The Known Universe may be vast, but Niko Larson and her crew have seen a lot of it. They're all set to settle down to a simple life when everything that can go wrong does.
You Sexy Thing is a story of love, hate, adventure, and tragedy. Between space pirates, alien love affairs, clandestine military organizations, and a sentient ship, I could not put this one down. I laughed. I cried. I flipped the pages well past my bed time.
Cat Rambo brings to life characters both beautiful and repulsive. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a rocking space adventure.
Annalee Newitz is my favorite optimist. Their view of history and outlook on the future brims over with a thoughtfulness most historians overlook. While most cities fall--time buries them in sand, jungles reclaim them, and oceans drown them--the people and their cultures live on. This book is perfect for lovers of history and anthropology, and anyone who wonders what the future holds for our cities.
What can I say about Women and Other Monsters other than READ THIS NOW!?
I picked this book up with full-blown curiosity, ignited by my love of mythology and strong belief in the women's rights movement. Jess Zimmerman uses her own life experiences, mingled with monsters of ancient myth, to bring light to the ugly truth of what it means to be a woman. We are monsters--for our individuality, determination, free spirits, desires and ambitions, and our less-than-perfect bodies. At least that's what the world wants us to believe. I found pieces of myself in every chapter, and discovered just how much I wanted that to change. I highly recommend this book to women of all colors and ages, trans women, non-binary gentlefolk, and those looking for insight.
The emotionally-charged, wild ride of Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark was one I did not want to end. Clark pulled me into the life of Maryse and her band of monster hunters, and held me hostage. With beautiful language, deep, meaningful characters, and a fully immersive world, the story of vengeance and self forgiveness unfolds. By the end, I was in tears. Ring Shout is the perfect book to take on not just a dark, violent history, but an uncertain, terrifying future as well. Everyone needs to read Ring Shout.
Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries has become one of my favorite series of all time, and Network Effect is a perfect edition. Murderbot is still trying to figure out what it wants after hacking its governor module. In the meantime it spends its days protecting the humans it cares about. Of course, everything goes terribly wrong when a friend shows up to kidnap Murderbot, and its humans are along for the ride. What I love most about Network Effect is that we get to watch Murderbot continue to understand not only itself, but its relationships with others. Network Effect isn't just fun and action-packed; it's also emotional and though-provoking. I love Murderbot!
Riot Baby is one of the harder books I've read this year, its message loud and clear and filled with painful truths. Here we have Ella and Kev, siblings in a world hellbent on keeping them down. Both gifted with mysterious power, they learn to keep it to themselves. Onyebuchi doesn't hold back when putting his characters through the wringer. Ella experiences the grief and pain of everyone around her, lashing out uncontrollably, while Kev is left to survive as best he can. When he lands in jail, it's all he can do to stay alive until he gets out. This passionate story, full of rage and a yearning for justice, will go down as one of the most important books this year.
I picked up the ARC of The Seep, somewhat intrigued by the blurb. It sounded fantastical and full of drama. And I'm not kidding when I say it delivered! Chana Porter manages to give us both a whimsical story and a tale of grief. Each character is a thread that ties this story together into one that I was totally unable to put down. Anyone who enjoys a little magic with their sorrow should pick The Seep up immediately.
Cassiopeia has had a difficult life, and it doesn't seem to be getting any easier. The story begins with a girl who dreams of a brighter future and quickly finds herself at the mercy of ancient gods. Laced with ancient Mayan myths, demons, ghosts, sorcerers and witches, this tale takes us from the Yucatan, through the depths of Xibalba--the kingdom of the lords of death--and back to Mexico where the hearts of readers are certain to break. With beautiful use of language, fantastic world-building, and a classic underdog story woven throughout, this book is a winner for me.
Of all of the Marvel characters, Loki has been one of my favorites. And Mackenzie Lee has captured the not-quite-villain/not-quite-hero perfectly. Here is a young man torn between loyalty and personal desire; caught between his overbearing father Odin, and The Enchantress Amora. This tug of war highlights Loki's own shifty personality while showcasing his witty humor and mischievous nature. I love what Lee has done with this origin story!
When people ask me what my favorite book is, I have a hard time answering. There are just so many amazing stories out there. However, I related to Tom Barren in All Our Wrong Todays more than any other character I’ve read. He struggles with family, mourns the loss of his loved ones, and is desperate to set things right. We all make mistakes, but his is a monumental one and it will change the world forever. I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s clear in the prose that Elan Mastai is speaking of something he knows. He’s speaking from his heart.
In The Fifth Season we are introduced to a world filled with danger and loss. Damaya is a child whose parents have locked her away out of fear. Her abilities are powerful and terrifying to anyone who doesn’t understand them. She’s forced away from her home and taken to a place where she must learn to always obey. Nothing she does from that point forward can be of her own volition. She is the property of the Fulcrum, and she will train under their guidance to control her unusual power. The beautiful prose and fantastic world-building in this story will leave anyone who picks this book up breathless.
The Song of Achilles follows Patroclus, a down and out prince whose father cares nothing for him. When he’s involved in the death of another boy, he’s sent away to live in the kingdom of Aegina under the care of King Peleus. It’s here that Patroclus meets and falls deeply in love with Achilles, the half-god son of King Peleus. This is a love story unlike any other. The deep bond between Achilles and Patroclus is tragically beautiful. I’ve never fallen so hard for two characters. This book will hold a special place in my heart for all of time.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a wonderful classic everyone should read. We’re introduced into an extreme world of patriarchy and submission where women aren’t allowed to read and those who can carry children are forced to do so. Our main character never really tells us her name. We simply know her as Offred, which means she belongs to Fred. Her duty is simple. Give Fred and his wife a baby. Trouble is, she’s not getting pregnant. This is a poignant and harrowing tale that gave me a new sense of responsibility.
Oh how I love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. We meet Arthur Dent, a grump who’s trying to save his house from being torn down. Only, there’s a lot more going on. When his best friend, Ford Prefect explains that the end of the world is coming, Arthur is less than convinced. Soon, however, he finds himself on an alien spaceship with the knowledge that Earth has been destroyed. He and Ford will go on quite an adventure, later joining up with Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian, and a depressed robot named Marvin. It’s one of the funniest, best told stories I’ve ever read.