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All you need for your June reading

June is particularly an exciting month for science fiction readers.

Readers are still buzzing about Eruption by Micheal Crichton and James Patterson (June 3). Crichton wrote Jurassic Park. He also died in 2008 of cancer. However, he left several unfinished projects, including a 20-year-old manuscript exploring the eruption of Earth’s biggest active volcano.

Crichton’s widow Sherri runs an organization (CrichtonSun) that manages her husband’s intellectual properties. She gave Patterson her husband’s research and he returned with an outline for Eruption. Here is the problem. Patterson has developed a reputation for sub-contracting his books.

Apparently, most of his modern novels are ghostwritten, which explains their questionable quality. As such, some readers have refused to buy Eruption, because of Patterson’s involvement.

Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky (June 4) could not be more different. Tchaikovsky wrote the award-winning Children of Time. His releases always excite readers. Service Model takes audiences to a dystopian future in which a nasty download compels a domesticated robot to murder its owner.

Suddenly alone and purposeless, the robot in question goes on the hunt for a new human to serve. Early reviews have called Service Model a charming, fast-paced adventure with subtle social commentary. At 348 pages, the novel is a quick read. Hell for Hire by Rachel Aaron (June 4) deserves a mention because the cover art is awesome.

For some reason, it brings Dante (Devil May Cry) to mind. The book takes readers to a world in which Gilgamesh (Ancient Mesopotamian King) conquered the afterlife and turned the mortal plane into a hellscape for those who opposed him. The protagonist is a forest wizard who hires a crew of mercenaries to protect him as he prepares to confront a deadly threat.

Because this is urban fantasy, you get some fairly common tropes. For instance, the good guys are demons fighting against a heavenly enemy. Many reviewers have commended the book for its ‘cozy feel.’ The characters are surprisingly relatable. Daughter of the Merciful Deep by Leslye Penelope (June 4) is a historical fantasy novel set in the American South in the early 1900s, so naturally, heightened racial tensions play a significant role in the plot.

The author highlights a practice from America’s history in which the powers that be would deliberately submerge black towns using man-made lakes. Jane Edwards, the protagonist, migrated to an all-black town when armed raiders expelled every black resident from her community. Jane, who has not spoken since she was 11, leaps into action when she learns that a dam will eventually bury her home under a new lake.

But can she afford to trust the strange man with the mysterious abilities? He just arrived but he keeps asking bizarre questions. What does he know of the sunken world with its myths and gods? Can he save Awenasa?

As with her previous books, Lesleye uses Daughter of the Merciful Deep to highlight historical elements that modern audiences typically ignore. Release the Wolves by Stefan Bachmann (June 25) is aimed at younger readers and it honestly sounds like the kind of novel I would have loved in my teenage years. Varen, the setting, was conquered by the Elduari a thousand years ago.

The Elduari have maintained control of Varen by releasing bloodthirsty monsters in the kingdom every few generations. But they can’t maintain their stranglehold for much longer.

Argo has joined forces with a mysterious monster hunter to stop the next release. Argo is convinced that another release is coming sooner than anyone expects because a monster killed his friend during a routine patrol. But if Elduari spies catch wind of his actions, thousands could die.

Now that I’m thinking about it, Release the Wolves sounds like the literary version of Attack on Titan. Anyway, that will do for now. Happy reading.


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