Notable Sci-Fi / Fantasy Releases June 2012

notablescifireleases

Bane of Kings continues the Notable Sci-Fi/Fantasy Releases feature on The Founding Fields, by looking back at the novels that you should have been reading in June 2012, with eight novels released by Black Library, Orbit, Angry Robot and Gollancz.

Previous Notable Sci-Fi/Fantasy Releases 2012: January, February, March, April, May.

To kick things off, like always, we’re starting with  Black Library, and our first offering is none other than third gripping installment in the Ulrika the Vampire series by Nathan Long. Now, I’ve actually read this book – although I’m yet to review it. But hopefully I should be able to get a review in of most of the books that I haven’t yet reviewed but yet have been released by the end of the year. This novel’s called Bloodsworn, and I think it’s my favourite cover art (and novel) of the series so far.

Note: I am not including Audio Dramas, re-releases and Omnibuses in this article. This mainly looks at print novels.

Bloodsworn by Nathan Long (Ulrika the Vampire #3)

(Lord of the Night’s Review), (Shadowhawk’s Review)

Returning to Nuln after her adventures in Praag, Ulrika finds the Lahmian vampires preparing for war. Across the Old World, their rivals, the sinister von Carsteins, attack their strongholds and lead the witch hunters to their hidden lairs. Spurned by her sisters, Ulrika forms an uneasy alliance with the von Carsteins in a plot to destabilise the Empire by striking at its very heart – they plan nothing less than the assassination of Emperor Karl Franz. With enemies on all sides and the Empire in flames, Ulrika must decide whether her future will see her living among the humans, or as their enemy.

Bane of Kings’ Project Verdict: 4/5 

Lord of the Night’s Verdict: 8.5/10

Shadowhawk’s Verdict: 9.5/10

You can check out the novel for yourself here.

Next up, we head to from the old world to the grimdark far future, where we look at Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s The Emperor’s Gift, another novel which I’ve read but am yet to review, but is one that is nonetheless spectacular. I will write a review of this at some point, as it was another offering by Aaron Dembski-Bowden and Black Library that I enjoyed immensely.

The Emperor’s Gift by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

(Lord of the Night’s Review), (Shadowhawk’s Review), (EJ Davies’ Review)

The Grey Knights are all that stands between mankind and the ravages of Chaos. Since their secretive beginnings during the Horus Heresy, these legendary Space Marine daemon hunters have journeyed into the dark realms of the warp – and beyond – in pursuit of their supernatural enemies. Through an intensive regime of psychic training, new recruits are brought to the clandestine fortress of Titan to join the hallowed and vaunted ranks of the 666th Chapter. More than ever, these legendary battle-brothers must be vigilant and ever ready to defend the Imperium for the forces of Chaos are never truly defeated, and Armageddon beckons…

Bane of King’s Projected Verdict: 4/5

Lord of the Night’s Verdict: 10/10

Shadowhawk’s Verdict: 9.5/10

EJ Davies’ Verdict: An excellent read with some great features

You can check out the novel for yourself, here.

Next up, we’ve got the third anthology in the New York Times Bestselling Horus Heresy series – The Primarchs, with stories by Rob Sanders, Gav Thorpe, Graham McNeill and Nick Kyme. It’s an enthralling read, with a variety of stories focusing on some of the greatest warriors ever to stalk the battlefields of the far future. Although I’m not a fan of the cover art, it proves that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, as the stories contained within it’s pages are superb.

 The Primarchs edited by Christian Dunn (Horus Heresy #20)

(Lord of the Night’s Review: P1, P2), (Shadowhawk’s Review), (EJ Davies’ Review)

Created in the Emperor’s own image, the primarchs had long thought themselves to be princes of the universe and masters of their own destiny – they led the Space Marine Legions in glorious conquest of the galaxy, and no enemy of the Imperium could stand against them. However, even amongst this legendary brotherhood, the seeds of dissent had been sown long before the treacherous Warmaster Horus declared his grand heresy. 

Gathered within this anthology are four novellas focusing on some of the mightiest warriors and leaders that mankind has ever known – Fulgrim, Lion El’Jonson, Ferrus Manus and the twin primarchs Alpharius and Omegon – and the roles that they may have yet to play in a war which threatens to change the face of the Imperium forever.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 3.5/5

Lord of the Night’s Verdict: 8.2/10

Shadowhawk’s Verdict: 9.25/10

EJ Davies’ Verdict: An excellent story all in. 

You can check out the anthology for yourself, here.

Alright, now that that’s our Black Library releases out of the way, we can move onto our Orbit novels, and we’ve got a whole host of stuff for you that you should have been reading in June, be it either James SA Corey’s space opera sequel to Leviathan Wakes, or an urban fantasy sequel to Benedict Jacka’s Fated. We’re kicking things off with the aforementioned James SA Corey sequel, Caliban’s War.

Caliban’s War by James SA Corey (Expanse #2)

For someone who didn’t intend to wreck the solar system’s fragile balance of power, Jim Holden did a pretty good job of it.

While Earth and Mars have stopped shooting each other, the core alliance is shattered. The outer planets and the Belt are uncertain in their new – possibly temporary – autonomy.

Then, on one of Jupiter’s moons, a single super-soldier attacks, slaughtering soldiers of Earth and Mars indiscriminately and reigniting the war. The race is on to discover whether this is the vanguard of an alien army, or if the danger lies closer to home.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 5/5

You can check out this novel for yourself, here.

Yep, no reviews of Caliban’s War yet. I don’t have a copy of this one yet, but when I get around to it, I will most certainly be reading this, hopefully enjoying it and reviewing it as well. Next up from Caliban’s War, we’ve got Cursed by Benedict Jacka. Although the first novel in the series didn’t exactly leave me with good impressions, I have been told that Cursed is better than its previous novel. However, when I get around to it, I can find out if it is.

Cursed by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus #2)

Things are going well for Alex Verus. He’s on moderately good terms with the Council, his apprentice is settling in and his shop in Camden is gaining quite a reputation.

But when a mysterious woman bursts into the Arcana Emporium one night with an assassin on her tail, Alex is thrown into a plot to revive a long-forbidden ritual. His old enemies are after the secret, as well as a Council mage named Belthas and a mercenary named Garrick, and at least one of them is trying to get Alex killed – if he only knew which.

He can see the future, but knowing who to trust is something else.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 3/5

You can check out this novel for yourself, here.

Following on from Cursed, we have a sci-fi novel called Existence, which is written by an author who I’ve never heard of before, but I’ve decided that I’ll be giving David Brin’s work a look into. The plot looks interesting, even if the cover does not.

Existence by David Brin

Our continued existence was never a given.

We’ve always wanted to know our destiny. But when the end seems in sight, how will the world react?

An alien artefact plucked from Earth’s orbit throws the world into chaos with both warning and a promise. For the prophet who dreams of new world order, survival means putting an end to democracy. For the movie mogul with a talent for spinning facts, the public doesn’t know what’s best for them. And for the reporter determined to discover the truth, the world needs to know what’s at stake.

All are determined to hold off Armageddon.

All will play their part in what’s to come.

Both brilliant and terrifying, David Brin’s novel of the near future is a tour de force of storytelling. It is the work of a modern master of science fiction.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 3/5 

You can check out the novel for yourself, here.

Moving away from Orbit, we’ve got one Angry Robot novel coming your way in the form of the conclusion to the Nightbound Land Duology by Trent Jamieson, which began in Roil and now will be finished in Night’s Engines. I read Roil last year, and enjoyed it but did not get around to reviewing it, and I’ve read a bit of Night’s Engines and am liking what I see so far. It’s grimdark steampunk fantasy, and although it’s another novel with a cover that isn’t eye catching, I will do my best to finish the rest of this at some point.

Night’s Engines by Trent Jamieson (Nightbound Land #2)

The conclusion of the Nightbound Land duology. Shale is dying. The vast, boiling maelstrom known only as the Roil has pushed humanity to the edge of extinction. The last cities teeter on the verge of collapse.

There is one hope, but it is enshrined in a decadent wastrel who does not want his destiny, and a young woman who seeks only an end to everything. And yet they go on, in search of the ancient weapons that worked against the Roil once, and must work again.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 4/5 

You can check out this novel for yourself here.

Moving on from Night’s Engines and Angry Robotwe’re going to be looking at our final installment of the day and that is none other than the third in the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch, an urban fantasy series that although is sadly not as good as The Dresden Files, still manages to be entertaining, and after enjoying the previous two novels, I can hope that Whispers Under Ground, with its interesting premise, can see the series continue further.

Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant #3)

 A WHOLE NEW REASON TO MIND THE GAP
 
It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 4/5 

You can check out the novel for yourself, here.

 

 

 

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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