Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Reviews

SPELLBREAKER by Blake Charlton
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Vivid, intelligent, and painful in an authentically laudable way."
"Where's the apocalypse?" wonder the characters and the reader as this epic fantasy trilogy reaches its long-awaited conclusion. Read full book review >
GHOSTLY ECHOES by William Ritter
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A somber turn for the supernatural sleuth and levelheaded assistant but still energetic and entertainingly offbeat. (Paranormal mystery. 12 & up)"
Past actions and futuristic inventions haunt people in this sequel. Read full book review >

BREATH OF EARTH by Beth Cato
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A steampunk-flavored adventure with amiable characters and a fantastical version of San Francisco that has imaginative promise but fails to engage with the Asian cultures it appears to take inspiration from."
In a novel that imagines a very alternate history, Cato (The Clockwork Crown, 2015, etc.) channels her flair for steampunk fantasy into the story of a plucky heroine living in San Francisco in 1906. Read full book review >
NOT SO MUCH, SAID THE CAT by Michael Swanwick
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 19, 2016

"Tales that, through their extraordinary clarity of thought and expression, showcase precisely why this multiaward-winning author is held in such high regard."
Another collection of speculative fiction from Swanwick (Chasing the Phoenix, 2015, etc.), one of a handful of writers whose short pieces are as impressive as their novels. Read full book review >
Sacred Planet by Austin Rogers
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 18, 2016

"An ambitious, ardent launch that sets a stellar precedent for installments to follow."
In Rogers' debut, the first book of a planned sci-fi series, a prime minister's daughter may be the key to evading an interstellar war. Read full book review >

GHOST TALKERS by Mary Robinette Kowal
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"A fascinating premise somewhat burdened by workaday execution and pat characterizations, but fans of Kowal's formula will be charmed."
The terrible death tolls of World War I are revisited in an alternate history where the spirits of the dead can be interrogated for valuable military intelligence in another historical fantasy from Kowal (Of Noble Family, 2015, etc.). Read full book review >
THE OBELISK GATE  by N.K.  Jemisin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Stunning, again."
In the second of a trilogy (The Fifth Season, 2015) by the science-fiction columnist for the New York Times Book Review, the latest in a series of apocalypses marches on. Read full book review >
DANCING IN DREAMTIME by Scott Russell Sanders
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 15, 2016

"Sanders is at his best when he leaves humor behind to tell stories with big ideas; fortunately, over half the stories here do so, despite a shaky start."
A short story collection wrestling with modern isolation and dystopic futures, from an author also known for nonfiction essays about conservation and nature. Read full book review >
A Clearing in the Forest by Kim Love Stump
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 14, 2016

"Spellbinding and untraditional, this fantasy with a brave royal could teach Disney a few things about princess adventures."
A debut YA fantasy stars a princess who must venture forth into the world before she's allowed to rule. Read full book review >
NEVERNIGHT by Jay Kristoff
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"A sensuous, shades-of-moral-gray world; a compelling, passionate heroine; a high-stakes quest for revenge—this is a fantasy fans won't be able to put down."
A dark and bloody fantasy about a young woman bent on revenge—at almost any price. Read full book review >
STRANGERS AMONG US by Susan  Forest
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 8, 2016

"There are several excellent stories here—and they'd be stronger if divorced from the burden of living up to the anthology's theme."
An anthology of speculative fiction through the lens of mental illness—stories of people whose mental quirks make them "outcasts and underdogs," edited by Forest (Immunity to Strange Tales, 2012) and Law (Sword and Sorceress X, 1993). Read full book review >
THE SWARM  by Orson Scott Card
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Trading heavily for verisimilitude on material established years ago by Card but just about worthwhile for series fans."
A second prequel trilogy to the child-warrior Ender's Game series (Earth Awakens, 2014, etc.) opens. This time the invading alien Formics get serious. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Andrea Beaty
August 30, 2016

In Andrea Beaty and David Roberts’ new picture book Ada Twist, Scientist is like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie: scientist Ada, a character of color, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. Not afraid of failure, she embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble! Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists, and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science. “Cool and stylish,” our reviewer writes. View video >