KelleyAnn curates the Mysterious Galaxy Book Crate. She is a bookseller with a deep love for alt-history sci-fi, high fantasy, gothic horror, and art history. Within the books she finds her favorites you can expect well-crafted, transporting world-building and beautiful, descriptive prose. When she’s not in a bookstore you can usually find her at a concert, in an Irish pub, or haunting speakeasies.
Current Reads & Highly Anticipating
All Time Favorites
Gothic Horror & Dark Fantasy
Twists, Turns, & Thrills
Quick Bites (Short Stories & Novellas)
Dare I say this is my favorite book of all time? Following a group of eccentric but brilliant graduate students whose studies lead them to attempting to recreate an ancient Greek ritual that goes awry, THE SECRET HISTORY is a classic of dark academia, and the root of my love for the genre. Perfectly described as a modern Crime & Punishment, this book combines Classical studies, a murder, & incomparably beautiful prose into a captivating, dark examination of morality, overwhelming guilt, and a lack thereof.
Orphaned and plucked from his native land of Canton, all Robin Swift has ever wanted was to find a home. Raised by his guardian, the distant and harsh Professor Lovell, he is trained from a young age in the art of languages so that he may attend Oxford University’s Royal Institute of Translation -- colloquially known as Babel. Upon arriving at Oxford, Robin soon discovers that there is a glass ceiling for people like him, and that a Babbler’s worth is dependent on their knowledge serving the expansion of the British Empire - using the act of translation to conduct silverworking which magical inventions from transport to weapons. Kuang’s cast of characters recalls the intense, complex relationships between the cohort of Donna Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY, while also grappling with identity, agency, revolution, and anti-colonialism. Devastating and vast in its emotional and thematic scope -- BABEL breaks down language to its bones, twists it, and infuses it with magic in a way that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
This book had me within the first 30 pages. I have never read a book that has seemed to know my dreams so well or that I have fallen in love with so quickly. After seven years, Erin Morgenstern returns with a novel even more captivating than her first. The Starless Sea weaves magic and mystery into its modern fairytale of video-game playing grad students, men lost in time, evil secret societies, seas of honey, and masquerades. A book within a book and a love letter to all readers.
“I do not tolerate a world emptied of you. I have tried. In the dark, I have pored over the loss of you like pale gold.” In a masterful retelling of Koschei the Deathless, a fairytale like a Russian Hades and Persephone, Catherynne M. Valente weaves a story that is both familiar down to its bones and unlike anything else. Deathless will leave you entrenched in its magic, breathtaking prose & ghostly sense of déjà vu. One of the most beautiful books I have ever read and one of my favorites of all time, it is in short captivating, heartbreaking, and still has a hold on me.
A story of a man who, feeling lost, returns to the lane he grew up on and in returning begins to remember an improbable childhood - of a violent death that blurs the boundaries between worlds, parasites that slip through the crack, and the Hempstock women who saved him. A fairytale for adults that focuses on memories - how we remember and how we forget. A quick punch of a novel that will always be to me, an example of Neil Gaiman at his best. The new illustrated version lends a beautiful new visual element to the story without taking away from the imaginative aspect of Gaiman’s descriptions.
The secret school of Jujutsu Sorcerers exists to hunt cursed spirits and protect the living. Shortly after making a deathbed promise to his grandfather to use his strength to help others, Itadori Yuji discovers that he is a vessel for Ryomen Sukuna, the King of Curses. Sentenced to execution by Jujutsu society, Yuji has a choice -- die now or find and consume all the fragments of Sukuna and then be executed, allowing them to kill Sukuna once and for all. With complex characters and relationship dynamics, fascinating world-building, and action-packed yet deeply emotional plots, JUJUTSU KAISEN is hands-down one of the best shonen series I've ever read
An excellent and gripping narrative nonfiction, SAY NOTHING is a brilliant work of investigative journalism that has haunted me unlike any other. Patrick Radden Keefe’s dedicated research and writing encompasses a massive scope -- covering multiple viewpoints from both sides of the conflict known as The Troubles, a guerilla war waged by the IRA in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to 1998. Using the disappearance and murder of Jean McConville, a widowed mother of 10, as a prism point, Radden Keefe illuminates both desperate, intense passion that led members of the IRA to “fight” and the unspeakable acts of violence they committed in the name of their cause.
Charlie Hall is an ex-thief and con-artist attempting to make a quiet and honest living and support her younger sister. However, when dangerous strangers come looking for her at her bartending gig, she finds herself entangled in the dangers of her past life and fighting to survive and protect those she loves. A gritty urban fantasy of shadow magic and the seedy underbelly of the Berkshires, threaded through with a delicate, almost tender sense of longing, and an ending that will leave you absolutely reeling -- Holly Black’s rich writing and atmospheric world-building translates wonderfully into the urban fantasy genre. BOOK OF NIGHT does not disappoint, nor does it pull its punches.
All before reaching the age of 25, Sam & Sadie have launched Ichigo -- their first blockbuster video game. Both use their creative ambitions and dedication to their work to escape from the realities of toxic relationships, disability, and depression of their adult lives. But even their unique creative connection cannot protect them forever from the truth of the world, or even heartbreak at each other's hands. Gabrielle Zevin paints a painstaking picture of two flawed humans who dance in and out and around love over the span of 30 years of their lives, from coast to coast, and beyond. Heartbreaking and beautifully written, TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW, is an incredible novel about both a love for video games, the potential for perfection in play, and the need for human connection.
On a distant planet, Nona has woken up in a body that does not belong to her. All Nona wants is to spend time with her family -- Pyrrha and Cam and Palamedes, and to invite all her friends and favorite dogs to her birthday party. In this latest installment of the Locked Tomb series, Tamsyn Muir takes us on a detour and suspends us in a tiny slice of life. A fragile and momentary peace, even as their city is under siege and the threat of both the Blood of Eden and the Emperor Undying loom above in the sky -- Nona is a meditation on love, longing, and found family told in Tamsyn’s signature voice, made up of equal parts wit and weirdness.
Somber, elegant, and spellbinding - Radiance takes place in an alternate history - in a universe where Old Hollywood is on the moon and interplanetary travel is as mundane as taking the subway. Using a mix of narrative, transcripts, and letters, the fragmented story within these pages is one in which you know the tragic ending from the start, yet cannot help becoming attached to.
In a last effort to escape an arranged marriage and a life stuck in her tiny hometown of Villon-sur-Sarthe, Adeline LaRue makes a desperate deal with the devil to live forever. However, in exchange she is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets until one day 300 years later, a boy in a bookstore remembers her. This book is a stunning and bittersweet love story with an unexpected ending that plays out over centuries of books, music, and art.
Offered the ultimate payment — the one thing that would allow her a future in San Francisco with the woman she loves — Helen Brandt, augur and private detective, takes on one last case hunting down Chicago’s most infamous serial killer, the White City Vampire. A slim and brilliant novella colored by the divine, EVEN THOUGH I KNEW THE END is a queer love story, a hard-boiled noir, and an urban fantasy where angels and demons walk among us.
Caught up in a cycle of abuse and drug addiction, Alex Stern is given a chance at a new life by a mysterious benefactor after she finds herself the sole survivor of a gruesome multiple homicide. Forced to confront an ability to see ghosts that she tried to ignore and struggling to stay afloat -- Alex finds herself the latest (reluctant) guardian set in place to monitor the occult activities of Yale’s 8 secret societies, inevitably putting her at the center of another murder. Mature, dark, and richly imaginative, Ninth House builds a world within our own - one that might not be so pleasant to find oneself in.
In the long awaited sequel to NINTH HOUSE, Alex Stern will risk everything she has fought for at Yale to atone for her past mistakes, even if it means venturing into Hell itself. Bardugo’s writing is both heavy like a punch and quick-paced and sharp like a knife. HELL BENT expands the dark underworld of Yale while raising the emotional stakes for Alex and co. even higher. Return to campus with this dark academia fantasy -- where demons, occult magic, and ghosts roam amongst the living.
Andrew and Eddie are more than best friends. More than adoptive brothers. But just days before Andrew is set to join Eddie in Nashville where they both will be pursuing a graduate program at Vanderbilt, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. Moving into the house Eddie leaves him, Andrew inherits a grim legacy -- a stranger for a roommate, dangerous friends he didn’t ask for, and a vicious haunting. Andrew’s quest for answers will lead him to street racing, hard drugs, and hot summer nights spent untangling the secrets and lies Eddie left behind. Set against the backdrop of Vanderbilt and its surrounds, this book mixes southern gothic with dark academia. Simultaneously a tale of the dead and swelteringly alive, Lee Mandelo’s debut is violently gripping -- grappling with grief, queer adulthood, and race and social class in the academic world.
When I heard this book being compared to The Secret History, my interest was instantly piqued. I literally could not put it down. This book legitimately turned me into the kind of person that reads while walking. Imagine a dark and absurdly weird cross between Heathers and Mean Girls -- BUNNY is a tragic and obsessive story of identity both within and outside of tight-knit circles, alarming secrets, and a satire on elite MFA programs.
Despite the fraught estrangement between them, when Vera’s mother to say she’s on her deathbed calls her she comes home. To Crowder House -- the home her father built for them with his own hands and the place where he murdered several people. Forced to confront both the love she held for him in her childhood and the brutal violence he committed there, Vera is also subject to the scrutiny of her mother and Crowder House’s most recent parasitic artist in residence, who claims he isn’t the one responsible leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting. JUST LIKE HOME is Sarah Gailey at their best. Full of tension and suspense, this new domestic thriller is both reminiscent of MEXICAN GOTHIC, SHARP OBJECTS, and Netflix's HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and uniquely horrifying in a way that is all its own.
Upon receiving an urgent letter that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, Alex Easton - a retired Gallacian soldier - arrives at the ancestral Usher estate, seated near a remote mountain lake. There, they make the acquaintance of a British mycologist and an American doctor, and find an unimaginable, slow-building horror. The wildlife is eerily possessed, strange fungi blooms, and the lake seems... wrong. Meanwhile Madeline and Roderick Usher both are in failing health -- consumed by bouts of sleepwalking and a mysterious nervous condition. WHAT MOVES THE DEAD by T. Kingfisher is equal parts a linguistic delight and a gripping, jaw-dropping horror that puts a fresh spin on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher."
“I was made for him.” This is the thought Sophia wakes to every morning. She is the perfect wife for her perfect husband, in her perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood. But her husband is away working so often, which she knows is for her. To provide for her. But when he’s gone she can’t help but wonder about things she shouldn’t -- like the basement she’s not allowed in, the locked left drawer of her vanity, and how her neighbors can’t quite look her in the eyes when she asks questions. Sparse & slim but not lacking in descriptive, beautiful prose and plenty of twists, this new novella is Cat Valente at her sharpest.
In Oblya, magic is slowly dying under the crush of industrialism. The youngest daughter of the last wizard in the city, Marlinchen, cowers under her father’s increasing paranoia and abuse. In the night with her sisters she manages to sneak away to see the ballet. There she meets a roguish, beautiful dancer whose desire will embolden her and also upend her life as she knows it. JUNIPER & THORN is a gothic horror that is as beautifully written as it is gruesome. Filled with desire, dark magic, and propulsive suspense, this book had me compulsively turning the pages until the very end.
Hailing from a secret, and slowly dwindling clan of people who consume books for sustenance, Devon, like all book eater women, is raised with the expectation of giving birth to more book eater children. When her son is born with a rare and darker hunger for human minds, she will be forced to confront the lengths she will go to to protect him. Alternating between past and present, THE BOOK EATERS is a dark fantasy thriller about the lengths of love, the family ties we fight for or fight to sever, and what makes monsters.
Sensual and rich in detail and rife with an eerie sense of suspense, THE LAST TALE OF THE FLOWER BRIDE spins a gothic fairytale centered around a husband and wife in a cat-and-mouse game that walks the line between fantasy and reality. Once upon a time, a scholar married Indigo Maxwell-Castenada, heiress to a hotel fortune, on the condition that he never ask about her past. Content with the promise of Indigo’s future and the fantasy built between them, this is enough for a time. When Indigo’s estranged aunt and last surviving family member falls ill, they are forced to return to the estate where she grew up and the secrets buried there. Both romantic and thrilling, Chokshi’s adult debut is Gillian Flynn meets Sylvia Moreno-Garcia -- the perfect page turner for fans of dark fairytales and domestic thrillers alike.
Perfectly balancing horror and humor in her writing, T. Kingfisher has quickly become one of my favorites authors. A HOUSE WITH GOOD BONES is a southern gothic about the darkness that hides beneath the veneers of seemingly perfect families. When Sam Montgomery returns to her grandmother's house where her mother now lives alone, there is a vulture perched on the mailbox. She can tell immediately that something is wrong. Gone is the eclectic warmth she knows her mother for, and instead the house is in truth -- almost exactly like when her grandmother was still alive. As an archaeoentomologist and rational scientist, Sam is sure there must be a logical explanation for the change in her mother's behavior -- but as she begins digging for answers she begins to uncover increasingly alarming secrets about her family history.
In a Philadelphia teetering on the edge of constant environmental disaster, Saturnalia is celebrated as much as an American holiday as Halloween or Christmas. The morning after Saturnalia, Nina walks away from initiation into the Saturn Club, an elite secret society. 3 years later, when her last remaining friend in the club offers her a seemingly easy job for too-good sum of money, she takes it. What should be an easy retrieval mission makes her the target of monster, plunging her back into a world of elite power struggles and occult practices behind closed doors where she will have to face both her past trauma and the people she once called friends. A blend between the descriptive writing style of Catherynne M. Valente and a strong sense of setting like Jeff Vandermeer, Stephanie Feldman's SATURNALIA walks the line between horror and fantasy and reads like a post-apocalyptic dark fairytale -- for fans of Carmen Maria Machado.
CW: graphic rape, minor animal cruelty/animal death
All Olivia Prior has is an ability to see ghouls and a journal that belonged to her mother which starts as letters written to her father who passed when Olivia was born and then seems to quickly spiral into madness -- until a letter arrives addressed to her from an uncle she didn’t know she had, inviting her to come home to Gallant. However, when she arrives she finds a manor with only two servants who weren’t expecting her and a hostile cousin barely older than her. With nowhere else to go, Olivia stays and accidentally discovers another Gallant on the other side of the garden wall -- one that is a dark mirror to her supposed home. Gallant is a lush and darkly enchanting read about carving out one’s place in the world, life and death, and the ties of family. This is a tale that is both tender and eerie, excellent for all ages and excellent for fans of Neil Gaiman’s CORALINE and THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE.
When first-born princess Dania passes away shortly after her marriage to the prince of the neighboring kingdom, her sister Kania takes her place. As the third-born daughter, Marra is relieved to have escaped a marriage for political gain. But when Kania confides in her about the prince's abusive nature, Marra realizes that she is the only one capable and willing to do something about it. If she can complete three impossible tasks she will be given the tools she needs to kill a prince and free her sister. Accompanied by a gravewitch, her fairy godmother, a former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon, Marra sets out on a quest to save her sister. T. Kingfisher's characters are honest, vibrant, and so alive, you cannot help but fall in love with them. Despite the darkness at it's core, NETTLE & BONE is an original fairytale that is full of both heart and humor and one that I devoured in a single sitting.
A young reporter freshly out of a psych facility visits her hometown to write on the murders of two young girls. But her mother’s hot and cold attitude, simultaneously unwelcoming but overbearing, and her reckless 13 year old sister seem to stall her at every turn by triggering her trauma, both purposefully and inadvertently. A homecoming wrapped in a murder mystery, the characters in this book are so complex and dark and real in a way that makes you wonder just how complicated people around you might really be.
TW: self-harm and mentions of sexual assault
No one knows what “it” is, but seeing it for even a second drives people to grisly violence and ultimately, without fail, suicide. Bird Box is an unspeakable horror fraught with paranoia and palpable terror – caught between what you know and what you don’t know, this book will engulf you completely turning your imagination into your own worst enemy.
This book is Stephen King at his finest. Louis Creed, an emergency physician, and his family have moved to a small rural town in Maine, on a lonely stretch of highway that frequently claims the lives of neighborhood pets. When Church, the Creed family’s cat is killed on the road, their neighbor suggests Louis bury him in the wood beyond the “pet sematary.” By some horrific miracle, Church returns but is changed in a deep and unsettling way. Soon after, Louis’s young son Gage wanders onto the road… Pet Sematary might just be the scariest book I’ve ever read -- and the most chilling part, it’s based directly on events that happened in King’s life -- namely, moving his family to a small town with a road much like the one in Pet Sematary. Shortly after moving there, they lost their family cat to an accident and not too long after had a close scare in which King’s youngest son, barely 2 years old at the time, began running toward the road. In short, Pet Sematary is perhaps the most gruesome permutation of that dangerous question “what if,” and one that King considers to be his most frightening work to date.
Fans of Welcome to Night Vale rejoice! Have you ever wondered where the faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home came from? Of course you haven’t because you don’t know she’s there. But Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor are here to tell you her story - one that weaves a swashbuckling, epic pirate tale set in the 1800s together with a present day awash in that uniquely-Night-Valian brand of strangeness and horror. With an ending that might leave you even more unsettled than you were at the start, this story is perfect for all readers who love a good creepy tale, whether you’re an avid Night Vale fan or new to the universe.
The novelization of Alice Isn’t Dead, Joseph Fink’s podcast narrated by Jasika Nicole, is just as beautiful and atmospheric on page as it is to listen to. Parsed with little revelations about the main character's past and relationship - this story oscillates seamlessly between time frames of background and present. This book is so many things all at once - a deep scrutiny of time, human relationships, and conspiracy wrapped in a road trip wrapped in an intimate portrayal of anxiety in a way that does not imply that mental health is something that needs to be or can be "fixed" wrapped in a compelling horror. There are multiple instances in this book that made me jump while reading it late at night by lamplight - and scary is just the surface. Needless to say, Alice Isn't Dead is definitely my new favorite novel from the Night Vale Presents team.
Highly adaptable and rapid spreading, Cordyceps Novus has a singular goal -- to take over the world by hijacking the brains of every living organism it reaches. 40 years ago, Pentagon bioterror operative, Roberto Diaz contained the threat and sealed it deep underground. But when the lethal specimen escapes and embarks on a violent feeding frenzy, it is up to Diaz and two unwitting guards to contain it. Taking place over the course of a single, heart-pounding night, COLD STORAGE is a merging of horror and thriller from the screenwriter of Jurassic Park. Fans of Andy Weir's gallows humor and Blake Crouch's cinematic action pacing looking for a read to consume after binging THE LAST OF US, look no further.
This book is perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Sure-footed and confident in a way that is often rare of a debut novel, the writing in this book is clear-voiced and remarkably intelligent. A mystery full of little twists and turns that reveal a multitude of criss-crossing, interconnected myths – Greek, Biblical, Norse, Voodoo, you name it – one by one like hands of cards being overturned. You’re bound to be delighted by the surprisingly familiar number of references you can mark out. Murdered gods, tricksters, tarot symbolism, and more abound against the simmering backdrop of post-Katrina New Orleans.
Growing up on the moon with only her mother Chang’e and their attendant Ping’er, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude. But when she discovers her magic, she also learns that her existence is a secret and her mother is an exile under punishment of the Celestial Emperor. Forced to flee her home to avoid discovery, Xingyin finds herself in the middle of the Celestial Kingdom. Determined to find her way back to her home and free her mother, she disguises her identity to compete for the chance to learn side by side with the Crown Prince as his companion and train in the art of magic and combat. Both dazzlingly romantic and breathtakingly epic, this brilliant debut is at turns - tender, dramatic, and packed with adventure.
The dazzling conclusion to the Daughter of the Moon Goddess duology, HEART OF THE SUN WARRIOR is just as epic and emotional as its precursor. When the hard-won but fragile peace of life on the moon is threatened, Xingyin is once more forced to flee her home and fight for her family’s freedom. Driven by deadly court politics, alternating between quick beats of action and swoon-worthy romance, this book delivered on every note.
When read conventionally from front to back this book seems to be 3 different novellas/short stories. But read in an alternate chapter sequence (via a provided key) the stories become tied together to form a singular narrative about a pair of lovers lost in time whose souls can cross from body to body. An epic story of love, memory, and sinister secret societies that spans 150 years and 7 lifetimes.
Beatrice’s family is on the brink of financial ruin -- her father has spent the last of their money on buying her way into the bargaining season, where she must secure an advantageous proposal from one of the rich, eligible bachelors. Despite her lack of social connection and perilous financial status, Beatrice has strong magic, making her a desirable match. However, when women marry they are forced to wear a warding collar to protect their unborn children, which cuts them off from practicing any magic. Beatrice’s secret dream is to become the first woman to become a full sorceress and bind the power of a Greater Spirit to herself -- a dream that will be impossible if she marries. C.L. Polk re-imagines a world inspired by the Regency era but touched by magic in a way that is beautiful, tender, and romantic.
Post-World War I, real magic is illegal under Prohibition laws, but faux magic abounds in the tourist traps of Crow Island. Annie Mason wants nothing to do with magic - real or fake - after losing both her close friends. However, when she arrives on Crow Island to settle her late father's estate, she cannot help but find herself inexplicably drawn to her mysterious neighbor who is rumored to be a witch. A queer, genderbent retelling of The Great Gatsby filled with temptation and dangerous blood magic -- Wild and Wicked Things is a beautifully written debut -- decadent, gothic, and simmering with tension.
In the boroughs of New York City, two rival witch families with bad blood between them reign over vast criminal empires. On one side, the Fedorov brothers enforce their father, Koschei the Deathless's extortion in the shadows. On the other are the beautiful and intimidating Antonova sisters -- who run the apothecary shop that serves as a front for their mother Baba Yaga's illegal magical intoxicants. Tumultuously romantic, dramatic, and darkly enchanting -- Olivie Blake's ONE FOR MY ENEMY retells Romeo and Juliet touched by Russian folklore and grounded in present-day Manhattan.
Puns! Swordplay! Lesbian necromancers in space! Gideon has lived her life in service to the Ninth and she has had enough -- with a few dirty magazines and her precious sword she prepares to run away. But the supreme bone witch extraordinaire, Harrowhark Nonagesimus won’t let her go so easily. Instead she is offered a bargain, her freedom in exchange for serving just a little while longer, as Harrow’s cavalier in a deadly trial of wits and skills to become one of the Undying Emperor’s immortal necromancers.
In a crumbling city ravaged by Mord, a giant flying bear made by the Company, a biotech operation that has since collapsed -- Rachel, a scavenger, finds Borne, who could be a plant or an animal or a weapon or a machine or all of the above. Jeff Vandermeer requires close and attentive reading but the payoff is incredible, incomparably strange eco-scifi that is also heartbreaking in its exposure of humanity. Made extra wondrous, clever, and familiar if you read Vandermeer’s novella “The Strange Bird'' and short story “The Third Bear” beforehand.
“I love you. In every world.” These are the words a stranger she’s never met before, says to Madison May shortly before murdering her. Felicity Staples is a reporter, covering the murder for the New York City newspaper she works at, when she unfortunately bumps into the suspect on the subway. After a close and dangerous encounter, she senses a shift in her reality -- discovering that somehow, she is now in another dimension. A dimension where Madison May is alive again -- but not for long. When this world’s Madison is killed, Felicity decides she must follow this serial killer through the multiverse in order to save Madison’s life… or lives, however many worlds it takes.
In a war waged across time and space, in multiple strands of possible pasts, presents, and futures -- Red and Blue are two enemy agents who have struck up a dangerous, taunting correspondence via letter. Incredible, poetic, and page-turning, this book/novella does so much with so little crafting both a rich world and heartbreaking story full of clever references.
Step into the world of Emma Mieko Candon's - THE ARCHIVE UNDYING: when AIs die, their cities die too -- and from the wreckage of their archives, an entity known as the Harbor has begun building war machines known as ENGINEs. Changed by the corruption of Iterate Fractal - the AI of Khuon Mo - Sunai has lived for 17 years -- unaging and unable to die. But, when tenuous new alliances, mistrustful lovers, and former partners collide, Sunai is launched into a plot to destroy the remains of Iterate Fractal and prevent them from falling into the hands of the Harbor. A homecoming fraught with betrayal and the horrifying truths of the past, Emma Mieko Candon's debut is an unmissable mecha scifi that is the perfect marriage of NONA THE NINTH and THE GENESIS OF MISERY.
The legend is well known -- Arthur will be crowned King of Camelot, only to be abandoned by his sister, the sorceress Morgana, and betrayed by his wife Guinevere and his right-hand knight, Lancelot. As his oracle and adviser, Elaine Astolat, the Lady of Shalott, alone carries the burden of knowing that this is the future that awaits them, and how one day, they will all turn against each other. Through the past, present, and future tense, new life is breathed into Arthurian myth. In which, Guinevere, Morgana, and most of all Elaine, claim their agency and hold the power to reshape legends -- for the future is never set in stone until it becomes the past.
In Jay Kristoff’s new epic fantasy, the sun has not risen in 27 years and vampires can walk in the day. As a result, the world is crumbling under the conquering fist of the Dead. In a cell, imprisoned by the monsters he is sworn to kill, Gabriel de Leon - the last Silversaint, a holy order created to fight creatures of the night - recounts his life, loss, and quest for revenge and the one thing that could save the world -- The Holy Grail. Kristoff weaves a story of epic battles, devastating losses, treacherous hope, and found family in a world of true darkness and brutality. A world where there is horror and also hope, faith and also faithlessness, but where both the narrator and reader learn, hearts can never truly break, only bruise.
This book is a must for fans of CASTLEVANIA and EMPIRE OF THE VAMPIRE. Rin Chupeco’s adult debut will make you at different points furiously turn the pages or want to throw the book across the room in despair. An bloody, action-packed story about an outcast Reaper, a hunter of the undead, and the unlikely and begrudging alliance he makes with one arrogant and infuriatingly attractive vampire lord and his fiancee to study and combat the Rot, a violent and alarmingly rapid-spreading mutation of vampirism. SILVER UNDER NIGHTFALL is equally made up of epic romance, violent battles, and court politics.
This book is the exact kind of high fantasy epic that I’ve been craving. Every 10 years a girl from the valley is given to the mysterious wizard known only as the Dragon in exchange for protection against the sinister and encroaching Wood. Poetic, gorgeous writing, a strong sense of setting, and well-developed characters make a strong foundation for the plot, which snowballs one barely won victory into the next bigger disaster. All of the satisfaction of a good high fantasy series in a single standalone novel.
Two years ago, Emiko Soong walked away from her life as the Blade — the assassin for her powerful family, one of 8 in the world to possess and control powerful dragon magic. But when the Ebony Gate holding back the ghosts of the underworld is stolen, and a death god calls in a blood debt from her family, Emiko is plunged back into the dangerous world she tried to leave behind. Set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s Chinatown, steeped in Eastern mythologies, and packed with cinematic action scenes with lots of swords and combat magic -- EBONY GATE is rollicking urban adventure set against a ticking clock.
A blazing little novella of the future American Southwest - a dystopia of controlled media, lone outposts in the desert, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing. What are you waiting for? Join the good fight. Read this book.
A fantastic collection of short stories that tackle themes of sex, the female body and experience, power, and pain in a blurring between realism and scifi. Carmen Maria Machado is an incredible writer and I have loved both of her books. Horrifying and melancholy, and overall just outstanding. My favorite stories were “Inventory,” “Especially Heinous,” and “The Husband Stitch.”
A deadly standoff between a motorcycle gang and an anonymous trucker, a bookmobile that brings new reads to the dead, and a carousel of monsters that come to life are just a few of the things found within the stories of Full Throttle by Joe Hill. Featuring a mixed bag of 13 horror/fantasy/scifi short stories, 2 of which appear for the first time in this book and 2 of which were co-written with Stephen King. I simultaneously read and listened to this on audio as each story has a different narrator, the likes of which include Zachary Quinto and Neil Gaiman. My favorites from this collection are -- “All I Care About Is You,” “Late Returns,” “Faun,” and “Throttle.”
6 different, but connected stories told in unique, lyrical, and just plain badass voices, Catherynne M. Valente takes a jab at comics from the perspectives of comic book women whose lives and deaths have been used to progress male storylines. In these shorts, Valente creates a wonderful new, original superhero-universe with tons of allusions to classic DC and Marvel plots.
A sharp, propulsive novella, FEED THEM SILENCE was made to be devoured in a single sitting. Lee Mandelo deftly weaves an expansive, tragic narrative on longing, loneliness, and intimacy that lingers beyond the pages it is contained within. In a near-future, Dr. Sean Kell-Luddon is about to make groundbreaking headway in her research as the the first subject-and-observer to share consciousness with one of the last surviving gray wolves. But as she dives deeper into the mental world of the pack, the steeper her sacrifices become -- at the sake of ethics, questions of true conservation, corporate control of her research, and the cost of her already fraying marriage.
THORNHEDGE is a complete reversal of the Sleeping Beauty tale as you know it. For centuries Toadling has kept watch over the tower hidden by thorns -- until one day a knight arrives. Halim is a knight, though admittedly not a very good one, who has come to the tower to lift the curse he has read about in stories. When Toadling and Halim's paths cross, as they cautiously begin to open up to one another it is slowly revealed that there is more than meets the eye -- and that sometimes, curses are better left unbroken. Short and sweet, T. Kingfisher's latest is full of her signature heart in a world where love and tenderness exist beneath the mud and mundanity and evil is masked by beauty.
Viscerally brutal and scalpel sharp — Cassandra Khaw’s THE SALT GROWS HEAVY imagines what comes after the fairytale. Though cocooned in gore and the grotesque, at its core THE SALT GROWS HEAVY is a love story, albeit one with teeth. Having seen her sisters slaughtered and forced to wed a prince, a mermaid rises from the ashes of the kingdom her daughters have now devoured. Joined by a mysterious plague doctor with a hidden past of their own, they come to an eerie village buried in the taiga — inhabited by eerie children who delight and bloodsport and worship the three “saints” who perform bloody, surgical miracles in their midst. Faced with these cold horrors, the mermaid and her plague doctor must rely on each other and embrace what they are capable of to survive.