“Shiva XIV” by Lyra Shanti

A fascinating science fantasy tale about Ayn, a young intersex person (this book follows him from birth to adolescence) who is believed to be the second incarnation of his society’s great leader, and has been raised accordingly. His sheltered life is thrown into chaos by a terrorist attack, and Ayn has to flee for his life to another planet, where he struggles with his new situation and his growing powers.

Science fantasy isn’t my absolute favorite subgenre, but the societies in this book are interesting, particularly because of their obvious Hindu/Buddhist influence, rather than the more typical Western European societies much spec fic employs. Making Ayn intersex is also a bold choice, and makes this book stand out from the crowd. Overall, an engaging beginning to a science fantasy series with a unique society and main character.

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