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Shadowblack: the growing pains of a spellslinger

Book cover: Shadowblack - Sebastien de Castell (styled like a blue playing card with a young man top half and a blindfolded young woman bottom side)Kellen of the House of Ke isn’t just a disappointment to his parents and an outcast to his people: he’s a spellslinger on the run with a price on his head. You’d think he’d keep a low profile. Maybe it’s his nature. Maybe it’s the company he keeps. But he just can’t keep himself out of trouble…

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Within the Sanctuary of Wings

Book cover: Within the Sanctuary of Wings - Marie Brennan - dragons!Isabella, Lady Trent, is now a famous scientist and a happily-married woman – if still unwelcome in the ranks of the Collegium. But there’s nothing so dangerous as boredom, so when a Yelangese rebel puts temptation in her way, Isabella, Suhail and Tom set off on their biggest adventure yet…

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Throwback Thursday: Traitor’s Blade

Book cover: Traitors Blade - Sebastien de Castell (a swordsman in a swooshy blood-red cloak)The Greatcoats once enforced the King’s Law. Now they are outcast wanderers, despised by the commoners they no longer defend and feared by the Dukes whose will they used to thwart. But the First Magister has not abandoned his dead King’s dream. If he can find the King’s best-kept secret, the Greatcoats may yet defeat the Dukes’ dream of absolute rule.

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Throwback Thursday: The Tropic of Serpents

Book cover: The Tropic of Serpents - Marie Brennan (an illustration of a dragon)Neither widowhood nor motherhood can distract Isabella Camherst from her dragons, but the politics of nations – and of the scientific fraternity – have delayed her expedition to Eriga. But nothing could prepare her for the Yembe court politics that greet her arrival. Will she ever get to study the Moulish swamp wyrms?

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Spellslinger: the magical art of confidence

Book cover: Spellslinger - Sebastian de Castell (styled like a playing card, with a magical young man at either end)Kellen is 15, the astonishingly untalented son of the Jan’Tep’s greatest mage. Struggling to cast even the simplest spells, he’s the butt of jokes and school yard bullying. Worse, if he can’t pass his mage trials before he turns 16, he’ll be relegated to the Sha’Tep servant class – reliant on his obnoxious little sister’s charity if he’s lucky, sent down the mines if he’s not.

Spoiler free

A Conjuring of Light: the consequence of delay

Book cover: A Conjuring of Light - V E Schwab (a silhouette of a man in a cloak)A Conjuring of Light is the finale of the Shades of Magic trilogy, picking up right where A Gathering of Shadows left off: Red London under threat, Kell captured, Rhy dying, Lila desperate and ready to find out whether she is what we’ve all come to suspect she may be. So, err, spoilers, right? Right.

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Confessions of a bad SF fan: no resisting a sequel

earthseaWhen the High Priestess dies, the lesser priestesses leave the Tombs of Atuan and go in search of the newborn she has become. If she grows healthy and unblemished, she is fed to the Nameless Ones, keeper of their rituals, heir to their secrets. Could such a child ever turn her back on the Dark?

Revisiting The Tombs of Atuan

The Djinn Falls In Love

Book cover: The Djinn Falls in Love and other stories - ed. Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin (white smoking text on dark background)When Allah created man out of clay, he created djinn out of fire. Ephemeral spirits that tempt us, trick us, and sometimes grant our wishes, these creatures of folklore take centre stage in excellent Mahvesh Murad & Jared Shurin’s anthology, The Djinn Falls in Love.

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League of Dragons: it’s alright, so it must be the end

Book cover: League of Dragons - Naomi Novik (a shield boss or metal heraldic device of entwined dragons)As Napoleon retreats from Russia, hopes rally that the Emperor can finally be defeated. But he and his crafty adviser Lien have a few more tricks up their sleeve. Can Temeraire (and the other dragons of the world) resist the promise of a world where dragons are treated as equals?

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Bite-size Books: This is Not a Wardrobe Door

Ellie and Zera are best friends from different worlds, separated by a wardrobe door that has closed without warning. Cut off by circumstance and by time streams that flow ever further apart, the friends realise that sometimes you must open your own doors. A Merc Rustad gives us a Nebula-nominated portal fantasy.

Awards season starts here

Blood of Tyrants: are we nearly there yet?

Book cover: Blood of Tyrants - Naomi Novik (black dragon entwined around a glass bauble picturing the Moscow skyline)Shipwrecked en route back to China, Will loses not only Temeraire but his memory. Stranded in a land where foreigners are forbidden by law, how can he find a crew he can’t remember – or be the credible ambassador to China his country needs him to be?

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Wintersong: old tune, new lyrics

Book cover: Wintersong - S Jae-Jones (a white rose in a glass ball)

Plain, dutiful Liesl has given up her dreams for her family and longs only to make music, but once she played in the woods with the Goblin King. Her beautiful sister Käthe is engaged to be wed, but dreams of a life beyond the Bavarian forest. And if the Goblin King does not take a bride the world will fall into eternal winter. Which sister will he take? Which sister will he keep?

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