Laurie Graves – Maya and the Book of Everything (2016, Hinterlands Press)
A mysterious library, magical books, and unexpected journeys to new lands and times? A resourceful, intelligent, and thoughtful teenaged protagonist that we can relate to and love and root for? A clever, fresh (and extremely relevant) take on the classic battle between good and evil? Creative plotting, beautifully realized characterization, precisely detailed world building, and perfect pacing? I’m all in. Laurie’s book really is everything!
As it is the season of gift giving, if you’re having a difficult time buying for the young teenagers in your life, well, have I got a suggestion for you. And while you’re at it, click an extra copy into your cart for yourself. Because we could all use a Book of Everything in our lives. 🙂
(I’m sure glad she’s already working on the sequel because I’m not certain how long I can wait, given that juicy wallop set up at the end…).
Chuck Wendig – The Harvest (Book Three of The Heartland Trilogy) (2015, Skyscape)
Broken, battered, and full of fury and fight, the gang’s (mostly) all here, as Cael McAvoy and his friends struggle to survive and marshal forces against their crushing Empyrean overlords in a twisted world driven by the commodity of genetically-engineered corn. Complications plague them: divided loyalties and politics, love triangles (quadrangles? “Squares” doesn’t have quite the same ring), infection and mutation from the same strain of Blight that affects the corn crops, killer androids, and, oh yeah, a group of seriously frightening female assassins. As in Under the Empyrean Sky and Blightborn, the other books in the trilogy, Wendig’s world-building is staggering in scope and crazy-inventive, and he doesn’t pull any stylistic punches…he shoves the reader from edge to edge and keeps the action dialed up quite a few notches above what you think you can possibly stand. It’s a fantastic ride and a fitting finale to this dark, creative trilogy.