Startling, unremitting violence at a blistering pace, where who survives, wins.

THE ORDER OF THE SCALES

Third entry in the series (The King of the Crags, 2011, etc.), all of which previously appeared in the U.K., about telepathic dragons who after death are reborn with their memories intact.

These are not cute, lovable, compliant, Anne McCaffrey–like dragons, or wise, ancient, unfathomable, Le Guin–style dragons, but arrogant, cruel, savage, man-eating dragons, seething with rage and the urge to destroy. Other than that, almost everything going on here is mystifying if you haven't read the previous books, and perhaps even if you have. Human factions, led variously by Valmeyan, Zafir, Jehal and Hyrkallan, each as devious and merciless as the next, have conspired, plotted, betrayed and ambushed in order to seize the title of Speaker—whatever that entails. Intermittent hostilities have degenerated into all-out warfare, as warriors mounted on war-dragons contend for mastery of the skies, their dragons tamed and controlled by means of potions brewed by the alchemists. But now the potions have run out and a new generation of feral dragons has arisen, fully cognizant of their long slavery and thirsting for vengeance. So, much as they hate and despise each other, the factions must unite against this existential threat. Other elements in this ferociously explosive mix include Kithyr, a blood-mage hired to steal the dragon-slaying Adamantine Spear by the Picker, an Elemental Man and agent of the mysterious Taiytakei, a people from across the ocean; and the adventures of Kemir, a wandering mercenary who's somehow become attached to Snow, one of the awakened dragons. Both humans and dragons have personalities and obscure agendas. What they do is wildly unpredictable and always subordinate to sheer spectacle.

Startling, unremitting violence at a blistering pace, where who survives, wins.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-451-46437-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: ROC/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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With every new work, Jemisin’s ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows.

THE FIFTH SEASON

From the The Broken Earth series , Vol. 1

In the first volume of a trilogy, a fresh cataclysm besets a physically unstable world whose ruling society oppresses its most magically powerful inhabitants.

The continent ironically known as the Stillness is riddled with fault lines and volcanoes and periodically suffers from Seasons, civilization-destroying tectonic catastrophes. It’s also occupied by a small population of orogenes, people with the ability to sense and manipulate thermal and kinetic energy. They can quiet earthquakes and quench volcanoes…but also touch them off. While they’re necessary, they’re also feared and frequently lynched. The “lucky” ones are recruited by the Fulcrum, where the brutal training hones their powers in the service of the Empire. The tragic trap of the orogene's life is told through three linked narratives (the link is obvious fairly quickly): Damaya, a fierce, ambitious girl new to the Fulcrum; Syenite, an angry young woman ordered to breed with her bitter and frighteningly powerful mentor and who stumbles across secrets her masters never intended her to know; and Essun, searching for the husband who murdered her young son and ran away with her daughter mere hours before a Season tore a fiery rift across the Stillness. Jemisin (The Shadowed Sun, 2012, etc.) is utterly unflinching; she tackles racial and social politics which have obvious echoes in our own world while chronicling the painfully intimate struggle between the desire to survive at all costs and the need to maintain one’s personal integrity. Beneath the story’s fantastic trappings are incredibly real people who undergo intense, sadly believable pain.

With every new work, Jemisin’s ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-22929-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Orbit/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2016

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Fantasy fans will love this fast-paced adventure, with its complex magic system, thoughtful hero and bold heroine.

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC

From the Shades of Magic series , Vol. 1

A fast-paced fantasy adventure that takes readers into a series of interconnected worlds ruled by magic—or the lack of it.

Long ago, the doors between worlds were open, and anyone with magic could travel from one to the next. Now the doors are closed, and only a chosen few have the power to travel between Grey London, a world without magic, Red London, a world suffused with it, and White London, a world where magic is scarce, coveted and jealously guarded. As for Black London, the city consumed, no one would be so foolish as to risk a trip—not even Kell. Officially, he’s a royal messenger, carrying letters among the rulers of the three Londons. Unofficially, he’s a smuggler who collects artifacts from other worlds. It’s that habit that leads him to accept a dangerous relic, something that shouldn’t exist. And it’s when a wanted Grey London thief named Lila steals the artifact that the real trouble starts—for both of them. Schwab (Vicious, 2013, etc.) creates a memorable world—actually, three memorable worlds—and even more memorable characters. Lila in particular is a winningly unconventional heroine who, as she declares, would “rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” The brisk plot makes this a page-turner that confronts darkness but is never overwhelmed by it.

Fantasy fans will love this fast-paced adventure, with its complex magic system, thoughtful hero and bold heroine.

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7645-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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