Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Reviews

THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US by Emily Skrutskie
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 8, 2016

"Personal and cultural complexities distinguish this fresh and fascinating look at a lawless future. (Science fiction. 14 & up)"
The world's geopolitical balance rests on a genetically modified sea monster and his 17 1/2-year-old trainer. Can she resist the adrenaline rush of a pirate's life to keep the world aright? Read full book review >
GAMES WIZARDS PLAY by Diane Duane
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A delightful treat for dedicated fans but well-nigh impenetrable as an entry point to the series. (Fantasy. 12 & up)"
Apprentices become teachers, friendships turn to romance, and long-simmering subplots achieve resolution in the 10th entry of this well-loved fantasy series. Read full book review >

KINGFISHER by Patricia A. McKillip
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Fantasy lovers looking for a lighter touch amid all those vampires, zombies, werewolves, and industrial-strength malefactors will find this a refreshing change of pace."
A delicately wrought, twinkle-eyed fantasy from the accomplished author of The Bards of Bone Plain (2010, etc.).Read full book review >
UNHOOKED by Lisa Maxwell
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"The romance is emphasized in this retelling of Barrie's classic. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)"
Hidden powers, parallel worlds—Gwen has a lot on her plate, but there are two teen hunks determined to help her. Read full book review >
THE DARK DAYS CLUB  by Alison Goodman
ROMANCE
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"Readers willing to embrace the deep, deliberately paced journey will find the pace and tension increasing until the end leaves them eager for the next volume. (Historical fantasy. 13 & up)"
Regency balls, rebellious heiresses, and demonic creatures feeding on humans: not your mother's Regency romance. Read full book review >

CITY OF BLADES by Robert Jackson Bennett
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"Sometimes too talky but richly detailed and expertly plotted. A grand entertainment."
"Don't forget, it was their choice to get involved in this war": Fantasian Bennett builds another world, convincingly, in which empires rise and fall and blood flows. Read full book review >
ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"Reminiscent of the best of Jo Walton and Nina Kiriki Hoffman."
Will science or magic save our world and all the living beings on it? That's the question posed in this science fantasy love story by the editor-in-chief of online geek mecca io9.com (Choir Boy, 2005).Read full book review >
THE BANDS OF MOURNING by Brandon Sanderson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"A fast-paced novel that's part Wild West, part Indiana Jones, and wholly entertaining, combining high emotional stakes with a deep, good-natured sense of humor."
A fantasy adventure about a race to discover, and control, magical artifacts of immense power. Read full book review >
THE BLUE WOODS by Nicole Maggi
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A satisfying finale. (Fantasy. 12 & up)"
This final installment of the Twin Willows Trilogy finds the battle between the Benandanti and the Malandanti at a head. Read full book review >
PAWN'S GAMBIT by Timothy Zahn
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A grab bag of decidedly less-than-amazing stories."
A collection of science-fiction and fantasy short stories from an author best known for his Star Wars expanded-universe novels. Read full book review >
SKINNER LUCE by Patricia Ward
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"High-caliber, often engrossing literary sci-fi."
Ward (The Bullet Collection, 2003) offers a tale of a woman discovering her alien origins.Read full book review >
THIS CENSUS-TAKER by China Miéville
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A deceptively simple story whose plot could be taken as a symbolic representation of an aspect of humanity as big as an entire society and as small as a single soul."
Miéville (Three Moments of an Explosion, 2015, etc.) has two main modes: the pyrotechnics of a puzzle maker and the austere depth of a mythmaker. Brief and dreamlike, his latest novel is in his simpler, stronger style.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >