I figured I'd compile a couple of books which have struck my fancy in the first two months of the year which have barely been mentioned sofar ( understandably), and I suppose that in thhe whole batch there may be something for most people. I'll link to Amazon so you can see covers and maybe some reviews, otherwise search Google for some more info. The list contains Epic Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy/Horror, mainstream fiction and a Post-Apocalypse novel.
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse
This is a collection of short stories where various authors have taken a shot at writing a strong post-apocalyptic tale. I've got to say this is one of the best anthologies I've seen in recent years, and it's a nice edition by Night Shade as well. The editor's site here has all the stories with some more info on them. Lots of good contributors including stories by King and GRRM.
Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick
The new highly acclaimed book by Swanwick, not a sequel to Iron Dragon's daughter but it seems to be set in the same world. Very interesting blend of Fantasy and technology, very high concept, massively cool cover.
" A fantasy masterpiece from a five-time Hugo Award winner! A war-dragon of Babel crashes in the idyllic fields of a post-industrialized Faerie and, dragging himself into the nearest village, declares himself king and makes young Will his lieutenant.Nightly, he crawls inside the young fey's brain to get a measure of what his subjects think. Forced out of his village, Will travels with female centaur soldiers, witnesses the violent clash of giants, and acquires a surrogate daughter, Esme, who has no knowledge of the past and may be immortal. Evacuated to the Tower of Babel -- infinitely high, infinitely vulgar, very much like New York City -- Will meets the confidence trickster Nat Whilk. Inside the Dread Tower, Will becomes a hero to the homeless living in the tunnels under the city, rises as an underling to a politician, and meets his one true love-a high-elven woman he dare not aspire to.You've heard of hard SF: This is hard fantasy from a master of the form. "
My understanding is that it is Swanwick's take on the typical Fantasy quest, with his trademark twist. Pleasant writing style. Advance reviews have been (extremely) positive.
There's even a special blog for the book by the author:
The Devil’s Footprints by John Burnside
This is a mainstream novel for the most part, and short at 240 pages. It's imagery intrigued me, possibly because Burnside is also a poet.
"Michael Gardiner has lived in Coldhaven all his life yet still feels like an outsider. Married but rather distant from his wife, he reads in the local paper that a school friend, Moira Birnie, has killed herself and her two sons by setting their car on fire; but she has spared her 14-year-old daughter Hazel. Michael uneasily recalls his past connections to Moira. As teenagers, Michael and Moira had a brief romance, yet more troubling to Michael is the fact that he was responsible for the death of Moira’s brother, the town bully. In the wake of the tragedy, Michael becomes obsessed with Hazel, who is just old enough to be his daughter. Aware of his obsession, Hazel convinces Michael to take her away from the village and her father, an abusive and violent man.
Setting his story against the untamed Scottish landscape, John Burnside has written a chilling novel that explores the elemental forces of everyday life: love, fear, grief, and the hope of redemption. In its ability to evoke and exploit our most primal fears, The Devil’s Footprints prompts comparisons to the best of Stephen King. In both language and imagery, it is a novel of mysterious beauty, written with the clarity and power of a folktale."
This site has an excerpt:
Immortal by Traci Slatton
This is a brand new historical Fantasy set in the time of the Italian Renaissance from a debut novelist that Bantam is bringing out. It's only been out for a short while but has received a lot of acclaim and I must say it looks very good. This guy goes through some serious tragedy. Quite a hefty volume at 520 pages as well.
" an age of wonderous beauty and terrible secrets,
one man searches for his destiny...
In the majestic heart of Florence, a beautiful golden-haired boy is abandoned and subjected to cruelty beyond words. But Luca Bastardo is anything but an ordinary boy. Across two centuries of passion and intrigue, Luca will discover an astonishing gift—one that will lead him to embrace the ancient mysteries of alchemy and healing and to become a trusted confidant to the powerful Medicis…even as he faces persecution from a sadistic cabal determined to wrest his secrets for themselves.
But as the Black Death and the Inquisition wreak havoc on his beloved city, Luca’s survival lies in the quest to solve two riddles. One is the enigma of his parents and his ageless beauty. The other is a choice between immortality and the only chance to find his one true love. As Luca journeys through the heights of the Renaissance, befriends Giotto and Leonardo Da Vinci—140 years apart—and pursues the most closely guarded secrets of religious faith and science for the answers to his own burning questions, his remarkable search will not only change him…but will change the course of history"
Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow
Interesting verse novel urban Fantasy that should appeal to fans of say Butcher, Huston, Harrison etc. Don't be scared off by the verse part, it is very readable and actually it reads more like short normal prose sentences. If you want to try some of it.
An ancient race of lycanthropes has survived to the present day, and its numbers are growing as the initiated convince L.A.'s down and out to join their pack. Paying no heed to moons, full or otherwise, they change from human to canine at will—and they're bent on domination at any cost.
Caught in the middle are Anthony, a kind-hearted, besotted dogcatcher, and the girl he loves, a female werewolf who has abandoned her pack. Anthony has no idea that she's more than she seems, and she wants to keep it that way. But her efforts to protect her secret lead to murderous results.
Blending dark humor and epic themes with card-playing dogs, crystal meth labs, surfing, and carne asada tacos, Sharp Teeth captures the pace and feel of a graphic novel while remaining "as ambitious as any literary novel, because underneath all that fur, it's about identity, community, love, death, and all the things we want our books to be about" [Nick Hornby, The Believer].
Solid review here: