By Stephanie Feldman (Ecco)
Marjorie, the heroine of Feldman’s fantastical novel, must unravel a bizarre warning from her grandfather on his deathbed: “He’s coming for me. Then he’s coming for you.” Marjorie gathers clues, including her grandfather’s notebook — part diary, part story about the White Rebbe (a powerful, miracle-performing rabbi) and the Angel of Losses (guardian of the missing letter of the alphabet that completes the secret name of God) — while she’s being followed by an old man who offers similar warnings and an amulet of protection. Myth and reality soon collide in this imaginative first novel that blends Jewish folklore, history and theology into a gripping tale.
By James L. Cambias (Tor)
You’ve probably never rooted for giant lobsters before, but when science fiction meets ethnography in “A Darkling Sea,” you will. This witty, erudite novel chronicles the expedition of a scientific team studying lobsterlike inhabitants in the icy seas of the planet Ilmatar. The scientists have won permission for this study from the Sholen, six-limbed, extraterrestrial creatures who forbid any human interaction with the Ilmatarans. But then a self-serving media big-shot with the diving team gets too close while observing his subject. An epic battle results in heavy casualties, but the novel ends with the deep, hopeful yearning we have to explore the mysteries of all creatures and worlds around us.
THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST
By Claire North (Redhook)
If doomed to repeat one’s life over and over again during the 1940s, who wouldn’t try to kill Hitler? Yet not interfering with history is one of the cardinal rules of the Cronus Club, a select group of people who loop through time in North’s beguiling novel. Anyone who breaks the rules gets punished by the club to make sure the offense isn’t repeated in the next life. That system works fine until a little girl tells an old man named Harry that the world is ending — but in each succeeding timeline, the end happens earlier. Meanwhile, Cronus Club members are being killed off by one of their own, and it’s up to Harry to stop the slaughter.
THE GIRLS AT THE KINGFISHER CLUB
By Genevieve Valentine (Atria)
Valentine bases her latest novel on a mesmerizing, surreal retelling of the Brothers Grimm tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” In 1920s New York, the wealthy Mr. Hamilton, forever bitter over not having a male heir, keeps his daughters prisoners in the upper rooms of his mansion. But the girls manage to sneak out and, anonymously, storm the city’s dance halls. Their father hatches a plan to marry them off to the highest bidder — or send them away to an even darker fate. Jo, the oldest, must devise an escape, even as her father’s madness makes him more desperate.
By Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey)
The world of Prince Yarvi of Gettland is turned upside down with the assassination of his brother and father. In Abercrombie’s twisting tale, the young prince disguises himself as a cook’s son. He serves kings and gods alike as he struggles to avenge the deaths of his father and brother and to ensure his mother’s safety. In this enthralling novel, Yarvi must first navigate a minefield of traitors and unexpected friends at every turn.
— Nancy Hightower is the author of “Elementari Rising.”
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