- Joe Hill – The Fireman ($3.99)
- Neal Stephenson – Seveneves ($2.99) (one of the very best post-apocalyptic novels)
- David Wong – John Dies at the End ($2.99)
- Blake Crouch – Abandon ($2.00)
- Joe Haldeman – The Forever War ($1.99)
- Octavia E. Butler – Dawn ($1.99) (Xenogenesis book 1)
- Robert R. McCammon – Swan Song ($1.99) (one of the very best post-apocalyptic novels)
- Octavia E. Butler – Parable of the Talents ($1.99) (Parable book 2)
- Theodore Sturgeon – More than Human ($1.99)
- Robert R. McCammon – Usher’s Passing ($1.99)
- Greg Bear – Legacy ($1.99) (Eon book 0)
The Mistborn trilogy is one of my favorite fantasy series of all time and The Final Empire — the first book in the series, like so many other popular books, has had its cover art has evolve as new editions release. The first U.S. paperback edition cover is probably familiar to most Sanderson fans:
Or, the current paperpack cover of the trilogy’s omnibus:
The Facefaker’s Game
Chandler J. Birch
The Facefaker’s Game is Chandler J. Birch’s debut novel, a well-crafted story that combines a bit of cloak-and-dagger mystery with a slightly dystopian fantasy world. Like so many other books in the genre, The Facefaker’s Game isn’t shy about re-using tried-and-true tropes: the down-on-his-luck street urchin, the mysterious benefactor, the sadistic gangleader — they’re all present, but Birch manages to keep everything fresh on the strength of strong writing and relatable characters.
The urchin is Ashes, a boy with an unknown past; the benefactor is Jack, an illusionist with an unknown past; the gangleader is Mr. Ragged, an angry guy with an unknown past. There’s magic: the manipulation of light to create illusions. There’s other characters, some memorable, some forgettable. There’s the city of Teranis, big and teeming with personality, like any big city should. And the rest of the book unravels a bunch of stuff, including the aforementioned unknown pasts, and it does so in a very enjoyable way.
My biggest quibble with the story is very minor: a few of the character names are anachronistic, pulling me completely out of the story to theorycraft about the fantasy world — is it some kind of post-apocalyptical Scotland, where all traces of the country’s history has since been wiped out, with the exception of specific character names? Is it some kind of alt-history version of London, where the black plague has transformed an unlucky few into sewer-dwelling monsters?
Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed Birch’s debut book. A solid fantasy story with a fresh and unique — but not overtly confusing — magic system, likable characters, and a vivid world ready for additional stories. I hope we’ll get more time to explore the city of Teranis.