At ALA I was able to pick up three ARCs written by some of my very favorite authors. I read them too fast and now, alas, I must wait a long time for their next books. Paolo Bacigalupi's Doubt Factory was a real change for him in many ways. It was contemporary suspense/thriller instead of science fiction but did feature insightful social commentary and exposes serious problems facing the world.
Lish McBride's Firebug, featuring a a young woman with the ability to create fire, rebels against the organization and its leader that has forced her to perform assassinations, kept me entertained while sitting in the hospital while my dear husband was going through knee replacement surgery. McBride is masterful in creating groups of characters with all their relationships and baggage who come through for each other. It was great to be surrounded by such an interesting and illustrious crowd while going through such a worrisome time.
Clariel by Garth Nix was wonderful. A stand alone prequel, it will send readers to hunt down his other Old Kingdom books immediately. Clariel wants to be a Borderer but as the daughter of prominent gold smiths, a member of the Abhorsen family, and a close relative to the throne she is forced to go to the city where politics and magic are running amok.