Machine by Elizabeth BearStarring: Doctor Llyn Jens of the Synarche Medical Vessel I Race to Seek the Living, who answers a distress call from an ancient Terran ship and stumbles upon a mystery.
Can you start here? Although this 2nd White Space novel stands on its own, it does contain some small spoilers for Ancestral Night.
For fans of: C.J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union series, James White's Sector General novels, or Murray Leinster's stories of the Interstellar Medical Service.
The Burning God by R.F. KuangWhat it is: the highly anticipated conclusion to the Poppy War trilogy, which finds warrior Rin facing off against colonizers, corrupt rulers, and the gods themselves.
Is it for you? This ultra-violent military fantasy, set in a world reminiscent of 19th-century China and starring an opium-addicted heroine struggling with PTSD, does not pull any punches.
Should you start here? Due to the complexity of the plot and world-building, newcomers should start with The Poppy War, followed by The Dragon Republic.
The Midnight Bargain by C.L. PolkWhat it's about: Beatrice Clayborn dreams of becoming a Magus, but her family insists that she find a husband during the upcoming Bargaining Season. Will learning forbidden magic from an ancient grimoire empower her to determine her own fate?
Why you might like it: This series opener by the author of Witchmark boasts an evocative setting reminiscent of Regency England, an inventive magic system, and a gentle romance.
For fans of: Zen Cho's Sorcerer Royal books or Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist series.
Books You May Have Missed
The Unwilling by Kelly BraffetStarring: Judah, a foundling whose special abilities put her in danger of becoming a pawn in the schemes of powerful people.
Is it for you? Life is nasty, brutish, and short in this violent, verging-on-grimdark fantasy novel, which regularly subjects its characters to abuse and torture.
Reviewers say: "Suspenseful, magical, wonderfully written, and never predictable" (Booklist).
A Beginning at the End by Mike ChenWhat it is: an introspective post-apocalyptic novel that follows four people as they attempt to put their lives back together in the aftermath of a pandemic.
For fans of: Yoko Tawada's The Emissary, Kimi Eisele's The Lightest Object in the Universe, or Lily Brooks-Dalton's Good Morning, Midnight.
About the author: Mike Chen is the author of Here and Now and Then, as well as the forthcoming We Could Be Heroes.
The Seep by Chana PorterIn a world... where a benevolent alien presence known as The Seep has transformed human society into a peaceful, post-capitalist utopia where now-immortal people can "recreate" into any form they wish, Trina Goldberg-Oneka, a middle-aged trans woman, mourns the loss of her wife, who has chosen to be reborn as a baby.
For fans of: the ambiguous alien invasions of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End and Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series; the lyrical prose and dreamlike atmosphere of Jeff VanderMeer's Dead Astronauts.
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