Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman - Neil Gaiman putting his own fingerprints on the Norse myths? Cue the hyperventilation of delighted readers. That reaction is genuinely earned in this tight retelling, as Gaiman darts between a Tolkienesque tone in the epic origin stories and his own bright wit in the tales centering on the adventures of Thor, Loki, and Odin. Many who read Norse Mythology will make this volume their joyful leaping-off point into a strange and mesmerizing world of gods, giants, undead goats, betrayals, a slanderous squirrel, elves, dwarves, and Valkyries. Read our interview with Neil Gaiman about his "weird little side project" to learn more.
Ubo by Steve Rasnic Tem - After Daniel is kidnapped away from his wife and child by giant roaches and taken to a place he only knows as UBO, he is forced to relive the memories of mass shooters, serial killers, and soldiers in war so that the roaches can better understand how humans' violent impulses work—or at least that's what Daniel thinks is going on. As he uncovers more and more truths, the reality of his situation is even more frightening. Tem's introspective retelling of the killings of Jack the Ripper and others adds to the already high horror level of this tale, but he clearly has ideas he wants to convey about the human animal and its propensity for violence—and for our need for connection and beauty as well.
Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty - An inventive (air-)locked room mystery, Six Wakes will keep you guessing alongside the murdered and freshly cloned crew of the spaceship Dormire, as they try to uncover who among them could have done the deed. Lafferty sets a blistering pace as the nuanced characters continually reveal new facets to the mystery through inventive backstories. (Review by Matt Fyffe)
Gilded Cage by Vic James - This book was initially described to me as "Red Rising meets Downton Abbey," and that rings true if Red Rising took place in modern-day England instead of on Mars and Downton Abbey were populated by frightening, sometimes sociopathic magic users determined to keep their spot at the top of the social heap by any means necessary. Okay, so maybe it's not the most precise description of the plot, but it's a good match for the conflict, as the heroine is forced to serve the aristocratic and dominating Jardine clan while the rumbling undertones of revolution are being amplified by her brother incarcerated in a slavetown. Original and gripping, Gilded Cage launches a new series from debut novelist James.
Will Save the Galaxy for Food by Yahtzee Croshaw - When a down-on-his-luck space pilot is paid well to impersonate someone else at a fancy dinner, he learns too late that he's pretending to be the galaxy's most hated pilot. Worse, the dinner is hosted by the galaxy's baddest crime boss, who wants to hire him to drive his son around the solar system for the weekend. Space pirates, a steely executive assistant who's always working the angles, and the awkwardness of teenage crushes add to the chaos. As our hero extricates himself from one deadly situation, he immediately face-plants into the next one, keeping the humor and action levels at 11 at all times. Good clean fun.
Click here to see all our February picks, including The Book of Etta by Meg Elison, A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab, and With Blood upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu. Or discover which books we chose as the best science fiction and fantasy of 2016.
by Adrian Liang