A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky ChambersThe premise: Centuries ago, robots collectively quit their jobs, fleeing to the wilderness and becoming mythical figures. Now, when a robot shows up to ask a tea-growing monk what people need, the deceptively simple question can’t be ignored.
Series alert: This is the 1st book in the Monk & Robot series, which should appeal to fans of the author’s Wayfarers series.
Read it for: a hopeful and reflective vision of the world following an apocalypse.
The Library of the Dead by T.L. HuchuWelcome to: contemporary Edinburgh, where a sinister someone or something is sucking the souls out of the city’s children.
I See Dead People: Ropa, a cynical and snarky high school dropout who works as a “ghostalker” conveying messages from the dead to the living, agrees to explore the city’s underground in search of the evil entity.
Reviewers say: “Expertly blending elements of Zimbabwean and Scottish culture, Huchu’s occult thriller is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking” (Publishers Weekly).
We Have Always Been Here by Lena NguyenWhat happens: Strange dreams and erratic behaviors plague the crew of a survey spaceship searching for a habitable planet.
Paging: Dr. Grace Park, a psychologist who prefers androids to people, who must trace the source of the illness before she too succumbs.
Why you might like it: This twisty and claustrophobic science fiction thriller also incorporates thought-provoking themes of totalitarianism, environmentalism, and psychology.
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-ChanMeet: Zhu Chongba, the family's eighth-born, destined for greatness in Mongol-ruled 14th-century China; and his nameless sister, fated to become nothing.
The twist: After her brother’s untimely death, the young woman boldly claims his identity and fate for herself, joining a monastery and subsequently the rebel army.
Is it for you? This novel is ideal for eager readers of queer historical retellings like Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles.
The Freedom Race by Lucinda RoyOn Your Marks: The second Civil War, The Sequel, has resulted in radiation, sickness, and a new slave trade in the Homestead Territories of the Disunited States.
Get Set, Go: Raised in bondage, Ji-Ji Lottermule sees a chance to emancipate herself and her family if she can win the Freedom Race.
About the author: Activist and author Lucinda Roy (The Hotel Alleluia) has turned to speculative fiction for the first time in this haunting tale of a tenacious quest for sovereignty.
Focus on: Grimdark Fantasy
A Little Hatred by Joe AbercrombieAn age of progress: An industrial era dawns in the Union, bringing rebellion from dissatisfied workers in the cities. War already rages against the Northmen in the far provinces.
Featuring: a large cast of characters wielding magic, political power, and deadly weapons in an intricately plotted and sprawling portrait of violent conflict.
Crossover alert: This book, 1st in the Age of Madness series, is set in the same world as Abercrombie's popular First Law trilogy.
The Poppy War by R.F. KuangThe setting: a richly detailed fantasy reimagining of 20th-century China, drawing on the history of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Introducing: Fang Runin, called Rin, a student of humble beginnings at the Empire's premier military institute. Harnessing her innate talent for shamanism may help her defend the Empire, but unleashing divine retribution is not something to do lightly.
You might also like: Ken Liu's Dandelion Dynasty series and N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy.
Brother Red by Adrian SelbyWhat happens: Driwna Marghoster discovers a valuable and mysterious corpse while defending her trade caravan, setting off an investigation into political machinations that leads her to an immensely powerful evil.
Who it's for: readers who appreciate intricately plotted and action-packed stories featuring brutal action sequences and gruesome deaths.
The setting: Brother Red takes place in Selby's inventive fantasy world of Sarun, set long after the events of his previous novel, The Winter Road.
Godblind by Anna StephensThe question: Can the exiled Mireces, worshippers of the bloodthirsty Red Gods, battle the followers of the god of light and life to reclaim their homeland? Dom Templeson, a powerful seer, along with an escaped Mireces slave, hold the secrets affecting everyone's fate.
Series alert: Godblind kicks off the now completed trilogy of the same name.
Reviewers say: "A fast-paced, blood-soaked story of war and betrayal that skirts gender norms and responsibly handles sensitive topics like PTSD and sexuality" (Booklist).
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea StewartIt's alive! The emperor is more interested in using magic to animate bone shards that do his bidding than in leading his living people.
The true heir: Lin, the emperor's daughter, maliciously stricken with an illness that might lose her the crown, struggles to regain her magic, memories, and might.
Why you might like it: Andrea Stewart’s “sharp and compelling” (Booklist) debut boasts magical and mysterious creatures, sapphic characters, and a thrilling tale of revolution.
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