Abraham

Geder Palliako's star is rising. He is a hero of Antea, protector to the crown prince, and darling of the court. But storms from his past are gathering, and with them, a war that will change everything.
Cithrin bel Sarcour founded a powerful bank on stolen wealth, forged papers, and ready blades. Now every move she makes is observed, recorded, and controlled. Unless Cithrin can free herself from her gilded cage, the life she made will be for naught; war may provide just the opportunity she needs.
An apostate priest sees the hidden hand behind all: a long-buried secret of the dragon empire threatens everything humanity has built. An age of madness and death is on the way, with only a few doomed heroes to stand in its way.

This is the second book in The Dagger and The Coin series. I read the first book of that series (The Dragon's Path) and considered it to be one of my top 5 books I read in 2011. This is traditional epic fantasy, but with some cool elements in it. The author claims he borrowed ideas from multiple sources and yet he managed to meld everything together so it feels new and fresh. I like it! I'm looking forward to this book and I can't believe that it slipped under my radar.

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