MUTINY AT VESTA by R.E. Stearns

A new review over at Tor.com:

R.E. Stearns’ debut novel, Barbary Station, exploded its way close to my heart with its narrative of lesbian space engineers, pirates, and murderous AI. A measured, tensely claustrophobic narrative, it hinted that Stearns might be a voice to watch. Now in Mutiny at Vesta, Barbary Station‘s sequel, Stearns has written a worthy successor, one that makes me feel that tensely claustrophobic is the corner of slower-than-light space opera that Stearns has staked out as her playing field.

THERE BEFORE THE CHAOS by K.B. Wagers

A new review over at Tor.com:

I really enjoyed There Before The Chaos. I enjoyed it even more than the last book by Wagers I read, Beyond the Empire. It’s doing similar things to the Indranan War trilogy, in its concern with both the political and the personal, but it’s taking a different emphasis, with more space dedicated to Hail’s development into a responsible empress.

I love it. Give me more.

THE PHOENIX EMPRESS by K. Arsenault Rivera

A new review over at Tor.com:

I’ve used the phrase “queer as fuck and fucking amazing” to describe at least one book already this year. But it’s also appropriate for K. Arsenault Rivera’s second novel, The Phoenix Empress, sequel to last year’s The Tiger’s Daughter. This is the kind of Dramatic Gay content that I never knew I wanted—but now that I know it exists, damn you give me more RIGHT THIS INSTANT!

ZERO SUM GAME by S.L. Huang

A new review over at Tor.com:

Zero Sum Game is enormously fun, with vivid, visceral action scenes and a main character who’s definitely on the darker, more scuffed end of the “moral shades of grey” spectrum. Huang’s taken liberal inspiration from old-fashioned noir as well as from superhero stories and the modern high-octane Hollywood-esque thriller to create a novel that’s a souped-up blend of all three. I really enjoyed it. I recommend it, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of Huang’s work reach a wider audience.

EXIT STRATEGY by Martha Wells

A new review over at Tor.com:

Murderbot novellas are usually a joy to read. Exit Strategy becomes even more of a joy to read in the emotional climax and dénouement, after the shooting is done and Murderbot is putting itself back together and having conversations while the Murderbot equivalent of woozy and concussed. It nearly died. Those were some poor life choices.

THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD by Rena Rossner

A new review over at Tor.com:

The Sisters of the Winter Wood is largely measured in its pacing (one might call it slow), save for those moments where everything happens all at once. It is, perhaps, a promising debut. I wish I’d liked it more, because I really feel the genre needs more fantasy that draws on explicitly Jewish (and Muslim) backgrounds in the face of the pull that Christian soteriological and teleological influences exert on the literature of the fantastic. I hope it finds an audience.

Alas, that audience is not me.

ROSEWATER by Tade Thompson

A new review over at Tor.com:

At first glance, Rosewaters setting, its mixture of mysticism and science, and its overall themes—communication, trust, the unknowable alien and irreversible transformations—recalls the work of another award-winning author of Nigerian extraction: Nnedi Okorafor’s acclaimed Lagoon (Hodder, 2014; Saga Press, 2016). But in terms of structure, characterisation, and tone, Rosewaters an entirely different beast. It reminds me a little of Elizabeth Bear’s Jenny Casey trilogy, and a little, too, of Ian McDonald. It’s not really into soft edges.

STATE TECTONICS by Malka Older

A new review over at Tor.com:

We can play the same game of semantic nuance with the title of State Tectonics. “Tectonics” is a word for the structure and properties of the Earth’s crust and its development over time: a development that can be slow and incremental (the growth of mountain ranges, the changing shapes of continents) or provide sudden violent shocks that intrude into human experience: volcanoes and earthquakes are also the result of tectonic processes. And “state,” as a noun, can either mean a particular condition that something or someone is in at any given time, or it can refer to a political entity united under a government.

The events of State Tectonics bring all the aspects of this wordplay to the fore. Human society is never exactly static, and in State Tectonics change both incremental and shocking is underway…

THE ACCIDENTAL WAR by Walter Jon Williams

A new post over at Tor.com:

For much of its length, The Accidental War feels more like a fantasy of manners—science fiction Regency-style—than the military space opera that I remember from Dread Empire’s Fall. Events move with measured inevitability. Tension lies more in social invitations and sporting events, in who goes where and who knows what when than in action and shooting. But this slow build is entirely worthwhile.

 

TERRA NULLIUS by Claire G. Coleman

A new post over at Tor.com:

Terra Nullius is a tremendously accomplished book. It’s Claire G. Coleman’s first novel, and since its 2017 publication in Australia, it’s been shortlisted for several awards and won at least two. Coleman is an indigenous Australian Noongar woman, and Terra Nullius is a story about settlement, about cultural erasure, genocide, exploitation, suffering.

TEMPER by Nicky Drayden

A new review over at Tor.com:

Temper is Nicky Drayden’s second novel. Her first novel, The Prey of Gods, was a weird and inventive thriller that combined fantasy and science fictional elements. Temper is a standalone work in a new setting, one that involves fantasy, religion, and a touch of steampunk SF. This review will contain spoilers, because there’s absolutely no way to talk about even half of this book without them—much less the more interesting half.

DREADFUL COMPANY by Vivian Shaw

A new review over at Tor.com:

Dreadful Company is Vivian Shaw’s second book, sequel to last year’s excellent Strange Practice. And if anything, it’s even more fun.

How fun is it? So much fun that I had to steal it back from my girlfriend, who pounced on it as soon as she saw it, and refused to put it down after she read the first page. (Fortunately, we’re both pretty fast readers, and we’re pretty good at sharing.)

THE FURNACE by Prentis Rollins

A new review over at Tor.com:

[M]y tolerance for stories of straight white men in prestigious careers and how their moral weakness is the defining trauma of their adulthood is at an all-time low. (I’m sure it could get lower yet: I’m only in my early thirties, after all.) And my tolerance for stories in which gay white men are tortured by their fathers for their soi-disant “deviance” and go on to die young of overindulgence in alcohol (“Bury Your Gays” strikes again) is also very low. Especially when that death comes after said gay man has (a) attempted to proposition the straight guy narrator, declaring his unrequited love and attraction, and (b) successfully convinced the straight guy narrator to smother his moral qualms at being part of a government project that’s essentially a giant human rights abuse.

EUROPEAN TRAVELS FOR THE MONSTROUS GENTLEWOMAN by Theodora Goss

A new review over at Tor.com:

Though European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman is a long book, clocking in at some 700 pages, it’s well-paced and enormously readable. Goss is an accomplished writer, whose characters come across as distinct and engaging individuals…

…This is another fantastic book from an excellent writer. I enjoyed it greatly, and I’ll be looking forward to Goss’s next novel—not least because European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman ends with a cliffhanger.

 

A THOUSAND BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS, edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

A new review over at Tor.com:

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is an anthology of stories influenced by South and East Asian folklore and mythology.  Its editors, Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, are both board members of We Need Diverse Books, an organisation dedicated to advocating for diversity in literature. (Oh is the organisation’s current president.) The list of contributors includes names like Aliette de Bodard, Alyssa Wong, Roshani Chokshi, and Renée Ahdieh, all people with strong track records in the fiction field.

Sleeps With Monsters: Melissa Scott’s Shadow Man

A new column over at Tor.com:

This is a compelling novel with fascinating worldbuilding. In some ways, it shows its age—the Concord doesn’t really seem to have a place for people whose gender identities don’t fit their bodies, even if it allows a wider range of bodies to be recognised as distinct in gender from each other—but in other ways, it remains fresh and new. Particularly in its approach to social revolution: Warreven fights for change on Hara, but ultimately fails to achieve tangible change in for himself. But he opens up a symbolic space, a naming—as it were—of things and of people, even though the authorities ultimately drive him off-planet. (The end of the novel leaves space open for him to return.)

STARLESS by Jacqueline Carey

A new review over at Tor.com:

Khai’s complicated negotiation of his self-image and his feelings about Zariya also make Starless feel fresh. It’s not often that you come across an epic fantasy where the main character can be described as nonbinary—even if Khai keeps using masculine pronouns. Even less often does one read a novel where a main character—Zariya, in this case—must deal with physical disability and concomitant issues with both self-image and other people’s prejudices. The hope of a magical cure is held out to Zariya several times in the course of the novel, but while some of her symptoms are alleviated, she never stops needing crutches to walk.

Carey’s characters feel real and alive, and her world is lush and well-realised. This is an excellent novel. I recommend it.