Today we celebrate the launch of two new series.
First, an epic fantasy by David Hair, up to now a YA author with two previous series under his belt. With Mage’s Blood he steps into the adult realm. Our reviewer (and an extended post on the Tor blog by Niall Alexander) places the Moontide Quartet squarely in the tradition of George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss.
Mira Grant‘s new novel, Parasite, is a terrific Michael Crichton-style thriller that incorporates zombies. Of a sort. Teens may be too busy trying to predict the plot twists and turns to notice its themes of identity, independence and control of one’s body. Either way, they will resonate.
I leapt at the chance to read & review the first in Grant’s new series. We wrote about all three volumes of her terribly smart Newsflesh trilogy. In fact, the second post ever on this blog, back in 2010, highlighted Feed.
HAIR, David. Mage’s Blood. Bk. 1. 704p. (Moontide Quartet Series). maps. Jo Fletcher: Quercus. 2013. Tr $26.95. ISBN 9781623650148; ebk. ISBN 9781623650155. LC 2013937925.
Adult/High School–This epic fantasy is the first adult novel by a New Zealand young adult author, and it makes for a perfect crossover novel. A magical bridge connects the two continents of Antiopia and Yuros, but it only appears once every 12 years, thanks to strong tides. Mage Meiros was behind its construction hundreds of years ago and now needs an heir. He finds and practically purchases Ramita, a young Lakh girl, and now her ex-betrothed Kazim is out for revenge. Warrior mage Elena isn’t sure whom to trust anymore–her mage employers or the young princess of Antiopia she serves to protect? Meanwhile, Alaron is about to graduate from the mage’s school, and his thesis causes quite the stir. He’s made important enemies, and his friends set off on a quest to save their world. Hair’s fantasy world will be familiar to readers–its similar to Indian, Muslim, and European cultures and other fantasy reads. With smooth storytelling as in Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind (Penguin, 2008) and high fantasy elements of heroes and good vs. evil, this first in a series ends with a cliff-hanger. Almost all of the protagonists are young adults, giving the book even more appeal to epic fantasy readers.–Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL
GRANT, Mira. Parasite. Vol. 1. 512p. (Parasitology Series). Orbit: Hachette. 2013.Tr $20. ISBN 9780316218955.
Adult/High School–When human immune systems became dangerously susceptible to illness due to an “overpurified environment,” a tapeworm was bio-engineered to control their health without medication or treatments. The wild success of the Intestinal Bodyguard made SymboGen a multibillion-dollar company. At 16, Sally Mitchell received the first successful implantation after a terrible car accident left her in a coma. She woke up with no memory of her former life. Now, six years later in August 2027, most people in the developed world have a Bodyguard, and Sal is still fighting for independence and control of her own body. She lives under the custody of her parents and is still required to submit to regular examinations at SymboGen. Then something goes terribly wrong. More and more instances of a mysterious “sleeping sickness” begin to appear. People suddenly go blank, reanimating as violent, mindless bodies, showing no trace of their former selves. Sal and her boyfriend, Nathan, a parasitologist, find themselves in the middle of a full-blown crisis when the sickness becomes widespread and deadly. Whom can they trust? Dr. Steven Banks, who created the Intestinal Bodyguard? Sal’s father, who works at the San Francisco field office of USAMRIID (the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases)? Her handlers at SymboGen? The strange woman who contacts Sal out of the blue and promises the answers to SymboGen’s secrets? This is the first in a duology, so although the book does deliver big reveals, the survival of the human race remains uncertain at the end. Fans of Michael Crichton and Grant’s “Newsflesh trilogy” (Orbit) will not be disappointed.–Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City