The past month has brought the release of some great urban fantasy.
Carniepunk. An anthology of short stories that all feature the magical and beglittered, sometimes dark and creepy, setting of a carnival. Includes some bestselling urban fantasy authors like favorites Kevin Hearne, author of the Iron Druid series; Seanan McGuire, author of the InCryptid series; Rachel Caine, author of the Weather Warden books; and Jennifer Estep, author of the Elemental Assassin series.
Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton. The latest installment in the Anita Blake series is much more focused on Anita and her relationships than recent books. Micah, one of Anita’s lovers, learns that his estranged father has been infected with a zombie disease. As a necromancer/expert on zombies, Anita travels with him, hoping to help. While there are the usual “Who has the bigger gun” contests with local authorities, this book felt less focused on Anita’s physical relationships and more on emotional ties to her lovers, Micah’s family, even her relationship with Edward (still can’t quite believe that Death is getting married!).
Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones. In this latest book in the series, Charlie’s used to seeing ghosts; after all, she’s a grim reaper. But not usually dozens at a time and not usually spirits so traumatized that they’re unable to communicate. In her effort to find the serial killer and stop him before any more of his victims haunt her, Charlie has to make a deal with the devil. Or at least his sexy son, Reyes.
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews. This series is set in a world where magic has returned, bringing with it sorcerers, shifters, and vampires. Former mercenary Kate and her mate, Curran the Beast Lord leave their stronghold in Atlanta for a mission that seems doomed to fail in Europe but the lives of their followers depend on their success. Fast paced action and lots of the snappy dialog between Kate and Curran that fans of the series enjoy.
Laurell K. Hamilton’s urban fantasy series continues with the 22(!) Anita Blake adventure, Affliction.
From Goodreads: Micah is called back home by his estranged family, because his father, a county sheriff, has been attacked and is terribly injured. Anita and Nathaniel are going with him for moral support and to meet his family under very trying circumstances.
Micah has been estranged from his family for a decade, deliberately turning his back on them to protect them from the sadistic killer who once led his leopard pack. But now Micah’s father lies dying, rotting away inside from some strange ailment that has his doctors whispering about “zombie disease.”
Anita—who understands zombies better than anyone—knows there’s more to it than that. While zombies have unlovable traits, being one doesn’t cause human beings to rot in agony. She needs to solve that mystery—but now a more immediate issue is pressing: Micah’s father may have only five days to live.
While there is certainly more urban fantasy on the shelves now than a few years ago, it isn’t always better (I’m looking at you Laurell K. Hamilton) and some authors are ending their long standing series like Charlaine Harris’s Sookie books and Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld. So if you’re looking for something new, try Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson books. Mercy is a coyote shifter who was raised with werewolves; she lives in a world similar to ours but for her humans coexist with fairies, vampires, and shapeshifters.
In Frost Burned, the latest in the series, Mercy’s mate and his pack have been abducted. Knowing she’s outmatched, Mercy is forced to seek help from whomever she can.
Noooo! First, I find out that the Sookie Stackhouse books are ending next year (on my birthday to add insult to injury!) and now the Otherworld books are ending too.
From an interview with Kelley Armstrong: “Around Frostbitten, I started having second thoughts. Maybe my “end-game” could just be a shake up. After all, I still had more stories to tell.
But that got me thinking. If this wasn’t the end, what would be? Did I plan to keep writing until I was sick of these characters? Until readers were sick of them?
I decided the Otherworld deserved better. It was time to put the series aside, while I still had more stories to tell. Those stories will come, as short fiction for now and maybe, in the future as a surprise Otherworld novel or two.
Right now, I have plans for a couple of Otherworld anthologies. I’ll gather up stories and novellas from other collections. But at least half of each book would be original fiction—new adventures for my old favourites.”
The final book in the Otherworld series is called THIRTEEN (or 13) and is scheduled for release July 24, 2012.
If you’re looking for other series to take the place of the Otherworld books, you might try: the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs or the Hollows books by Kim Harrison
Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris, the latest book in the Sookie Stackhouse series is available now. (I just put a copy on hold so the line forms behind me!). If you’ve watched True Blood but haven’t picked up the books yet – what are you waiting for?! And, if like me, you’re a longtime Sookie reader, savor this one; it’s the penultimate book in the series.
Publisher description – With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.
Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.