Piranesi is the latest book from best-selling author Susanna Clarke of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell fame. Piranesi is only the third book, and second full length novel, that Clarke has ever had published. It's also the first book from Clarke in nearly a decade and a half. All of this is to say that when Clarke writes something new, it's rightfully quite an event in the book world. Clarke brings her trademark brand of fantasy to a new world with Piranesi.
The Original is an audio-first story from Brandon Sanderson and Mary Robinette Kowal. I received a review copy through Net Galley. I've read some of Sanderson's previous work but it was my first exposure to Kowal. The Original is a near future sci-fi story where humans have developed cloning technology. If they can afford, people can pay to have a clone set up for if they die. Weekly appointments to back up all memories assure that the clone will be able to mostly pick up right where the authentic article left off. The Original focuses on a woman named Holly whose life is turned upside down when she awakens as what's known as a replica. This special kind of clone is created only when the original human has broken the law and is on the run, with the express purpose of hunting down those they were created from.
Chaos Rising is the latest Thrawn-focused entry in the Disney Canon series of Star Wars novels. Again written by Thrawn's creator, Timothy Zahn, Chaos Rising serves as the first book that truly explores the Chiss Ascendancy prior to Thrawn's encounter and joining of the Empire. The first Thrawn trilogy in the Disney Canon explored Thrawn's rise to power leading up to his inclusion in the Rebels animated series. In this newest trilogy, Zahn will be turning back the clock even further to focus on Thrawn's earliest military days and the political and military inner workings of the Chiss Ascendancy.
Shorefall is the second book in The Founders Trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett. I had a good time reading the first entry, Foundryside, when it was released in 2018 and I've been eagerly anticipating this follow-up. One of the hallmarks of the series so far is Bennett's focus on building a rich world with a fully fleshed out system of magical objects. Foundryside left the main character, Sancia, and her crew of friends ready to open their own scriving company. Shorefall picks up three years after the events of Foundryside and brings back the same cast.
Coming on the heels of the completion of the final season of the Clone Wars animated series, Disney Lucasfilm has published The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark. The book is an anthology of stories that take place in the same time as the Clone Wars series with contributions from a wide range of authors including Jason Fry, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Lou Anders. Most of the authors have written for Star Wars in some capacity, whether it's full-blown Disney Canon novels or shorter YA and all-ages fare. I love Clone Wars and it was fun to dive back in to stories with some of my favorite characters from the series.
The Silver Arrow is the latest release from Lev Grossman. Most will be familiar with the critic-turned-author from his series The Magicians. While The Magicians series was decidedly adult, this time around Grossman takes a crack at some middle-grade magic. I received a copy of the audiobook version of The Silver Arrow through NetGalley, but I'd had it on my wishlist already. I enjoyed The Magicians a lot and was curious to see how Grossman would handle a new challenge. The audiobook is narrated by one of the stars of the field in Simon Vance.
Absolutely Everything! is the latest book from author Christopher Lloyd. I received a copy of the audiobook through Net Galley and was pretty happy because I'd already had it on my wishlist. Absolutely Everything! is the latest attempt by an author to succinctly cover the most important moments in the history of the world. This book starts with the Big Bang and runs through today. The audiobook is narrated by Lloyd himself.
To say that I was excited when I found out Audible was adapting The Sandman, the iconic Vertigo comics series written by Neil Gaiman, into a multi-part audio series, would be a massive understatement. I'm an avid audiobook listener, Neil Gaiman is one of, if not my favorite author, and I'm a massive fan of comics. This was tailor made for individuals like me. Yet I found myself tempering my expectations a bit based on previous experiences with efforts at adapting comics. Perhaps the widest spread examples are the Graphic Audio adaptations of numerous DC and Marvel superhero romps. They are almost exclusively cheesy and often problematic. Locke & Key was adapted using a similar audio drama structure, but it's lack of a narrator made it un-listenable for me, despite my love of the source material. I should have known better. Gaiman and crew absolutely nailed it.
Verona Comics is the latest novel from author Jennifer Dugan. It's a YA romance novel that follows the intersection of two teens following a chance encounter at a comic con. Jubilee is a cello-playing prodigy whose stepmom runs a popular indie comic book shop. Ridley is high-strung and anxious and his parents own a huge chain of comic book superstores. At a comic con prom event, the two meet in costume and shortly thereafter begin to text, not knowing the other's identity. From there, romance blossoms and family secrets and business put the new relationship in jeopardy.
Pure Invention by Matt Alt is a new release that chronicles that wide-ranging impact that Japan's pop-culture has had on the world from the years following World War II through today. The breadth of topics is fairly wide-ranging, rather than focusing on a single industry or phenomenon. It's a testament to the sheer size of the pop-culture juggernaut that Japan has become over the 70-plus years that the book covers. While Pure Invention isn't an "own voices" history, Alt lives in Tokyo and seems to have a deep love for Japanese pop-culture and has crafted a compelling and well-researched history.