Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, Book 1) by R. L. LaFevers
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?I'm pretty sure people have been talking about this book for a while already but it only recently popped up on my radar. I'm beginning to realize that I have a "thing" for literary assassins and spies: they're so more clever than I'll ever be, and I love reading about characters smarter than me and pretend that I can be as resourceful as them if I'm ever in their situation. This book sounds like it has the makings of an epic tale, both in length, world-building, writing, plot, characters, scope... et cetera. Read an excerpt of the book here and tell me if you're not hooked by the concept and writing style as well.
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
Grave Mercy will be published in hardcover from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on April 3, 2012.
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
On the night of Becca’s high school graduation, the discovery of an unidentified dead girl left to bleed out on the side of a dirt road sends the town—and Becca—into a tailspin. Becca has always longed to break free from her small home town, but as the violence of the outside world creeps into her backyard, she withdraws and retreats inward, paralyzed for the first time in her life.Gabrielle Carolina of The Mod Podge Bookshelf has been relentlessly hounding me to put this book on my radar, saying that it's one of the best books she's read in 2012 so far, and that apparently that sentiment is reflected by its editor, THE Julie Strauss-Gabel (whose name should come with royal literary titles or something), who said something along the lines of how this was the best debut she's ever read. If that isn't enough to make you sell your kidney for a galley of this, then I don't know what else you need.
Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson’s life are intercut with Becca’s own coming-of-age summer, unfolding into the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and tense romantic relationships as the summer’s tumultuous events twist Becca closer and closer to the truth about Amelia’s murder.
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone will be published in hardcover from Dutton Juvenile on July 5, 2012.
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill--a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk--Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.I have jumped on the lifelong Marillier fan train (evidence here)--a little belatedly, perhaps, but no less ferociously. How many authors do you have whose books you'll read no matter what the synopsis is about? Kristin Cashore. John Green. Megan McCafferty. Melina Marchetta. Ilona Andrews. And yes, Juliet Marillier. Frankly, any of the aforementioned authors could write about whatever the heck they want--the life cycles of stinkbugs, the composition of bricks, vampires--and I'd read it.
During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death--but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban's release from Keldec's rule. Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.
Shadowfell will be published in hardcover from Knopf in Fall 2012.
Above World by Jenn Reese
A suspenseful sci-fi escapade plucks two children out of the ocean for a thrilling adventure.I shamelessly follow whatever books that delightful MG fantasy author Stephanie Burgis recommends, and so when I saw her Goodreads review about this book, and then she later tweeted me about it (more than once, if I recall correctly), and then I saw that it's a Candlewick book, which has hardly ever failed me in terms of book quality, well, I slapped this baby on my TBR list like whoa.
Thirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony's survival is at risk. The Kampii's breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people. But can Aluna's fierce determination and fighting skills and Hoku's tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt - growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains - here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.
Above World will be published in hardcover from Candlewick Press on February 14, 2012--oh awesome, that was yesterday! That means all you people in the US are lucky enough to be able to stroll into a bookstore and pick this up.