The Black Tides of Heaven by J. Y. Yang

The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang is one of the two standalone introductions to their Tensorate series. Both it and The Red Threads of fortune can be read independent of each other, but run parallel to each other. It's a fascinating construction for the start of a series, but I can't speak to how well it works yet, because so far I've only read one of the two books. Sorry guys!

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My Real Children by Jo Walton

This book hurt my heart in all the good ways and all the bad ways. It drew me in and horrified me, delighted me and broke my heart. Patricia Cowan has dementia, lives in a nursing home, and can remember living two very different lives. In one of them she married her college boyfriend when he made her choose now or never, and in the other she didn't. After that simple choice, though, her lives diverge drastically, as does the political state of the world around her. This book isn't your usual alternate history, and it's not a heavily plot-driven book. Instead it's more of a character study than it is anything else -- but such a compelling, careful, complicated one that I couldn't put the book down.

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The Power by Naomi Alderman

While some who aren't used to reading sci-fi or fantasy may dismiss the premise, Naomi Alderman is working at the core of what science fiction is supposed to do; she is taking this story and using it as a mirror, showing us something in ourselves that we can't see in the normal sort of mirror, showing us something in the world that we're too accustomed to the normal world to see.

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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin

How does one sit down and review Ursula K. LeGuin? Honestly, I'm skeptical that I can do it, but I'll try. You don't sit down after reading one of her books for the first time and think about all the ways it could have been better. You even have a hard time sorting out the things you love, because it was all just so good.

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Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

I loved every single idea in this book, and want more novels by Annalee Newitz immediately. The many different ways that she looks at autonomy and ownership; the terrifying world that she's built where anything can be owned, and where pharmaceuticals are magically effective but kept from the masses behind intellectual property rights and high prices--all of it is fascinating and strange while also being entirely applicable to issues in tech right now. That, and the fact that our cast of main characters are all beautifully broken and widely diverse, is the genius of the book.

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Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey

Sarah Gailey has done it again. Just goddamn gave me everything that I've ever wanted out of a book, and done it while all the characters are riding hippos. You heard me. They're riding hippos. In the Mississippi river. Hippos on the Mississippi, both being ridden by people, and running feral and killing and eating everything that moves.

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This book was an absolute delight to read. It's short, it's sweet, and it's got just the right amount of darkness mixed in with the sweetness to make is something more. The characters are all a little broken, all children that went on adventures in worlds that were perfectly suited to them and then came back to the normal, everyday, world changed. Now they yearn for worlds that they can't get back to, whether that's because they aren't welcome anymore, or because the door back simply refuses to open.

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Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

Like everything else by Octavia Butler that I've ever read, this book is simultaneously masterful, eye-opening, and disturbing. On one hand we have Anyanwu, an immortal, black, female protagonist who places strong values on family--both found and blood--community, and humanity. On the other hand we have Doro, the male immortal who lives by killing, who brings communities of different people together to breed both prey and companions for him, and his domination over Anyanwu through threats to her children. It's uncomfortable, but real, to see a strong, competent, powerful woman have to submit to a monstrous man to stay alive and protect her family.

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Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee

The first half of Ninefox Gambit, the first book in the Machineries of Empire series, confused, frustrated, and intrigued me in equal measures; Raven Stratagem had none of its predecessor's confusion or frustration, and all of it's intrigue . There was just enough really gut-punching character work in the last half of Ninefox for me to decide to give the series another shot, and thank goodness I did--I would not have wanted to miss reading this. 

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The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

This book is comforting like a handmade quilt, and kind like a good friend. It paints a picture of a sprawling and diverse universe, populated by aliens of different body plans and cultures and sexual norms, some kind, some violent, all of them strange to one another, but all of them trying (and sometimes failing, but always trying) to find ways to live together in something like peace, or at least neutrality.

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Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

When this book was recommended to me, it was described as 'grown up Wall-E, plus all of humanity is dead,' and the book itself delivered on the promise. This book was a fun read, and covered a lot of ground in the subjects of what it means to be intelligent, what it means to have a soul, and where you find meaning in life after you've killed the people you were built to serve.

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Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey

Well, that was an interesting installment of The Expanse. It wasn't quite what I expected, and not exactly what I've been going to this series for, but it was still good. Cibola Burn accelerates humanity out of the solar system and onto the worlds that the Gate has made available to them. Or at least, onto the first world that they find outside of the solar system that is habitable without terraforming.

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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

My first reaction upon finishing this book was sheer relief that I had finally finished it. Not because I felt like I'd wasted my time, or because it wasn't a good book; it's a worthwhile and interesting read. It's also enormous. If you're looking for a commitment of a book, this book is for you. If you're the type that reads a couple of pages a day, this book may take you a couple of years to read.

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Miranda and Caliban by Jaqueline Carey

I've never read The Tempest, and maybe I should have before reading this book. I might have appreciated it more. Carey, as always, delivers beautiful prose, and that's the reason that I will keep reading Carey's books for as long as she keeps publishing them. Unfortunately, this one was a bit of a miss for me when it comes to the romance and the story, mostly because of the narrative's treatment of Caliban, which made me increasingly uncomfortable.

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The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

This book. THIS BOOK. This book, you guys. It kept me up for three nights in a row, vacation days where I had other things I needed to be doing during the day, old friends that I had promised to meet with, family that I wanted to spend time with. But every night, back at my hotel, I would pick up this book and read until I realized that it was way too late, much, much later than I had planned on staying up.

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American Street by Ibi Zoboi

This book was definitely unlike anything I've read before - and that's exactly why it's so good. It's #ownvoices, about Haitian immigrants in Detroit, and while it's closer to magical realism than the fantasy that I was expecting, I still enjoyed the fact that the magic was from a different cultural background than the fantasy that I usually read.

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