The Origin of Storms by Elizabeth BearWhat it's about: The Rajni Mrithuri must hold onto the Alchemical Throne she has fought so hard to claim, with help from friends and allies, including her cousin Sayeh, the dragon Kyrlmyrandal, automaton Gage, and the Dead Man.
Read it for: strong characterization, sharp social commentary, deep political intrigue, and a climactic final battle.
Series alert: Set in the world of author Elizabeth Bear's Eternal Sky trilogy, The Origin of Storms marks the conclusion of the Lotus Kingdoms series, after The Stone in the Skull and The Red-Stained Wings.
Locklands by Robert Jackson BennettIn a world... where advanced technology evolved from a system of magic known as "scriving," which animates objects using glyphs, the resulting societal upheaval has redistributed the balance of power.
And now: revolutionaries Sancia, Clef, and Berenice must battle their enemy, Tevanne, while reflecting on the choices that have brought them to this point.
Series alert: Set eight years after the events of Shorefall, Locklands is the final book in the Founders trilogy, which begins with Foundryside.
A Prayer For The Crown-Shy by Becky ChambersThe premise: Centuries ago, robots collectively quit their jobs, fleeing to the wilderness and becoming mythical figures.
What happens: In this 2nd book in the Monk and Robot series, after A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Mosscap the Robot and his Tea Monk companion, Sibling Dex, continue their journey to answer one question: what do humans need?
Read it for: a hopeful and reflective vision of the world following an apocalypse.
Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonaldStarring: Raine, a 17-year-old orphan who can see and communicate with the dead.
No good deed goes unpunished... Raine's intervention on behalf of an injured fugitive brings her to Redwinter, the fortress-like home of the Draoihn, an order of magical warrior monks.
Is it for you? Though decidedly lighter in tone than author Ed McDonald's grimdark Raven's Mark series, Daughter of Redwinter is nevertheless a gritty story of a young woman who has experienced more than her fair share of trauma and abuse.
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-GarciaStarring: sheltered Carlota Moreau, whose father, mad scientist Doctor Moreau, keeps her isolated on their estate in 1870s Yucatán, Mexico.
What happens: A visit from Eduardo Lizalde, the son of her father's benefactor, sets Carlota down a dangerous path as she navigates her feelings for him and begins to see herself reflected in her father's animal-human hybrid creatures who long for freedom.
Try this next: For another inventive take on H.G. Wells' 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, read Daryl Gregory's The Album of Dr. Moreau.
Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie RobsonStarring: Lydia, a human who serves as a translator for telepathic alien "Fitz," the Logi cultural attaché to Earth.
What happens: When her boss is murdered, Lydia becomes the prime suspect. However, clearing her name will be a challenge as she has no memory of the night in question, a side effect of the Logisi language, which intoxicates humans.
Why you might like it: Part first contact story, part locked room mystery, this novel by the creator of the BBC radio series Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully features a sympathetic heroine and a twisty plot.
Flying the Coop by Lucinda RoyWelcome to: the Homestead Territories of the Disunited States, established by white supremacists in the aftermath of a second American Civil War known as "The Sequel."
Where you'll meet: winged Black girl Ji-ji, who has escaped from bondage to seek freedom in the former U.S. capital, now known as Dream City.
Should you start here? Flying the Coop is the 2nd book in the Dreambird Chronicles. Newcomers should start with The Freedom Race.
Thrust by Lidia YuknavitchStarring: Laisvé, a "carrier" who uses objects to move through time and reach out to the people she encounters on her travels.
Reviewers say: This "kinky, queer, and razor sharp" (Booklist) novel by the author of The Book of Joan is "part history, part prophecy, all fever dream" (Washington Post).
Want a taste? "Sometimes, just for a moment, a body can feel real inside a story that way. As if each of us existed."
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