Review: “Fevered Star” by Rebecca Roanhorse

Release Date: April 19, 2022
Publisher: Saga Press
Series: Between Earth and Sky #2
Genre: Epic fantasy

Description

The great city of Tova is shattered. The sun is held within the smothering grip of the Crow God’s eclipse, but a comet that marks the death of a ruler and heralds the rise of a new order is imminent.

The Meridian: a land where magic has been codified and the worship of gods suppressed. How do you live when legends come to life, and the faith you had is rewarded?

As sea captain Xiala is swept up in the chaos and currents of change, she finds an unexpected ally in the former Priest of Knives. For the Clan Matriarchs of Tova, tense alliances form as far-flung enemies gather and the war in the heavens is reflected upon the earth.

And for Serapio and Naranpa, both now living avatars, the struggle for free will and personhood in the face of destiny rages. How will Serapio stay human when he is steeped in prophecy and surrounded by those who desire only his power? Is there a future for Naranpa in a transformed Tova without her total destruction?

Continue reading “Review: “Fevered Star” by Rebecca Roanhorse”

Mini Review: “Slip” by Marika McCoola & Aatmaja Pandya

Release Date: June 7, 2022
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult

Description

Right before Jade is about to leave for a summer art intensive, her best friend, Phoebe, attempts suicide. How is Jade supposed to focus on herself right now?

But at the Art Farm, Jade has artistic opportunities she’s been waiting for her whole life. And as she gets to know her classmates, she begins to fall for whimsical, upbeat, comfortable-in-her-own-skin Mary. Jade pours herself into making ceramic monsters that vent her stress and insecurities, but when she puts her creatures in the kiln, something unreal happens: they come to life. And they’re taking a stand: if Jade won’t confront her problems, her problems are going to confront her, including the scariest of them all–if Jade grows, prospers, and even falls in love this summer, is she leaving Phoebe behind?

Continue reading “Mini Review: “Slip” by Marika McCoola & Aatmaja Pandya”

Review: “Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances” by Aliette de Bodard

Release Date: June 28, 2022
Series: Dragons and Blades #2
Publisher: JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
Genre: Historical Fiction

Description

It was supposed to be a holiday, with nothing more challenging than babysitting, navigating familial politics and arguing about the proper way to brew tea.

But when dragon prince Thuan and his ruthless husband Asmodeus find a corpse in a ruined shrine and a hungry ghost who is the only witness to the crime, their holiday goes from restful to high-pressure. Someone is trying to silence the ghost and everyone involved. Asmodeus wants revenge for the murder; Thuan would like everyone, including Asmodeus, to stay alive.

Chased by bloodthirsty paper charms and struggling to protect their family, Thuan and Asmodeus are going to need all the allies they can—and, as the cracks in their relationship widen, they’ll have to face the scariest challenge of all: how to bring together their two vastly different ideas of their future…

A heartwarming standalone book set in a world of dark intrigue.

Continue reading “Review: “Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances” by Aliette de Bodard”

Review: “The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer” by Janelle Monáe

Release Date: April 19, 2022
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Science Fiction

Description

In The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, activist, and worldwide superstar Janelle Monáe brings to the written page the Afrofuturistic world of one of her critically acclaimed albumsexploring how different threads of liberation–queerness, race, gender plurality, and love–become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape…and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms.

Whoever controls our memories controls the future.

Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborating creators have written a collection of tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller. Dirty Computer introduced a world in which thoughts–as a means of self-conception–could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether human, A.I., or other, your life and sentience was dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.

That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free.

Expanding from that mythos, these stories fully explore what it’s like to live in such a totalitarian existence…and what it takes to get out of it. Building off the traditions of speculative writers such as Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Becky Chambers, and Nnedi Okorafor–and filled with the artistic genius and powerful themes that have made Monáe a worldwide icon in the first place–The Memory Librarian serves readers tales grounded in the human trials of identity expression, technology, and love, but also reaching through to the worlds of memory and time within, and the stakes and power that exists there.

Continue reading “Review: “The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer” by Janelle Monáe”

Review: “Fire Becomes Her” by Rosiee Thor

Release Date: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Description

In Rosiee Thor’s lavish fantasy novel with a Jazz Age spark, a politically savvy teen must weigh her desire to climb the social ladder against her heart in a world where magic buys votes.

Flare is power.

With only a drop of flare, one can light the night sky with fireworks . . . or burn a building to the ground — and seventeen-year-old Ingrid Ellis wants her fair share.

Ingrid doesn’t have a family fortune, monetary or magical, but at least she has a plan: Rise to the top on the arm of Linden Holt, heir to a hefty political legacy and the largest fortune of flare in all of Candesce. Her only obstacle is Linden’s father who refuses to acknowledge her.

So when Senator Holt announces his run for president, Ingrid uses the situation to her advantage. She strikes a deal to spy on the senator’s opposition in exchange for his approval and the status she so desperately craves. But the longer Ingrid wears two masks, the more she questions where her true allegiances lie.

Will she stand with the Holts, or will she forge her own path?

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Shocking, Intimate Fantasy: Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

Release Date: May 10, 2022
Publisher: Tordotcom Publishing
Genre: Historical Fantasy

Description

“No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill–but she doesn’t care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.

But in Luli’s world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes–even if that means becoming the monster herself.

Siren Queen offers up an enthralling exploration of an outsider achieving stardom on her own terms, in a fantastical Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the silver screen illuminates every page.

Continue reading “Shocking, Intimate Fantasy: Siren Queen by Nghi Vo”

New Young Adult SFF for May & June 2022

It’s time once more for me to share some of the upcoming young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror I’m most excited about. May and June are bringing in a lot of fantasy, as per usual, but with some really interesting twists. We’re also getting an unexpected yet eagerly anticipated crop of horror novels. And the queer books, my heavens, the wonderful, delightful, fabulous queer books! I don’t think my bookshelves can handle all these preorders.

Read the rest of this spotlight on Tor.com.