What Martha Wells Is Reading Right Now

I read a lot, though not nearly as much as I’d like to. Not only because I love reading, but because I feel it’s important for me as a writer to stay current with the SF/F field, and to read the work of as many new-to-me writers and debut writers as I can. And there’s so many excellent books out there.

Others have called these past several years the beginning of a new golden age of science fiction and fantasy, ushered in by all the diversity of voices who are now publishing exciting and category-defying work. I think that’s true; I just hope the current pandemic and all its consequences doesn’t kneecap this new age before it can reach its full potential.

 

What I just finished:

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

I was expecting to enjoy this book and I absolutely loved it. I didn’t know how much I really wanted to see the embodied spirit of a city punch a Lovecraftian horror right in the face, and I feel like it did me good to read it. And I’m glad there are two more books to come in this trilogy, because even though this first part comes to a satisfying conclusion, there’s a lot more to explore in this world and still more questions to answer. And these characters are just a lot of fun to get to know and spend time with.

 

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

This short novella packs as much punch as an entire epic fantasy, as cleric Chih recovers the unrecorded history of an empress’s exile. Set in a world based on Imperial China, it’s a story about soft power, revenge, and how to conquer an empire. And the ending made me cry in a good way.

 

What I’m currently reading:

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

This came out last year from St. Martin’s and I’ve just started it. It’s set in Paris in the 1880s, with intriguing magic and an engaging found family and cool magical heists, and it’s very up my alley. My third novel was a secondary world fantasy in a world based loosely on La Belle Époque Paris, The Death of the Necromancer, with found family and heists, so it’s always been a period I’ve been interested in. I also love Aliette de Bodard’s dark fantasy Dominion of the Fallen series, set in post-magical-apocalypse Paris.

 

What I’m starting next:

Echo in Amethyst by Sharon Shinn

This is the third book in the Uncommon Echoes trilogy from Audible. I love all of Sharon’s SF/F, which mixes romance with cool worldbuilding and unexpected twists. This fantasy trilogy is about a world where nobles have echoes, silent copies of themselves who imitate their every move, and seem to have no will of their own. Except when they do have a will of their own, as the characters begin to discover. I also recommend her Samaria books, an SF series about a society ruled over by Angels who are subject to human temptations and corruption.

 

What I’m looking forward to:

Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston

This is coming out in the Fall from Tor.com. I absolutely loved her previous novel Will Do Magic For Small Change, which was a contemporary fantasy. The main character Cinnamon Jones was so engaging as she worked through family tragedy and found friends and uncovered the secrets and magic woven through her family’s past. Master of Poisons is a secondary world epic fantasy, and I know it’s going to be awesome.

 

The Mimosa Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu

Due out in June from Little, Brown, this is the latest book in a mystery series set in Singapore in the 1930s. The main character Su Lin is a recent mission school graduate destined to be a teacher or a bride, but her ambition is to become a writer, preferably an international crime journalist. She begins to work for a Chief Inspector in the recently formed detective unit of the Singapore police, and takes on undercover investigations, exposing murders among British tourists and the governor’s family. When I’m not reading SF/F, I love mysteries, especially historical mysteries, and this is one of my favorite series.

 

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott

I’ve been looking forward to this one since I first heard Kate mention it. It’s described as “gender-swapped Alexander the Great on an interstellar scale,” which is all I really needed to hear, and I am so excited to read it.

 

Martha Wells is a science fiction and fantasy writer, whose first novel was published in 1993. Her most recent books include The Murderbot Diaries—All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, Exit Strategy, and Network Effect—for Tor.com. Besides many fantasy novels, she has also written short stories, media tie-ins for Star Wars and Stargate Atlantis, YA fantasies, and non-fiction.

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