Another Trip to Oz, Plus SF, Fantasy, Horror, & Dystopia Previews, Oct. 2021, Pt. 5 | Prepub Alert

Big-name authors deliver out-of-this-world entertainment.

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Brooks, Terry. Child of Light. Del Rey: Ballantine. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780593357385. $28. Downloadable. FANTASY

Big news here: post-Shannara, Brooks is launching an all-new fantasy series. For fourcover of Brooks's Child of Light years, 19-year-old Auris Afton Grieg has been locked away in a dank, nasty prison with little memory of her past and will soon age out into the reputedly horrific adult prison. She manages to escape before being transferred and is rescued by a Fae, who claims she is one, too, and takes her to a magical land. Brooks got the idea for this story while working on something else and poured it out in fourth months; here’s betting it will grab readers, too.

Carson, Scott. Where They Wait. Emily Bestler: Atria. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781982104627. $27. CD. HORROR

Hustling for some money after he’s laid off from his newspaper, war correspondent Nick Bishop accepts a job profiling a new mindfulness app called Clarity. It features white noise, guided meditations, and eerily delivered Sleep Songs less calming than agitating, which brings Nick nightmares and begins upending his waking life. Then he learns that Clarity’s creators are less interested in his article than in him. From the pen-named Carson, a New York Times best-selling author and screenwriter; with a 60,000-copy first printing.

Dalcher, Christina. Femlandia. Berkley. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780593201107. $27. Downloadable. DYSTOPIAN

When her husband brutally abandons her even as their homeland descends into economic chaos and violence, Miranda Reynolds does the unthinkable: she moves with her 16-year-old daughter to Femlandia, a women-only colony founded by Miranda’s mother. Decidedly off the beaten path, the colony is safe and thriving but presents an increasingly disturbing mystery for Miranda: with no men allowed, how are babies being born, and why are they all girls? Readers of linguist Dalcher’s attention-getting Vox and Master Class will appreciate the ongoing themes of women and children’s rights and issues of control.

Ellis, Lindsay. Truth of the Divine. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781250274540. $28.99. SF

In fan-mobbed, Hugo-nominated video essayist Ellis’s follow-up to her New York Times best-selling Axiom’s End, aliens have arrived amid humans but are not forthcoming about where they are from or why they are here. Then something else vividly crash-lands on Earth, and curious Cora and her father’s friend, two-time Pulitzer prize finalist Kaveh Mazandarani, end up bonding when they are taken hostage and pulled into an interstellar battle. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Maguire, Gregory. The Brides of Maracoor. Morrow. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780063093966. $28.99. lrg. prnt. FANTASY

Ten years after the “Wicked Years” waved good-bye with Out of Oz, Maguire sends us spinning back to those wizardly lands with a new trilogy set 25 years after Wicked first landed. Here, Elphaba’s emerald-skinned granddaughter, Rain, washes up on a foreign island and is taken in by a community of single women with secret religious practices of their own. Did her arrival lead to the subsequent assault by a mysterious navy? What kind of magic is at work? With a 125,000-copy first printing.

Starling, Caitlin. The Death of Jane Lawrence. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781250272584. $27.99. HORROR

All Jane Shoringfield wants is a marriage of convenience that will allow her to live as independently as possible, and she believes she’s found the perfect husband in handsome if decidedly solitary doctor Augustine Lawrence. His only condition is that she never visit him at Lindridge Hall, his tumbledown family manor in the sticks. But circumstances land her at his door in a thunderous downpour on a dark, dark night, and what she discovers there should be worthy of a Bram Stoker and Locus Award nominated author. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Book Review; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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