The best recent science fiction, fantasy and horror – reviews roundup

This post is by Eric Brown from Books | The Guardian

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Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri, Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils by James Lovegrove, The Subjugate by Amanda Bridgeman and The Dark Vault by VE Schwab

In a genre replete with stock Arthurian templates, it’s refreshing to see myths and legends taken from a different culture, in this instance Malay. In Natasha Ngan’s third YA novel, Girls of Paper and Fire (Hodder, £14.99), the citizens of the lavishly portrayed world of Ikhara are divided into three castes: Moon, the ruling demons; Steel, demon-human amalgams; and Paper, subjugated humans. Narrator Lei is a Paper girl, taken from her family to become a concubine, with eight other girls, of the Demon King. What follows her initial submission is the slow-burning story of the iniquity perpetrated by the ruling elite and Lei’s affecting love affair with her fellow Paper girl Wren, a liaison ...