Three Speculative Novels by Queer Authors for Pride Month—Or Anytime!

While Pride Month is a great time to dip your toes into the waters of queer speculative fiction, there are too many great options to limit yourself to just thirty-one days! (Plus, queer folks are queer 24/7, not just in June, so why not celebrate natural human diversity all year long?)

For this mini-list, I’ve selected three of my favorite novels by LGBTQIA+ authors. This post does contain affiliate links to If you make a purchase using one of these links, you’re helping support both this blog and indie bookstores at no extra cost to you!

Be gay. 🏳️‍🌈 Read books! 📚

8 books next to a light box that reads "Happy Pride" with a bouquet of flowers in the background.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth was pitched to me as “lesbian necromancers.” Although the main characters are indeed queer, and one of them is indeed a necromancer, “lesbian necromancers” doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of how utterly brilliant, funny, gripping, and goddamn heartbreaking this book is. In fact, it was so utterly brilliant, funny, gripping, and goddamn heartbreaking that as soon as I’d finished listening to the excellently narrated and produced audiobook, I hit play again and read it a second time.

But in case that’s not enough of an endorsement for you, let me tell you a little bit about the plot, too. The eponymous Gideon dreams of leaving her prison in the Ninth House to become a soldier, but Harrowhark Nonagesimus, the de facto leader of the Ninth House and a powerful necromancer, has other ideas. She recruits Gideon to be her cavalier—basically her personal swordswoman—as she goes on a quest to become a lictor for the undying emperor. Together, they have to compete against necromancers and cavaliers from other houses to solve magical puzzles and unlock the secrets to immortality. Only, of course, things do not go as planned.

Also be sure to check out the sequel, Harrow the Ninth!

Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers

My bookish love affair with K. B. Wagers began in the library, as all great love affairs do. It was 2016, and I was clerking at the main desk of my library when we got a new book for the science fiction section: Behind the Throne. The title didn’t catch my eye at first, but the tagline did: “…with a heroine as rebellious as Han Solo, as savvy as Leia, and as skilled as Rey.”

While books or movies that compare themselves to Star Wars rarely live up to the hype in my fangirly estimation, I liked the cover art and the concept, so I checked the book out and took it home. I started it that evening, and, well, let’s just say the book—and its heroine—definitely lived up to, and then shot right past, my expectations.

Hail Bristol is a gun runner and a smuggler who’s been doing her utmost to leave her past behind her. But, of course, it catches up to her. Now, she has to face the fact that she’s the last surviving member of the royal family of the Indranan Empire, reconcile with her demons, and save her people. This is a fast-paced, high-stakes, tense but enjoyable read with relatable characters you can’t help but fall in love with.

Also be sure to check out the other two books in the trilogy, After the Crown and Beyond the Empire!

Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson

A few months ago, I was working on a list of queer speculative fiction when I realized I had zero gay men on my list. I wracked my brain trying to come up with a few, scoured my Goodreads lists, and still came up empty handed. I went looking, and found Kai Ashante Wilson’s hauntingly beautiful and devastating novella, Sorcerer of the Wildeeps.

Wilson combines nonlinear storytelling with lush prose to create a story that echoes the way many of us experience memory and grief: in pieces and fragments; wisps of conversations, moments from larger events, and the ebb and flow of emotion through it all. If you’re not a fan of nonlinear stories, you may find Sorcerer of the Wildeeps a challenging read, but either way, you’ll find it a rewarding experience.

The story follows two earth-bound demigods who must use their powers to keep a caravan of merchants and soldiers safe from the dangers of the road, and especially from a man-eating supernatural beast. Although the plot is straightforward, the beats of the story echo like drums long after you turn the last page.

There’s also a sequel, called A Taste of Honey.

There are so many more amazing and wonderful speculative books by queer authors. I’ve compiled some of them in this Bookshop list called “Read the Rainbow: Speculative Fiction by LGBTQIA+ Authors,” but my list is far from authoritative. I’d love to hear who some of your favorite queer spec fic authors are in the comments!

Who’s your favorite queer speculative author? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter @bookwitchblog, or Instagram @bookwitchblog!

Go Deeper Into the Skywalker Saga with These Essential Star Wars Books

May the 4th Be with You! While Star Wars began as a film franchise with a  novelization, one spin off novel, and a cheesy comic book series, today there are hundreds of Star Wars novels. This can make it a little intimidating for new fans to jump in and start enjoying these books, so I’ve put together this list of 15 of the most essential Star Wars stories that will deepen your understanding of the 9-film Skywalker Saga! They’re arranged in rough chronological order, but you don’t need to read them that way. You can dip in and out of these with no more background than having watched the films. Remember: Read, and the Force is with you!

My Star Wars bookshelf.

The Prequel Era

Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray

Why it’s essential: In the same way Dooku: Jedi Lost gives us the background of one of the Prequel Trilogy’s main villains, Claudia Gray’s Master and Apprentice draws back the curtain on the pre-Phantom Menace relationship between Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan learner, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Although we see them as a unified, harmonious pair in the Phantom Menace, their relationship wasn’t always so solid, and Master and Apprentice dives into that. Read this book, and then watch Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s duel with Darth Maul and try not to cry.

Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott

Why it’s essential: Count Dooku, the leader of the Separatists, was Qui-Gon Jinn’s first Jedi Master before he fell to the dark side and became Darth Tyrannus. Set around the time of Attack of the Clones as Dooku searches for an apprentice, it flashes back into the past to show his gradual fall to the dark. Dooku: Jedi Lost provides rich background for Christopher Lee’s haughty Sith Lord and makes his duels with Obi-Wan and Anakin in the films even more impactful.

Note: This book was produced as a full-cast audio drama, though it is also available in script form (linked here).

Queen’s Shadow by E. K. Johnston

Why it’s essential: Queen’s Shadow takes place between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, and details Padme’s transition from queen of Naboo to senator. For those of us who were fascinated with Padme’s handmaidens in Phantom Menace, Queen’s Shadow gives us our first opportunity to really get to know them. This book helps smooth the transition between the two films as far as Padme is concerned, and adds significant depth to her character.

The Original Trilogy Era

The Rise of the Empire

Why it’s essential: This book actually contains two novels: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller and Tarkin by James Luceno. It also features three previously unavailable short stories not published anywhere else. Both novels take place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and both deal with, as the title suggests, the Empire’s rise to power. A New Dawn takes the perspective of the rising Rebellion, while Tarkin covers the period from the bad guy’s perspective. 

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Why it’s essential: If you’re not a fan of the Star Wars Legends novels from the ‘90s or the animated show Rebels, you may not know who Grand Admiral Thrawn is. But while he may not have appeared in any of the Skywalker films, he is a fan favorite character and one of the most interesting in the Expanded Universe. This book is the first in a trilogy that shows Thrawn’s quick ascent through the Empire’s military ranks. The reason I’ve included it on this list is because it shows us the inner workings of the Imperial Academy and the political underpinnings and tensions of the military

Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

Why it’s essential: This book’s inclusion on the list should be self explanatory, but let me explain how much I love it anyway! Leia, Princess of Alderaan takes place before A New Hope and gives a glimpse into Leia’s life before the mission where she rescues the Death Star plans that results in Alderaan’s destruction. We also get to meet a younger Amilyn Holdo. This book really shows us what Leia is made of, and is a beautiful addition to her story arc.

Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston

Why it’s essential: You may be familiar with Ahsoka Tano from the second season of The Mandalorian or The Clone Wars animated series. This book delves into the time between the end of the Rebels animated series and A New Hope. Similarly to A New Dawn, Ahsoka deals with the beginnings of the Rebellion and the Inquisitors (Dark Side users who hunt down Jedi and other Force users). It also gives us insight into how the few Jedi who weren’t killed after Order 66 survived—or didn’t.

From A Certain Point of View

Why it’s essential: This collection of forty short stories by various authors covers the events of Star Wars: A New Hope from the perspectives of the characters we only see briefly, or who are only implied (like the citizens of Alderaan). From the dianoga in the trash compactor to one of the Jawas on the Sandcrawler to the denizens of the Mos Eisley Cantina to Imperial officers aboard the Death Star, this book gives us a much bigger glimpse into the world around our heroes. One caveat though: If stories ever make you emotional, get ready to cry a couple times at least. Some of these tales are real heartbreakers!

From A Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back

Why it’s essential: From A Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back gives us the same 40-story treatment as the first From a Certain Point of View collection, only this time we dive into The Empire Strikes Back! And also like its predecessor, have tissues on hand, because of few these would make even a Sith Lord cry. 

Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Why it’s essential: Perhaps the most controversial Star Wars book to have ever been released, I’m including Aftermath because it shines a light on the period immediately following the death of the Emperor on the second Death Star. The book sparked protest when it was released for its inclusion of LGBTQ characters, but many fans have also found Chuck Wendig’s writing style difficult to get into. The people who were opposed to the inclusion of gay people can find another fandom, but the concerns over the writing style are valid. I enjoyed this book, and think listening to the audio version mitigates some of the choppiness of the prose. 

The Sequel Era

Last Shot by Daniel Jose Older

Why it’s essential: Han. Lando. Chewbacca. Really, what more do I need to say? Last Shot is a fun action adventure novel featuring our three favorite scoundrels. The main storyline of the book takes place after Return of the Jedi, but it includes flashbacks to earlier. This is also one of the few novels where we get to see Han be a father, although that’s not the focus of the novel. If you’re looking for a fun read, look no further than Last Shot!

Bloodline by Claudia Gray

Why it’s essential: Bloodline features Leia as the main character and lets us get to know the New Republic while it hints at the rise of the First Order. This is one of my favorite Star Wars novels, not only because it’s just so well-written and engaging, but because it gives us a rare opportunity to see Leia’s flaws. But rather than making me like her any less, the way she reacts to her mistakes and learns from them makes me love her even more. Especially for those who don’t understand how the New Republic could have failed so spectacularly, this book provides ample insight.

Phasma by Delilah Dawson

Why it’s essential: If, like me, you love mysterious villains, you’ll love Phasma! I also love a novel with a frame narrative, and this one is excellent. Resistance spy Vi Moradi was captured by the First Order after a long mission researching Captain Phasma, and uses her captor’s rivalry with Phasma against him. As a prisoner, she tells Phasma’s origin story. This book also sets up Black Spire, which is essential reading if you ever plan to visit Galaxy’s Edge.

Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse 

Why it’s essential: Resistance Reborn bridges the gap between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. We see the Resistance rebuilding itself and gathering supplies and allies. I read this book before seeing The Rise of Skywalker in theaters, and it definitely made the experience richer. Fans of Wedge Antilles (me me me!) will also appreciate how much screen time he gets. And our boy Poe Dameron, who messes up big time in TLJ, has time to do a lot of soul-searching and growing in this novel.

As a final note, I’ll say it was really difficult to choose only 15 books. I tried to make the list shorter, but I just couldn’t do it! I had to leave off some of my favorites, but I do believe there’s a Star Wars novel perfect for every fan, and I hope this list helps you find yours!

If you’re more into the Dark Side, be sure to check out my Revenge of the 5th: Star Wars Novels about the Dark Side list on! This list includes both canon and Legends novels.

What are your favorite Star Wars novels? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram or Twitter @bookwitchblog!

Six novels about plagues and viral outbreaks

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic may seem like the worst time to write a booklist featuring novels and comics about plagues and viral outbreaks.

For most of us, it’s been over a year since the world shut down and our lives changed dramatically. We’ve been facing constant upheaval, uncertainty, fear, and a barrage of information and misinformation.

Many of us are dealing with pandemic fatigue: We’re tired of isolation, restrictions, and ongoing disruptions and uncertainty. Our energy reserves are long depleted.

Which is why, now, more than ever, I find myself turning to stories about pandemics and plagues.

In March 2020, I wondered if COVID would wipe out global infrastructure the way it did in Station Eleven. I wondered if the pandemic would cause civil unrest on the scale it did in Y: The Last Man. I even let myself wonder if humanity would die out like it does in Oryx and Crake.

Of course, while this global outbreak has caused major disruptions in basic infrastructure, civil unrest, and millions of deaths, we’ve seen nothing so terminal as what’s depicted in those stories. In a way, that’s comforting to me. These characters have survived, and so have I.

Most of the books I recommend here have hopeful—if not happy—endings, which can also help when things feel chaotic and difficult, especially now at the one-year mark as we’re starting to see some hope with vaccine rollouts.

If you feel like reading about fictional pandemics hits too close to home, I also created a booklist of fun speculative novels to read on the beach—or anywhere!

Six novels about plagues and viral outbreaks

Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

A mysterious virus kills every mammal with a Y chromosome. Human, animal, they’re all dead. Except for Yorick Brown and his pet monkey, Ampersand. As the last man alive in a world left devastated by the loss of half its population, Yorick is pursued by scientists who want to study him and bands of “Amazons” who think the world is better off without men.

Like many post-apocalyptic stories, Y: The Last Man explores a “what if” future while commenting on the present in significant ways. Far from being a story about how women can’t survive without men, Y is a story of how women can and do thrive without men. It’s also a story about one man—now a metaphor for all men—being forced to confront his fragile masculinity and, pardon my french, grow the fuck up, all while chaos swirls around him.

The Dreamers by Katherine Thompson Walker

In a sleepy California college town, students go to class and maybe fall in love, a single dad does his best to take care of his daughters, and a couple struggling with new parenthood attempt to navigate their fraught relationship when a mysterious illness descends. The infected fall asleep, and nothing can wake them. They become dehydrated and malnourished without hospital care.

The disease—and panic—spreads, and much like we’re seeing with this current pandemic, characters react in different ways. The Dreamers isn’t a pandemic novel, as the virus is contained to this one small town. But Katharine Thompson Walker is a master at eliminating the  distance between character and reader. It feels just as if we’re experiencing the illness along with the town.

Woven throughout the viral outbreak is Walker’s exploration of the mysteries of sleep and dreams, which adds another few layers to this book. (I also loved her debut novel, The Age of Miracles, which is a post-apocalyptic climate disaster novel told from the perspective of an eleven-year-old girl.)

The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood

The three books in the MaddAdam trilogy, Oryx and Crake, Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam, chronicle the rise of genetic engineering and the downfall of humanity because of a mysterious plague. Spoiler alert: It all goes back to the hubris of one man and his cult leader status.

I first read Oryx and Crake over a decade ago. I’m still shocked at how often I see an article about “groundbreaking science” that echoes Atwood’s predictions. Take lab-grown meat for example. Written with ruthless precision and prescient imagination, the MaddAddam trilogy will have you rethinking the wisdom of genetic engineering and whether or not humanity even deserves to continue on as a species.

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Unlike the other novels on this list, Wanderers tackles an epidemic from two sides: those affected and those working to stem the tide and contain the disease. The novel is told through multiple perspectives, including a disgraced CDC epidemiologist and the sister of this new plague’s first victim.

Of course, it’s not as simple as one unknown disease; there are two new diseases causing havoc across the United States. Wanderers weaves disparate threads together. It reveals how interconnected systems—including political systems—can fail at any point and lead to an uncontrolled outbreak. That makes it incredibly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you read Amazon or Goodreads reviews for this book, you may see a lot of one- and two-star reviews that label the book overly “political.” But as we are seeing, politics are inseparable from how we react to and deal with epidemics and pandemics. Once again, Chuck Wendig exposes the flaws in the system and reveals how politics ignores science, putting citizens in peril.

The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams

Released on February 4, Clare Beams’s debut novel hit shelves just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illness Lesson is more akin to The Dreamers in tone and scope: it deals with a localized, mysterious illness in a progressive 19th century school for girls. When a mysterious flock of red birds descends on the school, the students begin exhibiting strange symptoms.

Beams explores the oft-overlooked topic of women’s illnesses and how the medical establishment and society ignore women’s symptoms and pain. Beams’s writing is vivid and haunting, and comparisons to Kelly Link and Karen Russell are apt.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Emily St. John Mandel’s brilliant debut novel can be read as a terrifyingly possible blueprint for the future after COVID-19. In Station Eleven, a flu pandemic wipes out huge swathes of humanity and causes societal collapse. No more power, no more running vehicles, no more industry, no more government, no more medicine.

Those who survive are forced into a pre-industrial way of life where resources are scarce. But I’m not recommending this novel because I think things are hopeless for us. On the contrary, Station Eleven shows us how people can thrive even in dire circumstances and find ways to rebuild. This book ends on a hopeful note, and also shows how important art is, especially in times of crisis.

I’ve collected these six novels, along with a few others, into a handy list over at

This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing books through directly supports independent bookstores, and using my affiliate links supports my writing and this website.

Three Historical SFF Novels Perfect for Women’s History Month

An image of three books in a row. The first is THE GHOST BRIDE by Yangsze Choo on a green background. The second is KINDRED by Octavia Butler on a pink background. The third is MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia on a green background.

March is Women’s History Month, and while speculative fiction often addresses the future, it’s equally good at plumbing the past to help us understand the present. These three novels all have historical settings and female characters who have to confront the limits their time period puts on women—and then find ways to overcome them. 

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Kindred tells the story of a modern Black woman, Dana, who is pulled back in time to the South by one of her ancestors. There, Dana has to confront the reality of slavery. Dana serves as a sort of translator-avatar for the reader—neither she nor any of us have ever experienced slavery first hand. She quickly realizes that if she behaves as a Black woman from the 1970s normally behaves, she’ll get herself killed. Her only real safety net in this strange world is her ancestor, Rufus, the son of a slaveholder and the reason she keeps traveling through time.

Dana goes into the past thinking she could never be a slave, only to learn that she will do what it takes to survive, even if that means swallowing her pride and sacrificing some of her dignity. As she gets to know the slaves, she sees how strong they are. She realizes that they, too, are a product of their time, though their time doesn’t define who they are as individuals. Through Dana’s eyes, the reader is able to see the complex social dynamics and entrenched patriarchal and racist values and structure involved in slavery. As Dana experiences what it’s like to be a slave, so too does the reader—and therein is Kindred’s real power.

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Yangsze Choo’s coming-of-age adventure set in 1890s Malaya explores the effects of colonialism, sexism, and class on its characters. Li Lan is a young woman with few marriage prospects because of her father’s failing business. She’s smart and capable, but to her potential suitors, money is what matters, and her family doesn’t have any.

The Lim family offers to make her a ghost bride to their recently deceased son, which would mean Li Lan would have a home and live in comfort for the rest of her life. But it would also mean she’d be alone, and have to abandon her ailing father. As she wrestled with the decision to become a ghost bride, Li Lan is slowly pulled into the afterlife, where she becomes embroiled in solving the mystery of her would-be groom’s death. 

Throughout the novel, Li Lan must reckon with the ways her own desires conflict with her familial and societal duty, and make difficult choices between them. Choo renders colonial Malaya vividly and beautifully, and her afterlife is lush and feels like a complete world unto itself. 

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Set in the early 1940s, Mexican Gothic follows the story of two cousins: Noemi and Catalina. Noemi is a young debutant who dreams of becoming an anthropologist. The only problem is, her father wants her to find a husband at college, not get a degree. 

When they receive a disturbing letter from Catalina, recently married to an Englishman named Virgil, who lives in a run-down mansion called High Place, Noemi’s father makes a deal with her. If she goes to check on Catalina and help her recover, he’ll allow her to get a master’s degree. Noemi agrees, and sets off for High Place with high hopes.

As with any gothic novel, the house has secrets. Catalina’s mysterious illness unerves Noemi, and she clashes with her cousin’s husband and his eugenicist father, Howard. Her only friend at High Place is Francis, Virgil’s quiet cousin who seems to be keeping a secret or two of his own, but clearly likes Noemi. 

Mexican Gothic addresses colonialism, racism, and sexism in a more direct way than The Ghost Bride, but has plenty of surprises up its sleeve, too. The horror of colonization is made visceral in the house’s secret, as Virgil and Howard try to force Noemi and Catalina to bend to their wills. 

More Speculative Novels for Women’s History Month

Of course, there are so many more great speculative novels by women, about women. Novels that retell myths formerly dominated by men (Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad), novels that examine a matriarchal future (Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home), and novels that examine what the world might be like if the power balance favored the most powerless (Naomi Alderman’s The Power). 

I’ve gathered all these—and more!—in this handy list of Speculative Novels for Women’s History Month in my shop. Any purchases you make using these affiliate links helps support my work and the work of independent bookstores all over the world!

The Seven Books I’m Most Excited for in 2021

Welcome to the Book Witch, a blog about speculative fiction and comics!

If you’re here, I can only assume you love books: reading them, collecting them, smelling them… Whatever your particular book kink, I hope you’ll find this to be a welcoming, inclusive space.

I’ll be bringing you reviews of new books, topical booklists, and speculative fiction-adjacent content every Tuesday, so make space on your TBR shelf!

A starburst graphic with a teal blue bar in the center that reads "The Book Witch's Most Anticipated Titles of 2021." There's a small purple witch hat on the "b" in "Book Witch."

To kick things off, I wanted to highlight some of the books and comics I’m most excited about in the first half of 2021. 

This post contains affiliate links to, so any purchases you make using these links will help support the Book Witch and independent bookstores all over the world! Of course, I always encourage you to buy directly from your local indie bookstore whenever possible.

Burning Girls and Other Stories by Veronica Schanoes

March 2, Tor/Forge

Brief description: In Burning Girls and Other Stories, Veronica Schanoes crosses borders and genres with stories of fierce women at the margins of society burning their way toward the center.

Why I’m psyched: I love a good short story collection, and this one’s gotten quite a bit of buzz! It’s difficult to get attention for short fiction in the best of times, as readers seem to avoid them, so it’s always a good sign when one makes the round like Burning Girls is.

Stillwater Vol. 1 by Chip Zdarsky and Ramón K. Pérez

March 17, Image

Brief description: Nobody dies. In the town of Stillwater, that’s not just a promise. It’s a threat. 

Why I’m psyched: Death and dying are topics I can never get enough of, and I also can never get enough Chip Zdarsky. (If you haven’t read Sex Criminals, you are really missing out). I’m most familiar with his comic art rather than writing, so I’m looking forward to diving into this book. 

Zoey Rosenthal is Not Lawful Good by Nancy Werlin

April 6, Penguin Random House

Brief description: A buttoned-up overachiever works overtime to keep her inner nerd at bay—failing spectacularly—in Nancy Werlin’s hilarious and heartfelt return to contemporary realistic fiction.

Why I’m psyched: When I read the description for this book, I immediately saw myself. I am definitely an overachiever, and no one can deny what a nerd I am. This one might be stretching the bounds of this blog’s speculative focus, but I’ll always make an exception for books about nerdy characters, especially nerdy ladies!

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

April 6, Simon & Schuster

Brief description: Westworld meets Warcross in this high-stakes, incisive, dizzyingly smart sci-fi about a teen girl navigating an afterlife in which she must defeat an AI entity intent on destroying humanity, from award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman.

Why I’m psyched: Dead people stuff? Check! Smart teenager? Check! Creepy/scary AI? Check! I’m excited for this one because it mixes some classic sci-fi tropes in new ways, and looks like it’s going to be a blast to read!

Inkblot Vol.1 by Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd

April 7, Image

Brief description: A powerful sorceress must attempt to correct her greatest mistake—the creation of a magical cat which can travel through time,space, and the seven realms of reality.

Why I’m psyched: As someone who has a mischievous black cat and loves fantasy, I simply couldn’t resist Inkblot’s premise. I’ve been buying this monthly (it’s on my pull list at my local comic shop) and am loving it so far. Both writer and artist obviously know what it’s like to love a void cat while also being completely exasperated by their antics.

Aetherbound by E.K. Johnston

May 25, Penguin Random House

Brief description: Set on a family-run interstellar freighter called the Harland and a mysterious remote space station, E. K. Johnston’s latest is a story of survival and self-determination. 

Why I’m psyched: I’ve loved E. K. Johnston’s Star Wars novels, so I would have been excited to give this book a chance regardless of the story. But I have a weak spot for scrappy teenage protagonists and characters who rail against the roles society wants them to play, so I’m sold!

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

June 8, Harper Voyager

Brief Description: This unforgettable debut—inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant.

Why I’m psyched: Fantasy’s slant toward Western European mythology and topography is well known and well documented. A slew of recent books have been breaking out of that mold (N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale, to name two), and Ava Reid’s debut continues that trend. As someone who’s always enjoyed myths and legends from all corners of the globe, I am living for this trend, and I’m looking forward to this take on Jewish myth.

You can find all these books—and more!—in a handy list over at

What books are you excited about this year?