Washington Black by Esi Edugyan reads like a more empathetic Robert Louis Stevenson novel. The story begins with slave boy, Washington, becoming an assistant to a scientist and inventor, Dr. Christopher Wilde. After a brutal accident and suicide, Wilde and Washington are forced to escape the plantation, together fleeing to the arctic where Wash is left abandoned and alone. This story follows Wash as he finds his way in a world that has no place for a disfigured runaway slave.
Smoke by Dan Vyleta takes place in an alternate Victorian England where humanity suffers the condition of smoke emitting from their pores, exposing their true motives whenever they sin. In a world where classism has run rampant, the rich live controlled and spotless lives, while the poor are drenched in their own soot and guilt. We follow three young adults as they discover the root of the smoke and try to liberate their society from the rule of the elite and the church.
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson is the perfect read for fans of Egyptian mythology and The Arabian Nights. Alif is our Arab protagonist, a hacker who provides security services to customers in their unidentified surveillance-state. He falls for an aristocratic woman who is instead betrothed to a rich price, followed by his own security system being breached by the state government. As Alif is put on the run to save his own neck and his customers’, he discovers a secret book of the jiin, A Thousand and One Days. With high-stake consequences he can hardly imagine, Alif struggles against state foes, aided by forces the spirit world.