Fantasy and Science Fiction
The Soul of Power by Callie BatesWhat it is: the conclusion to the epic fantasy trilogy that began with The Waking Land and The Memory of Fire.
Starring: Sophy Dunbarron, queen of the recently (and tenuously) reunited realms of Eren and Caeris.
What happens: An unlikely ruler harbors a dangerous secret as she struggles to lead her people amid war and political intrigue.
The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth BearWhat it's about: War has come to the Lotus Kingdoms, sending four individuals on separate quests.
Contains: automatons, radioactive dragons, chain-smoking volcano goddesses, tiger-sorcerers who feed on war, and more.
Series alert: Set in the world of the author's Eternal Sky trilogy, The Red-Stained Wings is book 2 in the Lotus Kingdoms series, after The Stone in the Skull.
Gather the Fortunes by Bryan CampIntroducing: Renaissance "Renai" Raines, psychopomp.
Say what? She guides the souls of the dead through the Gates of the Underworld, a job she's held since her own demise five years ago.
Why you might like it: This 2nd Crescent City urban fantasy novel (after The City of Lost Fortunes) boasts a diverse cast of supernatural beings, an atmospheric New Orleans setting, and a multilayered plot.
Fall; or, Dodge in Hell by Neal StephensonWhat it is: the sprawling not-quite-a-sequel to Reamde, containing links and callbacks to several of author Neal Stephenson's other books.
|In Meatspace: Following tech billionaire Richard "Dodge" Fortrast's death, his heirs digitally preserve his brain and upload it to a virtual world.|
|In Bitworld: Now effectively immortal, Dodge (now "Egdod") becomes the god of a digital afterlife, which he shapes according to his whims.|
Lent by Jo WaltonStarring: Dominican friar Girolamo Savanarola, whose ability to see and cast out demons raises him to a position of power and influence in 15th-century Florence. Again and again and again.
Is it for you? Think Wolf Hall meets Russian Doll meets The Good Place, set in Renaissance Italy.
Want a taste? "And so often, Girolamo wants lines as straight and clean as a birch sapling, where human motives turn out to be as tangled as a bramble thicket."
Focus on: Indigenous Apocalyptic Fiction
Killer of Enemies by Joseph BruchacStarring: Chiricahua Apache warrior Lozen, whose skills are put to the test by the genetically engineered monsters that now roam the former American Southwest.
What happens: When the tyrannical rulers of Haven take her family members hostage, Lozen must defend the compound or forfeit their lives.
Series alert: This action-packed young adult novel is the 1st in a trilogy, followed by Trail of the Dead and Arrow of Lightning.
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie DimalineIn a world...ravaged by climate change, Métis teen Frenchie and his fellow survivors flee the Recruiters, who harvest the bone marrow of Indigenous people and sell it to white people to restore their ability to dream.
Read it for: sympathetic characters, vivid world-building, and a moving story about the resilience of a community in the face of oppression.
Award buzz: The Marrow Thieves has won several awards, including the 2018 American Indian Youth Literature Award.
Future Home of the Living God by Louise ErdrichWhat it's about: When Cedar Hawk Songmaker discovers she's pregnant, she seeks out her Ojibwe birth mother to learn more about her (and her unborn child's) family history.
But wait, there's more: Evolution is reversing itself, prompting the U.S. government to incarcerate pregnant women until they give birth.
For fans of: the reproductive dystopias of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale or Meg Elison's Road to Nowhere series.
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig RiceWinter is coming: and for an Anishinaabe community in northern Ontario, survival means relearning traditional ways of life.
Challenges include: no power, dwindling supplies, loss of contact with the outside world (which may no longer exist), and the sudden arrival of white people seeking shelter.
You might also like: David Williams' When the English Fall, another atmospheric apocalyptic novel about a close-knit yet isolated group of people (Amish farmers) surviving societal collapse.
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca RoanhorseIntroducing: Maggie "the Monster Hunter" Hoskie, a Diné (Navajo) woman trained to kill the supernatural creatures unleashed by the catastrophic "Big Water" that drowned most of Earth.
Book buzz: This opening installment of the Sixth World series (which continues with Storm of Locusts) was nominated for both Hugo and Nebula Awards.
Want a taste? "But I'm no hero. I'm more of a last resort, a scorched-earth policy. I'm the person you hire when the heroes have already come home in body bags."
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