British author Nick Harkaway is known for his ability to fearlessly blend genres in novels like The Gone-Away World. In his third novel, Tigerman, he mixes parenting, superheroes and geopolitics in the story of Lester Ferris, a British Army sergeant sent to a remote island outpost on what is supposed to be a simple assignment. But Lester refuses to ignore the shady goings-on in Mancreau, and his growing relationship with a native street kid complicates things further. We asked Harkaway a few questions about superheroes and being a dad.
Nick Harkaway has a strange way of making us feel at home as readers even when we are in a decidedly strange place, of immersing us in something new and somehow making it feel familiar at the same time. With Tigerman, he again spellbinds with witty prose and inviting characters while taking us into a world that needs an unexpected hero.
Erika Johansen’s new novel, The Queen of the Tearling, uses a familiar fantasy premise: a special child—a chosen one, if you will—is born, and then hidden from those with murderous intent. As the book opens, it is 19 years later, and the time has come for Kelsea Glynn, the rightful queen of a benighted land, to leave hiding and assume her throne.
There are all kinds of lies and prevarications in the aptly titled The Kiss of Deception, the new book from award-winning author Mary E. Pearson. Princess Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia (or Lia, as she prefers to be called), First Daughter of the House of Morrighan, does not want to marry the unseen prince from a neighboring country. Lia—accompanied by her lady’s companion, Pauline—forsakes her parents’ wishes and runs away on her wedding day.
In his first novel, The String Diaries, British author Stephen Lloyd Jones has created both an innovative storyline and a new creature to fear. The secret to overcoming this monster lies within one family’s weathered, string-tied diaries, which contain meticulously compiled stories, research and theories. But what is it that hunts this family, and why?
Consider one of these novels—now out in paperback—for your book club's next read.
With books meant for younger readers, it can be far too easy to tell where a story is going. There are certain tropes that telegraph the ending, like evil being vanquished, the protagonist struggling with a quest and so on. One of the best things about Rebecca Hahn’s A Creature of Moonlight is that the story doesn’t go where you think it might, and yet it still flows naturally.
Mermaid princess Serafina is nervous. Today’s the day she’ll prove herself a true descendant of her famous ancestor Merrow in the royal family’s traditional Dokimí ceremony. She’ll demonstrate her worthiness to rule through “songcasting” a complex musical spell, and the day will end with her formal betrothal to the handsome but rebellious crown prince Mahdi.
If Lily Potter and Voldemort had a love child, he would be Nathan Byrn. Born out of an illicit love affair between a White Witch and a Black Witch, Nathan is an abomination, a Half Code. His father, Marcus, is the vilest Black Witch in all of Great Britain. His White Witch mother committed suicide in shame.
Time-travel and alternate realities have been a rich and unending source for fiction pretty much since the invention of the genre. But an ounce of temporal weirdness brings pounds and pounds of complications, convolutions and headaches along with the overall plot potential. Paradoxes pop up, as do disruptions of any attempt at linear storytelling. The confusion that can result on behalf of the reader—and sometimes even the writer—can capsize even the most promising tale. As a result, it’s rare to see a writer dive headlong into multiple streams of chronological mayhem and emerge with anything coherent, let alone riveting.