Lizbeth “Lizzie” Andrew Borden wields her axe against Lovecraftian entities in this terrifying and powerful series launch by fan favorite Priest (the Clockwork Century series). Two years after Lizzie infamously slew her mother and stepfather, she and her consumptive, scholarly older sister, Emma, remain in their hometown of Fall River, Mass., in an isolated and modified home called Maplecroft. Lizzie spends countless hours in her basement laboratory, trying to understand what transformed the Bordens into horrifying creatures, while protecting and caring for Emma and conducting a love affair with actress Nance O’Neil. Then Emma, who poses as “Dr. E.A. Jackson” to contribute to the men-only world of science, sends a biological sample to colleague Phillip Zollicoffer at Miskatonic University, with terrible consequences. Readers will be intrigued by the weird monsters and 19th-century science, but the story is really carried by the characters’ emotional dynamics, especially those between the Borden sisters. — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
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The ebook and audiobook of Martha Wells’ Stories of the Raksura: Volume One: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud also drops today with the print version shipping later this month. Pre-order here.
Two novellas and two short stories expand the setting of Wells’s dreamlike fantasy novels. In “The Falling World,” a vanished envoy triggers a diplomatic crisis between two courts, and investigation reveals a long-forgotten tragedy. “The Tale of Indigo and Cloud” sets two queens against each other, with an unhappy consort as the prize. Familiar characters appear in “The Forest Boy,” a prequel to The Cloud Roads that examines a brief encounter between Moon and forest dwellers, and “Adaptation,” in which Chime deals with an unwanted transformation and its disquieting implications. Wells is adept at suggesting a long, complex history for her world with economy, and, while her protagonists may not be human as we understand it, they are definitely people, sympathetic figures constrained but not defeated by their environments. Longtime fans and new readers alike will enjoy Wells’s deft touch with characterization and the fantastic. — Publishers Weekly
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Also now available in paperback: Kalimpura by Jay Lake
In this introspective sequel to Green and Endurance, Lake continues the tale of Green, a former courtesan and assassin now attempting to settle down following the birth of her twins. Unfinished business and old enemies take Green and her allies back to the city of Kalimpura, where she must keep a low profile while trying to find two kidnapped girls. However, discretion is difficult with multiple gods taking interest in her doings and several factions out for her blood. There’s something both uplifting and melancholy in this fantasy adventure’s tone, which 16-year-old Green narrates with a world-weary old soul’s experience, emotional weight hanging from every page. Thoughtful fantasy readers will appreciate Green’s newfound perspective and the lush details derived from a mixture of Eastern cultures, as well as the sheer audacity of a killer bisexual nonwhite teen mom protagonist. The pace drags occasionally, but it’s worth it in the long run. –Publishers Weekly