The Cover Wars

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl–a subspecies of dragon–who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Janet: The cover is gorgeous: eerie and minimalist and with a strong taste of danger. I love the texture and landscape in the dragon? quigutl?’s wings. The synopsis drags a little – we’ve seen these tropes before but there is just enough detail (a punched nose, yanks on her boots, DRAGONS GET TO BE WHOMEVER THEY WANT) to stand out. Plus, Rachel Hartman = I’m reading this.

Nafiza: I really love how the cover looks. I haven’t heard much about this one but it’s Rachel Hartman so YES DAMNIT GIVE IT TO ME NOW.

A stunning new short story, written in verse, set in Kate Elliott’s Spiritwalker Universe

Before Andevai, the waking of dreaming dragons, the war for Europa, and the cruel treachery of the Wild Hunt, cousins Catherine and Beatrice Hassi Barahal were novice students at the Academy. Here, Cat and Bee learned of mathematics and politics, history and storytelling. But not all stories are told or remembered in the same way–particularly where the tale of Dido and Aeneas, and the fate of Carthage and Rome are concerned.

To the victors go the spoils–only this time, it is the gilded-tongued Bee and the quick-footed Cat who will collect the winnings.

Set before the start of Cold MagicThe Beatriceid is a brand new, standalone short story written in Iambic Pentameter that reimagines The Aeneid in a feminist, Phonecian light.

Janet: Lovely cover! It reminds me of older fantasy books, though I can’t pinpoint any exactly – just the tones, the art style, swirling lines, the collage of images/characters. With that back copy, well – 100% want to read this.

Nafiza: Though the Spiritwalker trilogy focuses largely on Cat, I was a super fan of Beatrice. She was so full of verve and spitfire. And Cat…well Cat is Cat. I want to read this.

“Man, know thyself, and you are going to know the gods” – Inscription from the Luxor Temple

In the Temple of Ra, Ceke works on cutting edge research investigating the connection between music, identity, and the realm of the gods. Though devoted to her service at the temple, of late her heart has been divided between work and and her pregnant co-wife, Ngware.

When the most promising subject of the temple’s tonal experiments, Wahibra, mysteriously disappears and rumors of a god awakened follow his path, Ceke finds herself leading a dangerous mission to bring him back to safety.

Janet: *continues to drool over the Book Smuggler covers* This is just ridiculously pretty. The back offers detail and mystery together. And music. And faith. Yup. Hand it over, please.

Nafiza: Everything Janet said.

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

Janet: Stacey Lee’s Outrun the Moon was so glorious, I wouldn’t care if this cover was boring (it isn’t) or the back predictable (ditto).

Nafiza: This is already on my TBR!

Zephyr Mourning has never been very good at being a Harpy. She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man, and she pretty much sucks at wielding magic. Zephyr was ready for a future pretending to be a normal human instead of a half-god assassin. But all that changes when her sister is murdered—and she uses a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate.

Zephyr is on the run from a punishment worse than death when an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend (a surprisingly HOT friend) changes everything. Because it seems like Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess made flesh that is prophesied to change the power balance. For hundreds of years the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that.

But how is she supposed to save everyone when she can’t even save herself?

Janet: I could wish for more than a wall of black feathers on this cover, and a slightly less standard back cover. On the other hand, the variegated blue letters of the font work with the feathers to suggest concealment and interpretation. “For hundreds of years the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that” is potent and irresistible. Yes, please.

Nafiza: I’ve read this already and I liked it conditionally. I don’t remember exactly what I had issue with but I mostly liked it.

Between Worlds: Finding Home in Fantasy

Between Worlds: Finding Home in Fantasy

This is a repost of an article I wrote for Book Riot on the 8th of March, 2016 i.e. International Women’s Day. I thought it worked nicely for this month’s theme. I understand that International Women’s Day is so named in order to celebrate women all over the world, but recently it’s become a day […]

The Cover Wars

The Cover Wars

San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting […]

The Best of 2015: YA Fiction/Nonfiction

The Best of 2015: YA Fiction/Nonfiction

Janet (the links may contain spoilers) Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson (Shades of London #3) The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison Uprooted by Naomi Novik Under My Skin by Charles de Lint (Wildlings #1) Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (sequel to Seraphina) The Darkest Part of the Forest […]