Fantasy and Science Fiction
Temper by Nicky DraydenIn a world... where everybody has a twin, and virtues and vices are split unevenly between pairs, siblings Auben and Kasim Mtuze's symbiotic bond is strained to the breaking point by Kasim's higher social status and Auben's sudden possession by demons.
Read it for: detailed world-building that encompasses a South African setting in which European colonization never occurred, and a society underpinned by a non-binary conception of gender.
You might also like: Laura Lam's False Hearts, another genre-blending speculative tale about twins with a complex and unusual bond.
Relic by Alan Dean FosterStarring: Ruslan, the last surviving human after a bioweapon wipes out his entire civilization.
The situation: The alien Myssari want to clone Ruslan and revive the human species. In exchange for his cooperation, they promise to help him locate his ancestral planet: Earth.
About the author: Alan Dean Foster is best known for his long-running series set in the Humanx Commonwealth, which begins with Midworld.
Wild Hunger: An Heirs of Chicagoland Novel by Chloe NeillIntroducing: Elisa Sullivan, the first and only vampire to be born instead of made.
What happens: Following a period of self-imposed exile in Paris, Elisa must return to Chicago to broker peace talks among the different vampire factions.
Series alert: Wild Hunger kicks off the Heirs of Chicagoland series, a spin-off of the Chicagoland Vampires novels.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart TurtonWhat it is: an unusual take on an Agatha Christie-style country house mystery, in which an unnamed narrator must solve a murder while imprisoned in a time loop. As if that's not difficult enough, each day the protagonist wakes up in the body of a different guest.
What's at stake: Failure to identify the killer will reset the entire scenario.
Further reading: For another science fictional take on Golden Age detective fiction, try Adam Roberts' Jack Glass. For mysteries involving time loops, check out Sean Ferrell's Man in the Empty Suit.
The Power by Naomi AldermanWhat if... women were in charge? Would they create a more just society...or would they electrocute men with their bare hands and establish a matriarchy?
What it is: Framed as historical fiction penned millennia after the balance of power shifts, this thought-provoking novel follows a diverse cast whose abilities transform them from victims to oppressors.
Book buzz: The Power won the 2017 Women's Prize for Fiction.
The Waking Land by Callie BatesWhat it's about: Lady Elanna Valtai grew up as a hostage in the court of a king who took her to ensure her rebellious father's compliance. Now the prime suspect in the king's murder, Elanna has nowhere to go to but the homeland she's spent her life trying to forget and no one to turn to except the family she's been raised to hate.
Why you might like it: Elanna's transformation from sheltered girl to courageous leader may appeal to fans of Erika Johansen's The Queen of the Tearling.
The Girl in the Road by Monica ByrneWhat happens: After university dropout Meena survives an assassination attempt in future Mumbai, she heads for her native Addis Ababa by way of the Trail, or Trans-Arabian Linear Generator, a high-tech bridge spanning the Arabian Sea. Ethiopia is also the destination of 10-year-old Mariama, an enslaved child in present-day Mauritania who sneaks aboard an oil truck crossing the Sahara.
Why you might like it: Despite differences in time and circumstance, the women's paths are destined to cross in ways neither one could predict.
Star's End by Cassandra Rose ClarkeWhat it's about: Philip Coramina is dying. His final wish? To see his daughters one last time. Loyal Esme already serves as his second-in-command, but her three estranged half-sisters want nothing to do with the family's corporate empire.
Why you might like it: Although family drama is the beating heart of this character-driven novel, there's plenty of intrigue surrounding the Coramina Group and its various enterprises.
For fans of: the complex relationships in Nicola Griffith's Slow River.
Uprooted by Naomi NovikBackstory: Once every ten years, a powerful wizard known as the Dragon chooses one young woman from Agnieszka's valley and spirits her away to his enchanted tower. Why? Nobody knows.
What happens: Unexpectedly chosen over more likely candidates, Agnieszka discovers untapped talents, challenges the Dragon's rules (and patience), and battles the malevolent influence of the nearby enchanted Wood in order to save her village.
Why you might like it: Based on Polish folklore, this stand-alone novel by Temeraire series author Naomi Novik is a fantastical coming-of-age tale combining magic, warfare, politics, and romance.
Binti by Nnedi OkoraforIntroducing: Binti of the Himba people, who rarely travel beyond their ancestral lands.
What happens: Admitted to the prestigious Oomza University, Binti must leave her family and traditional way of life behind. But her struggle to adjust to her new situation is nothing compared to the trouble caused by the alien Meduse.
Series alert: The Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Binti kicks off a trilogy that continues with Binti: Home and Binti: The Night Masquerade.
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