Tuesday, January 29, 2013

To Read: Jan/Feb 2013 SFF Releases & More

Lately I've read and reviewed more science fiction books than usual. I've also browsed through catalogues checking out new or old SFF books and as a result have been inundated with recommendations. A few of the new releases by new-to-me authors caught my eye and have been added to my "to read" pile.

In Print:

The Kassa Gambit by M.C. Planck
Release Date: January 8, 2013

Centuries after the ecological collapse of Earth, humanity has spread among the stars. Under the governance of the League, our endless need for resources has driven us to colonize hundreds of planets, all of them devoid of other sentient life. Humanity is apparently alone in the universe.

Then comes the sudden, brutal decimation of Kassa, a small farming planet, by a mysterious attacker. The few survivors send out a desperate plea for aid, which is answered by two unlikely rescuers. Prudence Falling is the young captain of a tramp freighter. She and her ragtag crew have been on the run and living job to job for years, eking out a living by making cargo runs that aren’t always entirely legal. Lt. Kyle Daspar is a police officer from the wealthy planet of Altair Prime, working undercover as a double agent against the League. He’s been undercover so long he can't be trusted by anyone—even himself.

While flying rescue missions to extract survivors from the surface of devastated Kassa, they discover what could be the most important artifact in the history of man: an alien spaceship, crashed and abandoned during the attack.

But something tells them there is more to the story. Together, they discover the cruel truth about the destruction of Kassa, and that an imminent alien invasion is the least of humanity’s concerns.
Ice Forged (The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga #1) by Gail Z. Martin
Release Date: January 8, 2013

Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine "Mick" McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that banished the colonists.

Now, as the world's magic runs wild, McFadden and the people of Velant must fight to survive and decide their fate ...

From Gail Z. Martin, author of the beloved series THE CHRONICLES OF THE NECROMANCER and THE FALLEN KINGS CYCLE, comes a new fantasy adventure for the ages.

Welcome to the end of the world.
Welcome to the beginning of THE ASCENDANT KINGDOMS SAGA.

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Release Date: January 8, 2013

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.
In my Kindle:

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Release Date: January 29, 2013

“Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”

Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion… and more.

But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.
On Pre-order in Print:

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
Releasing: February 5, 2013

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
2013 Sci Fi Experience
All the above books caught my interest for different reasons, but I absolutely LOVE the delicacy and beautiful details found in Todd Lockwood's illustration of the cover for A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent.

On the other hand, the book summary that just calls to me is that of The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke. That little sentence underneath the title,"A Tale of Love, Loss and Robots," sold me! That means that I will probably read this book first. 

Note I say probably above because with me you never know! The Kassa Gambit and Ice Forged look to be great adventures, and Paper Valentine a quieter mystery but totally out of my usually reading scope since it falls under young adult also looks great. I might just pick that one up first. Who knows? I will let you know soon. :D


  1. I love the Mad Scientist Daughter cover.

  2. Juju I do too! I like how the neutral colors show off a stark landscape and how that contrasts with the texture used on the sky and that solitary figure (Finn the robot, I assume) on the road. I have the Kindle edition, but IF I love the book I will probably get the print edition for my bookshelf. :D

  3. What great finds, Hilcia! They all sound fascinating, but I must say I am quite intrigued by the Natural History of Dragons! Can't wait to hear what you think of it when you get a hold of it.

    1. These just look like fun, Christine. I can't wait to read A Natural History of Dragons. For some reason my imagination is flying all over the place when it comes to that book. Between the gorgeous cover, title (don't they fit perfectly?), and the great book summary it was a sure buy for me.

    2. I'm pretty excited to see that my library is getting A Natural History of Dragons this month! I'm putting it on my list for sure.

      Just came across this interview with Lady Trent in the Tor newsletter, thought you might be interested:

    3. I'm so glad you can get this book in your library! Thanks so much for the link to the interview... I'm saving it/bookmarking it for AFTER I read the book! LOL!

  4. I'm planning on borrowing THE MAD SCIENTIST'S DAUGHTER from my library - I loved her YA fantasy, but early reviews for this one have been a bit mixed? I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it.

    I can't remember if you read Sara Creasy's SF duology when the books came out a while back (I loved them!) but did you know MC Planck is her husband?


    1. Li, I haven't read any books by Clarke or any reviews about The Mad Scientist's Daughter, so I'm going into this read with a clean slate. I'm hoping to love it, it just seems to be my type of book and you'll definitely get my take on it. :D

      Oh and yes! I read and reviewed the SFR Scarabaeus duology by Creasy and no, I didn't know Planck was her husband. He is also a new-to-me author. The Kassa Gambit was the first book I purchased from this bunch (when it released), but held it to read in February. Looks like a good sci fi adventure to me. Let's hope it is. :)

  5. You read a little all over the place but It sounds like you enjoyed them!! :D
    I wish I had more diverse taste like yours, but alas, I don't lol.
    The Dragon Memoir one caught my attention though.

    1. Alex, I DO read all over the place! But there's a method to my madness, I promise *g*

      I love dragons and that book looks really, really good! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it turns out to be a great read.

  6. Ice Forged was on my January list of new releases. I read Ms Martin previously and while her writing is good, the story doesn't really stand out. It's like your typical fantasy which is why I haven't read more of hers... but perhaps Ice Forged will be better? If you're planning to read it, then I'll definitively wait for your opinion LOL

    1. Nath, Ms. Martin is new-to-me so I've NO idea how this one will turn out. I will definitely let you know what I think of Ice Forged. The print book is already in my TBR. :D


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