Young adult novels seem to have the market cornered on dystopian novels which makes Pierce Brown’s debut novel Red Rising something of anomaly. Set in a future where social castes are color coded Red Rising is a an adult-targeted dystopian novel about revenge and justice.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow–and Reds like him–are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power.nbsp; He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

To give this novel a shot see the full excerpt here.

While plenty of anecdotal evidence exists that books are good for you apparently has taken until now for scientists to attempt to actually codify how they are good for you.  The article linked below discusses a study at Emory University which examined brain activity (via fMRI) after reading Robert Harris’ 2003 novel Pompeii
Brain function ‘boosted for days after reading a novel’ – Science – News – The Independent.

The Kept is the first novel of author James Scott. A bleak novel about revenge it has been drawing comparison to everything from True Grit to the works of Cormac McArthy. With starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly James Scott looks like he is going to be an author to watch.

The Kept by James Scott

In the winter of 1897, Elspeth Howell treks across miles of snow and ice to the isolated farmstead in upstate New York where she and her husband have raised their five children. Her midwife’s salary is tucked into the toes of her boots, and her pack is full of gifts for her family. But as she crests the final hill, and sees her darkened house and a smokeless chimney, immediately she knows that an unthinkable crime has destroyed the life she so carefully built.

Her lone comfort is her twelve-year-old son, Caleb, who joins her in mourning the tragedy and planning its reprisal. Their long journey leads them to a rough-hewn lake town, defined by the violence both of its landscape and of its inhabitants. There Caleb is forced into a brutal adulthood, as he slowly discovers truths about his family he never suspected, and Elspeth must confront the terrible urges and unceasing temptations that have haunted her for years. Throughout it all, the love between mother and son serves as the only shield against a merciless world.

A scorching portrait of guilt and lost innocence, atonement and retribution, resilience and sacrifice, pregnant obsession and primal adolescence, The Kept is told with deep compassion and startling originality, and introduces James Scott as a major new literary voice

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So, normally I try and not list whole series but with November and December typically being rather sparse in terms of new books I thought I would capitalize on this weeks release of The Chosen Seed, the third book in Sarah Pinborough’s Forgotten Gods series to highlight the whole series rather than just the latest book.

What is it?

A blistering blend of noir, dark fantasy, and near-future horror. This is a difficult series to pin down but one that fans of dark genre fiction should read. This is supernatural fiction at its best.

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Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis

OK, so Ian Tregillis’ Something More Than Night doesn’t release until December 3rd but, it being a holiday week and all, my choices of new books is fairly slim.

What is it?

I first read Ian Tregillis’ Bitter Seeds (a alternate-history fantasy set during World War 2 involving magic and Nazi super-science) when it first came out and thought it was an amazingly accomplished debut novel with a deep, realistic world and believably flawed characters. Something More Than Night is a departure from his Milkweed Triptych series and is a hardboiled mystery full of angels and murder.

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