The Books I’m Most Excited to Buy in 2018

Okay so the book situation at my house is a little out of control. I say a little, because really, I do have it under control. It’s not a hoarders situation, there’s just twenty, maybe thirty, okay, fifty, books that don’t fit on any of my bookshelves. But it’s fine. I’ve totally got this.

So while I’m once again technically on a book-buying moratorium (moment of silence here, please), there are a few books I’m irrationally excited to purchase in 2018. Therefore, I will be buying them despite the ban on adding to my collection. Because I just can’t not read them!

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power . . . for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

They call him father, liberator, warlord, Slave King, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the war-torn planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-third of his life.
 
A decade ago Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk all he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?
                  
And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever: 
                  
A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp, and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.
                  
An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.
                  
And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the Sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe. Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

What begins as a manhunt for the missing daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire becomes something altogether different when the young woman’s body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Kew Gardens, Queens, the head nowhere to be found. It appears there may be two killers on the loose–one responsible for the young woman’s death, another responsible for the mutilation. A pair of such dastardly killers requires a team of equally talented investigators. Luckily, both Vincent D’Agosta and Special Agent Pendergast are back in town.

D’Agosta hopes that working a case back on his home turf for the first time in years will reinvigorate the FBI Special Agent and give him an opportunity to flex his investigative might. But neither is prepared to face a killer–or killers–as diabolical as this. It will take all of Pendergast and D’Agosta’s intelligence and strength simply to match wits–let alone stay alive.

 

The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin

Just putting it out there that GRRM is going to pull a Beyonce and just drop the next Game of Thrones book at our feet in 2018 with no warning.

Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas

The conclusion to the Throne of Glass series, the title, cover, and description haven’t been revealed yet. This book is slated for release in Fall 2018.

Which book are you most excited to buy (and read!) in 2018? Tell me in the comments below!

The Year of the Flood

The Year of the Flood By Margaret Atwood

The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God’s Gardeners–a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life–has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God’s Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.

Have others survived? Ren’s bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers . . .

Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo’hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can’t stay locked away . . .

I actually purchased this book prior to getting Oryx and Crake, even though Oryx and Crake is the first book in the series. I think it was because a lot of people say you don’t have to read Oryx and Crake to understand this novel. While that’s true, I think you would miss a lot if you did that and I’m glad I didn’t in retrospect.

The Year of the Flood is a novel that runs parallel to the events of Oryx and Crake rather than building upon it. It provides a different perspective on the world and expands it. Oryx and Crake is a little more enclosed and gives more explanation of things to the reader, but The Year of the Flood assumes you know the basics of the world-building. You could probably figure things out in context, but you could also just read Oryx and Crake first and not have to do that.

This series is definitely dark, violent, and gritty. There is nothing beautiful about Atwood’s dystopian vision, not even in that tragically beautiful way that some dystopian novels are. The MaddAddam world is lonely, cruel, and nasty and made that much more so by the apocalypse that rains down on it. It’s like the Game of Thrones of the dystopian genre.

I enjoyed seeing the female perspective on the world in this book after seeing the male side of things in Oryx and Crake. Both of the primary narrators are female and their story is told in alternating chapters along with the letters from Adam One to the God’s Gardeners and selections from the God’s Gardeners Oral Hymnbook. I saw in the acknowledgements that someone actually set the hymns to music. You can find information about that here.

I’m interested to see where the story goes in the third book, MaddAddam. Clearly, this is not a traditional trilogy so I don’t know really what to expect. I don’t know anyone who has actually read this series, so I have not had even a hint of how the series ends!

 

 

Shadows Cast By Stars

Shadows Cast By Stars by Catherine Knutsson

Two hundred years from now, blood has become the most valuable commodity on the planet— especially the blood of aboriginal peoples, for it contains antibodies that protect them from the Plague ravaging the rest of the world.

Sixteen-year-old Cassandra Mercredi might be immune to Plague, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe— government forces are searching for those of aboriginal heritage to harvest their blood. When a search threatens Cassandra and her family, they flee to the Island: a mysterious and idyllic territory protected by the Band, a group of guerrilla warriors— and by an enigmatic energy barrier that keeps outsiders out and the spirit world in. And though the village healer has taken her under her wing, and the tribal leader’s son into his heart, the creatures of the spirit world are angry, and they have chosen Cassandra to be their voice and instrument…

I loved this book instantly. It was so beautifully written and right away I knew I was going to love it and I was right! It’s rare to see a book featuring the mythology of the native peoples of Canada and Alaska. The last one (and the only one I’ve read) that did was The Gods of Second Chances, which I also loved a lot. Clearly, I stumbled upon a subject I like so if you guys have more fiction recommendations for books that feature this type of mythology, send them my way!

Okay, back to Shadows Cast By Stars. That is a lovely title for a book and the cover of the one I had was equally as lovely (pictured above!). So what else did I like besides the mythology stuff and the writing? The dystopian setting (more on that later). The magic. Cassandra. The world-building. Pretty much everything.

Now I have to note on the dystopian stuff, I guess reading the reviews if people didn’t like this book, it’s because they expected it to have as much action as The Hunger Games. It’s definitely not like The Hunger Games at all. But I did enjoy that because it’s so different from most other entries in this genre, for the dystopian world to be mostly offstage and not front and center to the story.

I do think this is the first book in the series. It has to be, with everything that was set up at the end of the book. Which excites me!

However. This book was published in 2012. As of the summer of 2017, there’s no mention of another book forthcoming. Not on the author’s personal website, not on Goodreads, not on her publisher’s website.There’s no updates or anything I can find on the web in the past five years. Not even a note to be like, “Hey guys, sorry it’s taking forever, but I really am writing another book!” It’s like she dropped off the face of the Earth.  Which makes me really, really, really concerned that maybe something has happened to her and that this fantastic story that was set up has no ending…

Exit West

Exit West By Mohsin Hamid

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

At the last writing conference I went to, at some point during the day magical realism came up. It was during the agent panel event and the agents talked about how much they like this genre, but they weren’t able to give any recent examples. They pointed of course to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and some other Latin American authors, but not to anyone writing in the last two decades.

And as much as I read, I haven’t seen magical realism in a long time. Probably not since I last read a book by Marquez or one of the other masters of the genre. Until Exit West.

I admit, this threw me for a loop because I had no idea this book was magical realism. It’s so subtle I had to actually stop and back up a few pages to be sure of what I’d just read. I got this book from my Book of the Month membership, which basically just gives a picture of the book and the jacket text to help you make your selection. I haven’t really seen many reviews for this book other than I knew it was generally well-liked.

And it was a great read! I have to say, with our current global culture, everyone needs to be reading this book. It talks a lot about identity and race and home and sense of place in our modern, global society. I probably could have read this book in one setting, I just read before bed so I fell asleep a few times reading it. But if I’d picked this up in the afternoon, I could have powered through it no problem. It was a very engaging read and the writing is just beautiful.

My one criticism is that I wish it had gone just a tad more in depth. It tended to take a very high view of the plot (think looking down on the world from an airplane) while occasionally dipping down into Saeed and Nadia’s POV and the POV of other, unnamed characters. But I think taking the high view was the author’s goal and in that, he mightily succeeded.

Also, can we talk about how beautiful the cover is?! Just. Wow!

Legend

Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Marie-lu-legend

I made a mistake. On my last trip to Colorado I only brought ONE book with me (!) That went about how you’d expect it to go…ending with me visiting a bookstore, looking for a paperback for the plane, and starting yet another series. Le sigh.

But. At least this book has been on my TBR for a long time now. So there’s that.

I ended up reading the whole book during the plane ride which is 2 hours and 25 minutes so yeah…you could say I liked it! And just like that, I’m lusting after another trilogy. Ugh. At least the two books are out so I don’t have to wait for them to be published…

I read the About the Author section and curiously enough, Legend was inspired by the relationship between Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in Les Miserables. Like Throne of Glass, you would never guess the inspiration for the story without being told. I enjoy finding little easter eggs like that.

Legend was fast-paced, entertaining, and still managed to bring something new to the genre. I’m such a sucker for smart characters and even smarter writing and this book had both in droves. I really liked both June and Day and am excited to see where the series takes them. I did not see the plot twists coming, which is always a bonus. Another solid entry in the dystopian YA genre. At the last conference I went to, one of the agents said dystopian YA is over for now which makes me a little sad as that is one of my favorite genres to read. But at least I haven’t exhausted the supply yet!

One thing I’m curious about in the series is if The Republic was the result of California seceding from the rest of the US…it does certainly seem like that’s a possibility here. I hope it’s addressed sooner rather than later!

 

 

Pandemonium

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

In this electrifying follow-up to Delirium, Lena is on a dangerous course that takes her through the unregulated Wilds and into the heart of a growing resistance movement. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Pandemonium-Book-Cover-pandemonium-28918696-415-627

It was definitely too long between reading Delirium and starting Pandemonium. I hardly remembered Delirium and the dual timeline of Pandemonium did not really help refresh my memory since I was confused for the first fifty pages.

Once I got used to the two timelines, I did like the book. Liked, didn’t love. I liked Delirium quite a bit, but I felt like Pandemonium was kind of Hunger Games lite. It also has a lot of similarities to Matched, but I think both The Hunger Games and Matched ended up being more successful series in terms of the world building.

Pandemonium definitely has its dark moments, but I feel like the story doesn’t go deep enough. We’re finally out of Portland and seeing the rest of the world, but it feels like just skimming the surface. I hope Requiem does more in this arena.

Have you read this series? What did you think?

Morning Star

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

morning-star-cover

What a series! The three books Red Rising, Golden Son, and Morning Star were just masterful from start to finish. To me, this is what a series should be. Three books that powerfully move the whole story forward without falling into the trilogy trap.

I’ve recently been working on revising one of my own books and I’ve been thinking a lot about energy, conflict, and tension. This series has it in spades. If that’s an area you struggle with in your own writing, I recommend reading this series to see how one author handles it. Pierce Brown really messes with his characters at every opportunity and it makes for an amazing read.

No spoilers in this one…just wow, wow, wow, go buy this and read it!

I think this series has already been optioned for a movie, but I think it would make a wonderful mini series or tv show like Game of Thrones. I think that would give more time to really develop these complex characters and this world. Regardless, I’m excited to see what Pierce Brown writes next!

Click here to buy: Morning Star: Book III of The Red Rising Trilogy (The Red Rising Series)

Click here to buy the box set: The Red Rising Trilogy (3 Book Series)