Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Order [book in series=yearoffirstbook.book# (eg 2014.01), stand-alone or one-author collection=3333.pubyear, multi-author anthology=5555.pubyear, SFM/MM=5000, interview=1111]: 2014.01


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Rai: The rise and fall of a futuristic New Japan

Rai: Deluxe Edition, Volume 1 (issues 1-12) by Matt Kindt (writer), Clayton Crain (art), and Dave Lanphear (letters)

Matt Kindt is one of my favorite writers, and Valiant is an exciting publishing company with great stories that are quick-moving, with story arcs told in four-issue increments. So, this twelve-issue collection contains three story arcs telling a larger story about Rai, the protector of New Japan, an enormous, floating structure containing countless cities and neighborhoods. New Japan is in the control of Father, an “omnipotent, omniscient, and unseen ruler” who is not really alive.


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Off to be the Wizard: Silly, charming, and just what I needed

Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer

After being on a bit of a horror and dark fantasy diet, I decided I needed something lighter, a palate cleanser if you will. Off to Be the Wizard (2014) by Scott Meyer kept showing up in my recommendations for a light and humorous fantasy. As it turned out, Off to be the Wizard was exactly what I was looking for.

The story follows Martin Banks who is a data entry clerk for a large company.


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Nice Dragons Finish Last: Great setting and characters, impressive plotting

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron

Julius Heartstriker is the youngest son of Bethesda Heartstriker, the ambitious, aggressive, and ruthless matriarch of the powerful Heartstriker dragon clan. Bethesda is disappointed in her youngest son. He’s small, weak, nonthreatening and, worst of all, he actually likes humans. He’s just too nice.

To express her displeasure, and to put a fire in Julius’s belly, Bethesda banishes him to the Detroit Free Zone, a place ruled by an ancient spirit named Algonquin. Pretty much anything goes in the DFZ, but one thing that Algonquin won’t tolerate in her realm is dragons.


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The Goblin Emperor: A beautiful world and protagonist

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

A few weeks ago I finally finished with revisions to my dissertation and rewarded myself with a read of The Goblin Emperor, the first book published under the name of Katherine Addison (the pen-name for Sarah Monette, accomplished spec-fic author).

It’s been a while since I experienced such pure undiluted reading enjoyment. I was thrilled on every page that this book even existed, and even more excited that Katherine Addison is a young writer so that,


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Maresi: A beautifully written coming-of-age tale

Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

THE RED ABBEY CHRONICLES by Maria Turtschaninoff is a young adult trilogy originally published in Finland. This first installment, Maresi (2014), won the Finlandia Junior Prize for children’s and young adult literature. It was translated into English by A.A. Prime.

The Red Abbey is an isolated island convent where a Mother Goddess is worshipped and a trove of secret knowledge maintained. No man is allowed to set foot on its shores. Some of its sisters were sent there because they were surplus mouths to feed,


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The Archived: Hard to believe in, but still a pleasant read

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Mackenzie (Mac) Bishop, a high-school student, has just moved to a new town with her mom and dad. They’re living in an apartment in a renovated old hotel. Her mom is excited about restoring and reopening a once-popular coffee shop in the hotel, but Mac knows that her mom is really just trying to stay focused and busy after the recent death of Mac’s younger brother.

What Mackenzie’s parents don’t know is that Mac is a Keeper, a job she inherited from her now-deceased grandfather.


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Traitor’s Blade: Full of adventure and derring-do

Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

Traitor’s Blade is the first installment in Sebastien de Castell’s GREATCOATS series and is an interesting blend of genres — like The Three Musketeers with classic fantasy. At the core it is about a young man whose heart is broken and who has found meaning in defending ideals that are greater than himself.

An oft-used, but nonetheless compelling storyline in fantasy is the abuse of power by the nobility. Whether it’s something as simple as overtaxing and overworking the lower classes or some of the more heinous examples where the Nobles rape,


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The Boost: The premise is fascinating

The Boost by Stephen Baker

I’m a sucker for social science fiction. I love the stuff. I really think it is interesting to see how authors visualize technology and society progressing, the relationship between the two, and how they will influence each other. Our world is such a dynamic place, and the future is full of possibilities. I love authors who aren’t afraid to toy with what is over the horizon.

The Boost (2014) takes place in a fairly near future where everyone has computers (known as “Boosts”) in their heads.


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Stolen Songbird: A mixture of the inventive and expected

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

YA fantasy has experienced an influx of sparkly vampires, fallen angels and broody fey-creatures in the past ten years, but this is the first time I’ve seen trolls toted as desirable romantic partners. When I hear the word “troll” I think of the large and grotesque creatures from The Hobbit or The Three Billy Goats Gruff, but Danielle Jensen reimagines them as creatures that are human in shape, but deformed in features. Our first glimpse of one is described thusly: “the two sides of his face,


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City of Stairs: A glorious, mind-bending mash-up

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Stairs is a glorious, mind-bending mash-up; part second-world fantasy, part political thriller and part murder mystery. Shara Thivani and her “secretary” Sigrud are my two new favorite action heroes.

Robert Jackson Bennett once again, has taken a conventional sub-genre and made it original, creating an experience that reads like an actual sociological thriller set in another, magical world.

Shara Thivani is a junior ambassador from the Saypuri islands – at least, that is her cover.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8265 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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