48 Booklist March 1, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
locate his brother and wake him up soon, or he
will be lost in slumber forever. Rena McHale
is a PI in Las Vegas with a psychic gift. All she
needs to do is touch an object and she can see
the owner’s secrets. When the hottie from her
recurring dream about dragons suddenly appears, demanding she help him find his brother,
she is sure she is going mad. But she joins him
on a trek to find Zed, trying to deny the off-the-charts chemistry between them. Zander won’t
allow himself to be with Rena; it was his fault
that he and Zed were cursed in the first place.
Readers will be eager for Humphreys’ next
Amoveo Rising novel. —Ilene Lefkowitz
SF/Fantasy & Horror
The Book of Joan.
By Lidia Yuknavitch.
Apr. 2017. 272p. Harper, $26.99 (9780062383273).
“Burning is an art.” So begins Yuknavitch’s
( The Backs of Small Children, 2015) newest
novel, a regeneration of Joan of Arc’s story. To
escape a global war of racial, economic, and
religious differences, Earth’s wealthiest retreated to CIEL, an orbiting space platform.
Joan of Dirt, a young opposition warrior
gifted with the power to control nature, resolved the conflict by causing a devastating
geological catastrophe. The station’s leader,
Jean de Men made Joan pay for her transgression with a fiery public execution. The
wealthy also paid a price, quickly becoming
hairless and genderless due to CIEL’s poor
radiation protection. Survival became about
seeking new forms of artistic and sensual
stimulus, with skin grafting as a new form
of self-expression. While burning the heroine’s legend onto her own skin, a renowned
artist learns Joan is still alive—on Earth.
Desperate to recapture her, de Men plans
to use the resurrected Joan in a horrendous
experiment. The heart-stopping climax will
surprise readers of this dystopian tale that
ponders the meanings of gender, sex, love,
and life. —Lucy Lockley
By Elizabeth Moon.
Apr. 2017. Del Rey, $28 (9781101887318); e-book
Ky Vatta, now an accomplished and battle-
hardened admiral, is reluctantly returning
to her home planet, Slatter Key. Her great
aunt, recently appointed head of the planet’s
department of defense, has requested Ky
come and oversee some complicated family
business. Despite Ky’s hopes that her home-
coming will be understated, a larger plot of
conspiracy and sabotage comes to light when
Ky’s shuttle veers off-course and crashes on
an uninhabited island. As Ky and her crew
struggle to survive, a complicated web of lies,
allegiances, and espionage threatens to bring
down the Vatta family and prevent Ky’s res-
cue. Moon returns to hard sf after nearly
eight years, visiting familiar characters from
the Vatta’s War series. Though it is intended
as an alternate entry in the series, readers
need not have read the previous books to
enjoy this one; Moon provides enough
backstory to fill in any blanks. A gripping
page-turner with enough twists and turns to
satisfy even the most hardened sf reader, this
is a great return to the tales of the Vatta fam-
ily. —Carolyn Ciesla
Ed. by John Joseph Adams.
Apr. 2017. 368p. Saga, $29.99 (9781481435024); paper,
The latest anthology from prolific editor Adams collects stories from prominent sf authors
on the theme of adventure on a cosmic scale.
All are well worth reading, with stand-outs including Tobias S. Buckell’s “Zen and the Art of
Starship Maintenance,” about the experiences
of a human uploaded into a robotic body to
explore the stars and struggling with the obligations that entails; A. Merc Rustad’s “Tomorrow
When We See the Sun,” which depicts a baroque
future dominated by living-suns-turned-aristo-crats; and Charlie Jane Anders “A Temporary
Embarrassment in Spacetime,” in which a pair
of adventurers attempts to steal a deadly super-weapon while escaping the attention of their
former creators as well as the massive, mind-enslaving space creature they recently robbed.
Highly recommended for anyone looking for a
variety of engaging sf experiences. —Alan Keep
The Red Prince.
By A. J. Smith.
Apr. 2017. 544p. IPG/Head of Zeus, paper, $14.95
(9781784080884); e-book (9781784080853).
Having once defied his brother, the king, to
marry a commoner, disgraced “Red Prince” Alexander Tiris again finds himself in opposition
to his brother. The king is enchanted by one of
the Seven Sisters and waging wars on her behalf.
Xander’s duchy has been invaded, and he must
fight to take back his home. Hope comes in
the form of Rham Jas Ramin, an assassin who
is on a personal mission to kill all the sisters.
Many miles away, Utha the Ghost, his squire
Randall, and Ruth the Gorlan Mother work on
a separate plan to defeat the sisters. Book three
of the Long War series adds more characters to
a large cast and, in true dark-fantasy style, subtracts a few. Readers new to the series should
start at the beginning, for Smith’s world is complicated and richly detailed. Even series readers
will find themselves consulting the character
lists, map, and bestiary to orientate themselves
to this world again. Another exciting entry in
an excellent fantasy series. —Lynnanne Pearson
Sins of Empire.
By Brian McClellan.
Mar. 2017. 624p. Orbit, $26 (9780316407212); e-book
The first book in the follow-up trilogy to the
Powder Mage Trilogy takes place primarily in
Landfall, capital city of Fatrasta, a colonial na-
tion ruled by Lady Chancellor Lindet and built
on the ruins of the once-sprawling Dynize em-
pire as well as on the brutal suppression of the
Lindet’s secret police, the Blackhats. A variety
of characters explore and discover the secrets
of Landfall and Fatrasta, including Vlora Flint,
the leader of the Riflejack mercenary company,
currently under contract to the Lady Chan-
cellor; Michel Bravis, a Blackhat assigned to
investigate rumors of insurrection and sedi-
tion; and Ben Styke, a former hero of the
Fatrastan war for independence and current
prisoner in a labor camp. McClellan continues
to expand and build on the interesting and en-
gaging world of his previous trilogy while also
providing an exciting and fast-paced new story
that even those new to the series will enjoy im-
mensely. —Alan Keep
By Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes.
Mar. 2017. Tor, $27.99 (9780765381071); e-book
The war with the Bottom Dwellers is over,
and the Freyan economy is a disaster. The
crown prince has been killed, and the Freyans
discover that they won’t be able to take over
the refineries that create the more efficient
crystalline fuel for their ships. The wheels of
politics turn. Henry Wallace, spymaster, works
to discredit the pretender to the Freyan throne,
Prince Tom, all while searching for a way to refill Freyan coffers and uncover the motivation
behind a rather cleverly planned assassination
attempt. Wallace sends an old agent, Phillip,
to work on dissuading Prince Tom from angling for the throne, with unexpected results.
Captain Kate, a scavenger given a letter of
marque as a privateer, is caught between Wallace and the crime bosses who want him dead.
A tangled web of intrigue and politics, driven
by characters who are thrown again and again
into situations that they can’t control, this is a
solid addition to a new series, with a cliffhanger
ending promising more intrigue and adventure
in the next installment. —Regina Schroeder
The World Raven.
By A. J. Smith.
Apr. 2017. 496p. IPG/Head of Zeus, $29.95
(9781784080907); e-book (9781784080891).
The Long War series reaches its epic conclusion in this fourth and final book. Saara, the
Mistress of Pain, is certain victory and the resurrection of her Dead God is close at hand. The
opponents of Saara, while outnumbered and
weary, fight for the old gods and their own survival. Brytag, the World Raven, has remained
strong, while the other older gods have slowly
lost power. In a last-ditch effort to turn the tide
of the Long War, he gathers the shades of the
other gods and diffuses his power among them.
But is it too late to stop the total takeover of
the Dead God and his horrible creation, the
Twisted Trees? Bloody battle scenes and page-turning action have been a hallmark of this
series all along, and Smith does not disappoint
in the final installment. While the character list
is vast, each has a part to play in the final battle
for Ro and for Ranen. Fans of the series will
not be disappointed and will hope the author
decides to revisit his richly detailed world in a
future series. —Lynnanne Pearson