Cool Books of January

Fairest coverFairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story

Marissa Meyer
Feiwel & Friends
January 27, 2015

A prequel to Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles – a sci-fi, steampunk take on classic fairytales, Fairest tells the story of how Queen Levana came to be queen. Is she a true villain or a pawn in other people’s games?

I read the first book in this series, Cinder, based on Cinderella, and really enjoyed it. It was fast-paced and innovative — managing to be a fun read and also challenge traditional notions of fairy tales. I mean Cinderella is a cyborg — c’mon! I haven’t had the chance to read the other books in the series Scarlet, based on Little Red Riding Hood, and Cress, based on Rapunzel, but I have high hopes. Cinder was set in China. On her website, Meyer said she did this because some of the earliest Cinderella type stories are traced back to ancient China. I appreciate that play with origin — not to mention challenging the origins of fairy tales in the first place. And Cinder herself is of mixed ethnicity — and a cyborg. Did I mention that?


Ghosts of Heaven, Sedgewick coverThe Ghosts of Heaven

Marcus Sedgwick
Roaring Brook Press
January 6 2015

The newest novel from the author of Midwinter Blood and She is Not Invisible is actually a collection of four linked stories. They span the centuries, starting with cavemen and the earliest forms of writing, then moving onto the seventeenth century witch hunts, to a 1920s insane asylum, and finally a spaceship setting out to settle a whole new world. Sedgwick is a master of suspense and he has a very unique, poetic voice. I also think this sounds like a rather unique concept for the YA world — it blends science fiction, insane asylums, paranormal, and historical — everything you could possibly be in the mood for in one book.

— Christa

God Loves Haiti coverGod Loves Haiti

Dimitry Elias Leger
January 6 2015

I spent a fair amount of time down in the Caribbean and Central America in University on exchange or working with Habitat for Humanity. So I’m always looking for more novels that take place in that part of the world. God Loves Haiti is set during the 2010 earthquake, when 200,000 people were killed in less than forty seconds and 1.3 million more were left homeless. It specifically follows the fate of the President, his wife, and her lover, but it’s really a story of the whole country, their struggles and their efforts to survive. I hope this is the first of many novels that take place in the Caribbean this year.

— Christa

The Just City, Walton coverThe Just City

Jo Walton
Tor Books
January 13 2015

I’ve actually only read a bit of Jo Walton’s work before but it was enough to make me a convert for life. Her work always asks really interesting questions about life and humanity. But as an added bonus those questions are wrapped up in extremely compelling stories.

The Just City is about a social experiment started by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene. She has gathered together thousands of children and placed them with hundreds of the best teachers from all of human history. However, a few years into the project Socrates arrives and begins to question the very nature of the City itself. Would a city organized by the best and the brightest actually work? Would it truly be the perfect city?

— Christa

The Girl on the Train coverThe Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins
Riverhead Hardcover
January 13, 2015

Leslie Knope and I have a lot of things in common (don’t we all), a main one being our desire to one day solve a mystery on a train. I love Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and 4:15 from Paddington, and this mystery seems to fall in the overlap of the Murder and Trains Venn Diagram. The premise is that a woman rides the train back and forth to her job in London daily, and with each day she passes a couple sitting in their home. She grows accustomed to them as a familiar sight along her train route. One day she looks to see the couple and notices that the woman is with a different man, and from that day forward is not seen again. And that is the start of the mystery as well as an exploration of the nature of voyeurism.

— Romona

Christa Seeley

Christa Seeley

Books Editor. Maple Flavoured Darth Vader Fangirl.