Burning Roses by S.L. HuangWhat it's about: Teaming up to protect their home from deadly Sunbirds, sharpshooter Rosa and archer Hou Yi also battle their inner demons.
Why you might like it: This poignant, introspective mash-up of European fairy tales and Chinese mythology by the author of the Cas Russell novels focuses on the bond between a pair of aging monster-hunters.
Try these next: if you're curious about these characters' backstories, read Huang's previous novellas Hunting Monsters and Fighting Demons; if you're seeking more Asian-influenced fantasy with an LGBTQIA cast, check out JY Yang's Tensorate novellas.
To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin LiuWhat it is: a short story collection by the author of the award-winning Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy.
Don't miss: "Ode to Joy," featuring The Three-Body Problem's Sophon; "The Village Teacher," about a schoolteacher in rural China and told from the perspective of aliens.
Try these next: Invisible Planets and Broken Stars, two anthologies of contemporary Chinese science fiction edited and translated by Ken Liu.
A Deadly Education by Naomi NovikWhat it's about: Galadriel "El" Higgins, a loner with an affinity for dark magic, just wants to survive until graduation, but the heroics of her classmate, golden boy Orion Lake, may prove more lethal than the maleficaria that infest the school.
Is it for you? This 1st book in the Scholomance series has garnered controversy over the inclusion of racial stereotypes, for which the author has apologized and pledged to remove from subsequent editions.
For fans of: Marina and Sergey Dyachenko's Vita Nostra, Lev Grossman's The Magicians, or Leigh Bardugo's Ninth House.
Black Sun by Rebecca RoanhorseThe setting: the continent of Meridian, and the Holy City of Tova, the site of a religious observance called the Convergence -- which, this year, coincides with an eclipse.
The characters: Xiala, the Teek ship's captain tasked with escorting a "harmless" passenger to Tova; Serapio, a blind Obregi man destined to become a god; idealistic Sun Priest Naranpa; and Okoa, who has a crucial role to play in the events that unfold.
Series alert: Black Sun is the opening volume of the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, which draws inspiration from the many pre-contact Indigenous cultures of the Americas.
Sword of fire
by Katharine Kerr
What it is: this first novel of an epic fantasy trilogy reintroduces readers to the beloved and bestselling world of Deverry, blending magic, politics, and adventure in an unforgettable setting. The bards are the people's voice--and their sword. All over the kingdom of Deverry, the common people are demanding reform of the corrupt law courts. In Aberwyn, the situation catches fire when Gwerbret Ladoic, second in authority only to the High King, allows a bard to starve to death rather than hear their grievances. Guildwoman Alyssa, a student at the local scholars' collegium, and Lady Dovina, the Gwerbret's own daughter, know that evidence exists to overthrow the so-called traditional legal system, if they can only get it into the right hands. The powerful lords will kill anyone who threatens their privileges. To retrieve the proof, Alyssa must make a dangerous journey that will either change her life forever--or end it.
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. SchwabFrance, 1714: Addie Larue makes a Faustian bargain with capricious Luc, one of the old gods. The downside of "time without limit" and "freedom without rule"? No one will remember her.
New York City, 2014: Addie discovers that one person, bookstore owner Henry, may be the exception. But is it enough?
For fans of: other time-focused tales of loss, love, and loneliness such as Kate Atkinson's Life After Life or Laura Barnett's The Versions of Us.
Mem by Bethany C. MorrowWhat it’s about: In 1925 Montreal, the wealthy deposit their memories in “Mems,” people who exist only to relive them. Unbeknownst to everyone, the Mem known as Dolores Extract No. 1 possesses the unique ability to create memories of her own.
Why you should read it: If you liked the movie Blade Runner and enjoy philosophical explorations of topics like memory, mortality, wealth, and what it means to be human, don’t miss this haunting speculative fiction debut.
Artificial Condition by Martha WellsStarring: Murderbot, the sardonic rogue SecUnit that just wants to be left alone to binge-watch shows while doing a bare minimum of work; ART, the underemployed transport AI who becomes Murderbot's unlikely ally.
What happens: Disguised as an augmented human, Murderbot returns to the mining facility that may hold the key to Murderbot's forgotten past.
Series alert: Although this 2nd installment of the Murderbot Diaries can be enjoyed on its own, it does reference events from All Systems Red.
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