The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley is a live-wire of a novel. It sounds like a strange, potentially dry, premise -- Beowulf, but make it suburban, and yet Headley’s novel is an energizing, propulsive read. Willa Herot lives in a pristine neighborhood, where her reality has been carefully curated. Her home is the loveliest one on the block; she has a precious, well-behaved baby boy and an enviable marriage. It all hangs by a delicate thread. In a mountain cave overlooking the suburban haven lives Dana, a veteran suffering from PTSD, and her son, Gren, who has never experienced life outside the safety of the cave. An innocent meeting between the two boys sets both worlds reeling. Headley’s take on the epic poem deals with topics like motherhood, womanhood, otherness, and modern-day monsters with searing intensity, her writing as beautiful as it is brutal.
Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth (Tor.com, $25.99) is science fiction, fantasy, a locked creepy castle mystery, an aesthetic, and a dozen Halloween costume ideas, all in one. This mashup might seem too wild to be good, but Muir perhaps possesses her own brand of magic, an ability to disregard any and all genre conventions and combine all these elements into something truly incredible. Gideon the Ninth is about a solar system of political intrigue, necromancers, secret knowledge, and martial arts. It is intricately wrought, with a full mythology behind it. It comes with wonderful characters and complex relationships, including the central one between Gideon and Harrow that will bring you both tears and joy. The dialogue is a giddy mix of modern-day language, stupid jokes, sarcasm, dark humor, and sharp comebacks. This is the perfect gift for that friend who thinks Halloween should be a year-round holiday. Or perhaps, if your soul is cynical, morbid, and queer, this is the perfect book for you.
Imagine you can travel back in time by accessing your past memories? That’s the premise of the new novel from one of the most fun and inventive sci-fi writer around. Recursion is an inception-like tale of a scientist that discovers this technology, and a detective working to help her stop it from falling into the wrong hands, because traveling into memories creates new time lines for all those who have come into contact with their past selves. This book is fast-paced, thrilling, fun and a mind-warp!