Fantasy and Science Fiction
Iron Gold: A Red Rising Novel by Pierce BrownSlave-turned-statesman Darrow, a lowly Red whose uprising against Mars' Gold elite led to the establishment of the Solar Republic -- and an endless war.
This spinoff of the Red Rising trilogy combines fast paced action, political intrigue and social commentary to weave an engrossing tale. Readers may also enjoy the Dune series by Frank Herbert and Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen.
A War in Crimson Embers by Alex MarshallOnce a hero, now a pariah, warrior Zosia rounds up her far-flung former comrades-in-arms in an attempt to right past wrongs and redeem herself.
A War in Crimson Embers concludes the Crimson Empire trilogy, which begins with A Crown for Cold Silver, followed by A Blade of Black Steel.
Readers may also enjoy the potent mix of extreme violence and sardonic humor found in Joe Abercrombie's First Law books.
The Night Market by Jonathan MooreResponding to a late-night call, San Francisco homicide detectives arrive at the scene of the crime to find it crawling with FBI agents in hazmat suits. Then things get really weird.
Equal parts dystopian SF, noir, and conspiracy thriller, this genre-bending novel boasts a menacing atmosphere and a twisty plot. Think Philip K. Dick meets the X Files.
The Will to Battle by Ada PalmerEx-convict Mycroft Canner discovers the high cost of peace as his world -- a 25th-century utopian society in which philosophical Hives have replaced nation-states -- begins to collapse.
Part of a trilogy, readers should start at the beginning with Too Like the Lightning.
For another thought-provoking blend of Western philosophy and science fiction, try Jo Walton's Just City novels, which envision a society based on the principles of Plato's Republic.
The Sky Is Yours by Chandler Klang SmithDragons soar above the burned-out ruins of Empire Island (think New York in the year 301970), a reality-TV star, a baroness, and a feral girl must survive the mean streets of their own city.
For a similar read, check out the inventive and freewheeling apocalyptic fiction of Nick Harkaway.
It's Complicated (Romantic Relationships)
Burn For Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona AndrewsA pyrokinetic "Prime" is on the loose, using powerful magic to incinerate anyone or anything that stands in his way. As private investigator Nevada Baylor tries to stop him, she finds an unlikely ally in Connor "Mad" Rogan, a billionaire with dark powers of his own.
Straddling the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romantic suspense, this steamy series starter asks: can your enemy's enemy be your friend-with-benefits (and more)?
Although they feature a lighter tone and a snarkier heroine, Darynda Jones' Charley Davidson novels also pair a tough private eye and a hot but dangerous alpha male.
The Heart Goes Last: A Novel by Margaret AtwoodIn exchange for a secure middle-class existence, downwardly mobile couple Charmaine and Stan become subjects in an unusual social experiment that will put their relationship to the test. Chilling and slyly satirical from the author of Handmaid's Tale.
Readers may also enjoy the sardonic, keenly observed novels of formerly middle-class individuals adjusting to the harsh realities of late capitalism, such as Karl Taro Greenfeld's The Subprimes or Lionel Shriver's The Mandibles
The Cold Between: A Central Corps Novel by Elizabeth BonesteelCommander Elena Shaw, chief engineer of the Central Corps ship Galileo, and retired starship captain Treiko "Trey" Zajec, whose hookup on the colony planet of Volhynia gets complicated when Trey is accused of murdering one of Elena's crewmates.
Blending mystery, political intrigue, action, and romance, this opening installment of the Central Corps novels may appeal to fans of Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax novels.
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance: A Vorkosigan Saga Novel by Lois McMaster BujoldCaptain Ivan Vorpatril is content with his quiet, uncomplicated existence.until he receives orders to protect Tej Arqua, a young woman targeted by a criminal syndicate.
Starring a popular supporting character from the long-running Vorkosigan saga, this 18th series entry, which takes place several years before the events of Cryoburn, easily stands on its own.
Kushiel's Justice by Jacqueline CareyA lush, steamy tale of the forbidden love between Sidonie, dauphine of Terre d'Ange, and Imriel de la Courcel, son of the realm's most notorious traitor.
Depicting a society whose motto is "love as thou wilt," this novel does not shy away from explicit depictions of erotic relationships.
Jacqueline Carey's popular Kushiel's Legacy series is comprised of three linked trilogies: Kushiel's Justice is book 2 of a trilogy that focuses on Imriel's journey to adulthood.
Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntoshIf you're a beautiful but uninsured young woman who's facing terminal illness, your best bet is to become a "bridesicle." Of course, you'll be cryogenically frozen until a wealthy man opts to pay for your treatment in exchange for becoming his wife.
Andri Snaer Magnason's Lovestar and Chris Adrian's The New World, also both explore issues of economic inequality as they depict futuristic technologies that create more problems than they solve when applied to personal relationships.
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