7. Shadow's Fall - Dianne Sylvan (2/4)
8. Of Shadow Born - Dianne Sylvan (2/6)
9. The Bone Key (2nd ed with added introduction) - Sarah Monette (2/15)
10. A Shiver Of Light - Laurell K. Hamilton (2/17)
11. Ms. Marvel v1 No Normal - G. Willow Wilson & artist Adrian Alphona (2/19)
Favourite book of February: The Way Into Chaos - Harry Connolly
Harry Connolly did a kickstarter project in 2013 to fund publishing the Great Way trilogy. I finished book one, The Way Into Chaos, in February and am about a third of the way through book two and it's *great*. Exciting plot, likeable characters with character growth, very interesting worldbuilding, beautiful Christian McGrath covers - and as a former bookseller I'll add they are pretty good in publishing terms in that booksellers can get them at the standard 40% discount from distributors, and this is unusual for works not put out by a traditional publishing house. (This is one of the reasons these works get less shelf space in brick and mortar stores.) The middle book, which is 214 pages compared to 364pp for the others, is even two dollars cheaper than books one and three. The huge international publishers often put out trade paperbacks which seem to be at standard prices determined by type of binding, not size. There's probably a quintillion other factors that go into all the financial calculations for the book, but it does mean (for example) that I paid $16.95 for The Weirdness by Jeremy P. Bushnell (published by Melville House), which is 277 pages long and 7.5 inches tall (octavo size, a nice cuddly size for a book), and $17 for Arcanum by Simon Morden (published by Orbit), which is 735 pages long plus 24 pages of sample chapters and just over 8.1 inches tall. And $16 for The Pun Also Rises by John Pollack (published by Penguin), which is 154 pages sans acknowledgments and footnotes and 8 inches tall. I liked all these books and I bought them, and that makes me happy, but they are markedly different lengths ranging from 'could be a novella if fiction' to 'doorstop'. It can definitely be hard to sell the tinier trade paperbacks to customers when they can get a George R.R. Martin-length epic for the same price. I would watch them turn the smaller or shorter books over, see the price, and make involuntary pained expressions.
Which is basically my recommendation to other booksellers to order the Great Way trilogy and sell it to people, because it deserves a wide audience. The viewpoint characters are a young woman magic student from a distrusted and formerly traitorous noble house and a rather stiff-necked warrior who is pretty much the only commoner appointed to noble rank in the empire. Tejohn, the warrior noble, does not necessarily get on well with other people, and it was really neat to find the author made me really like him. The student - Cazia - and Tejohn are two of the few people who escape the empire's capital when it's suddenly overrun by huge numbers of large hostile four-legged beasts that rush out of a magic portal in lieu of the expected diplomatic guests. Which is an interesting occurrence, because the worldbuilding is concerned with laying out the political and economic implications of magic. The worldgates have let the empire trade with a very odd group or nation or species known as the Evening People who value emotional performances and pay for them by teaching spells. In consequence, the empire has a monopoly on magic-based construction, flight, medicine, and water purification and has expanded to become its current massive space on the map. This has affected the empire's social structure in that it means a large number of nobles would rather go back to governing their traditional lands instead of preserve the empire when catastrophe breaks out and it also means there are a *lot* of customs and laws intended to prevent scholars, those who know magic, from leaving imperial control or even having much contact with outsiders. Meanwhile, it's possible the scholars have been doing things on their own - and where did this invasion of beasts come from and what exactly does this mean is going on with the system of gates are also interesting questions.