Best-selling author Jacqueline Carey returns to epic fantasy fiction with Starless (Tor), trading spies and courtesans for gender-bending warriors and dark gods. As a baby, Khai caught the feather that marked him as the soul twin to Princess Zariya, and he is trained by a warrior sect in the desert in near isolation. As Khai learns to control his prophesied powers and achieve masterful skill, he discovers the truth about who he really is, an identity he struggles to accept. Once at court with his charge, he learns the machinations of the palace, but all the while the evil god Miasmus lies in wait plotting destruction. Carey upholds her reputation for world-building, and though “Starless” has less intrigue than Carey’s previous works, it will more than satisfy fans of twisty high fantasy.
With A Reaper at the Gates (Razorbill), Sabaa Tahir continues to expand the world of her best-selling series, diving deeper into Roman-inspired political struggles and East Asian folklore. When the book opens, things have gotten only worse for our protagonists. Helene Aquilla hunts down her former friends and allies to protect her sister from the abusive and increasingly unstable Emperor Marcus. While Aquilla continues to be manipulated by the violent politics of the Empire, Laia grapples with the true danger to the world — the Nightbringer, and Elias Veturius remains in the land between the living and the dead, tied to an ancient power. To protect his family — and the woman he loves — Elias must abandon them. The series is YA only in the age of its characters; the book deftly handles serious such issues as the costs of genocide and war. Both action-packed and emotionally engaging, “A Reaper at the Gates” is the perfect summer read.
Everdeen Mason reviews science fiction and fantasy every month for The Washington Post.
On June 27 at 7 p.m., Sabaa Tahir will be in conversation with Everdeen Mason at Politics and Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave NW.
SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY