Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In some few children the old bloods show, gifting rare talents that can be honed to deadly or mystic effect. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls.

A bloodstained child of nine falsely accused of murder, guilty of worse, Nona is stolen from the shadow of the noose. It takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist, but under Abbess Glass’s care there is much more to learn than the arts of death. Among her class Nona finds a new family—and new enemies.

Despite the security and isolation of the convent, Nona’s secret and violent past finds her out, drawing with it the tangled politics of a crumbling empire. Her arrival sparks old feuds to life, igniting vicious struggles within the church and even drawing the eye of the emperor himself.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Child abuse
  • Parental abandonment
  • Death
  • Torture
  • Graphic animal abuse
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Firestarter by Stephen King

Firestarter by Stephen King

The Department of Scientific Intelligence (aka “The Shop”) never anticipated that two participants in their research program would marry and have a child. Charlie McGee inherited pyrokinetic powers from her parents, who had been given a low-grade hallucinogen called “Lot Six” while at college. Now the government is trying to capture young Charlie and harness her powerful firestarting skills as a weapon.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Ableist language
  • Fatmisia and body shaming
  • Transmisia
  • Misogyny
  • Medical abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Suicide
  • Alcohol use
  • Nonconsensual drugging
  • Institutionalization
  • Death of a parent
  • Murder
  • Graphic fire scenes and arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Explosions
  • Nightmares
  • Mind control
  • War themes
  • Animal death
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The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

The Poppy War R. F. Kuang

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Classism
  • Colourism
  • Racism
  • Mass rape
  • Gang rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Forced marriage
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sterilization
  • Medical experimentation
  • Scars
  • Dead bodies
  • Death of a classmate or colleague
  • Decapitation and dismemberment
  • Knife violence
  • Graphic mass murder
  • Graphic murder
  • Physical assault
  • Torture
  • Trauma
  • Captivity and confinement
  • Military violence
  • War themes
  • Explosions
  • Fire and arson
  • Flooding
  • Bullying and hazing
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A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Attempted rape
  • Attempted prostitution of a child, recounted
  • Parental abuse discussed
  • Self mutilation for use of magic
  • Torture
  • Death, on-page
  • Slavery
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The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Fantastical racism and racial slurs
  • Slavery
  • Child rape implied
  • Forced sexual relationships attempting pregnancy
  • Physical and emotional abuse of a child
  • Death of children
  • Death of a partner, on-page
  • Kidnapping
  • Captivity
  • Genocide recounted
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Under the Magnolias by T. I. Lowe

Undeer the Magnolias by T. I. Lowe

Under the Magnolias by T. I. Lowe

Magnolia, South Carolina, 1980
Austin Foster is barely a teenager when her mama dies giving birth to twins, leaving her to pick up the pieces while holding her six siblings together and doing her best to stop her daddy from retreating into his personal darkness.

Scratching out a living on the family’s tobacco farm is as tough as it gets. When a few random acts of kindness help to ease the Fosters’ hardships, Austin finds herself relying upon some of Magnolia’s most colorful citizens for friendship and more. But it’s next to impossible to hide the truth about the goings-on at Nolia Farms, and Austin’s desperate attempts to save face all but break her.

Just when it seems she might have something more waiting for her–with the son of a wealthy local family who she’s crushed on for years–her father makes a choice that will crack wide-open the family’s secrets and lead to a public reckoning. There are consequences for loving a boy like Vance Cumberland, but there is also freedom in the truth.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Attempted suicde
  • Bipolar disorder
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The Revenant by Michael Punke

The Revenant by Michael Punke

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke

Rocky Mountains, 1823. The trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is one of the most respected men in the company, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker.But when a scouting mission puts Glass face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two men from the company are ordered to remain with him until his inevitable death. But, fearing an imminent attack, they abandon Glass, stripping him of his prized rifle and hatchet.

As Glass watches the men flee, he is driven to survive by one all-consuming desire: revenge. With shocking grit and determination, he sets out on a three-thousand-mile journey across the harsh American frontier, to seek revenge on the men who betrayed him.

The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Misogyny and sexism
  • Racism and racial slurs
  • Sex worker shaming and slurs
  • Abuse, neglect and abandonment
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blood and gore depiction
  • Body horror
  • Dead bodies and body parts
  • Decapitation
  • Physical injury and wounds
  • Medical treatment, including surgery
  • Death of a friend
  • Murder
  • Knife violence
  • Gun violence
  • Scars
  • Imprisonment and captivity
  • Starvation and dehydration depiction
  • Blizzard
  • Animal death
  • Hunting
  • Colonialism themes
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At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen book cover

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind.

To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war.

Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants.

The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexual assault
  • Domestic abuse, both physical and psychological
  • Gaslighting by a spouse
  • Medical abuse
  • Suicide
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug abuse
  • Death of a child
  • War and war wounds
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The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman book cover

Lost in a new world, Lyra finds Will—a boy on the run, a murderer—a worthy and welcome ally. For this is a world where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and witches share the skies with troops of angels.

Each is searching—Lyra for the meaning of Dark Matter, Will for his missing father—but what they find instead is a deadly secret, a knife of untold power. And neither Lyra nor Will suspects how tightly their lives, their loves, and their destinies are bound together… until they are split apart.

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Genital mutilation mentioned
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Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones

Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones

Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Flacones book cover

XIV century. The city of Barcelona is at its moment of greatest prosperity; has grown towards the Ribera, the humble neighborhood of fishermen, whose inhabitants decide to build, with the money of some and the effort of others, the largest Maria cathedral ever known.
A construction that moves parallel to the hazardous story of Arnau, son of a peasant serf, who flees from the abuses of his feudal lord and takes refuge in Barcelona, ​​where he becomes a citizen and, with it, a free man.
While his best friend and adopted brother Joan studies to become a priest, young Arnau becomes a member of the guild of the stone-workers, soldier and moneychanger. A strenuous life which leads him from the misery of the fugitive to nobility and wealth. But with this privileged position he also gets the envy of his peers, who devise a sordid plot that puts his life in the hands of the Inquisition. He finds himself face-to-face with his own brother. Will he lose his life just as his beloved Cathedral of the Sea is finally completed?

GoodreadsThe Story Graph

Trigger & Content Warnings:

  • Sexual assault
  • Starvation
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