The winter is upon us! While the weather outside might be too cold or simply too rainy for comfort, you should stay inside and curl up with a warm novel until the weather becomes a little more hospitable. Now is a great time to discover your new favorite author.
Maybe you’re looking for a cool new take on the post-apocalypse? Or maybe a heist story with some Mass Effect-style fantasy characters. We’ve got it all in this winter literary roundup.
Nnedi Okorafor’s excellent writing covers the trifecta of science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism; sometimes weaving between the three in her stories. She tackles the genre with a love for all things fantastic and uses African culture to create settings and characters with clear identities and complex motivations.
Who Fears Death in particular is a fantastic reimagining of the post-apocalyptic story, weaving familiar tropes of the wasteland in with strange magic, and complex racial and gender politics for a heroine born of two worlds. It’s an intense read, but if you’re looking for a book to bring you to a fantastic new world, this certainly is the one.
Here’s a one-sentence pitch for Tanya Huff’s Enchantment Emporium: it’s the only book to namecheck the excellent “Joss Whedon is my Master Now” t-shirt. That alone should get you excited.
But in all seriousness, Tanya Huff should be chalked up with one of the great genre writers of this day and age. Her pacing’s frenetic, her dialogue snappy, and her characters incredibly charismatic. Enchantment Emporium could read like Buffy the Vampire Slayer if it was all about Witches, and her Confederation of Valor books bring life to the Space Marine genre by paying homage to classic war stories with a sarcastic cast of characters constantly fighting by the skin of their teeth.
Mark Lawrence: The Broken Empire
You thought Game of Thrones was brutal? You know nothing John Snow. The Broken Empire trilogy puts a dark spin on everything you knew about Fantasy by telling a story about the murderers, scumbags, and dark overlords who usually fall prey to noble heroes.
Prince Jorg Ancrath, wandering vaguely around a part of the world formerly known as Europe, has had everything taken away from him—his mother, his brother, and even his right to the throne. But with vengeance on the mind and a keen realization that something strange is going on in the world, he rallies a troop of bandits and brutally slaughters his way across the countryside. Jorg is absolutely the character you’d normally root against in a fantasy story, but once you begin to understand the world he’s born into, you’ll begin to root for the only character who seems to have some idea how to keep it all together.
Patrick Weekes – Rogues of the Republic
You actually may have heard of Patrick Weekes before. He’s one of the people responsible for this:
Image Source: EA/Mass Effect
In any case, Patrick Weekes, currently Bioware’s lead writer on all things Dragon Age, is also a stellar fantasy novelist. His Rogue’s Republic trilogy is absolutely Dragon Age meets Ocean’s Eleven, complete with recruiting sequences, romances that could drag the team down, unexpected twists, and a complete right-turn into prophecy land that throws the entire casino heist vibe up on its head. Each book is like a great game of speed chess, and when Locke and her companions finally play their trump card, even when you’re looking for it to happen, you’ll cheer with delight.
Willow Wilson: Alif the Unseen
Alright, you’ve definitely heard of G. Willow Wilson—she writes Ms. Marvel!
But have you read her other books? If you haven’t, start with Alif the Unseen. It’s the story of a young arab-indian hacker named Alif in an unnamed Middle-Eastern city who goes a bit off the deep end after finding out the girl he loves is set to be married to the head of state security. In a feverish haze, he codes a program so that he doesn’t have to see her presence online any more. Then, he meets a djinni and the entire state security comes down on his head.
Alif’s adventure takes him across the many tableaus of his own city, but also into the world of djinni, and other creatures from Arabian folklore now adapting to live in the digital age. What starts off as a cyberpunk-fantasy romp slowly over time turns into a meditation on divinity and spirituality that’s accessible by people of all backgrounds. Alif is absolutely an adventure for all types, and when you put it down, you genuinely may have a new way of looking at the world around you.
So there you have it readers! You can grab these authors on Amazon or at your local independent bookstore—be sure to tell us if you’re reading any, or if you have any book recommendations for us!
Feature Image Credit: Who Fears Death/DAW