Pierce Brown, author of Red Rising, out in late January, rounds up the new and upcoming releases he's most excited to read in 2014.
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman This will be the third installment in a fantasy series that follows a young wizard from our world as he transports himself with his friends to a magical land called Fillory (essentially Narnia on a heady cocktail of everclear and acid), where talking squirrels the size of horses would as soon maul you and eat your brains as store nuts for winter.
It’s an odd universe at play here. And it’s filled with the bleak pessimism you might find in a Cormac McCarthy novel. Yet the books continue to unsettle and amaze me as they explore familiar tropes, turn them on their head, and light them on fire.
If you’re looking for a cuddly tale, this is not for you. But the magic is raw, and the characters primal and deliciously petty.
The Waking Engine by David Edison Death is not the end, at least not in The Walking Engine. When you die, you awake in one of a million worlds, only to live and die again, and live and die, and live... But it seems the cycle may be nearing an end, as a threat emerges that will bring true death for all.
While I know little of this one, and Goodreads reviewers know even less, I’m always a sucker for a metaphysical science-fiction romp—especially from a first-time author.
Children of Fire/The Scorched Earth by Drew Karpyshyn At the San Diego Comic Con this year, Drew Karpyshyn swung by and gave me an advance copy of his newest book, Children of Fire. He had to leave soon after, and it’s probably best he did before I had my epileptic meltdown.
See, here’s something Drew didn’t know. He was my childhood from 2000 to 2002. As one of the writers on the most brilliant game series that ever blessed the PC, Baldur’s Gate (as well as the author of the novel, Throne of Bhaal), he was my shepherd through the Forgotten Realms. He made me lie down in lich-cursed pastures; he led me beside mind flayer-filled waters. He restored my nerdy soul.
And now he has a fantasy series? Hell. Yes.
The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley After the emperor of a vast dominion dies, his children fight to uncover the conspiracy that stripped them of a father.
To borrow a friend’s description of Staveley’s work, he doesn’t simply write. He weaves. And it is a vast tapestry with distinct threads making familiar shapes. Staveley’s story is not necessarily groundbreaking, but his world building and writing are on par with the best the genre has to offer.
Also, did I mention there are giant birds that bear squadrons of knights into battle? Because there are. And they are badass.
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie Dude, it’s Joe Abercrombie. This guy writes like a bareknuckle cockney boxer, with blood and spit and punches that’ll knock you down. I’m a huge fan. Of course I’m reading Half a King.