Staff Pick

Ken Liu is one of the most exciting writers currently working in science fiction and fantasy, and The Wall of Storms (Saga Press, $29.99) may be his best novel. The sequel to last year’s The Grace of Kings, it is set in a world founded in Chinese history, but infused with elements from classic martial arts stories, the plays of Shakespeare, and epics such as The Iliad. Fans of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books may enjoy it for the strong character development, the politicking and tragic moments of violence. But The Wall of Storms has far more to offer than blood and angst. Student and teacher discuss the schools of philosophy, and whether there is any one answer to living an honest life; the wife of the emperor commits unthinkable acts to create a more just society; the gods themselves bicker and cheat and are remade even as the beliefs of the people are remade. You’ll meet Zomi and Thera, two young women from very different backgrounds who fight to save their people from unimaginable horror. And just when you think you have the story figured out, Liu stabs you in the back!

The Wall of Storms (The Dandelion Dynasty #2) Cover Image
By Ken Liu
$29.99
ISBN: 9781481424301
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - October 4th, 2016

The Wall of Storms (The Dandelion Dynasty #2) Cover Image
By Ken Liu
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481424318
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - July 18th, 2017

Staff Pick

Say you’re a seasoned traveler who’s tired of guides that point you towards the same places every single time. To cure your ills, there’s no better book than Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton’s The Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders (Workman, $35), which comes replete with stories of incredible locations for the curious soul. Why not visit the Canadian Potato Museum, which prides itself on having “the largest exhibit of potato artifacts in the world”? The Child Eater of Bern, a five-hundred-year-old statue in Switzerland depicting a man munching on human babies, whose origin nobody knows? Or for the truly daring: The Gates of Hell, a hole in the ground in Turkmenistan that’s been burning constantly for forty years? It would not be exaggeration for me to say that these are only the tip of the iceberg; this book covers a lot of ground, and all of it will capture the imaginations of both the practical and the armchair traveler. But this is only the beginning. Readers will find more articles waiting on the official Atlas Obscura website, of which this volume represents merely a selection. Especially worth consideration for writers in need of ideas for stories: now, why has that hole in Turkmenistan been on fire for forty years running?

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders Cover Image
ISBN: 9780761169086
Availability: Out of Print in This Format
Published: Workman Publishing Company - September 20th, 2016

Staff Pick

Here's a fantasy novel that is mature without being gratuitous, magical without losing sight of the psychology of its characters, able to paint the world in shades of grey but brave enough to take a side. It pulls tricks on the reader and never once feels cheap. One third of the novel is in the second person, and it works! If you watched Game of Thrones with ambivalence and longed for something contemporaneous with the heightened social awareness of the 2000s rather than the sturm und drang of the 90s, this may be your best shot. Plus it deservedly won the Hugo Award this year, proving that even when the world seems to be ending there's hope somewhere out there.

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316229296
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Orbit - August 4th, 2015

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