This selection of stunning reads will take you to other worlds. From a robot revolution, to an elegy about escapism, these stories explore the future and unique fantasy worlds that are rich, compelling, and original.
The House of Styx (Venus Ascendant 1)
by Derek Kunsken
SolarisBooks, 600 pages, $23.99
The House of Styx takes you to the beginning of the Quantum Evolution in a story that delves 250 years before the events in The Quantum Magician. Life can exist anywhere and as long as it does, there will always be home. The families living in Venus’s clouds and on plant-like trawlers that float work to salvage what remains from storms with acid rain. Though the outside is threatening, humankind is losing control over the planet and struggle to survive day today. Venus holds secrets of its own such as a mysterious wind that the House of Styx wants to possess.
Day Zero: A Novel
by C. Robert Cargill
Harper Voyager, 304 pages, $27.99
A normal day soon became the last day. This was the day that Pounce learned that he’s disposable. Pounce serves as a nanny-bot in the shape of an anthropomorphic tiger who has discovered a box in the attic belonging to him. This was the same box he arrived in and the box he’ll be sent off in when young Ezra outgrows the need for a nanny. Pounce determines what to do next just as a robot revolution brews against mankind. Ezra’s parents have good intentions but they remain oblivious to life outside their community by disconnecting from the horrors happening. Instead, they choose to spend their nights drinking, so they’re shocked when the robots arrive in revolt against them. Pounce has an impossible decision to make when the battle enters his home. He can stand with his fellow robots for freedom or protect Ezra as they make their way across the post-apocalyptic nightmare of the suburbs.
The Living Sea of Waking Dreams: A Novel
by Richard Flanagan
Knopf, 288 pages, $22.99
Anna’s mother is declining in health and is dealing with medical interventions that have driven her to seek escapism by looking out the window where she has horrific and delightful visions. As Anna starts to notice herself vanishing a little at a time, those around her begin to disappear and she begins to feel a strong pull drawing her out the window which goes unnoticed. Anna works to keep her mother alive as the window keeps opening wider, taking Anna into a journey that delves into grief, love, possibility, and even orange-bellied parrots. Australia boasts The Living Sea of Waking Dreams as Richard Flanagan’s greatest novel so far with a story that blends elegy, dream, and hope.
Master Artificer (The Silent Gods series, Book 2)
by Justin Travis Call
Blackstone Publishing, 300 pages, $29.99
Annev may have avoided his fate but another dark path waits for him. He’s survived the fall of Chaenbalu, but now other threats are lurking and it’s up to him and his friends to face them. Annev searches the city to find answers that will help him remove the cursed object within his body and learn control over his magic. But removing the curse comes with a cost. Elsewhere, Fyn works alongside enemies and allies in a hidden war working against the corrupt guilds that Luqura has set into place. His plans aren’t for the good of the people but to put into motion his own plans for a criminal empire. Myjun remains in Brakewood where she’s working as an apprentice for Oryu, a shadow assassin and the one responsible for the attack on Chaenbalu, who is teaching her new skills. She soon learns that a price must be paid for revenge. Kenton was left for dead in the academy ruins of Chaenbalu where he searches for salvation through the Vault of Damnation where power has been stored.
by Benjamin Rosenbaum
Erewhon, 416 pages, $22.95
The story is set in the future where everyone has multiple bodies, the rise of cybernetics has declined privacy, and the success of every family and individual relies on falling in line with a rigid system. Fift struggles to keep zir status within the system as zir the only Staid gendered child. A controversial friendship between Fift and a Vail-gendered bio-engineer named Shria occurs. Fift and Shria accidentally find themselves in the middle of an art spectacle that becomes a scandal that sparks the Unraveling of society. Fift becomes torn between zir feelings for Shria and zir duty to keeping zir family protected which leads them to a crossroads where zir must decide between what zir feels and complying with society. As zir struggles with zir future, zir crises become significant on a worldwide scale with every decision in the limelight of everyone.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.