Epic fantasy fans listen up: This is the good stuff. Highly recommended.

ENGINES OF EMPIRE

The first installment of Ford’s Age of Uprising saga is unadulterated epic fantasy set in an aetherpunk realm where the mining and innovative utilization of magic-powered pyrestones have made the nation of Torwyn a virtual empire of industry.

The guilds rule Torwyn—and have for generations. Although newly crowned Emperor Sullivar reigns over the realm, it’s the various guilds that are the lifeblood of the nation—controlling the military, transit, mining, farming, etc. But when an emissary from Malador—a country that has been enemies with Torwyn for thousands of years—attending Sullivar’s coronation and with a potential peace treaty in the balance is assassinated and Fulren, Sullivar's young nephew, is falsely accused and essentially sentenced to death by being sent to Malador for punishment, Fulren’s mother, Rosomon Hawkspur, realizes treachery is afoot. As fanatics from the Draconate Ministry, Torwyn’s ecclesiastic power, begin a masterfully planned coup, Rosomon and her children—who are scattered throughout the realm—attempt to stop the rebellion. Conall, a captain in the military, is stationed at a remote outpost; Tyreta, Rosomon’s responsibility-shirking daughter, is visiting mining operations in the wild Sundered Isles; and Fulren, now a prisoner in an enemy land, attempts to stay alive long enough to unravel the conspiratorial mystery. Narrated from multiple points of view, the novel fully displays Ford’s ability to create dynamic and emotionally connective characters. Additionally, his ability to write and twist together numerous plot threads and have each one feel like the primary narrative makes this grand-scale tale seem less bloated and unwieldy. Although some sequences early on feel a bit contrived, once this mammoth novel gains momentum, readers should disregard this minor flaw and find themselves fully immersed in a story that features a virtual toy chest full of fantasy delights, including magic-powered land- and airships, demon lords, sentient goat-headed beasts, war eagles, pirates, and deified wyrms.

Epic fantasy fans listen up: This is the good stuff. Highly recommended.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-62956-0

Page Count: 624

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Fans of gothic classics like Rebecca will be enthralled as long as they don’t mind a heaping dose of all-out horror.

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MEXICAN GOTHIC

Moreno-Garcia offers a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror, set in 1950s Mexico.

Inquisitive 22-year-old socialite and anthropology enthusiast Noemí Taboada adores beautiful clothes and nights on the town in Mexico City with a bevy of handsome suitors, but her carefree existence is cut short when her father shows her a disturbing letter from her cousin Catalina, who recently married fair-haired and blue-eyed Virgil Doyle, who comes from a prominent English mining family that built their now-dwindling fortune on the backs of Indigenous laborers. Catalina lives in High Place, the Doyle family’s crumbling mansion near the former mining town of El Triunfo. In the letter, Catalina begs for Noemí’s help, claiming that she is “bound, threads like iron through my mind and my skin,” and that High Place is “sick with rot, stinks of decay, brims with every single evil and cruel sentiment.” Upon Noemí’s arrival at High Place, she’s struck by the Doyle family’s cool reception of her and their unabashed racism. She's alarmed by the once-vibrant Catalina’s listless state and by the enigmatic Virgil and his ancient, leering father, Howard. Nightmares, hallucinations, and phantasmagoric dreams of golden dust and fleshy bodies plague Noemí, and it becomes apparent that the Doyles haven’t left their blood-soaked legacy behind. Luckily, the brave Noemí is no delicate flower, and she’ll need all her wits about her for the battle ahead. Moreno-Garcia weaves elements of Mexican folklore with themes of decay, sacrifice, and rebirth, casting a dark spell all the way to the visceral and heart-pounding finale.

Fans of gothic classics like Rebecca will be enthralled as long as they don’t mind a heaping dose of all-out horror.

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-62078-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Del Rey

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A masterful debut from a must-read new voice in fantasy.

FOR THE WOLF

Twin princesses—one fated to become a queen, the other a martyr—find themselves caught up in an unexpected battle of dark magic and ancient gods.

Four hundred years ago, a Valleydan princess facing a loveless betrothal sought refuge in the Wilderwood with her lover, the Wolf. The legendary Five Kings—including her father and her husband-to-be—pursued them only to be trapped in the Wilderwood. Now, according to legend, the only hope of restoring the Five Kings to power lies in the ritual sacrifice of every Second Daughter born to Valleyda's queen. There hasn't been a second daughter for 100 years—until now. On her 20th birthday, Redarys accepts her fate and walks into the Wilderwood to become the Wolf's next victim only to find that the stories she grew up on were lies. The handsome man who lives in a crumbling castle deep in the forest is not the original Wolf but his son, and he wants nothing to do with Red or her sacrifice. Afraid of her wild magic abilities and the danger they pose to her sister, Neverah, Red refuses to leave the Wilderwood. Instead, she clings to the new Wolf, Eammon, who will do whatever it takes to protect her from the grisly fate of the other Second Daughters. Meanwhile, in the Valleydan capital, Neve's desperation to bring her sister home sets her on a path that may spell disaster for Red, Eammon, and the Wilderwood itself. Whitten weaves a captivating tale in this debut, in which even secondary characters come to feel like old friends. The novel seamlessly blends "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Beauty and the Beast" into an un-put-down-able fairy tale that traces the boundaries of duty, love, and loss.

A masterful debut from a must-read new voice in fantasy.

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-59278-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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