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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic) returns with another epic story of love and remembrance that probes deep into history while also penetrating profound matters of the heart. [See Prepub Alert, 4/8/20.]

The Sin in the Steel

Van Loan’s debut is an intriguing fantasy, mixing plenty of mystery and magic to create a smart, fast-paced ride across the seas.

A Deadly Education

This latest from Novik (“Temeraire” series) launches a new series that should appeal to aficionados of fantastical fiction as well as to those who have felt they never quite fit in and don’t understand why. The magic and mystery of this chillingly lovely novel will appeal to both YA and adult fans of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. [See Prepub Alert, 3/18/20.]
PREMIUM

How To Rule an Empire and Get Away with It

Parker’s (Sixteen Ways To Defend a Walled City) latest epic fantasy proves that all the world is, indeed, a stage, and Parker himself is a master impresario. Readers will enjoy his comedic take on how politics are comprised of equal parts lies, incompetence, and the foolishness of humanity—with just enough flashes of brilliance to save the day. Recommended for fans of Terry Pratchett and Mary Gentle’s Grunts.
PREMIUM

Ink & Sigil: From the World of the Iron Druid Chronicles

Delightful! Hearne’s (“Seven Kennings” series) use of Scottish words and spellings (detailed in the foreword) never becomes distracting, but instead adds to the story’s singular flavor. The author includes plenty of shout-outs for fans of the “Iron Druid” series, while introducing an intelligible tale sure to draw in new readers. Great for fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Jim Butcher, or Anton Strout.

Anthems Outside Time and Other Strange Voices

By turns prescient, heartbreaking, and provocative. Highly recommended for readers who want their speculative fiction to make them think—and think hard.
PREMIUM

Bystander 27

Fans of comic-book universes will enjoy entering screenwriter Hoskin’s world, where superheroes and villains routinely duke it out on the streets of New York City. The shocking surprise ending adds further intrigue.

Piranesi

Clarke creates an immersive world that readers can almost believe exists. This is a solid crossover pick for readers whose appreciation of magical fantasy leans toward V.E. Schwab or Erin Morgenstern.

Black Sun

Roanhorse (Trail of Lightning) introduces an epic fantasy with vivid worldbuilding and exciting prose. Readers will be attracted to the story, in which there is no real right vs. wrong. Only inevitable change will draw out the heroes of this imaginative tale. [See Prepub Alert, 4/20/20.]
PREMIUM

Daughter of Black Lake

Recommended for readers of historical fiction, romance, and supernatural suspense.

Unconquerable Sun

Elliott’s (King’s Dragon) interstellar novel is an epic space opera that sets this new series off to a promising start. Alternating between the points of view of Princess Sun, Academy graduate Persephone Lee, and Phrene pilot Apama, it gives a nuanced and full-circle view of intergalactic warfare and its powerful effects.

Road Out of Winter

Readers searching for a novel fueled by fierce intelligence and empathy will find here a celebration of humanity, and a warning against its loss.
PREMIUM

So You Had To Build a Time Machine

Offutt (Chasing American Monsters) has created an engaging, quirky, somewhat scientifically believable scenario that both intrigues and infuriates readers, as they attempt to keep up with the constantly shifting plot.
PREMIUM

Space Station Down

“Grand Tour” series author Bova and Kill Zone coauthor (with Kevin J. Anderson) Beason join forces on a tense, claustrophobic, space-bound thriller that while thin on characterization, particularly in regards to the villains, is just plausible enough to keep readers on edge and compulsively turning the pages.

The Bone Shard Daughter

Stewart’s richly told, emotional, action-laced debut lays bare themes of autonomy, control, and the seeds of revolution that come from desiring a new way of life. Readers will finish this eager for the follow-up.

PREMIUM

Queen of Storms

Overall, a perfectly standard epic fantasy with a payoff seemingly far off in the distance of future installments.
PREMIUM

Noumenon Ultra

Adult and mature YA readers who enjoy classic space operas of interplanetary travel and contact with alien life-forms should find this appealing.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor

Throughout this adventurous, witty, and compelling novel, Green delivers sharp social commentary on the power of social media and both the benefits and horrendous consequences that follow when we give too much of ourselves to technology. An essential choice for all sf collections.
PREMIUM

Mirage

Despite the popularity of Czerneda’s earlier works, (e.g., “Trade Pact Universe” trilogy), this new series, beginning with the first book, Search Image, is not quite up to par. Still, longtime fans of the author may want to give it a try.
PREMIUM

Big Girl

Through the lens of sf/fantasy, Elison’s works bring to light topics we generally prefer to keep in the dark: obesity, body shaming, privilege, poverty, and governmental control. With concise, sharp prose and a satirical point of view, Elison take us places we never wanted to go, but in the end we are grateful that we went.
PREMIUM

Kill Orbit

This third in Dane’s “Cry Pilot” series (after Burn Cycle) still delivers pulse-pounding action and the satisfying adrenaline rush of a mission complete, but is best read alongside the previous books, which familiarize readers with the characters and the type of work they do.
PREMIUM

Bright and Dangerous Objects

The Mars Project and Solvig’s interest in it provides an exciting backdrop, but the core of the story is in the very human need to balance personal and familial desires. It will appeal to readers who appreciate realistic portraits and asking the question: “What if I just ran away to Mars?”
PREMIUM

Drowned Country

Following Tesh’s Silver in the Wood (the first book in the “Greenhollow Duology”), this latest installment is just as magical. Recommended.
PREMIUM

The Fourth Island

This quiet, magical-realist fairy tale written with a delicate melancholy will attract readers who enjoyed G. Willow Wilson’s The Bird King or Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone’s This Is How You Lose the Time War.
PREMIUM

Afterlife Crisis

Law professor Graham (Beforelife) may have been aiming for a story combining elements of Douglas Adams and P.G. Wodehouse, but the corny and juvenile jokes, confusing worldbuilding, and meandering, fourth-wall-breaking narrative only proves to frustrate readers looking for a more cogent tale. However, fans of the author’s first book may enjoy this latest fantasy adventure.
PREMIUM

The Somebody People

Starting with the first book of this duology (The Nobody People) is strongly recommended. Proehl’s use of alternating viewpoints and the occasional flashback help propel the story. However, for its length, it lacks meaningful character development. Should appeal to readers of Marissa Meyer’s “Renegades” series or those who enjoy dystopian X-Men stories.
PREMIUM

In the Kingdom of All Tomorrows

Wrapping up his “Eirlandia” trilogy perhaps a little too neatly, Lawhead offers a tale that should satisfy his fans but is unlikely to garner him new ones.
PREMIUM

The Heirs of Locksley

The follow up to Vaughn’s Ghosts of Sherwood enlivens the later years of Robin Hood, showcasing a richly conceived piece of historical fiction/fantasy with snappy dialog and fast-paced action.
PREMIUM

Red Noise

Libraries with well circulating sf collections may want this one; otherwise, pass.
PREMIUM

Spells for the Dead

The fifth entry in the “Soulwood” series (after Circle of the Moon) continues to build a modern paranormal world, filled with action, suspense, and amazing emotional arcs.
PREMIUM

The Seven

Despite its short length, Brock’s tale is packed with backstory and consequently lacks the popular fiction pacing many readers expect. While not entirely without intrigue, the focus is on plot, and character depth and empathy are missing. As a result, Bill is neither likable nor unlikable, he is merely a vehicle used to convey a somewhat banal tale about UFOs. Not recommended for most collections.

The Angel of the Crows

Addison (The Goblin Emperor) enthralls readers with her character-driven action, intriguing expressions of identity and sexuality, and a world set in an alternate 1880s London that captures the imagination.
PREMIUM

Corporate Gunslinger

This title is hard to categorize, but it might be of interest to readers looking for near-future corporate intrigue.
PREMIUM

Attack Surface

Thriller readers of all ages will enjoy the cool tech (sunglasses that fool facial recognition software and blurry texts that evade screen shots), Masha’s international exploits, and the impassioned arguments for privacy, transparency, and justice. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/20]

The Vanished Queen

Campbell’s debut is filled with political intrigue, personal anguish, and family ties that bind. The prose moves smoothly through the alternating points of view of Mirantha, Anza, and Esvar, building well-rounded characters approaching the eve of revolution.
PREMIUM

The Orphans of Raspay

Bujold’s seventh “Penric and Desdemona” story (after The Prisoner of Limnos) is just as engaging as her previous works, highlighting a unique duo and their exciting travails. The expansive worldbuilding is detailed and filled with intriguing characters.

The Space Between Worlds

This exciting debut is intelligently built, with clever characters, surprise twists, plenty of action, subtly detailed worlds, and a plot that highlights social and racial inequities in astute prose.
PREMIUM

Interlibrary Loan

Wolfe died in 2019 at age 87; this posthumous sequel to A Borrowed Man blends a hard-boiled mystery style with a sf future and is mostly successful. While this can be read as a stand-alone, familiarity with the main character’s background story may bring more clarity for readers.

Escapist Reads for Quarantine, Social Distancing, & Beyond | Science Fiction & Fantasy

PREMIUM

reV: The Third Machine Dynasty

Ashby’s third in the “Machine Dynasty” series (after iD) begins as a satirical mashup of horror, romance, and sf, and evolves into a complicated story about ethics, compassion, and the possibility of starting over after generations of violence and abuse. A thoughtful choice for those who enjoy genre-bending, boundary-pushing sf.

In Veritas

Lavigne’s debut urban fantasy novel, part of the “Nunatak First Fiction” series, is full of wonder, darkness, and hope. Part biography, part conversation with an unnamed biographer, the style is engaging and keeps the pages turning. Reminiscent of the best of Charles de Lint, this is a book readers will not want to put down.
PREMIUM

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future. Vol. 36: Bestselling Anthology of Award-Winning Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Stories

With stories ranging from sf to fantasy, as well as some genre mash-ups, this collection offers something for both adults and teens to enjoy.
PREMIUM

Spy, Spy Again

Longtime Lackey readers will feel a sense of familiarity as this book returns to the world of Valdamar, the setting of the author’s many other series. In addition to showcasing Lackey’s strengths in worldbuilding, this work also highlights her skills in creating realistic characters, the primary drivers of her stories and a delight to read. For fans of Lackey, this new jaunt through Valdemar is not to be missed.
PREMIUM

The Mirror Man

This is a cloning story that reads like a thriller, making it accessible to fans of sf and corporate espionage.

PREMIUM

Shadows of the Short Days

In this first of a new series, Vihjálmsson’s well-developed future world will interest fantasy fans with a taste for dystopia, especially if they’re up for learning new vocabulary.

Flyaway

Jennings’s debut novella is pure, poetic Australian gothic, filled with haunting emotions, fairy-tale action, and sharp prose.

American Demon

Hallows fans rejoice! Harrison (A Perfect Blood) neatly segues readers back into her world of coexisting humans and Inderlanders, with many of the beloved characters and all of the fast quips and high-stakes magical action of her previous books.

PREMIUM

Rainbow Brigade

After four years, Pitts (Night Terrors) brings a rich urban fantasy setting back. This novel is filled with action and delightful characters. Readers will definitely want to start at the beginning of the series to understand the breadth of the mythos.

The Unconquered City

Doore’s (The Impossible Contract) final entry in the “Chronicles of Gahdid” will not disappoint fans. The harsh sands, intricate magic and beliefs, and return of some favorite characters set up a mesmerizing finish.

Goldilocks

Smooth prose weaves a tale to support humanity’s survival, along with the shades of gray of scientific decisions. Lam’s (Seven Devils) exciting sf thriller proves intellectual and entertaining for all.

PREMIUM

The Ghosts of Sherwood

The first of the “Locksley Chronicles” (Heirs of Locksley is due out in Aug.), Vaughn’s (The Immortal Conquistador) look at what comes after Robin Hood is a delightful novella, filled with lively action and characters who continue to stretch the original story even further.

PREMIUM

Scarlet Odyssey

Rwizi’s debut is noteworthy for its African-inspired setting, described at great length at the expense of character and plot development. His introduction of technomagic (the intersection of technology and magic) has potential, but isn’t fleshed out enough to be really engaging. Fans of A.J. Hartley’s “Steeplejack” series may enjoy this.

PREMIUM

Every Sky a Grave

Fans of Frank Herbert’s Dune and Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit should enjoy this series opener that has plenty of action and skillful worldbuilding that doesn’t lean on heavy exposition.

PREMIUM

The Maiden Voyage of New York City

Noticeable continuity problems, awkward and often repetitive phrasing, and a large cast of characters muddy a story that can’t seem to decide if it is cli-fi or a futurist police thriller. Try Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140 for a substantially more successful riff on the same theme.

2020 Hugo Awards Finalists

PREMIUM

Rule

Miller’s conclusion to her French Revolution–inspired fantasy trilogy is filled with politics, ambitions, hope, and betrayal. Themes of immigration, women’s lives and rights, and democracy are woven into a delightfully intricate prose tapestry.

The Last Emperox

Scalzi’s trilogy conclusion (after The Collapsing Empire and The Consuming Fire) is filled with irreverent, humorous, and intelligent prose, providing a more-than-satisfying end to this trilogy.

The Four Profound Weaves: A Birdverse Book

Nebula-nominated Lemberg’s first novella, set in their deeply queer “Birdverse” universe, presents a beautiful, heartfelt story of change, family, identity, and courage. Centering two older transgender protagonists in the midst of emotional and physical journeys highlights the deep, meaningful prose that Lemberg always brings to their stories.
PREMIUM

Fantastic Hope

Themes of hope and light in worlds that may seem dark and despairing thread together this collection of stories from new and seasoned authors. A fine addition to collections.

Savage Legion

Smart characters and brutal action create an intriguing story about power and the decisions made to keep it. Wallace (The Failed Cities) introduces a new epic fantasy trilogy filled with rich worldbuilding and people who battle bravely. [See Prepub Alert, 1/15/20.]

The Empire of Gold

Chakraborty (The City of Brass) brings her epic fantasy series to a stunning conclusion. Rich details, familial ties, and magical politics sing in this lush world built from Middle Eastern history and imagination. [See Prepub Alert, 12/9/19.]

Peace Talks

With many familiar faces returning and lots of magical action, this latest from Butcher (Princep’s Fury) will have fans rejoicing at the return of Chicago’s only professional wizard.

The First Sister

This debut showcases themes of colonization, technology, genetic manipulation, and corruption that leaves its mark. A layered, action-filled plot and diverse characters create a powerful entry in the space opera genre. [See Prepub Alert, 2/12/20.]
PREMIUM

The Postutopian Adventures of Darger and Surplus

Readers who appreciate Scott Lynch’s rapid-fire wit in the “Gentleman Bastards” books may appreciate this pair of skilled but unlucky con men, and readers of V.E. Schwab’s “Darker Shade of Magic” series might find affinity for this familiar but bizarre fantasy world.
PREMIUM

Otaku

Parts sf, mystery, and romance, this high-adrenaline thriller, by the author of the nonfiction collection Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies, captures the intensity of in-game encounters in a postapocalyptic world, with a fiery protagonist who holds nothing back—whether fighting monsters or relentless misogyny. Recommended for fans of dark gaming stories, with a side of violence.
PREMIUM

Those Who Came Before

Moncrieff’s skilled storytelling, while incorporating plenty of gore and violence at times, will draw in horror and mystery readers. Hand to fans of Dean Koontz and Charlaine Harris.
PREMIUM

Slash

Recommend to fans of slasher flicks and readers who can stomach explicit gore.

Boyden's Debut of the Month, plus Eddie Robson, Jenna Glass, Carrie Vaughn | Sf/Fantasy

Vo's Debut of the Month, plus Muir, Chung, Cole, Gallagher, & More | Sf/Fantasy

PREMIUM

Repo Virtual

White, known mostly for his “VoidWitch Saga,” here twists the volume up, both dramatizing and warning against unchecked AI. What lingers is an important observation: no culture can retain its power and sanity when there are no noncynical eyes to see it. Cyberpunk and general sf readers will enjoy and even learn from this one.
PREMIUM

Critical Point

High-stakes action and emotional velocity are hallmarks of Huang’s writing, creating an engaging and flawed protagonist that many will identify with, even when her internal conflict overwhelms some of the quieter plot threads. The third entry in the “Cas Russell” series (after Null Set) is a sf thriller that fans will truly enjoy.
PREMIUM

Automatic Reload

Steinmetz (The Sol Majestic) delivers a “rom-com with explosions” featuring a hero with PTSD and control issues, and a killer heroine with a panic disorder. The action is nonstop, with issues of mental illness, identity, and humanity woven subtly throughout. Mat breaks the fourth wall in his random musings, rather like a cyborg Deadpool. Recommended for libraries looking for a deliciously over-the-top adventure.

Harrow the Ninth

An incredible journey into the chaos of the mind, Muir’s latest (after Gideon the Ninth) doubles down on all the wonderfully queer and pulpy moments, body horror, and macabre humor of her debut—and exceeds it.
PREMIUM

Looking Glass

Fans of the previous books will adore seeing the characters again and having loose ends tied up. Readers new to the series, however, will be as lost as Alice.
PREMIUM

Anthropocene Rag

Irvine (A Scattering of Jades) has created an interesting yet horrifying world where nanotechnology meets a destroyed Earth. Though tagged as a sf Western, it will also please fans of future apocalyptic novels.
PREMIUM

Cries from the Lost Island

This stand-alone from Gear (coauthor with husband W. Michael Gear, People of the Canyons; Star Path) is a great adventure with lots of suspense and danger, well researched and bringing history to life with vivid descriptions.
PREMIUM

Ship of Fates

Speaking to the difficulties that faced women, particularly immigrants in the 1800s, this is a powerful if bleak look at the nature of California’s Barbary Coast. Recommended for fans of unique historical fiction.
PREMIUM

The Fortress

Jones (Isabelle of the Moon and Stars) creates a world that, while perhaps lacking in worldbuilding elements, deeply explores the meanings of consent and power. There are moments of graphic violence and sex. Fans of Joanne Ramos’s The Farm and Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments may enjoy this role-reversal story.
PREMIUM

Sixteenth Watch

Cole’s (The Killing Light) military experience creates an immersive read. Smart prose and intense conflict will keep readers engaged to the very end.
PREMIUM

Empire City

Super-powered soldiers, civilians, and government secrets tangle together in this alt-reality military science fiction tale. Gallagher’s (Kaboom) sharp prose, fine details, and emotional characters highlight the divisions between the nation’s leaders and residents.
PREMIUM

The Companions

While the worldbuilding might not be robust enough for some sf fans, the strength of this first novel is in the writing and nuanced characters. Through the experiences of people who might no longer be considered fully human, the author thoughtfully explores the nature of humanity.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Rich details and emotional prose captures readers from the first page of this imaginative and powerful novella. Spun through reflections of the past, in archived objects of love and 
hate, the tale of Rabbit and In-yo lights up the dark history of monarchy and turns it into a delightful feminist fantasy.

Providence

Seven years ago, the space research vessel Coral Beach was attacked by an alien species known as salamanders...
PREMIUM

Bridge 108

Arthur C. Clark Award-winning Charnock (Dreams Before the Start of Time) provides a window into a future that feels all too near in this post-Brexit world. From the fears and repercussions of intense drought to the politics and panic of immigration, Caleb’s story, sadly, rings true.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association Names Nebula Award Finalists

PREMIUM

Cursed

An eclectic and delightful mix of fairy tales and modern takes, told by some of today’s best speculative authors, will appeal to fans of the authors and themes alike.

Hearts of Oak

A mesmerizing look at facing reality and what you believe to be true. Robson’s (Welcome to Our Village Please Invade Carefully) characters are well-rounded and themes of exploration and expansion undergird the playful prose.
PREMIUM

Queen of the Unwanted

A fantasy world built around a feminist society draws on themes that are front and center in the real world today, with an eye to differing viewpoints. The dynamics, intrigue, and plot twists will keep readers immersed.
PREMIUM

Talk Like a Man Plus

Along with a university presentation and interview that intersects everything from divinity to modern technology and belief to science, Shawl’s light prose takes the weight, but not the meaning, out of heavier topics with her signature use of dreamy language and realistic settings.
PREMIUM

The Sisters Grimm

A highly imaginative plot and vivid worldbuilding help to balance the swiftly changing points of view. Ethereal prose sets up a nefarious fairy tale–inspired story about the balance of power between men and women, family ties and first loves, and the choices that must be made whether you are ready or not.
PREMIUM

The Poet King

Myer’s lush prose and imagery amplifies a layered plot filled with magic, prophecy, and power.
PREMIUM

The Immortal Conquistador

This fast-paced novella, filled with action and emotion, offers a satisfying entry back into the “Kitty Norville” series.

Stealing Thunder

This delightful debut is rich with detailed worldbuilding, political intrigue, and South Asian cultural references drawn from Boyden’s experience as a trans activist who has traveled in India and Pakistan. Boyden handles the story with a steady hand, and this first novel will delight romantic fantasy enthusiasts.
PREMIUM

The Last Smile in Sunder City

Similar to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s “Maradaine” novels, which show the seedy side of a fantasy city, this debut should drawn in fans of noir fantasy.

How To Love Your Elf

Fantasy and paranormal romance fans will be immediately immersed in this fast-paced adventure from Sparks (The Vampire and the Virgin). A total delight, this new series launch will have readers scrambling for the next enchanting installment.

Lullabies For Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror

This under-the-radar indie title is recommended for all collections, as it could make a difference in readers’ lives, especially those in recovery, who know someone who is struggling, or have lost someone to the struggle.
PREMIUM

The Ancestor

The rags-to-riches theme paired with long-buried secrets and a claustrophobic setting in which monsters can hide in plain sight makes this title appealing to a wide range of readers, especially in this age of ubiquitous DNA testing. Pair it with Jennifer Egan’s backlist gem, The Keep.
PREMIUM

Prosper’s Demon

With a fresh take on the well-trod demonic possession trope, solid worldbuilding, high-court politics, and an engaging narrator, this short tale will draw in fans of dark speculative fiction, especially admirers of Martha Wells and Grady Hendrix.

The Only Good Indians

One of the most anticipated horror titles of 2020, Jones’s latest does not disappoint. While fully entrenched within the genre, its well-developed cast, lyrical language, and heightened suspense will have broad appeal. Fans of Paul Tremblay, Victor LaValle, and Samanta Schweblin will be delighted.
PREMIUM

The Beetle

Like many Victorian-era gothic tales, this will appeal to a wide range of readers. The universal ick factor of creepy crawlies additionally ensures that this crowdpleaser from the past will continue to strike fear in the hearts and minds of 21st-century readers.
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