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Book Review: The Tangleroot Palace

New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel Monstress , Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut collection of dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction, you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women. Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods. Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.”

I love short fiction and general, but it’s especially great for the summer, when you can knock out a story of novella while enjoying the warm weather, and was thrilled to see that Marjorie Liu had had released a short fiction collection. I’m a huge fan of Liu’s Monstress series of graphic novels, and The Tangleroot Palace delivered exact mix of heart and grit that I expected, and more.

2021 Hugo Award Finalists

Every year the World Science Fiction Society awards the Hugo award to outstanding works of Science fiction and Fantasy. The past several years have seen a boom of incredible new fiction in these genres, and last year was no different, featuring some standout work from both new and established authors. Some of my personal favorites from the finalists are Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, and Axioms End by Lindsay Ellis.

We’ve created a list featuring the nominees for Best Novel, Best Series, Best YA Novel, and Best New Writer which you can check out here. Winners are announced in December, so you have plenty of time to read them all before then!

Cry Pilot by Joel Dane

Picture of book cover for Cry PilotThe good folks at Bookriot have an excellent one sentence description of the sub-genre of military science fiction; it’s “centered on the technologies and impacts of war on soldiers and society.” In recent years, this field has seen a lot of really great work from newer authors such as Marko Kloos and Linda Nagata, as well as by more established authors such as Kameron Hurley and Jack Campbell. Cry Pilot is the first in a new series and I REALLY enjoyed it. So much so that I’m a bit disappointed I found it before later books in the series were completed. Sigh. Publishers Weekly loved it as well: “Riveting action paired with a sharp psychoemotional landscape combine for the explosive launch of a futuristic trilogy. Centuries in the future, humans live in tiny corporate enclaves while the ruined Earth undergoes terra fixing, a process that sometimes creates biological horrors. Maseo Kaytu is a refugee with a secret, which makes it hard for him to enlist in the corporate military, but through a touch of chicanery and a stint as a cry pilot–human “keys” needed to engage highly technological, high-lethality vehicles known as CAVs–he earns his place in Group Aleph for basic training. The group is part of a program that’s been formed to address the rising threat of entities called lampreys. It’s not an easy road through basic training, but he manages as part of a squad that becomes closer than family despite his checkered past. Frequent adrenaline-rush action scenes make up most of the novel, interspersed with Kaytu’s internal narrative and experiences. This is an intriguing, thoughtful exploration of what a corporatized future might look like, liberally peppered with scenes of military life.”