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PREMIUM

Zed

Kavenna (The Birth of Love), winner of the Orange Award and Granta Best of Young British Novelists, brings wit and moments of levity to this portentously dark look at a society ruled by corporate technology. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/2019.]
PREMIUM

Crush the King

Estep (Protect the Prince) knows how to create strong and relatable fantasy female leads. Evie’s rise into her power in deeds and magic is a fabulous, inspiring read. Solid writing, bold characters, and action-filled sequences create an exciting finish for this trilogy. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]

The Seep

This surreal debut takes on themes of utopia, identity, love, and loss, while readers are pulled into a full experience through Porter’s fluid prose. This unusual story will linger long past the last page.

Come Tumbling Down

The fifth volume of the “Wayward Children” series (after In an Absent Dream) gives readers the epic ending (is it really the end?) of Jack and Jill’s story line. Once again, McGuire gives readers a starkly poignant tale of longing, love, and belonging.

The Best of Uncanny

This delightful volume of imaginative writing will be devoured by genre fans and newcomers alike.

Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles

This anthology will be mostly of interest to Beatles fans, but even non-fans will find stories here that will move and surprise them.

Lady Hotspur

While this novel is not a direct sequel to Gratton’s Queens of Innis Lear, the character stories and references from the previous novel will delight the author’s longtime readers. The wondrous worldbuilding, strong female leads, and plot filled with regicide, regrets, prophecies, and magic create an intricate and layered story of honor, family, and love.
PREMIUM

The Gatherer

This near-future sf thriller illuminates tipping points in ecological power and scientific pursuit. An action-packed plot, with well-rounded characters and an intriguing premise make it recommended for all collections.

A Beginning at the End

Sometimes it is not the violent battles of post-apocalyptic stories that pull readers in; it is the emotional connection of humanity finding their way. Chen’s (Here and Now and Then) prose lights a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness.
PREMIUM

The Pursuit of William Abbey

Recommended for fantasy fans with a penchant for darker story lines that investigate themes of colonialism and struggles for power. [See Prepub Alert, 5/5/19.]

The Girl with No Face

Fans of urban fantasy, Chinese martial arts, magic, and elements of the supernatural will enjoy this second series installment, which captivates readers from the opening pages. The many characters, both human and animal, may at first confuse those unfamiliar with the first book, but the author introduces and develops each of their personalities skillfully so that there is soon no difficulty. A true page-turner not to be missed.
PREMIUM

Revolution

This supernatural spy thriller, sequel to Breach, can easily be read as a stand-alone and hits all the right notes. The fun and thrilling fantasy/thriller mashup will remind readers of Jim Butcher or Lev Grossman with a little Robert Ludlum or John le Carré thrown in.
PREMIUM

Sisters of the Vast Black

Rather’s lean prose works, but the characters, along with readers, arrive at the end with some of the same unanswered questions. Overall, an intriguing debut that touches on philosophical ideas of war, faith, and individuality.

Realm of Ash

Suri’s companion to Empire of Sand continues to expand on the stark beauty and power of this magical realm. With striking characters and court intrigue, this story is dark, melodious, and memorable. [See Prepub Alert, 5/5/19.]

Synapse

James (Every Wicked Man) delivers a thought-provoking look at the definitions of humanity, belief, and faith in this timely near-future sf thriller.
PREMIUM

Ivory Apples

The cheery red cover belies the dark, sometimes bleak story contained within. While the writing is beautiful, the story is uneven and told in fits and starts. For true fans of the author.

The New Voices of Science Fiction

While readers may be familiar with many of the names and individual works here, having them together in one volume creates a stunning set of sf shorts. Highly recommended for all collections.
PREMIUM

The Lights Go Out in Lychford

Another entertaining and imaginative entry in Cornell’s “Witches of Lychford” series. A quick read with an interesting town full of characters, but readers may want to start at the beginning of the series to fully understand the story.
PREMIUM

The Rosewater Redemption

Thompson’s smart series end (after The Rosewater Insurrection) is at once intricate and accessible. Readers will loathe saying goodbye to the vibrant people they meet.

Down Among the Dead

Wager’s follow-up to There Before the Chaos is action- and emotion-packed, folding political tension, personal relationships, and trauma into a vivid space opera that does not pull any punches.
PREMIUM

The Blue Eye

Fans of Saladin Ahmed’s Middle Eastern fantasy worlds will appreciate this series for its non-European flavor; those who enjoy Katherine Kurtz’s “Deryni” books will savor its detailed worldbuilding and shifting alliances. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/19.]
PREMIUM

The Waters and the Wild

Some logical inconsistencies are distracting, such as Livy repeatedly mentioning moving to San Diego to attend college in Long Beach (they are 100 miles apart). New readers might welcome this coming-of-age fairy tale, but existing fans will be underwhelmed.
PREMIUM

The Vanished Birds

The boy is reminiscent of Amy Bellafonte from Justin Cronin’s The Passage, yet the journey itself evokes Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One, creating crossover appeal for readers who enjoy a bit of emotional attachment with their time travel.
PREMIUM

Imaginary Friend

This epic tale of ultimate good vs. evil is a bit long-winded but still impressive in scope and truly scary.

Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight

This stunning collection showcases de Bodard’s lush worldbuilding, meticulous research, and emotional prose. Whether fans of sf or fantasy, readers will find something to dive into here.
PREMIUM

Shattered Bonds

Hunter delivers another solid volume in Jane’s story (after Dark Queen), as her worldbuilding, character development, and action sequences continue to capture readers’ attention.

K. Eason's Pick of the Month, Stars for Cole, Doore, Mihalik, Solomon, plus Roberts's "Rise of Magicks" Finale | SF/Fantasy Reviews, Sept. 2019

PREMIUM

From Hell to Breakfast

Fans of magical realism and unreliable narrators might enjoy this sophomore effort from Tifft (The Long Fire), but the story leaves readers with more questions than answers. The narrative style alternates between first person and stream of conscience and at times is hard to follow. Recommended only for larger collections or where the author’s previous work circulated well.

Wonderland: An Anthology

This collection is not to be missed. Highly recommended for Wonderland aficionados as well as general fans of fantasy, sf, and horror.
PREMIUM

The Imaginary Corpse

This special and distinct novel will be enjoyed by fans of genre-bending tales and literary mashups, excellent for admirers of Jasper Fforde or Neil Gaiman.
PREMIUM

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Harrow’s expressive debut depicts humankind’s resistance to change, repression of the “other,” and the desperation of the privileged when their prosperity is threatened. Fans of C.S. Lewis will be drawn to this magical coming-of-age tale and allegorical commentary on social justice.

System Failure

A great introduction to space opera for novices and a fun time for all. This novel can be read as a stand-alone, but starting with the previous two books in the series will offer the best experience.
PREMIUM

Fortuna

Merbeth’s space opera takes off in new directions after her previous postapocalyptic books (Bite; Raid). High energy, high stakes, and lots of high notes will give readers who enjoy Catherynne M. Valente’s Space Opera a new volume on which to crash-land.
PREMIUM

The True Bastards

French’s sequel to The Grey Bastards, a 2018 LJ Best Book, continues the half-orcs’ penchant for rough rides, foul language, and heady action sequences. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/19.]

Aurora Blazing

This second book in the “Consortium Rebellion” trilogy (after Polaris Rising) is another exciting, action-driven read. Strong female characters, a slow-burn romance, and interplanetary adventures will draw in both sf and romance readers, especially fans of Ilona Andrews, Becky Chambers, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s “Lady Astronaut” series.

The Killing Light

This final volume of the “Sacred Throne” trilogy (after Queen of Crows) will wreck your emotions in the worst and best ways. Writing intelligent, intense prose, Cole delivers vivid worldbuilding in a story brimming with religious and military fervor and ruthless action, offering a stunning conclusion to Heloise’s journey.

Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery

Wickedness and white magic, edgy prose, and celebrated authors make this a magical volume that twists and shapes the witch archetype into fascinating, dark tales.

The Deep

This slim story packs a huge punch. Beautiful and stark in its pain, this emotional journey is one that all readers should take, in order to remember the atrocities of slavery. [See “Fall Fireworks,” LJ 8/19.]

The Impossible Contract

Doore’s second novel (after The Perfect Assassin) continues the lush worldbuilding and inclusive characters of the first, while establishing exciting action- and emotion-filled sequences that will keep readers engaged.
PREMIUM

Watt O’Hugh and the Innocent Dead: Being the Third Part of the Strange and Astounding Memoirs of Watt O’Hugh the Third

Genre mashup devotees should get some good laughs and thrills from this Western/adventure/sf/fantasy blend. Fans of Doctor Who may adapt easily to the timey-wimeyness, and readers of Richard Kadrey’s “Sandman Slim” series who long for more atypical excursions to hell will enjoy as well.
PREMIUM

The Rise of Magicks

The final volume of “The Chronicles of the One” (Of Blood and Bone; Year One) is a full fantasy, postapocalyptic version of Roberts’s tried and true storytelling mastery. [See Prepub Alert, 5/5/19.]

The Name of All Things

The second of Lyons’s “Chorus of Dragons” series (after The Ruin of Kings) carries on the epic settings, memorable characters, and broad mythological foundations. Lyons is creating a complex and wonderful series that will immerse and delight.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse

Exquisitely written with complex characters, sardonic wit, and immersive worldbuilding. Highly recommended for all readers.

The Starless Sea

In the end, Morgenstern proves wrong one of her villains, who proclaims that a story is like an egg; break it, and it’s lost. Her stories flow together as they flow forward and will enthrall a wide range of readers. Highly recommended. [Prepub Alert, 4/22/19.]
PREMIUM

Stellaris: People of the Stars

Recommended for fans of hard sf who enjoy speculation on human expansion into the galaxy.

Spaceside

Butler’s wry commentary on the military establishment, corporate skullduggery, and life in general feels honest and real. Highly recommended for military sf lovers, who will savor his perspective and probably want to buy the man a drink.
PREMIUM

An Orc on the Wild Side

Holt has taken over the satirical fantasy novel from writers such as Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, with a dose of Kurt Vonnegut tossed in. For readers who do not take their fantasy stories too seriously, or appreciate them a bit silly, this is a gem.
PREMIUM

The Nightjar

Hewitt’s debut is an intense, bloody, and unfortunately flawed fantasy thriller with an intriguing story line that hamstrings itself with a frustratingly inept protagonist whose romantic feelings never ring true.

Meet the 2019 Hugo Award Winners

PREMIUM

The Best Horror of the Year. Vol. 11

A must-have volume for horror aficionados and a solid starter for readers looking to discover new authors in the genre.
PREMIUM

Grave Importance

Intelligent prose and an intriguing cast of characters enhance the range of story lines, culminating in a breathtaking climax. Shaw’s third “Dr. Greta Helsing” novel (after Dreadful Company) blends medical mystery and fantasy adventure to wrap up a delightfully modern undead trilogy.

Chilling Effect

Featuring memorable Cuban-descended characters, this engaging space opera debut delivers a story that dances between hilarity and seriousness, with all the joy and frustration psychic cats can bring to the mix.
PREMIUM

Born in Syn

Recommended for all dystopian fiction lovers, especially those who appreciate the syncing (pun intended) of technology with the story line.
PREMIUM

The Harp of Kings

Told in the alternating points of views of Liobhan, Brocc, and Dau, this story contains lush worldbuilding and well-rounded characters. Here, Marrillier (Blackthorn and Grim) launches a new series, but familiar references to her other books will lead fans right into her enchanting universe once again.
PREMIUM

Trinity Sight

This harrowing debut with Southwestern sensibility depicts the dangers of destroying our planet and questions whether mythology is an apt term to describe Indigenous beliefs. Purchase where Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning and Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow are popular.

The Unkindest Tide

The 13th outing for Daye is just as fresh and exciting as the first. McGuire has built a complex world, where seemingly loose ends are woven tightly into the series. Highly recommended.
PREMIUM

To Be Taught, If Fortunate

Grasping current and potential future trends and winding them into her accessible hard science plot, Hugo Award nominee Chambers creates an energy of hope and determination with every word, bringing life to space travel and the wonders—and traumas—of Earth’s possible future. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/19.]

The Library of the Unwritten

Elaborate worldbuilding, poignant and smart characters, and a layered plot make this first in a fantasy series from Hackwith (also writing as sf romance author Ada Harper) is an ode to books, writing, and found families.

Ninth House

Demand alone would necessitate purchasing multiple copies in all formats, but this is genuinely terrific. The worldbuilding is rock solid, the plot is propulsive, and readers will be clamoring for a sequel as soon as they read the last page. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/19.]

A Song for a New Day

Pinsker’s first novel (after Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea: Stories) depicts a moving alternate future in which technology provides everything a person could want, except human contact. Themes of virtual reality, humanity, and music are threaded throughout this melodic story. [See Editors’ Picks, “Fall Fireworks,” p. 25.]
PREMIUM

Blood of an Exile

Strongly recommended for devoted fantasy readers and a great gateway book for those new to the genre.
PREMIUM

The Furies

Drugs, sex, magic, and murder infuse this quick-paced read that will entertain teen and adult readers alike, weaving multiple layers of deception. While the characters are not quite fully developed, the relationship dynamics help form a solid story.
PREMIUM

A Pilgrimage of Swords

This grim, succinct tale should find an eager audience among fans of sword-and-sorcery fare and short stories.
PREMIUM

American Magic

This urban fantasy/spy thriller employs magic as just another superweapon, and brings all of the usual suspects to bear in order to stop it, complete with secret societies, evil government officials, and rogue agents accomplishing the mission from the outside. It all makes for a heady, page-turning mix.
PREMIUM

The Reckoning

The action is intense, fast-paced, ever-present, and bloody in this apocalyptic fantasy, and the characters allude to a wide spectrum of peoples and cultures, ranging from ancient Mesopotamia to medieval times. Fans of the first two books in the series will likely enjoy this closer.
PREMIUM

Claiming T-Mo

In writing this story, Bacon (Borderline) employs elegant and poetic language that pulls readers into each different world and experience as felt by the three leading women. Recommended reading for those with an interest in sf, expressive language, and stories that focus on women’s relationships and perspectives.
PREMIUM

Our War

Presenting a dark alternate reality that touches the seams of current events and a possible future, DiLouie (One of Us) offers an uncompromising view of child soldiers and patriotism in conflict. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19.]

Steel Crow Saga

Krueger’s sophomore novel (after Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge) is a heady look at postcolonial emotions, Asian cultures, and anime influences. His main characters are by turns endearing and maddening, living in a well-built magical world of warring factions. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/19.]

The Future of Another Timeline

In her sophomore work, Newitz (Autonomous) comes back to an Earth that highlights the truths of our past and possibilities of our future. The fantastical elements do not hide the all-too-real horrors women could face, but intelligence and hope are woven into every level. Shrewd commentary and a host of sources highlight Newitz’s strength in prose.

Gamechanger

Beckett’s debut is richly imagined, fast-paced climate change fiction. The predictions for our future feel shockingly real but still make one wish the virtual reality technology and the prosocial ideologies were available now. Readers will delight in the nonbinary characters, LBGTQ relationships and identities, and the land acknowledgment statement at the end of the book. Highly recommended.

A Hero Born

Newly translated into English, the “Legends of the Condor Heroes” series is an epic, fantastical tale filled with betrayal, brotherhood, and kung fu energy. The first in the series shows the depth of Jin Yong’s writing, and the sobriquet of “China’s Tolkien” is well deserved. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/19.]

A Choir of Lies

A story of discovery and growth, interspersed with other short fables and creative footnote commentary that unfolds into a superbly crafted world of intriguing characters and lush setting, Rowland’s follow-up to A Conspiracy of Truths reveals the author’s stunning prose, beautiful worldbuilding, and emotional detail. Highly recommended.

The Dragon Republic

This stunning sequel to The Poppy War is an epic journey of vengeance, friendship, and power wrapped in the folds of gods and monsters. Kuang has created a young woman torn by her connections to friends and family, searching for love and belonging, and given power beyond her imagining. Her story is unforgettable. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19.]

The Monster of Elendhaven

Elendhaven is as fully formed as Mervyn Peake’s “Gormenghast” series with truly repellent characters who don’t possess a shred of moral fiber. Yet the right readers will still love them, as newcomer Giesbrecht is a fantasy writer to watch with a sure command of her world.
PREMIUM

Darkdawn

Readers who enjoyed the first two books will not be disappointed by this dark, addictive story that contains coarse language and plenty of sexual content. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/19.]
PREMIUM

The Cruel Stars

Continual space battle action, despicable enemies, tight corners, and plucky heroines enliven the story, though one-dimensional characters, improbable last-minute saves, and familiar tropes weaken it. For larger collections; space opera lovers will enjoy a fast and reasonably exciting read.

The Soul of Power

An excellent and exciting conclusion to an outstanding romantic fantasy trilogy. Sophy is as intriguing and complex a hero as Elanna and Jahan (The Memory of Fire), while the secondary characters remain just as well drawn. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18.]
PREMIUM

Rotherweird

Some readers may find playwright Caldecott’s debut worth reading for originality and inventiveness, but others might find it difficult or baffling.
PREMIUM

The Sum of All Shadows

Van Lustbader (The Testament) concludes his “Testament” series with this fast-paced supernatural thriller that is equal parts Indiana Jones, Robert Langdon, and Old Testament. Recommended for fans of Dan Brown and Clive Cussler.
PREMIUM

Alphabet Squadron

Freed (Rogue One; Battlefront Twilight Company) offers a traditional “Star Wars” story told from the point of view of the five recruits and a couple of Imperial holdouts. Fans of the political intrigue, pitched space battles, and interpersonal humor of the original movie trilogy will rush to consume this first of a new trilogy.
PREMIUM

Dark Nights 2: Resurrection

Fans of space operas or sf assessing technological benevolence with lots of detail and point-of-view characters will enjoy.

Jade War

The follow-up to Lee’s Jade City delves further into her Asia-inspired world, embracing topics of family, relocation, and relations between rival factions. The setup for the final book will leave readers breathless with anticipation.
PREMIUM

The Dark Above

Fans of Justin Cronin’s The Passage, TV’s Stranger Things, and all versions of Stephen King’s IT will want to sit under summertime stars to binge this quick read. Any teen or adult fan of sf thrillers will enjoy this story, although they may want to read the first installment before jumping in.

"Alien" Read-Alikes | Sf/Fantasy, June 2019

PREMIUM

Null Set

Huang’s sophomore novel brings us the same tight action, compelling characters, and mathematics magic as Zero Sum Game. Fans of the TV series Jessica Jones will enjoy meeting Cas.
PREMIUM

Dahlia Black

The documentary approach causes some emotional distance, and the sheer amount of footnotes slows reader engagement, but there is plenty of narrative tension to keep the pages turning. Recommended for fans of Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants or Max Brooks’s World War Z.
PREMIUM

The Border Keeper

For fans of occult-tinged speculative fiction.
PREMIUM

The Best Science Fiction of the Year. Vol. 4

Scrutinizing politics and personal journeys, artificial intelligence and human emotion, this anthology will give new sf readers a breadth of material to ponder, while showing established fans new writers to follow. Recommended for all libraries.
PREMIUM

Bursts of Fire

This exciting new series will have fantasy fans eagerly awaiting the next installment.
PREMIUM

Dragonslayer

An entertaining, but not particularly groundbreaking, fantasy. Recommended for fans of dragons and medieval settings.

Gods of Jade and Shadow

Purchase where Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, and N.K. Jemisin are popular. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19.]

Wanderers

A powerful story about humanity, technology, and the survival of the world. Comparisons to Stephen King’s The Stand are warranted, as Wendig (Zeroes) shatters the boundaries of speculative and literary fiction in a saga that will touch every reader. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]

This Is How You Lose the Time War

This stunning, semi-epistolary tale by coauthors El-Mohtar (The Honey Month) and Gladstone (“Craft Sequence” series) is a seamless story of time travel, sparring opponents, and the revelations of serving a cause. To unlock the complexities of language and plot here, readers will want to return to this book, with each read revealing a little more of its near-limitless substance.
PREMIUM

The Ables

Recommended for adult as well as YA sf collections and fans of Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Winter's Debut of the Month, El-Mohtar/Gladstone, Forest, Hall, Huang, Thompson, Wendig, & More | SF/Fantasy, June 2019

PREMIUM

Longer

Blumlein (All I Ever Dreamed) gives us Waiting for Godot, set in space, in succinct and intelligent storytelling.

Snakeskins

Major (You Don’t Belong Here; Blighters) takes a unique concept and creates a compelling plot with engaging, multidimensional characters. Recommended for sf readers and mystery lovers who are willing to expand their horizons.
PREMIUM

Green Valley

Readers will appreciate the questions raised, but this is not for the squeamish. Green Valley is not a pretty place.
PREMIUM

The Fire Opal Mechanism

This engaging stand-alone sequel to The Jewel and Her Lapidary highlights Wilde’s deft prose and fantastical imagination. Readers will enjoy the intersection of knowledge and freedom to learn twisted into something darker.
PREMIUM

Pass of Fire

Libraries that do not have the entire series will be at a disadvantage, and new readers will have some catching up to do, but military sf enthusiasts, particularly fans of author Harry Turtledove, will be enthralled.
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