Now that we have arrived into the sweltering humidity of July, we have not only passed the halfway mark for the year 2022, but also the halfway point for this year’s Summer Adventure Program. July 5, on a personal note, also marked my one-year anniversary at Fountaindale Public Library. What better time than now to touch base about reading highlights for the year so far, and to watch the horizon for this year’s upcoming releases?

Reading Highlights

Halfway Through 2022-My Favorites and Most Anticipateds

Halfway Through 2022-My Favorites and Most Anticipateds

Dread Nation & Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland

Genres: YA Fiction; Historical Fiction; Alternate History; Zombies; Coming of Age

First Released: 2018, 2020

Call Number: YA F IRELAND

Eyan’s Rating: 4.5/5

Find Them: Physical copies in the Vortex

Summary: When zombies rise at the Battle of Gettysburg, the fabric of the American Nation is changed forever. Slavery is outlawed in favor of the “Native and Negro Education Act” which sends all non-white children to combat schools scattered across the country. Jane McKeen, born only 2 days before Gettysburg, is a clever young Black girl from the South. Trained to fight as a bodyguard and companion for well-to-do White ladies at one such combat school, Jane must navigate racism, treachery, betrayal, and zombie hoards, to find safety, freedom, and family.

Justina Ireland’s writing is powerful, engaging, and intense. I listened to the audio for both novels, and Bahni Turpin brings Jane’s voice to life in an amazing way.

Halfway Through 2022-My Favorites and Most Anticipateds

Starless by Jacqueline Carey

Genres: Fantasy, Quest/Adventure, LGBTQIA+ Inclusive

First Released: 2018


Eyan’s Rating: 5/5

Find It: Physical copy on the 3rd Floor.

Summary: Khai has been raised by Monks at a desert sanctuary. His life has one purpose: to protect his soul’s twin, the Princess Zariya. But Khai’s identity confuses him, and despite his great skill with weaponry and stealth, his struggle to accept and understand himself could distract him from his life’s work. Meanwhile, far to the West, rumors of the Dark God Miasmus’s rise begin to stir, bringing tidings of death and destruction.

Carey has always been one of my favorite authors, and her approach to creating Khai resonated so powerfully with me. The mythology of the world is also incredible—gods walk among mankind here.

Halfway Through 2022-My Favorites and Most Anticipateds

The Desert Prince by Peter V. Brett

Genres: Fantasy, coming of age

First Released: 2021


Eyan’s Rating: 4.5/5

Find It: Physical copy on the 3rd Floor.

Summary: Set a generation after Brett’s Demon Cycle series, The Desert Prince brings a similar style of first-person narration swapping between characters each chapter.

15 years ago Olive and Darin’s parents saved the world from the demon hoard at great personal cost, ushering in a generation of peace for their children. But for Olive, the intersex daughter of Leesha Paper, a powerful healer, and Ahmann Jardir, the ruler of the rival Krasian cities to the far West, a peaceful life is the last thing she wants.

Meanwhile, Darin Bales, whose father died saving the world fifteen years prior, peace would be wonderful. Instead, raised by his intense and nearly feral mother, Darin’s life of open-ended decisions and freedom comes with the heavy burden of his father’s legacy, a legacy he neither can live up to, nor wants to even attempt. But when Darin and Olive step outside the Great Ward, they learn the demons are not all banished to the Core, as they have believed their entire lives.

You don’t necessarily need to have read the Demon Cycle series to follow this one, but it fills in the background pressure that Darin and Olive are subjected to.

Halfway Through 2022-My Favorites and Most Anticipateds

So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens

Genres: YA Fantasy, LGBTQIA+ Inclusive, Romance, Young Love, Fantasy

First Released: 2022

Call Number: YA F LUKENS

Eyan’s Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Find it: Physical Copy in the Vortex

Summary: Beginning with the end, So This is Ever After starts with Arek completing his Hero Quest and lobbing off the head of the Evil One. Now what? Surrounded by his friends and companions, a D&D party in stereotype, Arek must now become King, and that’s not even the worst bit. By his 18th birthday in three months, he must marry, joining his soul to his spouse for the rest of their lives. If he doesn’t, he’ll simply fade away to nothing.

Of course, Arek has a massive crush on his best friend and Court Mage Matt, as well as carrying the torch for his incredibly attractive companions. But he doesn’t want to force anyone to marry him simply to save his life, putting him in quite a predicament.

It’s silly and cute, full of love, and easy to follow as a stand-alone feel-good type novel.

Halfway Through 2022-My Favorites and Most Anticipateds

When Sorrows Come by Seanan McGuire

Genres: Fantasy, Fae realms, Hero Quests

First Released: 2021


Eyan’s Rating: 5/5 stars

Find it: Physical Copy on the 3rd floor.

Summary: Number 15 in the Toby Daye series, and the books just keep getting better. Taking place at the High Court in the Kingdom of Toronto, Toby is finally going to marry her long-time fiancé Tybalt, the King of Cats. Toby is my favorite literary heroine, and she takes the title of Hero in the true medieval sense. She is a Knight, a Hero of the Realm, and completely amazing.

Seanan McGuire has referenced this title as the first book in the “third act” of Toby Daye, so it wasn’t as devastating as some of the other titles have been. We’re gearing up for the end, though, with Be the Serpent coming out this September, and only 4 more titles to follow. There’s so much I think Toby still has to do, so many questions without answers, and I just know whatever happens next is going to be brutal.

Forthcoming Reads

Halfway Through 2022-My Favorites and Most Anticipateds

Be the Serpent by Seanan McGuire

Release Date: September 6, 2022

Why I’m Anticipating: Look, I can’t stop talking about October Daye. You know it, I know it, my coworkers know it… everyone who has read my blogs knows it. Be the Serpent is book 16 in the series, the second book in the “third act,” and probably going to rip my heart out. The publisher’s summary includes this, “…an old friend and ally turns out to have been an enemy in disguise for this entire time, and October’s brief respite turns into a battle for her life, her community and everything she has ever believed to be true.”

That does NOT sound great. Also, who do we think the betrayal will come from? True to form, Be the Serpent’s title is lifted straight from Shakespeare, this time Macbeth:

“Look like the innocent flower / But be the serpent under’t”

-Lady Macbeth to her husband

So we’re just getting set up for a really painful betrayal, I think. I feel like if it’s the Luidaeg that would suck, because Toby and her have become friends over the years, but also, kind of a weak choice. We know the Luidaeg is known for duplicity, and we also know she can’t tell a lie. She’s said before that she will kill Toby one day, and that makes it true. As of right now, Toby doesn’t stay dead, so that could be a workaround, but I think it wouldn’t necessarily be shocking, just painful.

Tybalt? Could be, because of how much emphasis she’s been putting on their relationship lately. The partnership, that she trusts him implicitly, etc., all imply that something could be odd there, or else why would she mention it so consistently? I think a lover’s betrayal is pretty stereotypical, though, and I think McGuire writes with a bit more nuance than that. Though, Tybalt having had a previous affair with September Torquil is something I keep thinking about. It had been mentioned only once or twice and so briefly it was easy to discount, but again, when Tybalt has other relationship trauma, adding in September seems unnecessary unless it comes back later.

Quentin? That would suck but I don’t think there’s enough there. He was too young when he came to Sylvester’s court.

May? Now, that would be interesting. Since May was Toby’s Fetch but has long since been disconnected, we don’t truly know what May is thinking. We don’t know a lot about the magic of Fetches, especially since she’s the first known Fetch to survive disconnecting from their source. She’s got that backlog of memory and identity from her time before becoming May, and there’s enough we don’t know to support a previously unknown motivation of some kind.

One thing is certain. No matter what, I’m going to cry.

Get on the Hold List: For a physical copy here.

Halfway Through 2022-My Favorites and Most Anticipateds

The Fall of Shannara: The Last Stand by Terry Brooks

Why I’m Anticipating: Technically, The Last Druid was published in 2020. However, I missed the mark on the Fall of Shannara series, the final quartet in the world of Shannara from long-time best-selling author Terry Brooks. I’ve read nearly all of his books and have been reading books in the world of Shannara for years and years. Spanning since the 1970s, the various trilogies and quartets that make up different generations of Shannara represent the kind of basic fantasy 101 storytelling I can always lose myself in. I’m on book 2 of 4 in this particular series right now, and it’s very different from the bulk of the Shannara worlds, but not in a bad way. We had so much of Grianne Ohmsford in the middle there, she played a part in three different series, that it was nice to be generations removed.

If you’ve never read Brooks before, but you find yourself a fan of “classic” fantasy like Tolkien, Lewis, R.A. Salvatore, I find Brooks to be more accessible for fans that are entirely new to fantasy, as well. If you haven’t read much in the genre, Terry Brooks is a great way to ease into some of the major tropes and motifs you might find.

I don’t recommend a chronological reading order, however, if you’re entirely new. The Sword of Shannara was published in 1977 and while it’s still good, it’s a lot drier and harder to read than his more contemporary works. You could honestly skip the first trilogy (sometimes quartet with the addition of a prequel years later) and pick up with the 1990s The Scions of Shannara and be just fine. My personal favorite is Isle Witch, which serves as an interesting start to the series; it’s kind of like a new era in the world of Shannara.

Request it: Physical copy here, and a link to our collection’s Brooks’s page here.

Halfway Through 2022-My Favorites and Most Anticipateds

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Release Date: July 19, 2022

Why I’m Anticipating: Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a literary phenomenon. She moves between genres in each of her books, but there is always an element of the fantastic involved. Even in strictly non-magical novels such as The Beautiful Ones, I am grabbed by Moreno-Garcia’s prose, deeply character-driven works, and interesting imagination. Her twists are unusual and dark, but rooted in human psychology.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is a retelling of sorts, working off H.G. Wells’s late 19th century The Island of Doctor Moreau. Wells, for the unfamiliar in the genre, is known most famously for The War of the Worlds. I love retellings like this and would recommend Jacqueline Carey’s Miranda and Caliban while you wait—it’s a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest told from the perspective of Prospero’s daughter Miranda, and the wild boy who lives on the island with them, Caliban. Our consortium has copies you can request here.

Get on the Wait List: For a physical copy here.