Among Us by Jo Walton

Still reeling from the death of her twin sister and learning to live with a crippling injury, Mori finds herself dropped on her father’s doorstep by the foster care system, even though she had never met him before. When his sisters insist on sending her away to an upper-class boarding school, Mori finds herself removed once again from all that is familiar, including the fairy companions that she grew up with.

Genre: fantasy

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

A boy, a nameless boy, lives in a large and rambling old house in rural England. His father’s business is failing and, to keep money coming in, the family begins letting out rooms. One of these lodgers is an aggressive opal miner from South Africa, who runs over the boy’s cat on his way to the house. The next night, he steals the family’s car and drives it to the end of the road and kills himself. When the car is discovered, with the body in it, the boy is sent to the neighboring Hempstock farmhouse while his father calls the police.

Genre: adventure, fantasy, fiction, magic realism

The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper

As a feminist, I can’t help but wonder what the world would look like if the governments of the world were female dominated. Would we still live in a world dominated by men with guns? Would we work more collaboratively and more empathetically? Or would we make the same mistakes as the men who have given us this world? Would we create new monsters?

One of the best parts of speculative fiction for me is its ability to ask these questions and then play them out in the course of a book. Sherri Tepper’s had a long career of novels that take a hard look at gender and environment; The Gate to Women’s Country is certainly one of them. Tepper’s setup was so interesting that I stayed up late night after night to see how the experiment would turn out.

Genre: fantasy, speculative fiction

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

I have reached a sad point in my life, which is to say that I have finally caught up with George R. R. Martin’s writing in The Song of Ice and Fire series. I was disappointed with the previous novel in the series, A Feast for Crows, because it only told the story of half of the characters in the series and finished by leaving several of the important characters in limbo. A Dance of Dragons had the same format, but it was the second half of the story that A Feast for Crows began, so it was vastly more satisfying.

Genre: fantasy