Oct 3

Kirkus on Escaping Exodus

Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden

“In a far distant future, humans left Earth behind generations ago in a mass exodus. The survivors now travel inside enormous beasts that trek across the vacuum of space; human societies carve out spaces inside the living leviathans that carry them. Seske, the daughter of the clan matriarch, is being groomed for her eventual position of power, but she’d much rather spend her time with Adalla, her best friend since childhood; however, Adalla’s a beastworker who toils in the space beast’s organs and arteries. The chapters alternate between the first-person perspectives of the two young women, and it quickly becomes clear that Seske and Adalla are very much in love—but a beastworker isn’t considered a suitable mate for the heir apparent. When Seske suddenly becomes the clan matriarch, her title is threatened by another claimant—her own sister. Meanwhile, Adalla, heartbroken over losing Seske, is demoted until she’s a lowly boneworker. Soon the two women each uncover shocking truths about their society and how it operates—and, more importantly, about the beast that keeps them all alive. The plot twists that follow are surprising but mostly plausible, and it culminates in a gratifying finish. Everything about the Afrofuturistic worldbuilding is exquisitely imaginative, and the characters are three-dimensional, occasionally offering flashes of dark humor. The spacefaring beast is a marvel, containing a whole ecosystem with microclimates and other organisms living within it alongside humans. Although the relationship between the two young women is perpetually hampered by circumstance, as most good love stories are, it’s palpable and vibrant. One hopes to read more about Seske and Adalla’s further adventures.” — Kirkus

Nov 9

Publishers Weekly’s Best of 2018 includes Drayden and Kowal

Publishers Weekly’s Best of 2018 includes both Temper by Nicky Drayden and The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal!

Aug 13

B&N SFF on Temper

Temper by Nicky Drayden

“Last year, Nicky Drayden’s debut novel THE PREY OF GODS blew the doors of science fiction and fantasy off their hinges, blending a diverse array of elements into a madcap Afrofuturist romp. If you expected she’d pump the brakes on her sophomore effort, or maybe just that she’d run out of ideas, well, friend, you were mistaken.

With TEMPER, Drayden has solidified herself as not only a fresh and riveting voice in SFF, but as a force to be reckoned with.

Drayden’s worldbuilding boasts depth and nuance, with details that pull taut a sprawling narrative, both figuratively and literally.

Yes, the world is fascinating, but, as was true in THE PREY OF GODS, the true strength of this novel is its cast of characters.

This is a beautiful story, and a dark one. It is raucous and twisted, a story of upheaval told with vibrant glee. TEMPER feels real in the ways of the best speculative fiction, as if we’re looking at ourselves in a funhouse mirror, noting the skewed beauty, and blemishes, and all.” — B&N SFF

Jul 31

Library Journal on Temper (a second time)

Temper by Nicky Drayden

“Auben Mutze is an intelligent, extroverted youth with a bit of a wild side. This makes him one of the more popular kids at his impoverished high school, even as he knows that he has few chances to escape the world in which he lives. He is a twin, with vices—six, to be exact—branded on his arm. This also marks him as a lesser twin to his brother Kasim, whose quieter nature and single vice brand means he has a shot of escaping to the other side of the wall and a better life. Already at odds with his brother, Auben begins to hear voices that tell him to follow his vices as far as possible. If he can’t ignore the voices, he will be caught in the hands of a demon. VERDICT With its South African setting and supernatural action, Drayden’s twisty, fast paced sophomore effort (after The Prey of Gods) keeps readers on the edge of their seats.” — Library Journal

Jul 20

Publishers Weekly starred review for Temper

Temper by Nicky Drayden

“Drayden (The Prey of Gods) crafts a tangled, fantastical African society as the setting for her spellbinding sophomore novel. With immersive worldbuilding, Drayden showcases a culture where science and religion exist at odds, and the balance of virtue and vice in one’s nature controls one’s social identity. Humble Kasim is assured a prosperous future, as he has only a single vice. His charismatic twin brother, Auben, is forever hindered by the six vices branded down his arm. Auben envies Kasim as much as he loves him, and their twin bond threatens to snap under the strain of their swiftly diverging paths. Complicating their fate, Kasim and Auben become enthralled by violent mystical forces. Their entire society’s survival soon hinges on each defeating his demons and discovering his true nature. Drayden takes speculative fiction in an exciting direction with a harrowing and impressive tale of twisted prophecy, identity, and cataclysmic change” — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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