The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley
Back in November when I was in the midst of writing another bad nanowrimo novel Tor.com was posting the first seven chapters of this far eastern influenced fantasy novel and I missed out on reading them at the time and just got back to it. Flavor wise this one is somewhere midpoint between the grim dark of Abercrombie and the Epic High Fantasy of Brooks and stylistically Brain seems to lean towards leaner chapters not seen in lots of fantasy novels recently. Its got definite points for style and when two out of three viewpoint characters hook me I think its a good thing. Here's a link to the seven chapters tor.com posted and a synopsis....
The emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life path on which their father set them, their destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.
Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor’s final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing—and risk everything—to see that justice is meted out.
Shovel Ready by AdamSternbergh
Came across this one just by chance yesterday but a novel that gets the nod by Lauren Buekes for being hardboiled noir certainly is worth a look. With the quickly widening gap between the rich and the poor in the western world its not hard to imagine the world that seems to be the near future setting briefly mentioned in the synopsis of this book. Its got my interest I just hope its as good and well realized as Lauren's Shining Girls from last year. Here is the synopsis from Random house books...
Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a blown-out shell of its former self.
Now he’s a hitman.
In a near-future New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap in” to a sophisticated virtual reality, and those who are left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets. His new job is not that different from his old one: waste disposal is waste disposal. He doesn’t ask questions, he works quickly, and he’s handy with a box cutter. But when his latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist, his unadorned life is upended: his mark has a shocking secret and his client has a sordid agenda far beyond a simple kill. Spademan must navigate between these two worlds—the wasteland reality and the slick fantasy—to finish his job, clear his conscience, and make sure he’s not the one who winds up in the ground.
He Drank and Saw the Spider by Alex Bledsoe
I always look forward to a new novel from Alex Bledsoe wether it is a new rural fantasy Tufa novel or if its another Eddie LaCrosse sword and sorcery noir novel like this one. Alex to me is one of the kings of the modern non-epic fantasy. If you have not read him yet you are missing out.... Here is a synopsis and a link to an excerpt from Tor.com....
After he fails to save a stranger from being mauled to death by a bear, a young mercenary is saddled with the baby girl the man died to protect. He leaves her with a kindly shepherd family and goes on with his violent life.
Now, sixteen years later, that young mercenary has grown up to become cynical sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. When his vacation travels bring him back to that same part of the world, he can’t resist trying to discover what has become of the mysterious infant.
He finds that the child, now a lovely young teenager named Isadora, is at the center of complicated web of intrigue involving two feuding kings, a smitten prince, a powerful sorceress, an inhuman monster, and long-buried secrets too shocking to imagine. And once again she needs his help.