Fourth Wing

Cover: Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Fourth Wing by Author Rebecca Yarros has taken off like a rocket since BookTok (book-focused TikTok) started sharing it around.

This fantasy saga involves dragons, dragon riders, a war college, magic, and other tropes that are pretty typical in high fantasy.  The narrative is a little farther afield than Harry Potter in that it doesn’t take place on Earth, but it’s an interesting rehash of well-trodden ground.

Young and ambitious characters enlist in war looking to make a difference and leave home for war college, where they learn the tricks of the trade while also learning about themselves.

Oh, and having lots of sex.  That’s important.

Let’s get into it.

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Soon I Will Be Invincible

Maybe it’s best to start by saying that Austin Grossman’s debut novel, Soon I Will Be Invincible, feels like a labor of love.

The book is a riff on comic books and the modern superhero obsessions.  Just past the cover, you’ll find all the classic superhero tropes and cliches, including cyborgs, supervillains, appropriately long monologues, and more.

At the same time, it’s a story that’s somehow simultaneously reminiscent of both Marvel/DC and Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Many of the characters have dark backstories and interesting origin stories, and there’s a unique relationship dynamic between the supers that you wouldn’t see on the glossy magazine covers.

And yet, despite all the goofy cliches and the (admittedly) over-the-top main characters, this novel will suck you into its vortex and keep you until the last chapter.

Here’s a closer look.

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Scorpio

Cover: Scorpio by Marko Kloos

Scorpio is the newest entry in Marko Kloos’s Frontlines series, which pits space-faring humans against gigantic aliens in a fight for survival among the stars.

While the previous entries in the series — starting with Terms of Enlistment and ending with Centers of Gravity — are focused on Andrew Grayson, this new series (dubbed Frontlines: Evolution) introduces an entirely separate cast of characters.

In Scorpio, Alex is one of the last survivors of a colony overrun by Lankies nearly eight years prior.  The book offers a glimpse into colony life as Alex and the others struggle to make due in a world turned toxic.

So, how does this second onboarding point to the Frontlines universe hold up?

Let’s take a look.

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Quarter Share

Cover: Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell

Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell is a science fiction adventure that is definitely something of an acquired taste.

The plot follows the career of Ishmael Wang as he takes up life in deep space as a crewman aboard the Lois McKendrick, gets his space legs, and becomes a contributing member of the crew.

It’s a book that trades the epic space adventures and seat-of-your-pants action scenes you’ll see in most interstellar science fiction for a more realistic take on life aboard a starship.

And that is very cool.

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Terms of Enlistment

Cover: Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos

At a glance, Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos feels like a standard military sci-fi novel.

It’s a relatively straightforward tale about a young man who, desperate to escape his life as one of the hood rats in a harsh, dystopian future, enlists with dreams of finding a way aboard a ship and off to the stars.

While it’s true that Terms rehashes some well-trodden ground in the wake of greats like Joe Haldeman, Robert Heinlein, John Stakeley, and others, there are some twists and turns throughout Terms and the rest of the Frontlines series that are likely to surprise you.

Here’s the low-down.

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This Is How You Lose the Time War

Book Cover: This Is How You Lose the Time War

first glance, This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone might read like your typical time travel book.

Red and Blue, the principal characters of this saga, zip up and down along the timeline, fighting an endless war across the multiverse.  And yet, it definitely won’t be the saga that you’re expecting.

While you’ll be able to experience opposite sides of the time war through the lens of the narrative characters, science fiction takes something of a back seat to the rivalry-turn-romance in this epistolary tale.

Here’s a closer look.

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