Dirigibles, Steampunk, Demons, Oh My!

I do so love a good debut or two. Farlander by Col Buchanan, the first in a new series, introduces a steampunk world with basic pistols, dirigibles and acid rain pollution along with the standard fantasy trappings. There's a corrupt and evil empire and an order of assassin monks, the Roshun, who will sell the wealthy and paranoid an amulet. If the person wearing and bonded to the amulet dies by anything other than natural causes the monks will provide blood vengeance. The murderer will die and no other person will need to start a blood feud. Given how often everyone seems to expect the services of the Roshun to be needed, those that purchase an amulet aren't really being all that paranoid. Farlander isn't absolute perfection - there's a little new novel roughness. For example, there's never any doubt that the evil empire is Evil... and enjoying it. But it is interesting, fast-paced and fun. Find out what happens next in the recently released book two: Stands a Shadow.

I recently read J.M. McDermott's second novel Never Knew Another. There are children of demons whose blood and sweat corrupts the very ground. Touching one will sicken and eventually kill any human.  The demon-sired children are being hunted down by a priestly order of skin-walkers, wolfish even in human skin. It is death to aid a demon and death to be a demon - even if all you want to do is hide and not hurt anybody. The wolf priests find it necessary to burn down contaminated buildings or even entire sections of town to purify the corruption. They count the resulting human pain and loss as no more than a minor pity. The humans still have their lives after all. The church will see they don't starve or freeze to death, so even if someone loses everything, they are at least alive, and not spreading the demon sickness. 

It's a little different for the genre. The writing style is meant to convey the not-quite-human perspective of the wolf priestess. The author seems to be aiming for literary fantasy. It's very fast paced: I was 100 pages into it the first time I sat down with it. It's the first in a series and I'm really looking forward to book two. The author's first book, Last Dragon, came out in 2008 and I'm putting a hold on that first unrelated stand-alone title just on the strength of writing in this book.