The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

“Bear skillfully weaves a brand-new saga into the landscape of her famed worlds from previous novels, hinting at the histories but not relying on them. The new stories and characters are fresh and captivating, from the young monarch with the creepiest drug addiction, to the elderly poet-warrior with the subversive skillset. There is little to critique here, though the romances can seem extraneous and unnecessary. The near-apocalyptic cliffhanger leaves the reader anxious for more. A definite must-read, and one to highlight in anticipation for the sequel.” — RT Book Reviews, 4 stars