Fantasy and Science Fiction
The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max BrodskyStarring: Omat, a young angakkuq (shaman) of the Inuit who embarks on a journey to save the tribe from starvation -- and finds an unexpected ally in Norseman Brandr.
Why you might like it: With a nod to the Vinland sagas, this novel vividly depicts a world inspired by Inuit and Norse legend as it presents the compelling coming-of-age story of its gender nonbinary protagonist.
You might also like: Kim Stanley Robinson's Shaman or Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead.
The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. ChakrabortyWhat it is: The much-anticipated 2nd book in the Daevabad trilogy, set five years after the events of The City of Brass.
(Re)introducing: healer (and unwilling bride) Nahri, the now-exiled Prince Ali, and daeva warrior Dara.
Why you might like it: Drawing on Middle Eastern history and folklore, this novel plunges readers into a vividly drawn world of dangerous magic, conflicted family loyalties, and political intrigue.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon JamesWhat it is: a lush and, at times, surreal Afrofantasy novel by the author of A Brief History of Seven Killings.
Reviewers say: The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani describes the novel's African-inspired setting as "a place mapped by Gabriel García Márquez and Hieronymus Bosch with an assist from Salvador Dalí."
You might also like: Charles Saunders' Imaro, Kai Ashante Wilson's The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps.
The Raven Tower by Ann LeckieWhat it's about: Protecting the kingdom of Iraden is a god known as the Raven, whose chosen incarnation, or "Lease", gains great power in exchange for ritualistic self-sacrifice.
Why you might like it: compelling narration from unusual perspectives and a layered, leisurely paced approach to world-building add up to a thought-provoking and stylistically complex novel.
Author alert: Having won a slew of awards for her Imperial Radch space opera trilogy, author Ann Leckie now tackles epic fantasy.
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn LyonsFeaturing: Kihrin, the street thief who, in discovering his true heritage, also stumbles upon what may be his destiny; Talon, the shape-shifting demon that "helps" Kihrin tell his story; and Thurvishar D’Lorus, the chronicler who supplies additional context through (snarky) footnotes.
Series alert: This debut kicks off the Chorus of Dragons series, a sprawling epic fantasy saga that Kirkus Reviews calls a "virtually un-put-down-able read."
For fans of: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
Kindred by Octavia E. ButlerWhat it's about: Transported back in time to a Maryland plantation, Dana, a black woman living in 20th-century Los Angeles, discovers that two of the people she meets in the past -- planter's son Rufus and enslaved Alice -- are her ancestors.
Want a taste? "I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm. And I lost about a year of my life and much of the comfort and security I had not valued until it was gone."
The Tourist by Robert DickinsonThe Backstory: By the 24th century, recreational time travel is a growth industry. Popular destinations include time periods prior to the Near Extinction Event (NEE) that changed the course of human history.
What happens: Multiple narratives converge (and, at times, contradict one other) as a tour guide pursues a missing vacationer through the 21st century and a 25th-century prisoner carries out a covert mission that could alter several timelines.
For fans of: twisty time-travel thrillers such as Ellen Larson's In Retrospect or Sean Ferrell's Man in the Empty Suit.
Time Was by Ian McDonaldWhat it's about: An antiquarian book dealer seeks to learn the fate of Tom and Ben, lovers separated in time, who leave messages for each other in books as they attempt to find their way back to each other.
You might also like: Tim Powers' Salvage and Demolition, another melancholy and nonlinear novel about a book dealer for whom poetry and old correspondence open doorways to the past.
Want a taste? "They came like vultures, hesitant, hovering, drawn by the pheromone of dying books."
Weave a Circle Round by Kari MaarenWhat it's about: Awkward 14-year-old Freddy Duchamp just wants to be left alone. Too bad eccentric new neighbors Josiah and Cuerva Lachance, who have just moved into the creepy old house on her street, have big plans for Freddy.
Why you might like it: Rife with literary allusions, Weave a Circle Round incorporates fantastical elements into an engaging coming-of-age story.
For fans of: Pamela Dean's Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary.
Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi TaylorWhat it's about: Recruited by St. Mary's Institute of Historical Research, Madeleine "Max" Maxwell is delighted to discover that being a historian involves time travel. Although her job is simply to observe the past, she can't resist getting involved.
Why you might like it: This 1st book in the Chronicles of St. Mary's series boasts quirky characters, madcap adventure, and offbeat humor.
For fans of: Connie Willis' Oxford Time Travel series, Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels.
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