The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of June

Adrian Liang on June 12, 2017

The best SF and fantasy of June

Summer reading tends to encompass thrillers, chick lit or lady lit, and salty memoirs...but why go along with the crowd when there's so much excellent science fiction and fantasy to read?

Read on for our editors' picks for the best science fiction and fantasy of June:


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Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee - In the sequel to Ninefox Gambit, Lee returns to the hexarchate as once-dead general Shuos Jedao takes over a Kel fleet to battle an enemy deploying weapons they don't understand. But Jedao and the hexarchate have a complicated history that could kill everyone in the fleet. Lee will crack open your imagination while delivering twisty high-action battles and back-stabbing maneuvers. Don't leap into Raven Stratagem without reading Ninefox Gambit...but also don't let these two books slip away from you before the end of summer--or the release of book three.

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The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King - Among my favorite fantasy books of the year so far, this tale of young orphan girls who are trained to be devout warriors--and then, disturbingly, are given to benefactors as servants, concubines, or wives--is ultimately one of strength and sisterhood. Sickly but spirited 18-year-old Kalinda is chosen to be the rajah's 100th and final queen, an "honor" she desperately does not want but to decline means death. A bubbling civil war and the deadly intrigues of the court complicate Kalinda's choices further, and King dials up the tension as the date of Kalinda's wedding grows closer. Powerful and innocent at once, this is a good pick for those who embraced the lessons of justice and generosity in Wonder Woman.

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The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Gallard - Science butts heads with magic as the hodgepodge team of D.O.D.O. operatives tries to use quantum physics to replicate the works of witches. But all does not turn out as expected, as the main narrator is clearly stuck in the year 1851. Gallant's historical details and Stephenson's scientific knowledge seamlessly integrate in a long, and, yes, sometimes sprawling adventure tale in which science is the new least until it runs into the stubbornness of old magic and the quicksand of government bureaucracy. A rambunctious page-turner with "aha" moments that give it intellectual heft to add to its physical heft.

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A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden - Swirling together Norse mythology with a Tolkien-esque writing style (there are even songs!), Oden's latest centers on a Christian traveler who gets caught up in a plot by a supernatural Nordic creature determined to go to England and wreak his vengeance on an enemy who has dodged him for too long. Death always hovers close, each interchange taut with the possibility that lives will be lost in desperate, bloody ways. If you like your fantasies with a serrated edge, this tale will be right up your alley.

Don't miss our other picks for best science fiction and fantasy of June: The Fall of Shannara: The Black Elfstone by Terry Brooks--the first book in his four-part series that brings the Shannara series to its conclusion, Shattered Minds by Laura Lam, The Space between the Stars by Anne Corlett, The Rebellion's Last Traitor by Nik Korpon, The Changeling by Victor LaValle, A Peace Divided by Tanya Huff, The Asylum of Dr. Caligari by James Morrow, and Beren and Lúthien edited by Christopher Tolkien.


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