Whispers Under Ground, The Diviners, A Spell for Chameleon

NEW: WHISPERS UNDER GROUND, Book Three in the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch (Del Ray, 2012)

This series follows Peter Grant, a young officer in London’s Metropolitan Police who, after encountering a ghost, is recruited into a small branch of the Met that deals with magic. In Book Three:

A dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects… except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful… and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.

If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, Rivers of London (entitled Midnight Riot in North America), and Moon Over Soho, this is one of those series where starting at the beginning is probably better than jumping in midstream. Robert, a community reviewer on Goodreads, warned, “I’d definitely recommend starting at the beginning for anyone interested in this series… There isn’t a huge amount of direct plot continuity, but without reading the first two, you’ll probably find this book quite bewildering.” If three books sounds like a big commitment, not to worry; amongst many other community reviewers, Mackenzie assured us, “Probably my favorite of the three Peter Grant books so far. Definitely one of my favorite books of the year.” Of the whole series, Jesse, another community reviewer, said, “It’s the amazing mix of history and myth all told in the crisp funny voice that keeps you totally hooked from the first sentence to the last.”

The first five chapters is available on Scribd for 50 Page Fridays. Order it from these popular booksellers:


SOON: THE DIVINERS by LIbba Bray (Little, Brown, September 18, 2012)

I’ve been a big fan of Libba Bray since her debut novel, A Great and Terrible Beauty, the start of the Gemma Doyle trilogy set in a fantasy-infused Victorian era. After that, Bray wrote Going Bovine, about a dying teenager on a quest to cure his illness, and then Beauty Queens, about fifty beauty pageant contestants stranded on a desert island.  I think everything she’s written is excellent, even applauded her for maneuvering genres so skillfully, but I have to say I’m stoked for her return to historical fantasy:

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult—also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer—if he doesn’t catch her first.

Laura, a community reviewer on Goodreads, said, “The Diviners is a weighty book—608 pages, and every one of them exploding with character, worldbuilding, and fantasy. Sometimes it’s a little too easy to get overwhelmed by the backstory and lore, but the book is always powerfully grounded in the characters…The second this book lands in September, run out and buy it. The only thing you’re risking is a sleepless night of picturing Naughty John hiding in your bathroom.” Mel, another community reviewer, agreed, “The descriptions of the city and the mysterious locations where the characters land are vivid and believable. Long before the end of the book, the reader feels like an old friend of the major players.” Paramount has already optioned the entire planned four-book series before The Diviners even hit the shelves. Nicole, another community reviewer, explained, “It’s no surprise… each chapter is more cinematic than the last.”

An excerpt of The Diviners, along with a book trailer, is available at EntertainmentWeekly.com. Look for this book on September 18 or preorder:


CLASSIC: A SPELL FOR CHAMELEON, Book 1 in the Xanth series by Piers Anthony (Del Ray, 1977)

This is the first of thirty-six books by Anthony set in the world of Xanth, where every citizen has their own unique magical ability and fantastic beasts abound.

Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled–where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn’t find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent. Unfortunately, no one could determine its form. Meanwhile, Bink was in despair. If he didn’t find his magic soon, he would be forced to leave…

Scurra, a community reviewer on Goodreads, said, “One Xanth novel often contains more ideas than some novelists manage in an entire career. He plays with multiple character viewpoints in subtle patterns. He slips in forward and backward references to other novels let alone the current plot. He creates huge plot-holes for himself and then delights in tidying up the loose ends and inconsistencies further down the line. The list goes on.” Another community reviewer, Jamie, shared this lovely story, “I was talking with a student about Piers Anthony, her favorite author, and she recommended that I read this one. Then she loaned me her copy—a battered, falling apart paperback, much loved and much read. I read it in one day, and delighted in it. It’s fantasy for those who think the fantasy genre is kind of hokey. It’s full of puns and cleverness and reminded me a bit of The Odyssey in the sheer range of adventures that our poor hero Bink finds himself entwined in. Light, fun reading.”

The easiest way to read an excerpt of A Spell for Chameleon is to Look Inside on Amazon. Order this book from these popular booksellers:

Tell us about which New, Soon, and Classic Fantastic books you’re excited about. We want to include them on FairyRoom!