These four out-of-this-world science fiction and fantasy novels are perfect for book clubs.
Kacen Callender’s Queen of the Conquered tells the story of Sigourney Rose, whose family was killed when her native islands—and many of their inhabitants —were colonized by the Fjern. As the king of the islands prepares to select a successor, Sigourney focuses on avenging her family. Using her psychic gifts, she fights to survive in an atmosphere of suspicion and political intrigue. The first volume in the Islands of Blood and Storm duology, Callender’s novel is a fast-paced, epic tale that examines political oppression and the nature of power.
In Unconquerable Sun, Kate Elliott introduces readers to Princess Sun, daughter of the daunting queen-marshal Eirene and next in line to lead the Republic of Chaonia. As she comes into her own as a leader, Sun is targeted by foes who want her out of the way. Inspired by the life of Alexander the Great, Elliott spins a suspenseful, imaginative sci-fi story with an unforgettable heroine at its center. With themes of gender, identity and loyalty woven throughout, this first installment of the Sun Chronicles has much to offer reading groups.
Inspired by a song from the rap group clipping., Rivers Solomon’s The Deep focuses on Yetu and her people, the wajinru, who are descended from pregnant African women who were cast overboard by slave traders while at sea. The wajinru live beneath the sea, and Yetu serves as their memory-keeper, recalling a tragic past that her sacrifice allows the rest of her people to forget. When the memories overwhelm Yetu, she heads to the surface—a decision that has fateful repercussions. Solomon explores individual agency and collective trauma in this beautifully rendered fantasy.
In Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire, Mahit Dzmare, ambassador to the Teixcalaanli Empire, finds herself embroiled in a political plot after her predecessor dies. As she sets out to learn the truth behind the previous ambassador’s death, Mahit grapples with the customs of the Empire and faces a mystery that could bring about the complete destruction of her home space station. The first book in the Teixcalaan series, Martine’s novel immerses readers in a fantastical world of conspiracy and intergalactic exploits. Cultural differences and the importance of home provide a rich thematic underpinning, making this an excellent pick for book clubs.