Alix E. Harrow - Tor/Forge Blog



Six Titles Inspired By Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are classic! They’ve become timeless, and timeless stories are retold and evolve in the retelling. So gather your wits, wish on a lucky star, and stay away from that ominous gingerbread house in the woods, because we’ve compiled a list of titles inspired by fairy tales. Actually, we put this list together last year, but we’re bringing it back now because In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune is available in paperback now!

Check it out!

Nettle & BonePlaceholder of  -75 by T. Kingfisher

Kingfisher flips the fairy tale script in Nettle & Bone, where our main character Marra is the shy, convent-raised, third daughter of a royal family that has married off her older princess sister. After so much silence, Marra will no longer allow her sister to suffer abuse at the hands of a cruel and powerful prince. And what fairy tale would be complete without a band of bandy characters with which to share the journey? Marra’s group includes a disgraced ex-knight, a reluctant fairy godmother, an enigmatic gravewitch and her fowl familiar. Time to topple a throne.

Now available in paperback!

In the Lives of Puppetsin the lives of puppets by tj klune by TJ Klune

Is The Adventures of Pinocchio technically a fairy tale? The writer of this list honestly isn’t sure, but Pinocchio IS in Shrek, so by that metric: Yes.

In the Lives of Puppets is TJ Klune’s Pinocchio-inspired tale about sentient automata exploring what it means to live, love, and reckon with the past. It’s pretty cool.

A Spindle SplinteredPlace holder  of - 57 by Alix E. Harrow

Zinnia Gray finds herself falling through worlds. Wait, let’s backtrack. Zinnia Gray pricks her finger on a spinning wheel. No, no, a little more. Zinnia Gray has a rare condition that will see her dead before her twenty-second birthday, so her best friend Charm throws her an extra special Sleeping Beauty experience final twenty-first birthday party, where she pricks her finger and commences falling through worlds where she meets another sleeping beauty, also on the run from fate. 

Image Place holder  of - 65Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters by Aimee Ogden

This lyrical space opera takes the classic tale of The Little Mermaid, and asks the question: What if this story happened in far future space where humans have used gene-adaption to acclimate themselves to harsh desert and sea climes? It’s a really good question. Daughter of the Sea-Clan, Atuale sparked a war by choosing her land-dwelling love over her home. Now, with a virulent plague sweeping her adopted clan, Atuale can only turn to the infamous mercenary known as the World Witch who also happens to be her ex-lover. 

You Let Me InImage Placeholder of - 70 by Camilla Bruce

“I have always been interested in folklore, and fascinated by previous generations’ vague distinction between the faeries and the dead,” says Camilla Bruce. “One of my favourite things about faeries is their elusiveness; it is hard to get a firm grip on just what – or where– they are.” 

She’s talking about her inspiration for You Let Me In, a mystery of otherworldly thrills situated within a sinister domestic atmosphere. 


Tor Books’ Startlingly Specific Holiday Gift Guide

Do you hear that??

It’s the sweet, sweet sound of gifts and the necessity of buying them for all of the humans, animals, and unidentified entities in your life. That’s a lot of pressure, but don’t sweat, because we’ve got your back, and more importantly, we’ve got a ton of increasingly niche book recommendations to get you through the holiday season! Check them out here and let us know which ones you’re grabbing in the comments. 

by Rachel Taylor and a cat

Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree is for the treasured party member who’s saved your character’s life many times on TTRPG night


We all have That One Amazing Player who has pulled our butts out of the fictional fire on D&D night, and what better way to show your endless appreciation than with the gift of LITERATURE?! High fantasy, secondhand books, and first love–what more could you ask for?

Masters of Death by Olivie Blake is for the angsty goth who still wishes it was Halloween


So they’re in denial that it’s not Halloween anymore, but guess what?! In the unbroken face of eternity, time has no meaning! Every day is Halloween!

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune is for the plucky traveler who’s got the whole world to see


There are many ways to see new and exciting worlds, and TJ Klune always provides queer and cozy adventures that you only need to pick up a book to explore. Consider picking up his latest venture for that friend who’s been bit by the travel bug!

Ebony Gate by Julia Vee & Ken Bebelle is for the action movie fanatic who owns a cardboard cutout of John Wick


Assassins, dragon magic, and Chinese diaspora urban fantasy set in contemporary San Francisco.

Book of Night by Holly Black is for the insatiable reader who has way more books to read than hands to hold them


And if you order and submit your receipt before 12/15, you can receive a Book of Night tote bag! Even Charlie Hall needs a safe sling to carry her contraband. Who’s Charlie Hall? A professional thief / bartender who pilfers shadow magic secrets! Read the book!

T. L. Huchu’s Edinburgh Nights series is for the Supernatural fan who’s looking to expand their fandom across the pond


Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker, but she’s not just carrying messages anymore. You talk to one ghost and suddenly you’re spending late nights in the occult library, solving murders, and following trails of huskified children to their sinister spectral source.

The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz is for the science-enjoyer in your life who’s looking for environmentally-conscious fiction


This sweeping, uplifting, and illuminating exploration of the future from a science fiction visionary is the perfect gift to give your non-fiction loving, environmentally aware bestie who wants to dip their toe into a more fictional space.

Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson is for fans looking for The Princess Bride vibes but just haven’t quite found them yet


Do you have a Princess Bride superfan in your life? They don’t need another fandom-y Etsy gift this year–they need a book that gives them the same emotional rush they got the first time they laid eyes on the fairytale-inspired glory that is their favorite 1987 classic.

Everfair by Nisi Shawl is for the history buff in your life who can’t stop thinking about other paths the world might have taken


After being purchased back from the Congo Free State’s colonizer, Everfair becomes a land of fantastic technologies—of spying cats and gulls, nuclear dirigibles buoyed by barkcloth balloons, and silent pistols that shoot poison knives. What happens when these technological advances are brought to bear against Belgian tyrant Leopold II?

That’s Everfair, and then you can read Kinning (on sale 1/23/24) for the continuation of this expansive alternate history.

Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini is for the hardcore Trekkie who’s looking for major blockbuster movie vibes in their books


Don’t let the bright and spiffy gif fool you—in this book they boldly go where no human has gone before, equally bold in how they look past the question: Might there have been a reason?

The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab is for people looking to put a different kind of magic into their holidays


Let’s put the magic into the holidays, shall we? V. E. Schwab returns to The Shades of Magic universe with a whole new series, perfect for readers who loved the original and new fans who want to explore magical alternate universes from in front of a cozy fireplace.

Shelley Parker-Chan’s Radiant Emperor Duology is for the unhinged danmei consumer who’s looking for their next great read


Do you have someone in your life that consumes danmei like candy? Are they tired of waiting for their new favorite series to be translated so they can add it to their shelves? Do we have the series for you. She Who Became the Sun and He Who Drowned the World explore a stunning reinvention of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor. It’s queer, it’s fantastical, and it’s complete! Snag both books in the duology for them now.

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher is for the friend with an ill-advised yet much-beloved Shrek 2 tattoo


“Better out than in” on the inside of the wrist, Thornhedge open in hand.

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow is for anyone who has never been disappointed by the combo of Mike Flanagan and a Scary House


Home is where the heart is, and really puts you in a vulnerable position when your house HATES you.

Starter Villain by John Scalzi is for Megamind


If you’re not Megamind, keep scrolling. Just kidding—this book is also for cat lovers and fans of Despicable Me and The Venture Brothers.

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan is for people who loved Season 2 of The Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime


If you have someone in your life that got sucked into the masterpiece that was The Wheel of Time Season 2, don’t worry, you can help them relive the fun with The Great Hunt, the inspiration for the show and the second book in The Wheel of Time series!


Tor Books at New York Comic Con 2023!

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We’re thrilled to join you all at New York Comic Con 2023! Check out all the awesome panels and booth events we’ve got slated for this epic weekend!

Please note that giveaways and drops do not indicate author attendance at New York Comic Con. For attending authors, please check out panels and signing events. 

Thursday — October 12

Booth 3335

Author Signing + ARC Giveaway: Seth Dickinson

12:00 – 1:00 PM

Author Signing: Julia Vee & Ken Bebelle

1:00 – 2:00 PM
Ebony Gate

Author Signing: Holly Black

2:00 – 3:00 PM
Book of Night

Author Signing: Christopher Golden**

3:00 – 4:00 PM
All Hallows & Road of Bones

Author Signing: Nat Cassidy

4:00 – 5:00 PM
Mary: An Awakening of Terror


Friday — October 13

Panels & Events

Mysteries, Magic, & Mayhem

Room 1B-02
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Rules are meant to be broken, and genre-boundaries are meant to be smashed. Join some of your favorite authors, including: John Scalzi (Starter Villain), Daniel M Ford (The Warden), R.R. Virdi (The First Binding), Veronica Roth (Arch-Conspirator), and Kristen Simmons (Find Him Where You Left Him Dead), with moderation by Seth Dickinson (Exordia) for a panel all about transcending science fiction, fantasy, and horror into a delightful mashup of all of our favorite tropes into their magnificent stories.

The Horror, The Horror

Room 1B-02
12:15 – 1:15 PM

Ever find a gripping story that you can’t put down, but that you have to read with the lights on? If so, you’ve found one of genre-fiction’s great joys: the horror novel. Join these acclaimed writers as they discuss their novels and why reading with the lights on is a good idea. This panel features James Kennedy, Mariam Metoui, Richard Kadrey (The Dead Take the A Train), and Eric Larocca.

Author Autographs

Celebrity Signing Tables #1-4
12:15 – 1:15 PM
John Scalzi, Daniel M. Ford, R.R. Virdi, Veronica Roth, Kristen SimmonsSeth Dickinson

Author Autographs

Celebrity Signing Tables #1-4
1:30 – 2:30 PM
Richard Kadrey

Spotlight on V. E. Schwab

Room 406.2
4:30 – 5:30 PM

Join critically acclaimed and bestselling author V. E. Schwab (The Fragile Threads of Power, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue) for an intimate conversation about the creative process and the life of a writer with moderation by Tamara Fuentes.

Author Autographs

Room 1A-01
5:45 – 7:15 PM
V. E. Schwab

Booth 3335

Author Signing: Kristen Simmons

10:00 – 11:00 AM
Find Him Where You Left Him Dead

Author Signing: Cassandra Khaw & Richard Kadrey

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
The Dead Take the A Train

Author Signing: V. E. Schwab – *100 tickets

1:00 – 2:00 PM
The Fragile Threads of Power

Author Signing: Veronica Roth

2:30 – 3:30 PM

Author Signing: Daniel M. Ford

5:00 – 6:00 PM
The Warden


Saturday — October 14

Panels & Events

Companion Showdown: Let’s Hear it for the Sidekicks of SFF

Room 1B-02
10:30 – 11:30 AM

Let’s face it: Frodo would never have destroyed the ring without Samwise Gamgee, and Batman ain’t nothing without Robin. So let’s hear it for the sidekicks of SFF, because it’s obvious our heroes are nothing without them. Join: John Scalzi (Starter Villain), V. E. Schwab (The Fragile Threads of Power), Alix E. Harrow (Starling House), and Cassandra Khaw (The Dead Take the A Train) with moderation by P. Djèlí Clark (Abeni’s Song & The Dead Cat Tail Assassins) as they discuss the unlikely companions that bring their stories to life, whether it’s a sentient Roomba, a talking cat, or just a seemingly inept but brave best friend.

Author Autographs

Celebrity Signing Tables #1-4
11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
John Scalzi, V. E. Schwab, Alix E. Harrow, Cassandra Khaw, Richard Kadrey, P. Djèlí Clark

Building Bestselling Worlds

Room 408
12:45 – 1:45 PM

Join these two critically acclaimed and bestselling authors as they discuss their approach to building rich, diverse, and unique worlds. This panel will feature Cassandra Clare and V. E. Schwab (The Fragile Threads of Power) with moderation by A.Y. Chao.

Author Autographs

Celebrity Signing Tables #1-4
2:00 – 3:30 PM
V. E. Schwab

Tor Spotlight: Chaotic Book Club

Room 1B-02
6:00 – 7:00 PM

Tor Publishing Group publishes some of the greatest sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and horror stories around. This panel will shine a spotlight on some of the exciting books that Tor, Tor Teen, Tordotcom Publishing, Nightfire, and our newest imprint, Bramble, have to offer. Join the book lovers from the Tor teams as they share a sneak peek at new and upcoming books that you will definitely have to add to your TBR list.

Booth 3335

Author Signing: Kevin J. Anderson

10:00 – 11:00 AM
Princess of DuneDune: The Heir of Caladan

Author Signing: P. Djèlí Clark

1:00 – 2:00 PM
Abeni’s SongThe Dead Cat Tail Assassins galleys

Author Signing: Alix E. Harrow

2:00 – 3:00 PM
Starling House & Other Titles

Author Signing: Christopher Paolini

3:00 – 4:00 PM
To Sleep in a Sea of StarsFractal Noise

Author Signing: John Scalzi

4:00 – 5:00 PM
Starter Villain & Other Titles


Sunday — October 15

Panels & Events

Return to Arrakis: Visiting the world of Dune with Tor Publishing Group and Abrams ComicArts

Room 1B-02
2:45 – 3:45 PM

Don’t miss the exciting in-depth and behind-the-scenes look at the gripping worldwide science-fiction sensation from long-time Dune author Kevin J. Anderson on the upcoming Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’Dib: Deluxe Collector’s Edition and Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 3: The Prophet (Abrams ComicArts) and the continuation of this incredible saga with Princess of Dune (Tor), with Charlotte Greenbaum, Senior Editor, Abrams ComicArts and Robert Davis, Editor, Tor Publishing Group.

Booth 3335

Author Signing: R.R. Virdi

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
The First Binding 

  • Free author signing with tickets to be given away at 10:00 AM each day in the booth. Other titles will be available for purchase in the booth.
  • Author at St. Martin’s Press

Panelists and giveaways subject to change


Tor Books’ EXCESSIVELY Autumnal Fall Quiz

by Merlin Hoye & a cat 

Feeling the urge to dive headfirst into a massive pile of leaves? Wishing you could chug infinite pumpkin spice lattes? Longing to carve the everliving heck out of a pumpkin? Here at Tor we’re utterly and unapologetically mad for all things autumn and we believe it’s never too early to start celebrating your little cozy heart out.

So you heard it here first my friends… We unleash autumn upon you!!

And while you’ve got books on the brain, check out Starling House by Alix E. Harrow!

Pre-order Starling House in Here:

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Every Tor Book Coming in Fall 2023

Hey. Hey, you. Let’s talk about autumn. Let’s talk about all the awesome books releasing this autumn!

They’re all here in this rundown, and you are too, so get scrolling! 

September 5

Exadelic by Jon EvansExadelic by Jon Evans

When an unconventional offshoot of the US military trains an artificial intelligence in the dark arts that humanity calls “black magic,” it learns how to hack the fabric of reality itself. It can teleport matter. It can confer immunity to bullets. And it decides that obscure Silicon Valley middle manager Adrian Ross is the primary threat to its existence. Soon Adrian is on the run, wanted by every authority, with no idea how or why he could be a threat. His predicament seems hopeless; his future, nonexistent. But when he investigates the AI and its creators, he discovers his problems are even stranger than they seem…and unearths revelations that will propel him on a journey—and a love story—across worlds, eras, and everything, everywhere, all at once.

September 19

sandymancer by david edisonSandymancer by David Edison 

All Caralee Vinnet has ever known is dust. Her whole world is made up of the stuff; water is the most precious thing in the cosmos. A privileged few control what elements remain. But the world was not always a dust bowl and the green is not all lost. Caralee has a secret—she has magic in her bones and can draw up power from the sand beneath her feet to do her bidding. But when she does she winds up summoning a monster: the former god-king who broke the world 800 years ago and has stolen the body of her best friend. Caralee will risk the whole world to take back what she’s lost. If her new companion doesn’t kill her first.

starter villain by john scalziStarter Villain by John Scalzi

Charlie’s life is going nowhere fast. A divorced substitute teacher living with his cat in a house his siblings want to sell, all he wants is to open a pub downtown, if only the bank will approve his loan. Then his long-lost uncle Jake dies and leaves his supervillain business (complete with island volcano lair) to Charlie. But becoming a supervillain isn’t all giant laser death rays and lava pits. Jake had enemies, and now they’re coming after Charlie. His uncle might have been a stand-up, old-fashioned kind of villain, but these are the real thing: rich, soulless predators backed by multinational corporations and venture capital. It’s up to Charlie to win the war his uncle started against a league of supervillains. But with unionized dolphins, hyper-intelligent talking spy cats, and a terrifying henchperson at his side, going bad is starting to look pretty good.

September 26

The Fragile Threads of Power by V.E. SchwabThe Fragile Threads of Power by V.E. Schwab

Once, there were four worlds, nestled like pages in a book, each pulsing with fantastical power and connected by a single city: London. Until the magic grew too fast and forced the worlds to seal the doors between them in a desperate gamble to protect their own. The few magicians who could still open the doors grew more rare as time passed and now, only three Antari are known in recent memory—Kell Maresh of Red London, Delilah Bard of Grey London, and Holland Vosijk, of White London. But barely a glimpse of them have been seen in the last seven years—and a new Antari named Kosika has appeared in White London, taking the throne in Holland’s absence. The young queen is willing to feed her city with blood, including her own—but her growing religious fervor has the potential to drown it instead.

October 3

starling house by alix e. harrowStarling House by Alix E. Harrow

Opal is a lot of things–orphan, high school dropout, full-time cynic and part-time cashier–but above all, she’s determined to find a better life for her younger brother Jasper. One that gets them out of Eden, Kentucky, a town remarkable for only two things: bad luck and E. Starling, the reclusive nineteenth century author of The Underland, who disappeared over a hundred years ago. All she left behind were dark rumors–and her home. Everyone agrees that it’s best to ignore the uncanny mansion and its misanthropic heir, Arthur. Almost everyone, anyway. Welcome to Starling House: enter, if you dare.

Image Placeholder of - 12After the Forest by Kell Woods

Twenty years after the witch in the gingerbread house, Greta and Hans are struggling to get by. Their mother and stepmother are long dead, Hans is deeply in debt from gambling, and the countryside lies in ruin, its people starving in the aftermath of a brutal war. Greta has a secret, though: the witch’s grimoire, hidden away and whispering in Greta’s ear for the past two decades, and the recipe inside that makes the best gingerbread you’ve ever tasted. As long as she can bake, Greta can keep her small family afloat. But in a village full of superstition, Greta and her mysteriously addictive gingerbread, not to mention the rumors about her childhood misadventures, is a source of gossip and suspicion. And now, dark magic is returning to the woods and Greta’s magic—magic she is still trying to understand—may be the only thing that can save her. If it doesn’t kill her first.

princess of dune by brian herbert & kevin j. andersonPrincess of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

Raised in the Imperial court and born to be a political bargaining chip, Irulan was sent at an early age to be trained as a Bene Gesserit Sister. As Princess Royal, she also learned important lessons from her father—the Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV. Now of marriageable age, Princess Irulan sees the machinations of the many factions vying for power—the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, the Spacing Guild, the Imperial throne, and a ruthless rebellion in the Imperial military. The young woman has a wise and independent streak and is determined to become much more than a pawn to be moved about on anyone’s gameboard.

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon SandersonYumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson

Yumi has spent her entire life in strict obedience, granting her the power to summon the spirits that bestow vital aid upon her society—but she longs for even a single day as a normal person. Painter patrols the dark streets dreaming of being a hero—a goal that has led to nothing but heartache and isolation, leaving him always on the outside looking in. In their own ways, both of them face the world alone. Suddenly flung together, Yumi and Painter must strive to right the wrongs in both their lives, reconciling their past and present while maintaining the precarious balance of each of their worlds. If they cannot unravel the mystery of what brought them together before it’s too late, they risk forever losing not only the bond growing between them, but the very worlds they’ve always struggled to protect.

A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor VingeA Deepness In the Sky by Vernor Vinge

This new Tor Essentials edition of Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness In the Sky includes an introduction by the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning Jo Walton, author of Among Others.

After thousands of years of searching, humans stand on the verge of first contact with an alien race. Two human groups: the Qeng Ho, a culture of free, innovative traders, and the Emergents, a ruthless society based on the technological enslavement of minds. The group that opens trade with the aliens will reap unimaginable riches. But first, both groups must wait at the aliens’ very doorstep, for their strange star to relight and for the alien planet to reawaken, as it does every two hundred and fifteen years…

October 24

traitor of redwinter by ed mcdonaldTraitor of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

The power of the Sixth Gate grows stronger within Raine each day—to control it, she needs lessons no living Draoihn can teach her. Her fledgling friendships are tested to a breaking point as she tries to face what she has become, and her master Ulovar is struck by a mysterious sickness that slowly saps the vitality from his body, leaving Raine to face her growing darkness alone. There’s only one chance to turn the tide of power surging within her—to learn the secrets the Draoihn themselves purged from the world.

malarkoi by alex phebyMalarkoi by Alex Pheby

Nathan Treeves is dead, murdered by the Master of Mordew, his remains used to create the powerful occult weapon known as the Tinderbox. His companions are scattered, making for Malarkoi, the city of the Mistress, the Master’s enemy. They are hoping to find welcome there, or at least safety. They find neither—and instead become embroiled in a life and death struggle against assassins, demi-gods, and the cunning plans of the Mistress. Only Sirius, Nathan’s faithful magical dog, has not forgotten the boy. Bent on revenge, he returns to the shattered remains of Mordew—only to find the city morphed into an impossible mountain, swarming with monsters. The stage is set for battle, sacrifice, magic and treachery in the stunning sequel to Mordew. Welcome to Malarkoi.

October 31

the wolfe at the door by gene wolfeThe Wolfe at the Door by Gene Wolfe

The circus comes to town… and a man gets to go to the stars. A young girl on a vacation at the sea meets the man of her dreams. Who just happens to be dead. And an immortal pirate. A swordfighter pens his memoirs… and finds his pen is in fact mightier than the sword. Welcome to Gene Wolfe’s playground, a place where genres blend and a genius’s imagination straps you in for the ride of your life. The Wolfe at the Door is a brand new collection from one of America’s premiere literary giants, showcasing some material that’s never been seen before. Short stories, yes, but also poems, essays, and ephemera that gives us a window into the mind of a literary powerhouse whose world view changed generations of readers in their perception of the universe.

November 7

Placeholder of  -79Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree

Viv’s career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam’s Ravens isn’t going as planned. Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she’s packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk—so far from the action that she worries she’ll never be able to return to it. What’s a thwarted soldier of fortune to do? Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn’t possibly imagine. Still, adventure isn’t all that far away. A suspicious traveler in gray, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling, and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected.

November 14

the lost cause by cory doctorowThe Lost Cause by Cory Doctorow

It’s thirty years from now. We’re making progress, mitigating climate change, slowly but surely. But what about all the angry old people who can’t let go? For young Americans a generation from now, climate change isn’t controversial. It’s just an overwhelming fact of life. And so are the great efforts to contain and mitigate it. Even when national politics oscillates back to right-wing leaders, the momentum is too great; these vast programs cannot be stopped in their tracks. But there are still those Americans, mostly elderly, who cling to their red baseball caps, their grievances, their huge vehicles, their anger. To their “alternative” news sources that reassure them that their resentment is right and pure and that “climate change” is just a giant scam. And they’re your grandfather, your uncle, your great-aunt. And they’re not going anywhere. And they’re armed to the teeth.

December 5

All the Hidden Paths by Foz MeadowsAll the Hidden Paths by Foz Meadows

With the plot against them foiled and the city of Qi-Katai in safe hands, newlywed and tentative lovers Velasin and Caethari have just begun to test the waters of their relationship. But the wider political ramifications of their marriage are still playing out across two nations, and all too soon, they’re summoned north to Tithena’s capital city, Qi-Xihan, to present themselves to its monarch. With Caethari newly invested as his grandmother’s heir and Velasin’s old ghosts gnawing at his heels, what little peace they’ve managed to find is swiftly put to the test. Cae’s recent losses have left him racked with grief and guilt, while Vel struggles with the disconnect between instincts that have kept him safe in secrecy and what an open life requires of him now. Pursued by unknown assailants and with Qi-Xihan’s court factions jockeying for power, Vel and Cae must use all the skills at their disposal to not only survive, but thrive. 


Awesome Book Swag Near You! Our Fall Pre-Order Gift Round-Up

Do you like to read? Do you like cool stuff at no additional cost? We’ve got you covered 😎

Acrylic Standee – The Fragile Threads of Power by V.E. Schwab


the fragile threads of power by v.e. schwab preorder offer - acrylic standee

Art by Nicole Deal

V.E. Schwab, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, opens another door to a new fantasy series set in the dazzling world of Shades of Magic.

Prepare for tangled schemes and perilous adventures with friends old and new in The Fragile Threads of Power.

Submit your receipt by 9/25/23 to receive this acrylic standee!

Pre-Order The Fragile Threads of Power Here

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Keychain – Starling House by Alix E. Harrow


starling house by alix e. harrow preorder campaign - keychain

Starling House is a gripping and gothic new tale from New York Times bestselling author Alix E. Harrow about a small town haunted by secrets that can’t stay buried and the sinister house that sits at the crossroads of it all.

Praise for Starling House

“Harrow is an exceptional, undeniable talent.” —Olivie Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six

“Gorgeous, poignant, and honest—an unforgettable read.” —Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter

“A smart, spectacular contemporary Gothic that will leave its roots in you and linger in your dreams.” —Kat Howard, Alex Award–winning author of An Unkindness of Magicians

Submit your receipt by 10/3/23 to receive this keychain!

Pre-Order Starling House Here

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Acrylic Keychain – Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree


bookshops & bonedust by travis baldree preorder campaign - acrylic keychain

Charm art by Samantha Petrie

Set in the world of New York Times bestselling Legends & Lattes, Travis Baldree’s Bookshops & Bonedust takes us on a journey of high fantasy, first loves, and second-hand books.

Viv’s career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam’s Ravens isn’t going as planned.

Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she’s packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk—so far from the action that she worries she’ll never be able to return to it.

What’s a thwarted soldier of fortune to do?

Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn’t possibly imagine.

Still, adventure isn’t all that far away. A suspicious traveler in gray, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling, and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected.

Submit your receipt by 11/6/23 to receive this acrylic keychain!

Pre-Order Bookshops & Bonedust Here

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Enamel Pin – The Atlas Complex by Olivie Blake


the atlas complex by olivie blake preorder campaign - enamel pin

The much-anticipated final installment in Olivie Blake’s trilogy that began with the New York Times bestselling phenomenon, The Atlas Six.

Praise for The Atlas Trilogy

“Lethally smart…The Atlas Six will grip you by the throat and refuse to let go.” —Chloe Gong, New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights

“Six of the most devious, talented, and flawed characters to ever find themselves in a magical library…wholly a delight.” —Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author of Book of Night

“Compelling, entertaining, and addictive.” —T. L. Huchu, author of The Library of the Dead

Submit your receipt by 1/8/24 to receive this enamel pin!

Pre-Order The Atlas Complex Here

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Download a Free Digital Preview of Starling House

starling house by alix e. harrowA gorgeously modern gothic fantasy from the New York Times bestselling author of TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY.

I dream sometimes about a house I’ve never seen….

Opal is a lot of things–orphan, high school dropout, full-time cynic and part-time cashier–but above all, she’s a determined to find a better life for her younger brother Jasper. One that gets them out of Eden, Kentucky, a town remarkable for only two things: bad luck and E. Starling, the reclusive nineteenth century author of The Underland, who disappeared over a hundred years ago.

All she left behind were dark rumors–and her home. Everyone agrees that it’s best to ignore the uncanny mansion and its misanthropic heir, Arthur . Almost everyone, anyway.

I should be scared, but in the dream I don’t hesitate.

Opal has been obsessed with The Underland since she was a child. When she gets the change to step inside Starling House–and make some extra cash for her brother’s escape fund–she can’t resist.

But sinister forces are digging deeper into the buried secrets of Starling House, and Arthur’s own nightmares have become far too real. As Eden itself seems to be drowning in its own ghosts, Opal realizes that she might finally have found a reason to stick around.

In my dream, I’m home.

And now she’ll have to fight.

Welcome to Starling House: enter, if you dare.

Download a FREE sneak peek today!

Download Your Free Digital Preview:

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Excerpt Reveal: Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

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starling house by alix e. harrow

A gorgeously modern gothic fantasy from the New York Times bestselling author of TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY.

I dream sometimes about a house I’ve never seen….

Opal is a lot of things–orphan, high school dropout, full-time cynic and part-time cashier–but above all, she’s a determined to find a better life for her younger brother Jasper. One that gets them out of Eden, Kentucky, a town remarkable for only two things: bad luck and E. Starling, the reclusive nineteenth century author of The Underland, who disappeared over a hundred years ago.

All she left behind were dark rumors–and her home. Everyone agrees that it’s best to ignore the uncanny mansion and its misanthropic heir, Arthur . Almost everyone, anyway.

I should be scared, but in the dream I don’t hesitate.

Opal has been obsessed with The Underland since she was a child. When she gets the change to step inside Starling House–and make some extra cash for her brother’s escape fund–she can’t resist.

But sinister forces are digging deeper into the buried secrets of Starling House, and Arthur’s own nightmares have become far too real. As Eden itself seems to be drowning in its own ghosts, Opal realizes that she might finally have found a reason to stick around.

In my dream, I’m home.

And now she’ll have to fight.

Welcome to Starling House: enter, if you dare.

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Starling House by Alix E. Harrow, on sale 10/3/23


I dream sometimes about a house I’ve never seen.

I mean, pretty much nobody has. Logan Caldwell claims he ding-dong- ditched the place last summer break, but he’s an even bigger liar than me. The truth is you can’t really see the house from the road. Just the iron teeth of the front gate and the long red lick of the drive, maybe a glimpse of limestone walls crosshatched by honeysuckle and greenbriers. Even the historical plaque out front is half-swallowed by ivy, the letters so slurred with moss and neglect that only the title is still legible:


But sometimes in the early dark of winter you can see a single lit window shining through the sycamores. It’s a funny kind of light: a rich amber that shudders with the wind, nothing like the drone of a streetlight or the sickly blue of a fluorescent.1 I figure that window is the only light I’ve ever seen that doesn’t come from the coal plant on the riverbank.

In my dream, the light is for me. I follow it through the gates, up the drive, across the threshold.

I should be scared—there are stories about Starling House, the kind people only tell at night, half-whispered under the hum of the porch light—but in the dream I don’t hesitate.

In the dream, I’m home.

Apparently that’s too far-fetched even for my subconscious, because that’s usually when I wake up. I surface in the half-dark of the motel room with a hungry, empty ache in my chest that I think must be homesickness, although I guess I wouldn’t know. I stare at the ceiling until the parking lot lights flick off at dawn.

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

I used to think they meant something, those dreams. They started abruptly when I was twelve or thirteen, just when all the characters in my books started manifesting magic powers or receiving coded messages or whatever; of course I was obsessed with them.

I asked everybody in town about the Starling place, but received only narrow, slantwise looks and sucked teeth. People in this town had never liked me much—their eyes slide right off me like I’m a street-corner panhandler or a piece of roadkill, a problem they would be obliged to address if they looked straight at it—but they liked the Starlings even less.

They’re considered eccentrics and misanthropes, a family of dubious origin that has refused for generations to participate in the most basic elements of Eden’s civil society (church, public school, bake sales for the volunteer fire department), choosing instead to stay holed up in that grand house that nobody except the coroner has ever seen in person. They have money—which generally excuses everything short of homicide—but it doesn’t come from either coal or tobacco, and nobody seems able to marry into it. The Starling family tree is a maddening sprawl of grafted limbs and new shoots, full of out-of- towners and strangers who turned up at the front gates and claimed the Starling name without ever setting foot in Eden itself.

It’s generally hoped that both they and their house will fall into a sinkhole and rot at the bottom, neither mourned nor remembered, and—perhaps— release the town from its century-long curse.

(I don’t believe in curses, but if there were such a thing as an accursed town it would look an awful lot like Eden, Kentucky. It used to be the number one coal county in the nation, but now it’s just a strip-mined stretch of riverbank containing a power plant, a fly ash pond, and two Dollar Generals. It’s the kind of place where the only people who stay are the ones who can’t afford to leave, where the water tastes like rust and the mist rises cold off the river even in summertime, lingering in the low places well past noon.)

Since nobody would tell me the story of Starling House, I made up my own. There isn’t a lot to do in a town like Eden, and I didn’t have many friends my own age. You’re never going to be very popular when you wear clothes from the First Christian donation box and shoplift your school supplies, no matter how slick your smile is; the other kids sensed the hunger behind the smile and avoided me out of an animal certainty that, if we were all shipwrecked together, I’d be found six weeks later picking my teeth with their bones.

So I spent a lot of weekends sitting cross-legged on the motel mattress with my little brother, making up haunted house stories until both of us were so thoroughly spooked we’d scream at the sound of a doorknob turning three rooms down. I used to type up the best ones, in the secret hours after midnight, when Jasper was asleep and Mom was out, but I never sent them anywhere.2 I quit all that years ago, anyway.

I told Mom about the dreams once. She laughed. “If I’d read that damn book as many times as you, I’d have nightmares, too.”

For my fourth or fifth birthday Mom got me a copy of The Underland—one of the old nineteenth-century editions, the cover bound in cloth the color of cobwebs, the title sewn in silver. It was secondhand, probably stolen, and somebody else’s initials were written on the inside cover, but I’d read it so many times the pages were coming unsewn. The story is pretty paint-by- numbers: a little girl (Nora Lee) discovers another world (Underland) and hallucinatory adventures ensue.

The illustrations aren’t great, either—they’re a series of stark lithographs that fall somewhere between eerie and nightmarish. But I remember staring at them until their afterimages lingered on the insides of my eyelids: black landscapes stalked by spectral Beasts, pale figures lost among the tangled trees, little girls falling down into the secret places under the earth. Looking at them felt like stepping into someone else’s skull, someone who knew the same things I knew: that there were sharp teeth behind every smile, and bare bones waiting beneath the pretty skin of the world.

I used to trace the author’s name with my fingertip, draw it idly in the margins of my C+ schoolwork: E. Starling.

She never published another book. She never gave a single interview. The only thing she left behind other than The Underland was that house, hidden in the trees. Maybe that’s the real reason I was so obsessed with it. I wanted to see where she came from, prove to myself that she was real. I wanted to walk through her secret architecture, run my fingers over her wallpaper, see her curtains flutter in the breeze and believe, for a moment, that it was her ghost.

It’s been eleven years and forty-four days since I last opened that book. I came straight home from Mom’s funeral, dumped it into a doubled-up grocery bag along with half a pack of Newports, a moldy dream catcher, and a tube of lipstick, and shoved it all deep under my bed.

I bet the pages are all swollen and mildewed by now; everything in Eden goes to rot, given time.

I still dream about the Starling place sometimes, but I no longer think it means anything. And even if it did—I’m a high-school dropout with a part-time job at Tractor Supply, bad teeth, and a brother who deserves better than this dead-end bad-luck bullshit town.

Dreams aren’t for people like me.

People like me have to make two lists: what they need and what they want. You keep the first list short, if you’re smart, and you burn the second one. Mom never got the trick of it—she was always wanting and striving, longing and lusting and craving right up until she wasn’t—but I’m a quick learner. I have one list, with one thing on it, and it keeps me plenty busy.

There are double shifts to work and pockets to pick; social workers to mislead and frozen pizzas to snap in half so they fit in the microwave; cheap inhalers to buy from sketchy websites and long nights to lie listening to the rattle and hiss of Jasper’s breathing.

Then, too, there’s the cream-colored envelope that came from a fancy school up north after Jasper took the PSAT, and the savings account I opened the day after it arrived, which I’ve managed to grow using the many and considerable skills my mother left me—wiles, theft, fraud, charm, a defiant and wholly misplaced optimism—but which still isn’t enough to get him out of this place.

I figure dreams are like stray cats, which will go away if I quit feeding them.

So I don’t make up stories about Starling House or ask anyone else for theirs. I don’t linger when I pass by the iron front gates, or look up with my heart riding high in my chest, hoping to catch a glimpse of that lonely amber light that seems to shine from some grander, stranger world, just for me. I never pull the grocery bag out from under the bed.

But sometimes, right before I fall asleep, I see the black shadows of trees rising up the motel walls, though there’s nothing but asphalt and weeds out the window. I feel the hot breath of beasts around me, and I follow them down, and down, to Underland.

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

  •  According to Lyle Reynolds, the Gravely Power meter man from 1987–2017, Starling House was never connected to the electric grid or the municipal water system. The telephone company sued for the right to place poles on Starling land in 1947, but the project was abandoned after a series of ugly accidents that left three employees hospitalized.
  •  This is false. Between 2006 and 2009, Opal used the staff printer at the public library to print several pieces of short fiction. In ’08, she received a personal rejection from a literary magazine which said that, regrettably, they did not publish fantasy, horror, or “whatever this is supposed to be.”

Copyright © 2023 from Alix E. Harrow

Pre-order Starling House Here:

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Announcing Tor Books Programming at San Diego Comic-Con 2023!

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We’re thrilled to join you all at San Diego Comic-Con 2023! Check out all the awesome panels and booth events we’ve got slated for this epic weekend. And don’t forget to join our SDCC 2023 ARC Bundle Sweepstakes (you don’t actually have to be at con to enter. This is a celebratory sweepstakes for everyone)!

Please note that giveaways and drops do not indicate author attendance at San Diego Comic Con. For attending authors, please check out panels and signing events. 

Thursday — July 20


Welcome to Fantasy Land

Room 9
10:00 – 11:00 AM

Darcie Little Badger, Terry J. Benton-Walker, Rachel Griffin, Adalyn Grace, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Michelle Bucud (moderator)

Robots and Aliens and Blasters, Oh My

Room 24ABC
10:30 – 11:30 AM

Emma Mieko Candon, Sylvain Neuvel, and Julia Vee and Ken Bebelle, Charlie Jane Anders (Moderator)

In the Beginning…There was Worldbuilding

Room 32AB
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

TJ Klune, Comic-Con Special Guest Holly Black, Wesley Chu, LR Lam, Victoria Aveyard, Dr. Jeanelle Horcasitas (moderator)

A Different Type of Romance

Room 21AB
2:00 – 3:00 PM

Holly Black, Becky Cloonan, Linda Sejic, Stjepan Sejic, and Rachel Smythe. Tina Horn (moderator)

Booth 2802 Events

Giveaway: After the Forest by Kell Woods

10:00 – 11:00 AM

Giveaway: One Blood by Denene Millner

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Author Signing: Terry J. Benton-Walker*

12:00 – 1:00 PM
Blood Debts

Giveaway: Exadelic by Jon Evans

1:00 – 2:00 PM

Author Signing: Chuck Tingle*

2:00 – 3:00 PM
Camp Damascus

Author Signing: Charlie Jane Anders*

3:00 – 4:00 PM
Victories Greater Than Death

Author Signing: Paul Cornell*

3:00 – 4:00 PM

Author Signing: Cory Doctorow*

4:00 – 5:00 PM
The Lost Cause

Friday — July 21


Wish They All Could be CA MCs

Room 24ABC
10:30 – 11:30 AM

Diane Marie Brown, Nidhi Chanani, Mike Chen , Cory Doctorow, and Julia Vee and Ken Bebelle, Maryelizabeth Yturralde (moderator)

Love in all the Fantastic Places

Room 32AB
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Olivie Blake, Jacqueline Carey, Piper J. Drake,  Laura Thalassa, Mia Tsai, Rachel Smythe, Dr. Jenni Marchisotto (moderator), Haydee Smith (moderator)

Spotlight on Martha Wells

Room 28DE
1:00 – 1:00 PM

Comic Con Special Guest Martha Wells

SF in Comics

Room 29AB
3:00 – 4:00 PM

John Barber, Andrew Griffin, Charlie Jane Anders , Nicholas Tana,  Maryelizabeth Yturralde (moderator)

Boundless Adventures: San Diego Festival of Books

Room 10
4:30 – 5:30 PM

Charlie Jane Anders, John Jennings, TJ Klune, Jarrod Shusterman and Sofia Lapuente, Alonso Nunez (moderator)

Tor Presents:Calling All Book Lovers

Room 29CD
5:30 – 6:30 PM

TPG staff: Saraciea J. Fennell (Senior Publicity Manager), Giselle Gonzalez (Publicist), Emily Mlynek (Director of Marketing), Rachel Taylor (Senior Marketing Manager)

Booth 2802 Events

Giveaway: Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

10:00 – 11:00 AM

Author Signing: Martha Wells*

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Witch King

Giveaway: The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab audiobook excerpt with special item

12:00 – 1:00 PM

Author Signing: Liz Kerin*

1:00 – 2:00 PM
Night’s Edge

Author Signing: Sarah Gailey*

2:00 – 3:00 PM
Just Like Home 

Author Signing: Nina Nesseth*

2:00 – 3:00 PM
Nightmare Fuel

Author Signing: Julia Vee & Ken Bebelle*

3:00 – 4:00 PM
Ebony Gate

Author Signing: Holly Black

4:00 – 5:00 PM
Book of Night

Saturday — July 22


Mysteries, Magic, & Mayhem

Room 7AB
10:00 – 11:00 AM

Holly Black, Johnny Compton, Martha Wells, Catriona Ward, and Philip Fracassi, Liz Kerin (moderator)

A Scare is Born

Room 7AB
12:00 – 1:00 PM

Silvia Moreno Garcia, Junji Ito, Johnny Compton, Chuck Tingle, Catriona Ward, Erin A. Craig, Judy Prince-Neeb (moderator)

Science Fiction (At Least for Now)

Room 29AB
1:00 – 2:00 PM

Emma Mieko Candon, Pierce Brown, Nnedi Okorafor, Comic Con Special Guest Martha Wells

The Worlds We Return To

Room 23ABC
3:00 – 4:00 PM

Stephen Blackmoore, Jacqueline Carey, Cory Doctorow, Chloe Gong, E.K. Johnston, Matthew Berger (moderator)

Things Could Be Worse

Room 25ABC
8:00 – 9:00 PM

Tananarive Due, CJ Leede, Meriam Metoui, Chuck Tingle, and Danielle Valentine, Maryelizabeth Yturralde (moderator)

Booth 2802 Events

Giveaway: The Hunting Moon by Susan Dennard

10:00 – 11:00 AM

Author Signing: Emma Mieko Candon*

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
The Archive Undying

Author Signing: J.R. Dawson*

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
The First Bright Thing

Giveaway: Starter Villain by John Scalzi

12:00 – 1:00 PM

Author Signing: Sylvain Neuvel*

1:00 – 2:00 PM
A History of What Comes Next

Author Signing: Phillip Fracassi*

1:00 – 2:00 PM
Boys in the Valley

Author Signing: TJ Klune*

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Author Signing: Johnny Compton*

3:00 – 4:00 PM
The Spite House

Author Signing: CJ Leede*

3:00 – 4:00 PM
Maeve Fly

Author Signing: Catriona Ward*

4:30 – 5:30 PM
Looking Glass Sound

Sunday — July 23


Spotlight on Holly Black

Room 29AB
10:00 – 11:00 AM

Comic Con Special Guest Holly Black

Let’s Hit Critical

Room 29AB
12:00 – 1:00 PM

Jef Aldrich, Travis Baldree, James D’Amato, E.K. Johnston, Jon Taylor, Cecil Castellucci (moderator)

Romantasy: When SFF & Romance Kiss

Room 23ABC
2:30 – 3:30 PM

Jacqueline Carey, Olivie Blake, J.R. Dawson, Travis Baldree, TJ Klune (moderator)

Booth 2802 Events

Giveaway: The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport by Samit Basu

10:00 – 10:30 AM

Author Signing: Travis Baldree*

10:30 – 11:30 AM
Bookshops & Bonedust 

Author Signing: Jacqueline Carey*

12:00 – 1:00 PM
Kushiel’s Dart 

Author Signing: Olivie Blake*

1:00 – 2:00 PM
The Atlas Six 

Giveaway: Fall of Ruin and Wrath by Jennifer L. Armentrout audiobook excerpt with special item

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Giveaway: Mammoths at the Gates by Nghi Vo

3:00 – 4:00 PM

Free author signing with tickets to be given away at 10:00 AM each day in the booth. Other titles will be available for purchase in the booth.

Panelists and giveaways subject to change


The Books We’re Thankful For in 2021

It’s the last day of the year and we’re looking back at the chaotic, indescribable year that was 2021 the only way we know howthrough books. Check out the books that helped our staff get through 2021 here!

Image Place holder  of - 2Lizzy Hosty, Marketing Intern (she/her)

A book that I’m definitely thankful for this year is All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman. I was so delightfully surprised by how impressive the world building was, and how immersed into the setting I felt. The cliffhanger at the end was absolutely wild, and I won’t be able to sit still until the second book comes out!

Placeholder of  -60Desirae Friesan, Publicist (she/her)

There are so many books I loved this year, but one I keep coming back to is Katherine Addison’s The Witness for the DeadSince The Goblin Emperor is one of my favorite books I was so delighted for more of Katherine Addison’s beautiful writing, and to be back in the world of The Goblin Emperor following Celehar as he drinks tea, listens to people’s problems, and tries to help . I cannot express how much I need this book this year, a book about grief, about daily strugglies, about justice, but most of all a book about healing and finding connection. Beyond the satisfaction of a mystery solved, when I put down this book I felt hopeful and uplifted, both for Celehar and for myself.

Image Placeholder of - 41Samantha Friedlander, Marketing Assistant (she/her)

Comfort Me With Apples – This book was absolutely mind-blowing! For such a short novella, it packs a powerful punch and leaves you hungry for more.
For the Wolf – I loved the atmosphere of this book: dark, haunted, woodsy, and romantic. The romance was sweet and reminded me of so many other characters that I’ve loved over the years.
A Spindle Splintered – I loved the way that Sleeping Beauty was reframed in this novella. I loved the main character right from the very first line.
A Marvellous Light – The grumpy one falls for the sunshine one, plus magic and a murder mystery? How could I resist? This was another book with an amazing atmosphere that I sank right into.
Cemetery Boys – This book didn’t come out in 2021, but it was one of my favorite spooky season reads this year! There’s a beautiful romance, amazing characters, and magic that leaps off of the page.

Poster Placeholder of - 86a cat, Marketing Coordinator (he/him)

This year I’m thankful for flying magical islands, winged shapeshifting lions, and young adult books with adrenaline-fueled action and adventure that unfolds so addictingly fast you won’t put down the book until you’ve turned the final page. I’m talking about Shannon Price’s magnificent The Endless Skies, of course. This novel rocked. I loved it. So will you.

Place holder  of - 44Julia Bergen, Marketing Manager (she/her)

I’m thankful that Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune exists! Really, I’m thankful to be in a world where TJ Klune exists and is writing such beautiful stories. The idea that I get to keep reading more books by him is a luxury I do not take lightly.

image-37917Yvonne Ye, Ad/Promo Assistant (she/her)

Kai Ashante Wilson’s novella is so lyrically haunting and generically wall-breaking that I did a double take when I found out it had been published Six Whole Years Ago. The way Wilson slides effortlessly between registers of language to craft a gorgeous story of love and survival of mythic proportions is absolutely incomparable. Also, I challenge anyone to name another spear-and-sandal novella that casually drops “the exigencies of FTL travel” in the middle of a conversation. I’ll wait.
Never have I ever met a diaspora book that was so poignantly incisive and utterly unhinged. I spent all 288 pages yelling about the way Charles Yu toys with (and gleefully manipulates) the formal elements of screenwriting to write a blistering critique of Asian portrayals in Hollywood and cinema that also managed to be a rollicking good ride all the way down. I lost my absolute mind when I realized the title itself was a play on “INT. CHINATOWN,” and this quote haunts me to this day:
“…If you didn’t know it already, now you do: old dudes from rural Taiwan are comfortable with their karaoke and when they do karaoke for some reason they love no one like they love John Denver.
Maybe it’s the dream of the open highway. The romantic myth of the West. A reminder that these funny little Orientals have actually been Americans longer than you have. Know something about this country that you haven’t yet figured out. If you don’t believe it, go down to your local karaoke bar on a busy night. Wait until the third hour, when the drunk frat boys and gastropub waitresses with headshots are all done with Backstreet Boys and Alicia Keys and locate the slightly older Asian businessman standing patiently in line for his turn, his face warmly rouged on Crown or Japanese lager, and when he steps up and starts slaying ‘Country Roads,’ try not to laugh, or wink knowingly or clap a little too hard, because by the time he gets to ‘West Virginia, mountain mama,’ you’re going to be singing along, and by the time he’s done, you might understand why a seventy-seven year-old guy from a tiny island in the Taiwan Strait who’s been in a foreign country for two-thirds of his life can nail a song, note perfect, about wanting to go home.”

SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN by Shelley Parker-Chan

Speaking of books that made me lose my absolute mind, Shelley Parker-Chan’s debut novel smashed every expectation I had for it and more. With every page of bilingual excellence and imaginative historical reclamation, I became cemented in my belief that Shelley Parker-Chan is the mad diaspora genius we didn’t know we could have and desperately needed. I try not to foist books on my friends because we all have guilt-inducing TBR piles, but I definitely shoved this one in everyone’s face approximately thirty seconds into casual conversation.

image-39355Rachel Taylor, Marketing Manager (she/her)

I am very lucky that I got to read A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows early and wow, what a treat. It has basically everything I could ever want from a booka queer romance, mutual pining, and lush prose that left me longing for more. I can’t wait for everyone to read this one in 2022!

gif-master-of-denimKaleb Russell, Marketing Assistant (he/him)

  1. The temerity of Luster by Raven Leilani is absolutely awe-inspiring. This stupendous debut was a tumultuous journey consisting of countless painful, cringe-worthy moments and I relished every second of it. The novel gives an earnest portrayal of a 23-year-old black woman named Edie trying to find her way… and falling flat on her face several times throughout the process. And *that’s* what makes this book so stunning; it’s willingness to be messy! It’s not often you get this sort of portrayal of Black women in fiction, one where they’re not held up to this absurd standard of Black Exceptionalism™.

Here, Edie gets to be this flawed person who makes some *extremely* misguided decisions and isn’t derided for it. She’s a hot mess like the rest of us, but that doesn’t mean she’s any less deserving of love and contentment. Leilani’s precise characterization and sumptuous prose makes Luster a life-affirming narrative about the growing pains of your 20s and all the beauty and anguish it entails.

  1. Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee – The final book in Fonda Lee’s perilous Green Bone Saga left me in tears. Lee’s ability to write a compelling family drama is exemplary. Conversations and arguments between characters are more gripping, more pulse pounding  than any jade duel. Words cut deeper than talon knives. This is easily one of the most remarkable trilogy endings I’ve had the honor of reading.

  2. A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark – After reading A Dead Djinn In Cairo (and just about everything else Clark has penned) I knew his debut novel would be nothing short of spectacular. And I was correct! Clark’s version of Cairo (like all of his worlds) is one rife with wondrous magic and infinite possibility. Fatma el-Sha’arawi remains a compelling main character who is as charismatic and wise as she is dapper. And best believe this woman’s fashion sense is impeccable! I hope we see more books in this universe.

What books helped you get through 2021? Let us know in the comments! 

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