Science Fiction/ Fantasy Reviews | July 2013

This solid selection of summer reading—from space opera to medieval fantasy, with a few stops for urban fantasy and laugh-out-loud comedy—will provide plenty of delicious fictional escape for aficionados of these diverse genres. In Troy Denning’s Star Wars: Crucible, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker embark upon a new adventure. Anthony Ryan’s Blood Song launches a new fantasy series of epic proportions that will thrill Game of Throne fans, while A. Lee Martinez targets the epic in all its mythical glory in his comic send-up, Helen & Troy’s Epic Road Quest. And urban fantasy at its best is represented by Kate Griffin’s The Glass God.

The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection. Griffin: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2013. 704p. ed. by Gardner Dozois. ISBN 9781250029133. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9781250028044. SF

From Indrapramit Das’s story of a frozen world eternally locked into a Nightside and a Dayside (“Weep—or Day”) to Robert Reed’s novella about humans marooned on a planet where they are seen by the natives as monsters (“Eater-of-Bone”), the 29 stories collected here as the best of 2012 demonstrate sf’s depth and breadth. Introductions to each story and a list of honorable mentions round out this volume. VERDICT Lovers of sf of all kinds will enjoy this annual overview.

Griffin, Kate. The Glass God. Orbit: Hachette. (Magicals Anonymous, Bk. 2). Jul. 2013. 464p. ISBN 9780316187275. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780316235525. FANTASY

Besides acting as community support officer for the group known as Magicals Anonymous, apprentice shaman Sharon Li also serves the Midnight Mayor of London. When the mayor goes missing, however, Sharon must find out what has happened to him, using a bizarre combination of clues: an umbrella, a cryptic message from one of the city’s dryads, and several pairs of shoes whose owners have also vanished or died. Griffin’s sequel to Stray Souls continues the exploits of an intrepid and ingenuous young woman whose approach to shamanism is both original and endearing. The characters from the determined and ever-optimistic heroine to the painfully shy banshee and the crusty goblin mentor illustrate Griffin’s sympathetic humor and keen insight into the human (and metahuman) condition. VERDICT Griffin has delivered another example of urban fantasy at its best, without frenetic or excessive eroticism.

Martinez, A. Lee. Helen & Troy’s Epic Road Quest. Orbit: Hachette. Jul. 2013. 300p. ISBN 9780316226431. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780316226448. FANTASY

Helen’s summer waitressing job at Magic Burger is cut short when her employer tries to sacrifice her to a lost god resembling a humanoid made of hamburger meat. When a handsome, multitalented coworker named Troy joins the fray, the god changes its plans and instead sends Helen and Troy on a quest to retrieve an unspecified number of artifacts for an unknown purpose. Although being a minotaur gives Helen some advantages in the modern world, she has little chance of winning Troy’s affections. Accompanied by a three-legged dog and pursued by a motorcycle gang of orcs, Helen and Troy traverse a rarely traveled part of the American landscape, trusting destiny and the National Questing Bureau to guide their journey. VERDICT The author of Gil’s All Fright Diner scores another winner with the zany adventures of a pair of intelligent, out-of-the-ordinary young adults in a world where humans and mythic creatures coexist. Martinez’s full-blown comic talent places him in a category with Piers Anthony and Terry Pratchett as a master of comedic fantasy.

The following titles are reviewed in the July print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Bova, Ben. New Earth. Tor. Jul. 2013. (Grand Tour). 384p. ISBN 9780765330185. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781429948142. SF

Denning, Troy. Star Wars: Crucible. Del Rey: Ballantine. Jul. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780345511423. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780345540898. SF

Ewers, David Scott. Petrichor. Pelekinesis. Aug. 2013. 414p. ISBN 9781938349089. $25. SF

Hodder, Mark. The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi: A Burton & Swinburne Adventure. Pyr: Prometheus. Jul. 2013. 370p. ISBN 9781616147778. pap. $18; ebk. ISBN 9781616147785. FANTASY

Novik, Naomi. Blood of Tyrants. Del Rey: Ballantine. (Temeraire, Bk. 8). Aug. 2013. 448p. ISBN 9780345522894. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780345522917. FANTASY

Ryan, Anthony. Blood Song: A Raven’s Shadow Novel. Ace: Berkley. Jul. 2013. 592p. ISBN 9780425267691. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101622902. FANTASY

Stross, Charles. Neptune’s Brood: A Space Opera. Ace: Berkley. Jul. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780425256770. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101624531. SF

Weis, Margaret & Robert Krammes. Storm Riders. Tor. (Dragon Brigades, Bk. 2). Jul. 2013. 512p. ISBN 9780765333490. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466801813. FANTASY


Lee, Tanith. Space Is Just a Starry Night. Aqueduct. Jul. 2013. 264p. ISBN 9781619760318. pap. $18. SF

This Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death. Grand Central. Jul. 2013. 512p. ed. by Ryan North & others. illus. ISBN 9781455529391. pap. $18; ebk. ISBN 978145529407. HORROR


Barker, Emily Croy. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic. Pamela Dorman: Viking. Aug. 2013. 576p.ISBN 9780670023660. $27.95. FANTASY

Betts, Matt. Odd Men Out. Dog Star: Raw Dog Screaming. Aug. 2013. 224p.ISBN 9781935738466. pap. $14.95. SF

Library Journal Reviews starred review Hair, David. Mage’s Blood. Jo Fletcher Bks.: Quercus. (Moontide Quartet, Bk. 1). Sept. 2013. 704p. ISBN 9781623650148. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781623650155. FANTASY