The Broken Forest by Megan Derr
This novella follows the Huntress Adamina as she’s summoned to a remote village, where she must venture into the eponymous forest to bring an end to the rot which is poisoning the region. With the help of Grete, a local witch whose magical talents match her own, Adamina must uncover long-buried history to set things right. As well as the lesbian romance between Huntress and witch, The Broken Forest also features a transgender main character, and of course independent women all the way, so there are definitely bonus points for representation. I was slightly disappointed by the end, in which Adamina’s parents play a role that’s a little too deus ex machina for my tastes, but since Adamina and Grete had already solved the major problems of the plot it wasn’t too much of an issue. A quick and enjoyable read that weaves together a number of recognisable fairytale elements.
Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder
The third and final novel in the Glass series sees Opal struggling to come to terms with the loss of her magic, while acquiring a number of other skills courtesy of our favourite assassin Valek. There are a lot of plot twists packed into a comparatively short novel, with events unfolding an almost dizzying pace, but by the end of the story Opal has grown a lot, settled into a quiet acceptance of herself, and taken responsibility for her own happiness.
Aliette de Bodard — The Breath of War
Heavily pregnant, Rechan heads into the mountains for the second time, searching for the breath-sibling she carved as an angry youth: the only one capable of giving life to her baby.
Diane Duane — Parting Gifts
An excellent example of an older female protagonist. Sirronde is a grandmother, asked to take on one final task for the Goddess who has been her lifelong sponsor.
Amal El Mohtar — The Truth About Owls
Anisa is a young woman with powers she doesn’t understand. This is a tale of identity and language (and owls) that I found devastating & uplifting by turns. Beautiful writing.
Maria Davhana Headley — And The Winners Will Be Swept Out To Sea
An extremely unusual tale, this rather dark piece sees the narrator mourning and coming to terms with the loss of her lover. An intriguing fusion of mythical elements and the relentless nature of the modern world.
Xia Jia — Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, Joy
A collection of five short vignettes, each offering a different vision of a possible future China, and spanning stages of life from birth to old age.
Xia Jia — Valentine’s Day
A young couple brave their first date in a futuristic and hyper-connected world.
Caroline M. Yoachim — Red Planet
A blind woman must decide whether the opportunity to study on Mars is worth the pain of acquiring a sense she’s never had and never missed.
Rachel Cotterill — The Falconer
Yep, this one’s by me. After witnessing an unusual death, Roan wakes at the bottom of a mine shaft, with the nagging suspicion that someone didn’t intend him to wake up at all.