RaveLibrary JournalMiro’s world may be too bleak for some readers, but the action and characters’ connections are lights in the dark. The plot tangles are confusing, but Miro’s skillful prose will lead readers through the maze ... This grim but poignant debut showcases a bleak Victorian England, engaging characters, and the desire to belong.
RaveLibrary JournalA feminist historical fantasy tackling self-discovery, queer identity, and dysfunctional family ... Barnhill’s sharp and lyrical prose showcases the joys and agonies of female power in this coming-of-age/alternate history ... Readers will be moved, discomforted, and inspired by Alex’s introspective voice and experiences.
RaveLibrary JournalBlending fairy-tale familiarity and common-sense characters, Kingfisher’s prose balances grim circumstances with humor and heart.
Ed. by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang
RaveLibrary JournalAs more speculative short story collections arrive on shelves than ever before, this anthology of 17 Chinese-language stories by nonbinary and female authors shines a new light on the genre ... An important anthology showcasing compelling voices and perspectives in science fiction and fantasy.
PositiveLibrary JournalAll will come together in a quest to save the world from apocalypse. The novel’s pace is slowed in the beginning by the numerous points of view, but its worldbuilding will capture readers’ attention, and Rollins creates a deeply layered history in the series’ opening volume ... An interesting blend of science and magic, flying ships and prophetic gods, propel this fantasy into epic territories.
RaveLibrary JournalChen has written a heartfelt novel of family dysfunction wrapped in an intergalactic cloak ... Chen’s strength in writing poignant character arcs, especially within family dynamics, shines here, as does his ability to craft intriguing blends of literary and speculative fiction with compelling, character-driven plots.
PositiveLibrary JournalScalzi’s...prose is action- and humor-driven and includes just the right amount of the current climate to anchor the setting without wallowing in it ... Scalzi’s first stand-alone novel in several years is a wild ride filled with takes on pop culture, startups, governmental influence, and science.
RaveLibrary JournalSpanning 20 years of conflict, martial arts action, family dynamics, and moral choices, this epic takes the existing character arcs, rich East Asian–inspired worldbuilding, and intense drama to the edge—and jumps. Lee’s storytelling is masterful and will leave readers heartbroken and hopeful ... Blood, loyalty, and lives are gained and lost in the powerful finale of the Green Bone Saga. Lee’s series will stand as a pillar of epic fantasy and family drama.
Charlie Jane Anders
RaveLibrary JournalThis book\'s 19 stories travel to the edges of speculative fiction and back, demonstrating Anders\'s skill in introspection, humor, and immersive storytelling ... This fascinating, emotional collection is a welcome addition showcasing Anders\'s range and prose.
RaveLibrary JournalAs answers are revealed, and romantic feelings bloom between Robin and Edwin, the story moves between emotional arcs and physical action, peppered with thoughtful interaction and charming dialogue. Characters are white, save for an Indian secretary ... Marske’s debut is a delightful blend of Edwardian fantasy and romance, with enough twists and questions to have readers clamoring for the next in the planned series.
PositiveLibrary JournalThe book\'s far future setting has characters who are racially diverse and emotionally relatable, with themes of military control, genetic engineering, and alien contact ... keeps the action front and center, while presenting an expansive science fiction story that is both richly complex and accessible.
RaveLibrary JournalShadowy politics, corporate secrets, and interstellar migration collide in a fast-paced enclosed murder mystery, filled with delightful details about medicine, murder, and the psychological effects of space. Multiple points of view keep the action current ... A clever, haunting read.
PositiveLibrary JournalBrooks’s latest series launches in an exciting new world filled with juxtapositions of magic and machine, Fae and human, and introduces the one young woman who may be able to bridge the gaps.
PositiveLibrary JournalSardonic students, gruesome monsters, growing friendships, and a touch of romance create a highly readable story. Some questions remain to be answered in the trilogy\'s last volume. The end of this installment ensures that book three can\'t come fast enough.
RaveLibrary JournalJuxtaposing supernatural scenes with themes of otherness and humanity, this novel leaves some questions to be answered in the next book of the series. It has a multiracial cast of characters with broad LGBTQ representation. Turnbull’s sophomore work puts him at the top of the field of fantasy literary fiction. It reveals social faults with insightful commentary and intriguing characters.
K B Wagers
RaveLibrary JournalWagers’s sharp prose highlights the fast action and dialogue they’re known for, bringing to life this story of found family, talent, and hard punches ... further expands the world of the futuristic coast guard and details the faithful, delightful crew of Zuma’s Ghost.
RaveLibrary Journal... imaginative ... The characters are bold and complex in this story of fealty, family, and self. Epic worldbuilding, high action, and ruthless shades of love and desire make the tale at turns tragic and inspiring ... forceful, immersive, and unforgettable. This inspired queer retelling of Chinese history is an exciting read.
Ed. by Swapna Krishna and Jenn Northington
RaveLibrary JournalEditors Krishna and Northington have brought together a selection of quietly moving and well-paced stories, spanning the historic past and the distant future ... A highly creative and enchanting anthology. Will please Arthurian devotees and readers who are new to the legends.
PositiveLibrary JournalGrace is a flawed and isolated character; we get glimpses into her Earth-born past that parallel and inform her current self, showing that there is more division in life than man vs. machine ... An exciting debut that delves into themes of corporate conscription, the definition of humanity, and the complexity of relationships. This science fiction thriller will keep readers guessing and wondering past the final page.
PositiveLibrary JournalHighly recommended for lovers of Naomi Novik\'s Spinning Silver and her \'Scholomance\' series, as well as readers who enjoy their fantasy steeped in myths from infrequently represented people and places.
P Djèlí Clark
RaveLibrary JournalThe fantastical worldbuilding highlights the thematic issues of colonialism, spirituality, and race relations, while Clark’s prose provides a cinematic lens to issues of gender and class viewed through Agent Fatma’s investigations and relationships ... Although the book is marketed as Clark’s debut novel, readers have been following him for several years and this work builds upon his alternate history Cairo, bringing together several enjoyable characters in a richly detailed, action-packed novel.
RaveLibrary JournalThe book’s witty narrator, hard science, and flashbacks all blend into a high-stakes adventure of galactic proportions, while presenting some exciting twists and strong themes of collaboration and friendship ... Weir brings back the pace, intelligence, and humor of The Martian and increases it exponentially. Scientific mysteries and survival instincts abound in this compelling and exciting novel.
RaveLibrary JournalBeaton’s worldbuilding, character evolutions, and morally gray decisions make this story incredibly nuanced and smart ... A skilled debut of politics, secrets, and magic that will grab readers from the start.
J S Dewes
RaveLibrary JournalDewes’s debut is an exciting, fast-paced ride around the edges of the universe, where those rejected by much of humanity are the only ones who can save it. Fans of K. B. Wagers’s Farian Wars series and John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War will welcome this military science fiction thriller.
PositiveLibrary JournalWells’s flair for balancing Murderbot’s at-length internal monologues with its external voice and decisive actions creates a main character who is addictive ... Back in novella form for a sixth outing, Murderbot continues to bring intelligence and acerbic commentary on humanity to the forefront.
PositiveLibrary JournalMcGuire’s inclusive characters are always presented fully formed and without cliché, and her critical takes on femininity in society are balanced with the beauty of the love of biological and found family ... a gorgeous standalone. The prose is emotional and moving and will speak to the hearts and minds of readers.
RaveLibrary JournalA queernorm world dealing with racism, magic, and head-versus-heart decisions creates rich settings and characters ... This strong debut is filled with exciting action and worldbulding, intriguing characters dealing with themes of colonization, military conscription and indoctrination, and an explosion of feelings. Readers will be clamoring for more of Touraine and Luca before they finish.
PositiveLibrary JournalMultiple points of view give a full view of the issues including fear of what is different, and the ease of cultural violence and assimilation when one believes they are better. Three Seagrass and Mahit continue to delight in their interactions with each other ... contains beautiful prose and complex worldbuilding that will immerse readers in a dazzling story of alien contact and colonization.
PositiveLibrary JournalThe story moves at a fast clip, and readers will enjoy the twists that are presented, along with the character developments and interactions. This immersive story is led by a flawed—physically and emotionally—protagonist who is nonetheless determined to discover the truth no matter where it leads ... Wallace showcases themes of xenophobia, corporate profit, and AI evolution in this absorbing space thriller.
RaveLibrary JournalNeuvel showcases meticulous research through his worldbuilding, highlighted by his own notes and references at the end. A highly crafted and unique look at the space race, through the eyes of those who exist only to ensure its success ... Neuvel’s intriguing first-contact story is set through centuries of manipulation and pursuit. It’s a promising start to what looks to be a dark and exciting trilogy.
Aliette de Bodard
PositiveLibrary JournalA fascinating story filled with strong female characters and lush prose, the relationships woven around Thanh evolve into themes of reclaiming the self and recognizing that love can hide the truth about people ... Nebula and Locus Award winner de Bodard crafts a story of love, power, and what burns within. Highly recommended.
PositiveLibrary JournalWhile the story contains themes of emotional and physical abuse in relationships, it brings a galaxy of gender and sexual choice, balancing the dark with light ... Maxwell\'s delightful debut will please science fiction and romance readers alike, telling a slow burn of a relationship fraught with high stakes and action.
RaveLibrary JournalInteresting characters and solid pacing enliven this superhero story with twists ... Chen’s (A Beginning at the End) writing wraps hard topics with heartfelt and humorous prose, creating a delightful novel of the steps and missteps of power, friendship, and trust.
RaveLibrary JournalOkorafor builds a stunning landscape of futuristic technology and African culture, with prose that will grab readers from the first sentence. Sankofa is at once innocent and experienced, facing a world forever changed for and by her ... This compelling novella is Africanfuturism sf at its best.
RaveLibrary JournalLed by characters that have their own agendas, this story goes in directions that may surprise readers, but the emotional impact will linger. Graphic action and violence; flawed protagonists; and a stark, storm-filled setting all combine into a riveting read ... The second half of this duology (after The Queen of the Conquered) is a powerful look at colonialism, oppression, and rebellion, and all that it can cost the individuals involved.
R. F. Kuang
RaveLibrary JournalKuang doesn’t hold back on the physical and emotional toll of war, along with the cycle of abuse and trauma that can cause good people to make painful choices ... An incredible end to this epic trilogy. Mixing historical parallels of Chinese history, the themes of war, politics, and colonialism are balanced with terrific, flawed characters and amazing worldbuilding.
C. S. Malerich
RaveLibrary JournalClass struggles and industry exploitation are woven into a touching tale layered with magical and romantic elements ... Malerich has created a delightful historical fantasy shining a spotlight on New England history, making this a terrific companion to Alix Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches.
Alix E. Harrow
RaveLibrary JournalThe worldbuilding is richly detailed, inclusive, and enchanting, while still honoring the harsher history of civil rights and resistance ... Drawn from folklore and history, Harrow’s lyrical prose immerses readers in a story of power and secrets that is not easily forgotten.
C. L. Polk
RaveLibrary JournalPolk’s foray into a society of magic and politics places the woman in the secondary role, but neither Beatrice nor Ysbeta will stay in place. Fans of romantic fantasy set in a multicultural world will find this a fascinating read.
V. E. Schwab
RaveLibrary JournalFeaturing both Addie’s and Henry’s points of view, this story takes readers through centuries of history, as viewed through the eyes and soul of an incredible and indelible heroine ... Schwab returns with another epic story of love and remembrance that probes deep into history while also penetrating profound matters of the heart.
K. S. Villoso
RaveLibrary JournalThe power plays are woven tightly into the action, as Villoso broadens her worldbuilding and adds some surprising twists ... Political intrigue and personal angst abound in this exciting sequel to The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, making this a must for epic fantasy readers.
RaveLibrary JournalLyons braids multiple points of view, tenses, and time lines into a richly detailed and elaborate story with increasing tension and stakes ... an exciting entry in the series, culminating in an intriguing endpoint that will have readers excited for the next book.
RaveLibrary JournalJennings’s debut novella is pure, poetic Australian gothic, filled with haunting emotions, fairy-tale action, and sharp prose.
RaveLibrary JournalA twisting, surprising Sherlock bend in a world of angels, hell-hounds, and other supernatural beings. Readers may know the names and the stories, but here is an original tale ... Addison enthralls readers with her character-driven action, intriguing expressions of identity and sexuality, and a world set in an alternate 1880s London that captures the imagination.
PositiveLibrary JournalWolfe died in 2019 at age 87; this posthumous sequel to A Borrowed Man blends a hard-boiled mystery style with a sf future and is mostly successful. While this can be read as a stand-alone, familiarity with the main character’s background story may bring more clarity for readers.
PositiveLibrary JournalVaughn’s look at what comes after Robin Hood is a delightful novella, filled with lively action and characters who continue to stretch the original story even further.
RaveLibrary JournalReaders will be swept in by this strong protagonist and stunning worldbuilding, with a plot full of questions and surprises. Villoso\'s cunning, exciting debut is a new fantasy epic that readers will clamor for.
RaveLibrary JournalThemes of dysphoria and gender are smartly inserted through McGuire’s rich prose, with heartfelt scenes keeping each character from getting lost in the action ... The fifth volume of the Wayward Children series gives readers the epic ending (is it really the end?) of Jack and Jill’s story line. Once again, McGuire gives readers a starkly poignant tale of longing, love, and belonging.
RaveLibrary JournalWhile this novel is not a direct sequel to Gratton’s Queens of Innis Lear, the character stories and references from the previous novel will delight the author’s longtime readers. The wondrous worldbuilding, strong female leads, and plot filled with regicide, regrets, prophecies, and magic create an intricate and layered story of honor, family, and love.
PositiveLibrary JournalThis surreal debut takes on themes of utopia, identity, love, and loss, while readers are pulled into a full experience through Porter\'s fluid prose. This unusual story will linger long past the last page.
N. K. Jemisin
RaveLibrary JournalJemisin writes a harsh love story to one of America’s most famous places. As raw and vibrant as the city itself, the prose pushes the boundaries of fantasy and brings home what residents already know—their city is alive.
K. M. Szpara
PositiveLibrary JournalExplicit sex, mental and physical dominance, and control are strong beats within a story of two young men discovering the truth about their own lives and those of others around them ... This powerful debut is filled with achingly tender and brutally raw prose. Szpara strikes out at capitalism as well as the pharmaceutical trade and its effects, while dancing on the emotional knife’s edge between love and obedience.
RaveLibrary JournalSometimes it is not the violent battles of post-apocalyptic stories that pull readers in; it is the emotional connection of humanity finding their way. Chen’s prose lights a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness.
PositiveLibrary JournalCharacters will come full circle, leaving no loose ends in this fast-moving, robust story ... The final volume of The Chronicles of the One is a full fantasy, postapocalyptic version of Roberts’s tried and true storytelling mastery.
Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes
RaveLibrary Journal... vivid, devastating ... This slim story packs a huge punch. Beautiful and stark in its pain, this emotional journey is one that all readers should take, in order to remember the atrocities of slavery.
A. J. Hackwith
RaveLibrary JournalElaborate worldbuilding, poignant and smart characters, and a layered plot make this first in a fantasy series from Hackwith (also writing as sf romance author Ada Harper) is an ode to books, writing, and found families.
PositiveLibrary JournalPinsker\'s first novel...depicts a moving alternate future in which technology provides everything a person could want, except human contact. Themes of virtual reality, humanity, and music are threaded throughout this melodic story.
RaveLibrary JournalSuri’s companion to Empire of Sand continues to expand on the stark beauty and power of this magical realm. With striking characters and court intrigue, this story is dark, melodious, and memorable.
RaveLibrary Journal... another exciting, action-driven read. Strong female characters, a slow-burn romance, and interplanetary adventures will draw in both sf and romance readers, especially fans of Ilona Andrews, Becky Chambers, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut series.
MixedLibrary JournalRather’s lean prose works, but the characters, along with readers, arrive at the end with some of the same unanswered questions. Overall, an intriguing debut that touches on philosophical ideas of war, faith, and individuality.
RaveLibrary JournalValdes’s elegant writing is on point, with all the emotional buy-in that comes with a story about families ... Featuring memorable Cuban-descended characters, this engaging space opera debut delivers a story that dances between hilarity and seriousness, with all the joy and frustration psychic cats can bring to the mix.
PositiveLibrary JournalThe male gaze and attitude is rife but has purpose, one that Fetching and many other female characters upend every chance they get ... French’s sequel to The Grey Bastards continues the half-orcs’ penchant for rough rides, foul language, and heady action sequences.
RaveLibrary JournalA story of discovery and growth, interspersed with other short fables and creative footnote commentary that unfolds into a superbly crafted world of intriguing characters and lush setting ... reveals the author’s stunning prose, beautiful worldbuilding, and emotional detail. Highly recommended.
PositiveLibrary JournalFamily issues bring humor to the heavier themes of xenophobic planets and war crimes, and alternating chapters between Scorpia’s and Corvus’s points of view provide a broader perspective on this fascinating galaxy ... High energy, high stakes, and lots of high notes will give readers who enjoy Catherynne M. Valente’s Space Opera a new volume on which to crash-land.
R. F. Kuang
RaveLibrary JournalThis stunning sequel to The Poppy War is an epic journey of vengeance, friendship, and power wrapped in the folds of gods and monsters. Kuang has created a young woman torn by her connections to friends and family, searching for love and belonging, and given power beyond her imagining. Her story is unforgettable.
PositiveLibrary JournalIntelligent prose and an intriguing cast of characters enhance the range of story lines, culminating in a breathtaking climax. Shaw’s third \'Dr. Greta Helsing\' novel...blends medical mystery and fantasy adventure to wrap up a delightfully modern undead trilogy.
Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
RaveLibrary JournalThis stunning, semi-epistolary tale by coauthors El-Mohtar...and Gladstone...is a seamless story of time travel, sparring opponents, and the revelations of serving a cause. To unlock the complexities of language and plot here, readers will want to return to this book, with each read revealing a little more of its near-limitless substance.
RaveLibrary JournalThis smart and action-filled fantasy, filled with vibrant characters, weaves intricate plot threads throughout, positioning many female characters front and center ... The follow-up to Lee’s Jade City delves further into her Asia-inspired world, embracing topics of family, relocation, and relations between rival factions. The setup for the final book will leave readers breathless with anticipation.
RaveLibrary JournalEmotional prose and distinctive characters highlight an incredible story that will touch readers’ hearts and minds ... A compelling tale of invasive occupation and emotional uprising, Turnbull’s debut is complex and enthralling. It’s a must for all libraries, and the writer, who crafts speculative stories with black characters on par with Octavia Butler, is definitely one to watch.
RaveLibrary JournalGailey\'s debut is an energetic modern fantasy that plays rough with relationships and personal beliefs, from youth to adulthood. Ivy\'s emotional investigation will strike a chord in anyone who has ever felt like they don\'t belong. Highly recommended for all collections.
Ashok K Banker
RaveLibrary JournalDespite the heft of this nearly 700-page volume, readers will hardly be able to pull themselves away from the layered story lines and well-developed characters ... Banker launches a new epic fantasy series set in a vivid world inspired by India and the Middle East, mythology and monarchy, filled with enticing narration and action.
PositiveBooklist\"Cho continues to confront class and gender roles in an alternate Regency England while showcasing entertaining prose and characters. A delightful historical-fantasy novel that will capture readers in its layered story line.\
PositiveLibrary JournalHurley\'s take on war and interplanetary adventure is mixed with a vigorous helping of time travel, which will have readers trying to catch up with the truth as much as the lead character. An absorbing and gritty story from this accomplished author.
RaveLibrary JournalThree multicultural families\' pasts and presents, told by a swarming chorus of voices, culminate in a tale as mysterious as it is timeless ... This stunning cross-genre debut draws on Zambian history and is twisted with inverted stereotypes and explicit racist language that only reinforces the far-flung exploration of humanity.
PositiveLibrary JournalEpic worldbuilding with extensive Asian influences, especially Indonesian, meets bold characters and detailed battles across land and sea. Note that scenes of rape and gore may be traumatic for some readers.
PositiveLibrary JournalThis compact novella combines issues of immigration as well as a hostage story into a tale of incredible choices.
RaveLibrary JournalLyons\'s story is a well-crafted, elaborate tale of a thief-turned-prince. Those who enjoy the works of Brandon Sanderson and George R.R. Martin, with a grand cast of characters and a doublecross in every chapter, will find this on par with their beloved authors ... This stunning debut takes epic fantasy to a high level, portraying a world filled with magic, demons, gods, and dragons, in which politics and power plays are the laws of the land.
Charlie Jane Anders
RaveLibrary JournalAnders weaves an intricate tale of colonialism and evolution on both physical and social levels. The harsh world and well-developed characters combine with stunning storytelling that will capture readers\' minds and hearts.
S. A. Chakraborty
RaveLibrary JournalWith a richly immersive setting and featuring complex familial, religious, and racial ties and divides, Chakraborty\'s second book in the trilogy wraps readers in a lush and magical story that takes over all the senses.
RaveLibrary JournalShifting perspectives will keep readers trying to catch up with this fast-paced plot involving incredible twists on multiple realities and homecoming. This latest from Campbell and World Fantasy Award winner Tidha...is fascinating and powerful.
PositiveLibrary JournalThis epic fantasy launch brings all of the action, magic, and smart cast of characters whom fans have come to expect from Estep ... Readers of Chloe Neill, Kim Harrison, and Ilona Andrews will welcome this bright new heroine.
PositiveLibrary JournalDrawing on the dark side of American society, laden with conspiracy theories, Satanists, pop culture, and the crushed dreams of middle age, this book takes the power of music and turns it into delightful horror ... Hendrix\'s...emarkable, immersive prose will have readers recognizing pieces of themselves in the characters\' flawed thoughts and actions, which is by turns disturbing and captivating.
PositiveLibrary JournalEven with long expositional internal narratives from Jane, the story is fast paced and filled with action sequences both on- and off-planet ... This expansive debut for space opera enthusiasts is full of high-flying battles that readers of Becky Chambers and fans of the show Firefly will relish.
Alan Dean Foster
PositiveLibrary JournalIn a race against time and disbelief, Ruslan takes a journey unlike any he has ever faced, testing his courage and the strength of that small glimmer of hope ... The stunning plot of Foster\'s...stand-alone novel will intrigue readers for not only the \'last man in the universe\' trope but also the well-developed alien species. A true first contact novel on many different levels.
Sarah Beth Durst
RaveLibrary JournalLoyalty to land, lovers, and family will be up for grabs in this action-packed and emotional epic ... This engrossing conclusion to the Queens of Renthia trilogy has been worth the wait, providing a challenging but satisfying ending.
PositiveLibrary JournalWhen the city is besieged by a rebellious army, residents must figure out how to survive. Can Tain, Jovan, and his sister Kalina find a way to root out internal and external betrayals and save the Heir and Silasta? ... This epic fantasy debut weaves political, class, and belief systems into a deftly drawn world, laying fertile ground for exciting political commentary.
Mary Robinette Kowal
PositiveLibrary JournalA fast-forward thrill ride, Hugo Award winner Kowal\'s exciting alternate history, the first in a duology, highlights the space race and the sexism of the time. Sf and space history buffs will enjoy this entertaining tale.