Bookstore shelves are overflowing with exciting reads that offer something for everyone, and nowhere is that more evident than on the shelves of the science-fiction and fantasy section. Here are the new speculative fiction books this month that you should check out.
A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A retired captain, who gave up fighting when she conquered everything there was to fight for, is provoked into battle once more after the unprovoked slaughter of her village.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Word is that the author's name is a pseudonym for an accomplished author who writes across multiple genres. The publisher (Orbit) seems to be pushing this one pretty hard, which usually occurs on a sure-thing. At the very least, everyone loves a good revenge story. Especially one that becomes epic.
Charm by Sarah Pinborough
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A contemporary retelling of “Cinderella.”
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Take the childhood favorite “Cinderella,” rip away the kid-friendly, sugar-coated veneer, and the harsh-but-realistic story you’re left with is a fairy tale for adults.
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Vampire hunter Jane Yellowrock fights her most deadly foe yet.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The Jane Yellowrock series is now nine books long. The reason the series has staying power is because it never fails to entertain readers
Depth by Lev AC Rosen
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In the not-too-distant future, a routine case undertaken by private investigator Simone Pierce leads to a discovery of much bigger implications.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The story combines the detective story with the post-apocalyptic by setting the story in a futuristic New York City that's 21 stories underwater.
Dragon Thief by S. Andrew Swann
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Trapped in the body of a princess who's trapped in the body of a dragon (as explained here), inept thief Frank Blackthorne aims to set things right but still finds himself a wanted man.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Swann's lighthearted fantasy is just the ticket if you're looking for something fun.
Emissary by Betsy Dornbusch
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A religious uprising in the peaceful land of Monoea threatens its ruler, Draken, and his new Queen, thus forcing Draken to return to his homeland.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The plot one-ups itself by introducing a twist that reveals ulterior motives with much more devious intentions.
No One Gets Out Alive by Adam Nevill
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A woman named Stephanie rents a room in a house that has an infamous history of past residents...who might still be hanging around.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This isn't a run-of-the-mill haunted house story. It not only follows Stephanie's trials at the house...but also the chilling aftermath when she moves away.
Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In a setting that mixes Jane Austen and magic, Jane and Vincent travel across the sea to close out the estate of Vincent's father, but find conditions are not what they expected.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Closure! This is the final volume of the entertaining Glamourist Histories series.
Predator One by Jonathan Maberry
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Kick-butt hero Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences go up against a foe who attacks via deadly drones, manipulates electronically controlled devices, and hijacks the president's plane.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: If you ever read one of Maberry's previous Joe Ledger novels, you wouldn't be asking.
Superposition by David Walton
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A physicist is accused of murdering a colleague who seems to be obsessed with the idea of an alien quantum intelligence.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The alternating point-of-view storytelling mixes mind-bending science fiction with courtroom drama. Even better: the idea of quantum realities is heavily leveraged, meaning it's even more mind-bending than a parallel worlds story.
The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Technology takes social media to the next level, dividing society up into 22 groups, which then upsets the natural order of things.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Social science fiction stories like this are often the most accessible.
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Two friends join together to fight the tyranny of the existing emperor for a common goal, but eventually find themselves as leaders of opposing factions, each one holding very different ideas of order and justice.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The Dandelion Dynasty series, of which this book is the first installment, promises to be the epic fantasy series everyone will be talking about. (Stay tuned to this space in the coming weeks for an interview with author Ken Liu!)
The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A painter named Bryan Pierce and a neurogeneticist named Linz Jacobs have vivid dreams that seem more like living other people's memories.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The story, although mainly taking place in the present day, spans thousands of years and revolves around the relationship between Bryan and Linz.
The Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The world stands at the brink of war when it is divided into two groups, each one aligned with one of two alien races at war with each other.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The books in the Tao series continue to be fast, fun reads with just the right amount of humor.
The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A grieving widow moves into a house by a Welsh lake, and begins experiencing visions and exhibiting strange abilities.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The story connects two characters—one in present day and one from Celtic times—to weave a suspenseful story that is both contemporary and historical.
The Sorrow Proper by Lindsey Drager
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A group of aging librarians must decide whether to fight the death of print and the rise of electronic publications.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The novel proposes an intriguing "What if?" question. For more hard-core sci-fi fans, the book seems to rely on more science fictional underpinnings tied to the Many Worlds theory.
The Vagrant by Peter Newman
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In a seeming post-apocalyptic setting, a lone traveler journeys to fin Shining City, the last holdout of the human race.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: There's danger at every turn for the lone traveler, and his journey will have you rooting for him to succeed.
Tracker by C. J. Cherryh
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Two opposing factions of a colony ship—those that stayed behind on an alien world, and those who went on to find their colony world—come to blows when they are reunited 100 years later.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This is the latest installment of Cherry's much-loved Foreigner series, which is one of the bedrocks of the science-fiction genre. It's also the start of a new sub-trilogy.
Vengeance of the Demon by Diana Rowland
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Demon summoner Kara Gillian fights to prevent demon overlords from establishing a gate between their world and ours.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Rowland's brand of urban fantasy is gritty, fast and fun.
But wait! There's more! Here's a small handful of single-author collections and multi-author anthologies that should also be on your radar this month:
¨ Grantville Gazette VII edited by Eric Flint
¨ Octavia’s Brood edited by Walidah Imarisha & Adrienne Maree Brown
¨ Tales of the Primal Land by Brian Lumley
¨ The End of the End of Everything by Dale Bailey
¨ These Words Are Haunted by Scott Edelman