Fantasy and Science Fiction
Supernova Era by Cixin Liu; translated by Joel MartinsenWhat if: children ran the world?
How it happens: A supernova bombards Earth with deadly radiation, sparing only children 12 and under, who assume control of their societies. (It goes about as well as you'd expect.)
Is it for you? Readers expecting the hard science and technical detail found in the author's Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy may be surprised by the allegorical nature of this stand-alone novel.
The Name of All Things by Jenn LyonsIntroducing: warrior Janel Theranon, Count of Tolamer, and Vishai priest Brother Qown, who take turns narrating this 2nd installment of the Chorus of Dragons series.
What you should know: While The Ruin of Kings focused on the exploits of thief-turned-hero Kihrin, this sequel backtracks to reveal what others were doing during the events of the first book.
Supplementary materials: intricate hand-drawn maps, a substantial glossary, and a run-down of the many Dominions of the Empire aid readers as they navigate this sprawling epic fantasy saga.
Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuireWhat's inside: 22 tales by speculative fiction writer Seanan McGuire, who also publishes under the name Mira Grant.
Is it for you? While the prolific McGuire is the author of multiple popular fantasy series -- including the October Daye, InCryptid, Wayward Children, and Ghost Stories novels -- this collection's stand-alone tales explore new and different worlds.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan SnipesThe premise: Descended from pregnant African women thrown overboard by slavers, the wajinru (their name means "chorus of the deep") are an aquatic people united by the History they elect to forget.
The plot: As the wajinru's chosen historian, Yetu serves as the living repository of their collective memory. It's slowly destroying her.
The backstory: For this heartwrenching novel, author Rivers Solomon took inspiration from the Hugo-nominated song of the same name by hip-hop trio Clipping, which in turn was inspired by mythological themes explored by Detroit electronic music duo Drexciya.
Books You May Have Missed
Upon a Burning Throne: The Burnt Empire Saga, Book 1 by Ashok K. BankerInspired by: the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata.
What happens: Upon passing "The Test of Fire," two young princes, Adri and Shvate, become heirs to the throne. However, a third contender waits in the wings: Krushita, a girl from the outskirts of the empire whose exiled father is a powerful demonlord.
For fans of: Amish Tripathi's Immortals of Meluha series.
The Binding by Bridget CollinsIn a world... where all books are repositories of memories, specially trained Binders extract traumatic experiences from the minds of consenting adults while crafting elegant codices to contain them.
Starring: apprentice binder Emmett Farmer, who (reluctantly) learns his trade from the elderly Seredith while navigating fraught encounters with a client, the privileged Lucian Darnay.
Want a taste? "There’s a growing trade in fakes, you know...Novels, they call them. They must be much cheaper to produce. You can copy them, you see. Use the same story over and over, and as long as you’re careful how you sell them, you can get away with it."
The Grey Bastards by Jonathan FrenchIntroducing: The Grey Bastards, a "hoof" (band) of half-orcs that patrols the Lot Lands on their giant hogs.
Reviewers say: "an unapologetically brutal thrill ride -- like Mad Max set in Tolkien's Middle-earth" (Kirkus Reviews).
You might also like: Gritty but not grimdark, this violent and bawdy series opener is a good bet for fans of Glen Cook's Black Company books, Jeff Salyard's Bloodsounder's Arc series, or Luke Scull's Grim Company novels.
Magic for Liars by Sarah GaileyStarring: Ivy Gamble, a private investigator who's hired to solve a murder at the Osthorne Academy for Young Mages, an elite school for the magically gifted where her estranged twin sister currently teaches.
For fans of: the gilded youth and evocative setting of Lev Grossman's The Magicians; the offbeat tone of Sara Gran's Claire DeWitt mysteries.
About the author: The versatile and inventive Sarah Gailey is best known for their American Hippo alternate history series.
The Wall by John LanchesterWhat happens: 20-year-old Joseph Kavanagh embarks on two years of compulsory service as a "Defender of the Wall," patrolling a small section of the 10,000-kilometer concrete barrier that surrounds his island nation, which was erected to protect its citizens from the "Others."
Book buzz: The Wall was longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize.
You might also like: Jesse Ball's The Divers' Game, another atmospheric dystopian fable set in a xenophobic near-future society.
Contact your librarian for more great books!