RaveBooklistNethercott’s quiet, lyrical, yet potent prose likewise breathes life into this stirring, multigenerational fairy tale, which suggests that you will always carry your ancestors’ suffering within you, even when you know little of your own family history. In some chapters, the wise, cynical Thistlefoot speaks to the reader directly, recalling its history with Baba Yaga, the witch from Slavic folklore, as well as chilling anecdotes of Jewish persecution in early twentieth-century Russia (now Ukraine). This fable about fables reminds us of the staying power of stories, even as they evolve or contradict themselves over time.
PositiveBooklistSome retellings fail to convince readers, who already know the ending, to suspend their disbelief for the sake of the story. Sebastian, however, cleverly bypasses this issue. Elaine’s visions inform the reader of Lancelot, Gwen, and Morgana’s betrayals early in the narrative, and the reader is often reminded that these visions do not represent fate but possibilities ... All in all, this captivating and moving tale—centered around powerful Morgana, impulsive Guinevere, and troubled Elaine—explores how friendship both binds and breaks under pressure, especially once these three women start to question why they must sacrifice themselves to fulfill Arthur’s destiny.
PositiveBooklistBeaton celebrates their disparate personalities and cultures in lively, lush scenes dedicated to each. Emulating Lysande’s approach as a quiet, analytical woman, Beaton’s novel begins by prodding at these newcomers, then thunders to a breathless conclusion as all the strands in this shrewd plot finally come together. A clever start to what’s sure to be an exciting duology.
RaveBooklistNadir and Laila Z’s stories are told in the second person, lending an extra intimacy to Joukhadar’s stunning prose, which is already vivid, visceral, and urgent ... Nadir’s journey probes into both the fleeting nature and permanent influence of art, while also exploring the human body as limitation—because Nadir is misgendered in the first part of the novel, yes, but also because he often longs to escape into something completely other, such as a flower or a bird. Ultimately, both Nadir and Laila Z learn how to make space for themselves in a world that tries to reject them, and that space allows their worlds to open up to even further possibilities. This clarifying and moving tale has far-reaching significance and appeal.
PositiveBooklist... a big, heartfelt story about two disparate beings coming together in dark times. Like all good sf, Axiom’s End reflects our own society; themes ranging from empathy to colonialism are embedded within this bittersweet yet explosive alternate history.
PositiveBooklistSteinmetz’s latest...deviates from the usual shoot-’em-up action novel by centering the story around Mat’s morals ... [Mat] has PTSD, while Silvia has a panic disorder, both of which Steinmetz depicts with compassion, realism, and humor, highlighting the obstacles and advantages of each condition ... Mat and Silvia make a welcome, unconventional pair of protagonists in this outlaw action adventure.
PositiveBooklistVyleta’s command of language is as haunting and intangible as smoke itself, and the varying story lines depict the cross sections of intimacy and honesty, colonialism and capitalism. Smoke broached tough questions about human nature and power structures; Soot probes into them with even more nuance and sophistication.
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton
PositiveBooklist... a plethora of new role models ... The back-and-forth between mother and daughter adds a personal tone to these succinct profiles, and the sidebars include choice quotations from and about the featured women, celebrating their passion, verve, and influence. The table of contents and index make it easy for readers to navigate these many entries, but the photographs and brief biographies make it ideal for casual browsing as well. These \'gutsy women\' come from various backgrounds and embody a range of races, sexualities, and abilities. Women have been contributing to human history all along and will continue to do so—and this book demands their recognition.
PositiveBooklistDisney’s female artists and writers have finally been receiving long overdue recognition. Holt’s heartfelt, deeply researched tome, however, is the first to truly highlight the sexism they experienced at the studio ... This groundbreaking work laments the discrimination these artists endured while celebrating the verve, creativity, and resiliency they drew on to bring beautiful art and three-dimensional characters to the big screen.
Saad Z. Hossain
RaveBooklistHossain...paints a rich, interesting, even plausible future and fills it with a cast of quirky characters. Readers will laugh at Melek Ahmar’s narcissism, especially when his plans are thwarted, as well as Hossain’s irreverent writing style, including the characters’ cheeky dialogue. With a mischievous protagonist and fascinating world building, this one should be recommended to readers who like their djinn tales with a large helping of humor.
RaveBooklistRaybourn’s latest mystery is as lively and adventurous as the previous installment. Although Veronica’s clever, scientific instincts continue to help her decipher clues and read people’s motivations, she is more introspective as she sorts out her own feelings, adding vulnerability to an already dynamic heroine. Positively excellent, or—as Veronica would say—\'Excelsior!\'
RaveBooklistThe classic plot unfolds, but with rich descriptions of colorful, chiffon anarkalis instead of empire-waist gowns, chai and samosas instead of tea and scones. Kamal’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is faithful, with scene-by-scene recreations that will inevitably cause the reader to picture Austen’s original at the same time. Mrs. Binat beautifies her daughters with chickpea masks; Mari bores her sisters with Islamic preachings. That juxtaposition along with plenty of metareferential allusions are what makes this version so much fun. Even the most devoted Austenites will be surprised with how much they judge Darsee as arrogant in the beginning of the novel yet suddenly adore him in the end. This love letter to Austen reexamines sisterhood, society, and marriage in Pakistani culture and includes a fleshed-out epilogue that will satisfy today’s readers.
PositiveBooklistAnne aficionados will get a kick out of seeing Avonlea’s eccentric cast in their youth ... McCoy captures the magic of Prince Edward Island, describing the changing seasons in lovely prose. Hard-core fans might not agree with all of McCoy’s creative choices, but they will appreciate the way she reexamines characters they thought they knew so well.
Mary Robinette Kowal
RaveBooklist Online...a meteorite strikes Earth, causing a global cataclysm. The eastern coast of the U.S. crumbles, and the rest of the world faces a climate shift. A former WASP pilot and mathematician, Elma York works for the International Aerospace Coalition...expediting efforts to colonize other planets. Kowal once again strikes a fine balance of integrating historical accuracy—including mid-twentieth-century sexism, racism, and technology—with speculative storytelling. Readers will root for Elma as she breaks barriers and calculates lifesaving equations, all while dealing with sometimes-crippling anxiety. Recommend to fans of realistic sf.
Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
RaveBooklistIn addition to colorful, synesthetic descriptions, Joukhadar starts some chapters with poems in the shapes of the countries Nour travels through. This imaginative yet very real look into war-torn Syria is a must.
Del Samatar and Sofia Samatar
PositiveBooklistLike anything that seems too different, too bizarre, these drawings invite intense reactions—be it curiosity, empathy, or disgust. Recommend this gorgeously strange little book to boundary-pushing artistic and literary types as well as daring dark-fantasy fans.
PositiveBooklistHere, in brief, understated vignettes, Cole sounds like Holden Caulfield writing a sex blog. Amusing yet genuine, lustful yet sensitive, this odd novella approaches teenage horniness seriously and, in the process, touches on important subjects such as sexism, consent, and sexual identity.