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Zoraida Córdova

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Your Guide to Rebecca Roanhorse’s Fantastical Worlds

In June 2018, Rebecca Roanhorse put her stamp on the SFF world with Trail of Lighting, a post-apocalyptic saga about monster hunters. That was just the beginning. Since then she has ventured into middle grade, comics, the Star Wars universe, and short stories. Centering Black, Indigenous, and queer characters, there is no one doing it quite like Roanhorse. I’ve had the immense honor of working with several authors in my career as a colleague and as a short story editor, and Rebecca Roanhorse is one of them. With such an expansive body of work, there is a book for every reading mood and occasion.

[Here is a guide on where to start…]

Reading Ink and Bone: Book One of the Great Library by Rachel Caine

Fair warning: In the post itself there will be mild spoilers, but we will do our best to minimize them for those of you who may not yet have read the books because we really want to entice you into reading the series. However, in the comments section feel free to discuss the book with spoilers. Please hold spoiler comments about later volumes to when those posts are made in subsequent weeks. Thank you!

[Jess Brightwell belongs to a family of book smugglers…]

Introducing a Read-Along of Rachel Caine’s Great Library Series

Zoraida Córdova and Kate Elliott would like to invite readers to join them here at Tor.com for a six part read-along (not counting this post) of Rachel Caine’s five-volume Great Library series.

Libraries as archives of records and writing appear early in history in places like Sumer, Egypt, and Zhou Dynasty China. One of the most famous of these ancient libraries is the Great Library of Alexandria, founded and built by Ptolemy I and his son Ptolemy II, and expanded into a daughter institution the Serapeum by Ptolemy III. For a while the Great Library was probably the largest library in the Mediterranean and Western Asian world (the Ptolemies surely intended it to be so), but under later Roman management the institution fell into neglect and eventually was destroyed and most or all of its scrolls burned. This decline and destruction happened in stages rather than in a single riotous act but the end result for us in the modern era remains the same: A great repository of knowledge was lost.

As her jumping off point, Caine uses the existence of the Great Library in her foundational alternate-history premise: Instead of being lost, the Great Library not only survived but thrived and eventually took control of all permitted transmission of knowledge in the world. The opening volume of the series, Ink and Bone, begins with a prologue set in 2025, and the main story’s “present day” takes up the narrative six years later.

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Read an Excerpt From Wayward Witch, Conclusion to the Brooklyn Brujas Trilogy

We’re excited to share an excerpt from Wayward Witch, the third novel in Zoraida Córdova’s Brooklyn Brujas young adult trilogy. Infused with Latin American tradition—the Brooklyn Brujas series follows three sisters—and witches—as they develop their powers and battle magic in their hometown and worlds beyond. Available September 1st from Sourcebooks Fire.

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Hugo Spotlight: Crossing Unimaginable Distances in Becky Chambers’ To Be Taught If Fortunate

In the lead-up to the 2020 Hugo Awards, we’re taking time to appreciate this year’s best novella Finalists, and what makes each of them great.

Sometimes space feels like a theory.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not deny the Milky Way and our scientific innovations and findings. I know it’s a place, out there and beyond. And although there is a science to getting human beings from the space we take up on here to being in the space out there—to me it has always felt so very far away. A theory, a fiction—more Star Wars than not. This is, perhaps, not the hot take that some people want. But I’m going to be perfectly honest and say there are simply moments when I feel so small and question the idea of reality and why we exist on this rock and in this solar system. TLDR; it all feels like too much. Like space is so distant that it might as well be a dream.

Becky Chambers takes us to that unimaginable space and beyond in her spectacular novella To Be Taught, If Fortunate—and when I devoured every word in one sitting, it felt oh so real.

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Vampires Never Left: A History of Vampires in Young Adult Fiction

With the announcement of Stephenie Meyer’s forthcoming Midnight Sun, vampires are fresh on everyone’s mind. Meyer’s return to her world of sparkling vampires in Forks, Washington takes the YA classic Twilight and reimagines the love story from vampire Edward Cullen’s point of view.

Casual lovers of the genre might say that vampires are back! But to that I would say that vampires never left. Follow me through the journey of YA vampires.

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5 Young Adult SFF Spin-Offs to Keep on Your Radar

There are some worlds that beg to be revisited. Immersive fantasy invites you to stay within those pages. It hugs you, comforts you, and helps you forget about the here and now. But what happens after you’ve reread the same book dozens of times and you still want more? More characters and more journeys!

Luckily some authors can’t wait to these worlds, either. Here are five recent spin-offs of beloved YA series that you can pick up right now!

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Series: Five Books About…

The Price of Paradise in Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn melds folklore and reality in a debut novel that straddles genres the way its characters straddle identity.

On the surface, the Flores family is ordinary in many ways: A young couple hot for each other, three kids, living paycheck to paycheck. Malia and Augie Flores are just trying to survive and provide. They are an avatar of working class Native Hawaiian people, living on their ancestral lands but somehow still in the margins. But throughout the course of the novel, the Flores family becomes a legend. This is how a legend is born.

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Music, Lyrics, & Aliens in The Sound of Stars by Alecia Dow

The Sound of Stars is a charming sci-fi novel by Alechia Dow. Aliens have invaded Earth. They’re called the Ilori—a type of humanoid-android race that has decimated the world. Establishing colonies all over the planet, they keep humans under a rigid thumb by taking away the very things that make people human. Art, books, music, and most importantly, emotions. By removing these things, along with vaccinations and social conditioning, the Ilori have made sure that humans are docile and incapable of rebellions.

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5 Lovable YA Fantasy Couples

The best romances in fiction have to be earned. Whether you love reading about heroes saving the world, but who actually just want to profess their love, or you prefer sworn enemies that realize they’re actually meant to be, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing your OTP is finally canon.

So what makes for a good romance? Angst, attraction, fate? Yes, but there has to be more than that. Watching two (or three) characters reach a level emotional playing field and arrive at the same realization, that they are in love and want to be together, is a beautiful thing.

Here is a list of five YA fantasies featuring unforgettable couples I love to love.

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Kiersten White’s Slayer Duology Is a Welcome Return to the Buffyverse

If the Apocalypse comes, text me.

Okay, so that’s not the exact line, but as beepers have become a relic of the past, it’s hard not to wonder what a Millennial slayer would be like. Buffy fans are lucky enough that the world of slayers is back. With New York Times Bestselling author Kiersten White at the helm, Slayer and Chosen are not about the Sunnydale you remember.

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Moon Magic & Andean History in Isabel Ibañez’s Woven in Moonlight

Isabel Ibañez kicks off the year as one of the first authors to debut in the New Roaring Twenties. If the rest of the debuts are this promising, then we’re going to have a very good year. Woven in Moonlight draws inspiration from Bolivian politics and history to create a fantastical world. In fact, YA fantasy hasn’t seen a world like the Kingdom of Inkasisa. Full disclosure: As someone born and partially raised in Ecuador, I’ve been waiting my whole life to read a book that takes the Andean history of the Spanish and Inca, and transforms it in a fantastical setting.   

Woven in Moonlight follows Ximena Rojas, the decoy Condesa of the secondary world of Inkasisa that has been upturned by revolution. Ximena is an Illustrian, the former ruling class, who are now relegated to living in a fortified keep. Ximena has had to pretend to be someone else for a decade. Ten years of being Condesa Catalina, the last living royal. Ximena’s longing for her own identity is clear, as is her fierce loyalty to the real Condesa and her Illustrian people. She fumbles as a decoy ruler quite a bit, usually by being unable to say the things people want to hear. It’s refreshing to see her faults and the promise of her strength as a character. Her only solace is her brand of magic. All people of Inkasisa possess traces of magic—reading the stars, tremors, healing, etc. Some, like Ximena can pull moonlight and weave it like wool to create tapestries.

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Falling in Love at the Ends of the Universe: Five Shippable YA SFF Books

“I love you.”

“I know.”

Iconic words for an iconic couple who fell in love in a galaxy far, far away. Han Solo and Princess Leia are, as they say, goals. No matter what their ending, in that moment there are several things happening: They’ve been betrayed, the bad guys are surrounding them, he’s about to get frozen in carbonite, but they take this moment to say these words. Star Wars is about light and darkness, rebellion and revenge, but for me Star Wars has always been about hope and love. It isn’t just the romantic parts—the scenes where Anakin and Padmé sneak off time to be together or agonizing moments between star-crossed lovers Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree. It’s also the love of found family and friendship and charming droids. These are the things that make these narratives so relatable and universal.

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Series: Five Books About…

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