Jan 172018
 
Cover of Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer.Tor.com: The characters are strong and compelling. The atmosphere breathes life. It has a generosity of spirit, beneath the dark bits. And the presence of queer women is delightful.
Jan 162018
 

Cover of Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor.The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor’s Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.

Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene–though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives–and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

Don’t miss this essential concluding volume in the Binti trilogy.

Jan 152018
 

Cover of A Conspiracy of Whispers by Ada Harper.Desires and loyalties clash when a sensual assassin and an intriguing enemy agent must fight together in this exciting debut by Ada Harper.

For Olivia Shaw, the danger of her assignments as a deadly Whisper agent is matched only by that of her hidden status: Liv is one of the caricae, extremely rare women capable of bearing children and therefore controlled by the Syndicate’s government. When her handler sends her into the Quillian Empire, her mission is complicated by stumbling upon a kidnapping in progress.

Liv is drawn deep into political upheaval when her hostage is revealed to be the infamous Red Wolf, Galen De Corvus, brother of the Quillian Empress. Worse yet, he is an altus, more sensitive than most to the pheromones of caricae. If he realizes what she is, he could expose her secret to either government and doom her to a life as breeding stock.

Quillian nobleman turned operative Galen never planned to involve himself with a citizen of the cold, cruel Syn, but Olivia entices him more than she should. As they work together to protect his royal sister from a violent coup, the passionate bond between them proves to be more than mere biology. And Liv must decide if that bond is worth dropping her guard for both an enemy and an altus.

Jan 112018
 

Cover photo of Look For Her by Emily Winslow.Library Journal: What seems at the outset to be a textbook psychological thriller is anything but. The twists and turns make Winslow’s fourth Keene and Frohmann’s mystery (after The Red House) a compelling read.

Verdict: Former games creator Winslow has turned her talents to a very entertaining and readable thriller that can hold its own with the best of the current crop.

Jan 092018
 

Cover of The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson.School Library Journal: Hutchinson artfully blends the realistic and the surreal (and a bit of the biblical) for an utterly absorbing take on the Rapture.

Beneath the snarky, self-deprecating prose lie thought-provoking questions about morality, the universe, and free will.

The author presents an entirely original take on apocalyptic fiction—no mean feat. Hand this stirring tale to fans of Aaron Starmer’s Spontaneous and those who enjoy A.S. King’s work.

Jan 052018
 

Cover of The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden.LA Times: Nicky Drayden’s debut novel takes place in a future South Africa where robots have made life easier. The problem is the robots are starting to gain sentience, and it’s only a matter of time before they rebel.

This book has a lot going on; it’s told from multiple individual points of view, seemingly disparate stories that come together as the book progresses… Drayden takes her story in unexpected directions, with unrepentant action and a surprising amount of depth. This book certainly isn’t for everyone; it’s definitely strange and unexpected, with plot twists and turns along the way. If weird is something you enjoy in a read, then you’ll likely appreciate “The Prey of Gods,” one of the most inventive debut novels of 2017.

Jan 042018
 

Cover of The Listener by Robert McCammon.Booklist: McCammon masterfully combines historical thriller and supernatural horror in a compelling and suspenseful tale of race, class, and family. The intricate crime plot is enhanced by superior character development, a richly detailed historical setting, a tense dread that begins in the opening scene and continues to intensify throughout, and an omniscient narration that lets the reader know exactly how bad things really are.

The Listener will be popular with fans of occult thrillers like those by Dead Koontz or F. Paul Wilson, but also consider suggesting it to readers who enjoy the thought-provoking speculative fiction of Victor LaValle.

Jan 032018
 

Cover of Witchmark by C.L. Polk.Publishers Weekly: Polk’s stellar debut, set in an alternate early 20th century in an England-like land recovering from a WWI-like war, blends taut mystery, exciting political intrigue, and inventive fantasy.

Polk unfolds her mythology naturally…The final revelations are impossible to see coming.

Polk is a writer to watch for fans of clever, surprising period fantasy.

Jan 022018
 

Cover of Neogenesis by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.The Complex Logic Laws were the result of a war waged hundreds of years in the past, when two human powers threw massive AI navies at each other and nearly annihilated themselves. Being human, they blamed their tools for this near miss; they destroyed what was left of the sentient ships, and made it illegal to be, manufacture, or shelter an independent logic.

Strangely, however, the Free Ships and other AIs did not turn themselves in or commit suicide, they merely became wary of humans, and stayed under their scans. A clandestine support network grew up, including hidden yards where smart ships were manufactured, and mentors–humans specially trained to ease a new intelligence into the universe–socialized them, and taught them what they needed to know to survive.

Among those with a stake in the freedom of Independent Logics is Theo Waitley, who is somewhat too famously the captain of intelligent ship Bechimo. Theo’s brother, Val Con yos’Phelium, presides over a household that has for a generation employed an AI butler. Recently, he approved the “birth” of the butler’s child, who was sent, with human mentor Tolly Jones, to rescue or destroy an orphaned AI abandoned at a remote space station.

Then there’s Uncle, the shadowy mastermind from the Old Universe, whose many projects often skirt the boundaries of law, both natural and man-made – and the puppet-masters at the Lyre Institute, whose history is just as murky – and a good deal less honorable.

All have an interest in the newly-awakening Self-Aware Logic that is rumored to have the power to destroy universes.

The question is: Who will get to it first?