Fourth World by Lyssa Chiavari. ★★★
I picked up this YA science fiction because I heard it had asexual representation. That turned out to be the only memorable thing about it.
Isaak is a teenage boy living on a future Mars colony. Then he sees a strange arch formation that almost exactly matches the depiction on an ancient coin belonging to his missing father. But how is that possible? There’s no such thing as ancient Martian civilization… right?
This Other World by A.C. Buchanan. ★★★★
What a lovely science fiction novella! It’s a quiet story, and a short read (I read it in under an hour). Because of that, this review will be a bit shorter than normal.
Vonika’s an autistic engineer who chose to immigrate to an alien planet. She has built a career and life for herself there, complete with a marriage to an alien woman. In Temia, older citizens go through a process where they transition away from individuality and towards a group consciousness. Vonika is still deciding whether or not she’s willing to go through the process when she begins to get flashes of memories that don’t belong to her… At the same time, Temia is on the brink of war with a neighboring country, so Vonika’s life may be changing in more ways than one.
This Other World is intimately focused on Vonika’s life. While she is effected by larger events and affects them in turn, This Other World is no the sort of story that has a large scope or a heavy focus on action. It’s the sort of book I’d imagine would be perfect for curling up with a cup of tea on a cold day.
Vonika never felt like she fit in on Earth, and she still doesn’t really fit in in Temia. But as one of the only humans in the nation, her differences are presumed to be a feature common to her species and she finds herself more readily accepted. I can’t speak as to how her autism is portrayed, but I’ll note that this is own voices – the author is autistic as well.
I suggest This Other World for anyone looking for charming sci-fi novella with a bit of a mystery element.
One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron. ★★★★
I am loving this series so much, and it’s threatening to become on of my all time favorite urban fantasy series. It’s just so much fun! Plus, I love the world and characters. Rachel Aaron is doing truly wonderful work with this series.
One Good Dragon Deserves Another is the second book in the Heartstriker series, which begins with Nice Dragons Finish Last. I would suggest reading the books in order. Don’t worry, both books are fantastic! Forewarning, this review could involve spoilers from the first book.
Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani. ★★★★
Memories of Ash is a full, novel length sequel to the YA fantasy novella Sunbolt. In my review of Sunbolt, I noted that I was waiting to see where the sequels would take the series. Well it was worth the wait! Memories of Ash was even better than the first installment. It’s so much of what I want in a fantasy novel – a focus on adventure rather than romance, amazing world building, and a clever and kindhearted heroine.
While I suggest reading Sunbolt before Memories of Ash, you might be able to go into it without having read the novella. But why would you? Sunbolt is a lot of fun. Anyway, it was over two years since I’d read Sunbolt, and I didn’t find myself getting confused. Do note that there will be spoilers for the novella in the rest of this review.
Plastic Smile by S.L. Huang. ★★★1/2
Plastic Smile is the fourth novel in the Russell’s Attic series, a usually action oriented science fiction series about an anti-heroic woman with superpowers based on math. I suggest reading the series in order, starting with the first book, Zero Sum Game. This review may contain spoilers for prior books.
As part of her attempt to become a better person, Cas Russell has decided to fight crime. Being Cas, she decides to find the most mathematically efficient way of crime fighting. She hits upon a device that emits subsonic signals that break up group thought. Subliminal brain control over the entire Los Angles area. What could go wrong?
Root of Unity by S.L. Huang. ★★★1/2
Cas Russell and her mathematical superpowers are back! Root of Unity is the third book in Russell’s Attic series (start with Zero Sum Game), a series of fast paced, science fiction action thriller’s. Cas Russell has superhuman math abilities which she uses to work as a mercenary, instantly calculating the trajectory of bullets and the exact parabolic arcs needed to leap between buildings.
However, Cas is also trying to become a better person. It’s a strange journey for our anti-heroine, and Roots of Unity opens with her “falling off the wagon” – killing people again after she’d gone all of book two without murdering anyone. Over the course of the last two books, she’s found something very new for her: friends. Cas is horrible at interpersonal relationships, but she’s trying her best to learn this friendship thing.
And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst. ★★★1/2
And All the Stars is one of the better YA apocalyptic novels I’ve read. Towers have sprouted from cities around the world, spreading a strange dust. Those who encounter the dust either die or transform… Madeleine Cost is a fifteen year old artist who’s skipping school to go paint a portrait of her cousin. She winds up right next to Sydney’s tower and gets absolutely coated in the dust. She teams up with some other teenage survivors to face the new world and what they’ve become.