On the Smugglers’ Radar

On The Smugglers’ Radar” is a feature for books that have caught our eye: books we have heard of via other bloggers, directly from publishers, and/or from our regular incursions into the Amazon jungle. Thus, the Smugglers’ Radar was born. Because we want far more books than we can possibly buy or review (what else is new?), we thought we would make the Smugglers’ Radar into a weekly feature – so YOU can tell us which books you have on your radar as well!

On Ana’s Radar:

I really enjoyed Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky and now I can’t wait for her new novel, coming out next month:

“If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams… And from there, it’s easy to control our entire lives.”
January is a dying planet–divided between a permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Humanity clings to life, spread across two archaic cities built in the sliver of habitable dusk.
But life inside the cities is just as dangerous as the uninhabitable wastelands outside.
Sophie, a student and reluctant revolutionary, is supposed to be dead, after being exiled into the night. Saved only by forming an unusual bond with the enigmatic beasts who roam the ice, Sophie vows to stay hidden from the world, hoping she can heal.
But fate has other plans–and Sophie’s ensuing odyssey and the ragtag family she finds will change the entire world.

A new book from one of my faves, Silvia Moreno-Garcia which sounds *AMAZEBALLS*, here is the elevator pitch: The Mayan God of Death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore. I MEAN COME ON.

Here we shall begin to tell a story: a tale of a throne lost, of monsters and magic. A tale of gods and of the shadow realm. But this, our story, it begins in our world, in the land of mortals.

It begins with a woman. For this story, it is her story. It begins with her. 

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty, small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own. 

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it–and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan God of Death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey, from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City–and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld. 

Mixing the excitement of the Roaring Twenties with Prehispanic mythology, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a vivid, wildly imaginative historical fantasy.

I am super excited about this SF title coming from Harper Voyager 

A brilliantly written, page-turning, post-dystopian novel about a society hoping to salvage the technology of a lost generation, a mysterious missing boy who can open doors no one else can, and a scribe who must piece together the past to determine humanity’s future.

More than a hundred years have passed since the Great Catastrophe brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Those who survived are changed. The Wildeners have reverted to the old ways, praying to new Gods, while others place their faith in the technology that once powered their lost civilization.

In the mysterious City of Towers, the center of the destroyed Tarakan empire, a lowly scribe of the Guild of Historians is charged with a dangerous assignment. He must venture into the wilds beyond the glass and steel towers to discover the fate of a child who mysteriously disappeared more than a decade before. Born of a rare breed of marked people, Rafik—known as “The Key”—was one of a special few with the power to restore this lost civilization to glory once again.
In a world riven by fear and violence, where tattooed mutants, manic truckers, warring guilds and greedy mercenaries battle for survival, this one boy may have singlehandedly destroyed humanity’s only chance for salvation—unless the scribe can figure out what happened to him.

A “twisted psychological thriller” YA:

Remy Tsai used to know how her story would turn out. But now, she doesn’t even know what tomorrow will look like.

She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soul mate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world.

But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest…

And it was Elise who pulled the trigger.

Was it self-defense? Or something darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.

Sarah Gailey’s upcoming new novel sounds SO BRILLIANT:

Sharp, mainstream fantasy meets compelling thrills of investigative noir in Magic for Liars, a fantasy debut by rising star Sarah Gailey. 

Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.
Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.
She doesn’t in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.
Ivy Gamble is a liar.
When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.

On Thea’s Radar

First up this week on the ol’ trusty radar, this delicious sounding science fiction novel debut:

From Hugo Award-winning debut author Suzanne Palmer comes an action-packed sci-fi caper starring Fergus Ferguson, interstellar repo man and professional finder

Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder.  

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He’ll slip in, decode the ship’s compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand. 

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a backwater deep space colony called Cernee. But Fergus’ arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger’s enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly—and inconveniently—invested in the lives of the locals.

It doesn’t help that a dangerous alien species Fergus thought mythical prove unsettlingly real, and their ominous triangle ships keep following him around.  

Foolhardy. Eccentric. Reckless. Whatever he’s called, Fergus will need all the help he can get to take back the Sword and maybe save Cernee from destruction in the process.


Next up, a book about dragons and ladies who fight with them:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Bone Season, a trailblazing, epic high fantasy about a world on the brink of war with dragons – and the women who must lead the fight to save it.

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Then, there’s this first book in a new series from the “pioneer of the fantasy genre in India”–which I need now.

From international sensation Ashok K. Banker, pioneer of the fantasy genre in India, comes the first book in a ground-breaking, epic fantasy series inspired by the ancient Indian classic, The Mahabharata

In a world where demigods and demons walk among mortals, the Emperor of the vast Burnt Empire has died, leaving a turbulent realm without an emperor. Two young princes, Adri and Shvate, are in line to rule, but birthright does not guarantee inheritance: For any successor must sit upon the legendary Burning Throne and pass The Test of Fire. Imbued with dark sorceries, the throne is a crucible—one that incinerates the unworthy.
 
Adri and Shvate pass The Test and are declared heirs to the empire… but there is another with a claim to power, another who also survives: a girl from an outlying kingdom. When this girl, whose father is the powerful demonlord Jarsun, is denied her claim by the interim leaders, Jarsun declares war, vowing to tear the Burnt Empire apart—leaving the young princes Adri and Shvate to rule a shattered realm embroiled in rebellion and chaos….  
 
Welcome to the Burnt Empire Saga

I’ve loved Howard Andrew Jones’s other fantasy novels in the past, so I’m looking forward to this start of a new series:

Howard Andrew Jones’ powerful world-building brings this epic fantasy to life in For The Killing of Kings, the first book of his new adventure-filled trilogy.

Their peace was a fragile thing, but it had endured for seven years, mostly because the people of Darassus and the king of the Naor hordes believed his doom was foretold upon the edge of the great sword hung in the hall of champions. Unruly Naor clans might raid across the border, but the king himself would never lead his people to war so long as the blade remained in the hands of his enemies.

But when squire Elenai’s aging mentor uncovers evidence that the sword in their hall is a forgery she’s forced to flee Darassus for her life, her only ally the reckless, disillusioned Kyrkenall the archer. Framed for murder and treason, pursued by the greatest heroes of the realm, they race to recover the real sword, only to stumble into a conspiracy that leads all the way back to the Darassan queen and her secretive advisors. They must find a way to clear their names and set things right, all while dodging friends determined to kill them – and the Naor hordes, invading at last with a new and deadly weapon.

And lastly, a young woman looking to avenge her father’s murder in a debut YA fantasy novel from an author getting all the buzz:

“Everything I love in a fantasy.” –Natasha Ngan, New York Times bestselling author of Girls of Paper and Fire

“Cinematic storytelling at its best. A stunning new voice in YA, Amélie Wen Zhao has drawn characters who are as complex and captivating as the fantastical world she’s built.” –Adrienne Young, New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep

Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone, this hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the conman she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder. 

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled and enslaved. Their varied abilities to control the world around them are unnatural–dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, might be the most monstrous of them all. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls. 

But when Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered: Ana is the one framed as his killer. To save herself, she must flee the safety of the palace and enter a land that hunts her and her kind. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. Yet, what Ana finds is far worse than she ever imagined. A greater conspiracy is at work in Cyrilia, one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help her get to its rotten core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans–though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

And that’s it from us! What books do YOU have on your radar?

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