Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, staff from Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins recommend “Kalyna the Soothsayer,” “Nettle & Bone” and “Harrow the Ninth.”

Kalyna the Soothsayer

By Elijah Kinch Spector
October 2022


From the publisher: Kalyna’s family has the Gift: the ability to see the future. For generations, they traveled the four kingdoms of the Tetrarchia selling their services as soothsayers. Every child of their family is born with this Gift—everyone except Kalyna. So far, Kalyna has used informants and trickery to falsify prophecies for coin, scrounging together a living for her deteriorating father and cruel grandmother. But Kalyna’s reputation for prophecy precedes her, and poverty turns to danger when she is pressed into service by the spymaster to Rotfelsen.

From Nicole, Marketing and Events: Kalyna is an absolute delight from cover to cover. Intricate, not dense but full – full of plots and twists and reversals, full of dry humor and wit, full of intrigue that keeps you guessing until it all comes together at the end. Kalyna herself is possibly one of my favorite characters ever: a manipulative jerk with a heart of such pure gold, who thinks she’s a bad person even as she tries to save the world. She’s smart, and I love her for it. This whole book is smart, and it was a joy to read.

Nettle & Bone

By  T. Kingfisher
Tor Books
April 2022


From the publisher: Marra never wanted to be a hero. As the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter, she escaped the traditional fate of princesses, to be married away for the sake of an uncaring throne. But her sister wasn’t so fortunate — and after years of silence, Marra is done watching her suffer at the hands of a powerful and abusive prince. Seeking help for her rescue mission, Marra is offered the tools she needs, but only if she can complete three seemingly impossible tasks.

From Elliot, Bookseller: A pure fairytale with a bit of a modern twist. There is darkness in this story but it’s the sort you expect to find in real fairytales. The fun of this one is that the heroes of this tale aren’t the usual suspects — they are cast-offs, and would be villains if the story were told from another perspective. After all, they are on a quest to kill the prince. The blend of fairytale, feminism and a diverse and interesting cast of characters made picking this book up a delight.

Harrow the Ninth

By Tamsyn Muir
Tordotcom Publishers
September 2021


From the publisher: She answered the Emperor’s call. She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend. In victory, her world has turned to ash. After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman’s shoulders.

From Zane, Bookseller: If you thought Harrow was a lovable little ball of wit and disdain in Gideon the Ninth, then you’ll not be disappointed to get up in her head in this book. But be warned: This book is not the first. Muir is not afraid to pull a complete literary gear shift here, and if you’re looking for more of the same after Gideon, this isn’t it. But somehow it’s still so, so dang good. 

Muir is so good at lifting the curtain to answer your burning questions about what the heck is going on, just to reveal that behind the curtains are more heavy, dusty, macabre, beautiful curtains. Now on a spaceship. She is still a master of characters and dialogue here, so get ready to cry out of your cry holes. Oh and the sequel, Nona the Ninth came out last week, so you simply gotta read this soon. Good golly these books are amazing.


Old Firehouse Books

232 Walnut St., Fort Collins


As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section — SunLit — we’re featuring staff picks from book stores across the state. Read more.

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