Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah BakerIntroducing: Avery and Zib, two very different children from the same "very safe, very ordinary town" whose separate lives intersect when they find their way to a strange place known as the Up and Under.
Want a taste? "[E]verything had been decided for them. This is so often the case with children, and few of them will come to resent it, for few of them will ever know."
Metafiction alert: Fans of Seanan McGuire's novel Middlegame may recall the children's book Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker; now, using the Baker pseudonym, McGuire has made this fictional book a reality.
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.
Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha LeeWhat happens: Seventeen-year-old cadet Shuos Jedao awakens in the body of an older general and makes several unsettling discoveries: he's a construct, displaced in time, and has no memory of his war crimes.
Should you start here? Although the Shuos Jedao who stars in this 3rd installment of the Machineries of Empire series is not (exactly) the same one readers encountered in Ninefox Gambit and Raven Stratagem, newcomers might want to start at the beginning.
You might also like: Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire.
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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