Another month, another set of wonderful book releases! As fall approaches, stories get a little darker, and I like that. Seasons don’t dictate my reading preferences necessarily — for example, I read crime fiction no matter what time of year it is — but I do appreciate how the tone in books changes as the weather turns cooler and the leaves start to change.
I’ve got some really interesting reads for you this month. There’s a couple of Star Wars books (what can I say, it’s me after all), but there also a hard-to-read but important novel in An Unkindness of Ghosts. There’s a Muslim-inspired fantasy novel with The Bloodprint and an East-Asian one in Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. It’s a good month for authentic diverse and representative sci fi and fantasy — I wish we were always this lucky.
Akata Warrior - Nnedi Okorafor (October 3)
You may know the name Nnedi Okorafor from her award winning fantasy novel Who Fears Death, one that she’s adapting along with George R. R. Martin for an HBO television show. But she’s currently writing an excellent series that started with Akata Witch. It's about an albino girl, Sunny, born in America but of Nigerian descent. Though her skin is white, Sunny's features are African and she doesn’t fit in anywhere. But when Sunny finds out she has magical powers, everything changes in an instant.
From a Certain Point of View - Various Authors (October 3)
I’ve been eagerly anticipating this anthology for months now, and I’m so excited it’s here. This anthology of 40 stories (to celebrate 40 years of Star Wars) retells the story of A New Hope, but from different points of view than the original movie. The reader is treated to stories from the point of view of Greedo, Yoda, Tarkin, Captain Antilles aboard the Tantive IV, and more. I can’t tell you how special this book is; you’ll just have to read it for yourself to find out.
An Unkindness of Ghosts - Rivers Solomon (October 3)
This hard sci-fi novel that parallels our history in post-Civil War America, but is set aboard a spaceship. The Earth can no longer support life, and survivors fled aboard a spaceship. That ship, the Matilda, is now a colony, and segregation is a way of life. Anyone with dark skin is a laborer, while those with light skin are upper class. From what I’ve heard about this book, it’s hard to read, but I think it’s an important story that needs to be told.
The Bloodprint - Ausma Zehanat Khan (October 3)
I’ve been a fan of Ausma Zehanat Khan’s crime novels (the series starts with The Unquiet Dead), so I’m looking forward to her fantasy debut! This first in a quartet introduces us to a fantasy world where men from a group called the Talisman are in charge and have subjugated the women of the world. It’s up to one woman to stop them, and considering the tagline is “The only defense against the ignorance of men is the brilliance of powerful women,” it seems right up Fangrrls’ alley.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns - Julie Dao (October 10)
This fantasy novel is inspired by East Asian culture, about a beautiful girl named Xifeng who is prophesized to become the next empress. But there’s a catch: magic is in Xifeng’s blood, and to fulfill this grand destiny, she must turn to darkness to unleash its potential. I’m always interested in fantasies inspired by Asian worlds, and I’ve been hearing a lot of positive things about this intriguing novel.
Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! - Mariko Tamaki and Brooklyn Allen (October 10)
I’ve basically been vibrating with excitement ever since this book was announced (I love Lumberjanes, and Mariko Tamaki is just excellent), so I’m thrilled it’s finally here. This is a middle-grade novel (think middle-school aged) featuring the awesome girls from the hit comic book series. If you haven’t read the series yet, that’s okay! This book will provide you all you need to know about the characters . . . though after it’s over, you’ll probably want to pick up the comics!
Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor - Ryder Windham and Adam Bray (October 24)
This gorgeous book takes the iconic Stormtroopers of the Star Wars universe and traces their development. Where did the design come from? How have they changed from the movies to TV, comics, video games, and in pop culture? I haven’t had the chance to flip through this book yet, but if it’s anything like the high-quality Star Wars Propaganda, which Harper Design released last year, I already know I’ll love it.
The Tethered Mage - Melissa Cruso (October 24)
The first in a series (there are a lot of those this month apparently!), this fantasy novel is set in the Raverran Empire. Anyone born with magic power is forcibly taken from their family at a young age, becoming a part of the army. Zaira has managed to evade detection thus far, living on the streets and stealing from others to survive. But she wields a special kind of magic, one that makes her a threat to the Empire, and they’ll stop at nothing to capture her and use her for themselves.
Barbary Station - R. E. Stearns (October 31)
This novel has been described as a “steampunk lesbian space pirate” story, and let’s be real, no description could make me want to read a book more. Adda and Iridian think that hijacking a spaceship to join a group of space pirates is an excellent idea — after all, what sounds more fun than being a space pirate? But when they arrive at the thieves’ hideout, Barbary Station, they find the group they thought was fearless hiding from an AI gone mad. Now, they must earn their place at Barbary Station by outwitting a superintelligent computer.
Beasts Made of Night - Tochi Onyebuchi (October 31)
This might be a debut novel, but it’s written with the intricacy only a longtime writer could master. This dark magic fantasy is inspired by Nigerian culture and is set in a city called Kos, where negative feelings, such as guilt, can actually create physical monsters. Taj is a talented young sin-eater who has been taught to kill these creatures, called sin-beasts, and he relishes the ability to provide for his family. But when Taj gets a job he doesn’t expect, he’s flung into the center of a conspiracy that could shatter the very fabric of life in Kos.