Tropes are Good, Actually: Ashes of Gold by J. Elle

Release Date: January 11, 2022
Series: Wings of Ebony #2
Publisher: Denene Millner Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Description

Rue has no memory of how she ended up locked in a basement prison without her magic or her allies. But she’s a girl from the East Row. And girls from the East Row don’t give up. Girls from the East Row pick themselves back up when they fall. Girls from the East Row break themselves out.

But reuniting with her friends is only half the battle. When she finds them again, Rue makes a vow: she will find a way to return the magic that the Chancellor has stolen from her father’s people. Yet even on Yiyo Peak, Rue is a misfit–with half a foot back in Houston and half a heart that is human as well as god, she’s not sure she’s the right person to lead the fight to reclaim a glorious past.

When a betrayal sends her into a tailspin, Rue must decide who to trust and how to be the leader that her people deserve…because if she doesn’t, it isn’t just Yiyo that will be destroyed–it will be Rue herself.

Continue reading “Tropes are Good, Actually: Ashes of Gold by J. Elle”

Review: “Skin of the Sea” by Natasha Bowen

Release Date: November 2, 2021
Series: Skin of the Sea #1
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Description

A way to survive.

A way to serve.

A way to save.

Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata–a mermaid–collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home.But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi goes against an ancient decree and does the unthinkable–she saves his life. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy the gods.

To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But all is not as it seems. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail . . .Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she fails, she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.

Continue reading “Review: “Skin of the Sea” by Natasha Bowen”

Review: “Coming Back” by Jessi Zabarsky

Release Date: January 18, 2022
Publisher: Random House Graphic
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Comics

Description

Preet is magic.

Valissa is not.

Everyone in their village has magic in their bones, and Preet is the strongest of them all. Without any power of her own, how can Valissa ever be worthy of Preet’s love? When their home is attacked, Valissa has a chance to prove herself, but that means leaving Preet behind. On her own for the first time, Preet breaks the village’s most sacred laws and is rejected from the only home she’s ever known and sent into a new world.

Divided by different paths, insecurities, and distance, will Valissa and Preet be able to find their way back to each other?

A beautiful story of two young women who are so focused on proving they’re meant to be together that they end up hurting each other in the process. This gorgeous graphic novel is an LGTBQ+ romance about young love and how it can grow into something strong no matter what obstacles get in the way.

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Must-Read Speculative Short Fiction for December 2021

December 2021 brought a plethora of great short science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories to my inbox. Judging by the stories that ended up on my spotlight this month, I went on an environmental disasters kick. From fussy lake gods to exploitative space station dwellers, from technology-infused religious beliefs to robots repopulating the planet, with a few creepy houses to spice things up.

Plus! Four extra stories from a few publications whose summer and fall issues I missed when they were initially released.

Read the rest of this spotlight at Tor.com.

Review: “Redemptor” by Jordan Ifueko

Release Date: August 17, 2021
Series: Raybearer #2
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Description

For the first time, an Empress Redemptor sits on Aritsar’s throne. To appease the sinister spirits of the dead, Tarisai must now anoint a council of her own, coming into her full power as a Raybearer. She must then descend into the Underworld, a sacrifice to end all future atrocities.

Tarisai is determined to survive. Or at least, that’s what she tells her increasingly distant circle of friends. Months into her shaky reign as empress, child spirits haunt her, demanding that she pay for past sins of the empire.

With the lives of her loved ones on the line, assassination attempts from unknown quarters, and a handsome new stranger she can’t quite trust . . . Tarisai fears the pressure may consume her. But in this finale to the Raybearer duology, Tarisai must learn whether to die for justice . . . or to live for it.

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Best Young Adult Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror of 2021

With more than 300 young adult speculative fiction novels and graphic novels traditionally published in 2021, putting together a Best Of list is a massive undertaking. After weeks of hemming and hawing, adding and subtracting, making decisions and changing my mind, here is a big batch of 35 titles. “Best” is, of course, a totally subjective concept, but these are the science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels that I think absolutely nailed how much young adult fiction can change, inspire, teach, and reflect its readers…

Read the rest of this spotlight at Tor.com.