Piranesi by Susanna ClarkeThe only people in the world: "Piranesi," the narrator, and his mysterious mentor, known as "the Other," who dwell in the House, a surreal labyrinthine building full of impossible things.
Why you might like it: This long-awaited novel by the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell offers a puzzle box of a plot and metafictional magical realism wrapped up in lyrical prose.
Reviewers say: "a tenebrous study in solitude" (The Guardian).
Ink & Sigil by Kevin HearneStarring: Aloysius "Al" MacBharrais, a Glaswegian sigil agent whose job is to enforce treaties between humans and supernatural beings.
What happens: After losing his most recent apprentice (they never last long), Al discovers that the man was involved in some shady business with the Fae.
Series alert: Ink & Sigil is a stand-alone novel set in the world of the author's Iron Druid Chronicles (which begins with Hounded).
The Four Profound Weaves: A Birdverse Book by R.B. LembergIntroducing: Uiziya e Lali, a weaver of the nomadic Surun' people, who searches for her exiled aunt Benesret so that she may complete her training in the Four Profound Weaves; and the outcast nameless man who accompanies her in hopes of receiving a name from Benesret.
Read it for: a pair of elderly transgender leads on a quest for mystical knowledge, immersive world-building, and lush, lyrical prose.
Can you start here? Although Nebula award-nominated author R.B. Lemberg has published numerous short stories set in the Birdverse, this stand-alone novel provides newcomers with sufficient context.
The Memory of Souls by Jenn LyonsWhat it is: the 3rd installment of the Chorus of Dragons series, after The Ruin of Kings and The Name of All Things.
What's at stake: the wards that confine Vol Karoth, king of demons, are weakening and that's bad news.
Read it for: inventive world-building, an intricately plotted story that unfolds from multiple perspectives, and a genderfluid trio of leads whose will-they-won't-they relationship evolves throughout the series.
Hench by Natalie Zina WalschotsIn a world... where supervillains rely on a thriving gig economy to supply them with cheap, expendable minions, freelance "hench" Anna Tromedlov survives an encounter with a superhero and decides to use her data analysis skills to reveal who the real bad guys are.
Reviewers say: "A fiendishly clever novel that fizzes with moxie and malice" (Kirkus Reviews).
For fans of: Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible, V.E. Schwab's Vicious, or the Amazon series The Boys.
The Girl in Red by Christina HenryWhat it is: a post-apocalyptic retelling of Little Red Riding Hood that's more Walking Dead than Brothers Grimm.
Starring: Red, an axe-wielding biracial woman with a prosthetic leg who's determined to avoid the government's quarantine camps and seek sanctuary at her grandmother's off-the-grid house.
Is it for you? Parallel "Before" and "After" storylines explore the viral pandemic that destroyed Red's world as well as her present-day attempts to survive the wilderness and its "wolves."
The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan by Caitlín R. KiernanWhat's inside: 20 previously published horror and dark fantasy stories written by two-time Bram Stoker Award winner Caitlín R. Kiernan.
Is it for you? Fans of weird fiction will find much to savor in this lyrical Lovecraftian collection.
Don't miss: "Houses Under the Sea," featuring a sinister cult that will be familiar to readers of Kiernan's The Drowning Girl; the squirm-inducing body modification tale "A Season of Broken Dolls."
Lovecraft Country: A Novel by Matt RuffChicago, 1954: Black army veteran Atticus Turner sets out on a road trip across the segregated United States to find his missing father, encountering both racism and eldritch horrors along the way.
Media buzz: Lovecraft Country is now a critically acclaimed HBO series.
For fans of: dark fantasy that employs Lovecraftian themes to examine racism, such as Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom, Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexican Gothic, or N.K. Jemisin's The City We Became.
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeerWhat happens: A biologist, a psychologist, a surveyor, and an anthropologist set out on a scientific expedition to Area X, a quarantined zone that defies all attempts to map its terrain. Eleven previous missions have failed; is the 12th time the charm?
Read it for: the palpable sense of menace that permeates the dreamlike narrative; embedded homages to works of classic SF (such as the Strugatsky Brothers' Roadside Picnic).
Series alert: This Nebula and Shirley Jackson Award winner kicks of the Southern Reach trilogy, followed by Authority and Acceptance.
The Beauty by Aliya WhiteleyWelcome to: The Valley of the Rocks, where a group of men who survived the yellow fungus epidemic that killed all women encounter strange mushroom creatures that resemble their lost loved ones.
Don't miss: the stand-alone bonus short story "Peace, Pipe," which whimsically explores interspecies language barriers.
Book buzz: The Beauty was nominated for both the Shirley Jackson Award and the Saboteur Award.
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