Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Order [book in series=yearoffirstbook.book# (eg 2014.01), stand-alone or one-author collection=3333.pubyear, multi-author anthology=5555.pubyear, SFM/MM=5000, interview=1111]: 2019.02


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The Jupiter Knife: Another adventure with Hiram and Michael

The Jupiter Knife by D.J. Butler & Aaron Michael Ritchey

Hiram Woolley and Michael are back in The Jupiter Knife (2021), a follow-up to The Cunning Man. (Each novel can stand-alone so it’s not necessary to read The Cunning Man first, but I think you’ll enjoy The Jupiter Knife a little more if you do).

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Cunning Man (first in THE CUNNING MAN series) when I read it a couple of years ago.


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Hell Bent: Return to magical Yale

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

When 2023’s Hell Bent, by Leigh Bardugo, opens, a demon has trapped Galaxy Stern, who goes by Alex, in the basement of the Black Elm house, along with two ghosts. Upstairs, her friend and mentor, Darlington, who was sucked into a hell dimension in Ninth House, Book One of the ALEX STERN series, waits in demon form. It’s safe to say things aren’t going well.

The second book brings us back to dark Yale and the home of the various secret societies,


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A Neon Darkness: Lackluster

A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen

A Neon Darkness (2020), the second book in Lauren Shippen‘s THE BRIGHT SESSIONS trilogy, is only very tangentially related to the first book, The Infinite Noise. It centers on a group of atypicals (the in-world word for people with powers) a full decade before the first book occurs.

Robert Gorham is 18-going-on-19 when he arrives in L.A. for reasons unclear to the reader until much later. His power makes him able to effortlessly manipulate people into doing what he wants,


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Scary Stories for Young Foxes: The City: Manmade threats for the foxes

Scary Stories for Young Foxes: The City by Christian McKay Heidicker

Three young fox kits, romping through their first heavy snow, come upon a gravely injured older fox in the woods. The wounded fox asks for their help, and the kits are understandably reluctant. Then the stranger fox says that he needs to tell them a story first. A scary story, but not of predators and dangers of the forest. The City and a nearby farm have equally horrifying dangers for foxes.

The Stranger’s story begins at a fox farm,


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Destiny of the Dead: Engaging enough

Destiny of the Dead by Kel Kade

My review of Kel Kade’s Fate of the Fallen, first in their SHROUD OF PROPHECY series, called the novel “an enjoyable if meandering invitation despite some issues.” Kade is back now with book two, Destiny of the Dead, which is similarly meandering and, honestly, a little less enjoyable, though enough of the stronger aspects remain so that I’ll still continue on to the third book. Possible spoilers for book one to follow.


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The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry: Witty, rollicking good fun

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner

Dellaria Wells is an untrained fire witch, living hand-to-mouth in the slums of Leiscourt, trying to keep track of her drip-addicted mother. Behind on rent and threatened with a curse by her landlady, Delly plans to answer a mysterious advertisement recruiting various women to protect a Lady of Some Importance. When she is interviewed — through the bars of a cell, as it happens — Delly gives a succinct summation of her skills to the interviewer:

“… Why on earth would I be willing to interview a criminal for a position in my employer’s household,


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The Rookery: A mixed bag, but enjoyable

The Rookery by Deborah Hewitt

The Rookery (2021) is Deborah Hewitt’s sequel to her debut novel, The Nightjar, which I described in my review as having many of the issues one expects in a debut novel but that also left the reader eager to see what she did next based on her “imaginative content and writing style.” The sequel has its own issues but does improve on its predecessor. Some inevitable spoilers for book one to follow.


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Machine: Should have been more exciting

Machine by Elizabeth Bear

Dr. Jens and her alien colleagues rescue spaceships that are in trouble. After answering a distress call, they discover an old ship in which all of the human crewmembers are in cryogenic storage. Their only caretaker is an oddly sexy robot who was given instructions to build the cryogenic storage containers for the crew long ago.

When Dr. Jens and her colleagues get back to their own ship and get ready to thaw out some of the frozen humans, they discover that their own trusty shipmind,


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Rule of Wolves: A time of love and war in the Grishaverse

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Rule of Wolves, the second half of Leigh Bardugo’s NIKOLAI DUOLOGY, picks up right where King of Scars left off and flings the reader headlong into the story. In other words, if it’s been a while since you read King of Scars, you’d be well advised to refamiliarize yourself at least a little with its plot; if you haven’t yet read that book,


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Master of Djinn: A welcome (and longer) return to a fascinating world

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

A Master of Djinn (2021) is P. Djèlí Clark’s first novel in the world he’s created in several short stories and a novella, and it’s clear that the setting and its characters can easily handle the expanded length, making for an exciting plot combined with some sharp social criticism.

This novel, and the other works, are set in the early 1900’s, three decades after the scholar/mage al-Jahiz opened a portal between our world and another,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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