cover image Empress of Forever

Empress of Forever

Max Gladstone. Tor, $18.99 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9581-8

The first epic space opera from fantasist Gladstone (the Craft Sequence) incorporates wonder and wit to create a feminist, humanist playground of thought exercise. Viv Liao is a titan of industry, revered and feared in equal measure, and her enemies are coming for her, enraged by her acts of social consciousness. While making a last-ditch attempt to evade pursuit and save Earth from itself, she winds up in a Boston server farm from which she is transported on an Alice in Wonderland–esque trip through space. At once familiar and alien, this strange new setting terrifies Viv, but her powerful personality reasserts itself, and she’s soon in charge of a highly skilled, eclectic band of gods, monsters, and other strange beings who are pursuing their own agendas. All their stories revolve around the unofficial ruler of this universe, the Empress. Gladstone’s writing is delicate and precise, crafting a dense novel that introduces one mind-blowing concept after another, capitalizing on the concept of personal power while candidly addressing personal failure. This feast for the imagination intelligently captures the complexities of a variety of relationships in an adrenaline-fueled series of escapades and will leave readers both exhausted and elated. Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (June)