Giveaway: Three books you should read, today

This book has a companion post, which will go up soon, called “three awesome books you should read tomorrow,” in which I will gloat about having read early copies of some of the most-anticipated releases.

But today, I’m going to talk about three truly incredible–and I mean utterly mind-blowing–books that I read in the last month. These books utterly blew me away. And because none of these books is a romance, I don’t know any of the authors. The closest you get is Sarah Rees Brennan, who I (a) met once at a booksigning, and (b) shares an agent with me.

Here you go: incredible books you should read, today.

1. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin.

Okay, I did meet N.K. Jemisin at the Romantic Times booksigning–I went up to her just before the doors opened to babble freakishly and demand a signed copy. This book utterly blew me away. I have read a lot of fantasy–a lot. I’ve been reading fantasy since before I started reading romance. And I have never read anything like this. It winks at the fantasy tropes, and then it turns them around.

This book is about a really awesome woman who is summoned by her grandfather, who happens to be the most powerful man in existence, and told that in a few weeks she will either be the ruler of the not-so-free world, or her cousins will have killed her.

It’s got plot. It’s got characterizations. It’s got romance. And the romance it has–between the main character, who describes herself as someone who is sometimes mistaken for a boy, and the oldest god in the universe, who might actually kill the heroine, just because–is phenomenal. Normally I do not like the “he is so powerful, and he might kill her!” thing because extreme power imbalances between hero and heroine get my skeeves up. But this book is not one where I ever, ever feel that Yeine, the heroine is powerless. Not because she is so almighty and grand and imbued with special snowflake skills and sweet-smelling blood. No; it is because Yeine is empowered, even when she feels most helpless. Love, love, love and adore this book a million times over.

I’m not sure which books to compare this to, because it is like none of them. All I will say is that I put it in the category of Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind, and Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora. It is nothing like either of those books, though, except that it is utterly brilliant. If this is the future of fantasy, I am giddy.

Which is why I have now purchased 4 copies of this book: one in e-format, another in print, so Mr. Milan could read it (he says that it gets 4 1/2 stars, but 3 1/2 Sherman Tanks, it having girly stuff)–and that copy has since been given to my sister–then the signed copy at RT, which no, you can’t have, and then another copy at the bookstore the other day because it looked pretty on the shelf–that copy is the copy I am giving away at the end of this post.

2. The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Okay, so I blogged briefly about the first book in this series. And that first book pretty much kicked ass. It was full of awesome. It made me weep. For reasons that I will not disclose, because they are spoilery, and reasons that I will disclose: because Sarah Rees Brennan is a genius.

The Demon’s Covenant, the sequel, is even better. I did not think it was possible. But it is. The book is so, so brilliant. It is about a girl, named Mae, whose mother is a lawyer and works long, long hours, and whose father ignores them. Naturally, she and her brother get into trouble. You might think that Mae’s pink hair and sassy T-shirts would indicate the sort of trouble she gets into. But no, it’s not that kind of trouble. Jamie’s peer pressure is from magicians: “See, Jamie, you could be cool like us! All you’d have to do to get unlimited power is to kill a few people.”

Needless to say, Mae is more than a little unsettled by this–especially since she’s already sacrificed a great deal to keep Jamie magician-free. And so naturally, she calls the quiet, unassuming fellow at the bookstore, who might also be a bit of a psychopathic killer, to come help.

I started reading this book over dinner. I had a deadline and stuff. I did not stop, and then I had to stay up until 2 AM. Curse you, Sarah Rees Brennan. Curse you, and your incredible skills. Everything I can say about this book is a spoiler, and so all I will say is: Mmmmfffff!!

Mae is the protagonist of this book. And I wasn’t sure about that at first, because I loved Nick–creepy, odd, weird Nick–so much in that first book that I was really frightened to leave his completely unsettling point of view.

Also, I am shipping Alan so hard it is not even funny. I am not even sure what that says about me, but he is such an earnest, geeky little Slytherin, and that so hits every button I have. I am not sure who I am shipping Alan with, but it has to be someone awesome. Like maybe Sin. Why, oh why, do I have to wait for that book?

I bought this book in e-copy. Then I went to the store and I bought another two. One of those I will force upon Mr. Milan. (One of the reasons I married Mr. Milan is the ease of forcing books upon him.) The other, I will give away. Again at the end of this post!

3. The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness.

I don’t know how I heard of this book, but the title intrigued me and so I picked it up. The first three pages–written in this colloquial almost stream-of-consciousness style–kind of annoyed me. Then I started getting into the narrator’s head, and it all just kind of worked.

And oh, how it worked.

The narrator of this book is almost thirteen years old (or is he?). And he is looking forward to becoming a man in a month’s time. In the interim, he has chores to contend with and his very annoying, stupid puppy, named Manchee, who he said he did not want to get.

His dog talks. Manchee is not very smart for a dog–my dog is much, much smarter than Manchee, but Manchee is actually a ruddy good dog, as we come to discover. Todd lives in a place called Prentisstown, which is the only settlement on an entire planet. A little more than a decade ago, there was a bit of biological warfare. The germs that were spread made two things happen: animals all talk (although they’re not very smart), and men–and I do mean, men, not women, all began to broadcast their thoughts, all around them. There’s no privacy any longer. The germ didn’t affect women the same way, though–the women all died instead.

This book is completely, utterly brilliant. I reached the end, screamed, and immediately dashed for book #2, which is winging towards me as we speak. This book was absolutely ridiculously good.

Most of all, I have to say that there was a fair bit of violence in it. I’ve admitted before violence makes me queasy, but this worked for me, mostly because the violence had the real, emotional cost that I think this all takes. Books that don’t recognize that cost–where someone kills someone, however evil, and then blithely moves on–do not work for me. They work for some. But this book was laden with all the shades of emotional and moral complexity that I love.

I haven’t had time to get a second copy of this book, but I will before Friday.

So, here’s the deal: I’m giving away copies of each of these books, to three separate commenters. Post, tell me which one(s) you want, and on Friday I will pick winners. These books are all utterly mindblowingly amazing. I don’t really know any of the authors–something that is rarely true in romance. Edited to add: You can say you want more than one. It will not hurt your chances at the others.

These books are so awesome I cannot resist buying extra copies. You benefit!

Courtney Milan writes historical romances, which might lead people to think that she could be cool. In reality, she's about four different kinds of geeky. At present, this blog is where Courtney applies semi-dormant geek skills to publishing.

38 thoughts on “Giveaway: Three books you should read, today

  1. Ooooh, something totally different in fantasy is really drawing my attention. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin, and thanks for the field research! πŸ˜‰

  2. I’ve been wanting to read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin ever since I read a glowing review on Gossamer Obsessions. Please enter me into the drawing for a copy of this. Thanks!

  3. I’m always looking for awesome, Courtney, so thanks for the recommendations. Don’t include me in the giveaway, though – I don’t need any more items to pack. I’ll buy the Kindle versions.

  4. Awesome giveaway!

    I’d like to be entered for The Demon’s Covenant. I wouldn’t mind The Knife of Never Letting Go either, though. πŸ˜‰

  5. Oooh, I’ve really been wanting to read The Demon’s Covenant! Must know what happens next. Pretty please?

  6. Ohhhh, The Demon’s Covenant needs to be in my life, please! I am currently re-reading The Demon’s Lexicon and my library doesn’t have the funds to buy the sequel (and sadlly neither do I!)

  7. Ooh, commenting for The Demon’s Covenant. Although it’s a tough choice between that and The Knife of Never Letting Go!

  8. I’m supposed to choose one of them??? But, but… You made all of them sound good. I’d go first for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, I guess, but only because you didn’t say that it was part of a series (like I need more books on my ‘must buy’ list!). Then I’d go for The Knife of Never Letting Go. And last The Demon’s Covenant (but only because it sounds like a book 2 and I’d have to get the book 1 first). In other words, I’d take any of them. πŸ™‚

  9. I will ship internationally, yes. And Jami, I think Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is technically part of a series, but the author has described it more as 3 separate books set in the same world, with some overlapping characters from book to book. So, a loose series.

  10. I’d take any of them, but N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms sounds fantastic. Ahh, author recommendations are the best!

  11. I think all three sound ~~awesome~~! (But if I had to choose one to spend a hundred years in a very small room with, it would probably be The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.)

  12. Since I already have the Demon’s Covenant on order (it’s not coming fast enough!), I think I would like to read the Knife of Never Letting Go. Though I would also like to read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Yeah, I’d totally go for either πŸ˜€

  13. Lovely! Please enter me for The Demon’s Covenant and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, thanks!

  14. why did you have to make all the books sound so good? I’m getting back logged on all the books I want to read, but The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms has me very interested. Thanks for the reviews, the contest, and all the great books you’ve written.

  15. I’d like to be entered for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin and The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. These sound like great fantasy.

    I’d go for #2, but I haven’t read the first one.

    As an aside, it’s so hard to shop for books without recommendations. Thank heavens for the internet!

  16. Cool giveaway. They all sound so good. But I would love to be entered for The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan. Thanks!

  17. The Knife of Never Letting Go was so so amazing. I literally have not had a book that blew me away that much in a long time. Super impressive job by Ness. I was the same as you, as soon as I’d set the book down I drove myself to B&N and picked up The Ask and the Answer, and now I am on absolute tenterhooks waiting for the 3rd book. An amazing series! πŸ™‚

  18. Well, I preordered The Demon’s Covenant. [I didn’t know it was out already – wonder where my copy is – will have to check on that] And I’ve got The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms on my PBS wish list. Perhaps I should just break down and buy it?

    I’ve heard good things about The Knife of Never Letting Go, BUT I’m a chicken and must have non-depressing endings and since this is a series, who knows.

    So, I’d probably want The Knife of Never Letting Go because I’m not likely to pick it up on my own. πŸ˜‰

  19. Ohhh, nice!

    I’ll enter for Hundred Thousand Kingdoms~ Thanks for this. πŸ™‚ (If by chance I do win, I’m going on vacation for the weekend so I’ll be slow to respond… here’s hoping! :D)

  20. I would love The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin! This has been on my wish list forever. Thank you for sharing.

  21. I want them all! Because books are so incredibly amazing and each of these three sound like awesome printed onto paper and bound.

  22. What a great giveaway! I seriously co-sign on the awesomeness of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms; I devoured that book. The Knife of Never Letting Go sounds really great, so that would be my pick. Though the Demon’s Covenant sounds really good too… Argh, more books for the TBR mountain!

  23. Wow! I’ve actually wanted to get my hand on The Demon’s Covenant since its release! I read the first book and was just amazed by Sarah’s talent. Can’t wait to see what happens to the characters…. πŸ™‚

  24. Ooh! I loved Sarah Rees Brennan’s first book, and I can’t wait for The Demon’s Covenant. Her sense of humor is awesome (Nick keeping his favorite sword under the kitchen sink), so I would love to be entered for The Demon’s Covenant!

  25. I cannot wait to get my hands on The Demon’s Covenant. The Demon’s Lexicon was so wonderful–after I read it, I handed my copy over to the YA section of our library and said “Force this into the hands of your patrons!” (Bless them, they cannot buy all the wonderful books they need.) But they are used to that from me. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for introducing me to the other two titles. More summer reading.

  26. I commented above, but didn’t realize i should specify wanting a particular one. They all sound fabulous, but The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms would be top of my list.

  27. I have read The Demon’s Covenant and LOVED it, loved it beyond the telling, though I’m doing my best as I flail all over the internet about it. I am reading Hundred Thousand Kingdoms right now and you are right, it is amazing so far in every way.

    Which leaves my entry for Knife of Never Letting Go, which has been on my to-read list for a while! πŸ˜€

    But mostly I just want to say that omg Demon’s Covenant is mindblowing. Thank you for reccing it. <3

  28. Well, I already have The Demons Covenant on order and “ready for dispatch” at Amazon so I’d really like either of the other two The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms or The Knife of Never Letting Go

    Thanks for a great give away and for making it international

  29. I would love The Demon’s Covenant or The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. And because you’re making them sound so good, I think I may cave anyway and buy them!

  30. I want to read The Demon’s Covenant because it’s the sequel to The Demon’s lexicon which is AWESOME. So in theory, TDC MUST be awesome right?

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