I took a short vacation to Maine recently, and ended up blowing through Deliliah S. Dawson’s new Star Wars novel Phasma. It’s one of a few recent books exploring the darker side of the franchise, along with Battlefront II: Inferno Squad and Thrawn. Given that one of my regular hobbies is dressing up like a Star Wars villain, this has special appeal to me, but it’s also a good read in its own right — you can read my full review here.
All three of these novels ask you to empathize with characters on the wrong side of Star Wars history: fan-favorite General Admiral Thrawn, upcoming Battlefront IIsoldier Iden Versio, and First Order enforcer Captain Phasma. They poke a hole in Star Wars’ usual good-versus-evil story, showing that its villains can be more complex than they seem — even if we don’t end up rooting for them, they become more than cartoon foils for the heroes.
But Phasma is just one of the many interesting books coming out this month. Here are 17 that caught our eyes.
Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone
Ruin of Angels is a sort of relaunch to Max Gladstone’s fantastic Craft Sequence, an urban fantasy series set in an alternate world where magic is treated more like law than something mystical. Here, priestess / investment banker Kai Pohala visits a fantastical megacity called Agdel Lex to see her estranged sister, Ley. She discovers that Ley is at the center of a sketchy business deal, and is on the run from the law. But Ley has her own agenda, which involves a heist that could free the city from its oppressive officials. The book earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, saying that “Gladstone packs a lot into his tale,” and that “longtime readers may find some of his choices surprising.” If you’re curious, you can read more in an excerpt we published earlier this year.