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 Dean 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.

Dec 222017

Cover of The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden.Book Riot: Congratulations to Nicky Drayden on The Prey of Gods making Book Riot’s Best Books of 2017!

Blending urban fantasy and science fiction, this South Africa-set novel is packed with wild, raucous fun: demigods reclaim their powers, robots rise up, a new club drug gives humans godlike abilities, a trans politician embraces her inner diva, queer teens fall for each other, a dik-dik infestation gets adorably out of control, and more.

Thanks to a rip-roaring story and Drayden’s expansive imagination, it all coheres into the most fun you can have in 2017.

Dec 192017

Cover of The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson.Publishers Weekly: Provocative and moving insights into the angst, wonder, and uncertainty of being a teenager. A thoughtful story about choice and destiny.

Dec 142017

Cover of Windhome by Kristin Landon.Library Journal: This striking tale of survival and fortitude in an icy, alien world is recommended for readers who enjoy character-driven stories.

Dec 132017

Cover of Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer.NPR: When someone pulls [Urban Fantasy] off as well as Molly Tanzer in her new novel, Creatures of Will and Temper, it’s worth checking out just to see the restraint and careful worldbuilding gymnastics required. She has created a Victorian England which is…the mother of our modern world, by turns smoky, smutty, gross and backward, then beautiful, wondrous and louche with the turn of a corner.

Tanzer [has] exceptional grace with writing complex female relationships…The three women at the center of Tanzer’s story each entered into it looking for something. They’re each more than they appear at the start, and less of the worst things you think of them.

By the end, none of them will find (or be) exactly what you expect.

Dec 082017

LA Times: The first in a four-part series called “The Murderbot Diaries,” Martha Wells’ novella follows a self-aware robot, who calls itself (you guessed it) Murderbot. The artificial being, which hacked itself to achieve autonomy, is tasked with protecting a team of scientists on a distant planet from an unknown threat.

This book wastes no time in getting to the action. It’s a testament to Wells’ talent that this book’s plot and its characters feel as well fleshed out as any full-length novel. It’s hard not to immediately sympathize with a misanthropic robot, can’t we all understand the desire to just binge-watch TV instead of dealing with people? Wells imbued Murderbot with extraordinary humanity, and while this is a fun read, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not a profound one.