S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong is a layered, fascinating Labyrinth retelling that balances a deep aesthetic of sensuality against a naive, self-sacrificing main character.
Stephanie Garber’s Caraval almost works…but in the end let me down.
N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season is set in a strange, wonderful, magical world where plate tectonics shape the future of humanity and some people are slightly more than human.
Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song is a bit draggy at times, but is a generally pretty fun story with thoughtful worldbuilding and a few nice surprises.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a charming fantastical mystery that carries a stealthy bite.
Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree is a fantastically dark, twisted, and thoughtful novel about the inevitable consequences of secrets and lies.
The Crimson Skew is a satisfying end to a smart, fun middle grade trilogy that should appeal to any reader with a love of sassy, resourceful heroines. Which is everyone. Right?
Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns would be almost perfect, if it weren’t for the painfully obvious attempt at setting up for a sequel.
Ghostly Echoes was a slightly underwhelming entry in the Jackaby series, but one character stood out.
Daniel O’Malley’s Stiletto makes for most excellent fun reading if you enjoy monsters, dry humour, and generalised weirdness paired with smart, strong, sassy ladies.