Throughout October, I’m recommending new releases that will put you in the Halloween spirit. Here are a few of my favorites:
Mackenzi Lee’s This Monstrous Thing is an alternative historical fantasy set in 1818, Geneva, that brilliantly reimagines Frankenstein with a steampunk twist. Alasdair Finch is a Shadow Boy, an illegal mechanic who supplies humans with clockwork parts. Two years ago, he secretly brought his brother back from the dead, but Oliver is more monster than man. (Read my recommendation here.)
Mindy McGinnis’s A Madness So Discreet is not as gory as American Horror Story: Asylum, but it does paint a horrific picture of what it’s like for an innocent young woman to be trapped in Boston’s Wayburne Lunatic Asylum in the 19th century. Grace has escaped one hell–an abusive father–for another–the asylum’s dark cellars, where she has no hope of surviving (at least with her brain intact). But she’s saved by a doctor who appreciates her genius and relocates her to an ethical asylum in Ohio. Together they try to catch a killer who preys on young women.
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is an anthology of scary stories that pays homage to classic horror films and literature, urban legends, fairy tales, and myths; yet these stories are original and disturbing in their own right. Look at this list of contributors and try not to drool! We have Nova Ren Suma, Carrie Ryan, Cat Winters, Leigh Bardugo, Megan Shepherd, Danielle Paige, April Genevieve Tucholke, Jonathan Maberry, Jay Kristoff, Stefan Bachmann, Marie Lu, McCormick Templeman, A.G. Howard, and Kendare Blake. (Read my recommendation here.)
In Lair of Dreams, the Diviners must catch a serial killer who is causing a deadly sleeping sickness. After Evie’s frightening showdown with the serial killer that took place in Libba Bray’s The Diviners (2012), she’s become a celebrity Diviner. The world now knows her special talent: she can “read” objects and discern people’s pasts (and their secrets). But despite fame and fortune, her troubles aren’t over.
Virginia Boecker’s The Witch Hunter brilliantly reimagines an alternate 16th century England (Anglia) where magic is real and forbidden. It has everything I look for in fantasy. Elizabeth Grey is a feisty and fierce heroine, who is also complex, conflicted and flawed. The plot is fast-paced, action-driven, addictive, and full of twists and turns. There’s high-stakes adventure and romance, mystery, dark magic, a deadly curse, unlikely alliances, betrayal, and sacrifice.(Read my recommendation here.)
Sally Green’s Half Wild, the second book in the Half Bad trilogy, is set in an alternate modern-day Europe, where witches secretly coexist with humans and are divided into two warring factions: White (“good”) versus Black (“bad”) witches. Nathan, as a half code, is at the heart of this conflict. Is he White or Black?He’s not sure and neither are the witches. The White Witches consider him an abomination and threat, since he’s the son of the world’s most evil witch, Marcus. The Black Witches don’t trust him either and think he’s spying for the White Witches. His father fears he might kill him. As Nathan struggles to understand his fate and where he stands in the conflict, whom can he trust? Is he destined to be either good or bad? Is being a half code a gift or a curse?
The first book in a planned trilogy, Illuminae is co-authored by Amie Kaufman (The Starbound Trilogy) and Jay Kristoff (the Lotus War series). Its storyline goes something like this. It’s 2575 A.D. and two interstellar megacorporations are at war. When BeiTech discovers its competitor is running an illegal mining operation, called the Kerenza colony, on a small, isolated planet, it attacks with brutal force. (Read my recommendation here.)
If you haven’t read Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap, pick it up this October. Two months ago, Finn was the only witness to the disappearance of Roza, his brother’s girlfriend. While the people of Bone Gap stop looking for her because they think she fled, Finn believes she was kidnapped and he must find her, but he can’t recall what her abductor looks like. (Recommended with The Walls Around Us and Bones & All here.)
Told through alternate voices, Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us is a creepy supernatural tale that combines prison drama and dance rivalry — “Orange is the New Black meets Black Swan” as some reviewers have called it. There’s Amber, imprisoned in a girls’ juvenile detention center, and Violet, a dancer haunted by her best friend Orianna’s imprisonment and death in that detention center.
In Camille DeAngelis’s Bones & All, sixteen-year-old Maren wants to belong and feel normal, be loved and love herself; but a dark secret keeps her ashamed and alienated. In the opening scene, we learn that Maren devours people, starting with her babysitter when she was just a few years old. She tries to distance herself from everyone emotionally and physically, but if they do get close it’s not like she can’t not eat them.
Moira Fowley-Doyle’s The Accident Season is a perfect choice for October. Seventeen-year-old Cara’s family is cursed. Every October (the accident season), Cara, her mother, her sister Alice, and her step-brother Sam find that no matter how many precautions they take, “[b]ones break, skin tears, bruises bloom,” and sometimes family members (her father and uncle!) die. (Read my recommendation here and Allison’s here).
Alyssa recommends new and upcoming releases in young adult fiction (and occasionally middle grade and adult). She thanks Edelweiss, NetGalley, the Boulder Book Store, and publishers for providing her with ARCs and DRCs for review purposes. Please follow her on Tumblr and Twitter.