Year's best Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction and fantasy
by Marie Hodgkinson
What it is: This anthology contains a selection of the best short science fiction and fantasy stories published by Aotearoa New Zealand writers in 2020.
Don't miss: The Secrets She Eats by Nikky Lee. The Eater is a character that can walk through a village and eat its secrets. And a dark and delicious one is hiding right around the corner...
Leviathan falls by James S.A. CoreyThey're back! Once again, Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante face daunting odds as they attempt to save humanity.
What a long, strange trip it's been: Leviathan Falls is the 9th and final installment of the Expanse series, which began in 2011 with Leviathan Wakes and has since become a popular television series.
Reviewers say: a "fitting conclusion to one of the best space opera series in many years" (Booklist).
The god of lost words by A.J. HackwithStarring: Arcanist Claire, escaped fictional character Hero, fallen angel Ramiel, and muse-turned-librarian Brevity, who must once again join forces to defend the Unwritten Wing, this time from the demon Malphas.
Series alert: This novel concludes the Hell's Library trilogy, following The Library of the Unwritten and The Archive of the Forgotten.
For fans of: Genevieve Cogman's Invisible Library series.
by Adrian Tchaikovsky
What it's about: Sworn to study the locals on a distant planet, a junior anthropologist is forbidden to help when the lowly fourth daughter of the Queen, Lynesse, pleads with him to help rid the land of the demon terrorizing it.
Why you might like it: A delightful blend of Fantasy and Science Fiction, this stand alone novel has a perfect balance of world-building and storytelling.
For fans of: Ursula Le Guin
Jade legacy by Fonda LeeWhat it is: the conclusion of the Green Bone Saga, which picks up where Jade War left off and spans a period of 20 years.
Featuring: the No Peak Kaul and the Mountain Ayt families, rival crime syndicates whose long-running conflict over control of the jade that is the source of their power at last comes to a head.
Why you might like it: Magic and martial arts enhance this gritty crime drama, which revolves around gang warfare in a setting reminiscent of contemporary Hong Kong.
A swift and savage tide by Chloe NeillIntroducing: Captain Kit Brightling, an officer of the Saxon Navy, whose magic is Aligned with the sea; and Rian Grant, Viscount Queenscliffe, the intelligence operative with whom she must work to thwart a plot by Gallic Emperor-in-exile Gerard Rousseau.
Why you might like it: This fantasy series opener offers a magic-infused alternate version of the Napoleonic Wars.
For fans of: Naomi Novik's Temeraire series.
Black leopard, red wolf by Marlon JamesWhat it is: a lush and, at times, surreal Afrofantasy novel by the author of A Brief History of Seven Killings.
Reviewers say: The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani describes the novel's African-inspired setting as "a place mapped by Gabriel García Márquez and Hieronymus Bosch with an assist from Salvador Dalí."
You might also like: Charles Saunders' Imaro.
A memory called empire by Arkady MartineWhat it's about: Newly appointed ambassador Mahit Dzmare investigates the suspicious death of her predecessor while navigating political intrigue within the expansionist Teixcalaanli Empire.
Why you might like it: This series opener (and its sequel, A Desolation Called Peace) boasts an intricately layered, slowly unfolding plot as well as detailed depictions of alien cultures.
For fans of: Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy, Seth Dickinson's Masquerade series, or Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor.
Velocity weapon by Megan E. O'KeefeThe premise: After her ship is destroyed in battle, Sgt. Sanda Greeve wakes up two centuries later on an uncrewed enemy vessel, The Light of Berossus.
Read it for: exciting space battles, intergalactic political intrigue, and a multi-stranded narrative that shifts between past and present.
Series alert: This Philip K. Dick Award nominee kicks off the Protectorate series, which continues with Chaos Vector and concludes with Catalyst Gate.
A declaration of the rights of magicians by H.G. ParryWhat it is: a richly detailed alternate history of the French and Haitian Revolutions for fans of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
Starring: necromancer Robespierre, who foments revolution in France; and weather mage Toussaint L’Ouverture, who leads the enslaved people of Haiti as they liberate themselves from bondage.
Series alert: This "impeccably researched and epically written" (Booklist) novel marks the opening installment of the Shadow Histories series, which continues with A Radical Act of Free Magic.
Deal with the Devil by Kit RochaAtlanta, 2086: Mercenary librarian Nina's quest for information puts her on a collision course with Captain Garrett Knox, leader of the rogue supersoldier group the Silver Devils.
Crossover alert: Deal with the Devil and its sequel, The Devil You Know, are set in the same post-apocalyptic world as author-duo Kit Rocha's BDSM-themed Beyond erotic romance series.
For fans of: the action-oriented storylines and strong heroine of Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels fantasies.
Contact your librarian for more great books!