June Vogel has no desire to return to Storm Break, but when her brother remarries she agrees to come home for the summer to care for her wayward niece. As strange events multiply and family tensions heighten, is it Storm Break or June herself that will destroy the Vogels?
This year’s Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards had what may be the strongest line-up of novella nominees yet. It’s been an absolute pleasure to read them, and a nightmare to try and choose between them to select our finalists. Today I’m looking back briefly at them all, because hell yes you should read them. All of them.
Thanh is the Empress’s youngest daughter: the expendable one sent to powerful Ephteria as a ‘guest’; the forgotten foreigner they left to burn when their palace caught fire. But Thanh survived to go home, although she has found less herself welcome than she could wish. Now, the arrival of Ephterian envoys is her chance to prove her worth to the Empire… or see her home burn to the ground.
In the wake of tragedy, Mokoya the former seeress has abandoned her family and joined a mercenary group who hunt naga. Stalked by grief, she struggles to care about Akeha’s concerns or the slow-burning rebellion. But even in the outer marches of the Protectorate, there are causes worth dying for.
Rupert Wong did terrible things to get where he is. Now he’s paying the bills by cooking people for his ghoulish employer, and atoning for his sins by doing paperwork for Hell. But the Dragon God of the South has a third job for him, and there’s no saying no to an angry dragon… even when it could start a divine war.
Akeha and Mokoya are the twin children of the Protector, sold to the Grand Monastery in exchange for military support. But Mokoya is a prophet, a resource too valuable for their mother to let go, while Akeha has the heart of a rebel. In a country ruled by fear, can they find peace for themselves – let alone for the rest of their people?
Amelia lives in Mexico City, crowded into a tiny apartment with her sister and her resentment. She makes ends meet as a friend-for-hire, dreaming of a future on Mars that seems ever further out of reach. But when a new client turns out to be her wealthy ex, Amelia’s options seem as though they might open up.
The Colony have hidden from Earth for 500 years, screened behind their dewline, protected by their superior technology and their augmented intelligence. But as humanity colonises the stars, they have never stopped hunting their wayward children. Who will inherit the stars?
Children go missing all the time. Sometimes, there is a fuss. Sometimes, they come home. Sometimes, they’ve been much further than you’d think. Welcome to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Leave your disbelief at the door. Open your heart wide. Bring tissues.
Hitomi is a foreign-born street thief with dangerous secrets: untrained magical abilities and ties to the Shadow League, enemies of the corrupt Archmage. But even the haunted streets of Karolene are safer than what awaits her beyond its borders.