Oct 192018
 

Cover of Exit Strategy by Martha Wells.Exit Strategy, the fourth novella in The Murderbot Diaries, hits the USA Today Bestseller list!

Martha Wells’s Hugo, Nebula, Alex, and Locus Award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, The Murderbot Diaries, comes to a thrilling conclusion in Exit Strategy.

Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right?

Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.

But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?

And what will become of it when it’s caught?

Oct 162018
 

Photo of Elizabeth BearHugo Award winning author Elizabeth Bear’s THE BEST OF ELIZABETH  BEAR, a mega-collection of the author’s short works, to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press by Jennifer Jackson.

Oct 152018
 

Cover of The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson. Booklist: Get ready, because Hutchinson is going to knock your socks off with this new, deliciously bizarre novel. . .  His intelligent writing will seduce readers with its complex and spunky characters, lively dialogue, offbeat humor, and emotional depth.

Oct 122018
 

Cover of Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.Booklist: Min is shocked to hear her brother, Jun, has deserted the Space Force in search of the legendary Dragon Pearl. Eager to prove his innocence, she sets out to find him, and to do so, she’ll need to use her family’s ancestral magic—they’re shape-shifting fox spirits who have preternatural charm—a skill that has not endeared them to others.

Along the way, Min outthinks pesky space security, earns money at a gambling den, survives a laser fight with mercenaries, impersonates a dead cadet, and breaks a planet-wide quarantine of the Fourth Colony to rid it of its vengeful ghostly inhabitants. Luckily, she has some new friends on her side, Haneul, a female dragon, and Sujun, a nonbinary goblin.

Lee’s written a unique space opera infused with elements of traditional Korean mythology. Not only are Lee’s characters refreshingly diverse both in race and gender identity, but the mythology mixed with sf means there is something for many readers to enjoy. Billed as a stand-alone, this is ideal for readers who want fantasy epics without the commitment to multivolume stories.

Oct 112018
 

Cover of Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett.NYT Book Review: An absolutely riveting secondary world fantasy. To say ‘I couldn’t put it down’ is a cliché, but… I felt fully, utterly engaged by the ideas, actually in love with the core characters for their differences and the immensely generative friction between them, and in awe of Bennett’s craft.

Crossing the brilliant economics and object-empathy of Edward Carey’s Heap House with the careful character and setting work of Fonda Lee’s Jade CityFoundryside is a magnificent, mind-blowing start to a series I’m hungry for.

Oct 102018
 

Cover of The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson.B&N SFF Blog: With The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Dickinson showed an impressive talent for executing an epic fantasy rich in worldbuilding, complex in character, and brutally exacting in its clockwork plotting.

Baru Cormorant rose off the page as one of the most flawed, fascinating characters to come out of fantasy in a long time, her incandescent rage and patient desire for revenge but a few of her visceral qualities. In the first book, she survived the destruction of her culture and death of her loved ones at the hands of the Empire of Masks and feigned obedience in order to rise within its ranks and orchestrate its epic downfall from the inside. As The Monster Baru Cormorant opens, she finds herself, finally, a powerful member of the empire she’s vowed to destroy, yet psychically damaged by the effort it took to get there, to the point that she can no longer trust her own motivations.

With this second of a planned four-volume epic, Dickinson has done something incredible by deepening our understanding of a fabulously complex, compelling character.

Oct 092018
 

Cover of Witchmark by C.L. Polk.NYT Book Review: Witchmark is thoroughly charming and deftly paced… [It] sticks its landing while opening up intriguing possibilities for a sequel.

This is an accomplished and enjoyable debut.

Oct 082018
 

The Agony House by Cherie Priest.Locus Magazine: This time she goes full creepy with a haunted house story set in New Orleans that also manages to throw in a hefty dose of the history of comic books and some thoughtful consideration of the issue of gentrification. Combined with Tara O’Connor’s illustrations, The Agony House blends ghostly visitations with classic mystery solving and serious social commentary to give readers a smart and surprisingly topical read.

Kudos to Priest for crafting a supernatural mystery that blends classic crime-solving with a thoroughly modern sensibility. The inclusion of sections with the actual pages from the Lucinda Might comic book, courtesy Tara O’Connor’s outstanding illustrations, was also a brilliant decision. The Agony House is a fast-paced read that tackles significant social issues while never deviating from its horror roots.

This is how you give perceptive readers a good time: you don’t write down to them, you dish out the thrills and chills in a narrative that also makes some insightful assessment of how we live along the way. We need more of this in MG and YA fantasy, much much more.

Oct 052018
 

Cover of The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson.Publishers Weekly: The challenging second installment of this sweeping fantasy trilogy picks up where 2016’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant left off. Baru, intent on bringing down the Empire of Masks from within, has finally ascended to her new role as one of the Empire’s secretive, all-powerful cryptarchs, but only by betraying those who believed in her.

To cement her position and eliminate visible weaknesses, she even has her lover executed for treason, a heinous act that affects her more than she can afford to reveal. Now swept up in the affairs of state, dealing with conspiracies, enemies, and potential war at every turn, Baru risks losing her soul in the pursuit of her goal: freeing her island home from the Empire’s grip. Dickinson packs a lot into this dense, multilayered, complicated epic, letting the story unfold through multiple perspectives, flashbacks, tense shifts, and other narrative devices.

As Baru juggles increasing amounts of trauma with an unrelenting focus on the endgame, she continually proves herself as a fascinating, morally grey protagonist in a complex world where conflicts take place on the high seas, in the ballroom, and in the marketplace. It all builds to a powerful cliff-hanger, with hints of much more to come.