Black Friday #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, McCammon’s Swan Song, Cashore’s Graceling, and Sanderson’s Alcatraz

While the November #WhispersyncDeal roundup continues through the weekend, today’s Whispersync-enabled Kindle Daily Deals include some spectacular speculative fiction for all ages:

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth Book 1) by [Jemisin, N. K.] Swan Song by [McCammon, Robert R.] Graceling (Graceling Realm Book 1) by [Cashore, Kristin] Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians) by [Sanderson, Brandon]

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, read by Robin Miles for $2.99+$4.95 — An absolutely amazing book and audiobook, the start of a new fantasy trilogy by Hugo, Nebula & World Fantasy Award nominated author N.K. Jemisin.

Swan Song by Robert McCammon, read by Tom Stechschulte for $1.99+$3.95 — “Robert McCammon’s prescient and shocking vision of a post-apocalyptic nation, a grand epic of terror and, ultimately, renewal.”

Teens: Graceling by Kristin Cashore, read by David Baker, Chelsea Mixon, Zachary Exton, and a full cast for $1.99+$2.99 — “With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.”

Kids: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson, read by Ramon De Ocampo for $2.99+$3.99 — “Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is the first adventure in a fantasy series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson.”

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November #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Margaret Atwood, Neal Stephenson, Becky Chambers, Joe Hill, Paul Tremblay, Amy Bartol, and more

Before November runs out, take the take to take a break from Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping and pick up a little something for yourself for those long, dark winter nights. There are 510 Whispersync-enabled audiobooks in this month’s Monthly Deals in Kindle Books listings, which is a very, very big number. Here’s what most catches my eye and ear this month:

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, read by Claire Danes for Audible for $2.99+$3.99 “[A] novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population.”

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, read by William Dufris for $1.99+$3.99 — “With this extraordinary first volume in what promises to be an epoch-making masterpiece, Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century. Cryptonomicon is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought and creative daring; the product of a truly iconoclastic imagination working with white-hot intensity.”

 

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“You Want Me to Blow Up the Afterlife?” Dave Reviews City of Blades


City of Blades (The Divine Cities, Book 2)
by Robert Jackson Bennett, Narrated by Alma Cuervo
Length: 20 hours, 27 minutes

The gods have been destroyed. This isn’t myth or ancient history — it happened less than a lifetime ago. They were oppressive and made slaves of much of humanity until the eventual uprising came. But if the gods are all dead, then what happened to the afterlives they created, and those left in them?

But really, I’m only scratching the surface. Straight up: City of Blades is the best thing I’ve listened to thus far this year. What’s so impressive about it is not just the fantastic world building, but all the balls Robert Jackson Bennett is juggling and how timely it all feels in these politically divisive days. There is political unrest, divine terrorism, magical death swords, and best of all: our hero General Turyin Mulagesh. Continue reading

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October #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Lian Hearn’s Emperor of the Eight Islands, Jose Saramago’s Blindness, Rysa Walker’s CHRONOS Files, Seanan McGuire’s Indexing, and more

It’s a pretty lean month for the #WhispersyncDeal monthly roundup, making yet another “almost too late to be useful” post pretty ridiculous. When I finally started looking at the deals in the monthly $3.99 or Less and 50 Kindle Books for $2 Each listings between innings of the Cubs World Series games (yes I just typed that!) I almost decided to just go ahead and skip the month. While great, we’ve seen Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and Slaughter-House Five and Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend before quite a few times. But! The few gems I found made it worth getting this quick little mini-roundup out there, because the few that there are, are really, really good. And! I already had the text bit of my picks from the Downpour.com $3.95 Horror Sale, also expiring on October 31, which I’ve added to the end of the post. Enjoy!

Emperor of the Eight Islands: Book 1 in The Tale of Shikanoko by Lian Hearn, read by Neil Shah for $2.99+$3.99 — Hearn is the author of Across the Nightingale Floor, and Shah is brilliant in her new series: “In the opening pages of the action-packed Book One of Lian Hearn’s epic Tale of Shikanoko series–all of which will be published in 2016–a future lord is dispossessed of his birthright by a scheming uncle, a mountain sorcerer imbues a mask with the spirit of a great stag for a lost young man, a stubborn father forces his son to give up his wife to his older brother, and a powerful priest meddles in the succession to the Lotus Throne, the child who is the rightful heir to the emperor barely escaping the capital in the arms of his sister. And that is just the beginning.”

Blindnes by Jose Saramago, read by the fantastic Jonathan Davis for $2.99+$3.99 — “A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” which spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and raping women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers-among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears-through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. A magnificent parable of loss and disorientation and a vivid evocation of the horrors of the twentieth century, Blindness has swept the reading public with its powerful portrayal of man’s worst appetites and weaknesses-and man’s ultimately exhilarating spirit. The stunningly powerful novel of man’s will to survive against all odds, by the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature.”

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Review: The Dispatcher by John Scalzi, read by Zachary Quinto for Audible

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
Read by Zachary Quinto for Audible

Free until November 2, The Dispatcher is an audio-exclusive short novella from John Scalzi, read by Zachary Quinto — best known for his role as the Nimoy-approved Spock in the recent Star Trek reboot and the menacing, power-stealing serial killer, Sylar, in Heroes — who “brings his well-earned sci-fi credentials and simmering intensity to this audio-exclusive novella from master storyteller John Scalzi.”

The book starts just a bit heavy in the “exposition through dialogue” front, but builds into something pretty good. The speculative element here is completely unexplained — basically, one day, people who are murdered start just going “pop!” out of existence and waking up safe in their own beds. (999 times out of 1000, at least.) So, “dispatchers” stand by during complicated medical operations, or suitably dangerous activity (imagine helmet- and safety-net-free skateboard jumps of near-suicidal intent, and you’ll have a non-spoilery idea), to, er, “dispatch” those dying from mistakes or accidents. There’s some interesting moral questions there, which Scalzi goes a little bit into, but he only teases about the possible cosmological or other questions involved, both in terms of what’s behind what’s going on and/or how it works, and the moral and ethical implications thereof.

Our “dispatcher” here is, pretty much, strong-armed into consulting for a Chicago police detective, looking into a disappearance. Things end a bit too predictably and “pat” or “neat” if you will, but it was engaging enough, and in a short novella there’s only so many twists and turns you can squeeze in. A few comic (usually dark comedy, but still comic!) incidents give one the recommended Scalzian humor quotient, but in the end it’s “merely” a good (free!) yarn. But! The 4+ star thing here is the performance of Zachary Quinto. He was legitimately very, very good here, and! actually his performance shows he was thoughtfully well cast, not just a “hey, what celebrity sci-fi narrator can we find for this Scalzi story?” kind of thing. The disposition one needs to handle being a “dispatcher” — a detached, logical approach — really works when coming from Quinto here, and I look forward to hearing him in future audiobooks if he does keep doing voice work, which I truly hope he does.

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September #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Octavia Butler, Jay Posey, Richard Matheson, R. A. MacAvoy, Jose Saramago, Carl Hiassen, Karen Lord, and more

In the latest crop of the monthly 3.99 or less Kindle titles, there’s 174 Whispersync-enabled deals to check out, with no shortage of fantastic books and audiobooks from classic and current sf to epic fantasy to thrillers and more. When you add the monthly $2 or less listings with its own 52 Whispersync deals, there’s certainly a lot to tempt you as September comes to a close. And! While you’re at it, don’t forget that Audible’s $4.95 members-only “Win-Win” sale was extended through the end of the month as well, and my picks from that crop include The Hobbit and Ray Bradbury. OK, enough preamble, on to the best of this month’s Whispersync deals! (And yes, this is coming out on the last day of the month, again, sorry about that, but do get your shopping done before midnight!)

Bloodchild and Other Stories Audiobook Outriders Audiobook

Bloodchild: And Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler, read by Janina Edwards for $1.99+$3.49 — This book, people. It’s full of amazing science fiction, from the titular “Bloodchild” on and on, with some great author’s notes and a brilliant essay to close. Edwards is a wonderful narrator for Butler’s work here, and this really is one of the 100%, guaranteed, can’t-miss audiobooks I can highly recommend.

Outriders by Jay Posey, read by James Lindgren for $2.99+$3.49 — Out not even 5 months ago, this is a fantastic start to a new series of space science fiction from Posey, the author of the post-apocalyptic Legend of the Duskwalker series. Here it’s a military sf series, with a focus on the “Outriders” a special forces group full of squad roles and tactics, read by new-to-me narrator Lindgren whose narration on this one reminded me quite a bit, in a very good way, of some of Tom Cruise’s science fictional and thriller turns on the big screen. Jack Reacher in space? With clones? “Captain Lincoln Suh died on a Wednesday. And things only got harder from there.”

 

More adult science fiction and fantasy titles I consider most worth checking out:

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Audible’s latest members-only “Win-Win” sale

I had such plans for this month, to get the #WhispersyncDeal roundup out early, and then, well, more and more deals just kept needing to be added, and then this deal rolled out. So, before it’s entirely too late instead of nearly, and before I get to the more “regularly scheduled” Whispersync deals, first up this month is my top 18 picks from a glance through Audible’s Members-Only “Win-Win” sale, with over 200 titles for just $4.95 each. The sale ends September 26, 2016 at 11:59 PM PT (US) so as of this writing there’s just about 36 hours. Get going! UPDATE SEP 26: The deal has been extended through September 30, so! You’ve got a few more days.

The Hobbit Audiobook Fahrenheit 451 Audiobook Off to Be the Wizard Audiobook

UNABRIDGED
  • By J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Narrated by Rob Inglis — “In this fantasy classic, master storyteller J.R.R. Tolkien creates a bewitching world filled with delightful creatures and thrilling dangers. Performed with as much imagination and originality as Tolkien conjured to create this epic, narrator Rob Inglis will hold listeners of all ages spellbound with his skillful portrayal of hobbits, dwarves, and enchanted beasts.”
UNABRIDGED
  • By Ray Bradbury
  • Narrated by Tim Robbins — “Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of 20th-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future, narrated here by Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins.”
UNABRIDGED
  • By Scott Meyer
  • Narrated by Luke Daniels — “It’s a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble. Oh, and boy meets girl at some point. Off to Be the Wizard is a light, comedic novel about computers, time travel, and human stupidity, written by Scott Meyer, the creator of the internationally known comic strip Basic Instructions. Magic will be made! Legends will be created! Stew will be eaten!”

Nine Princes in Amber Audiobook Fuzzy Nation Audiobook Abaddon's Gate Audiobook

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Why Are People Sending You Legs? — Dave Reviews Career of Evil

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, Book 3)
by Robert Galbraith, read by Robert Glenister
Length: 17 hours, 58 minutes
Buy: [ Downpour | Audible | IndieBound ]

“How many people do you know would send you a severed leg in the mail?” an investigating police inspector asks Cormoran Strike just after the detective reported he’d received an appendage in the post.

“Four,” replies Strike, without missing a beat.

Welcome to Career of Evil, the third Cormoran Strike book by Robert Galbraith, a.k.a. J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym. I enjoyed the previous books in this series — but they took their time setting up all the pieces on the board. In this outing, Rowling starts off at a much faster clip than the previous books. The pace is unrelenting — I finished listening to it in five days.

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August #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence, Alex Bledsoe’s Wisp of a Thing, Marko Kloos, Alan Cumming, Tim Powers, and much more

August is almost over, which means it’s #WhispersyncDeal roundup time! Before I get to the regular Monthly Deals in Kindle Books and 50 Kindle Book Deals for $2 Each listings, and the huge list of titles in Audible’s “3 years of daily deals” sale, though, a completely separate deal headlines my picks this month:

Per Tor and Tor.com editor Marco Palmieri, Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence is moving from Tor Books to Tor.com Publishing, and the series-wide $4.99 sale continues through August. The bad news is that only books 1 and 2 (Three Parts Dead, actually just $3.99 in Kindle during the deal, and Two Serpents Rise, both fantastic) are in audio — yes, you’ve seen the other books in my “most missing” roundups ever since — but the good news is that both are Whispersync-enabled, with a $4.49 Audible add-on price tag. “A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart. Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot. Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith. When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts–and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival. Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.” Claudia Alick reads Three Parts Dead, and Chris Andrew Ciulla reads Two Serpents Rise.

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Wednesday’s #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Connie Willis, Diana Gabaldon, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Matthew Reilly

Bit too big of a day to link them all one at a time, so here’s four great deals today to check out:

Blackout (All Clear Book 1) by Connie Willis, read by Katherine Kellgren for $1.99+$4.49 is the first half of the Hugo Award winning time-travel duology Blackout/All Clear: “Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place, with scores of time-traveling historians being sent into the past. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser into letting her go to VE-Day. Polly Churchill’s next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London’s Blitz. But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments and switching around everyone’s schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, and dive-bombing Stukas—to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past.”

Outlander: A Novel by Diana Gabaldon, read by Davina Porter for $1.99+$3.99 — Now a television series on Starz: “Unrivaled storytelling. Unforgettable characters. Rich historical detail. These are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and history that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages. Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.”

Sailing to Sarantium: Book One of the Sarantine Mosaic by Guy Gavriel Kay, read by Bernie Clark for $3.99+$4.49 — First published in 1998, a richly layered fantasy (what else?) from Kay: “Crispin is a master mosaicist, creating beautiful art with colored stones and glass. Summoned to Sarantium by imperial request, he bears a Queen’s secret mission, and a talisman from an alchemist. Once in the fabled city, with its taverns and gilded sanctuaries, chariot races and palaces, intrigues and violence, Crispin must find his own source of power in order to survive-and unexpectedly discovers it high on the scaffolding of his own greatest creation.”

Not a Whispersync deal but rather Audible.com’s Daily Deal today is The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly, read by Rich Orlow for $3.95 — “In the blockbuster and best-selling tradition of Jurassic Park comes the breakneck new adventure from New York Times and number-one internationally best-selling author Matthew Reilly, whose imaginative, cinematic thrillers “make you feel like a kid again; [they’re] a blast” (Booklist). It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for 40 years. They have proven the existence of dragons – a landmark discovery no one could ever believe is real and a scientific revelation that will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing findings within the greatest zoo ever constructed. A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see these fabulous creatures for the first time. Among them is Dr. Cassandra Jane “CJ” Cameron, a writer for National Geographic, and an expert on reptiles. The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that the dragons are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong. Of course it can’t….”

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