How Two Notable Debut Fantasy Authors' Characters Take Down Their Enemies

This month two new authors debut two very different fantasy tales that take readers from dystopian Atlanta to a Japanese-influenced steampunk universe. Although both tales are very different, we decided to examine how the characters of each story take down their foe.

In Alex Hughes’ debut fantasy Clean, talented telepath Adam is kicked out of The Guild, a special organization of supernaturals, for drug use and must work for the local cops in order to continue solving crimes. Adam must juggle staying clean with earning the trust of the local police department — and that means investigating a series of murders tied to The Guild. Curious about Adam’s gift, we asked the author if she had any suggestions for what it takes to catch criminals using telepathy:

Admit you’re a telepath. Bluff.

Claim you know the answer already. If the criminal does not immediately confess, read the surface mind. Confront. Bluff and repeat as needed.

Study the crime scene in Mindspace.

Discover the evidence and mental traces the criminal left behind. Share with detectives to narrow the suspect pool.

Obtain an alibi.

The more you know, the more suspicious you look to detectives. Remember to establish your alibi early and often.

Is the criminal running? Save your breath.

Use your mental training to activate the sleep center in the criminal’s brain. Then walk calmly to retrieve him. Bring friends – he may be heavy.

When in doubt, cheat.

The criminals aren’t holding back and neither should you. Use your visions of the future, calls friends with telekinetic powers, and all the other tricks you can. Be creative. Your life may be on the line.

- Alex Hughes


New author Jay Kristoff transports readers to a Japanese-inspired steampunk universe in his debut novel Stormdancer. In this story, hunters of the nation’s imperial court are sent by their Shogun to trap the legendary thunder tiger — a mystical creature that is half-eagle, half-tiger.

Yukiko, daughter of one of the hunters, is taken by her father on his journey to find the creature, but Yukiko has a secret ability — she can communicate with animals. Wondering how we could catch our own Thunder Tiger, we decided to ask Kristoff how one would go about luring such a creature if they didn’t have Yukiko’s power:

So you’ve been commanded by your Shōgun to catch him a thunder tiger. Would you like the good news or the bad news first?

Well, the good news is, if you manage to catch one of these legendary beasts, you won’t find the inside of your favourite head decorating the Shōgun’s walls (that’s just how he rolls). The bad news is that thunder tigers have been extinct for a hundred years.

Which is really bad news, now that I think about it…

To complete your mission, you will require:

One slightly badass sixteen year old with the ability to speak telepathically to animals, a suitably angst-ridden back story and a hate-on for authority.

One deadbeat, drug-addicted father with a dark secret and a heart of gold.

One loyal sidekick with impeccable comic timing and a magic bag full of one-liners.

One captain willing to fly a sky-ship filled with hydrogen and fuelled by volatile chemicals into the middle of a lightning storm (where else are you going to find a thunder tiger?)

One crew of redshirts.

Good health insurance.

You might want to have a box of tissues handy too. Jus’ sayin’

Ready? Away we go!

- Jay Kristoff

You can pick up copies of both Clean and Stormdancer, available in stores now. For more genre news and coverage visit our Everything Science Fiction & Fantasy Page!