Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Reviews

ANCIENT APPETITES by Oisín McGann
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"A slow story of a dysfunctional dynasty with little plot but a lot of plotting. (Science fiction. 14 & up)"
Internecine squabbles fill this first book in a series. Read full book review >
THE RISE OF THE AUTOMATED ARISTOCRATS by Mark Hodder
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"More of a mixed bag than hitherto, but regulars will find it hard to resist."
Final entry in Hodder's steampunk/time travel series (The Return of the Discontinued Man, 2014, etc.) featuring Victorian explorer/translator Sir Richard Francis Burton and his improbable sidekick, the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne.Read full book review >

CHASING THE PHOENIX by Michael Swanwick
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"Swanwick's approaching top form, and this one's just too good to miss."
A new entry in Swanwick's picaresque post-apocalyptic series, following Dancing with Bears (2011) and various short stories.Read full book review >
THE END OF ALL THINGS by John Scalzi
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"Delightful, compulsively readable, and even somewhat nutritious brain candy."
In the sixth Old Man's War novel, a direct sequel to The Human Division (2013), human and alien governments on the brink of war must foil the secret cabal that pushed them there.Read full book review >
THE DARK FOREST by Cixin Liu
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"Once again, a highly impressive must-read."
Second part of an alien-contact trilogy (The Three-Body Problem, 2014) from China's most celebrated science-fiction author.Read full book review >

DECEPTIONS by Linda Armstrong Kelly
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"Shifting alliances, mercurial villains, and multiple retellings of ancient tales make the details hard to follow but rewarding to catch."
In the third book of the Cainsville series (Visions, 2014, etc.), Olivia Taylor-Jones is at the apex of a love triangle while magic forces tug at her from both sides. Read full book review >
NIGHTWISE by R.S. Belcher
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"Another fine effort from Belcher, ripped from a dark, dark place."
Belcher takes a break from occult Westerns (Shotgun Arcana, 2014, etc.) with this blood-soaked contemporary urban fantasy featuring a gray-hat protagonist cut from the mold of John Constantine and Sandman Slim.Read full book review >
ZER0ES by Chuck  Wendig
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"An action-packed yet cerebral thriller that lives in that murky nexus between today and the future."
A group of co-opted hackers discovers a secret government experiment gone terribly wrong. Read full book review >
RADIANCE by Catherynne M. Valente
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"A heady, strange, and beautifully written novel about how stories give form to worlds."
Valente imagines an alternate solar system and sends her heroine, a filmmaker, to Venus, where she disappears. Read full book review >
PRESS START TO PLAY by Daniel H. Wilson
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"A mixed bag, like many anthologies, but sci-fi fans will find it well worth their while."
An anthology that examines the relationship between video games and storytelling. Read full book review >
LAIR OF DREAMS by Libba Bray
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"How will readers stand the wait? (Historical/paranormal thriller. 14 & up)"
Evie O'Neill, a young psychic fresh from a horrific experience with a serial killer in 1920s New York City, returns in this sequel to The Diviners (2012). Read full book review >
THE SHADOW BEHIND THE STARS by Rebecca Hahn
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Shattering and transcendent. (Fantasy. 14 & up)"
From the author of the radiant A Creature of Moonlight (2014), a heartbreaking fantasy tackles life's big questions.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sabaa Tahir
August 4, 2015

Sabaa Tahir’s novel An Ember in the Ashes reveals a world inspired by ancient Rome and defined by brutality. Seventeen-year-old Laia has grown up with one rule for survival: Never challenge the Empire. But when Laia’s brother Darin is arrested for treason, she leaves behind everything she knows, risking her life to try and save him. She enlists help from the rebels whose extensive underground network may lead to Darin. Their help comes with a price, though. Laia must infiltrate the Empire’s greatest military academy as a spy. Elias is the Empire’s finest soldier—and its most unwilling one. Thrown together by chance and united by their hatred of the Empire, Laia and Elias will soon discover that their fates are intertwined—and that their choices may change the destiny of the entire Empire. We talk to An Ember in the Ashes author Sabaa Tahir this week on Kirkus TV. View video >