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Escape the everyday with these library reads

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library Local History Librarian. This week’s column features new adult fiction in the sci-fi/fantasy category. Why not try one and escape the everyday?

The Harp of Kings is a Warrior Bards Novel by Juliet Marillier. Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player and, at eighteen, she is eager to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. Her brother has a voice that can melt the coldest of hearts and he has a rare talent for the harp. The siblings train together and compete for their place on the elite fighting force. Their unusual skills make them ideal for undercover work as traveling minstrels. Liobhan and her brother are tasked with finding and retrieving a precious harp that symbolizes kingship. If the instrument is not played during the next coronation, then the heir will not be accepted, and the kingdom will be thrown into disarray. Faced with plotting courtiers, tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a vulgar crown prince, Liobhan begins to suspect otherworldly forces meddling in human affairs.

Fortuna is the first in a new space opera trilogy by Kristyn Merbeth. Scorpia Kaiser seems to be living in her brother Corvus’ shadow until the day he abandons their family to participate in a profitless war. However, becoming the heir to her mother’s smuggling operation is not an easy transition for the rebellious, usually reckless, and sometimes drunk pilot of the Fortuna. The aging cargo ship is the only home Scorpia has ever known, but her plans for taking over the family business are interrupted when Corvus returns from the war and a deal goes south. Now, the Kaiser siblings are forced to make a choice: take responsibility for their family’s involvement in a massacre or lie low and hope it all blows over. Too bad Scorpia doesn’t back down from a fight.

Deborah Hewitt delivers a magical romp with The Nightjar. Alice seems to be haunted by visions of birds. These have been with her all her life, but one day a mysterious stranger named Crowley appears at her door. He tells her that she is seeing nightjars—the miraculous birds that guard our souls. It turns out that a shadowy faction wants to use Alice’s gift to seek out those who are magically gifted. Now on the run, Alice follows Crowley into an incredible alternate London that exists alongside her own modern city. There she learns to hone her talents, but she cannot be sure that Crowley is trustworthy. She will risk everything to navigate the dangerous world of magic, marvels, and death cults.

The Nothing Within by Andy Giesler is a rural dystopian novel exploring post-apocalyptic Amish country. Would you commit an unforgivable sin to save the world? In the year 2161, the first chimera arose. A year later, twelve billion people are dead and the few who survived called it the Reckoning. Their descendants hide within the walls of small, rustic villages, hiding in fear from the chimeras. They revere tradition and eschew innovation. They especially mistrust anything that is different. Root couldn’t be more different and, although, she is frustrated with wall-bound life, she grudgingly accepts it—until she hears a voice that no one else can hear. This is where Root’s journey will take her into the wilds to discover the truth: that her world has been twisted by the very people trying to save it.

Melinda Rucker Haynes delivers a rip-roaring novel with Bitten: Confessions of a Menopausal Vampire. Kristen’s fiancé, Rick, pulls a Houdini and disappears. Years later, her husband deserts her for a younger woman. Kristen is disgusted with life itself and is menopausal to boot. When Rick comes sweeping back into her life still young and handsome, she accepts a date with him. Blame it on the raging hormones, but she wakes up in the morgue as an illegally made vampire. Now, Rick must hide his mistake, or everyone dies. Kristen refuses to go quietly into the dark and undead underground. Because of her age, lack of estrogen, and other physical and mental anomalies, she is an unusually powerful vampire with none of the normal limitations. Time to take on that bucket list of people who have done her wrong…

Realm of Ash is a fantasy novel by Tasha Suri. The Ambhan Empire is crumbling, and a terrible war of succession lingers on the horizon. The only hope lies in the realm of ash, where mortals can find what they seek in the echoes of their ancestors’ dreams. But the price to be paid when walking there is a steep one. Arwa is determined to make the journey. Widowed by a brutal massacre, she has pledged allegiance to the royal family and is determined to see the pledge through. She is joined by Zahir, the disgraced, illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden magic in his desperate struggle to save his loved ones. Their shared past lies along a bloody path and it will call into question all they believe—including whether the Empire is worth saving at all.