Fantasy and Science Fiction
Highfire by Eoin ColferIntroducing: Wyvern, Lord Highfire -- "Vern" for short. This 3,000-year-old dragon, the last of his kind, spends his days drinking vodka and watching TV in the Louisiana bayou.
What happens: a corrupt local cop has designs on Vern, prompting the dragon to enlist the aid of his teenage employee Squib. What follows is a noir-ish series of events that The Guardian describes as "True Detective meets Swamp Thing."
Lady Hotspur by Tessa GrattonWhat it is: an inventive, gender-swapped take on Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, featuring an LGBTQIA cast and set in the world of the author's The Queens of Innis Lear.
Starring: "Lion Prince" Hal Bolinbroke, sudden heir to the throne of Aremoria following her mother's successful coup; Isarna Perseria, Lady Hotspur, Hal's fellow knight and lover; and the desposed Banna Mora, Hal's former best friend who plots from exile to take back her throne.
The Vanished Birds by Simon JimenezWhat it's about: Captain Nia Imani guards a child who crash-lands on the colony world of Umbai-V, a mission that links her to aerospace engineer Fumiko Nakajima, creator of the space stations that have allowed humanity to spread across the galaxy.
Why you might like it: Spanning a thousand years and multiple shifts in perspective, this haunting debut employs space opera tropes to explore the complexity of human relationships.
For fans of: Ursula K. Le Guin's "A Fisherman of the Inland Sea."
Zed by Joanna KavennaIn a world... where AI "Veeps" assist humans with everything (and collect their data), megacorporation Beetle's proprietary "lifechain" system -- a set of predictive algorithms for human behavior -- is under threat from "Zed" events (like murders) that the software fails to spot.
For fans of: the darkly humorous explorations of surveillance capitalism found in Rob Hart's The Warehouse, Marc-Uwe Klings's Qualityland, or Nick Harkaway's Gnomon.
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuireWhat it is: book 5 of the Wayward Children series, set several months after the events of Every Heart a Doorway and featuring many of the students from Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children.
Starring: twins Jack and Jill Wolcott, whose backstories were revealed in Down Among the Sticks and Bones.
Want a taste? "Once a wayward child, always a wayward child. The school's doors would always be open; the lost and the lonely would always be welcome, whenever they wanted to come home."
Riot Baby by Tochi OnyebuchiWhat it's about: Siblings Ella and Kev Jackson possess supernatural powers that, so far, have failed to protect them from the brutal consequences of being Black in America. But now Ella is plotting a revolution...
About the author: Tochi Onyebuchi is well known to YA readers as the author of Beasts Made of Night and its sequel, Crown of Thunder.
Life After Life by Kate AtkinsonStarring: Ursula Todd, born on a winter's night in 1910 England -- again and again, as each death brings her back to the same point in time and space. Does Ursula choose her path(s) in life, or do they choose her?
You might also like: Jo Walton's My Real Children, which also offers a haunting meditation on life and death, fate and free will, by recounting an ordinary 20th-century British woman's alternate lives.
Recursion by Blake CrouchWhat it is: an intricately plotted, thought-provoking technothriller about the power of memory and well-intentioned science gone awry.
What went wrong: When she invented a way to reintroduce lost memories, neuroscientist Helena Smith was just trying to help Alzheimer's patients. But now someone is using her technology to give people false memories, and the fate of reality itself is on the line.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart TurtonWhat it is: an unusual take on an Agatha Christie-style country house mystery, in which an unnamed narrator must solve a murder while imprisoned in a time loop. As if that's not difficult enough, each day the protagonist wakes up in the body of a different guest.
What's at stake: Failure to identify the killer will reset the entire scenario.
Further reading: For mysteries involving time loops, check out Sean Ferrell's Man in the Empty Suit.
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles YuIntroducing: Charles Yu, a time travel technician in Minor Universe 31, who's determined to find his missing time-traveler father. And the answers he seeks may be found in a book called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, written (and given to him) by his future self.
Why you might like it: This metafictional, pop-culture savvy novel by the author of the recent Interior Chinatown places a poignant meditation on love, loss, and memory inside a puzzle box of a plot.
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