Fantasy and Science Fiction
The Memory of Fire by Callie BatesWhat happens: In this follow-up to The Walking Land, Paladisian nobleman Jahan Korakides must hide his magic powers -- or face punishment by death. But as the former emperor prepares to invade, Jahan finds that magic might be the only way to maintain peace.
Welcome back: While this 2nd epic fantasy in a planned trilogy does introduce readers to a new main character, fans will be happy that the star of the 1st volume, Elanna Valtai, also appears.
Starless by Jacqueline CareyWhat it’s about: Since birth, Khai has been tasked with protecting and defending his soul’s twin, the Princess Zariya of the Ageless and Sun-Blessed. But in a world where exiled gods mingle among mortals, nothing is as it seems -- and an important and critical piece of Khai’s identity has been withheld from him.
Is it for you? Readers who like intricate world-building, intrigue, and adventure will enjoy this epic fantasy.
You might also like: authors Garth Nix and Rhoda Belleza.
Medusa Uploaded by Emily DevenportStarring: Oichi Angelist, a genetically engineered “worm” who is "partially deaf, dumb, and blind" and toiling in domestic servitude for the Executives on the generation starship Olympia -- until she is joins with a sentient AI Medusa unit and sets out to change the world.
Reviewers say: “Richly detailed and gorgeously imagined…a gripping and unusual read” (Kirkus Reviews).
Series alert: This fast-paced science fiction thriller is the 1st in a planned trilogy.
Mem by Bethany C. MorrowWhat it’s about: In 1925 Montreal, wealthy elites can separate their memories from their bodies and deposit them in “Mems” -- people who exist only to relive these memories over and over again. But one Mem -- Dolores Extract No. 1 -- has the unique ability to create her own memories, too.
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.
Witchmark by C.L. PolkStarring: Dr. Miles Singer, who has just returned from the war in an alternate world reminiscent of Edwardian England. Now working in a hospital, Miles is not only concealing his magical healing powers, but he is also hiding from his powerful family.
Who it's for: This debut historical fantasy is for fans of Philip Pullman, Victoria Schwab, or Tarun Shanker.
Reviewers say: “The final revelations are impossible to see coming and prove that Polk is a writer to watch” (Publishers Weekly).
Focus on: Australian Speculative Fiction
Lexicon by Max BarryWhat it’s about: Words have the power to maim and kill, but only a few people can wield them -- including teenage street denizen Emily, whom a mysterious organization recruits for training. In a parallel story, Wil is the only survivor of a catastrophe in Australia, and one man thinks he might be immune to the effects of powerful words that have proved fatal for others.
Who it’s for: Contemporary fantasy readers who also like thrillers, horror, and dystopian fiction.
You might also like: The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon.
Thief's Magic by Trudi CanavanWhat it’s about: While excavating an ancient tomb, sorcerer-archaeologist Tyen discovers a sentient book named Vella, magically created from the body of a living woman. In a parallel narrative, Rielle has possessed supernatural powers since birth and is reluctant to conform to society’s expectations for young women.
Why you might like it: Thief's Magic is an epic fantasy with a hefty dose of magic.
Series alert: This is the 1st in the Millennium’s Rule Trilogy, followed by Angel of Storms.
The Clockwork Rocket by Greg EganWhat it's about: On a faraway planet where women are treated harshly and the species reproduces only through the death of the mother, the female polymorph Yalda discovers that a celestial object is headed straight for her home. Can Yalda build a rocket ship to save her people from impending destruction?
For fans of: Larry Niven and John Scalzi as well as science fiction and steampunk readers who like hard science.
Series alert: The 1st in the Orthogonal series, The Clockwork Rocket is followed by The Eternal Flame.
The Lyre Thief by Jennifer FallonStarring: Princess Rakaia of Fardohnya and her illegitimate half-sister Charisee, who have been trading identities for years. But this time it's not a game, for Rakaia has learned that she is not the king's biological daughter, placing her in extreme jeopardy.
Why you might like it: This fast-paced epic fantasy is full of romance, revenge, and political intrigue.
Series alert: The Lyre Thief is the 7th in the Hythrun chronicles, but it offers plenty of backstory for new readers.
Dreamer's Pool: A Blackthorn & Grim Novel by Juliet MarillierWhat it's about: To avoid execution, imprisoned healer Blackthorn strikes a bargain with one of the fae: her freedom in exchange for seven years' service in the kingdom of Dalriada, where she soon discovers that something’s rotten.
Reviewers say: a “feast for the imagination” (Publishers Weekly).
Series alert: Dreamer's Pool is the 1st book in the Blackthorn & Grim series, which is inspired by Irish mythology and features women’s empowerment as a theme.
The Swan Book: A Novel by Alexis WrightWhat it’s about: In a dystopian near-future where climate change has drastically changed Australia, Oblivia Ethelyne, an Aboriginal teen, is violently assaulted but rescued by eccentric old Bella Donna -- until Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, forcibly takes her as his bride.
Who it's for: Readers who like mythology and folklore.
You might also like: The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenny Fagan, which is also a lyrical science fiction story set in a near-future world.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
If you are having trouble unsubscribing to this newsletter, please contact NextReads at 919-489-3713, 3710 Mayfair Street, Durham, NC 27707