- All Systems Red by Martha Wells
- Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee
- City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
Kirkus: Annalise Williams, 24, is obsessed with an unsolved crime: the disappearance and presumed murder years earlier of a 16-year-old girl with the same first name: Annalise Wood—”the kind of girl you look at and think, of course someone would want to take her.”
An intriguing, suspenseful, and briskly paced story with complex characters, evocative descriptions of England’s Cambridgeshire, plenty of clever misdirection, and a satisfying ending.
Victorian London is a place of fluid social roles, vibrant arts culture, fin-de-siècle wonders . . . and dangerous underground diabolic cults. Fencer Evadne Gray cares for none of the former and knows nothing of the latter when she’s sent to London to chaperone her younger sister, aspiring art critic Dorina.
At loose ends after Dorina becomes enamored with their uncle’s friend, Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton, a local aristocrat and aesthete, Evadne enrolls in a fencing school. There, she meets George Cantrell, an experienced fencing master like she’s always dreamed of studying under. But soon, George shows her something more than fancy footwork—he reveals to Evadne a secret, hidden world of devilish demons and their obedient servants. George has dedicated himself to eradicating demons and diabolists alike, and now he needs Evadne’s help. But as she learns more, Evadne begins to believe that Lady Henry might actually be a diabolist . . . and even worse, she suspects Dorina might have become one too.
Combining swordplay, the supernatural, and Victorian high society, Creatures of Will and Temper reveals a familiar but strange London in a riff on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray that readers won’t soon forget.
Locus Magazine: With Elizabeth Bear’s previous novels in the same world: the Eternal Sky trilogy of Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars, and Steles of the Sky. That trilogy is one of the best – most deeply thought, carefully structured, and elegantly finished – epic fantasies of the last decades.
Bear’s worldbuilding is, as ever, a richly detailed delight, rendered tangible in cut-glass prose. The precision and care with which she employs language make the landscapes through which her characters move come powerfully to life – and gives those characters, too, powerful presence and compelling life.
It’s an enormously rich and textured novel, magnificently compelling – and really easy to read. Despite its sprawling, epic canvas, its pace is tight, and Bear cuts between plotlines with an adroit eye for tension. The Stone in the Skull is an astonishing delight of a book.
Washington Post: With over 200 color and black-and-white illustrations, six appendixes and nearly 1,000 annotations, this edition of “Frankenstein” is a cornucopia of background information … Klinger’s edition allows readers to understand the complexities of the novel as well as the difficulties endured by its author. Only then can one be truly inspired by Mary Shelley’s genius and her bravery.
Publishers Weekly: This solid mystery from Slaughter (While I Danced) opens with the murder of Clara Seibert’s twin sister, Moura, a piano prodigy. Clara’s voice and internal conflict feel authentic, and the contentious relationship between the sisters is equally believable.
As Charlotte Pitt’s grandmother Mariah Ellison finds herself investigating a long-unsolved slaying, it becomes clear that grappling with intrigue and foul play runs in the family. A festive Christmas package left on Mariah’s doorstep contains an ominous present, sparking memories of a twenty-year-old murder that shattered her friendship with the victim’s widow. Though the gift is a bitter reminder of that tragic time, in the spirit of the season Mariah travels to Surrey in hopes of reconciling with her estranged friend and solving the crime that drove them apart.
On arrival, Mariah joins forces with the murdered man’s grandson, a sleuth in his own right who’s discovered promising evidence as well as a suspect. But Surrey’s picturesque hills conceal dark doings and shocking revelations that could make the holiday anything but calm and bright.
Decked with intrigue and trimmed with Yuletide spirit, A Christmas Return is a holiday treat wrapped in the glorious storytelling talents of the reigning master of Victorian mystery.
Whether it’s Kim Kardashian uploading picture after picture to Instagram or your roommate posting a mid-vacation shot to Facebook, selfies receive mixed reactions. But are selfies more than, as many critics lament, a symptom of a self-absorbed generation?
Millennial Alicia Eler’s The Selfie Generation is the first book to delve fully into this ubiquitous and much-maligned part of social media, including why people take them in the first place and the ways they can change how we see ourselves. Eler argues that selfies are just one facet of how we can use digital media to create a personal brand in the modern age. More than just a picture, they are an important part of how we live today.
Eler examines all aspects of selfies, online social networks, and the generation that has grown up with them. She looks at how the boundaries between people’s physical and digital lives have blurred with social media; she explores questions of privacy, consent, ownership, and authenticity; and she points out important issues of sexism and double standards wherein women are encouraged to take them but then become subject to criticism and judgment. Alicia discusses the selfie as a paradox—both an image with potential for self-empowerment, yet also a symbol of complacency within surveillance culture The Selfie Generation explores just how much social media has changed the ways that people connect, communicate, and present themselves to the world.
Publishers Weekly: After an eight-year hiatus, Landon (The Dark Reaches) returns with a complex fourth novel that combines dystopian and first-contact themes. Vika Jai, a young female xenobiologist, wakes from 40 years of cryogenic sleep to a ravaged ship and crew. Only three humans survive to make landfall on Shothef Erau, an inhabited planet known to have been bombed by an alien force.
This is a quiet, tense book, saturated with dread. Vika, barely out of adolescence, is convincingly depicted as maturing just a hair too slowly in an environment with little room for error.