June Books 14) A Stranger in Olondria, by Sofia Samatar
I was slightly, but only slightly, spoiled for this by reading Abigail Nussbaum's review, part of her submission for the Hugo Packet where she is nominated as Best Fan Writer. This too is part of the Hugo Packet, as evidence for Samatar's candidacy for the John W. Campbell award; and it is good evidence. I'm always a sucker for apprentice sage stories; the best of them, like this, entangle the narrative of learning with political power struggle and the awful consequences of hidden knowledge. Into that you can throw an interesting take on colonialism (it's made clear on the book's cover, though not very directly in the text, that the narrator is black, trying to navigate the white scholarship of Olondria) and on how books change your brain. I liked this a lot.