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PREMIUM

Capture the Crown

Estep’s new series takes readers back to the world she built in “Crown of Shards,” filled once again with exciting machinations and a slow burn of romance.
PREMIUM

Blood Moon: A Wolves of Wolf Point Novel

An intriguing premise about menopausal women and (super)natural change, mixed with a touch of romance and mystery, make for a fun and grounded story. Definitely pair this book with its predecessor, Silver Moon, to understand the characters’ back stories.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Chambers (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet) begins a delightful new series full of familiar themes: heart, hope, and purpose.
PREMIUM

We Have Always Been Here

An exciting debut that delves into themes of corporate conscription, the definition of humanity, and the complexity of relationships. This science fiction thriller will keep readers guessing and wondering past the final page.

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.

Hold Fast Through the Fire

The second “NeoG” novel (after A Pale Light in the Black) further expands the world of the futuristic coast guard and details the faithful, delightful crew of Zuma’s Ghost.

A Master of Djinn

Although the book is marketed as Clark’s debut novel, readers have been following him for several years (Ring Shout is an LJ 2020 Best Book) and this work builds upon his alternate history Cairo, bringing together several enjoyable characters in a richly detailed, action-packed novel.

Project Hail Mary

Weir brings back the pace, intelligence, and humor of The Martian and increases it exponentially. Scientific mysteries and survival instincts abound in this compelling and exciting novel.
PREMIUM

Black Water Sister

An immersive tale of family secrets, deities, spirits, and religious belief. Cho offers a complex emotional roller-coaster of a read.
PREMIUM

Million Dollar Demon

Rachel Morgan comes back strong in her 15th outing (after American Demon), as she takes on a new master vampire and finds herself dealing with emotional turmoil and high-stakes action in equal measures.
PREMIUM

I’m Waiting for You: And Other Stories

This is thought-provoking science fiction that will leave readers musing long after the book is finished.
PREMIUM

Peaces

Fans of Oyeyemi will enjoy another romp, though her work’s not for everyone—her quirky takes on existential questions and the world of perception are suited to particular tastes.
PREMIUM

Visions of the Vampire: Two Centuries of Blood-Sucking Tales

An enlightening and broad introduction to the popular vampire menace trope, this fun read is a perfect anthology for most libraries. It presents plenty of treasures for fans new and old to discover.
PREMIUM

I Would Haunt You If I Could

Filled with thought-provoking, character-driven, psychologically horrific tales that veer slightly and satisfyingly into the weird, this collection is reminiscent of the deeply unsettling and disorienting worlds of Samanta Schweblin and Dan Chaon or the backlist gem Travelers Rest, by Keith Lee Morris.

Hearts Strange and Dreadful

An excellent example of historical horror, this novel holds obvious appeal to fans of Alma Katsu’s The Hunger, but it is also reminiscent of Andy Davidson’s captivatingly creepy occult fable The Boatman’s Daughter, with its rich and compelling characters and strong, ominous sense of place.
PREMIUM

There Comes a Midnight Hour

A great introduction to an overlooked master whose popularity peaked earlier this century. Much like Kathe Koja’s Bram Stoker–nominated Velocities, this collection will bring new readers to an important author who had a clear influence on some of today’s top horror story writers, such as John Langan and Nadia Bulkin.

Smithy

For fans of the space where true crime, paranormal phenomena, and horror overlap, such as in the fiction of Clay McLeod Chapman and Emily M. Danforth.

Paradise Club

The slasher trope is making a comeback, so this title will be in high demand with readers who enjoyed Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones, The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz, and Brian Keene’s backlist gem Castaways.
PREMIUM

Walk Among Us: Compiled Edition

There is no need to know anything about the RPG in order to enjoy these modern, original, women-focused novellas of vampire menace that take the old trope in exciting new directions. Just make sure you have other recent works by these authors in your collections, as readers will be clamoring for more upon completion.

PREMIUM

Near the Bone

Henry has expertly walked the line between psychological suspense and horror to crowd-pleasing results for years, and this title is no exception. Hand out freely to fans of Sarah Pinborough, Jennifer McMahon, and Zoje Stage.

The Blacktongue Thief

Readers of epic fantasy novelists, like Tolkien or Brandon Sanderson, will enjoy this journey, which is by turns fun, magical, or terrifying for the travelers. Buehlman (The Lesser Dead) offers a departure from his horror novels in this fantasy with dark undertones. With fabulous examples of invented languages and dialects, this title is transporting.

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.

For the Wolf

This hauntingly beautiful, fractured retelling of Little Red Riding Hood is dark, emotional, and filled with tense action. Whitten’s debut is epic and enthralling.

She Who Became the Sun

Parker-Chan’s debut is forceful, immersive, and unforgettable. This inspired queer retelling of Chinese history is an exciting read.
PREMIUM

The Helm of Midnight

This tale has creative worldbuilding and an intense focus on the psychology of a killer. Its unresolved ending will leave readers either frustrated or eager to tackle the next installment in the series.

The Science of Middle-earth: A New Understanding of Tolkien and His World

Any fan, casual or academic, of Tolkien’s work will find this book entertaining and informative. Highly recommended.

Correction: This review has been edited to add the translator credit.

The Jasmine Throne

Suri (Realm of Ash) has created this world with great deliberation, including details about clothing, cuisine, and architecture. Malini and Priya both have depth and nuance, and their attraction to each other is written with care and sensitivity. Changing viewpoints help move the action along, but this is the first book in a trilogy, which inevitably means that some of the plotting will set the stage for books to come. Offer this to fans of Tanaz Bhathena or S.A. Chakraborty.
PREMIUM

Wendy, Darling

Feminist twists and creeping dread abound in this intriguing retelling of Peter Pan.

My Heart Is a Chainsaw

This extraordinary novel is an essential purchase.
PREMIUM

The House of Dust

Buoyed by confident prose and cinematic imagery, this Southern gothic slow burn rewards close attention and will be a sure hit for fans of folklore and the occult.
PREMIUM

Chopping Spree

An excellent gateway book to readers looking to get into the horror genre. Recommend to readers who enjoyed previous “Rewind or Die” titles or fans of Adam Cesare’s Clown in a Cornfield, Stephanie Perkins’s There’s Someone Inside Your House, or Riley Sager’s Final Girls.

Goblin

These stories offer up a history lesson and guided tour of a severely troubled town. The writer-as-tour-guide is very clearly enjoying the trip, and it’s impossible not to revel in the dark glee.
PREMIUM

The Promise Keeper

Vampire fans will get their fill here, as will horror readers thirsty for a fresh, unexpected take on one of the genre’s oldest mythologies.

Whisper Down the Lane

This clever, creepy roller-coaster ride is perfect for fans of fast-paced horror with the flavor of true crime.
PREMIUM

Certain Dark Things

This vampire crime thriller with romance elements will have wide appeal, especially among the author’s many fans.

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

Chambers (To Be Taught if Fortunate) once again creates an epic space setting with a detailed, personal view of some of its inhabitants. Humor and heartache weave through her insightful prose and diverse characters.

Star Eater

Hall’s (The Border Keeper) solid worldbuilding and strong prose create an utterly gripping novel that blends the boundaries of horror and fantasy.
PREMIUM

The Conductors

Blending historical fantasy and mystery, this fast-paced debut with predominantly Black characters will engage fans eager for a combination of each.

The House of Always

Lyons creates an immersive and complex history filled with delightful characters, bold action, and surprising twists.

We Are Satellites

Pinsker’s (A Song For A New Day) meticulous research and melodious prose bring readers to the heart of a family and the challenges of societal expectations, technology, and the desire to advance without fully understanding the consequences.

The Ladies of the Secret Circus

Highly recommended for lovers of timeslip fiction, readers who enjoy their genres very bent indeed, and those who have dreamed of running away to the circus.
PREMIUM

Fugitive Telemetry

Back in novella form for a sixth outing, Murderbot continues to bring intelligence and acerbic commentary on humanity to the forefront.
PREMIUM

Wild Sign

The sixth “Alpha and Omega” book continues to build a realized world of the Montana pack and its members. An intriguing ending will have fans looking forward to the next book.
PREMIUM

Eye of the Sh*t Storm

The third installment in Ford’s “Frost Files” series, this novel is a non-stop adrenaline high. Fans of the series will eagerly awaitthe further adventures of Teagan and her cohorts, and newcomers will quickly fall in love with Jackson’s quirky cast of characters, imaginative storytelling, and wry wit.
PREMIUM

A River Called Time

Newland’s (The Gospel According to Cane) premise and his alternative world where Africa was not colonized by Europe are intriguing, however the plot is slow going and never quite reaches the potential teased from the beginning. Newland’s writing is stylish but tends to be overly descriptive, making the explanation of Markriss’s travels to parallel universes confusing and hard to follow. Markriss is a difficult protagonist to connect with, only adding to the disjointed feel of the book. Clearly a missed opportunity on the author’s part. Library collections should pass on this one.
PREMIUM

Rise & Shine

This abstract portrait of humanity’s struggle to survive in a world decimated by humankind’s foolhardy choices and climate crises gives fans of dystopian fiction a perplexing new world to consider.
PREMIUM

The Lost Village

While some of the interpersonal dramas fall a little flat, the unraveling of Silvertjärn’s secrets (and the fate of the town’s lost villagers) make for a mostly gripping ride that will satisfy mystery and horror fans alike.
PREMIUM

Blood Indigo

Sullivan drops you right into the action in this book. Readers might be confused by the large cast of characters and lack of clear motivations. Unfortunately, the action is always seen from the vantage point of the shamans or Tokela, meaning that technology isn’t clearly explained. Science fiction readers will be disappointed.
PREMIUM

The Bad Luck Spirits’ Social Aid and Pleasure Club

This is a standalone title, so familiarity with the series is not required. It is an excellent recommend for those interested in the spiritual and folkloric history of New Orleans.

The Keeper of Tales

This is an engaging and enjoyable book with many unexpected twists and trials. The characterizations are wonderful and fit the storyline almost too well. Each character plays its part well.

The Councillor

A skilled debut of politics, secrets, and magic that will grab readers from the start.

The Witness for the Dead

The follow-up to the acclaimed The Goblin Emperor brings back a favorite character and expands the elaborate world Addison has created. Fans of the first book—and new readers—will find this novel delightful and immersive
PREMIUM

Wings of Fury

King (“Hundredth Queen” series) takes a fresh look at the Greek pantheon to create a clamor for the next book of this new series.

The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng

The stunning conclusion of the “Chronicles of the Bitch Queen” series (after The Ikessar Falcon) is filled with high-stakes action, emotions, and magic, with an ending that will not disappoint.
PREMIUM

The Best of R. A. Lafferty

The stories in this collection sum up the quintessential Lafferty, but the standouts in this volume are the heartfelt introductions. Readers wondering about this writer who influenced their current favorite authors, and those who have seen references to this influential author but are having difficulty finding his work, as much of it has gone out of print, will enjoy this collection.
PREMIUM

Dead Space

Wallace (Salvation Day) showcases themes of xenophobia, corporate profit, and AI evolution in this absorbing space thriller.
PREMIUM

Gifting Fire

The sequel to Stealing Thunder continues to entertain as a beautiful romantic fantasy series inspired by Pakistani culture.
PREMIUM

The Second Bell

Houston projects her background of Polish mythologies and dark fairy tales onto this fanciful debut. Redemption, sacrifice, and generosity underpin this story about mother-and-daughter relationships. Fans of mythical yarns and medieval fantasies will enjoy this easy-to-read fable.
PREMIUM

Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters

Ogden (Frozen Fairy Tales) takes “The Little Mermaid” to outer space and imagines the desires beyond love and land. This novella will tug at the heart of every reader.
PREMIUM

The Moonsteel Crown

This dark and gritty fantasy is recommended for readers wanting the scope of an epic with the grittiness of grimdark urban fantasy. It will be loved by those who are looking for stories that exhibit all the darkness at the heart of “Game of Thrones” set in the mean streets of the grittiest of fantasy cities, and/or those who like antihero protagonists stuck in a morally gray area.
PREMIUM

The Searching Dead

A finalist in the Horror category for the British Fantasy Award, this is a slow burn of a novel with a fantastic pay-off, an intense and menacing story framed by superior worldbuilding. It is a good suggestion for fans of It by Stephen King or the “African Immortals” series by Tananarive Due.

PREMIUM

In Darkness, Shadows Breathe

A compelling, immersive, and intense time-slip horror novel with sympathetic characters that readers actively root for. The tale reads like The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle if it were written by Sarah Pinborough.
PREMIUM

Dead of Winter

While COVID-related publishing shifts delayed this collection by a few months, readers will enjoy being immersed in these winter-themed stories any time of year. Pair it with the excellent collections of Victorian winter solstice and Christmas ghost stories published by Biblioasis.

Children of Chicago

With superior worldbuilding, a relentless pace, a complex heroine, and a harrowing story that preys off of current events as much as its well-developed monster, this is a stellar horror novel that fires on all cylinders, from the first page through to its horrible conclusion. For fans of dark fantasy based on fairy tales such as Seanan McGuire’s “Wayward Children” series or novels by Helen Oyeyemi, with just the right touch of Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski.

Midnight Doorways: Fables from Pakistan

This collection by a rising star in horror harkens back to classic anthologies by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe or Arthur Conan Doyle, but with a voice that represents the rich storytelling traditions of Pakistan. For fans of dark fantasy and horror. Pair with other works exploring universal fears framed and informed by the author’s identity such as those by Stephen Graham Jones, S. A. Chakraborty, and Marlon James.
PREMIUM

The Route of Ice and Salt

A necessary and engaging addition not only to the always popular subset of Dracula-adjacent tales such as Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker, but also to the growing pantheon of retellings of horror classics from a marginalized perspective such as Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom.

PREMIUM

The Hobgoblin of Little Minds

A deft and unique blend of werewolf story with an honest and respectful discussion of bipolar disorder. It is an obvious suggestion for fans of The Last Werewolf Trilogy by Glen Duncan but also a great companion to thought-provoking creature tales that contemplate the character’s trauma as part of the horror, such as Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad.
PREMIUM

The Bone Maker

With great pacing and character development, Durst’s action-packed adventure is sure to make new fans and satisfy her legions of current ones.

The Forever Sea

Johnson’s beautiful coming-of-age saga touches on subjects of conservation, water rights, morality, and relationships, without mentioning them outright. The world he builds is very different from ours but with some of the same problems. The book’s setting and plot are so original as to be a breath of fresh air to the fantasy genre.

Engines of Oblivion

Osborne’s follow-up to Architects of Memory is a solid story of corporate control versus personhood, alien encounters, and doing what is right as opposed to what is easy.

The Queen’s Weapons

The latest “Black Jewels” novel (after The Queen’s Bargain) continues to deliver dark fantasy with lush worldbuilding, strong characters, and high-stakes action.
PREMIUM

A Desolation Called Peace

This follow-up to Martine’s debut, A Memory Called Empire, contains beautiful prose and complex worldbuilding that will immerse readers in a dazzling story of alien contact and colonization.
PREMIUM

Malice

Walter’s debut weaves together fairy-tale tropes into an exciting, twisted tale of friendship, love, and legacy.

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry

Waggoner (Unnatural Magic) crafts an excellent historical fantasy that also manages to have a sweet and hot love story at the center. At turns laugh-out-loud funny and heartwarming, this fast-paced book is for fans of romance, historical fantasy, and Theodora Goss’s “Athena Club” series.
PREMIUM

Doors of Sleep: Journals of Zaxony Delatree

Readers will sympathize with Zax and his fellow travelers as they are yanked into new worlds every few pages or even every few sentences. Pratt’s (The Fractured Void) skillful worldbuilding will appeal to sf fans.

The Witch’s Heart

Angrboda’s love for her children shines passionately through this tale. A retelling of the Norse legend from the viewpoint of a woman often left in the margins, this book deserves to be a classic. For readers of Madeline Miller’s Circe and the Marvel version of Loki.
PREMIUM

Dune: The Duke of Caladan

Recommended for readers who feel compelled to complete their knowledge of this world, fans who want to know everything there is to know before the next movie version, and libraries where previous continuations of this series have proven popular.
PREMIUM

Rafael

The 28th novel in Anita Blake’s world centers on a supporting male character who does not necessarily advance the plot but gives space to see more of Rafael and his rodere.
PREMIUM

Voidbreaker

Recommended for readers with an interest in fantasy, fiction, magic, battle scenes, romance, and religiously driven moral debates.
PREMIUM

The Dark Archive

The seventh novel (after The Secret Chapter) keeps Irene’s story moving forward with revealed secrets and worldbuilding. Blending fantasy, mystery, and a hint of romance, Cogman continues to produce a solid series.
PREMIUM

Queen of None

Barron’s (These Marvelous Beasts) novel blends human earthiness with the mystical elements we have come to expect from Arthurian legends, allowing readers to feel as though they could slip from the mundane to the fantastical at any moment. While a bit disjointed at times, this work ably captures the essence of King Arthur’s court and those who inhabited it.
PREMIUM

The Brass Queen

A delightful gaslamp fantasy that will please readers of Gail Carriger and Kate Locke.
PREMIUM

The Mask Falling

Existing fans will cheer, while those new to the series should absolutely start with book one.

Fireheart Tiger

Nebula and Locus Award winner de Bodard (The House of Sundering Flames) crafts a story of love, power, and what burns within. Highly recommended.
PREMIUM

Methuselah’s Legacy

This book will challenge and entertain readers who enjoy a hearty dose of philosophical-based sf.
PREMIUM

Situation Normal

Richardson’s (Constellation Games) new space opera is a satirical look at war, politics, megabrands, and cultural division. Seamlessly blending serious subject matter with humor, this book shines a light on today’s issues in a way that will have readers laughing one minute and wanting to cry the next.
PREMIUM

Speculative Los Angeles

As with any anthology, the contents vary. Speculative fiction is a bit of a catchall term that may not be especially meaningful to readers. This particular collection seems geared toward an audience fond of dystopian short stories or longtime fans of Akashic’s “Noir” series wanting to branch out.
PREMIUM

Dealbreaker

While the future technology is fascinating and the premise of the novel is intriguing, the author has chosen to make the characters almost mechanical to the point of being artificial in nature and speech and, possibly, unappealing to their target audience. However, the first novel was well received and, for those sf junkies who enjoy everything technological, this will be a welcome return to Beckett’s world.

Best SF & Fantasy of 2020

PREMIUM

The Con

DeLuzio gives an up close and personal look at the sometimes feared, often mocked sf convention, only this one just might have real aliens in attendance. The double entendre title highlights the book’s deeper theme: How do we define what is real and what is fantasy? Some readers may be confused by the sf references and gaming jargon, but the quirky cast of characters and their relatable geekiness more than make up for it. Includes short stories “Troll Bridge” and “Do You See What I See?”
PREMIUM

XX

The combination of hard sf elements and Hughes’s background as a cartoonist create a vivid, expansive reading experience. This will especially interest readers who are excited by hybrid novels that blend traditional and illustrative formats.
PREMIUM

A History of What Comes Next

Neuvel’s intriguing first-contact story is set through centuries of manipulation and pursuit. It’s a promising start to what looks to be a dark and exciting trilogy.

The Burning God

An incredible end to this epic trilogy. Mixing historical parallels of Chinese history, the themes of war, politics, and colonialism are balanced with terrific, flawed characters and amazing worldbuilding.
PREMIUM

Persephone Station

This enjoyable and thrilling read features excellent worldbuilding and lively characterizations. The engaging crew and well-drawn plot will have readers hoping this will become a series.
PREMIUM

We Could Be Heroes

Chen’s (A Beginning at the End) writing wraps hard topics with heartfelt and humorous prose, creating a delightful novel of the steps and missteps of power, friendship, and trust.
PREMIUM

D (A Tale of Two Worlds)

Faber (The Crimson Petal and the White), an award-winning writer of short stories, fiction, and nonfiction, has created a thoroughly engaging young adult crossover fantasy that occasionally breaks the fourth wall by speaking directly to the reader midstory. Clever and enjoyable, this Narnia-like work will delight any fantasy buff.

Remote Control

This compelling novella is Africanfuturism sf at its best.

Colonyside

The third “Planetside” novel (after Spaceside) is a story that lives in the universe-weary voice of its protagonist. It is highly recommended for readers who like their heroes cynical, their mystery twisted, and their sf thought-provoking.
PREMIUM

Busted Synapses

A superb example of dystopian, cyberpunk f lash fiction that echoes William Gibson’s Neuromancer, this volume may be slim but it packs a punch. Satifka (A Punk Rock Future) magnificently weaves an in-depth world that is entirely believable (and possible) and that is a fast, but great, read. Readers of dystopian sf will especially love this irreverent take on the darker side of the virtual world and the move toward transhumanism.

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