Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Last Round of Cybils Panic

The end of the year is upon us, the Cybils are winding down, and I'm turning pages as fast as I can. I just found a few minutes to schedule one last post blurbing a sample of the fantastic nominations in YA SF/F for 2012.

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst (Simon and Schuster - Margaret K. McElderry) was a nice surprise, especially since her books haven't quite clicked with me in the past. Normally I wouldn't mention that, but I think it's a good thing to share--the idea that you might not be in love with this book, but you open every book hoping that that one will be the one. In this one, Liyana is ready to die so that her tribe's goddess will come into her and bring prosperity. She is prepared, practiced, and ready for the ceremonial dance--but her goddess never comes. She's cast out, because her people would never believe her goddess just couldn't get there to take over her human vessel, and Liyana has to decide how to reconcile her wish to live with her wish to serve her people.

In The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda (St. Martin's Griffin), Gene is alive. He doesn't hang from the ceiling. He doesn't stay up all night. He doesn't die in the sun. See where I'm going with this? Gene wins a dubious lottery: a chance to hunt down some real, live humans. Mmm. With some of his peers. Can he hide his true self and survive in this dangerous game?

Ismae is a handmaiden of death in Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). She's impervious to poison, she can see who St. Mortain has marked for death, and she's a fantastic assassin, which leads to an assignment filled with court intrigue, secret identities, political maneuvering, and the choice between kissing and killing.

The Kairos Mechanism by Kate Milford (The Clockwork Foundry) has an interesting story outside of the story; it was a Kickstarter project by the author, and bridges the gap between The Boneshaker and The Broken Lands. Only a few hard copies were printed, and I think you should consider getting your hands on one if you can. Natalie Minks notices two boys coming from--well, nowhere, if you pay attention to where the roads go, and they're carrying the corpse of a man who either died yesterday or fifty years ago. Natalie could let it go, but she's not that kind of girl.

And so, then, you probably want to know about The Broken Lands, also by Kate Milford (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - Clarion). In 1870s Brooklyn, when the under-construction Brooklyn bridge looms over a grittier, but no less vibrant NYC, a card sharp and a fireworks expert have to battle the forces of evil. Real history is braided masterfully with the supernatural in this book.

 All of these books are nominated in the YA SF/F category for the 2012 Cybils awards. These reviews are based on copies provided by their respective publishers, except for Grave Mercy, as I owned a copy.

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