Happy Tuesday, shapeshifters and space pirates! Today we’ve got Star Wars book news, an Ursula Le Guin adaptation update, Twitter shenanigans, some very exciting new releases, and a review of Dread Nation by Justina Ireland.
As part of Season 2 of our podcast series Annotated, we are giving away 10 of the best books about books of 2017. Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the image below:
In recent adaptation news:
Ursula Le Guin’s The Telling is being adapted, and Rekha Sharma is going to star in it, and OMG SO EXCITED ALMOST CANNOT BREATHE. The Telling is a personal favorite (and not a bad starting place for Le Guin’s work, if you’re in the market).
And in book news and releases:
We’re getting more big Star Wars books in 2019! I’m very here for Obi-Wan courtesy of Claudia Gray and Amidala via E.K. Johnston.
Books I am particularly excited about that are out this week include:
Ball Lightning by Cixin Liu, which I have finally gotten my hands on; expect a review in the very near future!
Here is your reminder to enter our Recommended giveaway! It’s 16 books, some of them SF/F, all of them great.
And now for my favorite zombie novel of the year so far:
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
I’m a few months behind on reading this one, because that’s how long it took my hold to come through from the library. I’m happy to tell you all that that lengthy hold list is entirely justified: Dread Nation is a clever, engrossing, fast-paced zombie novel, and one that does double duty by taking on racism in the US.
Justina Ireland is a former Book Riot contributor, and I was pretty sure I was going to like this. I wasn’t prepared for how much, though. Ireland imagines what the Reconstruction era might have looked like if the Civil War was ended in part by a zombie outbreak. Jane, her teenaged main character, attends a finishing school right outside of Baltimore — but in addition to learning deportment, she’s also learning how to slay zombies. The school is made up entirely of colored girls, and is just one of many that mandate the training of Native and black citizens to protect white citizenry from the undead scourge.
Jane is good at what she does, but impatient with her life and the school as well. Raised by her mother with a real sense of self and an awareness of how others might treat her, she both speaks her mind and plays to stereotypes as the occasion calls for. Her practicality and her talent in combat serve her well — but not well enough. When she agrees to do a favor for a friend, she discovers a conspiracy aiming to conceal the extent of the zombie threat and to make the lives of persons of color even worse. And that conspiracy is none too keen on being brought to light…
Ireland takes care to give dimensions to all her characters, and Jane is a wry and compelling narrator. The plot takes several twists and turns, a couple of which blindsided me in the best possible way. Whether or not you’re a fan of YA novels, if you love zombie stories you should pick this one up — and join me in anxiously awaiting the sequel!
And that’s a wrap. You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.
May peace favor your sword,