Typically, fantasy novels aren’t the first genre I reach for; however, I found myself pleasantly surprised with Birth of the Anima (Theia Books, $30). This book’s intricate storyline incorporated engaging elements of ecology, myth, and legend, and before long, I was engrossed. The Anima—12 badass female apex predators—are tasked with the seemingly impossible mission of saving their ecosystems and restoring peace to the land. The intersection of ecology and magic is ever-present as the Anima work to prevent the looming apocalyptic plague that threatens their way of life. This novel has striking parallels to many of the ecological crises we face in the real world, and it’s obvious that the author, Kelsey Sather, has strong knowledge and passion for ecological conservation. This was my first eco-fantasy book, but it won’t be my last. A must-read for the outdoor enthusiast with a bent for fantasy.