Sooooo… I’m gonna be honest here. There are, again, a lot of new books out. But there is really only one book I care about this week. Two books, really, if you happen to also like ballet.
What is on your list this week? Anything you think I should check out and have overlooked? (I have likely overlooked the majority of them!)
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust Vol. 1) by Philip Pullman
The much-anticipated new work from the author of The Golden Compass is coming at last!
Renowned storyteller Philip Pullman returns to the parallel world of Lyra Belacqua and His Dark Materials for a thrilling and epic adventure in which daemons, alethiometers, and the Magisterium all play a part.
The Book of Dust will be a work in three parts, like His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass). The book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-loved character Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon.
Philip Pullman offers these tantalizing details: “I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.
“So, second: is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is . . . an ‘equel.’ It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have glimpsed in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.
“Third: why return to Lyra’s world? Dust. Questions about that mysterious and troubling substance were already causing strife ten years before His Dark Materials, and at the center of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free. The idea of Dust suffused His Dark Materials. Little by little through that story the idea of what Dust was became clearer and clearer, but I always wanted to return to it and discover more.”
The books of the His Dark Materials trilogy were showered with praise, and the Cincinnati Enquirer proclaimed, “Pullman has created the last great fantasy masterpiece of the twentieth century.” With The Book of Dust, Philip Pullman embarks on an equally grand adventure, sure to be hailed as the first great fantasy masterpiece of the twenty-first century.
The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
“A dark adventure, stunningly written!” ―Jay Asher, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why
Set against the fascinating and moody backdrop of a mysterious boarding school, this intricately crafted novel is filled with magical realism, gothic settings, and the perfect hint of romance.
Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep in the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master, who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has ever known.
But when flashes of memories – memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading – start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grande Teatro and the motivations of Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.
Debut author Nikki Katz delivers a unique and haunting twist on a classic fairy tale with The Midnight Dance, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads.
Praise for The Midnight Dance, from the Swoon Reads community:
“This is such a fun, well written twisted story… The writing is superb. I love the premise and the Gothic feel to it.” ―Angie Taylor, reader on SwoonReads.com
“So imaginative and unique! This was a joy to read.” ―Anna S., reader on SwoonReads.com
“Well-written and charming with cheeky bits of humor that will engage any fairytale lover.” ―Jennifer McKenzie, reader on SwoonReads.com
“A beautifully written story.” ―Chen Yan Chang, reader on SwoonReads.com