The first novel in Muir's Locked Tomb trilogy, Gideon the Ninth is a seamless blend between sci-fiction and fantasy. Necromancers and their knights fight to serve the emprorer—each duo coming from a House on a different planet. The Locked Tomb trilogy is filled with fantastical sword fights, ancient bone magic, and terrible monsters you have to read to believe. Grimdark and hilarious, Muir has become a voice in the new generation of sci-fiction fantasy.
Following in the footsteps of classic dystopian novels like Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, The Memory Police shows us a world long controlled by authoritative forces—on this island, things will randomly disappear and with it all of our memories of them. However, instead of an action-packed novel about fighting the powers that be, Ogawa delivers a far more introspective look at resistance. The unnamed narrator is not one of the select few who retains her memories of lost items, but she nonetheless shelters a man who is, hiding him away from the memory police. I will warn you, The Memory Police is not about overcoming corrupt systems or toppling regimes; it is about survival, in any way we can manage it, regardless of how small the act may be.
In this collection of short stories, Helen Oyeyemi crafts a world where magic and folklore creeps out from the corners of our homes and the venom in our words. Each story is centered around the idea of a key, sometimes real, sometimes metaphorical, with each feeling like a modern-day fairy tale. "Is Your Blood as Red as This?" is a personal favorite, which focuses on a blooming love square at a school of puppetry, where ghosts are real and the marionettes have souls. Oyeyemi's writing feels like the stories your mother recited to lull you to sleep; entrancing and always leaving you demanding more.
Blurring the lines between memory and fantasy, Deane's Reading in the Dark, takes you through Ireland's Troubles, mapping a boy's experiences as he learns what divides his country and his family. A dark secret hangs over his house—whispers of murder, ghost stories, a criminal's flight to America—and the only people willing to tell him anything all seem to have ulterior motives. This book isn't for people who want to read a good story: it's for those who want a gripping story told to them like it's a deathbed confession.
Machado's memoir is like no other. Closest in form to Safekeeping by Abigail Thomas, In the Dream House is told through vignettes, showing differing views of her trauma like reflections in a shattered mirror. The text grapples with the real and the imaginary, interweaving historical accounts with folklore motifs and pop culture. Machado herself is trying to understand her situation, with the legacy of queer domestic abuse appearing nonexistant in historical corpus. In the Dream House is altogether beautiful and bloody and raw: it is the ghost in the dream house that humans haunt.
The format of This Is How You Lose the Time War is simple: Red, a time agent for the Agency, sabotages the imposing side and then finds a letter from—Blue, a time agent for the Garden, who sneaks past enemy lines to find a letter from—Red, a time agent... and back and forth it goes, rival agents fueled by a desire to best the other. Well, at least at first. The nature of Red and Blue's never-ending battle forges a relationship that is both new to this world and as old as time itself. Could the war keep these two apart? Could Atropos herself? Beautifully written, feeling like both a long-form poem and a dream, El-Mohtar and Gladstone have crafted a text that would make Sappho and Dickinson blush proudly. A stunning sci-fi novella for the ages.
A favorite of Louise Glück (Winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature), Crush is a brutual collection of poems about love, obsession, trauma, and loss. Siken describes romance like he's holding his own beating heart, displaying his vulnerabilites knowing (and secretly hoping) they'll be grinded to a pulp. Dark and bitter, Crush is Siken's bloody counterpart to War of the Foxes, but both will haunt you long after you've closed the book.
"Sorry about the blood in your mouth. I was it was mine." - from 'Little Beast'
Slate has crafted a series of essays for hopeless romantics and wandering souls, for people whose hearts live in starlight (even if they're a little afraid of the ghosts who haunt our shadowy corners). Her writing is lyrical, filled with literary smirks and metaphoric tears; I've never read anything like it and I'm not sure I ever will again. Take a peak and see for yourself how weird our little world truly is—and how magical that makes us all.
Iris is a young artist desperately trying to leave her boring Victorian life behind for the thrill the Pre-Raphealite painters enjoy; meanwhile, Silas is a scuttering taxidermist who has caught sight of a new creature for his collection. MacNeal's debut novel is about the historical 19th Century art movement that featured artists painting beautiful women on canvas while treating their models like a doll. A thrilling historical fiction novel that will leave you looking at art in a completely different way.