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Trope Spotlight: 5 Accidental Child Acquisitions

by Merlin Hoye

Here at Tor, we love stories, and the building block tropes that make them! Today, we’re thinking about The Mandalorian, The Last of Us, and Accidental Child Acquisition.

If you’re going through withdrawal from lack of content involving Pedro Pascal accidentally acquiring a child under extremely dangerous circumstances and then reluctantly growing to love said child so much that he would die for them, we totally get it. Lucky you, we’re here to fill that Pedro-shaped hole in your heart with some equally hot reluctant parental figures!

Check them out here. 


Mistborn by Brandon SandersonMistborn by Brandon Sanderson

In a world torn apart by a despot known only as Lord Ruler, a thief named Kelsier forms a crew to take back the world. Kelsier is a Mistborn, a person with the ability to use Allomancy, or metal magic. When he comes across a girl named Vin with the same unique ability, he begins training her in the arts of Allomancy and crime. Vin has had a hard life and she is initially reluctant to allow herself to grow attached to anyone, but as the two broken souls work together, they soon form a kind of trust that is new to both of them.


The Thousand Eyes by A. K. LarkwoodThe Thousand Eyes by A.K. Larkwood

Without being too plot-specific because The Thousand Eyes is the second and final book in the incredible Serpent Gates Duology—this book is in many ways about getting older, as we all must, and do. Our lives don’t turn out the way we thought, for better or for worse. Sometimes that can involve not being wed and sacrificed to the god of death. Sometimes that means not getting as much time as we would like with those we love. In The Thousand Eyes, a character (who never really learned how to get this whole life thing right so much as always be landing on their feet) finds themselves in a guardian role to the precocious child of a former enemy. The kid is powerful, and reckless, and their mom is scary, but so is their world, and our reluctant, frequently exasperated, and sharply witty guardian might be the ideal candidate to help them prepare for it. 


Pinocchio by Carlo CollodiPinocchio by Carlo Collodi

While there’s nothing accidental about the way Geppetto comes by Pinocchio, he’s kind of the OG when it comes to acquiring a child under unusual circumstances. After the lonely cobbler carves a boy out of wood and gives him a name, he is initially overjoyed when the boy magically comes to life. However, the puppet quickly shows a remarkable capacity for mischief and it isn’t long before Geppetto is rather wishing he could unacquire his new son as soon as possible. Don’t miss T.J. Klune’s wholesome take on the classic tale with In the Lives of Puppets, out next March!


Witch King by Martha WellsWitch King by Martha Wells

Kai is a demon. And he was dead. But after getting rudely re-alived by a particularly inept mage, Kai must rally his few allies in order to figure out what on earth has been going on since his assassination. A power called the Rising World Coalition is growing and Kai’’s ragtag group of demons, witches, and sorceresses sets out to stop them, picking up a plucky street urchin named Sanja along the way. There is no one better at writing prickly, emotional characters than Martha Wells and this is a touching story of loveable monsters who ultimately care greatly about one another.


Vicious by V.E. SchwabVicious by V.E. Schwab

When Victor is released from prison, he has only one thought in his mind – getting even with his best friend-turned-arch-nemesis, Eli. The two were college roommates who conducted dangerous experiments involving supernatural powers and superhuman abilities which eventually landed Victor in jail. With the help of Sydney, a young girl with extraordinary powers, he sets out to track down his old friend who he now blames for his misfortunes. In a story of superpowers gone wrong and morally-grey characters, the relationship between Victor and Sydney is the beating heart. If their budding friendship doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, yes it did. You’re lying.

 

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The Sizzlin’ Summer eBook Deals of June 2023

Summer is great because longer days, which means more sunlight for you to sit outside and read these awesome eBooks—available at steep discount this month only!
Check ’em out!

MistbornPoster Placeholder of - 58 by Brandon Sanderson — $2.99

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark. Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

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The Emperor’s BladesPlace holder  of - 37 by Brian Staveley — $3.99

In The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods. Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it’s too late. An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test….

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Which Dysfunctional Fantasy Crew Should You Join?

by a bunch of raccoons in a trench coat & a cat

Rolling with a fantasy crew is no dream! Surprisingly, conflict management is actually not made easier with magic and swords.

Find out which dysfunctional fantasy crew you ride with by taking this quiz!



And while you’ve got books on the brain, the Moonfall Series by James Rollins is pretty cool. You should read it.

Order The Cradle of Ice Here:

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Series That Ended This Year You Can Binge Read Now!

Here’s one for the marathon readers. The book-jockeys who devour quadruple digit pages in single digit days. Here’s a list of fantasy series that ended this year to satiate even the most voracious word-eater. Enjoy your book binge 😈


Wake the Dragon seriesgods and dragons by Kevin J. Anderson

Co-author of the Dune sequels, Kevin J. Anderson’s Gods and Dragons marks his triumphant return to epic fantasy and magnanimous finish to his epic fantasy Wake the Dragons series.  Two continents at war: the Three Kingdoms and Ishara have been in conflict for a thousand years. But when an outside threat arises—the reawakening of a powerful ancient race that wants to remake the world—the two warring nations must somehow set aside generations of hatred to form an alliance against a far more deadly enemy. 

The Sorceror’s Song trilogyThe Sword's Elegy by Brian D. Anderson by Brian D. Anderson

The Sword’s Elegy is the third book in a new epic fantasy trilogy from successful self-published author Brian D. Anderson, perfect for fans of The Wheel of Time and The Sword of Truth. The doom of humankind has at last been realized. Belkar’s prison is broken and his army is on the move. The nations of Lamoria, unaware of the greater danger, look to repel the aggression of Ralmarstad. In the end, it is not great power, terrible armies, or mighty warriors who will influence the course of fate. But two lovers and the unbreakable bond they share. All questions are answered. All mysteries revealed.

Placeholder of  -55A Chorus of Dragons series by Jenn Lyons

The Discord of Gods marks the epic conclusion to Jenn Lyons’s A Chorus of Dragons series, closing out the saga that began with The Ruin of Kings, for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. Do you like it when demons run rampant? When political intrigue and ancient rituals intersect? How about becoming the living avatar of a star? This epic fantasy series about a long-lost royal whose fate is tied to the future of an empire will take you on a thrilling ride you won’t forget and might not survive. 

Poster Placeholder of - 81The Serpent Gates duology by A. K. Larkwood

The gods remember. And if you live long enough, all debts come due. This epic fantasy series about an orcish death priest who starts a new career as an assassin for a wizard to avoid becoming the god of death’s new bride is an amazing, swashbuckling, screaming-in-frustration, heart-racing cascade of emotion and action. Snake goddesses, ancient ruins, sibling rivalry for the favor of a garbage wizard. What more can you ask for? 

Image Place holder  of - 45The Lotus Kingdoms trilogy by Elizabeth Bear

Hugo Award-winning author Elizabeth Bear returns with The Origin of Storms, the stunning conclusion to her acclaimed epic fantasy trilogy, The Lotus Kingdoms. The Lotus Kingdoms are at war, with four claimants to the sorcerous throne of the Alchemical Emperor, fielding three armies between them. Alliances are made, and broken, many times over—but in the end, only one can sit on the throne. And that one must have not only the power, but the rightful claim.

The Fall of the Gods seriesImage Placeholder of - 91 by Ryan Van Loan

Ryan Van Loan concludes his pulse-pounding fantasy series with sea battles, hidden libraries, warring deities, old enemies, and one woman’s desire for liberation and revenge all wrapped up in one epic novel—The Memory in the Blood. When her quest to destroy the Gods began, Buc was a child of the streets. Now she is a woman of steel, shaped by gaining and losing power, tempered by love and betrayal, and honed to a fine edge by grief and her desire for vengeance. If Buc has to destroy all Gods, eat the rich, and break the world’s economy to save the people, she will do it. Even if it costs her everything.

Mercenary Librarians seriesDance with the Devil by Kit Rocha by Kit Rocha

The Mercenary Librarians and the Silver Devils are back in the explosive conclusion to USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Kit Rocha’s post-apocalyptic action/romance in Dance with the Devil. How to describe the Mercenary Librarians series? Post-apocalyptic corporate autocracy with a rebellious streak of sweet and sexy romance. Rogue information brokers on a mission to save a crumbling America collide with a team of disillusioned AWOL supersoliders. It’s intense. It’s dangerous. It’s hot. 

mysticThe Mystic Trilogy by Jason Denzel

In Mystic Skies, the epic conclusion to Jason Denzel’s The Mystic Trilogy, which spans decades and timeless realms and dreams, Pomella must confront her greatest and most personal challenge yet. For the Deep mysteries of the world will reveal themselves only to the most powerful and dedicated of Mystics. This series from the founder of Dragonmount is perfect for all fans of swords and sorcery. Do you love Robert Jordan? Brandon Sanderson? Dungeons & Dragons? You HAVE to check out The Mystic Trilogy. 

The Caladan Trilogysnek by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

In Dune: The Heir of Caladan, the final book in the Caladan trilogy by New York Times bestselling authors Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, we step into the shoes of Paul Atreides. A boy not yet a man and about to enter a world he could never have imagined. The story that began with Duke Leto Atreides’s rise to power, then continued with the consequences of Lady Jessica’s betrayal, will now conclude with Paul becoming the person that he needs to be to become the Muad’Dib.

Mistborn: Wax and Wayne serieslost-metal by Brandon Sanderson

Return to #1 New York Times bestseller Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn world of Scadrial as its second era, which began with The Alloy of Law, comes to its earth-shattering conclusion in The Lost Metal

The Mistborn series is a bold saga of epic fantasy that asks the question: What happens if the hero of prophecy fails? And also: What if ingesting various metals gave you special powers? 

You simply cannot tell us you’re not curious…

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Tor Books EPIC Holiday Gift Guide For Your Oddball Family

Hello hello, and welcome back to our annual TOR BOOKS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE, where we give you what we think are the best gifts for the hyper specific, super chaotic individuals in your life. From your childhood BFF to your mildly traumatized game master, we have a whole slew of bookish picks for you this holiday season. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays, y’all!

By Rachel Taylor and a cat


For your long suffering GM (Game Master) who just wants a break from your party

Stranger Things' Eddie Munson hosting a session of DnD

via tenor

Anyone who acts as game master for Dungeons & Dragons (or any other TTRPG, to be frank) deserves an award for powering through all the shenanigans their party puts them through. From attempting to fight a dragon with a fork to accidentally leading your party off a cliff, your deeply stressed out GM deserves a cozy novel to help them decompress. Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree is out now and, for an extra little something, you can submit your receipt to get an adorable acrylic charm, a perfect addition to your gift!


For your cousin who remained loyal and never left Tumblr 

Books whimsically flying off a shelf to a concerned-looking guy

via GIPHY

You remember the Tumblr exodus of 2019, and for shame—you were part of it, you fragile soul. But not your cousin. Resolute, they stood by their blog and posted through the long, long night. Three years later, Tumblr is resurging and you need a gift for the one who never lost faith. What’s more Tumblr than magic danger-nerds alternatively hooking up with and hating each other as they conduct research and mainline caffeine and/or alcohol? Redeem your past mistakes with the perfect bookly gifts for your cousin: Olivie Blake’s The Atlas Six and thrilling sequel, The Atlas Paradox.


For the enthusiastic players who got their GM Legends & Lattes

Cartoon Doge Rogue—a 'Dogue'

@lookhuman via GIPHY

You love the players at your table, but even after years of collaborative TTRPG storytelling, you’ve never once anticipated the many ways they have conspired to unravel every plot thread you’ve ever written. How then could you ever predict what they might like as a gift? Easy. Just listen to us: Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald is a fantastic epic fantasy about a girl who can A) see ghosts, and B) turn people into them with an expertly placed arrow, if she takes the mind. Of course, if anyone finds out about her power, she’s dead, and circumstances have led her to become a ward in the monastery of the very warrior-magi that would execute her. Oops! What gamesplayer can resist a quick-paced and twisting tale of magic, adventure, and deceit?


For your ex-boyfriend who’s still blowing up your phone with House of the Dragon TikTok’s

Daemon Targaryen very sexily receiving troubling news that his brother Viserys loves him with the GIF ending frames before he does something evil. I'm so sorry whoever's reading this I'm not perfect

via GIPHY

So your ex-boyfriend (who you’re still friends with, DESPITE THE ADVICE OF OTHERS) just finished House of the Dragon and he won’t stop texting you about how much it sucks to have to wait 2 years for season 2. He’s right, but you can still give him a new epic fantasy to obsess over with The First Binding by R.R. Virdi. At over 800 pages, it’ll keep him busy for quite a while AND it also doubles as a premium bludgeoning weapon for you if he doesn’t appreciate your gift. Win win!


For your chronically-online uncle who needs to stop doomscrolling for his own health

very cool neon void road this artist is so good (@dualvoidanima)

@dualvoidmania via GIPHY

He’s mister doom-and-gloom. If there’s an upsetting tweet, you’ve seen it because he’s retweeted it. You don’t quite know him well enough to be comfortable with direct intervention. You need to gift him Last Exit by Max Gladstone. It’s a book about the death of idealism and the rot that creeps through the cracks of reality like so many corrosively fecund vines. It’s about a generation who thought they would transform the world and failure’s fallout. He’ll still be very DOOM-ful, but in an artistically fun, yet still scary way.


For your brother who is OBSESSED with The Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime

Rosamund Pike casting some overpowered magic. Queen

via GIPHY

So your brother watched The Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime and has fallen down the 14+ book-deep rabbithole that is Robert Jordan’s timeless epic fantasy series. Help him delve even further into the lore with Origins of the Wheel of Time by Michael Livingston! He’ll be able to learn even more about all the mythology and legends that inspired Robert Jordan’s universe and you’ll get some peace and quiet while he’s absorbed in his new book.


For your sister who is always has at least 5 open browser tabs of Ao3 fics

dancing, logging in to ur laptop for fanfiction time!

via Gfycat

Who among us hasn’t spent some time reading fix-it fics on Ao3? Well, no one compares to your sister, who currently has 30 tabs open on her iPhone filled with her favorite OTP falling in love 30 different ways (IF THE SHOW WON’T GIVE THEM A HAPPILY EVER AFTER, THE INTERNET WILL). You can’t buy her the perfect 100 chapter slow burn coffee shop fix-it fic of her OTP, but you CAN buy her Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell! It features all the choicest tropes like mutual pining, slowburn, and fake dating and will be sure to put a smile on her face for the holidays.


For your estranged mother, to subtly let her know that your relationship still requires some Conversations

Lucille Bluth: "If you're saying I play favorites, you're wrong. I love all my children equally."

*Earlier that day* Lucille Bluth: "I don't care for Gob."

via GIPHY & tenor

Do you want to give your mother a gift that’s also a hint about how you feel about your tumultuous parental relationship? Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey is the gift for her! It’s got great thriller vibes, with a daughter coming back to her family home for the first time after her father was arrested for being a serial killer…which she kind of caused. And mom’s still holding a grudge over a DECADE later. It’s got drama, monsters, and enough parallels to make your mom go ‘Wait, is this f*cking play about US?!’


For the loved one in your life who waited 2.5 years to finally see My Chemical Romance live in Fall 2022

dark spell book with eye on the cover it's VERY cool

@KyleeConriquez via GIPHY

A million years ago (Or two and a half. Whatever. Time is meaningless mush) your loved one planned to attend the My Chemical Romance reunion. A show that would eventually be put off and off and off due to ongoing events until earlier this year. It was epic, but you know what else is? Book of Night by Holly Black. Your loved one won’t have to wait 900~ days for this literary event, and just like an MCR show, they’ll want to acquire (more) goth clothes and tattoos after.


For the childhood BFF everyone called a ‘voracious reader’ growing up / anyone who was ‘a delight to have in class’

Matilda reading. "She devoured one book after another"

via Goodreads

Did your childhood BFF simply devour every book in front of her? Is she still That Person whose TBR pile is precariously stacked in the corner of her living room, a threat to anyone who brushes too close? Give her a book to really whet her appetite for reading in The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean, where a very special family literally sustains themselves entirely by eating books. Did we bite a book while reading this to see if we were book eaters? Who’s to say.


For your college best friend with at least one historical quote tattoo

Joan of Arc look at the MET Gala

via GIPHY

Does your college best friend have an encyclopedic knowledge of historical retellings? Do they have, at minimum, one historically linked tattoo that prompts a 20 minute lecture whenever someone asks what it means? Do they have five different editions of The Song of Achilles on their shelf? And most importantly, do they crave a new, queer retelling to sink their teeth into? Look no further! Neon Yang has a Joan of Arc inspired, post-apocalyptic sci-fi story for you. Check out The Genesis of Misery, ​​starring a queer and diverse array of pilots, princesses, and prophetic heirs.


For the ambiguously LGBTQ+ niece whose fashion sense you try to understand, but ultimately makes you feel insecure about how fast you’re aging

wildly cool psychedelic snake meets girl shadow

@yifan via GIPHY

You love them, but no one makes you feel old like your nebulously but definitely queer niece. They’re so cool, and are very helpful in keeping you up to date on the hippest trends, but every time you talk to them, you feel the pent-up years in your joints. Get your niece A. K. Larkwood’s The Serpent Gates series, including The Unspoken Name and The Thousand Eyes. It’s about a gay orc death priestess who rebrands herself as a garbage wizard’s personal assassin and picks up a gods-cursed, magi-baddie mid-adventure. There are cosmic gods, ancient ruins, devious machinations, and a lot of awesome gay stuff.


For the sibling on their third+ rewatch of The Expanse

The Expanse's incredible Naomi Nagata: "I'm using my last remaining brain cells to try and kill my last remaining brain cells."

via GIPHY

We get it. Your sibling buddy is bummed that The Expanse has finished its TV run and is still hopelessly in love with its marriage of adrenaline-flooding action and introspective parsing of human expansion / empire. Again, we do get it, and what you need to get is Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus.


For the nephew who you gifted The Way of Kings to last year

Old book leafing through pages

via GIPHY

Your nephew reads through books at speeds generally known only to muscle cars and lightning, and he needs long fantasy books now! The time required to produce the next installment in an epic series is often as long as the books themselves, which is unfortunate since it’s time for you to gift your nephew another book. Here’s the good news: Brandon Sanderson writes as fast as your nephew reads, and his long-awaited continuation of the Mistborn series, The Lost Metal, is the perfect gift. And then next year you can get him the next Brando Sando, and the book cycle of giving goes on and on and on.

We hope you and your loves ones have a happy and safe holiday season! Did we miss a super niche friend/family member that you want to see a gift for? Let us know in the comments! 

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Bookish Halloween Quiz Medley

by a cat

A favorite part of working at Tor is roughly once a month, we’ll put out a goofy little social media quiz, which is both fun and can also make one feel like they are losing one’s mind in the writing of, because let’s face it: the wilder these things are, the better they perform.

ANYWAY, Halloween rocks, because instead of one fun thematic quiz, we have three, and that’s pretty epic 😎

ANYWAY^2, we’re compiling them all into one feature for your scary season pleasure 🎃

Enjoy!



It’s very important that you read the book that matches your candy taste because this quiz is backed by the coldest hardest candy science, but perhaps more importantly, if you know what happened to the Hubba Bubba Max Sour Double Rasberry flavor, please share with the class. Some of us are both desperate and disparate. For the love of God, Monstresor!



This one was very fun (and slightly time-consuming) to make! Can you crack the code to steal the Liber Noctem from the haunted library? If you find yourself fumbling over the locked display, utterly flummoxed, then perhaps you should conduct a more thorough investigation of the premises.



Ever wonder how you’ll die? It’s a morbid thought, but kinda legendary that we can defy the infinity of death with fun jokes about books! Take this quiz to receive your very own major character death and a hot book rec!

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How Would YOU Die in a Fantasy Novel?

by a cat

What’s a skeleton’s favorite snack? Spare ribs! What’s a perfect book to read this Halloween? Book of Night by #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black.

Truly, it’s a book to die for 😈

So, we made a quiz that’ll tell you how you would die in a fantasy novel! And we’ll give you a book recommendation tailored to each death. It’s totally fun and safe, we promise!



Buy Book of Night Here:

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5 Murderously Magical Mysteries!

by Kaleb Russell

Everybody loves a good murder mystery! The elements of suspense, deception, and ample misdirection coalesce to form a tightly constructed narrative filled with colorful characters and wrapped up in one big murderous plot. Sweeten the pot with some fantasy magic and you’ve elevated one of storytelling’s classic formats to new genre-bending heights. Here are 6 compelling magical murder mysteries that we think you should check out, including The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal, a spacefaring sleuthing tale that’s available to purchase on 10/22/22 and available for pre-order now!


The Spare Man by Mary Robinette KowalThe Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal

Tesla Crane is a brilliant inventor and wealthy heiress—and most importantly—on a delight space-cruise honeymoon with her wonderful husband. When said wonderful husband is arrested on suspicion of on-ship murder, she will leverage her socialite charisma, acumen at banter, penchant for martinis, and assistance from her small service dog to exonerate her husband and uncover the real killer before they strike again.

Place holder  of - 59The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller

Sole survivor of a race of necromancers, Charm is a prisoner of the Emperor with nothing but her children and her bone trees to bring her solace. One day, as the Emperor lays in his deathbed, he gives Charm one final command: learn which one of his conniving sons is his murderer. She can succeed and be set free, but that entails betraying the ghosts of her fallen people in the process. Will she follow the will of her dead master or forsake the sanctity of the empire to sate her hunger for vengeance? The Bone Orchard is a lush and gothically atmospheric work that explores the poisonous nature of empire through the moral compromises it foists upon even those it seeks to quash.

Poster Placeholder of - 64Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Heiress of the Ninth House, Bone witch, and all-around curmudgeon, Harrowhark Nonagesimus is summoned to a haunted house in a far off galaxy along with eight other Noble necromancers and her reluctant cavalier, Gideon, to compete in a game of wit and skill for the Emperor’s favor. It’s not long before characters start dropping like flies. If Harrow and Gideon are to survive, they must solve the mysteries of the house as well as its enigmatic occupants. The first book in Tamsyn Muir’s The Locked Tomb series is an enthralling murder mystery with an explosive finale that’ll leave you aching for more.

Image Place holder  of - 12The Alloy Of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Set 300 years after the events of the original trilogy, the world of Mistborn is in the modern age—cities teeming with electricity-powered street lamps and steel-framed skyscrapers touching the stratosphere. We follow Wax, a vagabond from the Roughs forced to return home to Elendel after a family tragedy requires him to holster his guns and assume the responsibilities befitting the head of a noble family. Wax quickly realizes life in a sweeping metropolis can be just as treacherous as the Roughs. In Sanderson fashion, The Alloy of Law is a fast-paced mystery with high stakes, dynamic magic, and gunfights galore.

Placeholder of  -66Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey

A little bit Veronica Mars and a little bit The Magicians, Magic For Liars is about an unhappy, magicless P.I. named Ivy Gamble who ventures to Osthorne Academy for Young Mages to investigate a gruesome murder and maybe even reconnect with her estranged twin sister who just so happens to be a teacher there. Sarah Gailey’s debut novel promises thrills, heartache, and a devastating ending.

Image Placeholder of - 68Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

In this 21st century fantasy, Gods deal and compete with corporations for power and control as necromantic lawyers levy dark magic to litigate their conflicts. Fresh out of law school, Tara Abernathy’s first job as an associate of the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao is to resurrect the deceased fire god, Kos, before pandemonium sets in and the city of Alt Coulumb crumbles from the pressure. When Tara learns the God was murdered, she recruits a chain-smoking priest of the dead god named Abelard to help find the culprit and save the city. Like the other books in Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence, Three Parts Dead is an insanely smart, dashingly elegant legal thriller that’ll keep you guessing all the way to the huge finale, and pondering the nature of faith weeks after you’ve witnessed it.

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$2.99 eBook Sale: October 18-24, 2021

Ready for some ebook deals?! Check out which books you can snag for only $2.99 from October 18-24!


Place holder  of - 28Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Hunters of Dune and the concluding volume, Sandworms of Dune, bring together the great story lines and beloved characters in Frank Herbert’s classic Dune universe, ranging from the time of the Butlerian Jihad to the original Dune series and beyond. Based directly on Frank Herbert’s final outline, which lay hidden in a safe-deposit box for a decade, these two volumes will finally answer the urgent questions Dune fans have been debating for two decades.

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Image Placeholder of - 90Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Prince Kiem, a famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild, has been called upon to be useful for once. He’s commanded to fulfill an obligation of marriage to the representative of the Empire’s newest and most rebellious vassal planet. His future husband, Count Jainan, is a widower and murder suspect. Neither wants to be wed, but with a conspiracy unfolding around them and the fate of the empire at stake they will have to navigate the thorns and barbs of court intrigue, the machinations of war, and the long shadows of Jainan’s past, and they’ll have to do it together.

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Image Place holder  of - 54Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army. Far from Earth, a war has gone on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force, which shields the home planet from too much knowledge of the situation. What’s known to everybody is that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. If you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own. John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine-and what he will become is far stranger.

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Placeholder of  -82The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

When the inhabitants of a peaceful world are conquered by the bloodthirsty yumens, their existence is irrevocably altered. Forced into servitude, the Athsheans find themselves at the mercy of their brutal masters. Desperation causes the Athsheans, led by Selver, to retaliate against their captors, abandoning their strictures against violence. But in defending their lives, they have endangered the very foundations of their society. For every blow against the invaders is a blow to the humanity of the Athsheans. And once the killing starts, there is no turning back.

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Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Deadmen Walking is the first historical fantasy title in New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Deadman’s Cross series. It is a tale of passion and loss, emotions that wound and heal…and ultimate redemption

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Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.

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Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

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Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha

Nina is an information broker with a mission—she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America. Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he’s fighting to survive. They’re on a deadly collision course, and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process…Or they could do the impossible: team up.

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The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

In The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

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Disciple by Walter Mosley

Hogarth “Trent” Tryman is a forty-two-year-old man working a dead-end data entry job. Though he lives alone and has no real friends besides his mother, he’s grown quite content in his quiet life, burning away time with television, the internet, and video games. That all changes the night he receives a bizarre instant message on his computer from a man who calls himself Bron. At first he thinks it’s a joke, but in just a matter of days Hogarth Tryman goes from a data-entry clerk to the head of a corporation. His fate is now in very powerful hands as he realizes he has become a pawn in a much larger game with unimaginable stakes—a battle that threatens the prime life force on Earth.

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The Walter Whites of Fantasy

Some fantasy protagonists aren’t in the hero business, they’re in the EMPIRE business.

AMC’s Breaking Bad set the gold standard for protagonist turned antagonist with Walter White, the dopey science teacher turned criminal mastermind slash violent drug lord (which I’m pretty sure is what his business card said, or would say, if criminal masterminds slash violent drug lords had business cards).

But the fantasy genre has plenty of Walter Whites as well. Though they may not run a meth lab out of the back of an RV, they’ve betrayed just as many of their closest friends, and caused just as many explosions. Here’s a run-down of some of our favorites, who either turned from good/neutral to evil throughout a book series, or villains who were revealed to have gone through such a transformation before the main story started (Walter Whites of their own narratives).

As you can imagine, this post will have some mild spoilers, but we’ve done our best to keep them as light as possible. Unlike these characters’ misdeeds.

By Julia Bergen


Image Placeholder of - 48Baru Cormorant, from The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Baru starts out even more innocent than Walter White did, and though the series isn’t finished yet, she’s well on her way to becoming even more brutal. The series begins with Baru as a happy child who has faced little adversity, living in a picturesque sea-side village with her mother and two fathers. When an empire shows up, kills one of her fathers, and starts a harsh rule that outlaws the most important parts of Bau’s life, she vows to rise up within the empire’s ranks and bring them down from within. What sets Baru apart from most fantasy characters with this same goal is that she is forced to do some truly awful things and changes as a person because of them. By the time this series is over, it seems likely she will have no problem busting out the ricin poison.

Poster Placeholder of - 17Daenerys Targaryen, from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

To be fair, I’m basing this from the TV series since the book series hasn’t finished Daenery’s story, but even in the books you can start to see Martin setting Daenerys up to go full Walter White. Getting what you want by fire and blood doesn’t generally end in a tea party. Daenerys starts out as a teenage girl living in exile, married off for political reasons, who just wants to live a safe, happy life. Throughout the events of the books, we see her come into her own power, first becoming the leader of a Dothraki army, then queen of the city of Meereen. Along the way she executes many, often using her dragons, and though her victims generally deserve it, it’s easy to see how burning people alive when necessary could get out of hand fast. If Daenerys thought letting someone choke on their own vomit would be for the greater good, she would totally do it.

Image Place holder  of - 5Holland Vosijk, from the Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab

Oh, Holland. He’s had such a hard life. He starts out as the main antagonist of A Darker Shade of Magic, but throughout the trilogy we learn so much more about his backstory, and how his actions were not always within his control. As the series goes on, details of Holland’s life before his ill-fated meeting with the Dane siblings reveal that he used to be optimistic and kind-hearted, even on the cruel streets of White London. He does get something of a redemption, but that just makes him even more like Walter White (if you accept that the last few episodes weren’t a dream). Still, he does a lot of genuinely evil things, and happily lets other people die if it means getting what he wants.

Place holder  of - 74The Lord Ruler, from the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

When we meet The Lord Ruler he’s in his final Walter White mega-evil phase. He’s a brutal king, using harsh punishments to prop up the noble houses and keep everyone else destitute. However, throughout the series it turns out that some of the things The Lord Ruler had done had actually been part of a much larger conflict between forces older than history. And he hadn’t always been a vicious dictator. At the beginning, he had wanted to save the world, but that came at a price he couldn’t imagine. The Lord Ruler may have actually been more vicious than Walter White, though part of that was supernatural forces upping his evil quotient.

Placeholder of  -29The King in Red, from The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone

The King in Red definitely paints a more evil image than Walter White – it’s hard to imagine something more menacing than a skeleton in a red cloak, especially one with the ability to create a dragon fueled by the souls of his debtors, even if Bryan Cranston did master the evil glare. The King in Red wasn’t always a heartless overlord, though. The books heavily imply that once he was just a powerful craftsman in loving relationship. It wasn’t until the gods killed his boyfriend that he became obsessed with destroying them, and then once that was basically fully accomplished, ruling in their place. The King in Red would definitely agree that he’s in the empire business.

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