by Simon Jimenez ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 30, 2022
Lyrical, evocative, part poem, part prose—not to be missed by anyone, especially fans of historical fantasy and folktale.
The dying Moon goddess enlists two young warriors to kill her tyrannical sons and return her bones to the sea.
“This is a love story to its blade-dented bone.” In the Old Country, when a warrior frees the Moon from the sky, she falls to Earth and grants him a wish—sons. Each son is imbued with god gifts and the title of emperor, but the people are left without a moon to light their way. The tyrannical royals eventually imprison the Moon, angering her lover, the Water, who curses the land with drought. But the dying Moon has a plan: She gives the last emperor triplets—the Three Terrors—and spreads the god gifts among them, weakening them. Eventually she convinces Jun, the First Terror’s favorite son and most ruthless killer, to free her and right both their wrongs. Upon escape, they meet one-armed Keema, a young warrior “of poor fortune” working at Tiger Gate. The people are rebelling against the royals, and Keema has pledged to deliver a sacred spear to Cmdr. Araya’s kin. The Moon also enlists Keema’s help despite Jun’s protests. Between battling the Terrors, avenging gods and goddesses, fighting for the people, and fighting one another, Keema and Jun fall in love. If they can survive long enough to return the Moon to the Water’s embrace, they’ll end the Terrors’ reign and defeat both drought and darkness. Jimenez deftly weaves past, present, and future into one seamless narrative. Writing in first, second, and third person, Jimenez makes sure “you” are part of this story, too, casting you as Araya’s descendent and current keeper of the spear. You’ve been called to the Inverted Theater—built by the Moon and Water for liaisons long before the Terrors were born. Now the theater calls dreamers together to experience their shared history. You’re both Jimenez’s reader and “you,” who’s listening to and remembering your lola (grandmother in Tagalog) tell tales of the Old Country when you are/were a child. In your lonely, adult present, your dreaming spirit watches those tales reenacted by dancers in the Inverted Theater. Yet you’re also living the stories as each character—from bit-player peasant to powerful goddess. You experience Jun’s PTSD, Keema’s disability—never explained, simply a part of him—and all the guilt, anger, pain, fear, joy, desire, and love that make Jimenez’s tapestry so beautiful. It’s both like nothing and everything you’ve ever read: a tale made from the threads that weave the world, and all of us, together.Lyrical, evocative, part poem, part prose—not to be missed by anyone, especially fans of historical fantasy and folktale.
Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022
Page Count: 464
Publisher: Del Rey
Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022
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by Travis Baldree ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 7, 2023
Warm and wonderful.
A prequel to the popular cozy fantasy Legends & Lattes (2022).
Viv is a fighter. It’s not just what she does, it’s who she is. So when she gets wounded during a battle with a necromancer’s skeletal wights, and her crew dumps her in a small seaside town to recover while they continue on after the necromancer, she is not happy about it. But soon enough, against her will, she’s drawn into the life of the town. There’s Fern, the unsuccessful bookseller, who has a knack for recommending exactly the right book. And there’s Maylee, the baker, who not only makes the world’s best baked goods, she actually winks at Viv. Before Viv knows what’s happening, she’s helping Fern out here and there, she’s reading—she’s involved. Meanwhile, there’s a pesky young gnome asking for an introduction to her mercenary crew, and a mysterious man in gray who looks like trouble. But Viv is leaving when her crew comes back through town. No matter what. This prequel gives readers a glimpse of Viv as a young orc, still committed to the fighter’s life, just taking an enforced break in a charming town populated by compelling, richly drawn characters, and the slightest hint of danger in the wind. Despite the lurking necromancer, the vibes are decidedly warm and cozy, and the plot is just as much about saving the bookstore and building relationships as it is about protecting the town from the man in gray. As a prequel, it can stand alone, but will certainly satisfy fans as well.Warm and wonderful.
Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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by Brandon Sanderson ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 4, 2023
Engrossing worldbuilding, appealing characters, and a sense of humor make this a winning entry in the Sanderson canon.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
A fantasy adventure with a sometimes-biting wit.
Tress is an ordinary girl with no thirst to see the world. Charlie is the son of the local duke, but he likes stories more than fencing. When the duke realizes the two teenagers are falling in love, he takes Charlie away to find a suitable wife—and returns with a different young man as his heir. Charlie, meanwhile, has been captured by the mysterious Sorceress who rules the Midnight Sea, which leaves Tress with no choice but to go rescue him. To do that, she’ll have to get off the barren island she’s forbidden to leave, cross the dangerous Verdant Sea, the even more dangerous Crimson Sea, and the totally deadly Midnight Sea, and somehow defeat the unbeatable Sorceress. The seas on Tress’ world are dangerous because they’re not made of water—they’re made of colorful spores that pour down from the world’s 12 stationary moons. Verdant spores explode into fast-growing vines if they get wet, which means inhaling them can be deadly. Crimson and midnight spores are worse. Ships protected by spore-killing silver sail these seas, and it’s Tress’ quest to find a ship and somehow persuade its crew to carry her to a place no ships want to go, to rescue a person nobody cares about but her. Luckily, Tress is kindhearted, resourceful, and curious—which also makes her an appealing heroine. Along her journey, Tress encounters a talking rat, a crew of reluctant pirates, and plenty of danger. Her story is narrated by an unusual cabin boy with a sharp wit. (About one duke, he says, “He’d apparently been quite heroic during those wars; you could tell because a great number of his troops had died, while he lived.”) The overall effect is not unlike The Princess Bride, which Sanderson cites as an inspiration.Engrossing worldbuilding, appealing characters, and a sense of humor make this a winning entry in the Sanderson canon.
Pub Date: April 4, 2023
Page Count: 384
Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023
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