I've been very vocal about my love for Gail Carriger's Soulless, my only Publishers Weekly starred review for 2009. And I've hand-sold quite hard Lori Handeland's Phoenix Chronicles. At the bookstore I hand-sold about 50 copies to date of the former - and because of that sales record the store will be sent roughly the same number of copies of the sequel, Changeless. As for Handeland's series, I've sold roughly 3 1/2 dozen of book one, somewhat less of book two, and less still of book three.
Part of the problem is that with an urban fantasy series, you can't sell books two or three without selling book one. Because we haven't had many copies of each book at one time, I can't often do what I managed to do during my last two shifts: sell all three together. Most readers new to the series, though, take a slower approach and simply buy book one. When they come back, we don't have books two or three, and they end up ordering copies online, or they go elsewhere. It's tough because the series is very much a sleeper; I can only hope it catches on, and with Keri Arthur's Riley Jenson series coming to an end in June, there will be one less series with which it must compete.
Last week I read Changeless, which is terrifically funny, very visually Steampunkish, and, like Soulless before it, pitch perfect. The cliffhanger ending is its only flaw, but I'm sure all will be resolved in book three (Blameless), to be published at the end of summer. But back to Changeless...there's a moment during which a rather clueless character remarks about the love between "Pyramid and Thirsty" that so reminded me of A Midsummer Night's Dream that I marveled at Carriger's skill. (My daughter has so far been the only one to "get" the reference, which surprised me as those I asked were literate folk.)
I've not yet read Chaos Bites, although I did read the excerpt Handeland has up on her site. As expected, it was exciting, intriguing, and sexy, and I look forward to reading it as soon as it goes on sale. Because it's such a sleeper series, though, I worry about its long-term success and whether or not the author will be given the opportunity to take it where she wants it to go. At the author's website, just one title (Demons at the Gate) is listed beyond Chaos Bites...I hope the series won't end there.
So here are covers of both books, with links to the author's sites, as well as some of the other books I'm looking forward to in the near future:
What are you looking forward to reading...and if you read urban fantasy, can I convince you to try The Phoenix Chronicles?