The US is recommending social distancing for the foreseeable future and my university has moved to online classes (with Senior Design and another robotics class basically crippled), so… books? Featuring my desperate last-ditch attempt to complete the /r/Fantasy 2019 bingo and books that have been sitting on my shelves for too damn long
The Black Tides of Heaven – JY Yang
For the ‘SFF Novel Featuring Twins’ square. I’ve had this one sitting in my Kindle library for a while and it certainly seems interesting.
Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as children. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While his sister received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What’s more, he saw the sickness at the heart of his mother’s Protectorate.
A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue to play a pawn in his mother’s twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from his sister Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond he shares with his twin sister?
The Young Elites – Marie Lu
For the ‘2nd Chance Novel’ square. I got about halfway through this book a year ago before I had to call it quits because Adelina Amouteru was just SO EDGY but not in a good way. Her POV was infuriating and I don’t expect to like her anymore this time around but we’ll see…
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. …
We Ride the Storm – Devin Madson
For the ‘SFF by an Australian Author’ square. Using the old cover since I won an eBook copy from a Twitter giveaway back when this was still a self-pub book. Devin’s a sweetheart and I was delighted to hear that Orbit had picked this up for a traditional print publication.
War built the Kisian Empire and war will tear it down. And as an empire falls, three warriors rise.
Caught in a foreign war, Captain Rah e’Torin and his exiled warriors will have to fight or die. Their honour code is all they have left until orders from within stress them to breaking point, and the very bonds that hold them together will be ripped apart.
Cassandra wants the voice in her head to go away. Willing to do anything for peace, the ageing whore takes an assassination contract that promises answers, only the true price may be everyone and everything she knows.
A prisoner in her own castle, Princess Miko doesn’t dream of freedom but of the power to fight for her empire. As the daughter of a traitor the path to redemption could as easily tear it, and her family, asunder.
As an empire dies they will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.
For the ‘Self-Pub Novel’ square, I’ll likely use a web serial off Tapas (*cough* Mortician of Avalon *cough*) or an original work on Ao3, though I haven’t decided yet.
For the LitRPG square, I think I’m going to go with The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System, a Chinese danmei webnovel by the same author as Mo Dao Zu Shi. It’s not a litRPG in the most traditional sense, but there is a game-like system and hard numbers, so… close enough?
The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang
Another book who’s ARC I missed out on during my hiatus (though I probably wouldn’t have gotten it anyway). Book one shook me and I’m slightly terrified for what this one will have in store. A friend bought me a lovely hardcover edition for my birthday, so now I get to appreciate that GORGEOUS cover is its full beauty.
In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.
With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.
But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.
The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu
Having read book 1, I’m still not convinced I actually like this series, but the science is fascinating enough to keep me interested. I’ve also heard this one is much better than book 1, so we’ll see.
In The Dark Forest, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion — four centuries in the future. The aliens’ human collaborators have been defeated but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth’s defense plans are exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret.
This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he’s the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.
Vengeful by VE Schwab
I’ve tried reading this maybe…three times? And each time, I’ve lost interest for some reason. Maybe I’m just not interested in Marcella? It’s probably because I don’t like Marcella. But I liked book 1 so damn much, I will end up reading this.
Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.
But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other.
With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity–and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Another book I picked up then never read from the hiatus days. Honestly, still not totally sure what this one’s about, but like… THAT COVER. Hot damn.
Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.
But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.
Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway…
The standard heads up applies here, which is that I’m fucking awful at actually following a TBR list, so beyond the first three books, there’s a non-zero chance that I completely ignore this list and end up reading completely different books!