2012 is going strong with debut novels, and April doesn’t look like it’ll be a letdown, either. Don’t forget to take the time to suggest debut novels you’ve found particularly good this year for the William C. Morris Award consideration. Interestingly, this month seems to be filled with a lot of stories about defying death.
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin, 9780547628349) is the first in the His Fair Assassin trilogy. Ismae is 17, and she’s involved in a brutal arranged marriage. Lucky for her, she’s able to escape to St. Mortain convent–except this is not necessarily the kind of convent one expects. Sure, the sisters worship the gods, but Ismae learns she’s been blessed with a special talent from the god of Death. Now she has to make a choice: stay at the convent, train as an assassin, and become a handmaiden to Death or escape. When she chooses to become an assassin, she faces an even bigger hurdle in having to decide whether or not to kill someone who matters to her.
Moving from assassins to angels, Scott Speer’s Immortal City (Penguin/Razorbill, 9781595145062) follows hot Angel Jackson as he prepares to take on the duties as a Guardian. In this city, everyone wants to be watched over by an Angel because they carry with them good luck and protection. Maddie, though, doesn’t buy into the lore at all, and her skepticism is what leads Jackson to be interested in her. Maddie doesn’t know he’s a Guardian, and of course, when they fall in love, she’s shocked and surprised to learn the truth. But here’s where the twist is: when a serial killer is loose in the city, Jackson is powerless and Maddie might be the one who has to protect him. This looks like it’ll appeal to fans of paranormal books, as well as those who cannot get enough angel lore.