New book releases, week of May 14th: Fantasy dominates despite John Scalzi’s The Human Division

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Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

RithmatistFrom #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson: his debut novel for the young adult audience

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense—the first of a series. With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.

The Rose Thorn by Mette Ivie Harrison

Richly-imagined fantasy romance from the author of Princess and the Hound, a tale of two princesses–one with magic, one with none–who dare seek love in a world where real choice can never be theirs. For fans of Megan Whalen Turner, Catherine Fisher, and Cassandra Clare.

Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she’s impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father’s court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power–or the magic–to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?

School Spirits (A Hex Hall Novel) by Rachel Hawkins

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy’s mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who’s always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.
Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?

Rachel Hawkins’ delightful spin-off brings the same wit and charm as the New York Times best-selling Hex Hall series. Get ready for more magic, mystery and romance!

Parallel by Lauren Miller

ParallelAbby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She’d go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she’s in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it’s as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby’s life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby’s senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby’s never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn’t choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that’s finally within reach.

The Cydonian Pyramid (Klaatu Diskos) by Pete Hautman

The much-anticipated sequel to The Obsidian Blade transports readers to the terrifying and thrilling world of Lah Lia, the enigmatic girl who changed Tucker Feye’s life.

More than half a millennium in the future, in the shadow of the looming Cydonian Pyramid, a pampered girl named Lah Lia has been raised for one purpose: to be sacrificed through one of the mysterious diskos that hover over the pyramid’s top. But just as she is about to be killed, a strange boy appears from the diskos, providing a cover of chaos that allows her to escape and launching her on a time-spinning journey in which her fate is irreversibly linked to his. In this second volume of the Klaatu Diskos trilogy, Tucker Feye and Lah Lia each hurtle through time, relating their stories in alternating viewpoints that converge at crucial moments. Fans of the first adventure will be intrigued by the chance to see the world through Lah Lia’s eyes — no matter how disturbing the vision might be.

Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement – Moore

Daisy Goodnight can speak to the dead. It’s not the result of a head injury or some near-death experience. She was just born that way. And she’s really good at it. Good enough to help the police solve the occasional homicide.
But helping the local authorities clear cold cases is one thing. Being whisked out of chemistry class by the FBI and flown to the scene of a murder/kidnapping in Minnesota? That’s the real deal.
Before the promotion can go to Daisy’s head, she’s up to her neck in trouble. The spirits are talking, and they’re terrified. There’s a real living girl in danger. And when Daisy is kidnapped by a crime boss with no scruples about using magic—and Daisy—to get what he wants, it looks like hers is the next soul on the line.

The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble

The angel book gets a Texas makeover from the author of the Dreaming Anastasia series.

“I found out two things today: One, I think I’m dying. And two, my brother is a perv.”

So begins the diary of Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad year. Her mother spends all day in bed. Dad  vanished when she was nine. Her older brother, Casey, tries to hold together what’s left of the family by working two after-school jobs—difficult, as he’s stoned all the time. To make matters worse, Jenna is sick. Really sick. When she collapses one day, Casey tries to race her to the hospital in their beat-up Prius and crashes instead.

Jenna wakes up in the ER to find Casey beside her, looking pretty good. Better than ever, in fact. Downright… angelic. The flab and zits? Gone. Before long, Jenna figures out that her brother didn’t survive the accident at all, and she isn’t just sick; she’s being poisoned. Casey has been sent back to help Jenna find out who’s got it out for her, a mystery that leads to more questions about their mother’s depression and their father’s disappearance.

Towering by Alex Flinn

ToweringNew York Times #1 bestselling author Alex Flinn reimagined the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast in Beastly and gave a twist to the story of Sleeping Beauty in A Kiss in Time.

Now with her gothic and darkly romantic YA novel Towering, Alex Flinn retells the tale of Rapunzel.

When Rachel was taken to live in a tower by a woman she calls Mama, she was excited. She felt like a princess in a castle. But many years later, Rachel knows her palace is really a prison, and begins to plan her escape. She is encouraged by the speed that her golden hair has been growing. It’s gotten long enough to reach the ground. And she’s begun dreaming of a green-eyed man. Could he be out there in the world? Is he coming to save her? Or will she find a way to save herself?

Under the Light by Laura Whitcomb

Helen needed a body to be with her beloved. Jenny had to escape from hers before her spirit was broken. It was wicked, borrowing it, but love drives even the gentlest soul to desperate acts.

And Helen, who has returned to help Jenny, finds herself trapped, haunting the girl she wished to save. Jenny and Billy’s love story begins out-of-body and continues into the tumultuous realm of the living, where they are torn apart even as they slowly remember falling in love.

Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Human Division by John Scalzi

human divisionFollowing the events of The Last Colony, John Scalzi tells the story of the fight to maintain the unity of the human race.

The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous universe around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source of military recruits. Now the CU’s secrets are known to all. Other alien races have come on the scene and formed a new alliance—an alliance against the Colonial Union. And they’ve invited the people of Earth to join them. For a shaken and betrayed Earth, the choice isn’t obvious or easy.

Against such possibilities, managing the survival of the Colonial Union won’t be easy, either. It will take diplomatic finesse, political cunning…and a brilliant “B Team,” centered on the resourceful Lieutenant Harry Wilson, that can be deployed to deal with the unpredictable and unexpected things the universe throws at you when you’re struggling to preserve the unity of the human race.

Being published online from January to April 2013 as a three-month digital serial, The Human Division will appear as a full-length novel of the Old Man’s War universe, plus—for the first time in print—the first tale of Lieutenant Harry Wilson, and a coda that wasn’t part of the digital serialization.

Magician’s End: Book Three of the Chaoswar Saga

Three decades . . . Five Riftwars . . . One magnificent saga: From New York Times bestselling author Raymond E. Feist comes Magician’s End, the final book in the epic Riftwar Cycle.

Thirty years ago, Feist’s first novel, Magician, introduced us to an orphan boy named Pug, who rises from slavery to become a Master Magician, and to Midkemia and the Riftwar, an epic series of battles between Good and Evil that have scarred Pug’s world for generations.

After twenty-nine books, Feist delivers the crowning achievement of his renowned bestselling career: Magician’s End, the final chapter in The Chaos Wars, the climax of his extraordinary Riftwar Cycle.

Pug, now the greatest magician of all time, must risk everything he has fought for and everything he cherishes in the hope of destroying an evil enemy once and for all. But to achieve peace and save untold millions of lives, he will have to pay the ultimate price.

Fringe – The Zodiac Paradox (Novel #1) by Christa Faust

Critically acclaimed Fringe explores new cases with endless impossibilities. Set in Boston, the FBI’s Fringe Division started when Special Agent Olivia Dunham enlisted institutionalized “fringe” scientist Walter Bishop and his globe-trotting, jack-of-all-trades son, Peter, to help in investigations that defy all human logic – and the laws of nature. The first in an all-new series of tie-in novels!

The Tyrant’s Law (The Dagger and the Coin Book 3) by Daniel Abraham

Tyrant's LawThe great war cannot be stopped.

The tyrant Geder Palliako had led his nation to war, but every victory has called forth another conflict. Now the greater war spreads out before him, and he is bent on bringing peace. No matter how many people he has to kill to do it.

Cithrin bel Sarcour, rogue banker of the Medean Bank, has returned to the fold. Her apprenticeship has placed her in the path of war, but the greater dangers are the ones in her past and in her soul.

Widowed and disgraced at the heart of the Empire, Clara Kalliam has become a loyal traitor, defending her nation against itself. And in the shadows of the world, Captain Marcus Wester tracks an ancient secret that will change the war in ways not even he can forsee.
Return to the critically acclaimed epic by master storyteller Daniel Abraham, The Dagger and the Coin.

Also of Note:

The Art of Blizzard Entertainment by Nick Carpenter, Samwise Didier, Chris Metzen

Art of BlizzardBlizzard Entertainment changed gaming forever. From its humble beginnings as a three-person console-game development studio in 1991 to the creation of the blockbuster Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® series, Blizzard has crafted stunning worlds of science fiction and fantasy for more than two decades.

An epic volume of visuals and behind-the-scenes insights, The Art of Blizzard Entertainment celebrates the genesis. This collection showcases nearly 700 pieces of concept art, paintings, and sketches accompanied by commentary from the Blizzard game development teams, including Nick Carpenter, Samwise Didier, and Chris Metzen. All three were essential in shaping Blizzard’s game universes over the years, and along with a team of international artists, revolutionized gameplay and storytelling. Artists such as Roman Kenny, Peter Lee, Bill Petras, Glenn Rane, and Wei Wang helped develop and expand Blizzard’s unique vision, and their contributions are featured here along with work by Brom, who offers a foreword to the collection. Millions of people around the globe play Blizzard games every day—The Art of Blizzard Entertainment is an opportunity to explore the core of what makes the experience so transporting.

This deluxe edition is bound in saifu cloth and accompanied by a portfolio of collector art prints, all housed in a finely crafted double-slot slipcase with foil stamping. Each deluxe edition also includes a card of authenticity hand-signed by Brom, Samwise Didier, and Wei Wang.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2013 by Catherine Asaro

The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories in the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America(R). The editor selected by SFWA’s anthology committee (chaired by Mike Resnick) is two-time Nebula winner, Catherine Asaro. This year’s volume includes stories and excerpts by Connie Willis, Jo Walton, Kij Johnson, Geoff Ryman, John Clute, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Ferrett Steinmetz, Ken Liu, Nancy Fulda, Delia Sherman, Amal El-Mohtar, C. S. E. Cooney, David Goldman, Katherine Sparrow, E. Lily Yu, and Brad R. Torgersen.

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