Book List, Indie Next

Holiday Gift Giving: Science Fiction & Fantasy

It’s time for our annual holiday gift giving recommendations! Check out all of the picks on display in the front corner of the store across from the wine bar!

Science Fiction

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

In the near future, a tech billionaire has discovered a way to travel through earth’s 380 multiverses. The only catch, you can only travel if you’re doppelganger has already died. Cara is a traverser whose doppelgangers are dead on 372 other worlds. When Cara’s parallel self mysteriously dies in one of the few worlds she’s alive in, Cara will travel and set in motion a journey through the multiverse that uncovers many secrets!

Becky

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world but the entire multiverse.

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

A beautiful mix of science fiction and fantasy and I absolutely loved it. I was first drawn in by the music aspect, as a former violist who would have given just about anything for a chance to be one of the greats, I stayed for the witty and brilliant, yet troubled, characters, and of course, the alien donut shop.

Sarah

Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six.

When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate.

But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.

As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Best book ever. I laughed, I cried, I re-read it 3 times in one month. I could not have asked for someone to write a more perfect tale. The story follows Dex, our non-binary tea monk, as he meets Mosscap, the whimsical and curious robot. Redefining science fiction, Becky Chambers writes the most hopeful and heart felt story of the generation. This will be one that I revisit constantly when I need a bit of comfort for humanity, the future, or just a solid read with a good cup of tea.

Jaclyn

In A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Hugo Award-winner Becky Chambers’s delightful new Monk and Robot series gives us hope for the future.

It’s been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.

They’re going to need to ask it a lot.

Becky Chambers’s new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?

The World Gives Way by Marissa Levien

A different form of apocalypse story that still feels so familiar, THE WORLD GIVES WAY is both a heartbreaking tragedy and a glorious story of love in the darkest of times. The relationships between the characters feel so real, and Myrra is the type of strong female protagonist that is often lacking in books. She has no super powers or futuristic weapons, but a soft and powerful strength, which truly makes her a character your heart won’t soon forget.

Marielle

In a near-future world on the brink of collapse, a young woman born into servitude must seize her own freedom in this glittering debut with a brilliant twist. In fifty years, Myrra will be free.

Until then, she’s a contract worker. Ever since she was five, her life and labor have belonged to the highest bidder on her contract—butchers, laundries, and now the powerful, secretive Carlyles.

But when one night finds the Carlyles dead, Myrra is suddenly free a lot sooner than she anticipated—and at a cost she never could have imagined. Burdened with the Carlyles’ orphaned daughter and the terrible secret they died to escape, she runs. With time running out, Myrra must come face to face with the truth about her world—and embrace what’s left before it’s too late.

A sweeping novel with a darkly glimmering heart, The World Gives Way is an unforgettable portrait of a world in freefall, and the fierce drive to live even at the end of it all.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation is a splendidly disconcerting novel. The writing almost feels like a hushed conversation with the narrator, with you trying to glean what you can while navigating what is real and what is not, nervous that someone else might be listening in… This book is perfect for anyone looking for an unsettling ending and affirmation that you cannot trust anyone or anything, not even yourself.

Asma

The Southern Reach Trilogy begins with Annihilation, the Nebula Award-winning novel that “reads as if Verne or Wellsian adventurers exploring a mysterious island had warped through into a Kafkaesque nightmare world” (Kim Stanley Robinson).

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

The City We Became is a wacky and wonderful urban fantasy that centers around the six souls of New York City. Each soul embodies a different region of the city, and only through the combined efforts of them all can they defeat the eldritch forces that seek to reduce the city to ash. While Jemisin’s unique writing style can take time to get used to, this book is absolutely excellent.

Christopher

Three-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin crafts her most incredible novel yet, a “glorious” story of culture, identity, magic, and myths in contemporary New York City. In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn’t remember who he is, where he’s from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power. In the Bronx, a Lenape gallery director discovers strange graffiti scattered throughout the city, so beautiful and powerful it’s as if the paint is literally calling to her. In Brooklyn, a politician and mother finds she can hear the songs of her city, pulsing to the beat of her Louboutin heels. And they’re not the only ones. Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York? She’s got six.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The first book in one of my top favorite fantasy comfort-read series! If you like A.J. Hackwith’s Hell’s Library books, think of The Invisible Library as its more whimsical older sibling. What if all that stood between chaos and order, dragons and fae, was an inter-dimensional library and its team of heisting librarians? Genevieve Cogman seeks to answer that question with this love letter to classic genre fiction tropes and libraries of all stripes.

Becca

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure—the first in the Invisible Library series!

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…
 
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.
 
London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.
 
Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…

Rabbits by Terry Miles

A compelling and thought provoking book! Perfect for fans of near future/contemporary science fiction/alternative reality books that will also find fans amongst conspiracy and true crime readers. It will make for a great summer read and can definitely be enjoyed by those who are not familiar with the author’s podcast of the same name.

Sarah

It’s an average work day. You’ve been wrapped up in a task, and you check the clock when you come up for air—4:44 p.m. You check your email, and 44 unread messages have built up. With a shock, you realize the date is April 4—4/4. And when you get in your car to drive home, your odometer reads 44,444.

Coincidence? Or have you just seen the edge of a rabbit hole?

Rabbits is a mysterious alternate reality game so vast it uses the entire world as its canvas.

Since the game started in 1959, ten iterations have appeared and nine winners have been declared. The identities of these winners are unknown.

So is their reward, which is whispered to be NSA or CIA recruitment, vast wealth, immortality, or perhaps even the key to the secrets of the universe itself.

But the deeper you get, the more dangerous the game becomes. Players have died in the past—and the body count is rising.

And now the eleventh round is about to begin.

Enter K—a Rabbits obsessive who has been trying to find a way into the game for years. That path opens when K is approached by billionaire Alan Scarpio, rumored to be the winner of the sixth iteration. Scarpio says that something has gone wrong with the game and that K needs to fix it before Eleven starts, or the whole world will pay the price.

Five days later, Scarpio is declared missing.

Two weeks after that, K blows the deadline: Eleven begins.

And suddenly, the fate of the entire universe is at stake.

Fantasy

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

I have yet to read a V.E Schwab book I didn’t like, and this is no exception. The concept of 4 Londons existing in different worlds with different relationships to magic is interesting enough as it is. Add a royal messenger/smuggler who accidently brings a forbidden object back to his own world and you have an irresistible tale! If you are looking for an exciting high fantasy series, this is perfect!

Athena

Kell is one of the last Antarimagicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

A classic, easy read, fantasy novel that you can even read to the kids! I’ve been in love with the Last Unicorn since I saw the animated film as a child. It’s a classic story that never really gets old. Follow the last unicorn’s journey as she seeks out the mythical Red Bull to discover what happened to her kin. Along the way she meets a rather poor magician and the two make a very unlikely pair as they make their way to the king’s castle to face the Red Bull. It’s a tale of magic and mystery that will last in your heart for a lifetime.

Jaclyn

Experience one of the most enduring classics of the twentieth century and the book that The Atlantic has called “one of the best fantasy novels ever.”

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone…

 …so she ventured out from the safety of the enchanted forest on a quest for others of her kind. Joined along the way by the bumbling magician Schmendrick and the indomitable Molly Grue, the unicorn learns all about the joys and sorrows of life and love before meeting her destiny in the castle of a despondent monarch—and confronting the creature that would drive her kind to extinction….

In The Last Unicorn, renowned and beloved novelist Peter S. Beagle spins a poignant tale of love, loss, and wonder that has resonated with millions of readers around the world. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

A magical setting with lyrical writing, a truly spellbinding read; this is Schwab’s masterpiece. This historical fiction/fantasy centers on Addie LaRue, a French girl from the 1700s who, in a moment of sheer desperation, makes a deal with the devil to live forever. But from then on, she is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she ever meets, until she stumbles into a bookshop in New York City 300 years later…

Rachele

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Another classic fantasy that I’ll never get enough of. My favorite Gaiman novel; it’s a story that follows Tristrin, a love struck young man on a journey to find a fallen star and return it to his love (who doesn’t love him back). Tristrin journies over the Wall and into a magical land filled with evil witches, lightening pirates, and seven princes who are hell-bent on poisoning each other for a chance at the throne. A love story with a magical and comical Gaiman twist. One of my favorite stories of all time!

Jaclyn

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, a beautiful and enchanting tale of love, adventure, and magic―one of ten classic Gaiman works repackaged with elegant original watercolor art by acclaimed artist Henry Sene Yee

One of Neil Gaiman’s most beautiful and enchanting tales, Stardust is the story of Tristran Thorn, a young man who promises the woman he loves that he will bring her back a fallen star. But there are others who seek the star, for their own reasons. And then there’s the star herself . . .

A beloved fairy tale infused with humor, magic, adventure, and romance, Stardust is a timeless work that demonstrates the writer’s bold, elegant and infinitely wondrous imagination.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Oh The Magicians! I love this book (and it’s pretty different from the show) imagine Harry Potter and his friends are Americans and also 18 years with no clue what they want in the world. That’s Magicians. After highschool Brakebills (a magical college) recruits people who have magical potential and then train them up. Follow Quint and his friends as they learn to control their magic and eventually discover that magic doesn’t magically make life and adulting any easier.

Drew

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. . . .

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician’s Land, The Magicians is one of the most daring and inventive works of literary fantasy in years. No one who has escaped into the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter should miss this breathtaking return to the landscape of the imagination.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

A great start to a new series! I love Naomi’s writing and greatly enjoyed seeing her write in a different style than she did for Uprooted and Spinning Silver. This new series promises to be a world full of adventure and spectacular characters!

Sarah

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver comes the first book of the Scholomance trilogy, the story of an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic.

FINALIST FOR THE LODESTAR AWARD • “The dark school of magic I’ve been waiting for.”—Katherine Arden, author of the Winternight Trilogy

I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life.

Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans.

I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world.

At least, that’s what the world expects. Most of the other students in here would be delighted if Orion killed me like one more evil thing that’s crawled out of the drains. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into the evil witch they assume I am. The school certainly does.

But the Scholomance isn’t getting what it wants from me. And neither is Orion Lake. I may not be anyone’s idea of the shining hero, but I’m going to make it out of this place alive, and I’m not going to slaughter thousands to do it, either.

Although I’m giving serious consideration to just one.

With flawless mastery, Naomi Novik creates aschool bursting with magic like you’ve never seen before, and aheroine for the ages—a character so sharply realized and so richly nuanced that she will live on in hearts and minds for generations to come.

The magic of the Scholomance trilogy continues in The Last Graduate

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

An amazing and captivating historical fantasy, this book will hook you from word one. Giving a feminist and LGBTQ voice to Mulan and Chinese history, SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN is addictive, haunting, and far too awesome to capture with words. Beautifully written and as heartbreaking as it is triumphant, you will be salivating for the next page as you follow one woman’s journey to rise above the place made for her to a place she wants to be.

Marielle

She Who Became the Sun reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor.

To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything

“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer is an uproariously funny book about the unquiet undead and the man who makes them go stumble in the night. Johannes is a necromancer of some little infamy and obsessed with one thing, curing death by any means necessary. If you like Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett then you will love this funny novel. Read the first page and a half, I highly recommend it!

Drew

A charmingly gothic, fiendishly funny Faustian tale about a brilliant scientist who makes a deal with the Devil, twice.

Johannes Cabal sold his soul years ago in order to learn the laws of necromancy. Now he wants it back. Amused and slightly bored, Satan proposes a little wager: Johannes has to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will be damned forever. This time for real. Accepting the bargain, Jonathan is given one calendar year and a traveling carnival to complete his task. With little time to waste, Johannes raises a motley crew from the dead and enlists his brother, Horst, a charismatic vampire to help him run his nefarious road show, resulting in mayhem at every turn.

Under the Whispering Door by T. J. Klune

Wallace is dead, but he is having a hard time accepting it and he is not crossing over. So the reaper takes him to a small village in the middle of the mountains and Wallace is given one week to get it together and get across. Wallace begins, with the help of a tea shop manager, to learn about the way life should be lived. It’s a shame he couldn’t figure it out before he was dead. This book is simply put beautiful, there are no other words. Beautiful.

Drew

A Man Called Ove meets The Good Place in Under the Whispering Door, a delightful queer love story from TJ Klune, author of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller The House in the Cerulean Sea.

Welcome to Charon’s Crossing.
The tea is hot, the scones are fresh, and the dead are just passing through.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead.

And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.

But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.

Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne & Delilah S. Dawson

As someone who adores fantasy I can be honest enough to admit it has it’s…bad tropes shall we say. Ranging from hearty stews (that are simple but filling) to chosen one farm boys it can sometimes feel like you’re reading the same book, but with a couple of names changed around. So when a book comes along that promises to poke some fun at the more egregious of bad tropes I was naturally going to be interested. Enter Kill The Farm Boy! This book was sold to me as a meta-commentary on the state of Fantasy but it ended up being a good deal more! Funny and often incredibly self aware this book also has a lot of heart that should not be missed when laughing at the antics of the Dread Necromancer Steve. If you’ve read a ton of fantasy and want to laugh, this book is for you. If you’ve never read a fantasy before and feel a little intimidated at having to follow a convoluted plot of royal families with 18 cousins a piece then this book is for you. This book is for everyone, I loved it!

Drew

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told.

This is not that fairy tale.

There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.

And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.

There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed. 

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

This is one of the best fantasies I have read in a long time! An awesome combination of multiple fairytales, FOR THE WOLF is a dark, epic, romantic fantasy oozing with magic, folklore and some of the best characters out there. This is the perfect fairytale, all creepy and dark with the threat of death around every corner. A perfect pair of protagonists, and an immersive and eerie setting, makes this a story one you’ll never want to end.

Marielle

The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.

An instant NYT bestseller and word-of-mouth sensation, thisdark, romantic debut fantasy weaves the unforgettable tale of a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn’t the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose—to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood—and her world—whole.

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

With Empire of the Vampire, Jay Kristoff has once again shown why he is a master storyteller. Gabriel de Leon is a complex and complicated new hero for Jay’s legion of fans, and soon-to-be fans, to follow over what promises to be an amazing new series. Jay’s vampires are not the sparkly YA vamps, nor the Dracula inspired vampires of the late 1990s/early 2000s. They are delectably French-flavored and with the introduction of Gabriel as a half-vampire, Jay has allowed himself a great deal of creative freedom to bend the old rules of vampire lore to his world. I absolutely cannot wait to share this book with my friends and fellow book lovers who loved Mia of the Nevernight Chronicles as I’m sure they will fall head over heels for Empire of the Vampire while simultaneously continuing to curse Jay for wreaking havoc on beloved fictional characters.

Sarah

From New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff comes Empire of the Vampire, the first illustrated volume of an astonishing new dark fantasy saga.

From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hand sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.

It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order could not stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman

Damien Vryce is a priest and he has been given a rather unusual mission, to begin to teach other priests the tenets of sorcery. These Sorcerers or Adepts as they are called each have a unique species of Fae that they work with and Damien must travel with an adept that has lost her memories as well as The Hunter an adept so dangerous that he is almost a devil to the church. The fate of the world hangs in the balance in this epic adventure!

Drew

Blending science fiction and fantasy, the first book of the Coldfire Trilogy tells a dark tale of an alien world where nightmares are made manifest.

Over a millennium ago, Erna, a seismically active yet beautiful world was settled by colonists from far-distant Earth. But the seemingly habitable planet was fraught with perils no one could have foretold. The colonists found themselves caught in a desperate battle for survival against the fae, a terrifying natural force with the power to prey upon the human mind itself, drawing forth a person’s worst nightmare images or most treasured dreams and indiscriminately giving them life.

Twelve centuries after fate first stranded the colonists on Erna, mankind has achieved an uneasy stalemate, and human sorcerers manipulate the fae for their own profit, little realizing that demonic forces which feed upon such efforts are rapidly gaining in strength.

Now, as the hordes of the dark fae multiply, four people—Priest, Adept, Apprentice, and Sorcerer—are about to be drawn inexorably together for a mission which will force them to confront an evil beyond their imagining, in a conflict which will put not only their own lives but the very fate of humankind in jeopardy.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Samantha Shannon has created what I would consider the perfect epic fantasy. In one novel (granted one very large novel) she builds a world of magic and fantasy that takes you on a journey you will never forget. With dragons, alchemy, warring kingdoms and queendoms, love, and of course a touch of magic – what more could you ask for? The perfect read to keep you busy during winter, wrapped up in a blanket with a steamy cup of tea, you’ll be transported into an amazing land of magic, action, and adventure.

Jaclyn

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction–but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

The Bone Fire by Gyorgy Dragoman

Oh how I adore this book! I have always had a penchant for Eastern European storytelling and The Bone Fire feels like stepping through a portal into the cold lands of my forefathers. Focusing on a young girl as she tries to unravel the magic and mystery of her grandmother and the death of her parents The Bone Fire has just enough magic to make us believe in fairies, and just enough honesty to make us fear them,

Drew

From an award-winning and internationally acclaimed European writer: A chilling and suspenseful novel set in the wake of a violent revolution about a young girl rescued from an orphanage by an otherworldly grandmother she’s never met

Thirteen-year-old Emma grows up under an Eastern European dictatorship where oppression seems eternal. When her dissident parents die in a car accident, she’s taken to an orphanage, only to be adopted soon after by a grandmother she has never met.

While her homeland is shattered by a violent revolution, Emma—like a witch’s apprentice—comes to learn the ways of her new grandmother, who can tell fortunes from coffee dregs, cause and heal pain at will, and shares her home with the ghost of her husband. But this is not the main reason her grandmother is treated with suspicion and contempt by most people in town. They suspect her or her husband of having been involved in the disappearance of top secret government files.

As Emma learns her family history, she begins to see that, for her grandparents, the alternate reality shaped by magic was their only form of freedom. The Bone Fire is a political Gothic, carried along by the menace and promise of a fairy tale.

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive national bestselling debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.
 
Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.
 
Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.
 
With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

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