Makaryk’s Robin Hood-inspired debut Nottingham feels like a return to fresh, invigorating storytelling. There is so much to love about this book where captivating plot twists, nuanced characterizations, and superb writing all take center stage. Robin Hood himself is just one of the many characters whose perspectives, choices, and deeds – good or ill – make up the story. In Nottingham nothing is black and white. No one is a complete villain or hero. Makaryk’s layered characters and rich setting ground the story in a realistic and compelling narrative while clever dialogue throughout captures the familiar, jovial spirit of the Robin Hood legend. It’s a rare and special thing to have a novel so steeped in legend and folktale be such a breath of fresh air. An impressive debut and a strong contender for my favorite novel of 2019. – Kelly
This is the zombie apocalypse like you’ve never seen it before! Things go sideways when S.T. the crow’s human, Big Jim, loses an eyeball. Jim’s worsening condition propels S.T. to leave the safety of domestic life, along with the simple, slobbering bloodhound, Dennis. Together they roam the ruins of Seattle, searching for purpose in this new, Cheeto-less world. While Hollow Kingdom mostly follows the foul-mouthed, human-loving crow, Buxton also takes the occasional detour to see how other animals are coping around the world. Not only is our corvid companion a profane delight, she also manages to effortlessly capture the aloof arrogance of a cat, the wise cadence of an elephant, and even the eternal serenity of trees. Hilarious and at times surprisingly poignant, Hollow Kingdom is a must-read for anyone with a sense of humor as black as a crow’s wing.
"Live in the Saddle. Die on the hog."
I never thought I would find myself so drawn into a story where the main characters are half-orcs. But by page three I was hooked, and rooting for them. This book took what I thought I knew about fantasy and flipped it on it head. The main character is Jackal, a half-orc and a member of the Grey Bastards, a biker-like gang that rides hogs with snouts and tusks instead of wheels. He is young but also cunning and head-strong. Along with his "brothers" they patrol the Lots and do their best to keep full-blooded orcs away from the human world. Jonathan French created a rich world filled with boorish jokes, scheming, fighting, brotherhood, friendship, and betrayal. Each member of The Grey Bastards has their own charm. Some you end up liking more than others, like Oats and Fetching. The Grey Bastards was a book that I actually found myself laughing out loud while I was reading. The characters breathe life into the pages and leave you wanting more.
Emily Eternal begins with the end of the world. The sun is going out, and humanity only has six months left...which is bad news for the revolutionary artificial consciousness-turned-therapist Emily, who is just starting to figure humans, and herself, out. When she comes across an anomaly in her genetic database, her lab is brutally attacked and her servers taken offline. Emily ends up on the run with two new friends, Jason, her crush from the university, and Mayra, a small-town sheriff. Emily wants answers, and not just for what happened at the lab — she wants to figure out how she can save humankind from obliteration, and why anyone in their right mind would want to stop her. With Emily Eternal, M.G. Wheaton raises interesting questions about the nature of memory, perception, and personhood, all against a backdrop of trying to preserve humanity while still staying true to what makes humanity human. Emily’s conversational internal monologue keeps the themes and science accessible, making this perfect for adults and teens alike.
House of Salt and Sorrow takes the fairy tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and twists it into an unnerving story that will keep you turning the pages into the early hours of the morning. Curses, nights of endless dancing, and ghosts weave together to create an intriguing world that feels like the New England coast of many years ago. With gods and magic seamlessly integrated into a tale of murder in a grand house overlooking the sea, I was hooked. Erin harkens to the beautifully haunting atmosphere of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak and gives readers a unique mythology of a world that would be fascinating, if not terrifying, to visit. With great writing and a plot that truly swept me away, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read. – Constance
It's 1928, and the Jazz Age is in full swing - for everyone except Casiopea Tun. Since her father died and she and her mother were forced to move back to her grandfather's estate in a small Yucatán village, she has been worked to the bone. All her daydreams and secret wishes seemed doomed to fade to nothing, until the day she accidentally releases Hun-Kamé, a Mayan god of death, deposed Lord of Xibalba, from a prison he'd been trapped in by his treacherous brother. She is swept away on a journey to help return Hun-Kamé to his throne, out into a world she has never experienced. She encounters demons, spirits, and a mythic magic that threatens to overturn the world. Gods of Jade and Shadow weaves its own kind of magic with word and symbol, pulling you headlong into the dangers of Casiopea's journey. Brutal and beautiful in turns, this coming-of-age tale will captivate you from the very first page. - Kylie