Brooks, Terry. Bloodfire Quest: The Dark Legacy of Shannara. Del Rey: Ballantine. Mar. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780345523501. $28. FANTASY
Bad news: dangerous creatures are breaching the magical barrier, now beginning to deteriorate, that has imprisoned them since time immemorial. Even as some folks prepare for battle, others go on a quest whose success will ultimately assure peace—and cause the death of a young girl. Second in a new Shannara trilogy publishing on a boom-boom-boom schedule every six months. Obviously huge.
Card, Orson Scott. The Gate Thief. Tor. Mar. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780765326584. $24.99. FANTASY
In best-selling author Card’s sequel to The Lost Gate, which introduced the story of the Mages of Westil, Danny North looks like your average high schooler but has the outselves of 13 centuries of gatemages packed tight in his mind. He’s rendered Wad, back on Westil, pretty much powerless, and, having stolen power from Loki, he’s now responsible for the Great Gates. That should sober him up, even if he is just a kid. Expect lots of demand.
Cargill, C. Robert. Dreams and Shadows. Harper Voyager. Mar. 2013. 446p. ISBN 9780062190420. $24.99; eISBN 9780062190444. FANTASY
A noted screenwriter and film critic (his Sinister hits the big screen in October), Cargill launches his fiction career with the story of a supernatural world lying right up against our own, separated by only a thin veil. Ewan and Colby have been there and still remember the lounging angels, combative wizards, and plucky fairies. Now the magic is calling them back. Some twisty stuff here; pitched to fans of Neil Gaiman Lev Grossman, Erin Morgenstern, and Kim Harrison and boasting a 40,000-copy first printing.
Datlow, Ellen & Terri Windling, eds. Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy. Tor. Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780765332264. $25.99; pap. ISBN 9780765332271. $15.99. FANTASY
Gaslamp fantasy: there’s a term I haven’t heard. Represented by books ranging from Neil Gaiman’s Stardust to Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mrs. Morrell, it’s a genre set in a magical version of the 19th century and embracing everything from steampunk to the Austen-inspired fantasy of manners. Datlow, a powerhouse sf/fantasy anthologist, has joined forces with folklore-imbued writer/artist Windling to create this anthology of gaslamp bests by authors ranging Tanith Lee to Gregory Maguire.
Herbert, Brian & Kevin J. Anderson. Hellhole: Awakening. Tor. Mar. 2013. 528p. ISBN 9780765322708. $27.99. SF
Herbert, the Hugo Award–nominated son of legendary sf writer Frank Herbert, joined up with top sf writer Anderson some time back to expand the story of Frank Herbert’s blockbuster Dune. Here, as the Xayan civilization reawakens, the burgeoning shadow-Xayan settlement Hellhole gears up for a showdown with a host of enemies. Of course there will be fans.
Hopkinson, Nalo. Sister Mine. Grand Central. Mar. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780446576925. $23.99.FANTASY
A World Fantasy Award winner and Nebula Award nominee, Hopkinson intriguingly envisions conjoined twins, one of whom loses her magic when she is separated from her sister. Family members shun the ordinary Makeda until her father shrugs off his human form and vanishes. Now it appears that Makeda may be the only one who can find him.
Pettersson, Vicki. The Lost: Celestial Blues Book Two. Harper Voyager. Mar. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780062064653. pap. $14.99. FANTASY
This mashup of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and noir mystery continues best-selling author Pettersson’s new series, which features P.I. Griffin Shaw, murdered 50 years ago and now a Centurion—that is, an angel who helps those who have died violently. Grif has been given permission to discover who killed him and his wife but in exchange must help souls that are otherwise doomed. In the series opener, The Taken, he saved the life of relentless reporter Kit Craig, now his lover; here they’re battling drug cartels. Fun just to read about; with a 35,000-copy first printing.
Pyper, Andrew. The Demonologist. S. & S. Mar. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781451697414. $25. LITERARY HORROR
Arthur Ellis Award winner Pyper returns with the tale of Professor David Ullman, an expert in demonic literature who doesn’t believe in the subject of his research. Things change when a mysterious woman invites him to witness an event in Venice and his daughter is kidnapped by the Unnamed. Film interest in this one, as well as Pyper’s other best sellers (e.g., The Killing Circle).
Schwarz, Liesel. A Conspiracy of Alchemists. Del Rey: Ballantine. Mar. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780345545077. $25; eISBN 9780345541277. FANTASY
Urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance: if you want them, you’ve got them in this charged debut. In 1903, science exploits magical energies to create remarkable new technologies, which has the one disadvantage of pulling the darkly supernatural into the world. Now, in alliance with their powerful alchemist, bloodsucking Nightwalkers are planning to plunge the entire world in shadow. They just need to get rid of Eleanor (“Elle”) Chance, a gutsy dirigible pilot with a threatening secret, but she’s not cooperating. Things do get complicated when she encounters a seductive warlock who might have ulterior motives. A “Chronicles of Light and Shadow” series opener; more grand genre bending.