Notable Sci-Fi/Fantasy Releases – May 2012

Bane of Kings continues the notable Sci-Fi/Fantasy releases feature of The Founding Fields with a look into some of the  novels that you should be looking out for that were released in May 2012, including stuff from Black Library, Orbit, Angry Robot and Abaddon Books.

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

First off, we’ve got Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s wonderful Void Stalker, published by Black Library and easily one of the finest sci-fi novels that I’ve read so far this year, coming in close behind Know No Fear by Dan Abnett, and matching Blue Remembered Earth by Alistair Reynolds in my opinion, so let’s give this book a run down:

Void Stalker by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (Night Lords #3)

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

The hunters have become the hunted. The Night Lords flee to the dark fringes of the Imperium to escape their relentless pursuers – the eldar of Craftworld Ulthwé. Their flight takes them to the carrion world of Tsagualsa, where their primarch died and their Legion was broken. There, history will repeat itself as a deadly assassin stalks the shadows, and the Night Lords are drawn into a battle they are destined to lose.

You can check out this novel for yourself, here.

Lord of the Night’s Verdict: 11/10

Bane of Kings’ Verdict: 5/5 

EJ Davies’ Verdict: Excellent Read

Following on from Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s fantastic Void Stalker, we’ve got the first ever Space Marine Battles Anthology, another novel published by Black Library entitled Architect of Fate, featuring contributions by Ben Counter, Sarah Cawkwell, Darius Hinks and John French.

Architect of Fate by Various Authors (Space Marine Battles #9)

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

The Space Marines stand against the darkness, and yet on countless battlefields they play unwitting roles in the schemes of Fateweaver. From the doomed world of Ilissus, through the embattled corridors of the Endeavour of Will, to the borders of the Eye of Terror itself – friend and foe alike follow the great plan that he set in motion many thousands of years ago. But not even the Architect of Fate himself can foresee the destiny that lies in wait for him…

You can check out this novel for yourself, here.

Lord of the Night’s Verdict: 8.6/10

Bane of Kings’ Verdict: 4/5

Shadowhawk’s Verdict: 9/10 

EJ Davies’ Verdict: A great anthology with some excellent features. 

Following on from the enjoyable and entertaining Architect of Fate, we are moving onto Orbit Books, with their release schedule. Now, I actually haven’t read any of Orbit’s May releases yet, so what I’m going to do is give a quick run through of the books themselves, with a projected verdict after each and every one of them. For Orbit’s May releases, you can find out about all them, plus their publishing schedule for Spring/Summer here.

The King’s Blood by Daniel Abraham (The Dagger and the Coin Book 2)

War casts its shadow over the lands that the dragons once ruled.

When an act of harrowing betrayal threatens to set the cities afire, all certainties are called into question. Only the courage of a young woman with the mind of a gambler and loyalty to no one stands between hope and universal darkness.

The high and powerful will fall, the despised and broken shall rise up, and everything will be remade. And quietly, almost beneath the notice of anyone, an old, broken-hearted warrior and an apostate priest will begin a terrible journey with an impossible goal: destroy a Goddess before she eats the world.

THE KING’S BLOOD is the second chapter in the thrilling fantasy series The Dagger and the Coin.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 4.5/5

The King’s Blood is the sequel to The Dragon’s Path, which is also being released this month in mass-market paperback. However, that’s been out for a while (see my review here), which means that that book isn’t going to feature on this list. Now, without further ado, let’s move on to the next novel from Orbit, which is titled 2312, which is unsuprisingly, set in the year 2312 and written by Kim Stanley Robinson. This is a book I’m looking forward to mainly because of the awesome cover art, but the blurb’s also good too, and the fact that it’s by KSR, whose work I’ve been looking forward to reading.

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson 

The year is 2312. Earth is no longer our only home. All the planets of the solar system bear humanity’s mark – but leaving Earth doesn’t mean we leave behind our problems. Earth and Mars are locked in a deadly conflict over the things people always fight about – air, water, power.

Now, this cold war threatens to become much, much more. A weapon of unprecedented power is loose in the solar system – a ‘world killer’ that could end the conflict once and for all. And end humanity in the process.

It is up to two diplomats from rival factions to find out who is behind this world killer and to stop them if they can. In a future where politics span billions of miles, a disaster is looming and even the smallest players in the system will have their parts to play to determine the fate of mankind.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 4/5

Following on from 2312, we have our next novel by the author of the Inheritance fantasy trilogy (which I’m yet to read, but is apparently meant to be very good), and it is entitled  The Killing Moon by NK Jemisin, book one in the Dreamblood Duology.

The Killing Moon by NK Jemisin (The Dreamblood Duology #1)

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe . . . and kill those judged corrupt.

But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru – the most famous of the city’s Gatherers – must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering innocent dreamers in the goddess’ name, stalking its prey both in Gujaareh’s alleys and the realm of dreams. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill – or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 4/5 

Our next novel is the fourth in a series that I’m really looking forward to starting, as it’s been labelled as American Gods by Neil Gaiman meets Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels, both of which I’m a huge fan of. Now, I know I haven’t read the previous novels yet, but Tricked by Kevin Hearne looks awesome, and I’m a fan of urban fantasy novels with male lead characters. So – enjoy:

Tricked by Kevin Hearne (Atticus O’Sullivan #4)

Druid Atticus O’Sullivan hasn’t stayed alive for more than two millennia without a fair bit of Celtic cunning. So when vengeful thunder gods come Norse by Southwest looking for payback, Atticus, with a little help from the Navajo trickster god Coyote, lets them think that they’ve chopped up his body in the Arizona desert.

But the mischievous Coyote is not above a little sleight of paw, and Atticus soon finds that he’s been duped into battling bloodthirsty desert shapeshifters called skinwalkers. Just when the Druid thinks he’s got a handle on all the duplicity, betrayal comes from an unlikely source. If Atticus survives this time, he vows he won’t be fooled again. Famous last words.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 3.5/5 

Right, that’s the main Orbit releases out of the way (if you want to see the full list, click on the publishing schedule link above), we can continue onto our next main publisher, Angry Robot, who are one of my favourite sci-fi/fantasy publishers out there on the market today along with the aformentioned Black Library and Angry Robot, with a heap of novels that are available worldwide. First off, we get things into gear with the awesome Blackbirds by Chuck Wending:

Blackbirds by Chuck Wending (Miriam Black #1)

(Bane of Kings’ Review)

Miriam Black knows when you will die. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.

But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.

No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Touch Of Death | The Future Is Written | Free Way | Surviving ]

You can check out this novel here.

Bane of Kings’ Verdict: 4/5

Moving on from Blackbirds, which has a fantastic cover art by the way, we have the second novel in Justin Gustainis’ Occult Crimes Unit series, Evil Dark, a novel in which I’ve read but am yet to review, so look out for that review soon. It’s a must for any urban fantasy fans, and is one of my favourite novels of 2012 so far. I’m not a huge fan of the cover art, but as they say – don’t judge a book by its cover (unless they have really awesome cover arts, like Blackbirds, in which case they’re a must buy.)

Evil Dark by Justin Gustainis (Occult Crimes Unit Investigations #2)

“My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge. Also a crucifix, some wooden stakes, big vial of holy water and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.”

A series of seemingly motiveless murders of supernatural creatures points to a vigilante targeting the supe community of Scranton.

Markowski wouldn’t normally have much of a problem with that, but his daughter may be next on the killer’s list…

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Unnatural Law | Thicker Than Water | The Bite Stuff | Duty Calls ]

You can check out this novel for yourself, here.

Bane of Kings’ Verdict: 4/5

Right, seeing as the other May release for Angry Robot is an Omnibus, and we’re not covering Omnibuses (Omnibi?) in this feature, I’m going to move onto our next publisher, Abaddon Books, an awesome-sci fi and fantasy publisher that is not to be overshadowed. We’ve got a novel by Eric Brown from Abaddon this month, entitled The Devil’s Nebula, a space opera which I’m really looking forward to:

The Devil’s Nebula by Eric Brown (Weird Space #1)

Starship Captain Ed Carew leads a carefree life of smuggling, gun-running and other illicit pursuits in a far future ruled by the fascistic Expansion Authority. But when an Expansion judiciary ship captures Carew leaving the planet of Hesperides, an out-of-bounds world now governed by the fearsome Vetch extraterrestrials, Carew and his crew are sentenced to death…

Unless they agree to travel through Vetch territory in pursuit of a human vessel that set off for the Devil’s Nebula one hundred years ago. Why are the Expansion authorities so eager to track down the ship? Will Carew and co. survive the journey through Vetch territory? And what might they find when they arrive at the Devil’s Nebula?

You can find out more about this novel here.

Bane of Kings’ Projected Verdict: 3/5 

Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to leave you with a list of what I’ve got planned in the way of reviews in the next week or so. [This does not include contributions by any other TFF member.] Tommorow, I’ve got a review of Paul S. Kemp’s The Hammer and the Blade, and then an interview with the author himself on Monday. That’s all I’ve got planned for the forseeable future, I know that we’ll be getting reviews from Shadowhawk as well, so you’ll have that to look forward to.

So, until then, hope you enjoyed this post and look forward to next month’s coverage.


Bane of Kings is one our most senior book reviewers here at The Founding Fields, based in England. He’s a prolific reviewer that has contributed to many things here and around the internet.


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