Recently I posted the first part of my ten most anticipated fantasy books for 2009...so here's the second part!
(Tor, 6 February 2009)
I thought that Tchaikovsky's 2008 debut novel Empire in Black and Gold was a really solid first effort. Packed with innovation, it also had the extremely cool premise of human beings with insect characteristics. There were one or two glitches, but overall I saw more than enough quality and potential to look forward to the second novel in the Shadows of the Apt sequence...which is just as well, given that it's sitting on my read-as-soon-as-possible pile. Incidentally, while I never really liked the artwork of the first novel, the cover for Dragonfly Falling looks even cooler in reality than it does on the screen.
Blood of the Mantis
(Tor, 7 August 2009)
You could argue that this is a bit of a speculative (no pun intended) inclusion, given that my anticipation of this novel depends almost entirely on how good Dragonfly Falling is. I'd agree with this argument, however I have real confidence that Dragonfly Falling is going to at least equal the quality of Empire in Black and Gold, and based on this I'm going to go out on a limb and slap Blood of the Mantis on my list. And what a cool cover that is...
(DAW, 5 May 2009)
Regular readers will probably know by now that I'm a big fan of John's Tyrants and Kings trilogy, which mixes tradition with innovation (knights + flamethrowers = win!). Starfinder, the first in a new series called The Skylords, once more looks to try and push the boundaries of fantasy a bit, while remaining true to the genre's best traditions. This novel treads new ground for John, as for the first time he's writing for a slightly younger audience.
John was kind enough to send me an ARC of Starfinder, and hopefully I'll get around to it soon.
Nights of Villjamur
Mark Charan Newton
(Tor, 12 June 2009)
I've mentioned this novel quite a number of times over the last few weeks, namely because it's the debut novel I'm most anticipating this coming year. As I've mentioned before, I've read the first few chapters and like what I've seen very much. A fascinating world, and prose with distinct noir stylings. Nights of Villjamur looks set to be a very good debut indeed.
The Cold Commands
(Gollancz, 17 September 2009)
No cover art as of yet. As I said in my review of The Steel Remains last year, I struggled to see where all the fuss came from about how The Steel Remains was going to redefine the term 'gritty.' Aside from some considerably full-on sex scenes, I didn't think there was much in Morgan's debut fantasy effort that hadn't been done before. Nonetheless, Morgan created a cool world and some decent characters, and the black humour and wit was very appealing. I did think the plot was a little thin though, so I look forward to seeing whether The Cold Commands is a bit more meatier in this regard.