Each week, Bookstr will be offering a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list. Today, we’ll be recommending five recent science fiction and fantasy novels for your reading pleasure. Sci-Fi and fantasy novels provide gateways into other worlds, full of aliens, monsters, magic, and cool technology while addressing themes that cannot be showcased in nonfiction reading. Here are some of the top five recent ones!
5. The priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
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Most fantasy epics these days divide their content into trilogies or even longer. But author Samantha Shannon decides to throw that out and crams an entire trilogy’s worth of content into a single volume monster. The Priory of the Orange Tree follows the tale of three remarkable women whose fates are bound to the world. Sabran IX is a queen whose bloodline binds the Nameless One, a dragon of god-like power that is sealed at the bottom of the sea. Her bodyguard, Ead Duryan is the queen’s bodyguard, part of a secret society of mages protecting the queen with magic. And across the ocean, Tane is a dragonrider about to commit a societal taboo. Full of intriguing characters, dragons, monsters, and more, this is a must read for any fantasy. And best of all, its one and done: no sequels here to wait for!
4. The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
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The Bird Kingby G. Willow Wilson is a historical fantasy novel set during the Spanish Inquisition. It follows two members of the royal court, a woman called Fatima and a palace cartographer called Hassan. Hassan has a special ability: he can draw maps to other worlds, enabling him to go anywhere he pleases. When Fatima accidentally reveals her friend’s powers, they’re forced to flee, pursued by enemies and aided by strange individuals. Blending the fantastic and the real, this is a unique novel centered on the relationship between the two fire-forged friends.
3. The Fever King by Victoria Lee
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A fusion between post-apocalyptic and fantasy, the novel takes place in the distant future, where the United States has collapsed and a magical plague is spreading throughout the world. A young man awakens in a hospital, discovering the virus has killed his family but left him with the power to control technology. Reading like a superhero novel at points, the boy is taken into a refuge to be trained among other teen ‘witchlings’ as they’re called. A nuanced YA read, this one is definitely worth picking up for themes that heavily touch on our own political climate.
2. The Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan
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The Infinite Detailby Tim Maughan is another post-apocalyptic novel that’s scarily relevant to our world, telling about fake news, the lack of privacy brought on by the internet, and an inability to tell what’s truly real. It takes place on an island nation called the Croft separated from the rest of the world. A terrorist organization, however, attacks the island and destroys all its technology, including the internet. Global trade, communication, and more actively cease overnight. The book centers on the island’s inhabits in the aftermath of the cyberattack, struggling to survive as they hoard things like CDs as precious treasure. The portrait of the novel is a harsh reminder of what the world could turn into overnight, a scary, yet relevant portrait of the possible near future.
1. Titanshade by Dan Stout
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Titanshadeby Dan Stout is a debut novel combining the rich, cynical layered world of a detective noir with a fantastical world. It takes place in the titular Titanshade, a bustling metropolis in the heart of a frozen wasteland on the corpse of a demigod. The plot is kickstarted when a detective named Carter is hired to investigate the death of a frog-like diplomat from a neighboring. His investigation takes him into the seedy heart of the city, mixing the cynical detective tropes with a magical world thats sweet on the outside but rotten within.
Winter might be cold—but these releases are guaranteed to be hot! We’ve got political dystopias; tragic, time-travel romances; and… genderqueer werewolves? Three months in, and 2019 already has more diverse reads than some years altogether. January saw the release of The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Aliby Sabina Khan, a heartbreaking depiction of a Bangladeshi lesbian whose parents force her into an arranged marriage upon discovering her sexuality. In February, we got the newest Angie Thomas release: On the Come Up, a poignant yet raw foray into poverty, ambition, and hip-hop. Hurry up and read these ten phenomenal releases—it won’t be long before more YA hits hit those shelves.
This list will include both standalone releases and continuations of established series! Of course, after reading some of the debuts, you’ll be hoping for a sequel. Let’s take a look at the hottest releases of March 2019.
Tense, chilling, and timely, Samira Ahmed‘s Internmentimagines a society in which American Muslims are openly persecuted and detained—a society that, unfortunately, is not so difficult to imagine. This powerful novel explores horrors that exist, devastatingly, alongside xenophobia and racism: the compliance of adults who might have been protectors and the bigotry that exists in even the most progressive communities.
Rebellions are built on hope.
Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.
With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.
Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.
Opposite of Always
Time travel? A perfect romance? What could possibly go wrong? As Justin A. Reynolds obviously knows, everything. When Kate dies, Jack will do everything he can to see her again—including going back to the moment that they first met, even knowing what will happen next. This heartfelt debut is guaranteed to cause one feeling in particular: tears. Don’t tell me that tears aren’t a feeling. Just read it, and you’ll see. The novel features two black protagonists, and The Hate U Giveauthor Angie Thomas called Opposite of Always “one of the best love stories [she’s] ever read.”
Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.
He almost made valedictorian.
He almost made varsity.
He almost got the girl . . .
When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.
But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves.
The Fever King
Gone are the days of YA dystopias that read like a MadLibs of superficial concepts and arbitrary capitalization. Or rather, they’re not gone. They dwindled in the Pursuit—a.k.a. the desire for imagined worlds that comment upon our own. Victoria Lee‘s The Fever Kingis a vicious tale of political intrigue with timely commentary on immigration and power structures.
In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
Unabashedly raw, Mindy McGinnis‘ Heroinegoes to dark places most YA novels might hesitate to reach—dark places many American young people have learned to call home. Violent, unforgettable, and gripping, this portrayal of a descent into addiction clearly shows how this affliction can strike anyone… and what happens when it does.
A captivating and powerful exploration of the opioid crisis—the deadliest drug epidemic in American history—through the eyes of a college-bound softball star. Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a visceral and necessary novel about addiction, family, friendship, and hope.
When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.
The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.
With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.
But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.
Laurie Halse Anderson‘s Speak, the unforgettable story of a sexual assault survivor, has remained an enduring classic of YA fiction despite its status as one of the most-challenged YA titles of all time. Now, Anderson has spoken up again with Shout—intertwining the personal story of her own rape with broader criticism of confusing or contradictory messages surrounding sexuality.
A searing poetic memoir and call to action from the bestselling and award-winning author of Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson!
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless.
In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.
The Last 8
Readers will be all over this queer genre debut, The Last 8by Laura Pohl. Nearly all characters are LGBTQA+, and YA lovers will get some much-needed representation for some of the more neglected letters of the acronym: the novel features an openly aromantic and bisexual lead character! Even better, it’s an #ownvoices novel—Pohl has shared her story so that you can finally read your own. (Sorry to any aromantics who have also been involved in an alien attack. This one might hit too close to home.)
A high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack—perfect for fans of The 5th Wave
Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.
When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.
Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.
OUT OF SALEM
We’ve got a lesbian werewolf, a genderqueer zombie… and a nonbinary author? Hal Schrieve‘s gritty, eclectic debut explores issues of surveillance, homelessness, and the ways that higher social class impacts even marginalized identities. Out of Salem builds to an explosive conclusion… and, hopefully, a sequel!
When genderqueer fourteen-year-old Z Chilworth wakes from death after a car crash that killed their parents and sisters, they have to adjust quickly to their new status as a zombie. Always a talented witch, Z can now barely perform magic and is rapidly decaying. Faced with rejection from their remaining family members and old friends, Z moves in with Mrs. Dunnigan, an elderly witch, and befriends Aysel, a loud would-be-goth classmate who is, like Z, a loner. As Z struggles to find a way to repair the broken magical seal holding their body together, Aysel fears that her classmates will discover her status as an unregistered werewolf.
When a local psychiatrist is murdered in an apparent werewolf attack, the town of Salem, Oregon, becomes even more hostile to monsters, and Z and Aysel are driven together in an attempt to survive a place where most people wish that neither of them existed.
In the highly anticipated finale to the Bone Witch trilogy, Tea’s life—and the fate of the kingdoms—hangs in the balance.
Tea is a bone witch with the dark magic needed to raise the dead. She has used this magic to breathe life into those she has loved and lost…and those who would join her army against the deceitful royals. But Tea’s quest to conjure a shadowglass—to achieve immortality for the one person she loves most in the world—threatens to consume her heart.
Tea’s black heartsglass only grows darker with each new betrayal. And when she is left with new blood on her hands, Tea must answer to a power greater than the elder asha or even her conscience…
The thrilling, twenty-years-in-the-making, conclusion to the New York Times–bestselling Queen’s Thief series, by Megan Whalen Turner. This beloved and award-winning series began with the acclaimed novel The Thief. It and four more stand-alone volumes bring to life a world of epics, myths, and legends, and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Now more powerful and cunning than ever before, Eugenides must navigate a perilous future in this sweeping conclusion. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and Sarah J. Maas.
Neither accepted nor beloved, Eugenides is the uneasy linchpin of a truce on the Lesser Peninsula, where he has risen to be high king of Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis. As the treacherous Baron Erondites schemes anew and a prophecy appears to foretell the death of the king, the ruthless Mede empire prepares to strike. The New York Times–bestselling Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations, divine intervention, dangerous journeys, battles lost and won, power, passion, and deception.
In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia’s Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen.
With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies—a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely—and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans.
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