Marlene Harris

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Empire in Black and Gold

Tchaikovsky’s “Shadows of the Apt” series brought this world to fascinating life in exquisite detail. The story may follow familiar fantasy tropes, but the characters make the story seem fresh and new. Highly recommended for fantasy and steampunk readers looking for a truly epic (and complete!) tale, fans of the author, and anyone looking for a great but different story about the rise and overthrow of fantastic empires. A good purchase for libraries that don’t own older editions of the series.
PREMIUM

Inside Man

This book reads like a 21st-century version of C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, with a demon who’s disillusioned, disaffected, and just trying to keep his head down into Eternity. Parker (Prosper’s Demon) has written the ultimate mind game; recommended to readers who enjoy his particular brand of snarky, witty, fourth-wall-breaking storytelling.

Castle Shade

Highly recommended for historical mystery fans who have followed the series, as well as readers looking for historical heroines with agency such as Maisie Dobbs, Bess Crawford, or Phryne Fisher.
PREMIUM

Rabbits

Rabbits is a story for readers who don’t think the stakes in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One were nearly high enough. And for those who think The Matrix didn’t have nearly enough conspiracy theories or coincidences. It’s recommended for readers who like their SF on the techno-thriller side, and their endings somewhat equivocal. And for anyone who believed that the TV series Lost was a bit too straightforward after all.

Immunity Index

This dystopian biothriller reads like a 21st-century version of Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain, crossed with George Orwell’s 1984. The clone sisters and their creator each provide alternating perspectives of a chaotic world and evince that individuals can make a difference. The story they tell is hopeful, heartbreaking, and compelling at every turn. Highly recommended for readers of dystopian science fiction or political technothrillers.

Son of the Storm

Highly recommended for fans of epic fantasy based on non-European mythologies, like The Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse; readers who enjoy protagonists on troubled journeys, like in Jenn Lyons’s The House of Always; or anyone who likes to chew on stories with complex shenanigans.
PREMIUM

Defekt

This book isn’t a wild adventure like its predecessor’s romp through the multiverse. Instead, it’s filled with subtle joys and quiet horrors, as Derek discovers not just who he is but who he might be, through his relationship with the other clones. This extremely quirky genre-blending story, with its middle finger aimed squarely at big corporations and profit-at-any-cost capitalism, will appeal to fans of Cory Doctorow or anyone who loved Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör.

What the Devil Knows

The St. Cyr series, and this entry in particular (following Who Speaks for the Damned), is highly recommended for readers who want their history appropriately dark and gritty, their politics dirty and corrupt, and their mystery fascinating, convoluted, and just as relevant now as it was then. Sebastian St. Cyr, with his foot in the aristocracy and his eye on justice, is a hero to be followed into whatever dark corner he investigates.

The Light of the Midnight Stars

Highly recommended for lovers of Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver and her “Scholomance” series, as well as readers who enjoy their fantasy steeped in myths from infrequently represented people and places.
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