Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin HearneWhat it is: a quirky comedic fantasy adventure that riffs on classic genre tropes.
Featuring: a farm boy (briefly), a talking goat, a seven-foot-tall warrior in a chainmail bikini, an enchanted rabbit bard, an alektorophobic assassin, a sand witch, and a dark lord.
For fans of: William Goldman's The Princess Bride, Diana Wynne Jones' Dark Lord of Derkholm, or Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.
Suicide Club: A Novel About Living by Rachel HengIn a world... where DNA is destiny, the human population is divided into "lifers" and "sublifers," categorized on the basis of a genetic test administered at birth.
Starring: Lea Kirino, whose genetic profile gives her an expected lifespan of 300 years. Lea doesn't question her privilege until a chance encounter with her estranged father leads her to an underground organization known as Suicide Club.
Read it for: a chillingly plausible near-future dystopian society.
The Robots of Gotham by Todd McAultyWhat it's about: In 2083, the United States, which outlawed artificial intelligence, is occupied by a coalition of foreign powers led by robots.
Want a taste? "Like the rest of the world, I watched the invasion of America in real time. No one had ever seen anything like the war machines that emerged out of the Atlantic to terrorize the financial capital of the world."
Try this next: Annalee Newitz's Autonomous, which also explores the social, political, and economic consequences of technology.
I have sensed a disturbance in the Force." Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root--its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor's favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs--including the Death Star project--the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it's not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there's more behind his royal command than either man suspects. In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown . . . and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance--neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store. Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged--by a test of their allegiance to the Empire . . . and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.
Focus on: Speculative Thrillers
Magicians Impossible by Brad AbrahamStarring: Jason Bishop, who's just learned that he comes from a long line of magical spies.
What happens: Jason gets caught in the crossfire between rival magical factions the Invisible Hand and the Golden Dawn, each of which wants to claim Jason as one of its own.
You might also like: Max Gladstone's Bookburners, another fast-paced, action-packed fantasy adventure in which a magical secret society takes on a dangerous mission.
Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake CrouchWhat it's about: An expert in quantum superposition who (reluctantly) traded research for teaching, physicist Jason Dessen sometimes wonders about the road not taken. Then he wakes up in a life that's not the one he remembers...
You might also like: Peter Clines' The Fold or David Walton's Superposition, both of which feature ordinary men forced to contend with alternate realities.
The Eternal World by Christopher FarnsworthThen: In 1537, Spanish conquistador Simon de Oliveras and his men slaughtered the Water Clan of the Uzita in order to take control the Fountain of Youth.
Now: The Fountain's waters are drying up and immortal Simon, CEO of Conquest Biotech, hires David Robinton to reverse-engineer them.
Soon: Both men find themselves in over their heads as an old adversary of Simon's pursues supernatural vengeance.
Zero World by Jason M. HoughWhat it's about: Thanks to his brain implant, cyborg spy Peter Caswell conducts clandestine missions -- and immediately forgets what he's done. (Which could be a problem.)
Reviewers say: This novel "smashes The Bourne Identity together with The End of Eternity to create a thrilling action rampage" (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
About the author: Jason M. Hough made his debut with the acclaimed Dire Earth Cycle, which begins with The Darwin Elevator.
Touch by Claire NorthWhat it is: a mind-bending revenge thriller narrated by the enigmatic Kepler, who can inhabit other people's bodies and kill with a touch.
Reviewers say: "The high stakes and breakneck pace of the plot will draw readers in" (Kirkus Reviews).
About the author: In addition to The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and The End of the Day, pseudonymous author Claire North (Catherine Webb) has also written books under the name Kate Griffin.
Change Agent by Daniel SuarezIntroducing: Interpol agent Kenneth Durand, from the Genetic Crime Division, who's been injected with a DNA-altering "change agent" that transforms him into his nemesis: crime lord Marcus Wyckes.
What happens: On the run from his own men, Kenneth is willing to brave a risky back-alley reverse gene edit to get his life back.
Why you might like it: Entertaining and high-tech, this futuristic thriller should please fans of the late Michael Crichton.
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