Mar 29

Library Journal on Hybrid Heart

Hybrid Heart by Iori Kusano

“Kusano, an Asian American living in Tokyo, makes their debut with this novella set in a near-future Japan, where people have software apps installed in their bodies that allow them to interact online in their minds, and human pop stars compete for fame against digital vocaloid singers. Rei is a human “idol,” an entertainer with a corporate manufactured image created for purely commercial purposes. She loves to sing and aspired to this life, but then her singing partner Ririko abandoned their idol life for love. Now Rei is even more strictly managed by Kosaka, who controls every aspect of her life from her songs and performances to what she eats and where she goes. Rei tries to navigate handling Kosaka and garnering more fame while still missing Ririko and obsessing over singer LYRICO, who hides behind an avatar. When Kosaka takes on a new, younger singer, Rei begins to see her life for what it is more clearly and has to decide what she wants for herself.

VERDICT Give this to fans of manga and anime for an insightful, speculative glimpse into Japanese pop culture.” — Library Journal

Mar 14

Publishers Weekly on Hybrid Heart

Hybrid Heart by Iori Kusano

“Kusano brings the vibrant world of J-Pop into stunning clarity in their near-future debut novella. Rei must navigate the semidystopian world of Japanese pop idols as a solo act after her best friend and former duo member, Ririko, gets caught with a secret boyfriend despite a contractual obligation not to fall in love. In the wake of this scandal, Rei’s success hinges on her role as the singing voice of a character on a popular anime, and her overbearing manager frequently reminds her how tenuous her career is. Meanwhile, she can’t help being drawn to the music of her main competitor, a lifelike computer-generated idol called Lyrico. With a hotshot young recruit to Rei’s talent agency nipping at her heels, Rei must work out her feelings for Lyrico and determine if the new trainee will be friend or foe. Rei makes for a fascinating protagonist held captive in a glittering world. The author holds readers in a similarly tight grip, immersing them in imagined future Japanese pop culture. Kusano shows real promise.” — Publishers Weekly

Mar 10

Nona the Ninth is a 2022 Nebula Award finalist!

Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, the third installment in the Locked Tomb series, is a 2022 Nebula Award for Novel finalist!

Feb 22

Library Journal on Witch King

Witch King by Martha Wells

“Demon Prince Kai awakens in his own tomb, alone and unable to remember how he got there, although he knows he must have been betrayed. He’ll have to recover his companions, retrace his steps, both in the past and in the present, and consume the life energy of anyone who gets in his way. After all, Kai is the Witch King, and he can’t let anyone stand in the way of protecting his loved ones. Kai and his dearest companions saved their world from an all-consuming conqueror. His betrayal is an attempt to undo that work, and Kai must figure out whom he needs to kill this time around. The world is wide-open, its peoples are not the usual fantasy suspects, and the power of both friendship and heartbreak pushes the story on at a breathless pace.

VERDICT: After the rousing success of “The Murderbot Diaries,” Wells has returned to her fantasy roots in a tale of revolt, rebellion, and betrayal. Readers looking for more Murderbot may be disappointed, but fantasy readers looking for new worlds and characters to explore will be enthralled.” — Library Journal

Feb 7

Locus on The Origin of Storms

The Origin of Storms by Elizabeth Bear

“The Origin of Storms is a rich and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, which began with The Stone in the Skull and The Red-Stained Wings. This trilogy is linked to and set in the same universe as Bear’s earlier Eternal Sky books – but these three titles make for a satisfying arc all on their own. If you want more in this world, however, there are three more books worth of epic goodness to pick from.” — Locus

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