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A Desolation Called Peace

Arkady Martine (Tor)

Martine’s sequel to her Hugo Award winning A Memory Called Empire takes the series to even more dizzying heights, using its intricate extraterrestrial worldbuilding to delve into the complexities of cultural assimilation and identity. Combining exhilarating deception, diplomacy, and daring with thought-provoking thematic exploration, this is space opera of the highest order.



Joanne M. Harris, illus. by Charles Vess (Saga)

The interconnected fairy tales that make up this brilliant, fabulist work come together to form a mosaic portrait of a lush, enchanted, and often dangerous otherworld where the Lacewing King rules over the Silken Folk. The parts are deceptively simple, but the whole conjures an undeniable sense of wonder and awe.


In the Watchful City

S. Qiouyi Lu (Tordotcom)

Lu’s full-length debut, a groundbreaking, futurist novel-in-stories, takes readers into the dystopian city-state of Ora. As one of Ora’s guardians, it’s Anima’s duty to surveil the citizens—until the arrival of a mysterious merchant with stories of the outside world knocks everything off-kilter. This astounding, gorgeously rendered meditation on power and privacy wows with every sentence.


The Jasmine Throne

Tasha Suri (Orbit)

Suri expertly uses the fraught budding relationship between an imprisoned princess and a temple servant with a magical secret as a way in to a searing critique of empire and colonialism in the spellbinding epic fantasy that launches her Burning Kingdoms series. The India-inspired worldbuilding, wonderfully inventive magic system, and fierce, queer, morally gray heroines set this apart.



Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)

Set in a near-future Nigeria in the shadow of a vastly overreaching, Amazon-esque mega-corporation, Okorafor’s remarkable latest combines cyberpunk elements with a high-stakes trek across the desert and timely political commentary as outcasts AO and DNA band together to evade the authorities and survive their inhospitable world. Okorafor packs a punch with this one.


On Fragile Waves

E. Lily Yu (Erewhon)

This masterful debut offers a humane and unflinching look at the plight of refugees as siblings Firuzeh and Nour travel from war-torn Afghanistan to Australia with their parents, bolstering one another along the harrowing journey with fantastical stories and flights of imagination. In shimmering prose, Yu balances despair with hope as she probes the limits and the power of storytelling.



Rivers Solomon (MCD)

Vern, an albino Black woman, escapes her cult leader husband and raises her twins in monster-infested woods in this gut-wrenching, genre-bending horror novel. As Vern fights for survival and wrestles with conflicting identities, Solomon’s signature lyricism and no-holds-barred approach to confronting America’s horrific histories give rise to a painful, powerful story that’s equally accessible and deeply philosophical.


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