This 1890s historical fantasy about a half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami soul collector is delightfully fresh, dark, thrilling, and immersive, seamlessly weaving magic, mythology, and adventure with a profound exploration of biracial identity, racism, belonging, resilience, and courage. Sequel now, please!
Ciannon Smart’s Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut is a riveting and imaginative dual narrative about rival witches. Ten years ago, Iraya's mother, an Obeah-witch and empress, was murdered by Jazmyne's mother, an Alumbrar-witch who reigns through ritual human sacrifices and forced conscription. When Iraya inherits her ancestors' magic and schemes to serve the Alumbrar queen until she's powerful enough to exact justice against her, she finds an unlikely ally in Jazmyne, who's plotting to replace her mother. Filled with rich world-building, court intrigue, risky alliances, and dangerous magic, WITCHES STEEPED IN GOLD is perfect for fans of CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, and A RIVER OF ROYAL BLOOD.
Ayana Gray's Pan-African inspired fantasy debut lures readers into a magical jungle, enchanting but deadly, in pursuit of the Shetani — a murderous monster who has terrorized the bordering city of Lkossa for nearly a century. Bringing together two teens from conflicting worlds in a dangerous alliance, and brimming with magic, mythology, and intrigue, BEASTS OF PREY is perfect for fans of CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, and WITCHES STEEPED IN GOLD.
I loved everything about this book: from the supernatural murder mystery in a spooky small rural town, to the family drama, queer romance, and coming-of-age quest to find home and true belonging in a cruel world. THE DEAD AND THE DARK is a stunning debut.
COOL FOR THE SUMMER is the love story you've been waiting for. Lara's struggle to make sense of her bisexuality and complicated feelings for Chase and Jasmine will resonate powerfully with all of us who have felt torn between conflicting desires, identities, and worlds. A love letter to Demi Lovato's song "Cool for the Summer," Dahlia Adler's fun, sexy, and heartfelt novel is a celebration of romance, self-love, self-discovery, and resilience that will make you want to sing and dance.
This is epic fantasy at its best. Full of villainous heroes and heroic villains (the ensemble cast includes assassins, knights, pirates, and immortals), a sprawling world, and high-stakes action, intrigue, magic, and romance, REALM BREAKER is at once reminiscent of your favorite fantasy series and wholly groundbreaking. Victoria Aveyard poured her heart into this book, and though it's about struggling to survive dark, desperate times, it's full of joy, hope, and resilience.
Rutkoski's The Winner's Trilogy is one of my favorite series, so I'm thrilled that THE MIDNIGHT LIE, set 20 years later in the same world, similarly portrays complex characters in challenging situations while exploring themes of subjugation, inequality and secret history. And yet, this first book in a duology stands firmly on its own with a separate storyline and new characters. Whether you've read The Winner's Trilogy or not, you don't want to miss out on the enchanting story of what happens when two young women (Nirrim, disadvantaged and trapped on an isolated island, and Sid, a rakish traveler from far away) fall in love.
There's much to this tiny book. In just short of 175 pages, Onyebuchi powerfully depicts the deep-rooted and perpetual racism and inhumanity of America's past, present and speculative dystopian future, while also advocating for love, freedom, and hope through the characters of preternaturally gifted Ella and her younger brother Kev. Born in 1992 Los Angeles, just hours after the cops who beat Rodney King were acquitted and the city erupted in violence, Kev is a "Riot Baby," who, as a teenager in New York, the police assault and arrest for no crime but being black. While Kev is imprisoned, Ella, possessing strong supernatural powers, helps him realize the promise of freedom and a revolutionary future.
FOLLOW ME TO GROUND is unlike anything I've ever read. Lyrical, sensual, and unusual, this fairytale-like story of an otherworldly father and daughter, who cure townsfolk with their healing powers inherited from The Ground, casts an enchanting spell.
In Jackson's twisty, suspenseful debut, Fairview High student Pippa Fitz-Amobi reinvestigates a closed local murder case for her senior project. Five years ago, pretty and popular 17-year-old Andie Bell disappeared, her body never found, and the main suspect, Andie's boyfriend Sal Singh, committed suicide a few days later. Everyone believes Sal abducted and murdered Andie -- everyone but Pip and Sal's younger brother, Ravi. They refuse to ignore the holes in the case or give up on finding new evidence to prove Sal's innocence -- even though their sleuthing puts them in more and more danger as they get closer to figuring out the truth. Fans of Veronica Mars and authors Karen McManus and Kara Thomas will enjoy this well-plotted mystery and will be clamoring for the next book in the series.
After just barely choosing to escape her fated betrothal and sacrifice to her people's god, an orc priestess turned wizard's assassin traverses many worlds in search of a holy relic, in A.K. Larkwood's wholly inventive and immersive debut. THE UNSPOKEN NAME has everything epic fantasy fans crave: elaborate and expansive world-building; a fresh take on familiar themes; diversity; and high-stakes adventure, magic, and LGBTQ romance. Highly recommend to readers of N.K. Jemisin, Ann Leckie, Tamsyn Muir, and Ursula LeGuin.