Swords and Spaceships

Epic Quests, Eldritch Monsters, and 5-Star Historical Fantasy

Happy Tuesday, shipmates! Rachel again. I’ve got your bi-weekly dose of all things SFF. In addition to some really excellent new releases, I wanted to share a couple of my favorite recent historical fantasy novels. One is a Good Omens-esque exploration of immigration, Judaism, and relationships, while the other is an epic fantasy indictment of colonialism. But first: bookish goods and some SFF articles we’re loving on Book Riot.

Bookish Goods

Black Murderbot Mug with an illustration of Murderbot in front of a circular color block sunset and the caption "I received your request but decided to ignore you" in white.

Murderbot Mug from Happy Friday Co

This mug is perfect for both fans of Murderbot and sarcasm. $24

New Releases

The Lies of the Ajungo Book Cover

The Lies of the Ajungo by Moses Ose Utomi (February 21, 2023)

In a desert city parched for water, a boy makes a deal with his ruler: provide water for his dying mother and he will venture out into the Forever Desert to bring water back to the city. It’s an epic quest for salvation not only for himself and his mother, but his entire city as well.

Sister, Maiden, Monster Book Cover

Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy A. Snyder (February 21, 2023)

In a world ripped apart by a virus, three women forever altered by the virus’s effects try to navigate the coming apocalypse in all its terrifying, eldritch glory. And as dark forces pull Erin, Savannah, and Mareva together, they discover just what it will take to survive this nightmare.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Two of my recent favorite reads (we’re talking full, unequivocal five stars here) were both historical fantasy novels, and if that’s not a perfect excuse to share them with all of you, then I don’t know what is.

When the Angels Left the Old Country Book Cover

When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb

This gorgeous novel follows a Jewish angel and demon who study Torah together and leave the old country for America in search of a girl from their Shtetl who’s stopped sending letters back to her father. Along the way, they discover a horrifying conspiracy threatening desperate immigrants as well as the truth of their importance to one another. Can an angel and demon truly be friends? When the Angels Left the Old Country says yes, and more!

Babel Book Cover

Babel by R. F. Kuang

An illustrious and somewhat secretive school at Oxford explores the magical properties of translation, referred to as Babel. Robin Swift was raised to become a Babel scholar — literally. His adoptive father brought him back to London from Canton where he began a rigorous instruction in languages. But all is not as it seems at Oxford and Babel. As England harnesses the power of words for their colonial empire, there are those who have begun to question their purpose — and their means. And as Robin and his cohort become enmeshed with a group of radicals, he must decide just how far he’s willing to go for Babel — or against it.

A German Shepherd mix black and tan dog lounges in a papasan chair with a marigold colored cushion while looking up at the camera

See you, space pirates, and be sure to thank your co-pilots. Mine wants to remind you of the importance of afternoon naps.

You can catch me @rachelsbrittain on Instagram, Goodreads, Litsy, Spoutible, and occasionally Twitter.