It’s hard to follow a debut that immediately became an international phenomenon, was published in 40 countries and is in the works to become a movie (hopefully with the same mind-blowing visual effects Warner Bros. brought to movies like Inception, The Lego Movie and The Matrix). The thing that made Ernest Cline’s first book, Ready Player One, so good was a nearly impossible balance between where-the-hell-did-that-come-from originality and the familiarity of Gen-X pop-culture references. There’s no such balance in his second novel, Armada. Familiarity surpasses originality—intentionally.
This month's best new mysteries include four top-notch, globe-trotting tales that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Jean Perdu is a self-described literary apothecary. From his barge-turned-bookshop on the Seine, he doesn’t just sell books; he prescribes them as a pharmacist prescribes medicines, matching books to their perfect readers to help customers overcome life’s difficulties. And he does so with near perfect success. The only exception to the rule is Perdu himself.
When eight-year-old Carolyn stood in the kitchen in her home, helping her mother make potato salad for a Labor Day picnic, she had no idea her life was going to change drastically in a few short hours. Soon, she and several other children from her quiet suburban neighborhood of Garrison Oaks would be orphaned and forced into apprenticeships with a man who could raise the dead and make light from darkness.
In his novels, Peter Clines likes to dwell in the overlap of genre niches. With his Ex-Heroes series, Clines has created a world where super heroes are a thing, but so is the zombie apocalypse. In 14, he keeps things apocalyptic in flavor, but adds a healthy dose of building-based horror. With his latest, Clines seems to have shifted course a few degrees once more.
A powerful read from an impressive new voice, Freedom’s Child is an intricate portrait of a crass, swears-like-a-sailor woman who has lost everything and is fueled by an unabated fervor to find her daughter.
If you’re searching for a gift for dear ol’ dad, two celebrity memoirs and two accounts of unusual personal quests are among our recommendations for a Father’s Day reading list.
Little more than a year after the U.S. publication of his award-winning Dark Eden, Chris Beckett returns readers to the alien, hostile planet of Eden and the humans stranded there. In Mother of Eden, 150 years have passed since the events of the previous novel. The human descendants of John, Jeff, Tina, David and the rest—themselves born of the original castaways—have, for the most part, splintered into thriving communities spread across Eden (as opposed to the small, huddled group featured in Beckett’s debut).
In Sarah McCoy’s new book, two protagonists tell the little-known history of Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown, the staunch abolitionist who was executed for the attack he led on Harper’s Ferry.
What if you had everything everyone thought you should want, only to realize it wasn’t what you wanted at all? That’s the dilemma facing Lily Wilder, who is about to marry the perfect man at the beginning of I Take You. However, tying the knot means the end of her romantic freedom—something that fun-loving Lily has always reveled in. Eliza Kennedy answered a few questions about her debut novel and its unconventional heroine.