Fantasy and Science Fiction
City of Broken Magic by Mirah BolenderIntroducing: the Sweepers, the (downsized) emergency response unit that protects the city of Amicae from magical "infestations."
What happens: Apprentice Sweeper Laura struggles to learn the ropes of a difficult and dangerous job while dealing with a demanding boss.
For fans of: the industrialized fantasy setting of Max Gladstone's Craft novels, the inventive amulet-centered magical system of Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive.
The Mortal Word: An Invisible Library Novel by Genevieve CogmanWhat it is: the 5th installment of the Invisible Library series.
Starring: dimension-hopping librarian-spy Irene Winters, tapped to investigate the assassination of a diplomat; Irene's former apprentice, dragon prince Kai; and their friend, Great Detective Peregrine Vale.
For fans of: Doctor Who, Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, and Jodi Taylor's The Chronicles of St. Mary's novels.
The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth DickinsonWhat happens: Baru Cormorant continues her quest to bring down the Masquerade (i.e. the Imperial Republic of Falcrest) in this sequel to The Traitor Baru Cormorant.
Contains: High-stakes politics and a complex protagonist who will sacrifice everything -- and everyone -- to achieve her goals.
For fans of: Kameron Hurley's Worldbreaker saga, another intricately plotted epic fantasy series whose marginalized characters must navigate a treacherous world of courtly intrigue.
The Razor by J. Barton MitchellIntroducing: incarcerated engineer Marcus Flynn and disgraced former soldier James Maddox, both sent to a penal colony on the planet 11-H37.
What happens: When the already unstable planet becomes uninhabitable, the prisoners are left behind to die...or escape.
You might also like: Ann Aguirre's Perdition, whose incarcerated characters likewise form uneasy alliances as they fight their way out of brutal futuristic prisons.
Senlin Ascends by Josiah BancroftWhat it's about: For their honeymoon, schoolmaster Thomas Senlin takes his new bride Marya to the Tower of Babel. When they get separated, Thomas must ascend the Tower's "ringdoms" to get her back.
Is it for you? To its classic hero's journey, this allegorical fantasy adds intricate Kafka-esque scenarios and Steampunk-inflected world-building.
Series alert: Originally self-published, this debut is the 1st installment of a planned four-book series; book 2, Arm of the Sphinx, is available now.
The Tethered Mage by Melissa CarusoWhat it's about: When Lady Amalia Cornaro places a magical jess (restraint) on rogue fire warlock Zaira, she becomes a Falconer and Zaira, her rebellious Falcon. Now the Serene Empire of Raverra depends on their ability to work together.
Why you might like it: The Tethered Mage offers a well-drawn setting reminiscent of the Republic of Venice and spirited heroines caught up in the power struggle between its various factions.
Series alert: This opening installment of the Swords and Fire series continues with The Defiant Heir.
The Rule of Luck by Catherine CervenyWhat it's about: When Russian crime boss Alexei Petriv walks into her shop in Nairobi's Night Alley, tarot card reader Felicia Sevigny discovers that, like it or not, their fates are intertwined.
Why you might like it: Set in a 30th-century world in which a single world government has arisen in the wake of climate change, this debut blends action-packed SF adventure and steamy romance.
Series alert: The Rule of Luck is the 1st book in a trilogy that continues with The Chaos of Luck and The Game of Luck.
What Should Be Wild by Julia FineMeet: Maisie Cothay, whose touch can kill the living and resurrect the dead. Raised by her anthropologist father, Maisie grows up in almost total isolation -- as well as total ignorance of her unusual family history.
Is it for you? Although the premise is reminiscent of TV's Pushing Daisies, the tone of this Gothic-tinged modern fairy tale is decidedly darker.
Want a taste? "Still, I killed my father three times before the age of eight, and caused the demise of over a dozen small animals."
Noumenon by Marina J. LostetterWhat it's about: The discovery of an anomalous extrasolar star leads to the launch of Project Noumenon, a convoy of generation ships piloted by a crew of clones.
Why you might like it: Structured as a series of vignettes, this thought-provoking debut explores human relationships without skimping on science.
You might also like: Neal Stephenson's Seveneves, Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora, or Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time.
Wonderblood by Julia WhickerIn a (post-apocalyptic) world... where Disease has decimated the human population, the doctrine of Wonderblood has produced a nomadic "carnival" culture that revolves around ritual beheadings.
What happens: Taken captive by sadistic self-styled "True King" Mr. Capulatio, adolescent Aurora is forced to accompany him to the "holy city" of Cape Canaveral as his chosen Queen.
Want a taste? "When they rode, they took severed heads with them, in canvas sacks, in saddlebags, and set them out wherever they stopped..."
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Waynesville, North Carolina 28786